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wrenches instead of chisels, or why I like sawdust better than grease

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Forum topic by woodworker59 posted 08-02-2012 03:01 AM 1079 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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woodworker59

560 posts in 851 days


08-02-2012 03:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: humor frustration

Just thought I would drop a note explaining whats been happening up here in the northeast woods.. I have been waylayed from woodworking by a beast of an engine overhaul in my trusty old F150.. she has been very good to me up to this point, 280,000 plus on her but alas she has coughed and gasped and died.. thought that it was a head gasket, so after 4 hours of work just to get to the valve cover, I commenced removal of the head.. well as things go on engines with this much age and millage on them its a 1988, managed to break off a head bolt trying to take the head off. this resulted in two days of drilling and tapping to get the threads ready for a new bolt..so now I am ready for the reassembly….So I take the wire wheel to the head to get it all cleaned up to put back on, took all the springs off the valves, checked the seats and installed new valve guide seals..get down to the last exhaust valve and think I may see something.. sure enough, cracked….ERRRRR…. took it to the local machine shop to see if there is anything they can do for me.. he said he could attach a short piece of chain and I could use it for an anchor on my boat..quite nice of him… Well I needed to check my options.. $400.00 for a reconditioned head or $150.00 for a 1989 engine that
has been sitting in storage since 1990. being the Yankee that I am, I of course chose the engine for $150.00. put a wrench on the crankshaft and it turned so it must be good.. Brought the new engine home, pretty much went through it as much as i could, checked the rod and main bearings, flushed the crankcase, replaced the oil pump, then redid the head like before, all new gaskets, Head, exhaust, intake, front and rear main seal.. etc etc… the whole time there is a hard spot in the engine when you turn it over with a wrench, it will turn, but there is a hard spot.. I thought and my buddy who is also wrench inclined, we have both worked as mechanics in the past, thought that once it turned over a few times it would work it out.. figured it was just a spot of deposits on a cylinder wall or something from sitting.. like I said it would turn, but had a hard spot.. Well got it together and in the cradle, all hooked up and ready to go.. turns out that hard spot was just enough to keep it from turning over fast enough to start.. would rip right over to that spot then stop.. hit the key would go by the spot then zip right over till it hit that spot again and stop.,. after two days of trying everything I could to make it work, decided that I would have to rip it out again and cannibalize two engines to make one that works.. That’s where I stand tonight, right in the middle of taking one out and putting another in… swapping everything from the top of this one on to the other in the hopes that I will have a good one in the end..
will have to replace rod and main bearings in this one due to excessive millage. I have managed to make some nice woodworking tools in between wrenching though, made a real nice maple and black walnut mallet, a cherry spoke shave with a iron from a old cracked one, and a nice 17” fore plane with a white oak body, cherry tote and ash wedge. the iron came from a old coffin plane that like most of the old ones had blown out one side.. will have pics very soon, camera on the fritz at the moment.. Would love to be spending my time working wood, but ya gotta have wheels and mine are sitting still until I get her fixed.. So that where I have been, hopefully you all have fared better than I as of late.. I much prefer sawdust over grease and oil but what are ya gonna do?.. best wishes to all.. be back at it soon.. guess this isint a question, or a poll, just more of me getting it off my chest.. a frustrated woodworker stuck in the land of grease and oil.. Papa

-- Papa@papaswoodworking.com


17 replies so far

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 914 days


#1 posted 08-02-2012 04:25 AM

Which engine was it? If it was a 5.0 or 5.8, I would’ve bought a new set of heads for the old warhorse and thrown in a cam for good measure.

If it was that 4.9 I6… well, I would’ve swapped in a 5.0 or 5.8 LOL.

As it sits right now, I have a engine swap, body work, and general overhaul waiting to happen on my old steed. I’m hoping in the end she’ll be making at least 800 HP… should make for a fun weekend car.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

1559 posts in 884 days


#2 posted 08-02-2012 11:52 AM

I have come to the point in my life that grease monkey work is some one else’s specialty. Unless it is the most minor of issues, I hire it done. Of the three vehicles I have, all are going to see 200,000 very soon yet they all run well and two of them still look good, the 1 ton RAM with Cummins being one. I did replace the ring and pinion in the rear end with some help from a friend and got real lucky with the shims making it a one shot deal.
However, there just isn’t woodwork for hire to be done for me yet. I’m building a set of Mission style stained glass lamps for our Mission style bedroom tables. I cut the glass yesterday and will be working the wood frames today.
I’ve spent last 5 days on a trip to PA. Details on my blog…
http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com/blog
Best of patience to you mechanics.
Dan

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

1819 posts in 840 days


#3 posted 08-02-2012 11:54 AM

Wow, I’m sorry to hear about your current situation. Man, I feel for you. I’ve been in similar, but not this drastic, situations, and I too much rather prefer sawdust to grease. Used to love to work on cars, but knuckle busting isn’t any fun anymore, especially at my age.
I hope all works out well for you, and soon.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4806 posts in 2531 days


#4 posted 08-02-2012 12:31 PM

I gave up on working on cars years ago. Used to do it a lot.

