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Duder New Reader
11/28/17 6:19 p.m.

I haven't posted here much yet but your threads have gotten me thinking more, Mazdeuce. Thinking about how communicating about our projects is almost as good as working on the project itself, for some of us. I too enjoy writing immensely which I think I got from my mom (who is an English and language arts teacher). My mechanical aptitude came from helping my Naval Physicist dad in the driveway from an early age. I get to combine both left & right brain activities in the whole course of a project, and that includes the creative planning phase, creative problem solving phase, and then the writeup phase wherein I get to organize my thoughts and decide how best to communicate what I've been doing with other like-minded individuals.

Up until reading your threads however, I'd never considered writing about what I'm thinking about while working on various projects. I do a lot of philosophizing myself but that happens privately and doesn't make it into my writing. I've created several build threads over the years (mostly for Volvos, over on the turbobricks forums) and have written for Daily Turismo (online portfolio is here if anyone's interested: http://www.dailyturismo.com/search/label/CFlo). In general I try to inject some humor interspersed with lots of technical details in my writing, but I wanted to say thank you because now I see there may be some value in adding the philosophy stuff as well. I'm friends with Dave Coleman, former Sport Compact Car editor and I try to ask myself "WWDCD?" when attempting to add humor to car stories. He's one of the best at that. I read Pirsig in college and that Shopcraft as Soulcraft book more recently so there is prior art for the philosophy side, including your threads now that I've found them.

I too am torn about spending money on "frivolous" stuff for the wife & kid, but then have to stop and think about what I've layed down on car projects on a monthly basis, so I try not to be too critical when my wife wants to buy the 50th pair of identical looking shoes for our daughter. Same thoughts apply to spending time on family vs. projects. I'd like to involve them more but most of my projects happen remotely at a co-op workshop, and I have friends helping out there. Whether it's building a Lemons car or engine swapping a 240, it's usually not something my wife or daughter are really comfortable helping with. Maybe trying to involve them more with house projects and "maintenance in the garage" type jobs would be good for all of us. They do get a kick out of lending a hand when possible.

Anyway - sorry for rambling, carry on with the revival of the magnificent COE! Don't be too hard on yourself when reassembling the (new) old V8. I have come to learn that having a running, functional vehicle that's not exactly what I envisioned is far preferable to toiling away for years on the same project. For me anyway, and I've done it both ways, many times over. To keep my motiviation up I try to keep my projects as usable cars and take bite size chunks out of them to make improvements. Doesn't apply to the early phases of a big project of course, but once you're over that initial hump and the thing runs and drives again, you'll get so much more back out of it.

douglawrence42 New Reader
11/28/17 6:56 p.m.

Just wanted to jump in and agree that the non car stuff is very welcome reading.  I don’t think I’d stay with it without the car stuff, but the mix is something i never knew how badly I was missing.  I’m also trying to manage shop time with raising 2 young girls, working a full time job and married to a great girl with her own full time job.  It’s nice to have a real conversation about the important stuff, the deep thoughts, and then quickly transition to how the heck to do something ridiculous to a vehicle any sensible person would have scrapped long ago.  Anyway, I know you started this as a way to combine writing with photography with automotive shenanigans.  The concept and the execution have been great.  Catching up on this every day is a decent substitute for grabbing a beer with a buddy.  Thanks 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/29/17 12:56 p.m.

In reply to Duder :

I always loved Dave Colman's writing. I'm pretty sure he was the whole reason I subscribed to SCC. Tell him a fan says thanks for the all the good writing during that time period. I think the value in adding the philosophical side is the same as adding humor. It engages the reader emotionally and makes them feel like they're reading a story, not a technical manual. It's a fine line, if you go too far you end up like Baruth trying to be Hemingway.

In reply to Everyone Else :

Thanks for the conversation. It's refreshing to know that there is a general human condition of trying to get car stuff done, keep the family happy, and still be able to look yourself in the mirror about the decisions you make in doing all of that. You guys will see me screw up as I go along. I'm working on it.

It's wet out today. No really rainy, but not at all dry. Certainly not a day to sandblast or wire brush outside. Good day to make the brush pile go away. That was fun.

I was about to unbolt the starter from the block when it occurred to me that the block makes a fine test bench. Pleasant surprise to have something work as intended without full disassembly for a change. Starters for these aren't expensive, $50-60 depending on quality, but it's nice to not have to buy one. You can also buy just the brushes and bushings to repair your own, so that'll be a fun project someday. 

