Sunday, May 11, 2008

Transplant time

We're planning a trip over to South Australia for most of July, so I thought it might be a good idea to get BOB checked out. I put it into a mechanic I trust asking him to have a look at a few things that were bugging me (noisy tappets, rear brakes, etc).

It's thirty years old this year, and has turned 125,000 km on the clock, so perhaps I shouldn't be that surprised to get a less than glowing report on BOB's health. It turned out that compression on one cylinder was worryingly low, and was pointing to problems with piston rings. Given the age of the engine it seemed best to take the plunge and get the whole thing rebuilt, and throw in a reconditioned gearbox for good measure.

I've spent enough time reading about other people's rebuilds to be a bit daunted by the whole thing. I've had lots of nice ideas about how to upgrade things for a little more power, but wasn't really intending on doing it for a while - and then to spend a bit of time, research it and collect the right parts. But we don't have time for that if we want to take BOB around SA in 6 week's time. So the 2.7 pi with roller rockers, top notch exhaust manifold, blah de blah will have to wait for now... I'm only going for the easy and cheaper stuff, based around a Mk1 Pi block and head.

The engine was sourced from another Hobart Triumph guy - Glen Johnson - who had it spare. He'd been told it had done minimal kms since a rebuild before he took it out of a wreck, but he'd never opened it up to see what it was like inside. Seeing as it was a Mk1 block and head I was hoping it would pop in with a new headgasket and save me a small fortune. Head off revealed the "recent rebuild" was done by somebody who probably shouldn't have bothered. Glazed bores, heavily carbonised valves and pistons, some weird applications of araldite, damaged cam lobes and unfortunately not the most desirable crank.

Cam Lobes
Damaged Cam Lobe

"onion rings" on cam lobe

I'd been agonising about what to go for in the new engine, but this kind of helped me decide priorities. The machine shop can give everything a good clean up, the cam reground (TR5 spec.) unleaded head conversion, bores honed, flywheel lightened. I would have like to have for balanced everything, too, but the budget will ony go so far.

We're still using BOB in the meantime (in fact I'm tempted to thrash the arse of the current engine before it comes out ... just to make sure). There's some great big Yankee ship in town (hello sailors!) at the moment, the USS Tarawa, so we had a peak from a good vantage point today - appropriately enough at the Hobart Cenotaph. According to the local rag "The 250m vessel carries 35 aircraft including AV-8B Harrier jets and Cobra, Hueys, Super Stallion and Sea Knight helicopters" ... and 3,000 American sailors, heaven forbid.

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!

USS Tarawa

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