Friday, February 5, 2016

Crankshaft Install - Third time lucky... I hope!

So far, I've found building engines to be a lot like playing a very long game of Snakes n' Ladders... without the ladders... and where all the snakes take you back to square one! You plod along making slow and steady progress thinking all is well, until you land on a snake and end up losing weeks or months of progress, stripping everything back and have to start again.

After my first two attempts at installing the crankshaft (detailed here and here) ended up being not quite as successful as I'd liked. I find myself once again back at square one, about to install the crank, hoping for a little 'third time lucky' goodness...

Don't forget to marinade your crank before cooking!

As mentioned in this post here, the running clearance is small, very small in fact. How small? Well at 40 microns it's getting on for about half the width of a human hair or dog's hair for that matter, cats I'm not sure about, you'll have to look that up yourself!). On these sorts of scales any teeny tiny bit of debris bigger than 40 microns could be a problem as it will end up trapped between the journal and the bearings during assembly.

If it's soft enough, some of the debris may not be a problem as it may just get mashed away as the engine is used. However, even one or two specks of abrasive debris will end up scratching the soft bearing surface and could cause premature engine failure.

So, it's really important to ensure that all the parts are clean, but as I don't have a parts cleaner, the question is, how do I actually clean them? There are a number of people that will be shouting at me to simply put them in the dishwasher!! Err, I could do that, but to be honest, if the cross contamination poisoning didn't kill me, my wife certainly would!! So as the dishwasher is out, I had to think of another way.

My plan of attack then was to get hold of a largish storage container big enough to accommodate the engine block...

...and a pressurised weed sprayer, fill it with red diesel...

... pump it up and use it to clean and de-grease the engine block, which on the whole worked very well.

Using the sprayer and an old toothbrush, I was able to ensure the inside of the block was scrubbed and rinsed out

Next it was time for the crank, bearings, caps, bolts and thrust washers.

Over the last year or two since my 'red diesel discovery', I have found it to be a very good, cost effective de-greaser, however it does tend to stink a bit and also takes a while to evaporate. Therefore I felt it needed a helping hand with some brake cleaner, which evaporates very quickly. Once that had evaporated, the air duster could be used to blow the final specks of dust away just prior to assembly.

Clean parts.

Now that everything is de-greased and clean, I wanted to keep them that way during assembly, so I always wear blue gloves throughout, changing them frequently to minimise the risk of introducing any foreign materials from my hands. 

Rather than go over the crankshaft install again, I'll simply link to the article I wrote almost a year ago today where I go over it in some detail. 

So, Ta-Dar, it's done and very please with it I am too as it rotated very freely by hand and felt nice and smooth.

If you want to read about measuring the running clearance, the article is here.
Also there is an article here, where I cover the crankshaft endfloat.

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