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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Chassis Restoration #11 / Engine Rebuild #1

While I did do a decent amount of frame work, there were not a whole lot of pictures that I could have taken. A lot of the stuff was subtle and hard to see in a photograph. Anyway, as I left it, I needed to apply the second coat of POR-15. But first, I had to rough up the surface since it was so nice and smooth and shiny. I found some new sandpaper, 3M Sandblaster Pro Ultra-Flexible sanding sheets. They were not cheap, at about $4.50 for what "they" called four (4) sheets, but what turned out to be two perforated sheets of about 8" X 10" paper.

What I bought to rough up the POR-15.

Why, you may ask? I was concerned that the sanding sponges that you can buy were not flexible enough and that regular paper-backed sandpaper would crease, causing localized deep cutting of the POR-15. So, I wanted something that was as flexible as possible, but that would still rough up the surface. I did look at those 3M scouring pads, and found some pretty abrasive ones, but they just didn't cut the way I wanted. So, in the end, I did the entire frame with the Sandblaster Pro stuff. Oh, and the 15X as long stuff is B.S., just so you know. It lasted less than normal sandpaper in my experience. But, in the end, it got done.

Coat #2.

Since I wasn't ready to put a top coat on immediately after the second coat, the instructions call for a "dust" coat. Having never done that before, I figured it was just a light coating of primer, not really a full application. So, that's what I did.

The extent of the dust coat on the right.

I finished up the dust coat with my normal two coats of primer. They went on smoothly and seemed to adhere just fine. I did some more 220-grit sanding (with normal paper this time) in preparation for the top coat.

I would have loved to have gotten that top coat on today. I intended to paint the frame outside due to concern for other stuff in the garage that I do not want a light spotting of Signal Red all over, but it's been rather windy here the last few days and outside is not conducive to painting. So, the frame sits and waits.

I got over there for a little while on Sunday with my oldest son. He's finally started to show some interest. I put him in the blast cabinet, working on the other front suspension tower that I didn't do. He did a fine job and we were able to get it cleaned up and primed in preparation for a top coat. In an epic parenting fail, I took no pictures either of him in the cabinet or of the final part. Shame, shame.

But, while he was working on that, I started tearing down the motor. I pulled the generator and water pump/housing with no problem along with the water recirculation tube.

Motor following generator and water pump/housing removal.

After that, it was on to removing the head. I pretty sure that the engine had been rebuilt at some point as I knew the overall paint scheme, being an interesting blue color, was not stock. I wanted to find out what was done, as much as I could.

First was head removal. To do that, I had to get the rocker arm assembly off first to allow access to about half of the head bolts. It came off without incident. But, I did notice one thing that seemed different from the rest. You'll notice in the picture below that the left most (front of the engine) stud for the rocker assembly does not have any oil at its base, unlike the other three. However, based on the response from my favorite forum, only the far right pedestal has an oil feed (you can just barely see the hole in front of the stud). The remaining oil is there by luck. In other words, no worries.

Rocker arm removed. Note the lack of oil, unlike the other three, around the left-most rocker arm mounting stud.
The rocker arms themselves, looked fine with what I would consider normal wear with no ridges or rough spots.

Typical example. Seem like good, solid contact wear patterns.

With a lot of pushing and pulling and mallet-smacking, the head finally came off.

Not too bad looking. Cool how the valves are different colors based on their jobs.

Closeup of the head's combustion chamber.
Once I got the head off, it became almost immediately obvious that the motor has been rebuilt as I found a set of 0.020" over-sized pistons installed. Based on my starting problems that ended being a improperly installed distributor, I have some doubt as to the expertise of the persons doing the work but I hope it was good enough. It did run, so there's that.

After I rubbed some carbon off, the answer was right there.

The plan ahead is to paint the front of the frame with the Signal Red I picked up from Automotive Touchup. Since the time change has made daylight sparse after work and I don't want to wait until the weekend, I intend to make a poor excuse for a paint booth in the garage so I can paint the frame without getting overspray all over everything. I know how I want to do it in my head, so we'll see how that translates to reality!

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