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2023: Year round-up

I've been busy showing progress via my YouTube channel, although the lack of a new crankshaft continues to hold up the engine rebuild.

At the end of 2022, I finally got the last 2 very stubborn liners out of the cylinder block. Leaking coolant had deposited limescale within the interference fit of the liners, effectively gluing them in. I had to destroy the skirts and even then, they required some brute force. I consulted 3 different AC engine specialists before doing anything by force.

Then started the epic battle to remove the head studs. These go about 6.5 inches deep into the alloy block. I was apprehensive about heating the block too much, or too localised. Therefore, I contacted Brian Taylor's engineering company that has a lot of experience with AC engines. I was tempted to hand over the block for them to remove the studs, but they very kindly gave me lots of free advice. They also admitted that they don't relish the challenge of stud removal. At that stage, I had only removed 1 out the 14 studs. They recommended heating intensively around each stud with an O-A torch. Access to such a torch is not easy in an at home DIY situation, so I purchased a powerful blow-torch. Getting the block around each stud up to about 100 degrees C (212 F) was enough to remove most of the studs. The last few were very stubborn, and so I enlisted the help of AC engine specialist Leo Archibald. We removed the last few studs except for one that snapped flush! Oh no!

With no sign of the new crankshaft materialising, I decided to do some upgrades to the sump. I was largely following Leo Archibald's AC 2 Litre book. He used to race a 2 Litre special and has lots of experience of improving the engine. The oil pick-up in the sump is in the rear/right-hand corner, and there is only a limited amount of baffles to deal with surge. I made a copper screen to wrap around the oil-pump inlet gauze, and added a pipe to pick-up oil from near the centre. I added both vertical and horizontal baffles. The horizontal one probably needs more holes for oil flow, which I'll add later.

Coach painting

With engine parts cluttering the workshop, I decided to do some more coach painting. In 2021 I had attempted to coach paint the bonnet and boot-lid, but I was not satisfied with the results. This time, I spent many hours getting the surface perfectly smooth, mostly using 400 grit wet/dry paper. Firstly using it wet, and then tackling difficult details with dry paper, so that I could see the surface easily.

The next improvement was in my method of laying off the brush strokes for the top coat (green) and the final clear coats. When blending into the previously painted section, I move the brush towards that previous section and gradually lift the brush. My earlier mistake was to lower the brush into the previous section then brush away from it.

The results are much better, but not perfect. You can still faintly see ripples from my final laying off strokes, running sideways.

I then redid the clear coat on the boot-lid, and applied the green and clear coats on the driver's door and door surround. After a nice spell of early autumn weather, the wet weather arrived. I just had enough time to get the first coat of green onto the passenger door.

I also paid Leo a visit to assist with the brakes on his red AC Buckland. They had been extensively modified and have been difficult to get working again. At the same time, I had a ride in Leo's newly acquired cream Buckland, and I've published a video.

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Website started 29th December 2006