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Sterling #130 (aka American V8 ~ Chapter 2)


Sunday I decided to test my suspension compression with a floor jack, spreader plate, and rim (now that I have the proper short mag lug nuts and washers).
Since I have the car frame strapped to the custom jig I built, I simply measured from the rim to the fender, jacked up until the jig caster wheel lifted off the concrete floor, then measured from rim to fender again.
On the rear I have 3 5/8" compression on the driver's side and 1 3/8" compression on the passenger side. ?!?!? I haven't messed with the rear suspension at all.
On the front I have...no measurable compression. lol



I also got a box from Summit racing...one of the few places around that had Braille batteries in stock!
a 200 CA lawn mower battery cranked over the engine fine during testing, so hopefully this one with 641 CA will be even better!
I also bought the same-brand battery charger.


Site Owner
Staff member
With regard to the difference in compression from one side to the other I wonder if there’s just some degree of corrosion or binding in the bushings. If you could drive it down the road a little and loosen things up a bit I wonder if it would be more even. I’m trying to think of a way to simulate that but nothing elegant is coming to mind. Can you bounce the suspension up and down a bunch of times? I don’t know if that would help or just be a fool’s errand. Logically, there’s almost no way that the higher side could be measuring erroneously too compliant. Makes sense that the low side is binding somewhere. Hmmmm. My guess is that you’ll find that both sides equalize to about the measurement that you’re finding in the squishier side.

As for the front, that should feel GREAT over bumps. 😄 I forget, have you taken any torsion leaves out of the front yet?


I'm hoping it evens out as it gets driven...but for all i know, something in there is broken. Sigh...
Right now all the suspension just "hangs" from the frame since the jig directly supports the frame, so a floor jack is required to compress the suspension from the bottom up. Pushing down on the car does nothing.

Maybe the front suspension will compress a bit more one the canopy & hood are installed and the coolant is added to the system. RIght now i can literally lift the front of the car/jig off the ground with my hands. Not easily, but it's possible (and likely terrible for my back!). Oh well...
Nope, never pulled any torsion leaves out.

My steering wheel bolts just got delivered, so now I can install the steering wheel, mock up some tire sizes and test the turning clearance before buying tires!


Honorary Admin
Hard to say about the rear other than one torsion bar may be weaker than the other (perhaps having been replaced at one time, making that side stiffer). Unless the car doesn't sit square with one side higher than the other I wouldn't worry about it. The front.. yep, typical for a kit when the original 1000 pound load has been taken off the torsions :)


Not a fun evening last night...
Attempt #2 for center caps for the Jaguar rims was a failure. I've already sourced Attempt #3...still easier than sourcing the OEM Jaguar caps since I don't want a Jaguar emblem on the wheels.

I didn't realize that the screws I ordered for the steering wheel were "Chinese thread pitch"...so they were whatever is the closest Metric equivalent to actual 10-32. Ugh. Good thing I have taps & dies, but ridiculous that I have to re-thread a $1 screw. Unfortunately I can't source SS Button-head Socket screws locally.

Then one of the bolt holes was bunged up on top of the front torsion assembly (the little shelf for the battery under the hood), so I had to CAREFULLY clean that out and re-tap it. Not careful enough though - I put some good gouges into the paint next to it. Dammit. Also broke a 10x1.50 tap off in it. DAMMIT! A few more scratches in the paint getting the broken tap out with a ViseGrips.

I decided to take a brake from re-threading things and mock up a few tire diameters from chipboard next. So far all I can say is that a 175mm width tire would look SILLY on a 6.5" wide rim! lol


Site Owner
Staff member
I feel for ya. Last weekend I confirmed that a complicated fabrication I’ve been doing for three weeks (on the car prototype I’m working on) had a flaw and I just had to throw it away and start the piece over. This was one of those “one step back” sorts of weeks.

Keep fighting the fight. We only have to get these projects done before fossil fuels run out. 🙂


Huh...been awhile since I had anything to report...

Well, after checking the spark plug wire order about 5 times and checking timing and rotor position and checking for spark, I've finally given up and ordered a new distributor for the Sterling. She just won't catch... So now while I'm waiting for that to arrive in the mail I'll re-build the alternator bracket in the meantime (I don't like how much it bends as I try to tighten the belt). Yes, I have fuel - I can see it squirting into the primaries.

Hopefully I'll also be getting some tires on the rims Saturday morning. Depends if the tires are in stock.

My original goal for the Sterling back in April when I started wet-sanding the paint was the last local car show for the 2021 season on September 11. Nope, not gonna happen. I guess I'll just have to shoot for the FIRST car show of the 2022 season instead!

BUT, on a happier note... Wheel Center Cap Attempt Number FOUR worked! They have the Jaguar face emblem on them, but they don't spell out JAGUAR at all, so I can live with them. No different than a centercap logo from some wheel manufacturer as far as I care. AND Amazon is letting me return Attempts One thru Three for free for full refund! woo-hoo! (that's like $65 refunded!)

This morning I'm also going to swing by a repair shop and have another custom AC line built. When I installed the new aluminum radiator, I had to relocate the AC dryer, so the line doesn't reach now.
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I haven't been able to get as much time on the Sterling lately due to other obligations, but what time I have been able to spend on it has been...frustrating.
I've tried starting it...almost 20 times. I thought I heard it "cough" last time, but can't be sure.
The battery/starter turns the engine over, a spark tester indicates spark, I can SEE new non-ethanol gas squirting into the primaries, I'm breathing in the same room so I know there is oxygen...so why won't it start? what am I missing?
Maybe timing? check plug wire order. OK.
take off the crankshaft cover plate and index the crank so #1 cyl is at TDC. rotate the rotor 180d. nope.
Battery, wiring, plugs, plug wires, fuel, fuel lines, carb...all BRAND NEW. only "weak link" is the used HEI distributor I bought somewhere a dozen years ago.
Ok...buy a NEW distributor. nope. rotate the rotor again. nope.

pull the plugs, check compression. meh...
#1 = 150 psi
#2 = 90 psi
#3 = 150 psi
#4 = 170 psi
#5 = 150 psi
#6 = 220 psi
#7 = 150 psi
#8 = 150 psi

reinstall spark plugs...overtighten #4. grab reading glasses to check "correct" setting on torque wrench. DAMMIT!! old man eyes just cost me $60, 3 hours and my first experience with a Heli-Coil. It worked!
But it still won't start. NO point in working on it anymore if it won't start. I hate engines; I'm a frame/wiring guy. I've done this dance before and it never ends well. I'm NOT rebuilding the engine or putting in a new one. If it won't start, it's time to cut my losses and free up the garage space.