However, she's cooking along and all but ready to drive... except she won't start. Massive amounts of troubleshooting ensued:
Last night I pulled all the plugs to dry out the (flooded) cylinders, and today I compression-checked everything: All cylinders read almost exactly 145 psi compression, even with the big-overlap camp, with no noticeable leakdown (that's better than stock). Got a new coil and assembled the new ceramic plug wires (necessary because some plug boots touch the headers), and getting great spark now. A quick aside about assembling spark-plug wires: The difference between things going smoothly and your emitting great strings of profanity is all about using lots of silicone lubricant on the wire end before trying to push it through the boot. IT WILL NOT GO if you don't use the lube. Trust me. Then wipe it off before folding over the core and crimping on the electrode attachment.
The engine's definitely getting gas, as evidenced by the wet plugs. I even added 10 gallons of new, high-octane gas, in case the 2-year-old stuff in there went bad and was causing trouble - though I did treat it with fuel stabilizer. Some nice explosions out the carb, with attendant fire that needed to be put out, so the gas is burning ;-) Also good news is that it produces nice oil pressure when cranked over the impressively powerful new high-torque mini-starter.
Here's the engine compartment, all assembled. Notice the huge A/C unit up front. That thing weighs a little over 40 pounds, and to get it to fit required my lugging that thing over to the grinder, removing cast iron notches, and repeatedly test-fitting for a couple of hours during last Thursday's thrash to finish for Greaserama. That was a lot of fun. I could barely make a fist the next day!
A few days ago, I pulled a valve cover to test that I had not, in fact, put in the cam 180 degrees off, and it's installed correctly. *whew* I set timing about 10° advanced. Oh, and I tracked down and fixed a few liquid and vacuum leaks - better now than on the road.
Just now went out to test an idea: Maybe advancing the timing a bit more would help. Not so much. *sigh*
Why won't you fire up? Gah! Ideas? Suggestions?