If it's not one thing, it's another


01/23/1904 03:46 PM

First, a question, often answered here, but I haven't a archive.
Good engine break-in (post rebuild) routine?
Flash back to last May, a beautiful morning, cruising down Hwy 400 in
Atlanta to work. Coasting down the hill to the tollbooth, I notice the temp
unusually high, climbing visibly. Hmmm. Pay the toll, and accelerate up the
hill on the other side. All the sudden, I have no power, and the
engine...oh, man...it's running, but, oh man....it sounds like a cardboard
box full of broken glass. Manage to drive it to the next exit. It dies
unless I'm at almost full throttle. Have to start it twice, get it into the
parking lot at Home Depot, and call AAA. Goes to local shop, motor comes
out. Looks fine on the outside. Oil smells burnt, but otherwise, fine.
Opinions abound as to what's happened. Take the motor to a rebuilder someone
recommended. Who will remain nameless as of yet.
So I go to the shop when they start tearing it down. Out comes the oil
(ooooogh.) Off comes the screen. It is full of shredded main bearing. (Sound
of cash register here: "cha-ching!") I can't bear to watch, and leave. He
calls me later with the diagnosis, which I can barely hear through the
"Cha-Ching!!!s" Busted crank. Case- total loss. Spun main bearing. Bent rod.
Basically, start over.
We come up with a plan, and I wait. Just got my motor about a week ago. 912
case, big bore. Slightly warmed street cam, lightened flywheel, Webers. Went
into the car day before yesterday. They ran it for a couple of hours on the
test stand, and report it to be "a powerful little mother" I get in, crank
it up, and get a quarter of a mile before it starts missing. Several miles
later it's running on 3, then 2, then 3. Awww, damn.
Get home, pull the plugs, the first two are black as night. The third was
mysteriously missing its washer, and the gap was ZERO. That explains a lot.
Check the jets for clogs, and make some calls. (thank you, Fellman and
Pellow) general diagnosis was that it's either running too rich or that
because it's so new, the rings aren't yet doing their thing, so I'm burning
a little oil, which is fouling the plugs (which I believe is the culprit
now) I'm told, wait and see until you've got a hundred, one-fifty miles on
it, and it'll clear up.
So tonight I picked up some shorter/hotter plugs, and put them in (aching
back, hamstrings, skinned knuckles) Fire her up. Other than some valve
clatter, it's purring. Take her for a couple of laps of the neighborhood,
real easy. Running nice. Get brave, drive the twenty minutes to my parent's
house, again, real easy. Running nice. Get there, have a snack, goodnight
folks, climb in....
Click. Battery's dead. Awww man. If it's not one thing...you know the rest.
After all, the car DID sit for three months. Ugh. Hooked up the charger,
hitched a ride home, and checked my e-mail. I'll let you know tomorrow if it
Markham Cronin

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