Well I finally gave her that long awaited wash & she scrubbed up very nicely. However it didn’t take long during the mechanical repairs for my plans to have it ready for the 27th to be completely scuttled!
I will forge ahead regardless & if all goes well, she’ll be ready mid December.
This is the stuff of nightmares for any car enthusiast....
Well my known list included 4 struts and likely 5 cells. Not the end of the world, since I have spares. Brakes would be wise to add to the list, since they're commonly seized. I figured caliper kits for the front and all 4 hoses, plus a full system flush & bleed. It would also be appropriate to replace front rotors and change pads since it is apparant they're rusted with the pads sticking. I was crossing my fingers that a RWC wouldn't find too many other issues, since I didn't have a lot of time to do more and get a club permit.
This thread is interesting since it serves as a log of status at a particular time and actually helps me determine a time line. With the car on stands as per the old pics, I flushed out the oiling system and spent some time fixing issues with the oil filter assembly. At the time I was trying to decide how I could thoroughly flush the cooling system with low pressure tank water, without covering the entire garage floor with old coolant. Potentially wrecking property in cardboard boxes nearby. I actually cut down a 240L water container for the job, but never got around to completing the work. I can't honestly remember if I drained any of the old coolant.
I remember looking at the engine around a 12 months later (after selling and moving house) and I was more than a little alarmed by some corrosion around the thermostat cover and I'm fairly sure I noticed more elsewhere. At that point I thought I'd drained all the old coolant and I'd made a serious error in making that decision. However, I was focused on selling other cars at the time and figured it wouldn't be long before I'd get back to it. I'd worry about it later, I recall saying to myself.... Well that time has come.
So not long before moving the car for the wash, I noticed some fluid had leaked under the front of the car. I figured it was hydraulic oil overflowing from the hydro system, since the car is currently supported by blocks and any remaining pressure in the system can force fluid back to the reservoir. No, this was water leaking from the bottom of the radiator. Looks like I'll have to re-core the radiator, which isn't a cheap exercise, but still no biggie. Just to be thorough, I thought I'd pressure test the system to see if there's any other issues. A slight hiss and dribble from the plastic heater tap. Not abnormal and no biggie again. I did notice it seemed the tap had been leaking down the hose and onto the top of the manifold and leaving old coolant deposits. Once again I noticed the corrosion near the thermostat cover, but I'd get back to that. I was struggling to get much pressure with the tester, so I checked the coolant level. I couldn't see any via the expansion tank, but that made sense since I drained it all right?? But then again, why was it leaking coolant from the radiator? So I topped up the cooling system, which required a fair bit of water as I expected. And pressure tested again. And then I noticed it. Water leaking from the manifold near the heater hose connection. I prodded around the area with a screwdriver and I got a fountain of coolant in my face!
In a state of shock and panic I pulled all the plugs thinking that I'd totally ruined the engine. No evidence of coolant, or water on the plugs. I'd clearly not changed them, since they were the Champion brand, of which I'm not a fan. There's no water or coolant in the oil either.
So I pulled the fan and radiator. The contents in my drain container were pretty ugly. The thermostat cover was a bugger to remove without additional damage and it has a hole under the hose surface as I half expected. That can be repaired. It seems the water pump has been weeping, but I do have a NOS repair kit and gaskets. I'm hoping the impellor is ok and yes the shaft still turns. The housing appears ok. I flushed out the system from the front and I can see inside the front of the manifold which seems good.
The BAD news is I obviously have to repair (or replace) the inlet manifold which isn't a small job. I'm glad I have spares. I'm praying the heads aren't stuffed and there's no water/coolant in the engine.
I'm kicking myself I didn't address this earlier, however I have a suspicion the majority of the corrosion occurred before I bought the car. The car certainly showed signs of serious neglect. I doubt the top of the manifold could corrode through without direct contact with acidic coolant. This was not the case since the 'coolant' level was so low. I did notice some of the corrosion only 12 months after I did some of the previous engine work. I'd not noticed it before and it seems unlikely it could happen that fast. It does look like I replaced the throttle ball, which is very close to where I now have the issue. I don't recall seeing corrosion in the area at that time, however I can't be sure. It's possible someone else did the throttle ball and I intended to sort out the cooling system once I'd worked out how to flush it properly. Perhaps I'll never know, but I'm trying not to blame myself. This is the consequence of having far too many cars. Not enough time to maintain them all properly.
So the moral of this story is don't wait; fix it NOW! If you store a car long term (particularly if it has lots of alloy components), I would suggest completely draining and flushing the cooling system and leaving it EMPTY. Maybe disconnect some of the hoses and remove the cap to let it dry out as much as possible??
I'm at a bit of a loss, but won't give up just yet. I'll explore this further and remove the manifold to determine if there's more damage. Yes I have a spare engine, however I don't want to tear that down and I obviously don't want to replace the whole engine in Red Bull. The numbers won't match, so that's a last resort. Hopefully I'll have some better news in the next week or so.....
Good write up of the work required and some of the issues of long term strorage of these cars.
I would consider while you're doing all the brake work to replace the master cylinder. It will be just as bad as the rest and if the 6.9 uses the same one as the 450s isn't too expensive. you would want to replace the plastic grommets on the brake fluid tank anyway.
While its not cheap to have the radiator done, its probably a good thing for a car coming out of long term storage - it's likely all sorts of deposits dried up in there and with the rebuilt water pump and recored radiator you'll have a good cooling system for our (normally) hot summers.
Well thankfully it seems the rest of the engine looks ok! I’ll take a guess that an extended period of a lack of use during previous ownership led to corrosion deposits blocking the heater connection. Acidic coolant then attacked the area in the vicinity until it broke through the top of the manifold. It could be repaired but not quickly. So I may just source another manifold from a mate...
BTW the EGR pipe makes it very hard to remove the manifold since it catches on the overhang if the cylinder heads in the valley. Plus it can be seen through the throttle body that the pipe could restrict flow. It’s likely sections of the EGR pipe will be removed & not reinstalled....
Oh and despite my best efforts making sure the bolts heads were clean & dry, I broke two during the removal process. At least I didn’t strip out the Allen key female hex which would’ve been far worse! Interesting that the broken ones were both at the front. My gradual loosening/tightening technique with WD40 around the contact surface of the head didn’t help either. Perhaps corrosion is an issue in that area too & the bolts are too narrow? They seem to break at the top of the threads.
Great progress. Sounds like a good result if the engine itself is undamaged. A losing the EGR doesn’t seem like a loss. I’ve never heard of anyone failing an inspection due to EGR removal.
and in any case there was a great thread on OzBenz where the poster removed all that crap from his 380SE and advanced the timing. He was able to get the engine to run very clean - I think pretty much inside ADR27A limits on modern 95 as it is much better than the crappy Australian petrol of the late 70s to early 80s.
Today’s activities. Strangely I’m taking great satisfaction in buying various plugs n stoppers to stop contaminants getting into the wrong places. Armed with digital verniers I’ve been to Clark Rubber several times to purchase various rubber products. I had old stock of plastic stoppers etc when I bought things like fuel filters or pumps but I’d used many over the years & didn’t have enough in the right sizes. Plus rubber provides a far better seal than plastic. The stoppers in the inlet openings are chair leg tips. They fit near perfect!