Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Sweet, Smoky, Smell of Success

Yesterday evening Mikhaila and I headed to the garage to work on Scarlett. The two things keeping her from roadworthiness were no compression in cylinders number 1 and 3, and a transmission that only rotates forward. Since both sides were on jackstands, we started with the transmission shifter. I’d hoped that reinserting the shifter linkage into the housing properly would fix the issue, so Mikhaila undid the retaining bolt and I followed the directions to a T and she followed up with reinstalling the bolt.

Since the spark plugs were out, we couldn’t check on our success, so we moved on to adjusting the #1 and #3 valves. She put the left rear tire back on and lowered that corner back onto the garage floor before rolling the jack over to the left rear which we then raised as high as safely possible. With all the oil now on the left side of the engine, we pulled off the right valve cover. Fortunately, the muffler didn’t prevent us from accessing the cover or the nuts set the lifter pre-load. We did, however, have to loosen the muffler strap bolt to provide clearance for the 5/8ths socket and wrench. With access gained and the engine now sitting on top dead center with the rotor pointing at #1, Mikhaila loosened both nuts retaining the rockers for #1’s intake and exhaust valves. We carefully followed the manual’s instructions to tighten the nuts just to the point where the push rods couldn’t not be spun, but we diverged from giving the nut a subsequent 360 degree turn to only 270. #2’s intake would also be readjusted with the crank set at its current position. Then, after spinning the crank exactly one rotation, we readjusted #2 exhaust to the same criteria.

I bolted the valve cover in place, and we move on to do a quick compression test. Cylinder #1? Over 120 psi. Cylinder #2? Also back up over 120 psi. Excellent news.

On to a test start. With the spark plugs back in their holes and the leads attached, Mikhaila turned the key and the engine fired right up. Still somewhat smokey, but running smoother than before, it settled into idle. When she put the shifter into Reverse, the tire up off the floor started spinning backwards, and when she shifted into Drive, the wheel spun forwards. Success!

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