Home   Work Days From Hades

...Am I the only one who's done this?

This is my contribution to the world of FE humor, but the sad part is that this is all true.....!

Upon examination of a Thunderbird engine with 0 psi of compression on three cylinders, all of your friends will tell you that you've got bent or burnt valves, or blown piston rings.   The only way to determine the problem since the leak down test is inconclusive, is to rip the entire engine down to the bare block.   You must then replace all of the rings, and perform a valve-job in order to remedy the problem.....

To remove the heads one must first remove the intake manifold, distributor, rocker arm assemblies and exhaust manifolds.   The distributor, valve covers and rocker arm assemblies come off with only a double of dozen trips to the tool box.   The intake manifold bolts loosen and come out easily.

The greasy, 150 pound cast iron manifold originally located in the center of the engine compartment bends one fan blade as it slips from your hands.   Could have fallen on the radiator you replaced three months ago so you feel like a hero despite throwing your back out and crushing one finger.

The thought of putting it back makes you wonder which of your friends will be invited over for a beer in a couple of weeks.

When working on the 5/8 Head bolts, one realizes that the massive 110 ft.-lbs. of Torque applied in 1959 has, if anything, increased with age.

This is not something that one should attempt without the use of air-tools.

You do not have air tools.   (Does a single heavy duty 2" extension count?)

When applying all of your bodily weight to the socket wrench, one should be aware that the average head-bolt breaks with approximately 250 pounds of force.   This force may be transferred from the inner-fender to your knuckle, causing intense pain, swelling, and bleeding.

After you've freed all of the head bolts, it becomes painfully obvious that you will be unable to remove the exhaust manifold bolts, or the 5/8" header pipe bolts as they rusty to the point that they are of an undersize unseen before.   They will need to be split with either a chisel, or a nut splitter.   It's a good thing you have a nut splitter in your toolbox.......

In the late '50's, into the 1960's, Ford used brass header pipe nuts.   When applying a high-tension carbide blade, one should be aware that brass and it's metallurgy has a tendency to split with great ferocity, sending sharp shards into the skin.

The application of knife-like projectiles and splinters to the facial area once again causes an involuntary reflex in which one sits up approximately 24 inches.

The average Thunderbird chassis sits 22 inches from the floor on jack stands.

The violent application of 3900 pounds of steel to the forehead causes a temporary cessation to the pain of the intrusive particles as one's head takes an incredible shellacking on the inside.

One will find that although the first nut split easily, neither the splitter nor a chisel will fit to reach the second nut.

The exhaust pipe will need to be hack sawed.   It's a shame that you don't have a hacksaw, or a hungry beaver, for that matter!

The Home Depot closes its doors at 12am.   It's a good thing that you got there at 11:55.   It's a bad thing that you got a speeding ticket racing there to be sure they'd still be open when you arrived....!

And as you start cutting you realize that since you are having to cut the pipe that the time and pain spent using the nut splitter was wasted.   Once you've sawed the pipe, you give the portion of the pipe connected to the head a good shake and you'll be greeted with all of the antifreeze remaining in the head pouring on YOUR head.   It's a good thing that you were smart, and wore those safety goggles.

It's a well-known reflex, however, that you'll say something to the effect of: "Shit!" causing antifreeze to enter the oral cavity.

Once you've cleaned yourself, you'll need to lift those heads out of the engine compartment.   The first one was easy as you loosen it from below.   But the second is not.   The second behaves as a normal Ford head, and is really stuck on there well, causing you to grab it with all of your weight.

With the sudden application of 150 lbs. of pull, the head will break free.   The bad news: You're now falling backwards holding a 75 pound Iron Cylinder Head.   One has the tendency to land with such an object directly on a pile of gardening tools, causing a screaming pain to the back (again), and the terrible pain of the same cylinder head landing directly on the groin area...........

Your girlfriend will then come in, and ask you at that moment if you can clean up, because she's really horny, and needs sex immediately.   Before you can explain that you think you've killed your 'best-friend,' she immediately runs from the garage crying, because she thinks that you're with someone else, and she no longer turns you on.   Hearing the front door slam you now think that it looks like you need to find yourself a 'car-gal' and return that nice diamond you had bought to surprise her on her birthday.

A real man, although in pain, and rejected, always completes the matters at hand.

Once everything is separate, to see why your compression was a "0" on a few cylinders, one should check the rings and valves by pouring gasoline on them.   It just so happens that your cylinders in question are at TDC.   You will need to hand-turn the engine.

After finding the correct socket - which only took 4 trips to the tool box - the engine turns easily and just as you start to think that things are getting better your fingers are struck by the fan and it rips off the bandage applied earlier.

Upon reaching the suggested piston depth for each cylinder that was low low on compression, the application of gasoline finds no rings leaking.   Testing each combustion chamber finds that the valves to sealing fine also.

You've ripped your engine to pieces for no apparent reason!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

....Once again, the Moral of the Story......

After consulting with a mechanic and discussing the symptoms and what your have discovered you conclude: this engine is normally operated at low rpm ranges, and if one has over-reved the engine and th timing chain and gears are quite worn, this will cause the timing chain to jump.   This will cause three of your cylinders to have a compression rating of 0 PSI, which despite your friends telling you that the only way to proceed if a leak down test is inconclusive is to rip your engine to the bare block, and check to see if you've bent a valve, or blown piston rings........they are wrong!!!!!

And now, you know the value of a good mechanic, or good advice beforehand!!!!!!!!!!!

The best part is that the pan is still in place so you only have to reinstall the heads, intake manifold, distributor, and a new head pipe.

Before you tear off the front of the engine.

Thanks to "Rob" Robert Miller April 2002 for letting me post this.