Slow Train Coming Pt. 1   Leave a comment

When we bought JP I never expected that one of my main problems would be dealing with snow in north Alabama. As most of you know if you live close to me, we’ve had three or four measurable snow events since Christmas Day. I don’t remember a winter like this in a LONG time. Progress on the restoration has been almost as slow as the updates to Slick 66. But we have been progressing to the point where we’re about ready to put the engine back into the truck and see if the clicking noise is fixed. Dad said he may squall (that means cry for those of you above the Mason-Dixon Line) if it’s still there. I’ll be honest, the way my luck runs I’m kind of expecting it but maybe the new cam and lifters, etc. will do the trick.

After we FINALLY got the motor cleaned up and painted, the rebuild has gone pretty well. Dad has taught me a lot and I feel like I at least know what a lot of the parts are now even if I may not understand how they work or what they do. But in the interest of full disclosure, we did have three minor aggravations putting the motor back together (so far).

  1. Block valley pan – I had just torqued the last bolt on the intake manifold and was looking for a place to lay my torque wrench when I spotted a piece of metal on the other side of my lawn mower. “Dad, what’s that by the mower?” I asked knowing the answer. “That’s the pan that should be under the manifold,” he said. There was nothing we could do now but unbolt the manifold and stick it in there. I’m glad I hadn’t put the torque sequence up yet for the manifold.
  2. Oil pump shaft – We had already put in the new oil pump, bolted up the oil pan, primed the oil pump, and filled the oil filter to try and get good oiling on initial start up. We got the replacement oil pump shaft, fitted it to the distributor, and lowered it into place but couldn’t get it to line up with the pump gears. It was then the shaft slipped out of the distributor and fell into the oil pan through the only place we couldn’t retrieve it from using pliers, magnets, duct tape, prayers, and holy water. After draining the oil and unbolting the pan, we finally recovered the shaft. Of course this meant having to clean up stray oil, reseal with RTV for the gasket, and bolt the pan back on. But we did eventually get the shaft into the pump.
  3. Broken fuel pump outlet – It started with me saying “Dad, can we do something about the fuel line. As we put this thing back together I want to do something about the rat’s nest of wiring and hoses. Can we shorten the fuel line up some?” “Sure, I’ve got a tube bender and flare tool at home. I’ll take the line home with me and work on it,” Dad offered. A couple of minutes later I hear an “uh oh”. When I asked him what happened he told me he just bought me a new fuel pump. The pump’s outlet had bent pretty badly as he removed the line due to the fitting threads being stuck. I knew the fuel pump was a replacement so this little mishap just gave me the excuse I needed to swap it with a new one. The worst part of this episode was arguing with Dad to keep him from buying it since he broke the old one.

I’ve also been cleaning up the engine bay in preparation of putting the motor back in. With the exception of the wiring and cables, which I’ll work on later, I think it looks pretty good. I like the flat black enough that I think it would look pretty good as a paint job until we can afford a real one (it would give JP an old-school hot rod look) but that was vetoed by Hannah. She likes the rust-colored primer. The plan right now is to finish up some rust removal and painting on the parts of the frame and floor pan I can’t reach once the motor is in place. I used some Bondo for the first time on the bottom of the floor pan where I had some rust issues but I haven’t looked at it after it cured. Dad said it looked pretty good when he was sanding it so I’m looking forward to seeing how it turned out. I hope to finish this up pretty quick and then shoot for getting the motor back in within the next week or so.

Here are some pictures of the progress we’ve made since the last update.

New timing gears and chain and also new intake manifold gasket and painted manifold. I hadn’t cleaned the gasket up yet and you can see it peeking out from under the manifold.

Side view of the painted block and after installing the timing chain cover, harmonic balancer, oil pan and oil filter mount. No gasket clean up just yet.

Remember what the motor looked like after we pulled it from JP?

The motor as it sits right now and pretty much ready to be put back into JP. We still have to put new gaskets and ARP bolts on the valve covers but we’ll wait on that until we make sure everything is oiling correctly. I’m pretty pleased with the way it’s turned out so far.

JP’s good ol’ three-on-the-tree transmission as it came out of the truck (and into Sheryl’s flower bed but that’s a different story) and after Dad got a hold of it with a wire wheel and elbow grease.

The same transmission after a fresh paint job and ready to go back to work.

Before shot of the Hooker Competition header in original condition and after some wire and grinding wheel work.

Here are a couple of shots of the headers after a little bit of flat aluminum header paint.

That’s it for this update. I’m gonna try and get part 2 on here later this week to show how the engine bay is shaping up as we prepare to reinstall the motor.


Posted February 28, 2011 by jglee920 in Engine

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