Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spare Engine - Rocker Refurb

Spares Are Great
Having spare parts kicking about the shed is brilliant! It means I can mess about experimenting with things, learning how they work without the fear of breaking something I am currently using. This's exactly the case with the rocker assembly. Actually, I have two spare sets, which is even better!

So having all these spare parts available, it seems a shame, almost a crime in fact, not to take one to pieces just for the sake it! To be honest, the rockers just looked dirty really and I suspect that refurbishing them is probably unnecessary as it will not make them work any better, but so what! Where's the fun in that?

Tinker Time
Looking at the rocker assembly, it doesn't look too complicated, but is still intriguing enough with it's many articulated parts to be worthy of the tinker time. Let's be honest, that's what this is, tinkering.

Weeee will, weeeee will ...  (sing it out now!)

The whole assembly itself seems to be held together with two split pins at either end of the rocker shaft. These pins hold the retaining washers in place, which in turn, hold the whole thing together.

Removing the pins was easily accomplished with some long nose pliers. One side holds 3 rockers in place, while the other side holds the remaining 5. Once the pins were out, most of the parts just slid off the shaft.

All except this one that is, which was the locking post and is held in place on the shaft with a small grub screw. There was just enough grip available on the head of the screw to start it turning with a pair of pliers. Once out, the final post could was removed.

Once all the parts were all off, and the adjuster screws were out, I got to work with a scouring pad and some degreaser. Although this did get the grease off, they still looked pretty dull and quite frankly not worth putting back together again.

Scrub, scrub, scrub, but it still
looks dull and old!

So out came the vinegar! I have used vinegar in past and found it to have almost magical properties when it comes to cleaning the stains off metal. I arranged all the parts in a small baking tray and filled it with vinegar and left them to soak overnight.

Well spotted if you noticed the cam followers.
Have some points.

The next day revealed once again the astounding cleansing powers of vinegar. Using the scourer again, now revealed the beautiful lustre of shiny clean metal.

Scrub, scrub, scrub but this time shiny.

Once all the parts were scrubbed to perfection, or somewhere close. I washed the vinegar off with hot soapy water and then rinsed them. I found that if you leave the vinegar sat on the metal surface for too long it can stain it yellow, leaving you no choice but to soak them again.

The one area that was difficult to get to was the inside of the shaft. Yes it's hollow! Who knew? Not me, but it is. There are also holes in the posts which allow oil to flow up from the head, through the post and into the hollow shaft. The oil then goes out of the shaft through other holes where it lubricates the inside of the rockers where they sit on the shaft. Simple but genius design. Obviously these oil holes need to be clear, so I used some wire to poke them through and also to stuff inside the shaft to clean out some of the muck. Although the inside is hollow, it is quite difficult to get to as the ends are sealed and there is only one small hole that really offers any access. Poking the wire into the hole and down the inside of the shaft was tricky, but just about manageable.

Tried to clean the inside with wire.

Once washed, I arranged all the parts out on some kitchen roll to dry. And yes I did arrange my Smarties into individual coloured piles as a kid... Still do.

But where are my main springs!!!
Fun and games!! 
Somewhere in the cleaning process, I lost the main springs which drove me crazy. I looked everywhere for them and became quite frustrated thinking I may have to start looking through the rubbish when eventually they turned up, they had rolled off the workbench and out of sight. Phew, big sighs of relief, partly that they were found and partly that I didn't have to scrat through the bins in search of them.

Now all the parts were clean, it's time for the best part of any refurb in my opinion, putting it all back together again. To accomplish this, I found myself a small space on the floor (first mistake) with all the parts laid out on some newspaper and some light general purpose oil. I started by making sure all the parts were coated with the oil before assembly (second mistake). The mistakes I refer to were of my own doing and led to one of those moments where you just have to laugh.

Let me set the scene: We are still having building work done at the moment, which means that almost every surface is either dusty or sandy. The area I had chosen for the assembly was in a newly created room that was not quite finished, but was usable. My beautiful 5 year old daughter was with me at the time engaged in some restoration work of her own, which consisted of poking some dust and sand out of a hole in the floor with a stick. After a satisfactory amount of debris had been removed from the hole, she drew a deep breath and blew it all away, in my general direction.

By the time this cloud of sandy dust was heading my way, all of my rocker parts were now covered in the oil, which just happened to be the best medium for sticking sand to metal. As you can guess, a second later all of my beautifully clean parts were well and truly decorated with the sand and dust! I'm no expert, but sand in the engine is a surely a bad thing. After uttering a grumpy cry, I quickly realised that it was better to just give up for now and play with the kids instead. So I plopped the parts back into some water to be washed again and reassembled later in a cleaner location when the kids were in bed.

Later on, when the house was quieter, away from the sand and dirt. I started the reassembly again with freshly cleaned parts.

Ready to go again.

First the locking post needs to be screwed into place. I used the tub of oil to coat all the parts. This time I decided to use 20w50 mineral oil instead of the light oil as it's so much thicker and nicer smelling for that matter. I can't be the only person that appreciates the fine aroma of mineral oil... can I?

Then it's just a matter of putting all the other parts back on the shaft in the right order and compressing them a little, while the split pins are reinserted.

Ta'Dar - Just like this.
Looking good.

I have to say that I'm very pleased with the reassembled rockers as they really do look pretty smart now. Even though, once in the car they will never be seen again and the whole project; apart from making them look nice, probably did nothing to make them better. Apart from all that, it was still worth doing. It was all worth it because I learned so much from the experience. Plus this was one of my favorite types of projects, taking nasty things and making them nice.

Overall: Fun little project and very pleased with the result.

<Next Post> - 'Gunk Engine Degreaser v's Red Diesel'
<This Post> - 'Spare Engine - Rocker Refurb'
<Previous Post> - 'Spare Engine - Porting the Head'

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