A few more updates and we'll be up to date (so to speak)... April 2013...
Now, you know all those steel parts on the manifold. Bolts and brackets and things... Well they'd probably have been that nice yellow colour from the factory (although I think some parts had been done with an olive green finish).
It's actually zinc plated and then passivated with a yellow die. And you can do it in your garage if you have one of these...
Well, I say "you can do it in the garage" because I'm failing to do it. First test parts came out of the plating tub like this...
Burned in a bucket of water!? A quick look on the net suggests way too much electric current. Second attempt.
Looking much better but I still think the current was a bit high and I've got it as low as I can with the kit parts. Trouble is I don't actually know how much current I'm feeding in. So I bought myself a new multimeter and built a controller circuit.
It's a Pulse Width Modulation voltage controller. It's based on something I built at work to dim an LED light. So I plugged it in and turned it on. The meter jumped to 6 amps and the tank fizzed violently. My circuit had blown up. *&!?. That shouldn't have been much of a shock as the one I built at work had the same problem until I got it settled down.
I put new parts in it and used the wire ballast from the plating kit to give it an easier life...
I started getting some samples out that were ok but not brilliant.
Thought I'd try a bolt.
You can see the colour hasn't taken. More bad language. Here are a few more bolts.
These looked much better but I could still rub the colour off after 24 hours. The passivation layer is very soft for a while but this was unexpected. £%$&^@&!
As far as I can see the plating current is critical to the quality of the end product and it seems to be a twitchy setting. Too little and it goes dull, too much and it goes dull. How can you tell if you have too little or too much?
Time to throw caution to the wind and do a batch.
Turning the garden bench into a christmas tree. Yay. Then my controller blew up again. &((^%$! %^@(
I had wondered if I should restore the alternator again as I can do a better job of it now. But if I went down that route I'd be forever restoring the alternator so I'm not doing it again. But I did go to Canterbury and had a look at it.
It was in a soggy box because the roof had leaked. It looks like this now.
The good people of Canterbury had to put their fingers in their ears when I found that. Such bad language! I'll be restoring it again then.
I've used so many curse words this week I've had to stock up again at Expletives-R-Us (For all your profanity needs). Cost me a fortune.
If anybody has advice on running zinc plating kits I'd love to hear it. Especially on how you guess / get the right current.
Two more updates and this thread will be up to date. Here's the first.
So, my previously restored alternator sat in a soggy box and now looks plop. So... Lets do it all again but do it properly this time.
This goes in the media blaster...
...And comes out looking like this...
Just as an aside do you drain your compressor after you've used it? I didn't generally bother. But recently I put a filter on my compressors output and in one afternoon got this in it.
So I started wondering how much water could be in the tank. And how much damage occurs if the tank fails. A quick surf on the net finds photos of destroyed garages and compressors that blew walls out when they went off.
I drain my compressor now.
Anyway, back to the plot. The steel bits went through the plating kit and came out like this...
The pulley is plated and clear passivated. Probably would have been black originally. Oh well. Artistic license. The end can would have been black too. I can always paint it if I want.
Kit of parts.
I actually tapped the dents out of the end cover!
Well most of them.
In the next episode we look at some of the plumbing.
Thanks chaps. To be honest I think the truth is that it'll never be finished. Anyway, another catch up...
I spent a while getting a few more bits off the car and cleaning them up. One step closer to getting the head off.
Here is the top section of the cam belt cover.
Shame my 4A-GE sticker is missing. I have a plan for that though. A story for another day. Minor problem with one of the bolt holes.
A normal person would buy another cover but I'm not a normal person. I'm a tight and decided to repair it!
Clean the bush and plate it to stop it rusting again. Then mix some epoxy.
And glue it back together.
Et maintenant je considerer les connexions de eau.
Didn't know I could speak French did you? Actually the French have some problems with the concept too.
This is the water fitting from the front of the engine complete with its pipe.
You can see the pitting on the pipe.
