It's Funny Because It's Racist

Spent most of the afternoon cleaning off the crankshaft, heads, timing gears, caps and timing chain.  As with the engine block, you need to make sure the heads are free of debris before fitting them to the engine to ensure no nasty bits of metal or rust knock around the inside of the engine and generally wreak havoc.
While I was out there one of my new neighbors came out to chat with me and talk shop a bit.  He just got an old Chevy he's been wrenching on.  We started chatting about work and places we used to live when eventually he said something like, "At my old place I couldn't leave my tools out too long, cause my neighbors there were Hispanic."

Oh boy... so I told him that I am Hispanic and he back pedals away from what he said.

The issue isn't that he's racist, as I suspect most of us are.  The issue is that he doesn't know that he's racist.  I mean, you probably have some biases too (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/selectatest.html), Lord knows I do.  But to not know about them is the worst kind of mistake.  Like an engine, you can't fix what you don't know is wrong.

My neighbor was probably just associating visible crimes with people of color, which is probably a fair association.  People of color are generally poorer than white counter-parts and poor people generally commit the more visible kinds of crimes (theft, fights, disorderly conduct etc.).  White people commit crimes too, but they are of the "download movies illegally", or "abuse my family", or something like that.  Those kinds of crimes are not as visible and go unnoticed by society and therefore don't get the stigma that "people of color" do.

Aside: that's really a dumb phrase, "people of color".  It just implies that "white" is "normal" and "other" requires some kind of additional nomenclature.  Everyone has a color.

In any case, as I told my neighbor: trash comes in all colors.


Keep Calm and Carry On

Spoke to The Machinist about my crack.  His conclusion: not important, keep going.
Also he suggested putting a stud in the hole with some thread-locker for added protection.

Next step, I need to get a set of push-rods and rocker arms so I can test assemble the rotating package.

From bottom-left clockwise to bottom-right: Engine valves, valve springs, rocker arm, push-rod, lifters, cam shaft.

And from there, I need to get a hold of some solid lifters, as mine are hydraulic and the spring-tension in the valve springs is too high to use hydraulic lifters in test fitting... that probably sounds confusing, let me see if I can find a video that explains what I mean. Yup here is one:
So... car people, what kind of rods/rockers do I get?


You Never Wash Up After Yourself

I know, I know... I said it was "business time" and I didn't do anything. Well, I was busy. I went to Germany and was generally occupied with life. But tonight, I cleaned the engine block for test-fitting.

To do this, first I had to assemble the necessary cleaning elements:
Lacquer thinner, carb cleaner, WD-40, Chem-dip, engine oil, engine brush kit, a bucket and various rags.
Also I had to hook up my newest purchase, a siphon sprayer:
You see the block needs to be real clean before you put any parts on it. Like, no dirt, and try to get all the rust off too. Just a few specks of dirt in the wrong place, then when you wind the engine up to 6k and things get all hot, and you could really do some serious damage to all those moving parts. So, the engine needs to be real clean.

First you hit it with the lacquer thinner. Use a stiff bristle brush and really give it a once over. Then stick the the siphon part of the siphon sprayer in the lacquer thinner (the long blue hose is connected to the air compressor) and spray air/solvent into the nooks and crannies of the engine.

Once you do all that, it's time to get the engine brushes out and clean out all the passages for the oil and water that flow through a healthy engine.

Then it's time to brush the cylinder walls. You're supposed to put lacquer thinner on a rag and wipe down the cylinder, then use the biggest engine brush (you can see a bit of it in the picture above) and keep washing it down with solvent as you brush. Then check the cylinder with a white towel and make sure you don't see any residue left. Mine were pretty dirty/rusty:
After they are all clean, coat them with WD-40. Next use a really soapy solution of water and laundry detergent to once again clean out the block; then hit it with the siphon sprayer. This time blow soapy water though. Then use the small engine brushes to clean the fiddly parts (oil galleries etc.). Finally rinse the soap off, spray with WD-40 and run your fingers though the engine looking for any sign of dirt.
If you find any (I did the first time). Redo the soap wash steps and check again.

