Print Story Engine Autopsy
By hulver (Sun Mar 29, 2015 at 08:56:21 AM EST) (all tags)
So I took my broken engine apart yesterday, to see what happened to it.

I needed to strip the engine bay anyway, to prepare for changing the engine for a "new" one. A large scrappers near me has got some in for 150 quid. So I'm going to do that.

Here's a before picture.


I took quite a few pictures as I went along, as well as labelling every connector I took off. I won't bore you all with it here.

There were some warning signs when I took the throttle body off and saw inside the intake manifold. This is where the EGR comes back into the intake. Some nice big chunks of metal in there.


When I finally got into the meat of it.

Cam cover comes off.

Then the head. Oh dear. Looks like one of the valves snapped off. Intake valve. It's completely embedded in there. Can't be moved at all.


And here's the underside of the head.


So my simple idea to do my own maintenance turns into my first engine swap. How exciting. I just need to hire an engine hoist now.
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Engine Autopsy | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
As long as you're having fun... by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Mar 29, 2015 at 05:21:41 PM EST
Then you're learning the best way...

looking at this by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Mar 29, 2015 at 06:02:12 PM EST
kind of makes you wonder why these damn things cost so much money. this is mid 20th century technology made with pretty rudimentary materials still selling for prices comparable to an average worker's yearly salary.

mid 20th? by marvin (2.00 / 0) #4 Sun Mar 29, 2015 at 11:00:30 PM EST
How many airbags in a typical new car? Eight? More?

I do not recall seeing ABS braking anywhere in the entire range of 1951 Fords. Not to mention the 8 speaker sound system, Sirius XM, satnav/GPS, power everything, remote keyless entry, traction control, aluminum rims, automated climate control, A/C, heated eight-way adjustable seats, heated remotely adjustable side mirrors, computer modelled crumple zones, paladium/platimum in the pollution control systems, on-board computers with sensors, and so many other things included in most cars sold today.

The cost of a vehicle is largely the price of the embedded fossil fuels required to mine or manufacture the raw materials. Add in the reduced grade of many remaining ore deposits today, and it takes far more work to get the same amount of metal.

[ Parent ]
the price of steel is under 300 usd per ton by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 09:22:54 AM EST
and the things you're talking about are not worth 20k. the value of precious metal in a typical vehicle is trivial compared to the commercial asking price, something like 200 usd.

technological progress in automobiles has been trivial since the 70s. it's a crime that they continue to command the kind of prices they do.

[ Parent ]
OK by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 11:39:38 AM EST
If it's that profitable to make a car, how come profit margins are so low compared to say Apple's.

[ Parent ]
Benefits, in the US by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 11:42:09 AM EST
including retiree benefits, which may include health care.

[ Parent ]
ya, pensions etc. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 11:49:37 AM EST

[ Parent ]
labor, regulation, marketing, dealerships' cuts by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 11:43:59 AM EST
and protection of obsolete middlemen (i.e. dealers).

the answer assuredly is not cost of fossil fuels or metal.

[ Parent ]
In the 70s... by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 12:22:46 PM EST

Key areas:
  1. Safety
  2. Reliability
  3. Comfort
  4. Power/Fuel consumption
  5. Longevity
Crucial to recognise is that while some cars from the 70s were reliable and/or long-lasting, they were very much outliers. (Indeed, arguably part of the problem at the moment is that cars are overbuilt, they are often junked for aesthetics/economics before they are inherently worn out. But free-market capitalism is always a pendulum swing on that kind of thing...)

[ Parent ]
Gah - in the 70s... by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 12:24:11 PM EST
cars were much inferior on all of these dimensions.

There was a comical, but potentially insightful piece on Top Gear where they raced "supercars" of the 60s and 70s against modern family cars...

[ Parent ]
i agree there's been improvement, by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 03:02:30 PM EST
but much of it is non-technological (or technological in a way that is not specific to automotives, e.g. new sound systems).

i don't see a major, qualitative difference, for example, between cars of the 90s and cars today outside of certain types of electronics (which are cheap -- gps, rearview cameras, etc. this is stuff that costs a couple hundred bucks at most). i think the basic machinery behind cars has seen only incremental change for a long time and that the current prices cannot be justified in terms of the features they offer. if anything, they should cheaper to produce today than ever before, but you wouldn't guess that by looking at the prices.

[ Parent ]
after looking into chinese car prices, by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 03:19:37 PM EST
i have to admit i'm a bit less convinced about the elasticity of car prices, although you do see prices down into the 5k usd range. meanwhile a super cheap car on the american market is like 12k new and probably better than the cheapest chinese cars along a number of dimensions.

maybe 5k really is as low as you can go, but in any case, that's a substantial difference.

[ Parent ]
There's no question... by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 03:25:31 PM EST
that prices could be lower, in principle.

A big part of it is that people who want a 5K car in the USA buy 2nd hand. Brings us back to the longevity etc...

[ Parent ]
Hoist by Herring (4.00 / 2) #3 Sun Mar 29, 2015 at 09:52:32 PM EST
Did did two engine swaps on a Triumph Spitfire - one with a Dolomite 1500 engine and one with an 1850. Anyhoo. I did them without the hoist, and, being a longitudinally mounted rear-drive setup, took them in and out with the gearbox (getting the clutch plate aligned with the spigot bearing is and arse if you try to mate the engine/gearbox inside the car with the engine dangling).

Anyway, I did that with some rope and pulleys I had lying around rather than an engine hoist.

Also revel in your mistakes. That's how you learn. Except that one with my mate Nick's old car and the braking system - that's how you learn the value of stout underwear.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Sounds good by hulver (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 04:43:48 AM EST
I have nothing to attach ropes to that is strong enough to bear the weight of the engine, so a hoist is the best thing. Plus I'll be able to move it with the engine hanging off it. Moving the car is a real pain because the driveway is on a slope.

I'm certainly having fun, it's interesting. Know that if I just get on with it, I can do it, rather than thinking that something is too difficult to do.
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
[ Parent ]
... by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 10:15:34 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
That doesn't look like very tasty cake. by Scrymarch (4.00 / 2) #5 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 03:44:20 AM EST

Iambic Web Certified

I still think by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 06:28:21 AM EST
there's pre-existing damage. The other valve in that cylinder looks to be in bad shape.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Yeah, that was the mixture. by hulver (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 07:46:02 AM EST
The coil was on the way out and wasn't producing a good spark, so the mixture was really rich. The 3rd cylinder failed to start running before the coil pack was changed so has got the carbon build up from the cold spark.

The spark plugs in the other cylinders were showing black build up before I changed the coil.

At the moment I'm undecided if it's something I did, or something that was already there. As the something I did was to put the timing belt on wrong, I will just take care to triple check it next time I change one (which I did this time anyway).
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
[ Parent ]
I have, at my parents, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #20 Fri Apr 03, 2015 at 02:13:28 PM EST
A distributor cap and leads for that engine if you need them.

Thanks by hulver (2.00 / 0) #21 Sat Apr 04, 2015 at 03:12:19 AM EST
I've got new ones. Along with a bit list of other new parts. :)
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
[ Parent ]
Engine Autopsy | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback