The Score: Tools 1-Pony 0

I tell you, The Pony has been acting like a donkey right along.  With The Pony digging her hooves in, Gene and I have had to work for everything.  Saturday was typical.  You may recall that we called it a day last Thursday with four stuck valves still in the engine.  With the four stuck valves it was impossible to get the camshaft out.

On Saturday, we first tried to loosen the valves by heating them up with a blow torch, naturally no success.  With that we brought out the serious tools.  A problem we have had from the start of this project is that The Pony’s engine is so small.  In a number of instances normal tools were too big to fit in the engine’s tight spaces.  The only tool we were able to fit in to cut the no. 1 valve was a diamond tipped bit.  The bit was attached to a Dremel Multipro 395 (see photo).  This was really slow going.  We went through a couple of bits, but finally worked our way through the valve stem far enough that we could snap about an inch of it off.  More camshaft jiggling, but it still would not pass through the front of the engine. 

TIME OUT:  I sit at the computer on the second floor with a window to my left and a view of the woods.  If you remember the Chevy Chase movie “Funny Farm,” I’ve got the same writing set-up he did as he sat attempting to write his novel “The Big Heist.”  I just saw a squirrel come out of the woods with a nut in his mouth, cross the road and bury it.  On his return trip to the woods (no, he did not get hit by a car) a hawk came swooping down at him, but missed.  Just thought I’d pass this along in the event you thought that all squirrels die in my posts. 

With the camshaft still stuck, we moved on to the next stuck valve.  This one we attacked with a metal-cutting disk attached to a right angle attachment, driven by a Master Mechanic drill.  Again we got far enough through, that we were able to snap about an inch of that valve stem off .  Then it was back inside the engine for more camshaft jiggling, and at long last out she came.  This accomplishment seemed to call for a celebration, so Gene and I tapped our plastic water bottles together and your idiotic author kissed the camshaft.  Sorry about the glare, but I forgot to wear my cap for this photo.  The Princess refused to kiss me when I got home insisting that I had dirty motor oil on my lips.

This photo looks like a case of product placement, with the can of Kroil positioned prominently behind me, but trust me, unfortunately (there’s that word again) no money changed hands…I’m waiting….  

With the camshaft out of the way, we were quickly able to remove all of the valve tappets.  By the way, we have been using zip lock type bags to label and keep parts that belong together, together.  So, for example, in this case we popped the tappets into the eight bags we have for the eight valves and their associated parts.

Now we were ready to attack those four remaining stuck valves with blunt force.  We flipped the engine upside down, and using a large set of steel punches and a small mallet we hammered them out.  We were amazed at how tight they were, one so tight that it would not separate from the valve guide, and the two finally dropped out welded together.  With all the valves now out, essentially the engine block has been fully stripped.

TIME OUT NO. 2:  This is pretty amazing, but that same hawk just made a second attempt at the squirrel.  This time the squirrel was near the top of a dead tree, and the hawk just missed him again after landing near him at the peak of the tree.  That squirrel is asking for it!

Gene and I got a lead on an engine shop that specializes in tractors, so this week I’ll be contacting that shop to look into getting the engine steam cleaned.  In some early photos you may have noticed a lot of crud inside intake and exhaust ports;  the steam cleaning and flushing should deal with this as well as cleaning the exterior.  As I think about it, Saturday marked a turning point in our work on The Pony.  The tear down phase is over, and from here on it will be all about putting her back together.  Ooh, doesn’t that sound scary?

A parting note, I’m starting to catch up on The Princess in the gold and jewelry business.  This week I received my new Gold Card from Starbucks.  Woo hoooo!

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