46: Engine Rebuild

Finding Abbey and bringing her home was where I experienced my first automotive learning curve. After the monetary exchange and pleasantries, it was time to arrange the transport so my conversation with TD went like this: 

Me:   "Wait, we aren't just going to drive her home now?" 
TD:   "Hahahahaahaaahaa.  No." 

I cannot stress enough that if you do NOT possess in your human auditory senses an ability to hear strange pings and knocks, find someone who does. As I've mentioned before, TD has this ability while I drive on happily hearing nothing. Those little sounds will be your life ring when it comes to diagnosis and repair. 

Also, unless you buy a completely overhauled vehicle, be prepared to tear in to your new acquisition at some point for some reconnaissance work. You are the automotive doctor and your vehicle the patient. All it can do is make sounds and it is up to you to figure it out.  

If all of that sounds fun to you, then you’re on the right track when making your vintage vehicle purchase.

Currently, TD has diagnosed much of Abbey's ailments and is curing her of all ills. Because of the knock he heard last fall, and because of the subsequent missions to find out what the noise was, he provided me with a list of "to-do" items yesterday. 

Much thought, pondering and research occurred as we weighed our time/money/wants accordingly. 

So this week we begin this: 

The Project Triangle
Pull off the hood
Pull off the front end 
Pull out the transmission
Pull engine
Put engine on engine stand
Disassemble engine
Hot tank engine and inspect
Re-build engine
Paint engine
Install valve guides in head
Get new rocker arm shafts
Assemble head
Locate and purchase BW T5 transmission*
Adapt transmission to engine
Install new clutch
Install engine
Install front end sheet metal and install hood
Replace brake shoes on all 4 wheels
Replace steel brake lines
Buy 8 lug wheels and tires (16x6) (235/85 R16)
Get drive shaft modified and balanced

*BW T5 Transmission = awesome


Me:   "Wait, we aren't just going to drive her home now?" 
TD:   "Hahahahaahaaahaa.  No." 

Now makes even ME laugh. 

Education. It's a beautiful thing. 


45: Detergent Oil vs. Non Detergent Oil = Hot Topic

Definition:  DETERGENT OIL 

In essence, detergent oil was designed to cleanly scrub down your crankcase* and take all that debris to the oil filter. It "suspends" those gunky particles so that they can be taken to the oil filter – and of course the oil filter traps and collects that gunk to help keep the engine clean. It’s the circle of life in engine speak.

*A crankcase is the housing for the crankshaft**
**Crankshaft: Click here to see a neato Wikipedia animated clip explaining what and how it works 


Non-detergent oil does not hold the particles in suspension so the gunky stuff tends to settle out in the bottom of the oil pan--where theoretically--it would be drained out during a routine oil change. 

Most automobiles built early-on and through the 1940’s did not have oil filters; (This would be Abbey) subsequently, they used the oil available in that day which was non-detergent oil (or just “oil” as detergent oil hadn’t been invented yet). 

The Discussion:

A big problem today is what to use when you get a vintage vehicle, so the rule of thumb is: 

If it doesn’t have an oil filter and you aren’t going to overhaul it, use a non-detergent (or non-suspense) oil … then just wait until a good overhaul to switch over. Or not... (wait, what?)

People who have these old vintage vehicles and use detergent oil before tearing in and completely overhauling an engine may not realize that the newer stuff will probably dissolve that sludge at the bottom of the oil pan and start to circulate all those particles through the engine causing rapid and excessive wear. 

With the low miles that these old cars generally get driven, and with the proper oil the engines should last a long time, but with the wrong oil, the wear will be so rapid on the engines that they will eventually need to be rebuilt, and that can be expensive if you want to stay o-r-i-g-i-n-a-l

Let’s face it, you probably won’t be taking the old gal (and by old gal I mean the vehicle) for a cross-country road trip unless you overhauled the engine right?

Seems simple enough, right? Wrong... (What?)

The topic of non-detergent oil vs. detergent oil is a HOT one and everyone weighs in on it. 

A good public discussion thread with many opinions can be found HERE and worth the read. 
Another view offers specifics in favor of non-detergent oils: HERE

You can still buy non-detergent oil from various auto parts stores but you have to ask for it. It will typically be marketed as compressor oil, available in 30W, 40W and some dual weights.

So, to recap:

(1)   No oil filter or not doing a complete rebuild of the engine - use non-detergent oil

(2)   Filter, or just completed an engine rebuild - use detergent oil (Or not)

(3)   Do whatever you want and see what happens, it’s your time and money.


44: Bent Push Rod and Organizing the Parts

Well there's your problem!
TD proudly declared a victory; his acute engine-noise hearing was correct because he found 3 bent push rods. Seriously, it's like he has an innate Spidey Sense when it comes to engine clatter. I on the other hand, hear n-o-t-h-i-n-g. 

A bent push rod will lead to unwanted sounds and an unhappy engine which leads to miscellaneous purchases and fixes like the aforementioned "Old Car Domino Effect" warns.

After the head assembly was taken down to be hot-tanked TD had the fun job of trying to get the valve springs out. Luckily, he had a neato tool that does the trick. If you need to do a valve job you will want one. Actually, you might enjoy TD’s system below for organizing the various parts that come off Abbey’s innards. 
Valves and Springs

Valve Lifters
Pretty cool, right? 

Using simple 2x4s, TD drilled out and labeled accordingly for the various parts. Easy-peasy. 

You can choose to be e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y organized like him or not, but he stresses it WILL make it easier during disassembly if you keep track of things in an orderly manner.  



43: Removing the Valve Train (and Other Things)

In a sequence of photos, I will explain what has recently transpired.  

…all of that stuff I said in the prior post. (Please don’t make me repeat it)

Removing the Manifold

Removing the Valve Train

Valve Train Removed from Head

The head was lifted out of the engine compartment using that 2-ton engine hoist TD bought at a local house auction I mentioned back in November. It was a cool $75 and worth every penny.

Lifting the Head
TD cleaned the head some more using a wire brush and a hand drill to get all of the carbon deposits and gasket cement off the surfaces and combustion chamber. (Do this outside)

Engine Head Being Cleaned 

 Meanwhile TD inspected the push rods and took inventory of anything awry. 

All of this (and more) is required to do a SIMPLE valve job. I don't understand it all but am happy to just have more words added to my growing automotive vocabulary.