More engine progress

Last week I temporarily installed the camshaft, and after a bit of a learning curve got it degreed. I could have saved the effort; the cam reads within half a degree or so of the specs on the cam card. It’s well within my confidence of the measurement process, parallax errors when reading the degree wheel, etc. So, it’s getting installed straight up. The cam is a Summit Racing K3600, which has substantially more lift than the stock cam but not enough to require screw-in studs and the resulting head machine work. Once the cam was checked, I slathered it with the supplied assembly moly lube and re-installed it along with the timing gear and double roller timing chain.

With that done, I went to work on the heads. The stock ’66 289 heads aren’t bad for compression at about 9.3:1. They are not, however, renowned for their excellent flow characteristics to say the least. While this engine was not thermactor equipped, there were large lumps cast into the exhaust ports for air injection. I say there “were“, because they’re gone now. I’d never used a die grinder before, never modified a cylinder head, any of that… but the heads have the thermactor lumps ground out, exhaust ports smoothed as much as I could manage, and I even took the time to gasket-match the ports. I’ll do the same to the exhaust manifolds before re-installing them. I probably removed a pound of cast iron from those heads; what a mess.

Sunday the 5th I got all 8 pistons back in the block, just not torqued yet. And why is that? Because there’s one block, eight pistons, eight connecting rods, eight rod bearings, eight rod caps, and fifteen nuts to secure the rod caps. Where is nut #16? I do not know. My best guess would be, “Somewhere on the garage floor”… although “buried on the workbench” would not be an unreasonable guess either. Sigh. The hunt continues.

As the re-assembly moves on, I’m giving some thought to painting the engine once it’s all back together. One issue is the extreme grime on the oil pan, along with a few other bits. I believe I’m going to gather up the external bits — oil pan, heads, valve covers, timing cover, maybe the exhaust manifolds — and take them to a car wash with a can or two of oven cleaner. I don’t have access to a parts washer or hot tank (which would destroy the timing cover anyway). The valve covers won’t need much since they’re chrome… I’m debating whether to leave them alone or paint them to match. I’ll probably leave them chromed.

Crankshaft back in

Last night I was back in the garage. I decided to check the main bearing clearance. The journals are smooth and measured exactly where they should be. I had never used Plastigauge before, but the concept is pretty basic. Sure enough, the Plastigauge shows about .00125 to just under .002 main bearing clearance.

I applied a generous amount of Lucas assembly lube, which is a thick green lube that looks like it would be pretty good around Halloween. I had to drive the pin out of the rear main bearing to accommodate the new rear main seal. I cleaned up the area with brake cleaner, then plugged the hole with a little silicone gasket compound. I installed the rear main seal and the main bearing caps, tightening them all down to 65 ft-lb.

The Moore rebuilding book says to use silicone on the mating faces of the block and rear main bearing cap. I’m generally not in favor of using silicone sealant anywhere in an engine or fuel system. I have some Permatex Aviation Form-A-Gasket that I considered using, but in the end I used the silicone gasket maker that I had bought for this project. I figured that the amount needed between the cap and block would be so small that it really didn’t matter much what I used, so I wiped on a thin film and tightened the bolts down. I’ll probably re-torque them tonight just to be on the safe side.

I ground the lumps out of the other head; in fact, it’s better than the first one so I’ll have to do a little more on that one. The carbide grinding burrs I bought do an outstanding job of removing iron from castings. I’ll clean them up with a flap wheel later on, but I’m not going to go for a complete polished exhaust port. This is a street engine, and just removing those big lumps of cast iron will do a lot for air flow.

Back to work!

Has it really been two months since I touched this thing? Sheesh. Well, in the mean time I completed the annual condition inspection on the plane, solved a very pesky problem with the Mercedes (turned out to be gummed up fuel injectors, of all things), took a vacation in northern MN, and… umm… whatever.

I gotta get something going with this thing. It’s been taking up way too much space for way too long. I was supposed to have this car done and sold six months ago. But it’s awfully easy to put off things I’ve never done.

Tonight, spurred on by the bravery of a good stout Manhattan, I attacked the heads. It all started innocently enough. I had bought a new dial indicator with a magnetic base to check the valve guides for excessive wear. It was still in the case, so I tried it out. Can you believe I made it to 50-nevermindhowmany years old, grew up the son of a professional mechanical engineer who designed semitrailer tank trucks, and have never used a dial indicator? The valve guides are fine, thank goodness… the worst one I found had .005 wobble at the tip of the valve stem, in any direction. That works out to around .0015 clearance, according to Mr. Monroe’s book. I decided to lap the valves, as long as I was out there.

I got all 16 of the new valves lapped; the seats all look quite good now. While I was at it, I decided to finally try out the carbide burrs I bought a couple months back. One cylinder head now has all four of the big lumps removed from the exhaust ports… THAT was easier than I thought it would be. I’d never used a die grinder as a grinder before, either. I’ve used a cutoff wheel… anyway, I’ll finish the cleanup and polishing (to some degree at least) once the other head is done. I figure even if left rough it will be better than having the big restriction in the port… but I’ll clean and polish them up as best I can. I’m pretty happy with the results.

