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@arajani that's way too kind coming from someone who knows what these firewalls are supposed to look like. Thank you.

I've worked up a story to tell, though, depending on the context. I might tell someone I got the car in pieces (which is of course true) out of a pole barn in NW Connecticut (also true) and did a lot of aluminum and body work on it (again, very true) and that "when I got it the firewall was bulbed-out & twisted up all kinda impossible stupid ways and it took me dozens of hours to pound it mostly straight."

Obviously a very terrible lie, but in the right ear could be worth telling, just for the reaction. 

 

Car is back in the garage

Cory came by today and helped me do some stuff to get it ready to put the dang engine in. Cory is a great human being, people. We hung both doors to check gaps and straightness, and I'm liking it fine. 

Then we took off the clam and the hood to facilitate final assembly. The doors will probably come back off too while I work the wiring and then the upholstery....

On a side note: Bridget has a blown head gasket, so currently I have two excellent cars for Carlisle, neither of which is likely to be ready for the show. Oh, the irony!

Wish me luck, boyos!

 

Ed, yeah great paint, great gaps, great paddle shifters, but wha... the Subie blew a head gasket?

The 200,000 mile minimum set-it-and-forget-it modern solution to old-school unreliability just went and blew up?

What's the lesson here? You put an engine - any engine - anywhere near something that even looks like a British car and it inevitably goes all British on you?

Did you torque the head bolts with Whitworth spanners?

WTF?

 

Re: Bridget

I drove the car about two miles on Wednesday night to the drug store and noticed the temp gage wasn't coming up. It was laying on 90 as I crossed the mile mark. Usually by then it's well off the peg. 

Dang Smith's dual gauge, I thought. This is the kind with the tube fulla gas and the bulb at one end you stick in the coolant, and the tube inevitably kinks somewhere and leaks the gas out and makes the $200+ gauge be no good. (You know they're good when they leak oil from the capillary tube onto your right knee). 

Anyway I got my nephew's birthday card, got 3/4 home and the needle just got to about 120. That's when the green light came on, indicating the fan was working. That worried me because the fan should not have needed to go on, and also because the light was extra bright, meaning that the Suby temp sensor was reading about 210-220. Which is unpossible in that short a trip on a mild spring evening.

Got home and felt the radiator, which was cold. Bad news.

Probably I screwed up. A few weeks ago it was nice so I rolled her out of the garage, checked the oil, started her up and took my wife to Ritas for gelatis. Nice. No problem.

What I did not do was open all the bleeder screws in the cooling system first. 

If you ask David Stroud about this, he will tell you stories. OK, he'll tell you stories anyway, probably, but this is an important story: Always open the damn bleeder screws before operating a Suby-powered Plastic Clown Car that has been parked for a long time. Always.

So I probably had a bubble in the system. They can and do develop over the long winter. The bubble probably made its way to the worst possible spot, somewhere in the left head. Air there means a hot spot forms, and pretty soon, with the extra expansion, you've got blown head gasket.

From there you just get more bubbles: the combustion gasses blow into the cooling system, displacing more coolant, pushing it into the overflow tank. And then pushing it out of the overflow tank.

Next morning I bled the air out of the system. It needed it. Then I ran the car a minute to see if the gauge would work. I was hoping it wouldn't: hoping the gauge was bad. Or hoping in the alternative that the bubble had been where the gauge bulb was, and now that was fixed and it would work as normal. After about 15 minutes idling it went to about 120 again and then the fan came on. Crap.

Now there was coolant dripping out the front. Checked all the hose connections--all good. Traced it to the top of the overflow tank. 

OK this was bad but it's not conclusive: maybe the thermostat was stuck closed. Hot coolant was expanding out of the top of the engine and trying to make its way to the radiator, but the thermostat wouldn't let any cold coolant in from the bottom like it should, so the rad stayed cool and the overflow tank overflowed.... Not likely, but oh-so-much-better-an-option, car-fix wise. On Friday I pulled it out and tested it on the stove. It works. 

So that leaves head gasket.

 

Stan Galat posted:

Bummer on the MG. The description doesn't exactly sell the Subaru as an awesome, final answer "get it and forget it" powerplant. We pick our poison, I guess.

