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Maiden Voyage! (down the driveway)

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by Lester, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. bmohr

    bmohr Donation Time

    Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement

    The first time I decided to do a compression test on an old Chevy that I had. I remember thinking why do the instructions say to fool with the coil. There's no way the engine is going to start with no plugs. Of course i got my answer a few min later when my dad started cranking and a sparkplug wire with bad insulation decided to ground itself through my arm! In retrospect I always laugh because with the spark hitting me like that I couldn't get the words out to tell my dad to stop. It was kind of like ddddad stop.. ddad stop... ssstop.. stopp. Finally my dad quick cranking to tell me he couldn't understand what I was saying! After recovering I humbly took care of the coil before reattempting the test. Of course back then I was young and stupid whereas now I'm middle-aged and 'experienced.'

    Glad to hear there's another Alpine not too far away. There are a few in the DFW area as you've probably learned by now. Welcome to the club! :)
  2. Nickodell

    Nickodell Donation Time

    Bill Blue. I can't see how a running engine is going to suddenly lose its valve lash, preventing valve(s) from closing. Even if an adjusting nut were to loosen I imagine that the tendency would be for the screw to move so as to increase, not decrease the clearance. IMHO the only way this can happen is by screwing up a valve lash when adjusting them, or forgetting to re-adjust after cinching-down a new head gasket, which will also narrow the valve clearance. Even making an adjustment with the cam lobe not fully bottomed will result in too large, not small, a clearance. And in 53 years of servicing and tinkering with engines and valves, from 350cc motorcycle to 3.6 litre Ford V8, I've yet to see one where the valve lash gets smaller with age. Maybe I've been lucky.

    And look at it this way; if the pressures are adequate for the mileage on the engine, and there is no cylinder with a big difference from the other three, unseated valve(s) can't be a problem, can they?

    I was offering a fault-tracing plan that tackles it logically, by starting on the causes that are more likely, and working to the more exotic. Since Lester says that he's never messed with valves and lash, one assumes that he didn't just screw it up. And yes, I do like doing compression tests for fun. Can't get enough of them.:)

    Bill Mohr: You're reminding me of a time many years ago when I was riding my motorcycle in pouring rain in England. Working my way through college and not being able to afford a proper riding suit, I was forced to wear an ordinary raincoat. Anyhow, moving at some 60 mph is traffic I suddenly got the most excruciating shock in my right leg. At first I had no idea what was happening, my first thought being that I'd been stung by a wasp, but then the shocks came rapidly, causing me to swerve all over the road, luckily missing other vehicles, until I could skid to a stop on the verge.

    As I slowed down the shocks ceased, but at over some 50 mph they started again. Looking down, between swerves, I discovered that the wet end of the bottom of the raincoat was flicking in the wind and intermittently touching the top of the (unshielded, no boot) spark plug. Some 10,000 volts then proceeded through my leg until it discharged through my knee against the gas tank.
  3. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Nick, where did the "suddenly" come from? He states this is the maiden voyage in a car he has no history of. In that case, valve adjustment should be almost an automatic reflex. Insufficient clearance could come from all sorts of things, the most important two are the previous mechanic's talents (or lack of) and the previous owners heavy foot.
  4. Nickodell

    Nickodell Donation Time

    Try reading paragraph 2 again. Slowly.
  5. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Well, you got me there. My screen does not show a paragraph two. So I guess I either read it too fast or too slow. However you define "Not at all".

  6. Lester

    Lester Donation Time

    Gentlemen, gentlemen...
    Let's agree to disagree. I can see both logics. This engine is just a mess! I found two used head gaskets in the trunk. The previous owner admitted to not using lead substitute. adjusting the valves are the least of my worries. honestly, it's just somewhere to start. Well, I got the master cylinder on, and it went well. I had moments of pure genious, fabricating the old push rod fork to the new push rod. And then there were moments, like when I cross-threaded the brake line into the new MC. Now, I have to tap the MC. Geeze. On a lighter note, it ran quite a bit better. It smoked a lot, but it backfired less. when I get the brakes going, I'll take it to a friend with a timing light. Babysteps...babysteps. Thanks, Lester
  7. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Lester, don't get hung up on the lead substitute. Few, if any, on this side of the pond use it. The lead substitute is supposed to help with engines that depended on lead to extend the life of soft valve seats. The Alpine has hardened seats and does not need the stuff.

    From your description of the engine, it is difficult to say what you will find if you break it apart. It could be a "new" rebuilt engine that has set so long the rings have stuck. It could also be clapped out and need rebuilding, or something in between, such as a decent engine needing valve stem seals. Just be prepared to accept what you see.

    Sort like like opening a Christmas present, isn't it?

  8. Lester

    Lester Donation Time

    Christmas indeed. Glad to know about the lead! Do you think it's unwise to run it around town without knowing about the rings? The last thing I want to do is seize it up. Also, another small question: is the brake switch pressure or mechanical? I can't find a mechanical switch anywhere.
    Thanks, Lester
  9. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Nah. Just be sure to keep it full of oil. It is possible that driving it will loosen things up and the smoking will decrease. I would consider putting Rislone in it. Rislone is mostly solvents and can help if things are glued together and won't hurt if they aren't.

    The brake light switch is hydraulic. It probably isn't working right either. Those things were always a pain in the butt, regardless of the make of car they were on. Replacing them with mechanical switches is pretty popular.

  10. Lester

    Lester Donation Time

    Thanks again, to all. I am trying to find someone who can machine new threads into my wilwood MC. I might have to bite the bullet and buy a new one (just $50) I got too excited about the road and went to town on the brake line. I'll be back in a couple of weeks to let you all know how the first real drive was. With any luck, I'll see you all in Dayton!
    Cheers, Lester

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