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.

1 comment:

  1. Far too many folks work on these engines (and cars) for cheap money with little to no actually Ferrari experience. Sadly, some owners just don't know any better and listen to the (poor) advice given on some of the chat rooms. Regardless, there's no excuse for the poor workmanship shown here.