I was on a roll. I heard a tiny voice taunting me. Took me a while to track it down, but it was the Flex-Hone calling me all kinds of names I won’t repeat here. I swear that’s why I pulled it out of the box of stuff from Summit Racing and doused it with oil. I figured shoving it into a cylinder bore would shut it up. The taunting continued until I had beaten it into submission with a Ryobi drill and a number of passes through the cylinder. By the time I was done the cylinder wall looked so nice, I went ahead and did the other seven. No more taunting from that tool, I tell ya! And those cylinder walls look good now, too. 45 degree cross hatch, and a light coating of WD40 to keep them safe for a few days until they get something better. Like another Jet A cleaning, a light coat of oil, and pistons installed.

While I was out there, I pulled the main bearing caps off and dropped them into the can of degreaser, after removing the old bearings. I used some solvent and a brush to clean up the mating and bearing surfaces in the block, then dropped the new bearing halves into the block and set the crankshaft in place. Figured that was enough for one night, so I went in and spent almost as much time trying to scrub all the grease and iron powder off my hands as I did working on the engine.

Tomorrow I’ll pull those main caps out and try out Plastigauge for the first time, too. I measured the bearing journals with a micrometer early on (I HAVE used those before!), so everything should be OK… but Plastigauge is cheap. If I’m not careful, I may actually have this thing back together before the end of summer. Really, the biggest challenge looks like it will be getting the block and heads cleaned up enough to repaint.

A Mustang update

Heads are off, valve train completely out, everything more or less cleaned up. I sourced all new valves and rockers. The original springs are OK, the free height on all of them measures within spec and within a few thousandths from spring to spring. The cam I’m going to use isn’t too aggressive for the pressed-in factory studs or springs, I don’t think. Once I have the heads cleaned up a little more and check the valve guides with a dial indicator, I’ll start lapping and re-assembling the heads.

The block is ready for honing… but I’m holding off a bit until I figure out exactly what I want to do to clean up the water passages. I’d hate to have to replace the cam bearings, so hot tanking or electrolysis is probably not a good option. I may try some Evapo-Rust or CLR and see how well that works.

Engine progress

It’s been a while since I posted an update, but it’s not like anyone is following this anyway. 🙂 The engine is out, and on the engine stand. I ended up buying a new hoist from Harbor Freight on sale. Getting the engine pulled was relatively easy, especially once we figured out there are bolts holding the flex plate to the torque converter.

The cam and lifters are junk. Lifters are worn completely flat, so they’ve got to go — this was expected. Plus, a new cam should really wake the engine up anyway. No surprises there. Timing chain isn’t too badly worn from what I can see, but that doesn’t matter either since it’s getting replaced.

The heads are off and look about as you’d expect for a 93K-plus mile engine. In my humble opinion, the valves are probably not worth saving. There are grooves worn in the ends. I’m going to look for some GT40 or GT40P heads locally, since they breathe much better anyway. Slightly larger combustion chambers, but not enough to really hurt performance — especially with a new cam that can more than make up for it.

Pistons and bores look great. Cylinder bore wear is .003 or less, except for #5. That one is more like .006, with about .004 taper. Bore, or hone? I don’t know yet. Honing would save several hundred dollars on the cost of the rebuild. The machine shop wants around $300 for a bore & hone. Add to that a couple hundred for new pistons. If I can just hone, then I can re-ring with new moly rings and save close to $500. I’ll do some more measuring and get some expert advice before making a decision. I’m not building a race engine here, so there’s really no need to sink thousands into it.

All of the main and cam bearings look good, no scoring or signs of uneven (tapered) wear. The crank measures within about .001 of spec, so no work needed there assuming it’s not bent – and no reason to suspect it is.

All in all, it looks to be in better shape than I anticipated. It was definitely time for an overhaul, though. I’m sure the valves weren’t opening fully. Given the wear on the lifters and valve stems, I suspect the cam lobes are worn a bit as well. Cylinder walls had no crosshatch left, and there were signs of a little surface rust from sitting for a few years. I think it will benefit greatly from a slightly hotter street cam, better heads, a 4-barrel, and new rings on freshly honed cylinder walls.

More disassambly

Last night I got a little garage time. I pulled one valve cover, just out of curiosity to see what kind of shape things are in. There were no surprises; the engine seems to be in its original condition with 93K miles. I do see evidence that it’s been worked on over the years, of course — blue Permatex everywhere. No clear sign it’s been overhauled though.

I got the carburetor removed, and pulled the intake manifold (a first ever for me). I’m not going further with disassembly until it’s on the engine stand; in fact, I’ll put the valve cover back on to avoid dripping oil when we pull the engine. But, it’s easier now to get to parts of the engine and the various lines that will be disconnected prior to removing it.

