In a separate post I noted that while rechecking valve clearances, I discovered I had a leaking valve cover gasket. Oil was drooling out the back of the cover and down the back of the engine. Its one of the IPD heavy nitrile rubber gaskets so I was a bit surprised. I removed the cover and gasket and applied RTV to both surfaces of the gasket and reinstalled. All I managed to do was relocate the location of the leak. I ended up with oil running down the engine coating the distributor and sparkplugs (it was not a small leak). Upon re removal, I discovered that I must have got a little keen with tightening the hold down screws as I managed to squish the gasket out from under the mating surface on the alloy valve cover. I cleaned all the RTV off of the gasket, cover and head surfaces. This time I used some Permatex ultimate gasket maker which definitely has a higher tack than the RTV. I applied the gasket compound to the valve cover, positioned the gasket on the cover and then let it set up overnight. The next day I applied a thin bead of the compound to the gasket surface that mates with the head and installed the cover, tightening the screws just enough to hold the cover in place. After letting it set for a couple of hours, I did a final tightening of the screws, this time making sure that I did not go overboard and squish the gasket out of place. So far, so good. No oil leaks.
I had acquired a bunch of nicks and scrapes in the painted alloy valve cover so I decided to clean up the appearance with a repaint. I didn't have any of the heat resistant red that I originally used on the engine; but I did have some of the silver caliper paint that I had used on the intake manifold and some other parts, so I just used that. I am a little undecided as to whether I like the red or silver better. The silver definitely looks more like the stock engine. I will post a picture when I get a chance. Maybe at some point I will get the cover powder coated for durability if I can make up my mind on the color.
I have been doing more tuning. Most of my tuning has been focused on getting good starting. Particularly hot restarts. However, Sunday evening the temperatures took a big plunge (thank-you disappearing jet stream!) and cold starts have become an issue. Previously, on cold start I would get an instant start and then die, so cranking pulse widths were not a problem and I had spent time getting the after start enrichment adjusted. Yesterday and today, the engine coolant temperature prior to start was around 2 C and I was having trouble getting the engine to fire quickly so I have been upping the cold cranking pulse widths. The cold starting has improved; however, its a slow process because once the engine has started you are no longer dealing with a truly cold engine and have to wait until the coolant returns to ambient before doing your next test. Also, as the temperature warms up during the day you don't get the same cold start conditions, so I really only get one test each day. The good / bad news is that this lousy weather is around for a couple of days. Tomorrow am the temps are supposed to drop down to about -3 C so I should get a chance to check out a new test point. Once the engine gets started, the after start enrichment seems to be pretty good as you don't have to do any fiddling with the throttle to keep the engine running.
I seem to have got my idle stabilized a bit. It now seems to wander between about 860 rpm and 900 rpm. You don't notice this on the dash tach; but, you can see it on the display in Tuner Studio when the laptop is hooked up to the MS. My manifold air pressure still seems to be stuck around 65 kPA at idle which strikes me as high; but, everything seems to be running pretty well so ......?
I have been doing more driving around. With the full tank of gas the issue with the noisy fuel pressure reg and AFR swings has not re emerged so I think that it was just a fuel starvation issue due to a low tank. I have not done any tuning on the right side of the VE table because I have been reluctant to do any full throttle acceleration runs or higher speed runs because I do not have a proper wheel alignment. The car was reassembled without any shims and a 'looks like both front wheels are pointed in the same direction' toe-in adjustment. I have had the car up to 80 kph and given the lack of a proper wheel alignment, the car doesn't do anything bad. It certainly has lots of camber (no shims at all) and probably has lots of toe in. I want to get a proper alignment before doing the high speed tuning and I have put off the alignment because I wanted to make sure I had a car that was reliable when it came to starting and just driving around at low speeds. I could just see taking the car to the alignment shop and having them not be able to re start the car to get it in or some other problem emerging.