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    1. Member Jettaboy1884's Avatar
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      08-27-2020 11:39 PM #201
      Holy moly that's a lot of work, but you're making great headway!

      Sorry if I missed a change of direction, but you mentioned using metal headgaskets and commented that they are not forgiving of imperfections. Would you consider giving them a light coating of copper spray? I've read great things about it for this purpose, but it's primarily been in the small single-cylinder world where there's nowhere near as much labor effort at stake.

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    3. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      08-28-2020 12:22 PM #202
      Quote Originally Posted by Jettaboy1884 View Post
      Would you consider giving them a light coating of copper spray? I've read great things about it for this purpose, but it's primarily been in the small single-cylinder world where there's nowhere near as much labor effort at stake.
      Great point....I've read the same thing. But I've also read that it makes things worse as a result of the nitrile coating. I have no formal training with what I'm doing; just a lot of common sense and a good understanding of mechanical workings. All of my knowledge comes from what I've read, what I've done, or what I've inferred. You've definitely given me something to investigate over the weekend; I'll see if I can find any specific evidence regarding copper spray and nitrile coated MLS gaskets. Thanks for a little bit of clarity.

      Somehow I got a third night in a row in the garage this week. What a good baby! I definitely have my hobbies, but I love being a dad. Before my daughter was born my biggest fear was that it would be a struggle to get over my selfishness and my existing hobbies would get in the way. Not at all the case.

      The next thing I need to tackle is pulling out the power steering reservoir for powdercoat/paint. I know I used to have a spare in much better condition but I thought it might have gotten purged during my spring cleaning. I had a wall full of boxes of spares, and condensed it down into two boxes. To my surprise; I kept it. Unfortunately its for an NA and is missing a fitting needed to work with the TT power steering pump.

      but!...

      In the same box I found a spare set of automatic cams (!!!) which I was 95% sure also got purged. Auto/TT cams are interchangeable, but the auto intake cams have reduced lift which when combined with smaller turbo exhaust housings resulted in ~20hp less on the automatic models. Supposedly this was done for the benefit of the transmission. My exhaust cam is the one that is deeply scored, and my intake cam is salvageable with a little bit of polishing as far as I am concerned. This saves me from having to source a replacement cam. Excellent!




      Manual camshaft at roughly 1.592" total lobe length


      Auto intake camshaft at roughly 1.566" total lobe length

      I figured while I was digging through boxes I'd do a half-assed job of taking photos of my half-assed paint job. It was dark, I used the phone flashlight. I have about 10000lm of light in the 1 car bay and about 200lm in the 2 car bay. It's probably better this way.


      Balance tube


      Valve covers. Okay...they really didn't turn out too bad.

      I also got a picture of the business end of the wiring harness. When I installed the new fuel rail I needed new injector connectors too. After 10 years the electrical tape started to get a little nasty; so I re-wrapped them with 'quality' name brand electrical tape hoping it will remain plyable for longer. The rest of the harness in this area was wrapped with the silicone 'tape'; but the tension needed to install the tape was a little more than I was comfortable applying in these areas.


      Nothing exciting here.

      Definitely more distractions than actual productivity this evening. Plus it was hot so my motivation was quickly waning. I grabbed my flare nut wrenches and checked the PB blasters progress clutch slave junction and was pleased to see the two 10mm connections broke free. The 17mm nut going to the bleeder was still frozen pretty good; but I'm removing the junction box itself so that's OK.


      The junction box is top middle of the frame with the 10mm hex/phillips bolt

      Once I took the picture I realized how gross the rust was (when you spend 10 years looking at something the same way you kind of get used to it). Rust has always scared the crap out of me so I wasn't really sure what to do. My buddy who likes to hack stuff up suggested cutting out the battery tray and welding a new one in. I don't have a welder (yet) and hacking up the Z is not my idea of a good time. I've heard good things about POR15 but in my research discovered VHT Rust Converter. It sounds like this needs minimal prep and is mean to be sprayed directly on rusted areas. I'll mask this area of the bay and try and get as much coverage as I can and follow it up with a gloss black topcoat. Thankfully this is about 99% of the rust on the car. It's pretty clean for a 30 year old midwestern car.

