Sunday, January 25, 2015

Intake Manifold On

We were back at it on Sunday. Our next step was to reinstall the intake manifold. A friend had offered to give us a hand with it because it's heavy but since we were there with gaskets ready, we decided to give it a try ourselves.

One note about the photo shown above. It's taken from video and it appears that the engine is rusty. It isn't. Our lighting consists of four clip-on lights, each with one of those compact fluorescent bulbs. They give off a weird light that I have to set the camera to compensate for and I haven't bothered to do that so far. Anyway, everything is shiny and bright.

The manifold is more awkward than heavy. There's really no place to grab the back of it without getting your fingers between the manifold and the block. After putting on the four gaskets, being careful to add some extra sealant at the corners, we put the manifold in place. And yes, we used Permatex Black Gasket Maker on all the surfaces before we started.

On this particular engine, the position of the mounting bolt holes makes putting the new bolts in really time consuming. We've shown a little of that in the video. Only an offset box wrench seems to work on the five or six most difficult ones. Figuring out how to torque them down will be a challenge. But, everything about this job has been a challenge to some degree, so we'll figure that out too.

Our video is short, which I'm sure most of our friends are thankful for.

As we write this early evening on January 25, we're being bombarded with news of a big blizzard heading our way. Yikes, I'll bet the supermarket is out of bread. What do people do with all that bread? This is New England, after all. It snows here. Get used to it!

Okay, we took a weekend off

It was cold and we thought we'd be more productive if we didn't do anything on the boat and instead, stayed home and enjoyed ourselves. And that's what we did.

First, of course, we had a little shopping to do, but once home, we dived into making a good dinner or two. Frances makes great eggplant and while it's time consuming to cook, it's also really good. Bill was there to help, although how useful he was is up for debate.

Then we were going to fire up our old bread machine and create a nice loaf. This machine was given to us perhaps 20 years ago by someone who had received it as a wedding gift and never used it, so God knows how old it is. It has worked for us many times in the past, creating cheese bread that will melt in your mouth and appear within days on your waistline. Our kind of bread!

Our selection for today was some kind of nut-fruit-chocolate bread, the recipe for which we found in a newspaper. Sounded great. We poured in the ingredients and pushed the "on" button. The machine turned on and began kneading the dough, so we left it and moved on. How bad can it be, we thought?

After preparing the stuff for the bread machine, our plan was to cook one of our favorite meatloafs. (That must be meatloaves, although that sounds strange.) This recipe is also one we must have clipped from a newspaper, given its title: "Suzy's Sweet and Sour Meatloaf."

Actually, it was pretty good. Very tasty with mashed potatoes.

We've attached a pretty silly video. Probably time to hit the delete when you see it.

The output of the bread machine was not so good. It yielded a loaf that was tough and almost tasteless, although the squirrels in our backyard enjoyed it.

The video is silly but, it's the middle of the winter so that happens.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Colder Than a Witch's T*t

It snowed twice this week but nothing much in terms of accumulation. The second time it snowed, the temperature took a dip from 40 degrees down to about 10 at night. Saturday morning when we arrived at the boat, it was 20 degrees in the sun. No big deal. We can handle that easily. Well, that's what we thought.

The inside of the shed was really cold and even with our little electric heater going, the cabin of the boat was like a deep freeze. We set up the lights and put on our blue plastic gloves with our "fagans" (wool gloves with the ends of the fingers cut off) over them.  Even then, our torque wrench felt like ice. The picture above shows Bill beating on a bottle of dish washing liquid with a wrench. Hard as a rock.

But that's enough complaining.

Our concern was that the rocker arm shafts were torqued down properly. The small block Chrysler engine is unlike the GM small block in that there are no studs on which you mount each rocker arm. Instead, the rocker arms are slid onto a shaft. That shaft bolts down to the head. There are spacers that align the rocker arms properly along that shaft.

The specs calls for the shaft (with five bolts and spacers) be torqued down to 200 inch-lbs. That's 16.6 ft. lbs. and we torqued each side down to very close to that spec.

The next step will be to re-mount the intake manifold. While we were contemplating that, our friend Stu paid a visit. He's the guy who helped us get the heavy parts back up onto the boat two weeks ago. Stu is a GM guy but could see that I was going to have to place the intake manifold back down in exactly the right spot on the gaskets. No sliding around. He volunteered to give us a hand with that delicate move and we're going to take him up on his offer.

The intake manifold gaskets are interesting. Fel Pro's marine intake gasket set for this engine has end gaskets that have a peel-off sticky back. The directions have about 500 words of caution about mounting them, particularly where they overlap the side gaskets. We asked about that on the Chrysler Engine Forum where it was suggested that we also put a very thin film of gasket sealant over both the front and rear gaskets. Apparently, others have had problems sealing the end gaskets so we'll take their advice.

Then there are the side gaskets.

Nice quality, but they show their heritage from Chrysler truck engines. Those metallic pieces in the center of each gasket have to be installed in each gasket, which we did. They are for an exhaust gas crossover that is meant to heat the bottom of the carb and improve combustion, particularly during cold starts. They are completely useless for marine applications. In fact, Fel Pro makes marine intake gasket sets for GM small block engines that block off those passages. Unfortunately, nothing like that for Chrysler small block engines That we've been able to find, so we'll have to use these.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New heads on, finally

It's a good thing that we're familiar with planning because this job has needed a lot of it. Sourcing the parts was fairly easy. Bolts, gaskets, heads, manifolds and sealant were all ordered and delivered, but getting all the heavy stuff (heads, exhaust manifolds) from our house the the boatyard and then getting it all up onto the boat was a new problem.

That last lift from the ground to the swim platform was, frankly, beyond us.

We asked our boating friend, Stu Noelte, (who no longer has a boat but is the art teacher for nearby Portland High School) to give us a hand. He showed up right on time and we lugged the parts from our station wagon to the boat. Amazing how easy it can be for two people.

Now it was time to begin assembling everything.

The last thing to come off was the first to go back on, quite naturally, and that was the heads. We struggled with getting the outboard head in place but eventually did it. The inboard head was a lot easier and we were able to bolt them both down. Torque for each bolt (according the Chrysler) was first, finger tight, then 50 ft.lbs. in a particular sequence, then a final 105 ft.lbs on each of the 20 bolts. (We said 120 ft.lbs on the video but that was wrong).

I think we've forgotten what 105 ft. lbs. really means. That, at least for us, was a big pull, and we'll be sending out for new underwear soon. But, we got it done.

On Sunday, we mounted the rocker arm assemblies. We followed the exact sequence we used in disassembly and every pushrod, rocker arm and bolt is back in its original position. We added Permatex Assembly Lube to every friction point. We also vacuumed out the valley under the intake manifold and soaked up all the oil that was trapped in there. That removed a lot of sediment that we'd just as soon not get into our new heads.

Next up is reinstalling the intake manifold, the last big, heavy engine component, and we'll take a whack at that next weekend.

Good Advice
Before we left our summer slip and knowing that we were going to do this head replacement project over the winter, we asked a good friend if he had any advice. Our dockmate, Ron, took the time to tell us about some things that we'd want to pay careful attention to because he knew a lot about Mopar engines.

Ron crossed the bar in early December and he is missed.

Every time we set a gasket (be careful with certain of them, he told us) or turn in a new bolt (you need all new bolts, just do it, he said) we think of him.

Don't know how much more we can say except thanks. We think of you often, Ron, and will continue to do so for as long as we're around.