Getting back on the road

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
Well, I just can’t help myself. Beryl has been running great since the last batch of work. After checking the plugs after about 2000 miles the no. 2 plug had some oil fouling. Dammit! So, off with the head. Cylinders look great still (as they should!).

The one thing I didn’t change last time was the valve stem seals. Fortunately I had a set of o rings for that on the shelf. Sure enough after pulling the valves on 2 I found that a larger o ring had been fitted where the smaller should have been. I did those about eight years ago, so I can only blame myself.

So, new seals on all eight valves. Seeing as I’m this far in I might as well drop the sump to check the rings on piston no. 2 just to be safe. Hey ho, the joys of old cars and my dodgy work from eight years ago.
 

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
Well, the rings looked fine. I did replace the oil control rings with spares I had just to be safe.

All back together now, while I had things apart is was able to sort out the misalignment in the alternator bracket. Turned out it was just a spacer on the wrong side of adjuster strap pivot put that in the right place and all was square again.

Anyways, the engine is back together, carbs are balanced and mixture retuned. Car feels about as good as before she started missing a little. I guess I’ll have to wait a few hundred miles to check for oil on no. 2 spark plug, but I reckon she’ll be fine now.

The realignment of the alternator strap seems to have helped, no more squeak when you blip the throttle. Result!
 

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
Very satisfying it is to clear up a few oily issues, and then retire to contemplate the purchase of shiny bits over winter :)
Yep, next planned item is to fit bluetooth in a more elegant way to the 1970 Becker Europa II radio. At present I have it plug into the aux socket with a cigar lighter adapter plugged into the dash. It has that Uber driver look about it. The ignition switch can be turned to the left to accessory position. So the plan is to make sure the radio and Bluetooth module are connected to that and the adapter is hidden. the control button assembly has a magnetic back so I can have it tucked away when not needed and on the dash rail when I'm using it. I love the idea of a 42 year old radio in a 50 year old car being bluetooth enabled.
 

roverp480

Active Member
Koenigs Klassik radios is the place to go for historic Becker and Blaupunkt radios Startseite
I had a beautiful one from them for my P4 and they rebuilt a valve one for me to go in a 1947 P2 and at the time it was half the price of a UK supplier.
 

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
What do you Bluetooth into the radio ?
I bluetooth music and podcasts from my phone when on longer drives.

Koenigs Klassik radios is the place to go for historic Becker and Blaupunkt radios Startseite
I had a beautiful one from them for my P4 and they rebuilt a valve one for me to go in a 1947 P2 and at the time it was half the price of a UK supplier.
I found my Becker radio on eBay a few years ago, it was cheap because of a misspelt title! I'm lucky also that I live ab out 30 mins drive from Becker's US service center in Saddle Brook NJ.

On another note I've now got dry fouling on No.2 plug. Compression is equal with the other three cylinders so I'm going to run it for a bit and hope its just everything bedding back in on that cylinder after replacing the oil control rings. I choose to leave the compression rings as I thought I'd be better not having to bed in new rings on a cylinder by itself (all of them were replaced recently when I lost compression on no.3 cylinder.) All I can think is 2200 piston rings had terrible quality control! Fingers crossed all will be fine going forward.
 

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
Well, update from holiday fettling. After thinking I can’t be really thinking about replacing the rings on no. 2 pistons I did a cold compression test on a very cold morning. Sure enough not a sausage on that cylinder cold. I even checked the others with the same compression gauge and a borrowed one to confirm.

So I did replace the compression rings on no. 2 piston. I’ve put about 100 miles since then and I’m glad to say she’s got clean plugs on all cylinders and healthy compression on all as well. Finally!

Now they’re bedded in I’ve run cold and hot compression and leak down tests. Compression on all cylinders ranges between 175-180psi. Leakdown cold is 10%-5% hot 5% across the board, all through the rings into the crank case as expected. I’m very happy with those results as you can imagine.

In more fun work, I’ve rewired the radio to work with both the accessory and iginition switch positions. Being a NADA car the accessory position is reached by turning the ignition key to the left (never come across this before). I added a 12v socket in the cubby above the radio, also using the same feed with an in line fuse. I have a USB outlet and feed to a Bluetooth adaptor plugs into it. You can hardly see it when in the car and it allows Beryl to be the worlds largest Bluetooth speaker! The control pendant is magnetic, so I can tuck it away when not in use or have it on the dash rail to control the phone when I want to. That and the period Becker radio makes for a decent looking installation I think.