      This afternoon I'm making a Menards run for polishing supplies as well as some copper to make my best attempt at a burn barrel pool heater. We've got enough trees on our property that its tough to keep up with waste disposal. We generally end up burning it in the fall. My hope is to recapture some of that waste heat and dump it in the pool to give us an extra weekend or two of pool use. This could be a pipe dream, but I had a blast brainstorming it with some of my fellow backyard engineers.

      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

      1990 300ZX TT, 2004 Mini Cooper S, 2006 Volvo V70 2.5T, 2002 Jetta TDI, 1997 Golf GTI Truck - RWD

    4. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      08-31-2020 12:28 PM #203
      It figures I mentioned my focus on staying motivated in my previous post and when I woke up Saturday morning I just didn't really want to be in the garage and wasn't feeling it. Some coffee helped to turn that around and I managed to eventually get to work.

      I made a frustrating Menards run Friday and picked up some polishing tools; unfortunately the 1" wire brush I got was more like 1.5" and is much too large to fit in the cam carrier. Back to the drawing board. Ugh. I skipped head repair and went back to the engine bay.

      Slave cylinder junction block was deleted and replaced with a union.


      More of that gross rust.

      I drained the power steering reservoir with my MityVac to try and prevent myself from making too much of a mess. Unfortunately I made a mess both using the MityVac to drain the reservoir and then I made another mess when reservoir (I was confident I fully drained) was removed and dumped ATF all over. Ugh.

      I looked at blocking off the lines so I could finally get around to degreasing the engine bay and I realized I could remove the pump with the removal of just 1 banjo bolt.


      Need to find a safe way to degrease this. What a gross mess.

      My slow start and ATF mess kept me from getting much more done in the garage on Saturday. I DID start a Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Stout Saturday afternoon though. I'm very excited to see how this turns out.


      At least its starting to look clean


      Sunday afternoon I managed to find 60 minutes or so to do some paint prep; and I knocked out the actual paint in the evening while watching Lynn. She had a blast watching dad make a mess from a distance.


      Timing covers, PCV hoses, and heat shields - BEFORE

      My timing covers were pretty gross; I figured why not give a try with some high temp flat black enamel. The power steering reservoir shows quite a few years of age as well, and given its prominent position I thought high temp black gloss would be appropriate. The PCV hoses are attached to the valve covers and would receive the same gloss red enamel.


      This is the flat black. Very happy with the results


      I managed to drop this after applying the final primer coat. Ugh. It still turned out pretty good I think.

      I can't find a satin or matte gloss in high temp enamel; so the heat shields and timing covers might stay primer/flat black with no topcoat. Is that an unwise idea? I'm really excited to see what all these components will look like after installation. I think next Saturday I can finally roll the shell outside and give the engine bay a good degreasing.

      Does anyone have any suggestions on a safe way to degrease my oil soaked alternator and power steering pump? Should I hit it with the Gunk along with the rest of the engine bay, rinse it, and just let it dry?

      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

      1990 300ZX TT, 2004 Mini Cooper S, 2006 Volvo V70 2.5T, 2002 Jetta TDI, 1997 Golf GTI Truck - RWD

    5. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      08-31-2020 12:36 PM #204
      Quote Originally Posted by megaDan View Post
      I can't find a satin or matte gloss in high temp enamel; so the heat shields and timing covers might stay primer/flat black with no topcoat. Is that an unwise idea? I'm really excited to see what all these components will look like after installation. I think next Saturday I can finally roll the shell outside and give the engine bay a good degreasing.
      I would use a semi-gloss paint. It won't absorb water (some primers absorb water, but a sealer-primer won't) and with semi gloss you can wipe it off easily. Also if it isn't perfectly clean in the nooks and crannies it will look good anyway.


      Quote Originally Posted by megaDan View Post
      Does anyone have any suggestions on a safe way to degrease my oil soaked alternator and power steering pump? Should I hit it with the Gunk along with the rest of the engine bay, rinse it, and just let it dry?


      Any kind of electric motor cleaner should work fine on an alternator. Are you rebuilding the pump? Kits are cheap and you remove the rubber doing so, meaning that isn't a concern.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

    6. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      09-08-2020 01:25 PM #205
      Quote Originally Posted by Air and water do mix View Post
      I would use a semi-gloss paint. ....

