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Finally, it’s looking like I’ll be able to start working on my Thunderbird again. This has gotten me reflecting on how big this project has gotten since it started... I remember reading about “mission creep” and thinking it wouldn’t happen, but it’s exactly what’s happening. I thought the engine running poorly was an issue with tuning, but that turned into compression loss. That became “the piston ring in this cylinder is bad”, which led to “the others are probably not great either”, and pretty soon I’m replacing all the rings. Along the way, the cylinder heads don’t look too great. Turns out the valves are loose and leaky, and I’m going to need to send the heads to a machine shop... if any are even still open. A few bolts were broken, gotta fix that. And the rod cap bearings are looking a little worn as well, better replace those... Heck, sometimes I wonder how the engine was running at all if it was this bad. Replacing a couple piston rings is turning into a full engine rebuild.

But on the bright side, I suppose at least I’m gaining a lot of practical knowledge from this experience. Certainly, smaller repairs won’t look so intimidating in the future. And when this is all done, in theory the engine should run like new again. It’ll hopefully go back to having the full ~290-300 horsepower and 14-16 mpg, instead of getting what, 5 mpg? I can only imagine how exciting it will be when the old 390 v8 finally fires up again...

Illustration for article titled THE MISSION CREEP IS REAL

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