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Hacked III: Third Time's The Charm (M90 940 Edition) (prev. Hacked II)

It occurred to me this morning that I haven't made any significant progress on the car in like 24 days.

That's pretty unfortunate, but I guess working on cars be like that.

I tried a few cycles of heating that crank gear with a torch, PB blaster and then trying to move it with a crowbar, and this is about how much progress I made in a week.



Looks like progress, but I'm at the point of diminishing returns, and I can't really get much more leverage with the crowbar. My next day off will probably be spent trying to cut bits off it with a death wheel to try and break it off. If you have a better suggestion (that doesn't involve a time machine to send me back to before I ruined the gear in the first place), let me know.

I also went to rebuild my distributor properly this time (with new points, condenser, cap, rotor and clips)... this happened.



I went a little crazy and decided to paint this up to look all nice and fresh.


I'm probably going to reuse my old spark plug boots and plug wires, because I didn't see any corrosion on them, and I'm a bit lazy and don't want to make my own plug wires. I'm going to be running an MSD box, which you're supposed to use with suppression-core wires, but uh... I'm like 95% sure these are solid copper cores. I'll rectify that when it becomes a problem. I think.


A bit grimy in there.


Brake clean fixes everything!


All my old parts (garbage...or not)


This little bolt is giving me a lot of trouble. I think this adjusts distributor play in the block, so I'm just going to hit it with PB blaster and pray.


Painting didn't quite work out. For one, I was spraying over a mostly unprepped surface (although the black on the lower half worked fine), but also the colour of the paint coming out of the nozzle didn't quite match the cap on the can. So now my dizzy is call girl lipstick red.


As predicted, I bought the wrong parts. Again. I'm not really sure what I expected, since there's no plate or stamp on the side of the distributor to help me identify what model it is.
As you can see, these points are in the exact opposite shape that they should be.


How it should fit...


How they do fit...


Anyway, I managed to get the new clips, rotor and cap to fit correctly. I hope. If there's any trouble with the engine running, this is what I'm checking first.


Did I just make a big post about me failing to rebuild a distributor?


I suppose it's just motivation for me to fix the crank gear/drain plug issue so I can actually throw it back together and allegedly run it. I'm still waiting on some linkage to do that.

That's all for now.
More not progress today.

Someone suggested I try a bearing splitter to get the gear off, and I thought it might work. Rather than renting one, I figured I'd just buy a whole kit, just in case I need to reuse it for the wheel bearings. Having more tools can't hurt, right?


The first problem was pretty simple. The thrust plate on the camshaft was preventing the puller from sitting all the way flat and engaging the back of the gear.


So I took it off.


The fun times now is that those bolts are just slightly too short. I need to pry the gear off another 1/8" to actually use this.

I feel like it might be easier to assemble a time machine from cardboard boxes and bailing wire and just go back in time to before I hammered the gear on there.

Whatever. Learning experience, I suppose.
this is the most familiar methodology to me. just an endless stream of failures, hackjobs, and ordering wrong parts. i really appreciate your process.
Yeah, not many people (including me) would document their lack of progress so well. Also that crank gear is just giving you reasons to buy power tools.
. i really appreciate your process.

Yeah, not many people (including me) would document their lack of progress so well.

I mean, I'm doing it because it just feels more genuine. Plus, if I only reported successes, I wouldn't be updating this at all.

Besides, hopefully someone can learn from my idiot mistakes.

Power tools? I can just borrow those from my neighbors, I just try to do as much as I can with hand tools because I'm antiquated like that.
Sitting on enough images of 'progress', so I figured I might as well post again.

The whole gear thing is still shafting me, but I think I have a solution for it. More on that later.

Anyway, I decided at one point that sitting around and moping over the gear whilst I wait for parts isn't very productive. I have maybe another month or so before the snow starts falling, which will mostly prevent me from working on the car. If I can get it to run before then, I'll be very happy.

So I started assembling my engine for mockup purposes. Mostly to figure out what to do about the exhaust/intake fitment, where my exhaust is going, where the linkage should go etc.

First step was the installation of the tappets, which I made sure to dunk in some assembly lube first. Note that I already have the camshaft in the engine.