The connector fell off the temp sender. Another thing for the shopping list. This is the one from the back of the engine.
The problem is that as a water outlet it's a bit sub standard.
There is supposed to be a hole in the end.
I think this happened after the water escaped but I can't be sure. Looking back into the head it looked ok but you have to worry about the rest of the cooling system. At the very least the stat housing will have to come off.
Two posts in one day. Ohh 'eck! Something different. Remember that bumper... We last saw it looking roughly like this.
Where the top meets the bottom didn't line up so I cut and re-welded it.
Looks closer now.
Cut the holes in the back where the indicators bolt in.
So now it looks like this.
The back is just bolted on for the moment. I'll weld it when I'm good and ready. The next bit of rust is this.
And welded in.
The other end of the bumper looks a little rusty.
This is the bit I made.
When I made the one for the other end I drew the curved line on the metal, clamped it in the bender and and hit it over. You keep repositioning it in the bender it to match up with the line. The problem is that the metal moves in the bender as you hit it so it's hard to keep on the line. This time I tried a different idea.
Take one piece of oak (an off cut from a worktop).
And draw the curves on it. Cut and profile the curves...
That's dear old dad's spoke shave (used for profiling the curve). Handy for repairing cars apparently. Another family heirloom. Then you clamp the metal to the wood and hammer it over.
As you can see, it still takes a little work but I think it was less frustrating this way. Did a nice job eventually.
I'd never spotted this thread before - amazing work on a car likely to be consigned to the bin if you hadn't intervened! Loving the ocd attention to detail and looking forward to seeing the finished result!
I can now fully say i get this project. At first i couldn't see the point in all the resto work, but the resto work IS the point.
Anyway, i've just pulled my 4A-GE out of mine, and its for the bin. I will happily donate any parts you simply cannot fix on this for the cost of whatever the postage is. Just let me know what you need my man.
Mr Overdrive, sir, Yes, you have got it. It is all about the restoration work. It's about challenging myself to learn something new, finding ways round problems, that sort of stuff. I don't suppose I'll ever actually finish the car. Be nice to drive it though.
I have a bit of bother with my exhaust manifold at the moment. It has a big crack in one of the runners so I'll need a replacement for that. I'll write another update soon and show you all.
Apologies that it's taken so long to reply. The missus and I decided to take a huge holiday and cleared off to Canada for a month. We hired a truck camper and drove round the yukon and bits of Alaska. Got to the arctic circle for the first time in my life...
We also saw the Northern Lights while we were up there.
Anyway, next update will be removing the cylinder head From the MR2...
I think we'll both have to live to be very old before this gets finished!
Anyway, those of you with good memories, very good memories, will recall that my cars head gasket was blown. Many of the random bits I've been taking off and cleaning are heading towards the big day when the head finally comes off.
Well I pootled off to Canterbury and came back with one of these...
And a box of these...
I was worried that the block would have the pitting problems around number 4 cylinder.
It looked pretty good at the time. I've cleaned it up now and it still looks good. There is a small wear lip at the top of the bores but they are clean and have no scoring. If I do any more with the block rather depends on how much oil it burns and what the big ends sound like.
Back to the head...
There is a bit of carbon but nothing I'm too worried about. Why does it always look wet?
The head gasket had apparently failed between cylinders 3 and 4 (the owner tested it when it blew up) so I was expecting it to have burned through.
Nope. It looks like new. In fact I think it is fairly new. The cam pulleys were marked "I" and "E" so they'd been out at some point and the head wasn't at all stuck. There is some carbon in the bore holes of the gasket so it's not brand new.
So, lets get the valves out. Time for dear old dads valve spring compressor.
@*%&... That's not going to work. I think it was designed before over head cams and bucket lifters were common. I'll have to buy a new one.
£50?! I don't think so! Engage "tight fisted git" mode. Just need some old water pipe and cut some holes in it...
I'm thinking something like this...
There we go.
