Monday, October 14, 2013

It’s Been Interesting

The last few days since my last post have been, car-wise, a myriad of disappointments ended by a single moment of relief. To begin the downward spiral punctuated by an up-tick, I went home early last Wednesday and pulled some more bits off Ringo's engine until I'd freed the #2 piston/rod assembly from his crankshaft. I found, sadly, that crumbs of damaged piston ring had made their way into the #4 and #6 combustion chambers. This disconcerting discovery does not necessarily spell the death knell of the engine, but does mean I get to do some more thorough cleaning before I button everything back up. To end the evening, I filled a milk crate with a half-dozen cylinders from my stash (an even mix of '64 and '66 vintages), the aforementioned piston/rod, and two others stamped with "2" from my stash (one from Heidi's original '64 engine and the other from CorsaVert's 140 powerplant). This, and an engine block half to be used as fixture while honing, were placed in the bed of my truck before I called it a night. The next evening I left my desk and followed a buddy from work to his garage where we intended to play matchmaker with the milk crate's contents. It was our intention to measure cylinder bores and piston diameters and create a set that met Chevy's specified clearances of .022-.031 inch at the top land and .0011-.0017 at the skirt. Soon after Walter began measuring parts, I had the "duh" moment when it occurred to me that half the cylinders I'd brought (the '64 ones) would not feasibly work in Ringo's current LM engine. Engine-wise 1964 was an odd year for the Corvair. While Chevy increased the stroke to increase displacement, and thus horsepower and torque, of the flat-six, they kept diameters the same.  Then, in 1965, they bumped up the diameter at the cylinder-to-head interface. While a smaller '64 cylinder would fit inside the larger head of Ringo's transplanted '66 engine, there were head gasket unknowns I didn't want to delve into. With that decided, I removed the three older cylinders from the matchmaking exercise. With the reduced number of players, it didn't Walter and I long to determine that even the largest piston placed into the smallest cylinder would result in a skirt clearance that significantly exceeded spec. And this gap would get worse still once he honed the cylinder's bore as would be required. The next morning I placed a call to Clark's Corvair parts and ordered a new LM cylinder and piston adding over $100 to Ringo's dent in our finances. Speaking of spending, Corvair Ranch's proprietor, Jeff, was able to dig up a couple loose GNP compression rings and is mailing them to me to replace the two broken ones. This saved me quite a bit since I didn't have to buy a full set (the way they're sold by the 'vair parts vendors).

The next afternoon (Friday), I drove down to NC to spend a short weekend with daughter, Brianna, son-in-law, Nicholas, and bro-in-law and sis-in-law. We all went to the NASCAR race Saturday night which was AWESOME! However, Corvair-wise, that day started on a bad note when I got a phone call from Ariel informing me that, while going round the beltway, Glinda was "chugging" and then lost power. The two rested on the side of the road for a few minutes, before Ariel was able to Glinda re-started and continued the rest of the way to work. A few hours later, a text from her informed me that she'd mistakenly put in regular gas. I quickly replied that this screw-up was putting Glinda's engine in grave danger, and she needed to get the bottle of octane booster off my garage shelf and empty its contents into the fuel tank as soon as she could make it home. Well, she never made it home, and I got "the call" from her that Glinda's engine had again died after chugging. This time, after waiting to let things cool down, it wouldn't stay running. She ended up being about 2 miles short of making it home, so the lovely Loriann had to go and bring her (Ariel) home. That bit of news put an immediate damper on my day, but, fortunately, the stock-car race started soon after and my mind was soon off my Corvair woes.

Yesterday, after my LONG drive back from Charlotte, I donned grungies, tossed the tow stuff into the truck, and went to rescue Glinda from the side of the road. An hour later I had her unhitched in front of the house ready for me to see if her engine would start, and if so, what kind of untoward sounds would emanate from her assumed damaged engine. Well, to my relief, the engine started right up settling into a typical idle – no nasty noises, no chugging. TYL!!!! After verifying each cylinder was contributing to the engine's output, I took her for a quick spin around the neighborhood. Finding nothing amiss, I poured the octane booster into the gas tank and then called Ariel to tell her she could cancel her rental car reservation.

All's well that ends well? Well, I do have to get Ringo back on the road, and for that I need to wait for tomorrow's scheduled parts delivery.

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