Next up, before mounting my tasty, machined cylinder head, I figured I should clean up the old head bolts a bit. None of them were super warped or stripped, so I figured I'd just reuse them. This isn't a mega-horsepower race engine, so I'm thinking it should be fine.



When putting the head on, I noticed a small oddity of the B20 and its gaskets. I'm sure anyone familiar with the pushrod engines would already know this, but I still find it to be an interesting difference.

This is the head gasket for the small-valve carb'd heads (B20B, etc). Notice the round rings.


And here is the gasket for the big-valve EFI heads... notice the (as described by a TB discord user "nipple-shaped") shape? Apparently that's to accommodate for the much larger valves. Interesting. To me, anyway.


Something feels so wrong about a mostly clean head and clean header on a crusty block with a crusty valvetrain...



The absolute miracle of the new header is actually twofold; for one I can access the oil filter much easier, which is nice...


And also it looks like the header's collector is far enough back for me to just connect it to my existing exhaust, which I chopped last time to free the old cast manifold.


For now, at least, I'm going with a 2-barrel Weber 38/38 just for ease of tuning.



Ah yes, onto the subject of the timing gear...

With how long I've spent trying to get it off, I realize now that if I keep trying to chisel it, heat it, etc, not only is it going to take me forever to get it off, but also potentially gack the crankshaft. Can't have that.

And thus I've decided that the engine is coming out. I tend to have Sundays and Mondays off work, so I think my plan is to rent a hoist on a Saturday night, pull the engine Sunday morning, try and 'rebuild' (do what has to be done) same day, then reinstall the engine on Monday.

I also should take that opportunity to do a bunch of other ancillary stuff, like replacing the motor mounts, the clutch, maybe the flywheel...cleaning the engine would be nice too, and perhaps even painting it.

EDIT: It just occurred to me that considering I'm swapping my mounts and maybe my flywheel and clutch too, I could probably swap in a B230F or something like that. Someone talk me out of it.

My next post will probably be of the engine removal/rebuild/install, so be ready for that!

That's all for now.
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If you try to swap a B230F in, plan for keeping thee hoist around for a while. It is not a drop in fit. Little problem with interference between the intake manifold and the brake booster, for one.
If you try to swap a B230F in, plan for keeping thee hoist around for a while. It is not a drop in fit. Little problem with interference between the intake manifold and the brake booster, for one.

We'll see what happens. I'm just hoping that I can flip the B20 upside down on the stand, remove the oil pan, remove the oil pump and pickup, pull the front main bearing and just chisel that gear off.
Hey, why didn?t you paint the head before installing it? Just thinking....

I think a freshly painted head on a crusty block would look even worse. It's not even completely installed yet, I just got the head bolts on finger-tight just to line up the exhaust. If the engine's coming out completely, I'll probably separate the two, clean and paint them.
It's been a while since I've touched the car, but I finally got my hoist and the leveler.



I'm a little busy today, but I have this coming Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off. My plan (assuming it doesn't start snowing again) is to get the hoist and my engine stand all assembled Sunday, then I need to clear some space in the garage, lift the left side of the car and put it on jack stands, pull the FL wheel, then I can try to slide under the car and disconnect the clutch linkage.

Then, I'll have to unbolt the bellhousing from the transmission, and jack the M41 up to prevent premature fall-based impact trauma.

Then, I should be able to remove the exhaust, and bolt up the leveler somewhere on the head (I was thinking to either the manifold studs or two head bolts on the front and back of the engine.

That's all for now, hopefully I can update this soon with some real progress!
That's all for now, hopefully I can update this soon with some real progress!

Yeah, you can tell how that worked out.

I need to write something on this thread to make me feel better about my lack of progress recently, or historically. I've had this damn car since October 2019, and I have yet to mount a single new part on it. In theory, I could just crush this car and only be out $200, but honestly that would be a waste of a first-year 144S. I've been flirting with the idea of getting a cleaner shell to put the parts on, but a lack of second garage or driveway space kills that plan every time.

I'm going to have to work with what I have.

Anyways, here's some pictures I took right after my last post in November 2020.

I did, at least, manage to find space to put the engine crane. It's in my side yard, under a tarp. Building one of these on my own was not fun, but given three hours, I got it done. Let's ignore the fact that a bunch of bolts were mismatched, and I had to physically bend some of the parts to get them to fit.




Naturally, any further progress was halted by, well, Canada.