Now if I could just give up on bathroom remodels, I could get back to woodworking. Life gets in the way too often.

Good luck Sir,
Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10785 posts in 1656 days


#5 posted 08-02-2012 12:39 PM

Papa i cant imagine swapping TWO engines out in the wonderfully humid New England weather has been much fun at all. My old man always told me “Chris, you need a little “suck” in your life every now and then. Its like when youve got somethin in your eye and it wont come out for hours. All of a sudden it breaks free. Tell me there aint a better feeling than that”. Once you hear that old warhorse fire up and you’re able to make sawdust again, you, my friend, will be back in woodworking bliss. If youre ever in a real bind just let me know, always willing to help out buddy.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Don W's profile

Don W

15017 posts in 1217 days


#6 posted 08-02-2012 02:12 PM

that’s a good perspective Chris. As long as you don’t have to raise the meaning of little in a little suck, life ids good.

I haven’t been inside a car motor in a while. I open the hood on my truck and its like a foreign beast.

With 280,000 miles, a little grease work can be expected, but getting back to the sawdust will be a treat for sure.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4806 posts in 2531 days


#7 posted 08-02-2012 06:24 PM

Hey Papa,
I was just sent this link to a video, and thought you might enjoy. A stop action engine rebuild in 2 minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daVDrGsaDME&feature=youtu.be

Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View woodworker59's profile

woodworker59

560 posts in 851 days


#8 posted 08-02-2012 08:47 PM

Where to start, it was the 4.9 or as I know it the 300 in line six. these are mostly bullet proof and have had many of them over the years that ran far beyond what the rest of the truck was capable of. Its been quite a few years since I dove in this deep on one, have not worked as a wrench for over 15years, closer to 20. It is a lot like riding a bike though, once you dig in you remember what goes where and why.. It has also given me a chance to spread a little knowledge to my son in law who is completely clueless. Still not sure if he knows which end of the wrench is which, but trying to enlighten him the best I can. Just to much frustration on this one, one thing after the next has gone wrong.. did find the hard spot in the “new” engine, there were some teeth broke off the fiber gear on the cam, in these engines, they use a gear to gear timing system with no chain. so to eliminate the noise associated with gear drive timing, they use a fiber gear on the cam and a steel one on the crank.. while disassembling the engine for removal, noticed something strange in the intake side of the head on cylinder #3.. fiberglass… I needed to replace the intake manifold on the engine and went and picked one from a junker here local. never saw anything in it, and just bolted it on.. big mistake.. always look and inspect closely..there was a rats nest in one pipe of intake,, which was of course sucked into cylinder when I tried to start it.. not sure who is more pissed off, me or the rat.. he is dead, which is good because at this point I would have made him pay before he died..(just kidding)
so now I have one piston welded to the cylinder wall with melted fiberglass…. Just when you thought you had seen everything.. So after much slamming and banging and grunting etc etc.. I have the “new” one out and torn down.. the “old” one reassembled and ready to be put back in.. really wish I had the money to spend on rod and main bearings, but not going to happen.. I did check the ones on this engine and they show wear, but its all even wear so there is no major problem with crankshaft.. hopefully by this time tomorrow will have this engine back in cradle and on my way to running with the pack again.. If I don’t ever have to rebuild another engine it will be to soon.. though I do owe my buddy some serious wrench time for all his help.. ( he just informed me today that he has a 455 big block to drop in a Pontiac something he just picked up.. so I guess I will be horsing in some big horsepower in the not to distant future.. The weather has been brutal for this kind of work, I am outside and its been 90 degrees plus with massive humidity pretty much everyday..going through 4 or 5 shirts a day.. wife in not liking that much.. mostly because they are covered with GREASE… did I say I liked sawdust more than grease.. the worst part of all this is that I have a woodworking job on hold until I can get this finished.. been asked to make two benches for outside a friends gas station.. sort of adirondack style.. Thanks all for the positive input, glad I could get this off my chest so to speak.. still looking forward to making dust instead of smoke…
by the by… Loved the link to the engine rebuild… took as much work to make the video as it did to rebuild the little four banger.. a greasy handshake to all… Papa

-- Papa@papaswoodworking.com

View AKSteve's profile

AKSteve

434 posts in 953 days


#9 posted 08-02-2012 10:23 PM

So Sorry to hear about your plight. I have a 97 Jeep wrangler with 214k on it, I have replaced the Tranny, Exhaust, various intake switches and last winter my ignition froze and broke when i tried to start her. So I jury rigged the ignition so I can start it with a button, but I still have to have the key to unlock the steering wheel. it’s a little 4 banger, I hope I can rebuild it next year.

that Rat must have been one stinky little critter especially from the head Yuck! hopefully you can piece together and get her going again. I would rather be making sawdust too. but something to be said for maintaining your own. good luck !

