August 6, 2005
 This is the first day of real work on the restoration. I had planned on starting on the engine since it burns a lot of oil and I'd like to know up front how much fixing it will cost. I ordered a leakdown tester and TDC whistle online from Eastwood on Thursday and had it overnighted to me. I called on Friday to get the tracking number, but they told me there is a 1 day delay if you order online from them so the shipment wouldn't arrive until Monday. Next time I'll order by phone, or order somewhere else. Since the tools did not arrive yet to do the leakdown tests on my engine, I thought I'd take a look at the ignition. Most of the service manuals seem to start there and it seemed like an easy place to start.

So I got out my books and it all seemed pretty straight forward. Remove the distributor, replace the points, set the gap and dwell, re-install and then reset the timing. So the first thing I did was pull out the distributor. Once I cleaned off the layers of dirt and oil, I saw that it was a Prestolite 3228264 (this means nothing to me). I dis-assembled the distributor looking for the points, but could not find any. The manuals clearly showed what a Delco HEI distributor looked like and what a distributor with points looks like, but I had neither. I searched online and for information about my Prestolite model, but only found that people like to replace it with a Delco HEI. Finally I broke down and went to the libraty looking for a good book and found a great one. It's called Complete Car Care Manual by (of all people) Reader's Digest. It starts at the beginning and goes very deep into each topic with great diagrams to explain everything. I finally realized that I do have electronic ignition, just not an HEI system. Since there were no points to replace, I just cleaned everything up inside, lubricated it and put it back together:

August 7, 2005
 That was as far as I got on Saturday. Sunday I was ready to put the distributor back in. In order to have any chance of the engine firing, I needed to find TDC. Since my TDC whistle didn't arrive yet from Eastwood, I would have to rely on the timing marks. It took me a while to find them on the AMC 304 engine. They are located on the alternator side underneath a hose that goes to the heater core:

In order to turn the engine over by hand, I had to remove the colling fan. Then with a 3/4" socket and an extention on it I was able to manually turn the engine over slowly (it wasn't easy). I used a toothbrush and some soapy water and scrubed the marks and the engine wheel looking for the timing mark. I finally found the mark and painted it white with some latex primer:

The picture shows the engine set to about 10 degrees in Advance of TDC. I adjusted it to TDC and re-installed the dristributor. After I installed it, I noticed that the rotor spun freely. This was not good. If I pulled the distributor up a little, then it engaged with the engine. I though about this some and realized that when I had re-assembled it, I put the gear on backwards. I can't belive they make it fit so well backwards. I pulled the distributor back out and swapped the gear. Here it is with the gear on the correct direction:

The whole time I was dodging wasps because they had decided to take up nest in my Jeep. I found 1 nest behind the back window under the roll bar, and another INSIDE the window mounted plow switch. Even after clearing both nests, spraying and setting traps, they continued to swarm all afternoon:

I re-installed the distributor and this time the rotor was locked with the engine when the distributor was fully seated. I put the cap on and marked the #1 cylynder location on the distributor with a touch of white paint:

Then I took the cap off and adjusted the distributor till the rotor was slightly ahead of the painted mark (the paint is hard to see in this picture):

Then I tightend down the distributor and tried to start it up. Of course it didn't start. But then again starting this thing was tricky even before I touched the distributor. It NEVER starts on the first try. I ran the battery down trying to start it so I put on the charger. The wasps were getting really bad so I decided to call it a day. All that I have left to do is fire the engine up and set the timing.

August 8, 2005
 I got home from work and my leakdown tester and TDC whistle had arrived from Eastwood. So I hooked up the TDC whistle to see if it agreed with the marks on the engine block. They didn't. The whisle stop blowing when the engine marks read 4 degrees ATDC. So I re-adjust the distributor trying to eyball it at about 10 degrees ATDC. Amazingly it started on the first try. I hooked up the timing light to check where I was and the mark was nowhere near where I expected. It looked like I was at about 20 degrees ATDC. I'm surprised the engine ran at all, but actually it sounded pretty good. I shut it off and adjust the distributor again (I wasn't brave enough to reach around the spinning belts). On the next try it looked about 10 degrees ATDC which was close enough for me to the reccommended range (10-12 degrees). Of course with the 4 degree slop on the engine mark, I should probably advance it a little further, but I'm just happy it's running again. On to the cylynder tests next.