Monday, September 26, 2011

Seeking Motorvation Part 5

I left off with the heads shipped off to the machine shop for inspection.  The base fee for both heads was $115.  It included cleaning, inspection, grinding the seats and valves, replacement of the seals, and paint.  However, the machinist said that if the valves were recessed much, bent, etc., the tasks for correction would increase the price incrementally.  He called me back the day after I dropped them off and informed me that several of the exhaust valves were slightly recessed into their seats.  For you see, the valve seats in these old heads are soft.  They relied on lead in the ancient fossil fuels of yesteryear to keep them lubricated and prevented recession (squishing the valve into the seat).  Well, as Frankenstein once said, "Lead Baaaaaad"... I don't know maybe I'm thinking of Woodsy Owl or something but the point is that "they" took it out of our gas around 1996 so these old engines started beating themselves to death.  Modern engines have hardened valve seats to deal with unleaded gas.  Long story short, I had them go ahead and install hardened exhaust valve seats.  Three days and $250 later I had my heads back all spick-n-span.

OMG, they're beautiful.
And thus came my first experience installing cylinder heads on a V8.   So, I cracked open my favorite, aforementioned  "How to Rebuild Small Block Ford Engines" by Tom Monroe, and sought the page on installing the cylinder heads.  Well, to paraphrase, it said something like, "put the gaskets on and then put the heads on and then bolt them suckers down".  I looked at the page and looked at the heads, and looked at the engine block and noted several things not mentioned in this tome of higher knowledge which I'm going to share with you so that you can avoid making an ass of yourself on a public Mustang forum like yours truly.   The basic premise is this; both heads are identical and don't have "sides".  If they don't have "thermactor" holes, just put them on.  Don't ask me what a "thermactor" is, I have no idea.  Now here's the second gem of head-installation-lore; the edge of the gasket with the water jacket holes in the middle go to the back of the engine.  The gaskets are identical and are usually marked with "Front" somewhere on them and can be flipped either way to fit their respective side.  If the head gaskets are not made of metal, you don't need any kind of sealer on them.  Finally, the head bolts ARE reusable.  These are not "torque to yield" head bolts which are the type that aren't reusable.  However, they do need to be cleaned to prevent binding and ensure a consistent torque.  So, I cleaned my bolts with a wire wheel on my bench grinder making sure to get the threads cleared.  I also chased the threads in the bolt holes in the block.  Each bolt's threads were coated with Permatex Teflon Thread Sealer.  I chose this because it not only seals the threads, it lubricates them to allow for consistent and accurate bolt torque.  Of course, the bolts had to be torqued in a particular order and in stages.

The heads are identical castings.

Head bolts all cleaned up with wire wheel.

Head gasket installed.  Note the water passage holes at the back of the block.

Threads sealed before insertion.

Both heads are on and torqued!

After the heads were on, it came time to insert the hydraulic valve lifters in their holes to contact the cam lobes.  Before they can be tossed in a hole, they need to be primed by squiring oil into the side hole until it bubbles out the top hole.  I just used a squeeze bottle with a red WD40 straw tucked into it's nozzle.  The WD40 straw fit nearly perfect into the side hole but you really have to use a bit of constant force to inject oil into the passages of the lifter.  Eventually, a little pool of oil will form in the top indention and you'll know the job is done.  The lifter can then be lubed with oil (I used cam lube) and inserted in its hole.

A box of 16 new lifters.

Primed with a fresh pool of oil on the top indention.

