Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bodger's End

That is what I'm going to rename this farm. Because some of this Land Rover bodging will be the death of me.

Bodging, in the heat, no less. It would be one thing to bodge away all day in the nice cool of a British 50 degree F "summer" rain. But it cleared 87 degrees F here today (31 C), and the humidity was up there too.


Here's the source of my woes, what looks like the original 1971 exhaust manifold for this Rover. You can see that two of the three studs on the downpipe connection are corroded and unserviceable. The one good stud is located in a hole that has a nasty crack running through it.

In an effort to eliminate the crack, I ground down the flange, sawed off and drilled out the studs, and fitted replacement but original size studs. However, this meant using the old threads, which were compromised. My back-up plan was oversize studs.

But when I fitted it after this first attempt at bodging, and found the Rover was still louder than a Maine thunderstorm, I found this additional crack here, close to the mating face for the inlet manifold.

So that had to be ground out and welded.

Now you can't just use any old welding stick for cast iron. It has to be nickel alloy electrode, so that required a trip to the welder's yard, and the outlay of ten dollars for just two (yes, only two!) precious 50% nickel electrodes. I think that might be the same price per pound as silver right now.

I think I did a pretty good job on the weld, and in normal circumstances, this might have saved my part for reuse, but when I fitted it (the second time) it was still loud. This time it was the connection to the downpipe (again). So, Plan B, the oversize studs. Here's the tap at work on the last of three.

But I think I may have ground off too much metal when I did the first bodge. The face of the flange still has a recess for the "doughnut" gasket, but the mating bevel is now less than a quarter-inch wide when it used to be three-eighths, making me wish I'd welded that crack and ground only a little of the mating face instead of as much as I did. In addition, two of three oversize studs are holding well, but a third has a weak thread. The engine was still loud.

By this time having refit the exhaust manifold three or four times, with the sun getting hotter and hotter, I was too tired to bodge any more. As I've done every night for several nights I checked the price of a new manifold. We can order one on Friday.

In the meantime, tomorrow will be one last attempt to bodge my manifold. I'll re-tap the thread on that weak stud and put in a bolt, possibly with a head on both ends, to see if that will give me the torque I need to tighten this up.

When I pulled the manifold off the first time, I took the opportunity to study the inner workings of the Zenith carb, which as been running rich at idle. I need to rebuild it and possibly grind the emulsion block and lid as per this bulletin here or bodge it with a bit of o-ring as per this bulletin here.

Competing tech bulletins? What's a bodger to do?

Probably, we'll try the easier one, the o-ring fragment, first and if that doesn't work we'll grind the parts down carefully per the other tech report.

Either way, I'll need the gaskets. The rebuild kit is ordered. In the meantime, I needed a bare bones gasket kit so I could move the Rover around the farmyard over the next few days. There's just too much going on around here the next few weeks to have an immobile vehicle.

When the going gets tough, the bodgers get bodging! Here's the gasket-making technique, using a brown paper bag, a magic marker as an ink-pad, and the carb cover to make a kind of potato-stamp outline. Once you have the outline, it's just a few minutes with a razor blade to make the gasket. A little gasket sealant goop made it fuel-tight.

Now, I didn't say I needed the car to run well. I just want it to run. Which it does, after a fashion.

Why worry? Because after all, with a noisy engine like that, it's not going anywhere, except perhaps in and out out of the shop as needed. The rebuild kit should be here Tuesday.

The humid weather is also supposed to break on Tuesday, which is good. It's been too hot around here, especially for the sheep, whose fleece is growing back.

But we have our first tomatoes and our first corn, so that heat and moisture are good for something.

Just not that good for working on hot engines.

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