Finally my engine block was clean.
HOWEVER, I did find a crack in the block. I'm not sure if it's a big deal because it's in a bolt hole that is on the front right of the engine. Look at the following diagram, the bolt-hole in question would be the one on the bottom right of the picture.
Here are pictures of it:
So, car people: is this a deal breaker for the engine block? Do I need a new one, or can I proceed?
(Here's a song for you while you answer)


It's Business Time

Got the parts back from the shop ($180).

Ordered some ARP flywheel bolts ($35... that seems a bit high for six small hunks of metal).

Time to power-wash the block, lather on the lacquer thinner, and brush the engine.

In other words: It's Business Time.


Balancing Act

I was at the machine shop yesterday.

Their old balancing machine went on the fritz, and had to order a new one.

Should be in this week, and my parts back to me in another week.

Tick tock, tick tock.


Clutch Play

About $433 dollars later, I'll be getting the following parts in the post soon:
 Then to balance the American steel and reassembly can start in earnest.


What is You, Ignorant?

Indeed, I am.  I called Jegs a couple weeks ago to talk parts.  After the call I wrote this e-mail:

To Whom it May Concern,

I’d like you to know that I sympathize with two undeniable facts:
      1I don’t know much about cars, in fact the blog I keep detailing the restoration of my car is called “Doing It Wrong” because I’m undertaking this project as a learning experience, and I’m bound to get a lot of things wrong.
      2) Everyone has bad days… and usually when that happens customers complain.  And it’s a rare thing when a customer compliments a good thing rather than points out a bad one.
That being said, my service today was less than helpful.

I’m building a 383 from a small block Chevy and was informed by the machine shop that because I’m switching to a manual from an automatic that I’ll need a flywheel and pressure plate.  Having focused my attention on the engine alone, I hadn’t put any effort into researching what flywheel and pressure plate combo would be right for me (or what sizes they come it, what manufacturers make them, etc).  Hoping to get some guidance from one of your associates, I called Jegs this afternoon.

After conveying that I intend to switch to a manual, am building 383 and admitting that I don’t know anything about flywheels and pressure plates, I was met with, “So you don’t know what you’re building?”.  Which, I admit, is partially correct.  I really don’t know anything about the interface between the transmission and the engine, which is part of the reason why I called. I’m no expert, but your company claims to employ them.  What I needed what guidance; what I got was indignation.

As I stated, I don’t know much, and my ignorance of the subject surely impacted my ability to communicate my needs.  What I do know is that when I’m helping someone who is not as technically advanced in a subject as I am I ask questions and try to explain terms in as basic a fashion I can without sounding condescending.  I often use the phrase “is all of this clear?”, or “can I explain any of that further?”  I would hope that building a relationship with your customers who are trying to foster a budding hobby that could potentially lead to future orders would be a priority for your company.  Today’s service does not seem to indicate that.

I hope your business is doing well in these harder economic times and I hope that future customers’ needs are better met than my own.
I was called back within the hour, and directed to a senior tech guy, who was nice enough.  Although, I didn't have enough money to get all the parts, so I'm waiting till my tax return comes.


On The Fly

Talked to the machine shop.  I need a fly wheel and a pressure plate for the proposed transmission so they can balance my stuff (when Bob gets better).

I didn't really know what those things were till I looked at this.

Time to call the parts guys (probably Jegs).


Off the Cuff

Took the crank and rods in to the machine shop today.  Turns out that I need to bring all the bits attached to the crank, which are (off the top of my head, and therefore may not be exhaustive): the fly wheel, harmonic balancer, bearing, piston rings, pistons, and the timing sprocket.

Oh, and it turns out the proprietor of the store has torn his rotator cuff and is going to be home for at least a week.  So the parts may be in limbo for a while...


I'm Baby Steppin'

... I'm doin' the work!

I went to the machine shop today to drop off the crank and connecting rods, and talk about the crank timing issue.  But, the sign on the door said "Be right back", and I was late to work, so it will have to wait till next week.


Back In The Saddle Again

Enough hiatus; motorcycle weather has long past; heart on the mend... time to organize the garage.