All lifters primed, lubed, and inserted.
Next, the push rods need to be inserted into the top of the head and down onto the lifters.  I dug my set of rods out of the plastic tote and inspected them to ensure they were straight.   Four of them were bent and needed to be replaced ($3.99 each at Baxters).  The other twelve I cleaned up with lacquer thinner and then soaked them in a can of carb cleaner for about 30 minutes.  When I removed them and wiped them down, and blew them out with my air compressor, they looked good as new.  Better than the repros from Baxters even.  Each rod was inserted into its hole and the cast rocker arms were placed on their pivots with a nut on top.  I lubed each rod lobe and the tops of the valve stems at the contact points of the rocker arms first.  "The book" has a great diagram and procedure for adjusting the rockers using 3 timing points on the harmonic balancer.  I followed the procedure a couple of times checking and double-checking the rockers to make sure they were set right.  The last thing I wanted to do was damage a valve or bend a rod the first time the engine is turned over.  During about the 3rd time around, I noticed that the nuts on a few of the rockers were several threads lower on the stud than the others.  I also noted that the plunger in the lifters of those were recessed further than the others so I pulled the respective lifters and re-primed them.  Sure enough, bubbles came up through the holes in the top as though they were only half-full.  After re-priming and reinstalling them, the rockers tightened to a more consistent position as the others so it's something to watch for I guess.  I then squirted some lube around each of the lifter holes (can't hurt right?) and turned my attention to the intake manifold.

12 old push rods all cleaned up.. the other 4 were bent.

Push rods all snug in their lifters.

The rocker nut on the right is much further down the stud?

The plunger is depressed further on that one.  I re-primed it.

I used Permatex Ultra-Black RTV around the water jacket holes on the gaskets and across the front and back of the block instead of using the factory style cork gaskets that are notorious for leaking.  I also cleaned up the bolts and gave them the phosphate and oil treatment.  Although the original engine came with a 2 barrel carburetor, I did some math and was shocked to discover that 4 is greater than 2 so I bought a 68 4 barrel manifold from a guy off Craigslist for $50.  The new manifold had some rust but looked like the underside had been blasted.  However I was boggled as to why the heat shield on the bottom of the manifold seemed askew.  There was a large gap to one side that wasn't present on my old (dirty) manifold.  Somebody had actually gone to the trouble of removing the spiral rivets to take off the heat shield and then put it back on backwards.  !??  I was boggled by this.  What type of mental state would one have to be in to know how to remove and reinstall spiral rivets but not notice that the shield was backwards?  So, I removed said shield, cleaned the rivets and their holes, used some loctite on them, replaced the shield (correctly), and carefully hammered the rivets back into place.  I cleaned up the top of the manifold with wire wheels and some ospho, repainted it, cleaned the mating surfaces thoroughly, and mounted it on the engine.  Somehow, I positioned it perfectly over the bolt holes the first time, sealed the bolt threads, and torqued them down in stages and in torque sequence.

Intake gaskets and RTV in place.

Old manifold compared to the "new" $50 4-barrel.

Bottom side comparison.  Notice that gap in the heat shield of the top one?

Heat shield removed

Turned it around correctly and re-riveted.

Starting cleanup.

Cleaned, painted, and torqued.
After that minor victory, I stood back to admire my shiny new engine.  Except for one problem.  My valves were showing and we can't have that in polite society.  My valve covers though, let's just say that they've done a LOT of covering during their lives.  Filled with sludge and topped with rust, I actually considered buying new ones.  The little accountant that sits on my shoulder calculating stuff all day took his stogy out of his goblin-like scowl, and screamed in my ear, "NO WAY!" so I grudgingly  went to my tool cabinet, retrieved my scraper, and set to work.  After literally hours with a scraper, wire wheel, degreaser, ospho, and lacquer thinner, I cleaned them up enough to repaint.

Finally, with much pomp and ceremony, I set them down upon the heads like royal blue crowns, bolted them down with shiny new valve cover bolts, and deemed the lions share of the rebuild, "Complete".

Inside "before"

Outside "before"

New valve cover gaskets "after"

Dun Dun DONE!  Now just little stuff.
Remember me?

This all literally would not have been possible if not for This little blue book.  I highly recommend it to anybody that's never seen the inside of a 289 before.

So, that pretty much sums up the "Seeking Motorvation" series.   Now all that's left are the little engine bits.  I'll probably update this entry with a couple more pics later.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Seeking Motorvation Part 4

Last I left off, I didn't have the proper fuel pump eccentric cam.  The one I had was too wide and would rub against the timing cover.  The following Tuesday I called around and no auto parts stores carried such things.  I called my machine shop and he was able to get me a used 2 piece eccentric so I jumped on it and picked it up.  The 2 part eccentrics are .011 inches narrower and provide plenty of clearance for the double roller timing chain sprocket.

