The View From the Garage pt7

Building Blocks

As mentioned in last times ‘The View From the Garage’, the engine block seemed in pretty good order and had never suffered from leaks or overheating (as much as any classic doesn’t suffer from overheating…) so the decision was taken not to get it professionally dipped & stripped but to give it a good shot ourselves.

We would start by pressure cleaning the block & sump to remove all the gunk and loose debris before using good old fashioned elbow grease to finish the job off.
We would need to check the bores for damage before re-honing them, check the oil pump for wear and the three remaining pistons before starting the rebuild and giving it a lick of paint.  Sounds simple!

Here’s how is all went…..

Three hours of using a drill equipped with a mixture of wire wheels & flap wheels, a Dremmel and various attachments, followed by a quick power wash, saw the block cleared of the old paintwork and debris, and ready to be painted and reassembled.

A rather boring job according to Adam…..

There was no evidence of any issue with any of the core plugs so the decision was made to ‘leave well alone’ and given that the cast block would immediately start rusting once we stopped cleaning it, we opted to get a couple of coats of high temperature engine paint (Halfords best) on it asap.

We had ordered up some new tools to assist in the check & rebuild; A dial bore gauge, a magnetic stand & dial test indicator, A piston ring compressor and a set of ring expander pliers as well as a valve spring compressor as my Dad’s old one had rather spectacularly expired during the strip down.

Despite resolving to restore and reuse as much as possible of the ‘original’ car (if a ‘bits’ can ever be original), we threw the fuel pump in the bin as it was full of as much rust, crud and varnished fuel on the inside as it had on the outside.  

It made little sense to do anything else but replace it.

We very quickly discovered we had binned it in haste when it became apparent that there were a good number of variants that could fit a Spitfire engine and all the online resources warned the reader to check very carefully against the original part – off we go bin-raking…..

Adam stripped down, cleaned and rebuilt the pistons himself and we decided after checking and cleaning the crank that it was fit to be reinstalled without any ‘surgery’

With the block painted (much more fun apparently), we inspected the bores and having decided they were in fair condition, we gave them a light hone and re-installed the crank.

That gave us the chance to play with the new gauges which confirmed the crank end float was within tolerances.

More sanding and painting of parts was done with the endplates, rocker cover and timing chain cover all being given a refurb.

The return of school has interrupted the flow but I’m sure there will be more progress over the coming weekends.

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