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Putting the head back on

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by Alpine 1789, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Platinum Level Sponsor

    For the thermostat with the one way valve, just take a fitting thermostat into the parts store and tell them you want a cap for X temperature, they usually let me in the back to inspect the caps.
    Find one that is dimensionally the same and the correct temp.

    There are MANY suitable thermostats that will work.

    My recent one had the thermostat element offset from the center. No harm as it doesnt interfere with anything.

    To "burp" the system without the special thermo you run the engine up to temp and when the thermo starts to open a bunch of bubbles will come up and the fluid level will drop. You just fill it to proper level and that should be the end of it.
    It does help to park the car on an incline so the air bubbles want to rise to the front of the head where the thermo housing is.
    This lets gravity do most of the work.

    To "burp" with the special valve, park on an incline, (engine off) make sure the cap is in place and squeeze and release the upper rad hose a bunch of times. This will release the air beneath the thermostat up into the radiator.
    Run the engine up to temp and be sure the fluid level is correct after cooling.
  2. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    Thanks. Wish me luck. I am heading home now to turn the key. I will report back shortly.
  3. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    I just drove the car for the first time in a month! :D Subject to one initial challenge and one to come, it fired right up, idles very smoothly, and drove great. My thanks to everyone who helped me through the multiple posts, diagnostics and repair.

    I want to be sure to share the initial challenge to help keep anyone else from making the same stupid mistakes I did. I pulled the distributor early on to gain better access to the tappet cover and made two mistakes in doing so. First, I left the pedestal in and just removed the dizzy. My logic at the time was that leaving the pedestal in would be one less thing to worry about later. That was wrong for two reasons. First, it made re-installing the tappet cover more challenging. But worse, it meant that I lost the original timing. And my second mistaking was not paying attention to the orientation of the distributor so I could at least approximate it when I was done. I was able to start the car with my first guess at it, but it barely ran. I tried to do a static timing on it, but don't think that works with the Pertronix. So, I did my best to recall about where it had been, rotated it a bit and tried again. It fired right up and when I later checked it with a timing light I had it so close that I am just leaving it there for now.

    The upcoming challenge is that I have an oil leak somewhere and I think it is in the upper rear of the timing cover. (Jarrid: you don't have an extra aluminum one laying around, do you?) That thing is such a pain to install and I hate the prospect of pulling the distributor and oil filter block again, but that is likely in my future for the weekend. I will try tightening all of the bolts down, but I am not optimistic.

    I still need to to a hot lash on the valves and put antifreeze in it, but I am on my way and should be driving it to the Invasion! I also want to add that I was unable to feel the promised increase in torque from the porting work Lee did, but it did accelerate more smoothly and with less of the Weber lag that has been discussed many times before. I am hopeful that properly lashing the valves will make a difference in the torque and will report back on that too.

    Thanks again!
  4. Green67Alpine

    Green67Alpine Former SAOCA Membership Director Gold Level Sponsor

    be careful tightening those bolt after a point it just bends the cover and continues to leak, i made a couple "pressure" bars to spread the pressure and have not had a leak since.
    Tom j
    congrats on your successful repair
  5. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    "pressure bars" is an interesting idea. How did you do that?
  6. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Platinum Level Sponsor

    I am assuming that you mean the tappet/side cover.

    No I am afraid not as it was a one off.

    Easy to make using 1/8 inch thick 6061 plate.
  7. Ken Ellis

    Ken Ellis Donation Time

    "Pressure bars" is a good way to put it... think "linear washers" -- a thicker hunk of steel (for instance) with several holes in it, so that the clamping force is more evenly distributed, instead of points of pressure.
  8. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    Yep, I did mean tappet/side cover. What did you do about venting it? How about the splash guard on the inside area by the vent?
  9. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    That is what I figured; just wanted to be certain. In the meantime, I was able to tighten everything a surprising amount, so maybe it was just loose. I will find out tomorrow.

    I am thinking about changing the oil and filter tomorrow. I hate to waste 4 quarts of brand new oil, but I figure there was lots of opportunity for contamination during the repair and it seems like cheap insurance.
  10. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Platinum Level Sponsor

    To be honest I just tapped the panel with 1/4 NPT and put a right angle hose fitting on it.

    Didnt need the "splash guard" as I run a catch can with vapor separator.
    This in turn feeds my PCV with clean oil free air.

    I guess if I was a smarter man I could have put a blockade but that would have meant brazing a heavy piece of plate aluminum as I dont know how to tig weld.
  11. Green67Alpine

    Green67Alpine Former SAOCA Membership Director Gold Level Sponsor

    That's exactly what I did, after fooling around with that leaky area for a while, now all my leaks are lower on the block :(

  12. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    Pressure bars seems like a pretty simple way to deal with the problem. I will give that a try if last night's tightening didn't do the trick.