I installed the eccentric bolt with a dab of thread locker, lubed the chain and set to installing the timing cover.

Timing sprockets, chain, and eccentric all ready to go.
The timing cover was a mess with 2 broken bolts in it.  I was able to remove those with creative application of a torch and clean up the cover with my angle grinder spinning a wire wheel plus some time in the blast cabinet.  After cleaning it up, a new seal was pressed in, the outside of the cover was painted Duplicolor 1606 (Ford Dark Blue), and the gasket was sealed on.  I also took some extra time to media blast the cover bolts and give them the phosphate and oil treatment.   Finally, the cover was mounted to the block.  I used Permatex Ultra Black RTV for all gasket surfaces.  My primary concern was for zero leaks but if it needs to be disassembled while the engine is on the car, I might be in for some hard times.  I tried to paint the gasket with very thin coats of the RTV, not just squishing beads between the gasket and surface.  I don't know if anybody should follow my lead on this tactic but it feels right.  Also, the bolts that passed into the block had their threads coated with a teflon paste type of thread sealer.

New gasket and oil seal.

Phosphated bolts and primered timing pointer.

Timing cover installed.  The odd bolts with the plastic bits are temporary to allow gasket sealer to cure while awaiting the water pump
Next comes the oil pump.  I got a new one in my master engine rebuild kit but I had to clean up the oil pickup and buy a new oil pump drive shaft.  The new assembly was installed and torqued down.

The new with the old.

Pump installed.
Now that the oil pump and timing cover are on the block, the oil pan could go on.  My oil pan was pretty ugly so I spent a few hours cleaning it up with degreaser, wire wheel, lacquer thinner, and phosphoric acid, and then painted with Duplicolor Ford Dark Blue.  Also, I did the phosphate and oil thing for the pan bolts as well.  The pan gaskets were stuck onto the block with my Permatex Ultra Black method.  Although I chose to use sealer between the pan gasket and the block, that may have not been the best idea if ever the pan has to be removed while in the car.  Should have researched this more before doing it.

The inside of the pan before cleanup.

The outside of the pan before cleanup.

Cleaned up the inside.

Cleaned up the outside.

Painted Duplicolor Ford Dark Blue

Gaskets and seals on the block.

All the pan bolts torqued down.

Next up is the water pump.  I seriously considered just buying a new one but upon inspection, although the exterior looks pretty nasty, the impeller turns smooth with no play in the bushings and shaft so I chose instead to clean it up and reuse it.  Also, the part number on the housing "P68" lead me to believe that it was an original pump but now I'm thinking it's an aftermarket of some kind.  Oh well, it still cleaned up nicely after wire brush, blast cabinet, and phosphoric acid (pump interior was masked off).  The back plate was removed to scrape away the old gasket and to inspect and clean the interior.  The gaskets were replaced and the pump was bolted onto the engine.  The old bolts couldn't be restored like the timing cover since they were pretty badly rusted so I had to buy some Grade 5's from NAPA.  I blasted off the nickle coating though, and gave them the phosphate treatment.

Before clean up.

Removed the back plate to inspect interior.

Cleaned up somewhat before phosphoric acid treatment.


Interior cleaned up and gasket attached.

Backing plate bolted back on with fresh gasket.

Pump installed on timing cover.

I was originally going to clean up the harmonic dampener but I really didn't like the look of the rubber ring that separates the hub and outer ring.  If it were simply cracked and dried out,  I would probably reuse it but I felt better buying a new one.  The one I got is a Scott Drake and was $99.  I probably could have gotten away with reusing the old one.  One guy told me that he throws them away when they can't hold the correct timing marks anymore.  The outside ring will eventually spin freely making the timing marks on the edge useless!  Since I went as far as blowing 100 clams on this one I wasn't going to just let it rust away like the old one.  I gave it a couple of coats of clear coat and torqued it onto the crank shaft.

The old with the new.  Check out the rubber ring on the old one... yuck.