      Any kind of electric motor cleaner should work fine on an alternator. Are you rebuilding the pump? Kits are cheap and you remove the rubber doing so, meaning that isn't a concern.
      Thanks for the tips. After a ton of searching I found 'Duplicolor Wheel Coating' in a matte finish good up to 250F. I did a test spray and the results definitely looked good. I'm crossing my fingers that 250F is sufficient for the timing covers. The only other clear high temp paint I could find was by Eastwood, but it's not readily available and would only provide another 20 or so degrees of safety.

      I also picked up a can of the electric motor cleaner you suggested and it did wonders for the alternator. I still need to give it a little more scrubbing, but it made the hard part easy.

      My plan for the weekend was to finally get the engine bay degreased and get some rust converter in the battery tray area. Saturday was pretty productive; I got all the gasket surfaces clean and the scored cam journal polished. I think this head is ready for install. I was also startled by how clean the top of the head was. It looks like it's never been installed...and aside from removing RTV, that's exactly how it was when pulled out of the car. I placed the head on a clean sheet of cardboard, wrapped it in a trash bag and tucked it in a corner on the workbench.



      This was before I removed the exhaust valve cover RTV. So clean!


      Also not bad.

      I spent a ton of very fretful time working on the headgasket surfaces. As much as I want to go back to a more tolerant composite OEM headgasket, I think MLS will be the most cost effective, easiest, and durable assuming the mating surfaces are adequate. I've been nervous about going MLS again, especially with reused heads but I checked 32 vs 60 vs 125 ra on a comparison gage and my heads feel like they're in the 30-40 range so I really should be OK. I need to stop worrying and order some damn gaskets so I can finish this project.

      Saturday afternoon I sprayed the engine bay with GUNK Foamy and tackled the really bad surfaces with the detailers equivalent of a toothbrush. I was hoping the GUNK would be a spray down and rinse off type of product as advertised, but even non-greasy/oily surfaces still needed some help to really get 'clean' after a good rinse. It certainly did make gross buildups easy to dislodge with some gentle brushing. Following a rinse and a wipe with a rag and another rinse, once grimy, heavily coated surfaces are now clean and bone dry. Yay. Unfortunately its difficult to tell in the pictures I took. And I still haven't done a good 'after' photo as the engine bay is still masked. 24 hours after the degreasing I hit the rusty spots with a rust converter as a last ditch effort before hacking up the battery tray. My plan is to hit the bad areas with more of the black engine enamel and find a replacement cowl to prevent further water entry.


      Grease free, but mask heavy. It really is starting to look nice.

      I had a little more time Sunday afternoon so I began work on the much worse passenger side head. I figured it didn't make sense to spend time on anything else if the polishing didn't go well, so i started there. I used 800 grit 2000 grit, and finished with a 2500 grit sandpaper. The process was very tedius but somewhat enjoyable. My whole plan was to find a rotary accessory, but I struck out with each idea I tried. I ended up cutting 1"x1" squares of sandpaper and very gently applied them to the journal surface. I'd polish for 5 seconds or so, then clean the journal and clean the sandpaper and repeat. I knew the score marks wouldn't completely disappear without removing FAR too much material, but I had hoped they would clean up a bit more than they did. I am very pleased with how mirror-like the non scored surfaces turned out. They're smoother than the remaining journals. I'm a bit nervous, but I'll monitor them closely after an initial break-in. The remaining grooves just leave more room for oil.....right?


      Before polish.


      After polish.

      After polishing, I installed the good cam from the drivers side head to try and get an idea of how much material I removed. A caliper on a diameter when trying to discern a .001" change is not an appropriate measurement instrument. So I installed 3 of the 5 cam caps, and left two off, one being a pristine journal, the other being the one I polished. a .0015" feeler passed easily on both journals. A .002" started on the good journal and entered pretty far on the polished journal. I got a .003" feeler into the polished one, so it's approximately .001"-.0015" larger than the other journals. I can't be certain that the wear wasn't present before I started polishing, but that's most likely mostly the result of my work. Given how little load I would expect the last cam cap to see, I don't expect this to be an issue. Is it ideal? No. Is it worrysome? Also no.


      Checking cleanance

      I need to order parts ASAP, finish the passenger side head, and get the block mating surfaces cleaned up. I think I've just about eliminated all of the questions that had been preventing me from purchasing parts. Time to get down to business....although this month gets busy, so my optimistic timeline is looking like end of October.

