Oct 08 2007
Why is there an inverse relationship between the anxiety that you develop before a big trip and the amount of time that you have to prepare your car before that very trip!? As you know Jordan and I were planning the run to Stowe for the British Invasion, but my GT heads were in the shop for a complete valve refit. Wouldn’t ya know that sourcing those darn valves would take us all the way back to good ol’ Clive Wheatley in the UK. Jordan made the phone call to Clive, while I phoned around the US. I was able to source some new valves in New Jersey but they took over 10 days to arrive! Clive’s parts arrived in 3 days!
So the guys at Engines Extra were able to get my heads all finished up by Wednesday at noon (we were leaving for Stowe at 8:00am on the Friday.) I took Wednesday afternoon off and started to rebuild the V8 at around 1:00pm. After slowly torquing the left head into place I was making the final circuit at 70Nm and “SNAP” one of the bolts broke in the block. Talk about emotional…I went from the high of getting my fresh new heads back to realizing that I was likely not going to Stowe with my car and worse needing to drill and tap the old bolt out before starting over. Well, as I have that spare engine that I am looking to rebuild I realized that I had spare head bolts…so I slowly unbolted everything to find that I had about 1/8″ of broken bolt showing above the block. A very careful vise-grip placement and I was lucky enough to get the broken bolt out without any scratches to the surface of the block!! My high was quickly comping back…so I wire brushed all of the bolts again (dirt on threads will wreak havoc) and lubed them up before refitting the heads. All went well with the torque settings, the intake and exhaust manifolds, carbs, etc…and so with a quick break for dinner and triple checking everything I was able to crank it over around 9:30pm. It all started out sounding just fine, but then white smoke started billowing and a wretched squealing sound pierced the garage and surrounding neighbourhood. Thankfully Jordan was standing by and said “don’t worry just smoke from all the oil on the bolts and such and some noise as the valves get seated”. Everyone should have a Jordan across the street!! Well, about 3 minutes passed (seemed like an hour) and all the smelly smoke and ear-piercing squealing settled down to a smooth sounding V8. I was over the moon! I quickly cleaned up everything and headed off to bed because I had to be up at 4:00am in order to catch the 6:00am flight to Toronto. Yup spent the day away…got back home around 8:00pm on the Thursday to pack my things for Stowe. I took the car for a quick spin just to be sure and then called it a day.
First thing the next morning we were off down the 416 towards the 401. In usual Jordan style he said “we’ll know if anything is gonna go wrong before we hit the 401″ … thanks for the comforting thought!! Well, she ran like a dream all the way to Stowe and back. We had a blast even though it rained all of Saturday. We drank too much, ate too much, visited with far too many British car owners (if that is possible) and dug through parts boxes at least 3 times each.
My V8 is my daily driver and she hasn’t let me down…I think this winter she deserves some fresh metal and a new dress! Blaze orange of course!
Safety Faster. MG V8!!