Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How will we get this all back together? We now have a manual

Today we received an original parts book for the Dino courtesy of . For anyone missing original documents they have excellent quality stuff and an amazing collection to choose from.

Now we at least know how everything should go back together.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More investigation: The three 'P's' of restoration.

When working on the engine and gearbox assembly we have come across the following materials

Smooth magnesium (Dow Dichromate finish)  - As used in early Dino cam covers, oil filler, and some other covers
Cast Iron (painted black)- As used in the engine block
Smooth cast aluminum (left unfinished)- As used on the main cover plate on the water pump side
Shiny pressure cast aluminum (left unfinished) - As used on the heads and intake manifold
Rough cast aluminum (painted silver)- As used in the gearbox and engine sump

While all of the finishes made sense to us, it was the painted rough cast aluminum that had us wondering. Was the silver paint original? and Why would Ferrari bother painting the aluminum? Some investigation work was needed.

To answer the first question we checked a number of cars and luckily had access to some NOS parts to look at. Upon inspecting we determined that without a doubt the parts were first painted and then received their finish machining to clean off all mating surfaces.

The second question then asked: 'why paint the aluminum?' Further investigation revealed that the surfaces that were exposed to engine oil were painted in a greenish zinc chromate primer. By VERY carefully removing original paint from our NOS casting we could see that there were traces of the zinc primer on the outside where it had been painted silver. This led us to conclude that the parts were painted all in zinc chromate primer, and then the outside surfaces were painted silver, followed by finish machining.

The question still existed as to 'Why paint in the first place?' The answer came with some research into the methods used to make the rough aluminum castings. These castings were made when molten aluminum was poured into sand molds which were later broken away to reveal the finished part. Because these were gravity castings with no pressure applied during the pouring or cooling stages, the molds were weaker than those found in pressure casting. These weaker molds can cause sand and other particulates to deposit themselves loosely on the final cast part. As such, manufacturers use the zinc chromate paint (which acts as a sealing primer) to seal the outer surface of aluminum and encapsulate any sand particles that could otherwise find themselves into the oiling system and damage the engine. The outside surfaces are merely painted silver to match the cast look of the aluminum.

It appears as though with these cars the detective work never ceases. You are either looking for People, Parts, or Processes.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Distinguished Gentleman. Our Dino is re-united with its original salesman

Today was a very special day. For the first time in some forty years, our Dino was re-united with the salesman who sold the car new. It is with great pleasure that we introduce to you Mr. Scot Macdonald who is only a few days shy of his 90th birthday.   

This all came about when Paul caught wind that Scot was around and well living in a veteran’s home in Toronto. Some quick digging revealed his telephone number and it was not long before we had him on the phone and made arrangements to pick him up and have him visit 01464. Word spread of our plans and today we spent a marvelous day while many different owners and enthusiasts stopped by. In all there were 3 cars present that Scot sold including a 1977 Ferrari 308 GTB that the owner had the original sales card with Scot’s signature in it.  

Despite his age, Scot makes many 70 year olds look dated. He is sharp and lucid with a quick wit and excellent story telling ability. We were all enthralled with dozens of stories which included a cross country delivery drive of a BB512 that was traded in for a Daytona (that he then had to drive back), picking up a Countach in Texas and driving it back to Toronto, the day 3 Daytona spiders arrived and what he did to sell them, and the list when on and on. 

The weather was great and things could not have gone better. We offered Scot a drive when the car is done and look forward to fulfilling that promise. He also provided us with a piece of wisdom stating that because our heart is going into every nut and bolt of this car, that we will always have a connection to it that is not possible by just buying a finished product. That truly is what makes the restoration worthwhile.

Now on to the photos. The first one was taken at the very instance Paul was getting the aforementioned advice.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Engine disassembly continues with even more shocking discoveries

As reported a few days back engine disassembly has begun in earnest with spades of poor workmanship and general lack of knowledge by the previous mechanic (and I use that term loosely) on display.

What we found today is nothing short of astounding and proof that some people should not even be given the responsibility to feed donkeys let alone work on high precision Italian sports cars. Behold the main oil pickup tube as we found it when separating the engine block from the oil pan.

At present all words fail me and I find it criminal that certain people continue to put out garbage labour like this. Luckily the engine is in the hands of an expert and we will be working together to make it nothing short of perfect.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A crate from Italy: Body panels arrive

Who does not like to get a package in the mail. When it is a wooden crate from Italy, the occasion is extra special. Yesterday we received the replacement body panels we required and they were quickly unwrapped and taken to the bodyshop for fitting.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Engine disassembly: The horrors of a $17K re-build

The last owner of our Dino was a well to do gentleman who placed his trust in a local mechanic to service his car. Having heard of the dangers of sodium filled valves, and not wanting to risk an engine failure, he commissioned this mechanic to a 'cost no object' re-build of the engine. This work was completed approximately 1000 miles before we bought the car at the extraordinary expense of just over $17,000.

During our pre purchase inspection, the engine ran ok and the compression and leak down numbers were acceptable (but certainly not to the standard of a fresh re-build). All of the receipts were in order, and we spoke to the mechanic in question, so this is not an issue of the seller trying to pull a fast one. Despite the previous owner thinking that he had gotten a professional job, we were cautious and knew that in short order a complete mechanical inspection of the engine was to come before it had our full faith.

Today the disassembly began and even we were not prepared for what was found. Having only gone as far as the removal of the heads, this is what we discovered:

- Valve clearances all over the place with no indication that they had ever been set. One valve had ZERO lash
- Timing chain tensioners that were seized
- Timing chains showed no sign that they were replaced and one was missing one of the circlips that holds the chain together
- Cams were out of time
- Plugs in head were wrong material and poorly installed
- Clutch return assembly was poorly assembled
- Gearbox drain plug butchered
- Cheap gaskets were used
- Some of the head studs were hand tight

These were merely the critical things, ignoring totally the concours correct details which were all wrong. All this for $17K when the owner said 'Don't cut corners. Make it right regardless of cost'. I shudder to think what the result would have been had a bargain been sought out.

Here are some photos to prove we are not exaggerating and if anyone in the Ontario area is looking for a mechanic, we can surely direct you as to who NOT to take it to. Feel free to e-mail if you seriously want to know.

Needless to say we will be making it not only right, but concours perfect. Once done the engine will be the envy of any Formula 1 paddock.