Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Putting out the sign for help: Printing, etching, and installing glass

When the time came to install the glass on the Dino we knew we needed help so we put out the signal awaiting our very own Batman and Robin to save us. 
Our signal was answered by George and Dan from Body by Biggs. Blog followers will know George as our hero in getting our wheels painted after painstakingly formulating the correct colour. Dan is his most senior employee and a master assembler and the two of them came to help install the front and rear glass on the Dino.

We have always been told that rear glass installation on a Dino will put the fear of God into you as the curved glass requires quite a lot of bending to get into position. As it was George and Dan made light work of the install quickly fitting the glass with no fuss or drama.

Next came the front glass. Again Dan and George made light work of the assembly installing the glass in no time at all. We were lucky they looked to the sky and caught our distress sign :)

Among the details we wanted to get right were the markings on the various pieces of glass. While some of the glass was maintained other pieces were replaced and needed to be correctly marked. The front windshield originally had an etching in the top right corner. The first step was to have new glass made without any markings on it. This can be tricky as most glass manufacturers by law need to make glass with modern DOT markings but we managed to have blank glass made.

Next came replicating the artwork for the glass. Once again pixel by pixel this was drawn and then taken to our friend Joe who created an etching stencil we applied to the glass. The final step was a media etching and believe me when I say we practiced a LOT before trying the real piece of glass. The result was a perfectly replicated period etching on a brand new manufacture piece of glass.

The side glass was a little different as the original pieces were not etched but rather printed. Again artwork was created and our glass taken to a specialist glass printer who pad printed the glass with high durability glass ink exactly replicating the original marking.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A moment of terror: Installing the engine

Installing the engine in a Dino is not a terribly involved process but it ideally requires three people and some good preparation. In our case we had coverings over the body, an engine hoist with sufficient reach, and Paul, Dad, and I to make up the three people needed.

With me wielding the camera here is 2/3 of our team ready to go. We chose to install the clutch cable on the engine and then feed it into the chassis rather than try to attach it when the engine was either partially or fully installed.

The fit is very tight and requires a high entry with a steep tilt of the engine for everything to clear. Here we are just before the big lift and forward advance. At this point I put my camera down and got to work myself.

With no intermediate photos as I was at work here is a photo of the engine in its final resting place. There is still a lot of connections to be made but the big entry is done and bolted down.
So why the title 'A moment of terror'? Well while installing the engine we did have the biggest fright of the project. With the engine hoisted above the car, and just beginning its lowering, what can be described as nothing more than a momentary muscle twitch caused a loosening of the hydraulic ram on the engine hoist. The result was the engine dropping some 10-12 inched under the full force of gravity before the error was caught and the engine was stopped. It all transpired in the blink of an eye and AMAZINGLY the engine did not touch anything as it dropped coming to rest less than 2 inches from the right side flying buttress. Some 500kg of engine and gearbox falling on the buttress would have crushed it like a grape and set us back months. For sure the big guy upstairs was looking out for us and we were incredibly lucky to get away with it. We hope for no more such dramas as our collective hearts are getting old and can't take such stresses any more.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cool Runnings: Engine tuning in a snow storm

On a cold and snowy day in January the moment finally arrived to give the engine its final inspection and running. The engine had already been run, but since then multiple little issues were addressed in order to have it ready for installation.

Stepping back a bit here is an image of our good friend Jamie who stopped in to help us with the re-torque of the heads. After multiple heat cycles the cam covers and cams were removed in order to do this procedure. Some people will tell you this step is not necessary but they would be lazy and dead wrong. A cylinder head re-torque is an essential step as recommended by both the head gasket and head stud manufacturer.

With the heads torqued and the cams re-installed. Assembly lube is added to the cam lobes to help in initial lubrication.

With everything buttoned up and the snow still falling as hard as ever it was time to start the engine. Once up to temperature the carburetors were tuned to an initial baseline setting ensuring that they were properly balanced to one another. Fine tuning will take place with road testing after the engine has had some time to properly break-in.

Here I am having proudly set up the carbs, set the ignition, and generally checked for leaks. It looks like it is also time for a wash of my shop coat :)

With all of the run stand gear dis-connected the engine is now ready for our Dino.

Another angle of the engine. Ignore the non-original gear reduction starter as this will be replaced for the original Marelli unit for show purposes.

Returning to the engine bay we did have one special addition that was not part of our last post. Originally the Dino was fitted with Pirelli hoses that vented the fuel system. These hoses were vinyl and had a distinctive green colour. Modern hoses are either clear or blue so it was up to us to come up with a coloring process to tint the hose to our desired colour. This turned out to be much more difficult to do than we originally thought but eventually we came up with a brilliantly simple home procedure that allowed us to make incredibly durable green hose resistant to every chemical we tried against it. The hose was then topped of with a period correct Pirelli marking :)

Now for the moment of truth. The Dino is ready for its engine install but that will have to wait for another day.