I found a bad connector for earth wires behind the console, after making a new connector and reconnecting the wires I now have the handbrake light working for the first time in my ownership. Result!
 

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sdibbers

Well-Known Member
Well, another update. Went out for a drive this weekend. Car running nicely at long last. No weird low compression on cold starts, extra smooth idle when warm. Power feels good, it has a much smoother delivery now.
 

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you have cracked it !
Fingers crossed! What a pain though. I’ve pulled the head four times in the last six months, the sump three times. I can only say that quality control at BL for the rings must have been pretty bad. Although talking to an Italian mechanic friend over here he’s had similar problems with Alfa rings from the 70’s too.
 
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cobraboy

Well-Known Member
It is becoming clearer to me the more rebuilt engines I have experience with the importance of bedding the rings in from the get go. I now run the motors on the road right up to max torque rpm quick and hard, and then change down a gear and let the car push the engine, repeat a few times and then generally squirt the car about. By babying a fresh engine it will likely become an oil burner if the bores glaze.
 

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
It is becoming clearer to me the more rebuilt engines I have experience with the importance of bedding the rings in from the get go. I now run the motors on the road right up to max torque rpm quick and hard, and then change down a gear and let the car push the engine, repeat a few times and then generally squirt the car about. By babying a fresh engine it will likely become an oil burner if the bores glaze.
I followed your advice on that when I did the work in the summer. The rings on no.2 cylinder took longer to seal than the other three (Those were instant). I do feel that I had a dodgy ring on there.
 

unstable load

Well-Known Member
It is becoming clearer to me the more rebuilt engines I have experience with the importance of bedding the rings in from the get go. I now run the motors on the road right up to max torque rpm quick and hard, and then change down a gear and let the car push the engine, repeat a few times and then generally squirt the car about. By babying a fresh engine it will likely become an oil burner if the bores glaze.
An old timer that spent his career working on heavy diesels told me they used to use Vim scouring powder to do a quick deglaze.
They'd run the engine flat out and introduce the vim to the intake in a trickle and continue until it was finished. The abrasive action would clean most of the carbon out of the engine and deglaze the bores nicely.
Obviously frowned on by the OEMs but out in the bush on a tired, old engine, why not?
 

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
An old timer that spent his career working on heavy diesels told me they used to use Vim scouring powder to do a quick deglaze.
They'd run the engine flat out and introduce the vim to the intake in a trickle and continue until it was finished. The abrasive action would clean most of the carbon out of the engine and deglaze the bores nicely.
Obviously frowned on by the OEMs but out in the bush on a tired, old engine, why not?
Hot Rodders did the same with Bon Ami (similar to Vim) in the states. Great on a flat head Ford V8, not so much on a modern (Ish) engine like ours.

Engine is definitely not tired, no wear ridge at top of cylinders, and honed when reringed in the summer. Poor old engine had an odd history. I built it as a 2200 about eight years ago, the car it was in I lost in a traffic accident. Car and engine stayed at a friends yard in Massachusetts for 3 years before I was able to bring the car down and strip parts. I recommissioned the engine and fitted to my car. I think the layup had caused a stuck ring as compression dropped this summer and I replaced all the rings. One of the new rings took 1,000 miles to seat (others seated almost immediately). Guess what? It was no 2!
 
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sdibbers

Well-Known Member
Before you strip it down, toss a glug of ATF into the cylinder and let it soak.
I have heard that it unsticks rings very well. What do you have to lose?
I think you’re misreading things. I already have stripped the engine down. New rings on no. 2 piston. Car is fine now. Good compression and low leak down tests.
 
It is becoming clearer to me the more rebuilt engines I have experience with the importance of bedding the rings in from the get go. I now run the motors on the road right up to max torque rpm quick and hard, and then change down a gear and let the car push the engine, repeat a few times and then generally squirt the car about. By babying a fresh engine it will likely become an oil burner if the bores glaze.
I was given this website

that basically agrees with your way of thinking that it is better to load the engine to bed in the rings than taking it slowly. He even goes on to say that manufacturers push the engines to their limits when testing during assembly. I've tried once on a classic 105 series Alfa and to date am happy with the overall performance.
 
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