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Engine health after long storage?

Discussion in 'Rover P6 Engine 4 cylinder' started by Oldlook, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. Oldlook

    Oldlook Member

    I have an SC engine that has been stored fully assembled, minus distributor, in a dry garage and climate for twenty years. It was running before it was stored. I'll need some or all of it for my 2000, so I was wondering what it might look like inside after so long. I'm sure all the seals and rubber will need replacing, but do the bearings corrode in oil or break down with age? Would the missing distributor cause problems? Thanks in advance for any advice!
  2. redrover

    redrover Active Member

    I'm sure there could be many issues associated with storing an engine for many years, including whether any oil was left in it, and what the ambient conditions were like where it was stored.

    Luckily with the 4-cylinder engine most of the oilways are either external pipes or easily accessible, so flushing shouldn't be too much of an issue, but you'd still want to be thorough. Sump off, external oil pipes and pick-up removed and flushed. Oilway to the head flushed (new O ring) and main gallery flushed through the stud on the block wall (??). I'd probably want to take the tensioners out and clean them out, and replace the nylon strainer in the head too. But that doesn't guarantee you bearings. If you're going that far, it may be worth replacing them as a matter of course.

    My main concern with 'stood' engines is that the piston rings have clung to the bores and rusted in place. With old BMC/Standard engines I have worked on, I have put a good load of penetrating fluid (although diesel or ATF would do) down the bores and left it for a good few days before gently budging the crank a fraction at a time with a socket. Even if the crank is relatively free, it's still a good idea to lubricate the walls. This is less easy with the 2000 piston crown design, but if you're taking the head off anyway....

    The worst a missing distributor could do is let moisture down into the aux drive housing, which has a pair of skew gears and an eccentric cam in it, so dumping a load of engine oil down there when you're done is no bad move.

  3. Oldlook

    Oldlook Member

    Thanks for your comment! I didn't expect a response so fast, and it's late where I am (your time plus seven I think), so I'll reply more intelligently in the morning.

    EDIT: Minus seven, excuse me.
  4. Oldlook

    Oldlook Member

    I went out to look at it again, it looks like the oil was drained before storage. Then I got curious and took the valve cover off. It looks pretty good in there.
    A lot better than the other one!

    Redrover, thanks again for your post. I probably wouldn't have thought to oil the bores before seeing if it turned, and I'm glad I didn't try before asking. Do you have a preferred oil for the job? I don't know many by name or how well they work.
  5. redrover

    redrover Active Member

    I don't think it matters terribly much what you use. At this stage, all you're looking to do is get a bit of lubrication around all the moving parts. Some penetrating fluid is ideal for the bores if they have started to cling, but if not some clean engine oil would do. 20w50 is the recommended for a 2000, but anything similar would do for freeing off.
    Your cylinder head looks nice and clean (although I don't think the 4-cylinder suffers with the same gungey/carbon-deposit issues as the V8). It also looks very dry (to be expected), so it'd be a wise idea to fill up the 4 square reservoirs under the camshaft. Your bucket tappets won't have moved in their guides for a very long time, so dumping some engine oil in the reservoirs will seep down and lubricate everything, as well as protecting the cam from scoring the dry bucket-tops.

    What comes next depends on how involved you want to get. I'd be tempted to at least remove the head and sump to flush the oilways and replace the bottom end bearings, but if you just want to get it freed off for now and have a little fettle to see if you can get it running, it's pretty wise to start feeding the [by now bone dry] crankshaft bearings with a bit of oil.
    The easiest way to do this without removing any substantial engine parts is to unbolt the external oil pipe which bolts directly up to the underside of the oil pump. There are two socket-headed bolts which are difficult to remove and don't seem to correspond to any Allen key I have. If you get it off, you can pour fresh engine oil directly down this pipe (so the oil goes into the engine block) while turning the crank over slowly. If you can't get it off, there is a (painfully slow) alternative way to do this. Just next to the oil filter is second external oil pipe, which bolts into an upright oblong channel (circled in picture). This is a priming reservoir for the oil pump. If you remove the two 7/16" bolts in the lid (taking care not to loose the O ring), you can fill up this reservoir with clean engine oil. There's no point filling it up till it trickles down the hole in the side back into the external hose - this will only fill the sump up verrrrry slowly and is a useless place for it to go. It needs to go down through the bottom of the square channel. When you're happy the engine is freed off, slowly rotate the crank by hand whilst maintaining the oil in this square channel (rotate clockwise from the front pulley, anti-clockwise from the flywheel). It will gradually disappear down the bottom as it gets drawn into the oil pump. After a long time (and at least a pint of oil) oil will have made its way to the bearings. The pressure output from the pump is negligible, so don't worry about spinning it faster - it's gravity or the capillary effect at best that will get the oil to the bearings. All you have to do is keep turning the oil pump rotors to prevent them obstructing the flow.
    Either ways, once you've got a good pint or two in there, you can leave it for a bit and then come back a few days later to add a little bit more. If your engine has been standing that long, the bearings will be bone dry to the point of being porous. You need to get some oil to them so they can absorb it and become smooth and slippery again before you attempt to fire the engine up.

    Keep us posted!
  6. Oldlook

    Oldlook Member

    I appreciate the advice on filling it, but it sounds like the safest thing to do would be take it apart and check everything. I'd hate to ruin it by gambling when I didn't have to. Especially since I don't know where I'd get another one. I found a new head gasket in the parts pile, so I don't really have a reason not to do it. I have never taken an engine apart before, so I'm sure I'll have more questions (and pictures!) once pieces start coming off. Thanks for your time!
  7. redrover

    redrover Active Member

    Looking forward to seeing how it progresses for you...

    In the meantime, do you have the pukka Rover-issued workshop manual? It's about 2 inches thick and covers ever dismantling/overhaul procedure in blow-by-blow steps with superbly detailed drawings. A must if you're diving into your engine!

    Thijs Leuven likes this.
  8. Oldlook

    Oldlook Member

    I have an older version of the manual from '67, a parts book, and booklets covering North American cars and some minor things. Also the Haynes book, but I have the impression it's not very good.
  9. Thijs Leuven

    Thijs Leuven Member

    I knowing I'm blowing some serious dust off this topic, but hey...

    I'm planning on re-gasketing my 2200TC engine and would love a good manual on taking the engine apart, and more importantly putting it back together... I can't find anything on Google when I search for Pukka Rover P6 manual? Anybody any advice on good literature on rebuilding the 2200 lump?
  10. harveyp6

    harveyp6 Well-Known Member

  11. roverp480

    roverp480 Active Member

  12. Thijs Leuven

    Thijs Leuven Member

    Thanks for the reply! Will this add anything beyond the Haynes I already have? :)
  13. harveyp6

    harveyp6 Well-Known Member

    Quite a lot I would think.
    DaveCol likes this.
  14. Thijs Leuven

    Thijs Leuven Member

    Good thing I found a free one just now... Some guy advertised it online for free since he sold his P6 a while ago! :)
  15. j_radcliffe

    j_radcliffe Member

    It will add a lot. I have their Rover manual, the manual published by Autopress written by Ball, then the Haynes manual. I rarely use the Haynes manual. The other two are better in my opinion.

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