Engine - Reassembly

December 2003:

Grinding the valves in (new exhaust, original inlets) proved surprisingly easy after the 25 year exposure to the atmosphere.

Replacing the valves proved easier than anticipated and all went back in with new pins and without any difficulty, followed by tappett adjustment 4thou inlet; 6thou exhaust.

when re-checked 328 miles later - two gaps were +2thou, none were smaller

February 2004:

The original fan had been repaired and rebalanced but it really was past it.  If it flew apart it would demolish the radiator - so a new one was purchased from Available Austins

the original distributor cap and leads were well beyond their use-by date

March 2004:

The distributor came out easily and was dismantled. Do note the position of rotor arm and don't turn the engine until you have carefully put the distributor back!  Especially important if the engine has been wrongly assembled in the past -------->>

 ------->> I found that the timing marks at top dead centre on the flywheel are not that clearly marked and there is no pointer to ensure accuracy.  LATER - I found that the 1/4 mark is at TDC of cylinders 2 & 3!!!

shiny new distributor cap and leads look smart - hope the coil is OK after 25 years of disuse (and probably 69 years old!).

Firing order is the conventional 1-3-4-2

. . . . and here is the almost finished engine compartment

April 2004:

The starter motor had two broken brush springs so wasn't working.   Also the solenoid was intermittent and got very hot so it was (later) replaced by a new one in Feb 2006.

The new Battery is a modern 75 amp-hour version, but it is black all over ... and has been connected (as original) negative earth.  Although leakage is barely measurable, a safety switch guards the vintage electrical wiring!

But why won't it start?  Reason seems to have been that there was insufficient suction in the cylinders - nothing was altered and, after fully choking the engine . . . . . .

Cylinder compression pressures before starting up were:
1: 50psi  2: 20psi  3: 40psi  4: 20psi.   Spark plugs are Champion D16 set to 18thou gap; distributor gap is set to 15thou.

.... the engine eventually and reluctantly came to life and settled into a steady tickover.  Stick your fingers in here if you don't believe it is running!

Cylinder compression pressures after running for 5 minutes are:
1: 70psi    2: 70psi    3: 70psi    4: 70psi

and much better after 800  miles (May 2006):
1: 92psi    2: 93psi    3: 92psi    4: 93psi

Allowing for the fact that the 1/4 mark was at tdc for cylinders 2&3, the ignition timing was checked using a modern strobe and found to be 20? advanced.  It was reset to 7? advance (9/16" on flywheel) with a further 10? centrifugal advance as the engine was revved up.  Noticeable improvement all round.

At long last - taken down off ramps after 5 months!  -------------------->>>

April 2007:

New spark plugs - NGK type 1110 A-7 fitted and set to 22thou.   (but see cylinder heads page for plugs used in aluminium head).    Compression pressures at 3,500 miles are all equal at 95psi