Many motorists are not mechanically minded, and are more interested in driving the car, than knowing how it works. Then there are those who love to work on their car, becoming more knowledgeable as they go, until they reach a level when they are able to undertake an engine rebuild. Rebuilding an engine is a big job, and a level of planning can eliminate costly mistakes, saving you time, energy, and a whole lot of frustration.
Clean the engine
Before starting work, a good steam clean will remove all dirt and grease, making the removal a lot easier. Always have a few cotton rags handy, as grease can get all over your tools, and wherever you put your hands.
Organise your workspace
Cleanliness and order are important for a mechanic, so make sure your work area is clean, and you have tubs at hand for the many nuts and bolts, clamps, and fasteners that come with an engine rebuild. You will need a bucket for soaking, and another for cleaning the components, before re-assembly.
Once the engine is safely out of the car, the work can begin. Of course, the owner’s manual is essential and should be at hand throughout. Now is the time to do a visual inspection of the engine. Pay attention to the joints between components, and any sign of fluid leak, as this is a tell-tale sign of gasket wear. Look for signs of cracking, overheating, and scorching on the block, also check for any excess gasket sealer left behind from the previous job.
Inspection of the following is recommended,
- Alternator belt
- Clutch assembly
Begin the process by taking off the oil tank at the bottom of the engine, then the valve cover. Make sure you protect the lifting rods, as they must be replaced if bent or damaged.
Inspecting the bore
It is a good idea to use a micrometer to measure the cylinder diameters, and if they are too worn, a rebuild is not an option. For honing, there are innovative solutions from Flex Hone Australia, for perfect cylinder honing every time.
Remove and inspect crankshaft
Once safely removed, use crank mounting plates so you can accurately measure the crankshaft. Keep the old bearings in order, and inspect them for excess dirt and wear. Pay careful attention to the order of the disassembly by keeping the small parts separate and in order.
Remove the core plugs and any other external components still attached to the engine block, then perform an engine block inspection for any cracks.
It is important that no other people are working in the vicinity, as moving things around can cause confusion. Make sure you know where everything is, and use labels if necessary. Tools should be in one area, with various components that need to be soaked in a petrol solution, standing near the two buckets. It pays to stop periodically for a clean-up, and don’t forget to wipe your tools before putting them away.