Yep. Until it warms back up to acceptable working conditions in 3-6 weeks, I'm not really able to do what I want. That being said, I think I have most, if not all, of the parts I need to remove, rebuild and reinstall the motor. I think that's really the point of no return on this project. If the B20 is borked in some irreparable way (destroyed bearings, etc), I'm either into a V-engine swap or just giving up on this car entirely. God, I'm a terrible pessimist.

I've already acquired some .030 over pistons for the rebuild, since I don't trust the rings currently in the motor, and I had a really hard time finding std. bore rings. Also, boring it over would help alleviate the cylinder wall taper that I know will come back to haunt me in the future.

Plus, it gives me to opportunity to clean and paint my rusty, crusty and grimy engine. Will look nice in my disgusting engine bay.

Getting under the car to disconnect the clutch won't be fun though...

Sketchy Wiring

I have absolutely zero confidence in any of the electrics in this car. Most of the chassis harness is gone, and it seems like what is here is just dash wiring, and stuff for running the engine. I managed to score a full loom from a '69 145, but none of the wires are labeled in any way. Sometime I'll have to go outside and stretch them out, then guess what they are and label them. The previous owner included a Hayne's manual, and I would suspect that he had trouble with the electrics, since the whole 'wiring' section of the manual is either torn out, or replaced with countless photocopies of other diagrams.

There's this sketchy aftermarket junction box under the hood. It's not bolted to anything, and just freely dangling on a bunch of wires. I have no idea what they do, or if this was ever hard mounted.


Also, the alternator (which I have since deleted, because it was stuck), seemed to have been connected in some way to a 3-pronged outlet of some kind? This isn't part of the rest of the chassis harness, and I don't understand what its purpose was.





Well, I guess that's all I can talk about for now. I'm hoping to start the engine rebuild process as soon as the snow melts.

Stay tuned for more not-progress.
The 'sketchy aftermarket junction box' that you are referring to, is that that row of three relays mounted on a bracket? If so, that is not aftermarket. It is OEM and (on a 1971 model) the three relays are the reverse light relay, the rear window defogger relay and the headlight high/low flasher relay (rectangular). The bracket mounts to the top of the driver side inner fender wall.

I have some photos of the reassembly of my 1971 which show the routing of some of the wiring if you need some references. If needed ,I can also advise on where the various harness components should go. My 1971 Is an E so it has more wiring for the EFI than your car; but, the non injection portion of the wiring should be very similar.
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The bracket mounts to the top of the driver side inner fender wall.

Damn, if only I had bolts to mount it. I think I can see where it's supposed to go, but perhaps cleaning 30-ish years of road grime off of that box is a good idea.

This does confirm my hypothesis that someone parted out a '72 140E of some description and just threw all the parts on this particular car.
Time for some more 'not progress'.

Finally, a nice warm day that I have off work, and plenty of time on my hands!

I figured it was time to take the top end of the motor apart, partially to check on everything's condition after sitting over the winter, but mostly to pull the R cam out, which I was selling.


This is pretty much where I left off. I assembled the top-end so I could test fit my intake an exhaust.



Not touching a car for pretty much a whole season always leaves you with surprises. Apparently, I had left a bottle of assembly lube open, and I'm guessing the squirrels had tipped it over. Fun.

Taking the intake off actually took a considerable amount of time. It was probably from having bashed it with a hammer a few times... just a guess.


Seriously, it's like I fused them together.




Fortunately, taking the rocker shaft off didn't reveal anything concerning. I was a bit worried that maybe my Iske pushrods would've started to rust or something catastrophic like that.



I bought some brand new head bolts, so I don't need to reuse these nasty ones.


Taking the head off revealed the first possible signs of badness.




Not sure what the goop is, but I suppose I'm replacing the head gasket.



Fortunately, all the ports and the combustion chambers seem fine.


Is there an approved method for removing lifters? I accomplished it by turning the cam and just picking them out with a pair of pliers. They're also reusable.


Now for what I set out to do in the first place. Notice the girdle of shame on the crank gear. Bad memories.


Also, I seem to have found that piece of tubing I lost in the motor at some point.



Alright, that's the R cam gone.

I'm probably going back to a D or K cam. Keeping this motor pretty basic this time. I just need it to run.