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

View woodworker59's profile

woodworker59

560 posts in 851 days


#10 posted 08-03-2012 11:45 PM

Hey Steve, there wasn’t a whole lot left of the rat, just as well I had enough problems. Sure do miss Alaska, spent some time up there in the late 70’s.. Ketchican ( is that how you spell it?) never seen anywhere that can compare with the beauty of Alaska… man oh man.. I like working with the wrenches, or at least I used to, just at my age now its not nearly as much fun as it used to be.. time catching up with me I guess,, should be thanking God that I still have the ability to do the work instead of complaining I suppose.. well hopefully will be listening to her purr by this time tomorrow, was just to hot and miserable to work on it much to day.. thanks for the words of encouragement.. Papa

-- Papa@papaswoodworking.com

View William's profile

William

9016 posts in 1492 days


#11 posted 08-07-2012 11:31 AM

I’m sorry I missed this thread before you tore down both engines.
Just based on what you have said, I agree that it was probably just a “hard spot” on the donor engine. It happens often in engines that have been sitting up. Hook up the battery, hook up a battery charger with twenty four volt capabilities on it, fire it up, about half a minute of running would have taken care of the hard spot and you’d have been good to go.
That being said, it is better in the long run to go ahead and clean everything up anyway inside the cylinders. That hard spot is basically a tiny ring of surface rust that forms just above the rings where the pistons sat still for too long.
Often, people jump to recommending offing the 300 I6 for a V8. I disagree. The I6 usually doesn’t have the speed of a V8, but it will out pull it any day of the week. For a truck, they are (arguably I admit) the best engine Ford ever put in them. I’ve never been able to explain why, but the 300 is just one of those engines that seem to always take any and all abuse you can throw at them and keep on ticking.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 914 days


#12 posted 08-07-2012 03:24 PM

I hope you went ahead and pulled the oil pan while replacing that fiber gear. There are usually small bits of fiber packing the oil pump pickup. Also, don’t damage that thrust washer/retainer behind the fiber gear when pulling it off. You’re probably not going to find another one anywhere near you.

William, I disagree with your “I6 is better than V8” opinion. :-) I love the 302 and it’s dirt cheap to fix and run. You’re right if we’re talking stock to stock. The I6 will get it done all day long. The 302 with a few cheap parts (heads, cam, intake) will better that pretty easily. That’s just my personal preference though.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View AKSteve's profile

AKSteve

434 posts in 953 days


#13 posted 08-07-2012 03:56 PM

I think it’s spelled Ketchikan, that is way down south! I still loving turning a wrench I have always been a motorhead LOL. I had a 68 RS Camaro when I was in high school back in the 70’s and worked on Jets and Helicopters in the Navy and did some work for Boeing out in Seattle for a while. Just recently built a harley from the ground up, did a 1200 conversion and bobbed out a sporster, just sold it for a tidy little profit too! Hopefully your cruising down the road today in your Truck!

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

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William

9016 posts in 1492 days


#14 posted 08-07-2012 06:07 PM

Doss, the I6 vs. V8 discussion can take on a life of it’s own quickly.
My love for the 300 I6 stems from owning several of them. They are work horses. They will take all that you throw at them and beg for more.
My last I6 was in an old ‘84 F150 I had a few years ago. One day the oil light came on. I pulled over and found I had oil shooting out of the dipstick tube. I immediately thought it was the PCV valve. I was wrong. When all was said and done, blowby was causing it. The blowby was caused be the two piston that had broken skirts and the fact that every ring in that engine was broken. Of course I didn’t know this until I broke it down. After installing new rings, bearings and such though, I put that engine back together and run it another eighty thousand miles before selling that truck.

Now about the 302.
I was a mechanic for thirteen years. I often had people ask about building up engines. I always recommended 302s for Fords and 350s for Chevys. I recommended these engine for the exact reason you mentioned. Aftermarket parts are cheap and easily obtainable. Sure you can build up any engine. Some engines though, like the 300, you have to either break the bank to buy the parts or custom build them, and most people don’t exactly have a fully equipped machine shop in their basements.
So, if we’re talking about building up over stock, then yes, you are 110% correct that the 302 is the way to go.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View AKSteve's profile

AKSteve

434 posts in 953 days


#15 posted 08-07-2012 07:37 PM

I had a straight 6 in a 65 ford fairlane, that motor was a beast you couldn’t kill it! as a matter of fact I totalled that car, there wasn’t much left after I wrecked it. LOL I pulled the motor and put it into an old Pickup and it kept right on rolling!.

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

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