Rearranging…

I took advantage of the good weather this weekend, and my wife’s suggestion, to do some cleanup and rearranging. I got the Mustang down off the jack stands, and we rolled it out into the driveway. I moved the big workbench, the mobile tool bench, and some other stuff to the second garage bay. In between moving stuff around in the garage I got out the power washer and cleaned up the front suspension, engine bay, rear springs, etc. Whatever I could reach without soaking down the interior too much, since there’s still a dash in there. I managed to get a lot of mud, crud, old grease, and some undercoating blasted off.

Once that was done, we got it turned around and into the third bay, nose-in so the front end is near the tool chest. It should be easier to work on now, since I won’t have to walk all the way around the car every time I need a tool. There’s enough room to work – there could always be more space, but it’s an improvement over the way it was before.

A little Mustang update

Last night Lisa and I attended our first MCCO meeting. It seems like a pretty decent crowd. We had a devil of a time finding the place, and didn’t know that all the Mustangs were parked out back. As a result, we didn’t actually see a single Mustang all night! We went ahead and joined. Also got the ENWICC book; I had no idea there were THAT many car club events going on in this area. Or that ENWICC existed, for that matter. Anyway, I think the club will be a very valuable resource for finding places to do media blasting, welding, body work, upholstery, etc.

Now, where was I? I’ve got both fenders off, hood off, etc. I drained and removed the radiator, got the fan and alternator off, and am working toward getting the engine out. There’s almost enough room in the garage for an engine stand. Also got some spring compressors, so I’ll be able to tear out the front suspension for IRAN (Inspect and Replace As Necessary).

The trunk floors… well… not entirely sure what approach I’ll take there. I really would like to avoid pulling and replacing both trunk floors. I may just mark out and cut out square patches on both sides where the rust is, then weld in patch panels. I guess it depends on how far this goes. Given the mount of rust remediation and patching that needs to be done on the rear quarters, I’m thinking I may farm all of it out to a restoration shop — now that I have a couple of them identified.

All of this restoration work has got me thinking about the pickup as well. I think I’ll start getting the underside of that cleaned up, the minor surface rust addressed, paint touched up, and make sure it won’t rust again.

It runs…

I’ve had the battery on a slow charger/maintainer for a couple of weeks. I had assumed the thing was toast, since it was stone dead when I got it… battery voltage was under 0.5 V. I had to use a battery drill pack to throw enough of a charge into it to get the charger to even try to start charging. Every day or two I’d go out, disconnect the charger, run the heater blower for a few minutes, and re-connect the charger. It wasn’t costing my anything, so I figured – why not?

Saturday afternoon, I decided to drop the battery in and give it another try. It cranked over OK, but of course the carb was bone dry. I gave it a shot of ether, and lo and behold — it fired up and ran. I ran it for a total of about 15 minutes or so, until the garage filled with gray smoke and I had to air it out. I’m not quite sure if it was just old-engine exhaust smoke with steam, or if it’s burning oil. Nothing has changed my plan to pull and rebuild the engine, but at least we know it runs.

First start in — how many years? Nobody knows.

Pete and I also got the left front fender off. The last idiot welded this one up even worse than the right side. A large patch was actually welded on, not just over rusted metal — but over the top of rusted metal covered with Bondo. Awesome job, dumbass. The fender is scrap, even the front corner is rusted out.

I’m debating what to do with the floor pans. If I can get someone who knows what they’re doing to finish welding them in place, great. I’m afraid I may end up needed to remove all the stuff that’s been done and re-do it. I hope not, but it is one option. The good news (aside from the engine running) is, I got the instrument cluster finished up and put back together, and it looks great. Brakes also seem to be in good shape, so that opens up options for getting it on and off of a trailer and in and out of the driveway when it comes time to use a power washer to clean up the undercarriage, engine bay and fender wells. Just blasting off all the accumulated grime and filth will make it easier to work on.

More body archaeology

The fender shield succumbed to my new Dewalt angle grinder in no more than five minutes. Then I spent some time using a scraper blade on my oscillating saw to scrape undercoat and gunk from the fender apron area. Looking much better now.

I started scraping seam sealer from the trunk to see how much work it would be to replace the trunk floor. What I found was about a pound of Bondo covering up several rusted out places in the trunk, fender well, and probably into the quarter panel as well. Obviously someone went to great lengths to conceal some body rot. I was disappointed but not terribly surprised. I did violate one rule of car inspections… I looked at this thing when it was bitter, bitter cold and I didn’t really feel like crawling around on the floor and stuff for an extended time. But, most of this was pretty well hidden. Obviously there will be more cutting and welding than I planned, but it’s not a show stopper. Maybe it’s just karmic payback for the cowl not being rusted out.

I’ve been recharging the battery to see if it’s going to be junk or not. I may just take it somewhere and get it load tested. I’d love to know if this engine runs or not. There’s gas in the tank, and it doesn’t seem to be ruined, so maybe I can get it started. The tank will get drained, though, and possibly replaced… the jury is out on that. It doesn’t LOOK bad, but then neither did the trunk floor.