Update 12/30/2015 – It’s Alive!!

I got up early during my vacation and spent almost an entire day completing all of the issues blocking the first engine start.  I spent the morning troubleshooting the spark issues my buddy and I ran into the last weekend before the break.  (I didn’t get to work on the project car in-between since I was motivated to fix the issues plaguing the BMW ahead of a ~1400 mile trip)  I had already picked up a sweet new yellow coil (to match my rocker cover) and some new spark plug wires from the auto parts store, but as it turns out I may not have needed them.  I traced the problem back to the points on the distributor.  Basically, they’re like a switch activated by a cam and the contacts had too much resistance when closed.  I had a used set of points that I tried to swap in, but those seemed to have a short and they were pretty worn, so I decided to try and fix the existing, almost brand new points. I’m not sure if they were coated with something or if the contacts had corroded somewhat, but after a date with some fine grit sandpaper, they looked and worked like they should.  After all that, I had to reset the timing.  In the process I found a page in the Haynes book that indicated that the rotor in the distributor should be pointing opposite (away from) the cylinder #1 position when the engine is set with cylinder #1 at TDC. (top dead center)  As it turns out, I had the plugs 180 degrees out of position.  (this was a good discovery for later)  After getting the timing sorted out, I completed installing the fuel tank, connected up the hoses and installed the new fuel pump and filter.  Having completed that, I unhooked the line to the fuel tank and connected a temporary length of hose and ran it to a gas can to try and test fire the engine.  I also connected the heater core and filled up the radiator with fluid.  While the pump did draw fuel up in through the filter and into the lines, I couldn’t manage to start the engine.  I took out a rubber bulb, sucked up some fuel and squirted a bit into each of the 2 carbs.  Amazingly, the engine fired up and ran for a couple of revolutions.  I tore down the carbs and checked the pistons, needles and the feeder hoses.  One of the two carbs was in pretty good shape, but the other had its needle jammed into the jet.  It’s clear to me that this carb had failed in this way long before I got the car and may have led to its previous problems.  As the jets are most likely clogged, or failed as well, I’ve gone ahead and ordered replacement jets and needles.  I can’t wait to get them and actually get the motor running continuously!