During the fall of 2001 I noticed my engine had a skip. A compression test revealed that the engine needed some work. I took the engine out for the second time and brought it to Mike Aldrich of Hatfield, Mass.
A week later Mike called telling me he had found a leaky head gasket. You can see the discoloration between two pairs of cylinders in the photo above. Along with the bad head gasket, there were worn valves and various other isses. With the engine out, I thought I "Might As Well" having Mike go through the whole engine.
With the motor out and expecting a new coat of paint, I wanted to dress up the transmission too. Using a piece of Rob English's 51 GMC Engine with original paint, I was able to get a close color match.
It was mixed with Dupont Nason Full Thane 2K Urethane, 5470 IBD, General Motors Code 514. I like the color much better than the Bill Hirsch Red I had originally used.
While I had the motor out, I thought I "Might As Well" address a nagging tranny fluid leak I had in the rear of my transmission bell shaft. The old cork seal had been leaking automatic tranny fluid despite my changing the cork seal to a rubber ring.
I spent some time with my local NAPA man, Lance, and found a modern seal that would fit snugly around the mating shaft piece. My local machine shop friend, Carl, did a beautiful job machining a new sleeve and press fit it on to the rear of my bell shaft. The new seal then pressed into the rear of the machined sleeve. My tranny fluid leak was hopefully in the history books.
Mike Aldrich called about a month after I gave him the motor to say it was ready. I had him re-assemble the entire motor. He also primed it with high temp Cast Blast primer. Mike also planed my intake manifold and Fenton Headers so they would fit nicely against the head. When I arrived at his shop he had it shrink wrapped and ready to go..
On the way home from Hatfield, I dropped my headers off in Hartford , CT. I had spoken to the guys at Airborn Coatings about getting my Fenton Exhaust Headers powdercoated. I had painted them with Eastwood hi-temp mainifold paint last winter. After one season the finish was coming off. Airborn uses an aluminum coating that they guarantee for three years. After a week the UPS man dropped them at my house looking great..
I painted the block with my snazzy new paint and mounted a few parts. After talking to a few guys about a hesitation problem, I decided to run a pair of hot water lines to my intake manifold to pre-heat it in the absence of my stock exhaust manifold..
Bending, flaring, and fitting the coolant lines was certainly a lot easier with the engine on the stand. For me, bending lines is slow and tedious work.
Beware the antics of the Old Car Kook. Who needs an engine lift when you have the Kook ?
My friend Ken from work offered to help us on engine drop in day. Keeping the engine from banging into the firewall and inner fenders was tricky, it was good to have extra help.
Filling the torus on a Hydra-Matic can be slow work. I used some high tech equipment to help out.
Rob used his wide angle lens for a shot at the end of the day.
I spent another day or so hooking up the exhaust, linkages, fuel lines , etc. I primed the oil pump with a homemade shaft and a half inch drill and then cranked it over. After adjusting the timing once or twice, the motor fired up.. I took the truck for a hoodless drive around the block to keep the oil pressure up high.
The next day was spent tightening up a few minor leaks, adjusting the timing and carb, and re-adjusting the valves. The new seal on the bell shaft does not leak, the hesitation is gone, and the motor runs much nicer than before the rebuild.