Chapter 10: From little things big things grow

Well yep, it’s once again been a long layoff since the last post, and that is mainly due to uni being a time theif and taking up all my available val time (which is pretty limited as it is). But the good news is that uni is finished for another semester and I have a bit of time to mess around with the car again.

One of the things that has been annoying me is the valve cover, its the first thing you see when you open the hood and it (and the air cleaner)  just look really daggy. Given i basically had zero time to do anything recently I figured I would have a crack at restoring them, and use the skills on the various other parts of the car that needed a bit of a renew. The valve cover was probably in the worst shape, I figure the seals at the back of the bonnet must have been letting in rain for a long time as the back of the cover was pretty rusty. Just a quick rub with some sandpaper wasn’t going to do the trick here, so I bought a 80 grit flap disc for the grinder. Those things are great, I can see myself using them a lot in future on this car. They took the rust off with ease, and while the metal still was pretty badly pitted, it came up well enough. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the underside of the valve cover was pretty clean with not too much gunk buildup, I’ve heard stories of taking off the valve cover and still having a solid mass of goop remaining, like a goop sandcastle or Jelly mold. A quick clean in the parts washer at work had it looking like new, well, clean anyway.


My natty valve cover and air cleaner

The other thing that taking off the valve cover revealed is that it was the most likely source of my oil leaks, the gasket was toast. The oil is all over the upper areas of the engine, from the head down, so hopefully replacing this, and the spark plug seals i did earlier, solves most of my leakage issues. Enough to get her registered at least. Anyway, a quick wipe down with thinners to remove any final traces of grease, and i hit the cover with some high temp primer and early Chrysler Red Engine Enamel, and she came up a treat. The pitting is still there at the back, but was barely visible, I’m happy. I’ll do the same with the air cleaner and it’ll be looking a bit nicer, and it’ll be even nicer when i de goop the engine.


Cleaned up with the flap disc and elbow grease


In primer




Finished Product


Still some minor pitting, but pretty indistinct

Now uni is finished I’ve ordered in a few parts to keep me busy. This includes a new battery tray and hold down, as the current one is basically a rusty skeleton that is more air than steel. Before i stick that in i’m going to hit the passenger fender with the flap disc and repaint it, even if it is just in primer. This side is especially bad for surface rust, it almost looks like a battery popped at some stage and the acid cooked all the paint off. It still seems to have plenty of metal left though, so a quick rub back and some high fill primer should bring it back and stop any more rot. I also have a new valve cover gasket, which i will install after i set the valve lash. The old girl seems pretty quiet so I don’t think the tappets are out by much, but I’ll tweak them anyway. Apparently you are supposed to do them hot, with the motor running. I remember doing that on the old mans Fordson Dozer back in the day, and it was a shit job with the spanner bouncing all over the place. I think I might just do them cold and add a few thou to the recommended gap.

Before i do that though it looks like i need to replace the fuel pump. A couple of weeks ago I had some old fuel in a jerry can i wanted to get rid of, so tipped it in the Val. I checked the oil last week to see if it needed topping up, should the opportunity to take it for a quick spin came about. Well, the oil was about half an inch over the overfull line, and absolutely stunk of petrol. It’s likely that topping up the fuel took the fuel height over the height of the tank sender, and the fuel pump has a bad diaphragm or bypassed valve or something. In this situation the fuel will just drain into the sump…so new fuel pump required. The old one seemed to run the car ok, but it’s obviously toast. I guess it was always going to be on the way out though, it’s probably the original, and the rubber had sat there dry since the car was parked up.

Ah well, keeps me out of the bars. Hopefully I will have a good update this weekend, something a bit better than a painted valve cover anyway. I have a few days off from wednesday, and plan to hit the car hard.


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