    So, here is my next question: Today or tomorrow I will be doing the hot lash on the valves. Is there any harm in re-torquing the head before I do that? I know the factory says to do that after 500 miles, but I figured it couldn't hurt to do it sooner as well, just to be safe. I have a C-shaped wrench that allows me to tighten them without removing the rockers, so it is simple to do, but wanted to be sure there wasn't some reason why I shouldn't.
  13. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Platinum Level Sponsor

    Yes, adjust the torque early and often.

    The adjustment will have a small effect on lash so better to to the head before the valves.
  14. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    Thanks. That was what I assumed. The head wrench will come in very handy!
  15. Nickodell

    Nickodell Donation Time

    Jim, by "C-shaped wrench," do you mean the crow's foot socket wrench adapter? The experts on this forum can confirm (or not), but I think you need to take the offset into account when setting your torque wrench.

    I assume that you tightened the head in the correct sequence.
  16. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    No. I have a wrench that fits on to my torque wrench and is bent into a "C" shape so that the box end sits directly below the head of the torque wrench. That way there is no increase in torque beyond the actual setting but you can maneuver the wrench in between the rockers and pedestals and torque the head without having to remove anything. It makes the infinitely easier. I am sure it has a proper name, but I don't know what else to call it other than a "C-shaped wrench". Churchill made one but I found mine on eBay a few years ago from a different manufacturer.
  17. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    So, after some more driving, I have good news and bad news. First the good news.

    The oil leak turned out to be stupidity on the part of the mechanic. The leak persisted after tightening down the tappet cover, so I was preparing to make pressure bars per Tom J's recommendation. However, as a final check before removing the cover, I revved the engine while shining a flashlight at the area. That was when I saw the problem: I had left the screw out of the hole in the upper left of the head and oil was spraying out of it. That turned out to be a very easy fix!

    I then lashed the valves and slightly retarded the timing (I had a bit of pinging under acceleration). The car is driving great! Lee's work on the head has definitely improved it. I don't know what 10-15% more torque feels like, but there is more than before. It is also smoother. The other interesting difference is that I have long had patching: backfiring on deceleration. It wasn't always there, but letting off the gas following hard acceleration would definitely produce it. For whatever reason, that is completely gone now. So, I would definitely recommend Lee's work.

    Now the bad news. I took a longer drive today. About 25 miles on the highway. The car ran great the whole way and the temperature stayed steady at about 90 degrees C (it was about 90F out). I parked the car and checked for oil or coolant leaks while it was still running and found none. I came back to the car 2 hours later and checked the radiator and found it was down significantly, probably almost a quart! I got occasional whiffs of coolant while driving, but nothing strong. I added coolant and drove home.

    The drive home was uneventful and as before, the car ran great. Closer to 85C this time, as it was cooler out by then. I checked under the hood when I got to the garage and saw nothing unusual. However, I could hear the radiator gurgling when I shut the engine off. I very carefully opened the cap, letting the pressure slowly bleed off. The coolant was still above the radiator core, although probably a little lower than when I had topped it off 25 miles ago. I went back to the car about 45 minutes later and the coolant was now below the core. I added a little less than previously, but still close to a quart.

    So, after all of my work, I am pretty much back where I started. The car is running great and there is no sign of any white smoke out of the exhaust. The oil looks clean as does the coolant. I know a cracked block was suggested first time around, but could the car burn a quart of coolant in 25 miles and not show any signs of it?
  18. Ken Ellis

    Ken Ellis Donation Time

    Jim, I don't remember -- do you have an overflow tank? Any chance it's leaving via the heater core and out thru the tubes? How do the plugs look?
  19. RootesRooter

    RootesRooter Platinum Level Sponsor

    Are you using anti-freeze or straight water at this point? Any leakage in the carpets from a leaky heater core?

    A radiator pressure-tester would give you the answer in a few seconds...
  20. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    I rigged up an overflow tank before I pulled the head but never had any coolant in it, but it is not there now so that is a possibility. However, I was thinking about the heater core last night and just tried something: I removed the hose from the heater core and routed it to a plastic jug now sitting in the passenger compartment. I am going to drive to work today (about 10 minutes on the highway) and will report back this evening on what I learn.

    I haven't checked the plugs since I replaced the head, but they always looked fine.

    I switched to antifreeze when I was confident :( there were no leaks.

    I just pumped it up to about 10 lbs and it held steady for about 5 minutes. I will drive to work this morning and try it again with a hot engine when I get home tonight.

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