The Studeblogger

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Some good progress on the Lark yesterday. I spent almost all day on it, and I got a lot done.

The SDC Forum advice on how to get the engine back into the mounts nice and square paid off. I hooked the engine hoist to the block, loosened the transmission mount-to-frame bolts, and used my floor jack to lift under the trans pan. After a few cranks (about 8" elevation), the forward engine mounts were aligned above the frame brackets.

I could've used another hand, but since it was just me I wedged a crowbar between the firewall and engine and pulled the block forward a little more, holding it in position with a rubber mallet. Then I let down the hoist and the engine settled into the mounts like it should have been from the beginning! Torquing down the mounts fore and aft made it permanent.

It was early in the day, so I took the opportunity to get a few more things done. With the engine finally seated, I could mount the torque converter inspection plates. Then I torqued the new A-Arm bushing bolts to spec, reconnected the exhaust pipes to the manifolds, and installed the transmission filler tube. After that I installed new front shock absorbers and began reassembling the front anti-sway bar components.

Tech Tip alert: when installing the anti-sway bar, there are 4 rubber bushings that must slide into position along the (freshly painted) bar. If you try to put them on dry, you'll wind up frustrating yourself to no end. Instead, use a pure silicone spray lubricant on the bar; the bushings will slide on without any effort whatever.

There's a few more things to do to get the engine ready to start. I need to install a new speedometer cable (the core is missing from the old one), reinstall the driveshaft, mount the starter, and attach the engine accessories - intake and carb, fuel pump, water manifold, alternator and fan, etc. I'm starting to get excited!

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Monday, June 23, 2008

So close I can taste it...

I got to spend some Stude time last weekend. The Lark's been untouched since Christmas; we put the engine in but trapped the driver's exhaust between the oil pan and the tie rods. Boy, did that hack me off! But we were running out of daylight when the engine went back in, and none of us noticed (although we thought we'd tied the pipes securely out of the way). I wondered why it was so hard to steer afterward! Yes, it put a nice dent in the pan, but it's at the sump end, and fairly shallow, so no internal problems.

Anyway, some time opened up, and I hooked up the hoist to free the trapped pipe. All went well - my son cranked up the block about 3/4", I slid the pipe free from underneath, and all's well.

Almost. The engine, mounts freed of their frame brackets, decided it wanted to slip backward about 1/4" - the thickness of one of the mounting studs. Try as I might, including "persuading" the block forward with a 2x4 between the head and firewall, I could not get the studs to slip back into the mounting holes.

So I turned to the SDC Forum for answers. Most of the suggestions were to loosen the transmission-to-crossmember bolts and then lift the engine slightly to move it into position. But one poster told me something that put fear into my heart: the transmission mounts, though visually nearly identical, are not interchangeable. And if they are, in fact, installed opposite of what they should be, the symptom would be exactly this.

He advised that I may need to jack up the trans slightly, swap the mounts (which as you may recall were a booger to get in), swap the mounts and then tighten it all back up. I hope to tackle this on the coming weekend (the last weekend was too hot to work outside). Stand by, Lark fans!

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