Painting an Engine, Part III - Cleaning, masking, and priming.

I should have posted this two years ago when I actually did the work.

So now the engine block has been stripped of rust with a wire wheel and some Barkeeper's Friend, and washed down with some gentle warm soapy water. Of course it was immediately dried after washing so as to avoid new rust forming and putting me right back at square one. But as mentioned before, the surface has got to be clean, clean, clean or I'll be a sad puppy 3 months later when the paint is blistering and peeling.

Acetone was previously recommended as a final wipe down. I've also seen websites recommending brake parts cleaner. Reading the label cans of brake parts cleaner reveals that the main ingredient is acetone. As it turns out, acetone is cheaper by volume when purchased straight instead of in aerosol cans. Who knew?

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    accomplished accomplished

This Mortal Coil

This Mortal Coil

Ignition coils and hot cylinders don't get along too well.
Stupid coil, that's what you get for not staying under the tank where you belong.

That ADAC membership I got for christmas? Best gift ever!

x-posted in motorcycles
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    The occasional Vuvuzela outside
  • bowtie

Stupid movie files.

I had a bug up my butt to record some files of the CST running and driving. The engine just screams at highway speeds, primarily because it has no choice with the high rear gears.

Because of complications with Windows Movie Maker (it sucks) I couldn't upload all the files. Seems the stupid program just decides randomly that the files which are plain as day on my HDD .. just aren't there. But only when it comes to saving. And only after it's gone through most of the save procedure.

Anyway, here's a couple for your enjoyment.


Painting an Engine, Part II -- Removal of Rust

In the last entry, I showed what the engine looked like before I started painting it, and what it looked like after a night of cleaning efforts. Well, another night of cleaning effort has gone by, and I have some new things to show for it.

The last bit of cleaning focused on the front and back of the block, which were raw, cast surfaces, with no critical (i.e. deck, main seals) machined mounting surfaces. As could be seen in the last entry, the wire wheel did an admirable job of stripping these surfaces clean. However, some surfaces on an engine block not only need to be clean, but also must have a very flat surface and a very fine finish, because critical seal forms there when the engine is assembled. Examples are the deck, and main seal housings. A wire wheel leaves several tiny gouges and scratches, that's how it works. On the raw cast surfaces of the front and back of the block and various bracket mounting flanges, this isn't an issue. On the deck, this could screw up the surface so it needed to be shaved again. Shaving too much raises compression, which on an turbo engine makes for more detonation, and thus is badness. Thus I need to find a means of cleaning the rest of the block without damaging the surfaces I'm cleaning.

I spoke to the father of one of my friends, who had experience in building engines. He's an old Ford V8 guy, and I'm a Chrysler turbo I4 guy, but being old and experienced, he nonetheless has plenty of wisdom to offer that's applicable, regardless of what kind of engine's being built. When I mentioned the rust problem, he went into his cabinets and pulled out a few things. Amongst them was some stuff called Barkeeper's Friend. I immediately recognized the name. A can of the stuff is stored under the kitchen sink, and I use it when cleaning the copper bottoms of the pots and pans when doing the dishes. The stuff contains oxalic acid, which is very mild, only strong enough to gently clean oxidization. It doesn't etch, pit, corrode or scratch the copper pans, and they come out looking beautifully shiny. I was surprised I didn't think of the stuff before. Anyway, my friend's dad assured me it would not damage the surfaces, and so I figured it was worth a shot.

Time to shut up and show the pics. Collapse )
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    accomplished accomplished

Painting an Engine, Part I -- Background & Cleaning

So, when I decided to get started on my car project again, I decided the first order of business would be to get the engine together. Things like repairing the leather seats, repainting the car to handle the peeling clear coat, etc, are all things that need to be done with the car. However, without a motor, the car isn't going to do anything but sit in my driveway. Sitting for long periods isn't good for a car; a car is supposed to move and go -- that's a car's purpose. Also, I spent a lot of money on getting all the parts together and machined for a high output engine. I can't go leaving those in storage forever either, especially with the way most of it had been stored -- stacked semi-neatly on or near a pallet in a corner of the garage.

When I started to pull all my parts out of storage, and resumed working on the project, I discovered, to my dismay that the parts had become rather dirty. There'd been an infestation of mice, and the dog had decided my car parts would be a good place to shed. So everything was smelling like rodent piss, covered in (fortunately dried) mouse droppings and with dog fur all over it. The engine block casting (which I'd spent nearly $1000 in machine work on), had developed surface rust all over despite my efforts in addition to the above. Needless to say, I was not happy. Almost $1000, potentially down the drain and me back to square one. Loosing all that work would be a good way to loose motivation to continue the project.

As I inspected the block however, I decided the rusting didn't seem that bad at all, and the block could probably be salvaged with a little bit of cleaning effort. I also decided the block needed to be painted. When the block was at the machine shop, it had been hot-tanked so as to strip all the oil and crud off the block so the machining could be done properly. Unfortunately, the hot-tanking stripped a good deal of the old paint off the block as well, making for a rather nasty appearance. There were several areas of bare iron, ready to be corroded by the elements, making the block difficult to keep clean. For a new engine, this will not do. Furthermore, a painted engine block will be much easier to keep clean, as there's far fewer surfaces that have to be kept oiled and free of rust -- the few machined surfaces where things like heads and seal housings bolt up. The paint will keep all the rest of the block protected from rust, water, oil and dirt, which can be cleaned off much easier from a properly painted surface than bare metal.

I've never painted an engine before. However, I have painted before. I've painted building interiors and exteriors, miniature pewter figurines, and art paintings, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting about as well. In all the painting I've ever done, I've observed that probably the key things to a quality paint job are cleanliness, and proper prep work. You can have sloppy application technique, and it will look bad, but if you at least prepped and cleaned your workpiece right, it won't be looking far worse due to overspray, peeling and the like. So, before I even think about painting the engine, be it with rattle cans, an air compressor powered spray can setup, brush, roller, or what have you, I need to get the block clean clean clean clean clean first.

Enough talking -- time for pictures. Collapse )
  • bowtie

And finally...


The Holley...

Is on the truck. With about 30 minutes' tweaking, it's running great. I got a bit better response out of the engine by upping the timing from 10 degrees (wow, that's high to start) to 14 degrees. It definitely has a cam in it. The truck runs out and idles better at that advance, but I swear I could still add more with no issues. I've run it past 4k, and it was still making really good power.

And today, I got the new wheels and tires on the truckCollapse )