Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Painting the Block

<This post is part of the 'Winter Project 2014/15 - New Engine Rebuild' project>

After all the prep work on the engine block, this is where the transformation starts. Everything so far; building the clutch, polishing the crank, getting the camshaft bearings sorted, all that work will go unseen. But this is where I get to do a job that will actually be seen. Well almost, if you lift the bonnet up!

Brrr, It's Cold Outside
Now before we start, there was a slight practical problem I had to overcome. It's winter and that means it's cold, very cold in fact and the thought of standing in the shed night after night suffering the pain of frozen fingers did not appeal at all. No, this project was going to have to move indoors!!

Most 'car guys' will know that generally bringing engine parts into the house is met with disapproval. But needs must and after all we do have a spare room, so I felt it was justified to commandeer it for a month or so. In order to not ruin the carpet though, I put down an old plastic double airbed I had. It had a hole in and was due to get chucked out, but was perfect for this job.

First Coat
So now we have that covered, back to the action... I'll be using a new tin of Hammerite smooth as I have had good results in the past when I painted the head. As the block has already been chemically cleaned, preparing it for paint was sorted by simply wiping it over with a rag and some methylated spirit to get the final residues off.

For the first coat, I always use slightly thinned down paint, generally at a ratio of 75% paint to 25% white spirit. While this initial thin coat looks rubbish, it really helps the paint key onto the surface.

From the front...
the back...
and not forgetting a side view.

Putting the paint on in such a thinned down way is very painstaking and tedious as I use a relatively small brush. Wearing gloves not only protects my hands, but also allows me to quickly wipe off any paint that goes where it shouldn't, giving the nice crisp edges as above.

A Red Engine!
Ah, yes, you noticed it was red! Now, I know that the 998cc block was never red and this might annoy the purists, but... I have kind of stumbled on a colour scheme for the car that I like. It happened way, way back when I started on the suspension and couldn't decide what colour to paint the suspension arms. Anyway, ever since then the colour scheme has been white, red and black. Generally the rule of thumb is, white for the car body, obviously and anything I take off and restore gets painted either red or black depending on which I feel would look better.

Second Coat
Anyway, back to the action... After leaving it overnight, the next coat is slightly thinned also, but not as much as the first, probably nearer a 90/10 ratio. Again it's painfully slow as the surface is fairly complex and although the colour looks a bit more solid, it's still not quite there yet.

The Final Coat
The final 2 coats were completed over the next couple of days using the paint straight from the pot. The strange thing about Hammerite smooth is that when you are painting it on, it looks rough with brush marks all over the place. But leave it an hour or so and they magically relax out to leave a very smooth surface. After the 2 final coats, it looks like this.

Currently I'm undecided whether or not to leave the machined surfaces bare, or to paint them in. As the block is gradually assembled I will see how it goes and work it out as I go along.

Finally, I can think about getting the crank in place!!

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