Removing the starter was the last thing to do before getting the block clean for paint. I'm almost there. I've used mineral spirits, several brushes, and just a bit of wire wheeling for a few tough corners. What's the preferred final wipedown for cast iron before paint? And no, I can't move it outside to power wash or scrub down. The cement ends at the door. The Grosh needs an apron.

Also finishing up soaking and cleaning the valves in preparation for lapping them. Never done it before, but they look great as they sit, so they're shouldn't be much to it, right?



The0retical SuperDork
11/29/17 1:12 p.m.
  1. Mic out the valve face where it seats into the head to make sure you have enough surface area
  2. Mic out valve edge thickness to ensure you won't drop a piece of the valve into the engine.
  3. Get one of the HF suction cup valve tools or a NERF dart with a plastic stem if you're in a pinch.
  4. Cut one end off the suction cup tool.
  5. Insert into drill
  6. Lap with course lapping compound using the drill seated suction cup on the combustion face of the valve
  7. Clean
  8. Lap using fine lapping compound
  9. Clean.
  10. Mic again if paranoid.
  11. Good to go.

Might also be worth running out the valve stem with a couple V blocks to make sure it's true.

NOHOME UltimaDork
11/29/17 1:29 p.m.

The0retical does a more detailed job than I did on the Healey.


I used a piece of fuel line pushed over the valve stem and a bolt on the other end, chucked the bolt into the drill.


You kind of need to push down on the valve face with something like a screwdriver handle since it is hard to maintain pressure on the valve with just the drill pulling on the valve-stem


I load up the backside of the valve with paste, when I want to refresh, I simply give a quick burst of rpm to the drill and it slings more paste into the valve-seat area.

I use dykem blue to do a check on the valve-seat  pattern before and after.

If I think about it, I also fill each combustion chamber with mineral oil and check to see if it is leaking past the valve  in the first place. Like, before it is pulled apart. Like I said..IF I think about it.

Don't under estimate the need to check valve guide wear. Smoke from anywhere after this much work is going to be annoying.

The0retical SuperDork
11/29/17 2:20 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Oh good point on the mineral oil. I used to just use bottled water on the Rotax 914's I would rebuild since it was that or alcohol and I was usually drinking water in the hangar. Prussian blue is the way it's supposed to be done though.

I've always found it to be easier to push on the valve with the drill/ suction cup tool than pull though sometimes that isn't practical and the fuel line works better.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/29/17 2:31 p.m.

The Grapes of Wrath is one of those books they make you read in school, and they talk about symbolism and meaning and all sorts of stuff. I always focused on pulling junkyard bearings and lapping the valves on the old Buick in camp. One of my favorite car books. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
11/29/17 5:41 p.m.

As for painting the block, there are pre-paint prep products out there that come in a can or aerosol - you should be able to find them at a good auto parts store or paint store.  I'd probably just use something I already have on hand, like paint thinner or acetone.

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
11/29/17 5:45 p.m.

Depends on the topcoat.  I love the por15 engine paint. Its indestructible. Follow manufacturers recommendation. 

Rattle can? Nrake clean. Chlorinated. 

759NRNG Dork
11/29/17 6:17 p.m.

MaZD , don't know where  I learnt this , but never put a battery  on a cement floor, unless it has a piece of wood under it (insualtor)......the charge drains out....someone crosscheckandverifyplease ......tanx   

Crackers HalfDork
11/29/17 6:40 p.m.

I use carb/brake cleaner then lacquer thinner.

Just remember you still need to flush the gunk completely off the part.

I think that's why the front of the block is where you usually see paint failures. People switch sides and flush contaminants back onto the other side. 

SaltyDog Reader
11/29/17 7:22 p.m.
759NRNG said:

MaZD , don't know where  I learnt this , but never put a battery  on a cement floor, unless it has a piece of wood under it (insualtor)......the charge drains out....someone crosscheckandverifyplease ......tanx   

I've heard not to store them on concrete for this reason.

I wouldn't be afraid to temporarily set one on concrete while in use, but i would put it on wood if it'll be there any length of time.

interested to hear what others have to say on this.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/29/17 7:32 p.m.

I do store mine on a board. I've also had people tell me that and I've had batteries die when I ignored it. They might have just aged out, but I use boards now. This one was just moved for the test. 