The engine as far as I got as of this blog entry.
The heads are up next.  I'm going to take them to my machinist for inspection and cleanup.  More to come.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Seeking Motorvation Part 3

It's been awhile since I finished tearing down the engine.  Since then, I've been working on gathering funds enough to get some machine work done starting with having the block cleaned and the cam bearings removed.  I found a local shop just a couple of miles from my house that agreed to do it for $100.  He did, I picked up the block, nicely wrapped in plastic sheet and then went into stasis while I gathered yet more cash to have the machine work done.  I decided that even though this wasn't going to be a performance build, I was going to splurge and have the cylinders bored .030 over, have the crank re-machined, replace the cam, install new pistons on the rods, and have the cam bearings installed.  I called the shop where I had the block cleaned and he was in an emergency mode since his computer had just crashed and he was trying to get caught up.  I told him what I needed and he hastily gave me some numbers that were about 50% higher than previously discussed and then he went on to tell me that he couldn't start for a week or two.  I shrugged and called the next closest shop and the owner quoted me $385 for the work (I swear I said the words "short block" a couple of times during the conversation). I also asked him for a master rebuild kit for which he quoted another $375 and that I could drop the engine off at any time.  Friday, I dropped the block off where his assistant informed me that $385 for the work I wanted done seemed really low and I told him to just talk to his boss and call me if there are any issues.  Also, the assistant went on to tell me that my block had been bead blasted, not hot tanked as I was led to believe by the other shop. *sigh*

Later, they confirmed the price and set to work.  I picked up the block on Wednesday of the following week. However, the block was not assembled to "short block" but it had been painted and the freeze plugs were in.  I guess that explains the low price but I'll do what it takes to save a buck.  I loaded the block and rebuild kit parts into the car and unloaded.

The freshly bored and painted block.

On the stand.  Cylinders bored .030 over.

The new "RV-2" cam, cam lube, and re-machined crank.  Journals machined .010 under.

Cam installed and lubed.  Crank journal bearings in place.

 I had previously purchased "How to rebuild small-block Ford engines" by Tom Monroe.  This book tells it all step by step.  One of the things he suggests is to double-check the crank journals to confirm the specifications.  One method is to use Plastigage which consists of a wax string that you place on the journal surface and then torque down the bearing cap and remove it again.  You look at the smear left by the wax string and measure the width using a gauge provided with the Plastigage.  The width represents distance between the journal and the bearing surface. 

The smooshed Plastigage.

This journal was within specs. 15 thousandths clearance.  All other journals were also deemed "good to go".

Plenty of engine assembly lube.  The rear main seal is in place with some RTV on the cap to prevent leaking.  This is the kind of stuff Monroe's book covers.

All of the caps are torqued down.

Engine turned over to start popping in the pistons.

A box of new hypereutectic .030 over pistons.

Installing the rings on the pistons is fairly time-consuming.  It can be even more-so if your cylinders have not been bored identically since you would have to "gap" each ring for each cylinder individually.  I checked all of my cylinders and found them all to be within 1 or 2 thousandths of exactly 4.030 inches so I felt confident that once I confirmed the ring gap in the first cylinder, the rest should be fine as well.

Rings, ring expander, and ring compressor.  Note the box top indicates the correct channel for the ring.

The compression rings had gaps of .014".

Here's how you use a ring expander. This one was $5.99 at Harbor Freight and I'm damned glad I got it after doing 16 compression rings.

Rings installed (with gaps staggered according to Monroe's book), piston and cylinder lubed.

The $9.99 Harbor Freight ring compressor.  After the first 4 or 5 cylinders, this started not working so great.  I think I would buy a better one if I were to do this agian.

First piston in.  Seven to go.

Journal and rod bearings lubed.

First rod is torqued.

All pistons are in!

From the top.

Timing gear test fit.
The master rebuild kit included a set of later-style double roller timing sprockets and a chain.  Unfortunately, they didn't include the later-style fuel pump eccentric cam that's supposed to go onto this side of the big cam sprocket.  The original won't work because A) the cam dowel pin is too short to extend all the way through the sprocket like the old one did, and B) the new sprocket is thicker so, if I mount the old eccentric on it, it will rub against the timing cover.  Unfortunately, I can't find any parts stores locally that carry any style of eccentric so I'm going to have to either get the part from the engine shop that did the work or order it online.  Double-unfortunately, it's Labor Day weekend here in the states and the machine shop is closed.  So, more later.