Every platform has it's issues for sure.  In this case, the thermostat being stuck half way might be the issue also air is a big problem sometimes due to the length of the piping in the speedster especially and if you have multiple rads like I do it adds to the issue.  Subaru head gaskets were redesigned by the factory to handle the hot temp that happens when you stop the engine and then the temperature can climb in the head as the water/antifreeze boils... I use Evans cooling to prevent this.  In any case you could lose fluid do to the expansion and eventually end up with an air lock or bubble that you will chase... Moral of the story is that every spring bleed the system as a prevention... 

Oh yeah, it is not in the sales manual but it is part of the subie poison pill on our location of an engine... 

Advantage, the torque curve is awesome. 

Ed, do you have two evaporation tanks?  

You will note that turbo cars have two tanks to prevent the small loss of fluid that eventually develops air pockets, BTW and N/A have only one.  

My engine guy is installing a second tank on my car this Tuesday to eliminate continual evaporation that occurs due to the design of our cars and our systems eventually giving issues like Ed is living.

 

Thanks Guys ! This is new info for me ! I appreciate that you posted this. Being a Suby owner (not yet driving it) these are need to know things for me. Question : If I leave my sub sit for say 2 weeks to a month, is it necessary to bleed the cooling system ? Are these bleesers part of a sub or something I need to install ? My engine has a little stand-off tank now that Outfront installed (see photo). Is that sufficient ?.......Bruce

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Well I am sure once installed and the length of the hosing known your builder should install bleed valves at the high points where the air bubbles usually move to.  This would facilitate the bleeding and I usually do it at the beginning of the season.  A second tank may or may not be necessary if the system is fully sealed. 

I think what is to note here is that every set up needs to be worked through in the custom car field and every new car you get has nuances and maintenance that you have to learn about and fix and then schedule.  There is no panic in the Aircooled world and none also in the Subie just differences in what needs to be done and also the frequency of maintenance.

Ed,  Even if your thermostat tests OK, a replacement is cheap and good insurance.  Someone likely used that engine as a DD before your application and the t-stat has likely opened and closed thousands of times.  If you don't use a Subaru t-stat, make sure that your replacement has a jiggle pin, and that you install the pin at the upright 12:00 position to allow a slight coolant bypass until it opens.

Last edited by Jim Kelly
David Stroud posted:

Instead of hi-jacking Ed's excellent thread into oblivion, how about some interested party open a new thread and we can contribute dedicated info there ?   Please... ?  Bruce...Todd..you'd be likely suspects to start such a thread. Thanks.

Ed started the conversation regarding the cooling troubles he had with Bridget's head gasket. This seems like the natural place to discuss it between updates on the Spyder build.

Robert M posted:
David Stroud posted:

Instead of hi-jacking Ed's excellent thread into oblivion, how about some interested party open a new thread and we can contribute dedicated info there ?   Please... ?  Bruce...Todd..you'd be likely suspects to start such a thread. Thanks.

Ed started the conversation regarding the cooling troubles he had with Bridget's head gasket. This seems like the natural place to discuss it between updates on the Spyder build.

As you wish, Sir. Sorry for the intrusion.

David Stroud posted:
Robert M posted:
David Stroud posted:

Instead of hi-jacking Ed's excellent thread into oblivion, how about some interested party open a new thread and we can contribute dedicated info there ?   Please... ?  Bruce...Todd..you'd be likely suspects to start such a thread. Thanks.

Ed started the conversation regarding the cooling troubles he had with Bridget's head gasket. This seems like the natural place to discuss it between updates on the Spyder build.

As you wish, Sir. Sorry for the intrusion.

In retrospect I see the error of my ways. At least Todd and Air Cooled Bruce were asking for conversion advice on Ed's excellent build  thread and I thought It might be  prudent and more beneficial to ask for advice on a new, separate thread where the conversion info gained might actually be archived and helpful for others in the future. Please Todd and Bruce, I was not centering you out but just trying to help in a future informative thread. I won't bring up the idea again. 

Last edited by David Stroud IM Roadster D
Jim Kelly posted:

Ed,  Even if your thermostat tests OK, a replacement is cheap and good insurance.  Someone likely used that engine as a DD before your application and the t-stat has likely opened and closed thousands of times.  If you don't use a Subaru t-stat, make sure that your replacement has a jiggle pin, and that you install the pin at the upright 12:00 position to allow a slight coolant bypass until it opens.

