Monday, October 7, 2013

Busted Rings

Friday evening I ventured out to the driveway and set about determining the extent of Ringo’s malady. I started by pulling all the spark plugs inspecting the tips and not finding too much burnt oil. Next, I tested the compression of each cylinder starting with the right side (1, 3, and 5). Each measurement was in the 125 to 140 psi range – good numbers. I found number 2 to be the offending cylinder when a few rotations of the engine only got the needle of the tester up to 25 psi while attached to that spark plug hole. The last two, fortunately, were back up in the 130s. That ended my garage time for the day.

The next morning I woke up early, grabbed the keys to Glinda and drove up to Hunt Valley for the weekly Coffee and Cars get together. I was not disappointed as the highlight vehicles (to me) included a BRAND NEW 2014 Corvette (stunning), a right-hand drive Ford GT40 (smaller and lower than expected), a couple Alfas, a very nice NSX, an early-70s Westphalia (VW bus), and a ’68 Firebird with the overhead cam (OHC) Sprint 6 engine that I’d love to put in my LeMans someday. While wandering amongst the awesomeness, I was approached by a guy I’d met the last time I’d attended. He reminded me his name was Chuck, and then proceeded to tell me that, after our last conversation, he went out and bought himself a ’64 Spyder convertible. I congratulated him on his purchase and invited him to become involved in our local club. He replied by inviting the club to hold a meeting at his “shop.” His “shop” is a shared facility in a industrial park with a lift, a bunch of secure indoor and outdoor storage areas, and a meeting room complete with a HDTV. He went on to describe how the tenants of this shop have invited other clubs to come and, typically, they start early on a Saturday with donuts, have a demonstration such as splatter painting a trunk or installing weatherstripping, and follow that up with pizza for lunch. He left me with his business card, and I’ve already been in touch with him via e-mail about scheduling a January meeting. The lovely Loriann, after I related the story to her, recommended getting an upholsterer to come in and demonstrate installing a convertible top using Luna as the subject. Wouldn’t that be cool? More to follow.

Once back home, I returned to Ringo. It only took a couple of hours to tear down his engine far enough to remove the number two 2 cylinder exposing two broken compression rings. Close inspection of the piston showed it to be undamaged (TYL). Also, close inspection of the broken rings indicates very little, if any, of the ring material is missing.

Given that, I’m at a bit of a crossroads right now regarding how far I go to get Ringo back on the road. Since the damage seems isolated to the cylinder and rings, I could, as a minimum find a GUP cylinder from my stash with a bore that best matches the current piston, have it honed, and then install it with a pair of new rings; or, as a maximum, pull the oil pan, crankcase cover, and oil pump, clean everything, buy a new, matched piston and cylinder and reinstall all with new rings, gaskets, etc. I think I’ll go somewhere in between. I’ve already talked with my buddy from work who’s honed and measured parts for me before, and he’s willing to take an evening after work and do the same thing again. I’ve also called Jeff at the Corvair Ranch and asked him if he happens to have a single pair of compression rings saving me the expense of buying a complete set. I’m thankful for good friends.

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