Time to get the valves out.
I got a bit of a shock when I found loads of rust in the exhaust ports...
...But relaxed when I realised it had fallen out of the manifold.
Speaking of the exhaust manifold, is this a crack?
It can't be a crack, there'd be soot round it.
Yep, it's a crack. That's stuffed then.
Now, when I posted this on an MR2 forum one suggestion caught my attention. "Weld it." Being cast I didn't think this was possible but since it's splop at the moment what am I going to lose? I'll try it.
What I've seen on the web and advice from people I've spoken to suggests this...
1, Clean and V cut the crack. 2, If possible fill the runner with argon/CO2 mix. (Apparently you get a better quality of weld on the inside.) 3, Weld in very short bursts on low power to keep the heat to a minimum. (Apparently if it gets too hot carbon from the cast migrates into the weld and makes it brittle.) 4, Some people seem to preheat it, some don't. The speed I work I'm not sure I could keep it hot anyway so I'm tempted not to bother.
Advice on welding exhaust manifolds gratefully received!
I'll definitely be giving it a go then. I'll document my manifold welding attempts so you can all know how not to do it!
So, as a quick aside, I've spent ages wondering how to make this look new.
The metal doofer not the dustbin.
The problem being the texture. Anyway, start with a jolly good clean.
Looks far too nice to plaster with paint. Ah well, off to B&Q for something gloopy.
Right texture, wrong colour.
Easily fixed with a coat of flat black. Like a bought one!
Back to the main event, I've cleaned the head (a bit). Clearly having blown the gasket it'll need skimming, plus the fact that it's a little pitted.
But lets ignore that and put it back together anyway. I seem to have a box of bits to put back.
Grinding the valves.
And putting the collets in. Got quite sore knees doing this because I kept dropping them on the floor. Poxy things are hard to find.
Now I know what you're saying. You're saying....
"Why did you lap the valves and install them when you haven't skimmed the head yet, you complete plonker." Well I want some assurances that there'll be some compression when it goes back on the car. So I'm testin' it.
Fill each chamber with paraffin and leave it a while. If the paraffin winds up on the floor I've got a problem.
So is it ok? Well several hours later the ports were damp but most of the paraffin was still in the head. More critically, it lost the same from each chamber. Happy days! Valve clearances next.
Why thank you sir, your encouragement shall be rewarded with more drivel from my keyboard!
In my head I'd like my posts to tell a story.
You know.... Start with cruddy piece of dead car. See the hero (that's me by the way) skillfully transform it into something better than new. End on glossy photos of parts that make the audience go "Ooh" and "Ahh".
Never works like that. I save the photos so I can write the full chapter but the end doesn't come. Or the chapter reopens its self.
So here's another pile of random photos.
Putting the cams back in...
...So I can...
...Check the valve clearances.
And, by George, they are all about right. Some are at the wider side of the spec but nothing's really nasty. Who's George anyway?
That done it's time to look at the dizzy.
Yuck. Taking a closer look we find that the cap is falling off.
The screw has pulled through the cap. Probably a good few of its horses were escaping through that gap.
Apart from that there is a little oil in the dizzy which suggests that the oil seal is weeping. You can get seal kits but for the moment I'm not going to worry about it.
The book shows that there should be a heat shield under the cap and Paul Woods on the MR2 MK1 forum confirmed that they were fitted to all models.
I guess it must have fallen off. So, the heat shield fell off causing the cap to soften in the exhaust heat causing the bolt to pull through... On the plus side at least the reduction in the cars weight would have offset the escaping horse power. Time to make a new one. I found an old brass finger plate in the loft.
The drawings show it's spaced off the dizzy a bit at the bolt holes. So first make a divot.
Or two... And a few bends...
And there is one heat shield.
And here's the dizzy all cleaned up and ready, loosely bolted to the head.
If I had a new cap and rota arm I could close this chapter. But I haven't so I can't. Oh well. Half a story again.