It turned out that the valve rockers were torqued too tightly so that the valves remained open throughout the entire engine cycle. I uncovered this when I noticed that only two of the 8 cylinders had compression at all. It took a long time to rule out timing, or that the distributor was/wasn’t 180 degrees out, or that the spark plug wires weren’t correctly wired…. and so on. After a week of flailing about, I adjusted the valves as described in the shop manual and BOOM! it started running. [Thanks to my brother who confirmed the possibility of my initial hypothesis...]
Now, the oil was full of water – a sickly, light brown emulsion – so I re-torqued the manifold and changed the engine oil… much quieter now….
And it all runs so much better than when I started this Spring – thank goodness – and there’s still so much more to do. For one, I’ve not yet attached the exhaust system and mufflers!
I’ve got everything together – ok, I believe I have everything together – but no starting. The motor will crank and, occasionally one or two cylinders will fire but it will not start. OK, so this picture doesn’t have the coil connected to the distributor nor the battery in, but that’s not the problem…
There have been some spectacular explosions and dogs scattering everywhere but no sustained rolling….
the gear shifter was a known problem… the shifter had the very common Mustang problem of being loose and wobbly as it was missing two little, plastic bushings on the linkage. I disassembled the shifter. It was full of dirt, rust and driving detritus. I sand-blasted it clean and painted it up. I finally found the proper replacement bushings at Average Joe’s Restoration and got it back into the car.
Now it shifts nicely up and down…. one more thing done..