Test Drive # 1 : Fiat Spider
I had the whole thing together and it was time for a real test drive, or least around the block. Around the block... so far so good... now out onto the main street... so far so good... get it up to speed. Well it was going well from what I could see until I looked in the rear view mirror. I saw a billowing cloud of white smoke and cars swerving to get out from behind me. "Ah shit!" I said to my self. My patch of the leaking crack in my valve cover must not have worked.
I started heading directly for home when I got caught at the light. As I was sitting at the light, smoke is oozing from every hole in the car; out from the hood seems, the wheel wells, radiator intake... everywhere! I almost couldn't see the traffic light anymore there was so much smoke surrounding my car. I was even starting to get that carbon monoxide stomach ache. This guy pulled up to me and shouted, "Hey man, I think you are on fire!"
I said, "Naah, I think I might have a little bit of an oil leak..."
At this the dude in the pick up gave me that funny look people give you when they think you are completely crazy and rolled up his window. Maybe he wanted to avoid the stomach ache...
Anyway I was only a block away from home and it would have done no good to park it there in the middle of the busy street. Plus I would have had to still drive it home to fix it, might as well keep going. The light changed and I emerged from my personal smoke screen and drove the half a block to my parking lot and popped the hood. (I was pretty sure that it was just the oil leak but I was ready with the fire extinguisher anyway.)
As it turns out it was just the oil spewing onto the exhaust manifold... and the rest of the engine compartment. Right now there is enough oil that you could deep fry a turkey on the top of the engine. (That is a little bit of an exaggeration, but in all honesty you could deep fry at least a chicken breast.)
So what did I learn from all this? First of all, I for sure need a new exhaust valve cover. Second and more importantly! I now know exactly how to build a 007 style smoke screen generator for any car. I plan to build a metal shroud out of stove pipe around the exhaust manifolds. Then put in there little nozzles that will squirt oil or hydraulic fluid or something that will make a lot of smoke when it hits the hot manifold. To make it useful, I will duct the smokey air to the back of the car with dryer hose! I think I'll begin this project as soon as I get the fiat running for real!