Friday, January 14, 2011

Re-Inventing the Wheel

After spending a couple of evenings making the valve spring compressor in my previous post, I find that I've re-invented the wheel. This old tool described as a "valve lifter' is for sale on ebay. Interestingly it has "Morris" cast into it. Its nothing like the one pictured in the manual, but obviously someone else was thinking the same way as me.

Click here, if you need one!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Flamin' Valve Collets

I've been struggling for the last three shed sessions to compress the valve springs so that I can remove the camshaft and tappets. My little hobbyist quality valve spring compressor just wasn't up to the job, the claw on the end of it thats supposed to go around the valve spring cap just kept bending and twisting off. The problem seemed to be that the collets had frozen into the caps and weren't releasing, meaning that all I was doing was trying to bend the valve stem. A tour around the auto accessory shops showed that I could get a professional compressor for about $200, but it was too big for a little sidevalve engine anyway, so I built my own. A couple of bits of scrap steel welded together and shaped up a bit made the all important claw, then I welded them to a quick action clamp.Its not pretty, but it did the job.
Old faithful clamp, now a valve spring compressor
Every single valve required a huge amount of clamping force (the shaft of the clamp was bending) and a few needed an extra tap with a punch to jar them loose, but eventually they all came free and I could get them out. The poor old clamp is a bit bent now, but there's enough life left in it to do the re-assembly.

 Once again everything looks to be in good shape. The valve seats may need recutting but the camshaft looks to be very good. I reckon it has been redone at some stage. The valves aren't the originals, the inlets are marked BMC, which wasn't formed until after my J was built, the exhausts are Dufour.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting Dirty at Last

I've managed to get a few hours in the garage over the last week or so. I needed to assess my engine to try to determine which parts are missing, so I craned it out (of the back) drained the sump, and put it on to the workbench. I recently picked up a small set of old Sidchrome sockets in whitworth sizes. They've been getting a good workout. I had a bit of a fiddle getting the pulley off the front of the crank, but once I got it sorted I dived in and stripped the rest of the block down. It didn't take long to drop the sump off, then tap the flywheel off. The big ends came off next and then the main bearing caps. Given the filthy state of the outside of the engine, and the smelly black tar like stuff that seemed to have been used instead of oil I was expecting the worst inside, but got a very pleasant surprise.
The worst big end journal
The bearings were only a little worn, the big ends are 20thou under size and the mains 10 thou under. The journals all look pretty good considering, only one has a bit of a scratch in it, the rest look pretty good.
It clearly hadn't done a lot of mileage since it was last reconditioned. I haven't examined the bores very closely yet but they look fairly good too. The pistons are standard bore and the rings look fresh. It will be interesting once I get the journals and bore mic'ed, but I'm kind of hoping that I can avoid major machining work.

Camshaft, pretty well perfect under that filth

I haven't pulled the cam out yet, but it looked as though it may have been reground too, the lobes seem to be quite close to the shaft (maybe thats normal?). There's no sign of any serious wear on it at all. I'm having trouble getting it out, my KMart valve compressor doesn't seem to like sidevalves (actually its pretty ordinary with overhead valves too). Once I sort out a decent valve compressor I should be right though

One thing that is desperately needed is a thorough clean up. The oil was hanging down like icicles off the oil pump when I lifted it off the sump. It looks like the inside has had crusty oil in it for 1000 years! It all smells really stale and burnt. It doesn't have a lot of swarf in it though so thats a good sign.
You could mine this for coal

Future pristine gems
Apart from a few missing external parts it looks like its in pretty good shape. The clutch housing appears to have sat with water in it for a long time, it was a bit corroded inside, and the ring gear is slightly eaten away on the side that was at the bottom. I'll have to see how it cleans up with a bead blast, but hopefully I'll get away with it. I don't fancy trying to source and fit a new one.

Once I get the valves and camshaft out I still have to pull a few studs, then I can get it cleaned up. I hope to be setting up a parts washer and a bead blasting cabinet shortly. I'm starting to build up quite a collection of parts that are going to need the full treatment.