En­gine Re­build

Pre­pare your com­po­nents and fit your crank­shaft and pis­tons

Practical Classics (UK) - - CONTENTS - With Theodore J Gil­lam

Re­assem­bling the B-se­ries.

The sexy bit has ar­rived. Up to now, there’s been the tedium of clean­ing, mea­sur­ing, think­ing, ex­pen­di­ture, more mea­sur­ing and more clean­ing. As is true of many things in life, the qual­ity of the fi­nal prod­uct is di­rectly pro­por­tional to the qual­ity of the prepa­ra­tion, which ac­counts for 90 per cent of the job. Fi­nal as­sem­bly is fun and sat­is­fy­ing – but there’s plenty of scope to cock up. You need to re­main me­thod­i­cal and fas­tid­i­ous about clean­li­ness.

It’s re­ally im­por­tant to en­sure that the cor­rect as­sem­bly lubricant gets into all the right places when build­ing the en­gine. In so do­ing, though, you’ll be ap­ply­ing a pow­er­ful mag­net for dust and grit, which will make your freshly-rema­chined sur­faces rapidly look very sec­ond­hand. The ideal way to min­imise this risk is to thor­oughly clean ev­ery­thing, lay out all parts, tools and gas­kets in a clean en­vi­ron­ment and put the en­gine to­gether in a one-off build-a-thon. How­ever, time and space con­straints mean that this prob­a­bly won’t be prac­ti­cal. We’ll there­fore be as­sem­bling the en­gine in man­age­able chunks, start­ing here with the main ro­tat­ing and re­cip­ro­cat­ing parts.

As­sem­bly lubri­cants are spe­cial oils and greases that will stay where you put them and help to pre­vent metal-to-metal con­tact both dur­ing stor­age and on first start-up. They’re a very worth­while in­vest­ment, es­pe­cially if you’re not go­ing to run the en­gine im­me­di­ately after the re­build. Choose wisely: not all as­sem­bly lubri­cants state that they won’t clog fil­ters and some can hin­der the bed­ding-in of pis­ton rings. The lubricant we’re us­ing is safe for both.

Be­fore as­sem­bly, it’s im­por­tant to carry out a fi­nal deep clean. It’s not the ma­chine shop’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to clean the en­gine in readi­ness for re­build: their fi­nal process is al­ways to re­move metal par­ti­cles and swarf gen­er­ated by ma­chin­ing – but noth­ing more. Re­mem­ber that dirt and grit are the big­gest en­e­mies of an en­gine’s in­ter­nals.

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