Thanks Jim (and all). I replaced the T-stat with a proper OEM unit when I did the conversion in 2014; also the water pump (cast impeller) and then the head gaskets (Fel-Pro) and head bolts. The T-stat now has three seasons and about 3,000 miles on it and is fine. It only fits in the housing one way and, yeah, there's a little hole in it with a pin. 

There's one overflow tank in the car and it's in front.

The system works if I do the bleed procedures. I failed to do the procedures and this is what I get.

I tidied up the shop today. 

Cory was there yesterday and we all know he keeps his garage like a damn operating room. Mine looks more like the back yard in Sandford and Son.

So I put some tools away, threw away a bunch of boxes. Set things up so I could actually reach the Spyder engine which is still bolted to the pallet Carey delivered it to me on two Carlisles ago. 

Pulled the valve covers off the engine to have a look. Very clean and nice in there, and the rockers all seem to be rocking about a half inch when I turn the crankshaft over. Seems right.

IMG_2674

Pulled the clutch off to check it. With a claimed 1200 miles total, I figured it would be fine. And so it is.

IMG_2675IMG_2676

I  scrubbed the flywheel and pressure plate with a scouring pad, then rinsed with brake clean to remove any gunk. The machinists ridges are still present.

Then I cleaned the threadlock out of the holes, centered the friction disc with the centering tool and torqued the pressure plate back on, 20 ft-lbs or so. IMG_2678IMG_2679

I'll break out the CB Performance Black Box software this week and see if I can get it on my work laptop. I might install the engine and see if we can get things running first before messing with the disty. 

Haven't done the heim joints to the linkage yet either. But that's not hard to do with the engine in the car....

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"I once straightened up my former PA shop only to discover a plethora of things I didn't know I owned."

I'm going to go through that again, soon, when we clean out my late brother's shop.  He built extreme horsepower snowmobile engines for the race crowd in the Northeast and had a nicely set up shop in his house basement to build them.  While he died a few years back, his wife hasn't touched the shop, other than getting rid of the torches and welders because of the big gas bottles on them, and it looks like he just stepped out for coffee. That's going to be a big deal to clean out, especially for the Hardinge lathe and Bridgeport Miller.  Both of those took four to six of us to move them in there.......

edsnova posted:

I tidied up the shop today. 

Cory was there yesterday and we all know he keeps his garage like a damn operating room. Mine looks more like the back yard in Sandford and Son.

So I put some tools away, threw away a bunch of boxes. Set things up so I could actually reach the Spyder engine which is still bolted to the pallet Carey delivered it to me on two Carlisles ago. 

Pulled the valve covers off the engine to have a look. Very clean and nice in there, and the rockers all seem to be rocking about a half inch when I turn the crankshaft over. Seems right.

IMG_2674

Pulled the clutch off to check it. With a claimed 1200 miles total, I figured it would be fine. And so it is.

IMG_2675IMG_2676

I  scrubbed the flywheel and pressure plate with a scouring pad, then rinsed with brake clean to remove any gunk. The machinists ridges are still present.

Then I cleaned the threadlock out of the holes, centered the friction disc with the centering tool and torqued the pressure plate back on, 20 ft-lbs or so. IMG_2678IMG_2679

I'll break out the CB Performance Black Box software this week and see if I can get it on my work laptop. I might install the engine and see if we can get things running first before messing with the disty. 

Haven't done the heim joints to the linkage yet either. But that's not hard to do with the engine in the car....

Feeling the excitement for you Ed. The end of this build is getting close and the Spyder is looking pretty nice. When it's all done a walk around video showing all of the "correct" replicated parts would be a real treat.

Bob: IM S6 posted:

"I once straightened up my former PA shop only to discover a plethora of things I didn't know I owned."

I'm still looking for my plethora.  I know it's in my garage somewhere...

Ok, I choked on my breakfast!

@edsnova wrote- " I might install the engine and see if we can get things running first before messing with the disty."

Those are wiser words than you realize, Ed! Trying to change the distributor before having the engine up and running (and in a happy state of tune) is asking for trouble.

Yoda out (but back you know I will be- for now a garage and more holes to drill awaits me, yes it does!)

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