      And because I can't sit still, I made my first all-grain homebrew on Monday. I got a Goose Island Bourbon County kit for Christmas but apparently didn't specify the extract version; so I got a box with 25lbs of grain. After spending weeks researching and finding some equipment on Craigslist I finally got enough courage to give it a try. I think an 8 hour brew day was more exhausting than 8 hours under the car. Jeez. Everything went spectacularly and I'm on track to hit ~13% abv! It was really cool learning all about the process, but I very much prefer the 2-3 hour extract brewing process versus the 8 hour DAY all-grain takes.

      While the wort was boiling I moved the Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk Stout I had fermenting into a keg. I know it's not for everyone, but I'm a huge fan of everything PB, especially beer. I was nervous as to whether or not this was going to work; but to my surprise the initial tasting left me with exactly what I'd expect, chocolate, some sweetness, and a good amount of peanut butter. It's going to be a good winter!


      Yum! My first attempt at a 'custom' brew

      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

      1990 300ZX TT, 2004 Mini Cooper S, 2006 Volvo V70 2.5T, 2002 Jetta TDI, 1997 Golf GTI Truck - RWD

    7. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      09-08-2020 01:33 PM #206
      Looking good!

      I'm glad I could help.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

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      09-08-2020 01:35 PM #207
      car's looking better. beer's sounding great! I saw Bourbon County in your thread - are you going to age it somehow?

    9. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      09-08-2020 01:57 PM #208
      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain View Post
      car's looking better. beer's sounding great! I saw Bourbon County in your thread - are you going to age it somehow?
      Most people who make variations on this recipe keep it in the primary for 3-4 weeks and then age it in a keg or secondary. My plan is to do 4 weeks in the primary while I let my oak chips age on 16oz of bourbon. I'd prefer to let this age in a keg so I can sample from time to time, but my kegs are all occupied (Dogfish 90 IPA clone, Session IPA currently conditioning, and PB Stout). It will probably go into a glass carboy for 3 months on the oak/bourbon (many do 6-9 but I can't wait that long) and then bottle to condition until they are consumed. I don't like the carboy method because I have no way to taste test; although I'm a set it and forget it type since I'm still a rookie (and have my time otherwise occupied generally).

      I'm also aging (re:saving) actual bottles of GI BCS...they're common gifts at Christmas time as the whole family loves big stouts. Thanks to being holed up all year I've been depleting my 'specialty' collection. I might only have one or two left. If this recipe is a hit I can see this becoming a once a year brew. Maybe get it going in the spring so its ready for winter. It would be a no brainer if my family were closer, but it's hard to share beer across hundreds/thousands of miles.

      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

      1990 300ZX TT, 2004 Mini Cooper S, 2006 Volvo V70 2.5T, 2002 Jetta TDI, 1997 Golf GTI Truck - RWD

    10. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      09-14-2020 11:26 AM #209
      Most importantly, it's been six and a half days and my BCS clone is still chugging along with consistent airlock activity. This is a very good sign. I've heard a lot of 'horror' stories about fermentation stalling out due to lack of aerating or a weak starter because of the incredibly high starting gravity of this beer. I was concerned I may not have aerated enough, but I guess my starter was pretty killer as fermentation started in under an hour and its been going strong for nearly a week. I am unbelievably excited for this beer and I'm thrilled it's gone so well thus far.

      I didn't get too much done in the garage this weekend as we had family visiting. We've got a very small 'pod' if you will of people we're willing to closely associate with during the pandemic, and they're two of the roughly 6 our circle contains.

      My before and after pictures are terrible unfortunately, so you'll have to take me at my word. I took a plastic and brass brush to my power steering pump with the help of simple green and gunk foamy and did a fantastic job of removing thick buildup of grime from the pump and hoses. Nobody will ever notice it, but it just makes sense to do it now while the pump is out.


      Power steering pump and lines before


      And after

      I spent a good hour with 2000 grit sandpaper cleaning up the passenger side block deck surface. It was very tedious work, but also somewhat enjoyable for 6am on a Saturday morning. I had my cup of coffee next to me and a short running documentary on the TV to keep my mind engaged. And of course my dumbass forgot to take before AND after pictures. Ugh. I'll try and do better on the passenger side. I also got a coat of black gloss enamel and gloss clear on the battery tray area as well as the front crossmember where there was a ton of rust and lack of paint respectively. I was really pleased with how it turned out, and the black gloss enamel very closely matches the paint in the bay. The color/finish mismatch really isn't noticeable until you're 12 inches away.


