When we left off, the latest development in the never-ending string of problems, delays, and otherwise-issues that has surrounded this engine was that the rocker studs were too long. With these dropped off to be shortened without charge by the shop that spec’ed them, I was able to continue.
Since I was waiting and would be out of town for a wedding most of this weekend, it was an opportune moment to paint the block. I masked it off carefully, treated the surface rust, primed, and painted the engine. It then had a couple days to cure while I was out of town - perfect timing.
Today when I got home, I began to remove the masking and found the next problem.
I masked the engine like you would anything else - tape around the edges, and paper over the large “don’t paint this” areas, taped to the tape. What you see above is a metric fuckton (+/- 8%) of metal chips, which look like the kind generated when you bore an engine block. These were apparently just hanging out in the water jacket, and hadn’t opted to fall out the dozen times the engine has been flipped over on the stand. Until now.
Since all this grit fell out of the water jacket (and headbolt holes, which go into the it) and onto the back of my masking paper as the engine was rolled over several times in the process of painting it, this means it proceeded to fall back down into the everything. Every cylinder (moreso on the front of the engine) had a bunch of grit on it as can be seen above. Some even found its way down through the lifter bores and onto the break-in-lube’ed cam lobes.
I sent these pictures and a couple more to the shop that did the machine work, considering I paid for a couple hours worth of labor in a final cleaning of the block post-machining. He called me and seemed very surprised.
I’ve torn the entire engine back down (recall the short block was done) - there was grit in the cylinders, on the cam, and even on the big ends of the rods (it would have fallen past the cam to get there) but not in the bearings (which makes sense). Who knows how much, if any, found its was into the oil passages.
Why did it wait until now to come out? No idea. Maybe there has been a little bit falling out every time I turned it over and I never noticed it (not impossible since I wouldn’t hear it hit the floor nor would I see it amongst the oil stains). Maybe it finally dried out enough to loosen up. Who knows.
All I know are two things:
1) This has eliminated the final, tiny little chance that this car would be back on the road this year - great, considering it was supposed to be done mid-summer.
2) The owner of the machine shop is coming to my house tomorrow evening to pick it up and take the block back to clean it out again. I’m going to have him do the cam too (I have no way to get all that black moly grease off it without a parts washer). They better not wreck my fresh paint.