55: 261 Engine Start Up

After several long months, the engine fiasco is finally over. 

This just happened: 

We couldn't have asked for a nicer guy/company to rebuild the 261, and he even came over to help light 'her up!

All that's left to do is put on the driver's side door, put the hood back on, weld the new differential into place, put on the brake lines, hook up the parking brake, attach the master cylinder and then install a new drive shaft - but not in that order.

(I'm also voting for a new headliner) 
(TD says nothing when I mention this) 


54: Water Pump Episodes

Spring Green is here and no not the grass and tender leaves, I’m talking about an engine.

Yes, after much anxiety, dubious individuals and patience testing, we finally have the engine, *ta-da!* The local rebuild guys were fantastic and have actually asked if they could come over and be present when TD starts it; that's service!

Episode 1:
The original 216 engine (of course) came with a water pump. When we realized we had to rebuild the engine we opted to go for a 235 engine instead. The 235 fiasco (from previous posts) turned out to be a 261 (the guy was a crook and stupid) and came with its own water pump. This 261 engine acquisition and rebuild has been quite an experience and makes for a good story.

When the engine overhaul finally happened for the 261 we couldn’t be happier. We could have used the old 216 water pump right off the bat, but since the entire 261 was being done, TD opted to use the pump that came with that engine so he cleaned it up, primed and painted it. 

Episode 2:
With the engine finally dropped in and things hooked up, antifreeze was poured into the radiator and we immediately heard dripping. A look below showed us the leak was substantial and the water pump needed to be taken off. Diagnosis: the seal was bad so the pump would need to be rebuilt. The cost of a rebuilt water pump was just about even with the cost of buying a new one so a new one was purchased. The arrival of this meant TD once again primed and painted the new pump and installed it. 

Episode 3:
It leaked.

This time the leak was at the gasket and TD saw that it didn’t seem to be sealing well. He thought one bolt on the left side might be too long and bottoming out so changed it for a shorter one but there was little difference in the leak. He had no choice but to take the water pump off again and check for other issues. Checking for surface flatness across the sealing surface, he found a 1/16th inch dip (concave) on a section of the pump face plate. This was never going to seal without gobs of gasket cement.

Episode 3:
TD took the old 216 water pump out of the parts box and checked the surface. It was flat and smooth. (This says wonders about the old manufactured parts compared to today.) He vented his frustration by grinding it clean, priming and painting it. It is important to note this is the THIRD water pump he’s painted. 

In the back of his mind he still wondered if the leak was due to a possible crack inside the water jacket which would allow seepage out the bolt hole. Just to be safe, he coated the bolts with gasket cement to preclude any issues of bolt-hole-leakage.

This water pump is also known as a $@dam*$! Piece of Sh&*!
(Young children should not be present when men work on cars and things go awry)

The old 216 pump was reinstalled and rested overnight to make sure the gasket cement on the bolts cured. 

TD must have been thinking about this all night because the first thing in the morning I found him in the garage standing inside Abbey's bumper at the radiator with the antifreeze bucket in his hands. It should ALSO be noted he was still in his bathrobe and slippers. Like a kid at Christmas, he was eager to get going. 

The bucket contents once again poured into the radiator and we stood stock still and waited. Nothing. No drips. An hour later - no drips. 


The only thing left to do is call our friend at the rebuild shop and tell him it’s time to lite it up! It’s been a long time coming. 

Next up the differential, and soon enough a drive around town. 


53: Engine Fiasco

After months of silence there is finally something to report. 

Recap: We purchased an engine--as previously mentioned here--from Idaho. We were getting a 235 that had been rebuilt. We did not get what we paid for and instead, the 235 turned out to be a 261 (no kidding!) and was actually not rebuilt at all. 

You'd think the chaos ended there but not quite. 
It was just warming up.

The 261 engine was then sent to Gary, Indiana to be rebuilt.
It's important to mention we didn't know of any local company when the whole "getting from Idaho and sending to Indiana" exercise occurred. 

In Gary, numerous calls to inquire about the progress were to no avail and we got the runaround. We heard things like: "It's almost done" or "It should only be another week" for months. The truth is that it sat forever untouched and remained on the skid the whole time. How do we know this? Having had enough, we took a road trip and rolled up on the place...unannounced.

This is where it got interesting.

Oh this looks legit...

On a dead-end street in a bad area of town, nested snugly next to railroad tracks and surrounded by vacant lots and abandoned buildings was the company. The owners disavowed us being at the correct facility and announced this through a locked and closed door. They would not come out, or let us in and stopped making verbal contact altogether. So with the doors closed tight and no one talking it was clear they just wanted us to leave. 

We enlisted Gary, Indiana's finest men in blue who showed up in 2 squad cars to assist. After some serious discussion from the P.D., the "engine company" announced that the engine and refund for all expenses incurred up to that point would arrive the very next day back in Illinois...and they did. Shocking. We're still not sure what those great Gary Officers told them but whatever it was it worked. 

We can't thank these wonderful guys enough!

From being ripped off to getting everything back, we thank the Gary P.D. wholeheartedly (and they were car guys to boot!). 

Back in Illinois, the engine was then taken to a machine shop closer to us and has since been un-skidded and work begun. The owner lets you come around any time to see the progress and let me tell you it's getting really exciting. 

Abbey's new engine was hot tanked and bored. Parts were ordered and assembly is happening. Her new engine paint color will go from ugly sloppy orange to the original green for that type engine and year. 

Things are finally going right!