      This is the best before shot I have


      This is as it sits now. Pretty darn good!


      Battery tray up close

      I FINALLY ordered parts Saturday night, so as long as nothing is out of stock I can start re-assembly soon.
      -After more waffling than I thought I was capable of I elected to just go with the same Cometic MLS gaskets I had before. Any near-oem headgasket solution would have required adjustable cam gears. Good idea, but not budget friendly.
      -I purchased a few miscellaneous gaskets that weren't already in my pretty extensive collection after a decade of collecting, the most important being new cam seals which appeared to be the source of nearly all my oil leaks.
      -I grabbed a magnetic drain plug in the interest of securing a tiny fraction of a safety net in the event my 'polish and forget it' plan doesn't work.
      -I got a replacement passenger side cowl to prevent further rusting in the battery tray area. These are notorious for disappearing for whatever reason, my car hasn't had one in the time I've owned it and OEM replacements are very expensive. A company recently began producing OEM quality replicas in the double digits cost-wise which I jumped on.
      -New socket head cap screw intake valve cover hardware to replace the OEM Phillips shoulder machine screws that are made of the softest metal known to man. I hate this things with a passion.
      -Energy suspension steering rack bushings. Mine feel fine, but everyone says they make a huge difference.
      -Upper radiator brackets for aftermarket radiators. No more janky hood prop issues.

      I expected the list to be much longer. Maybe it will be if my plan to polish away my issues fails. I've also got a replacement set of cams and heads coming. I'll use the cams right away and the heads will go on a shelf as backups.

      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

      1990 300ZX TT, 2004 Mini Cooper S, 2006 Volvo V70 2.5T, 2002 Jetta TDI, 1997 Golf GTI Truck - RWD

    11. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      09-14-2020 12:18 PM #210
      That looks a lot better. It's just too bad there's so much stuff in there!

      Am I right that modern engines seem to have everything more integrated and the engine compartments are cleaner than those of the '90s or is it only concealment with plastic covers that makes them appear that way.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

    12. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      09-16-2020 11:09 AM #211
      Quote Originally Posted by Air and water do mix View Post
      That looks a lot better. It's just too bad there's so much stuff in there!

      Am I right that modern engines seem to have everything more integrated and the engine compartments are cleaner than those of the '90s or is it only concealment with plastic covers that makes them appear that way.
      I think it's just more plastic hiding the actual workings; but my newest car is currently a 2006 so I wouldn't be a good judge.

      I spent 45 minutes with 2000 grit sandpaper last night. I made decent progress on the opposite mating surface. I had already touched the surface up very slightly prior to this, but this is a decent before/after. It needs a little more work, but it's almost gasket ready.


      Before


      After

      I need to do just a little more cosmetic work as well as find a safe way to degrease the block, and then I'm just waiting for parts.

      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

      1990 300ZX TT, 2004 Mini Cooper S, 2006 Volvo V70 2.5T, 2002 Jetta TDI, 1997 Golf GTI Truck - RWD

    13. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      09-16-2020 12:33 PM #212
      Quote Originally Posted by megaDan View Post
      I think it's just more plastic hiding the actual workings; but my newest car is currently a 2006 so I wouldn't be a good judge.
      Probably. It's may also be that the additional parts are simply better packaged, even without the cover. One thing is for sure, though. The covers are there for a reason. Most engines are pretty ugly with their ancillaries and wiring, and that's too bad, but perhaps some semi-exotic cars have the ugly parts hidden and the engines can look more glorious.


      Quote Originally Posted by megaDan View Post
      I spent 45 minutes with 2000 grit sandpaper last night. I made decent progress on the opposite mating surface. I had already touched the surface up very slightly prior to this, but this is a decent before/after. It needs a little more work, but it's almost gasket ready.

      *pics

      I need to do just a little more cosmetic work as well as find a safe way to degrease the block, and then I'm just waiting for parts.
      It looks good as long as they're still flat!

      Are you going to try to remove the carbon from the piston tops? I've never done that to an engine that wasn't completely dismantled, but I think it'd be tricky without contaminating the rings/lands/oil.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

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