Duder New Reader
11/29/17 8:29 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

You bet - I'll pass the word along. It's funny because my wife and Dave's wife are basically besties now. To my wife, Dave is just that goofy tall car nerd who works for Mazda and has lots of Miatas. But whenever one of our other car guy friends is introduced to him, they always pull me aside and ask, "is that THE Dave Coleman?!?"

You're totally right about levity and philosophy in car writing. There's a fine line between witty and...shall we say...douchey. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
11/29/17 9:56 p.m.

That old battery on a concrete floor story was maybe valid 60 years ago with the old tar top batteries that weren't sealed, but it doesn't matter anymore.  Put your modern battery on any floor you want, it will be fine.

OldDave New Reader
11/29/17 11:10 p.m.

the old wives tale of not storing a battery on the concrete floor goes back to the wooden cased batteries of the model t days, (combined with high humidity) , todays plastic cased batteries will NOT go dead on any given surface, period.

the best final cleaner for a cast iron surface before paint is " Easy Off" oven cleaner of the old smelly kind. used it often on engines I wanted super clean. once sprayed with EO you need to paint it or it will rust imediately.

Greywynd New Reader
11/30/17 12:15 a.m.

Just keep the oven cleaners away from aluminum of any kind!! 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
11/30/17 6:33 a.m.

Since you want to be able to move stuff outside, have you considered making your engine stand offroadable?  I'm thinking wider spaced casters with pneumatic tires:  


I think about offroad conversions for rolling tools a lot, since every driveway in/out of my place is gravel or super uneven.

bluej UltraDork
11/30/17 6:49 a.m.

I just pictured the merkur on stage w/ a fully ruggedized mini-trailer bouncy along behind..

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
11/30/17 6:54 a.m.

In reply to bluej :

While I have considered mounting a spare of nearly every component in the car, I hadn't thought about a whole trailer full of them... 

RevRico UltraDork
11/30/17 7:09 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

Since you want to be able to move stuff outside, have you considered making your engine stand offroadable?  I'm thinking wider spaced casters with pneumatic tires:  


I think about offroad conversions for rolling tools a lot, since every driveway in/out of my place is gravel or super uneven.

 you should. Sorry it was the best picture I could find on short notice, but putting the welding cart on off-road wheels to get around my shop was one of my better sub $20 harbor freight purchases. I put those wheels on everything now, but I'll be upgrading the welding cart to those castor style ones nonack posted for easier steering. 

I imagine if you pick your points right they'd work just fine on an engine stand, but not sure how much Ferdinand engine might weigh. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/30/17 7:23 a.m.

Dressed the engine is right about 800lbs if you trust the internet. Something like 200 lbs in heads and intake alone. It's heavy. I have to drop the block off the stand to change the cam bearings, so I'm going to have a good look see about a caster upgrade. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
11/30/17 7:37 a.m.

I wonder if you could do a removable set- the ends of the tubes on the engine stand are open.  If you can find tubing which will slide into the existing box section, you could have the big tires be a quick bolt on setup so it doesn't always have to be wider and taller.  As a bonus, I bet the HF hoist has the same size tubing.

mcbacon New Reader
11/30/17 8:19 a.m.

I love reading threads on here and I gain so much knowledge and so many ideas.

On a similar note, my Ferdinand shirt and stickers was gracefully wedged into my mailbox last night!  Thank you, Seth! I'm wearing it under my work shirt today!  My wife thinks the cabover sniffing a flower is the cutest thing ever lol.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/30/17 11:13 a.m.

In reply to mcbacon :

I'm glad they made it. Pretty sure a re-issue is in the works to celebrate movement under power. I'm hoping that'll sooner than later. 

Late yesterday the big brown step van brought my new cam bearing tool and cam bearings. 

As much as I want to move forward on the engine, and playing with the old bearings in the junk block is the way to do that, it's stunningly beautiful outside today. A rare beautiful East Texas fall day where you can imagine that we actually have seasons. For those of you unfamiliar with East Texas, we don't get fall. We have 10 months of hot, then all of the leaves turn brown for a week and fall off. Then it's kind of chilly for 6 weeks or so, and then the leaves come back and it's hot again. Today I have one tree that sort of has color and it's basically as close to beautiful as it gets. 

I'd rather be outside than inside, so I'm going to knock down the little bit of rust that has formed since the last time I knocked it off and prep it so that I can paint more of the frame tomorrow. 

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