On Your Marks, Get Set, Will She Go??!!

Round Six – Final Assembly and Start-up.

After our ‘open day’ where the bulk of the work was done, we needed a couple more hours of final fettling to get the old girl running.  Sunday morning at a sensible hour (11am) saw Roger and Bill spending yet another day with me sorting out my car. What a couple of stars they are! This is what the Stag Owners Club is all about!

My flexible tool Sam getting to grips with the exhaust downpipe connection. Some quite colourful language was heard as it was proving a little troublesome.

Final Assembly 001

The second shift at the exhaust was taken by Dad. Not sure what Roger was up to but the body warmth was welcome…..(he was actually fitting the fan cowling).

Final Assembly 002

Bill, with a newly painted expansion bottle clamp.

Final Assembly 003

Here’s Sam still battling with the troublesome exhaust. We eventually had to undo the first joint clamps and support bracket by the gearbox to get enough room to mate downpipe to manifold and we needed to take off the oil filter so we could get the nut onto the stud.    What a pain!

Final Assembly 004

Bill and Roger spent some time sorting out the throttle and choke cables as they were frayed and the retaining screw had been modified (cobbled) so they had to sleeve the cable in the end so we could get it to bite and hold.

Final Assembly 007

Almost ready for the fire up. Fingers crossed.

Final Assembly 008

Running!      Phew!

Final Assembly 009

All done! Doesn’t she look nice. More to the point, doesn’t she go well! A massive vote of thanks to Bill and Roger for all of their expertise and help in getting this job done.

Final Assembly 011



PLEASE NOTE – these are NOT instructions on how to undertake this job just some pics and words of our experiences, always consult professionals when undertaking any repairs or restorations. (please refer to the disclaimer on our about page)

Stag Party (or bring a spanner day)

Round Five – Final Assembly Day 1 (main day).

We had a bright idea to have a Stag Party at my place for the re-build. Tall order to get the whole engine back together and running in a day, but we thought we’d give it a go. A few of our local Stag Owners Club members arrived at 9:30 for the start of proceedings. For people who had never seen an engine this far stripped they all seemed to enjoy themselves asking loads of questions and picking up a good few tips as we went through the re-build.

We started in my shed just fettling the last few bits.

Chains ready for the head fitting and final adjustments.


Bill applies the Wellseal sealant to the gasket before assembly. Some people put gaskets on dry, others use sealant. I chose to use Wellseal.

Rebuild day 1 003

Left hand head in position ready for new studs etc.

IMG_4007Right hand head gasket in place ready for the head. Note you can see one of the two short studs used to take the weight of head as you position it ready for the studs to be inserted. Without these locator studs you would really struggle to hold the heads and locate the studs. Once you’ve put the head studs in place you simply remove the short ones and put in the bolts. P.S. these locator studs are old ones cut down with a slot cut into the end for removal with a screwdriver.


Here’s the new stainless steel studs being copper greased prior to assembly into the head. Expensive studs but should be good for life! Being stainless there should be no chance of the heads ‘welding’ themselves to the stud in use.


Head being lowered into position. In this case many hands make light work.


Inlet manifold in place. A bit of a fiddle with the gaskets, but once you start one bolt it’s fairly simple to line up the remainder. We used the Wellseal on the inlet gaskets too.


Torqueing up the head. We did ours to 60 lb/ft.


Making sure we had the sprockets in the correct alignment with the slack on the correct side of the chain and the timing marks all lined up. Then we could release the tensioners, by removing the red plastic packing pieces.


Applying a bit of oil before we put the cam covers in place. Don’t forget, it will take a little while for the oil to get up to the heads once we start the old bird, so a generous soaking of oil over the followers beforehand is useful.


Carbs are on.

Rebuild day 1 005

Cables and pipe connection.

Rebuild day 1 006

It was always an ambitious task to get everything back in one day, especially when the better half keeps laying on copious quantities of tea, coffee, cake, biscuits and lunch……munching and slurping our way through that lot took half the day! We finished off the final bits the following day.

See the last instalment to see if we succeeded in getting the old bird going.



PLEASE NOTE – these are NOT instructions on how to undertake this job just some pics and words of our experiences, always consult professionals when undertaking any repairs or restorations. (please refer to the disclaimer on our about page)

Its All in the Timing

Round Four – Final Prep and Timing Gear Partial Refit.

This part of the proceedings is a few hours of finishing off dismantling of timing chains and the re-mating of heads and manifolds etc.

Here are the chains removed with the internal parts of the tensioners also removed.

Final Prep - Chain Removal 001

As if we needed any more proof that the gaskets were blown here is the number 7 piston crown showing clearly a very clean part, which has been steam cleaned by the leaking water into the bore.

Final Prep - Chain Removal 002

I made a spacer tube to fit on the end of the crank using the pulley bolt so we could turn the engine by hand, well at least with a ratchet!

Final Prep - Chain Removal 003

Chains off. I had to release the chain guides a little it the get enough room to get the chains out. You can just make out on the jackshaft that the alignment marks are pointed straight up and down at TDC….this is actually wrong. The mark should be slightly inclined down to the right. We reset this to be correct upon re-assembly.

Final Prep - Chain Removal 004

Good practice is to glaze bust the bores for re-assembly. The bores get highly polished over time. Glaze busting simply roughs-up the surface a little so that the piston rings bed themselves in again.

Final Prep - inc Chain Part-Refit 003

Two of the four new guides in place.

Final Prep - inc Chain Part-Refit 006

Other guides being fitted.

Final Prep - inc Chain Part-Refit 008

Fitting the tensioners. After examining the new ones and old ones we decided to use the new internal components but keep the old bodies. The reason for this was that the old bodies have locating dowels and the new ones do not. Also the old ones have a plate that would stop the tensioners coming right out, so we kept them as well. If you ever got to that stage mind you, you wouldn’t half have some stretched chains…..

Final Prep - inc Chain Part-Refit 012

Bottom tensioner in place.   Note the plastic spacer.    This is there to stop the tensioner releasing until you’re ready for final gap setting etc.

Final Prep - inc Chain Part-Refit 013

You can’t finally set tension on the chains until the heads are on so we left this at this point and went and finished the prep work on the heads etc. Here we are fitting the manifolds.

Final Prep - inc Chain Part-Refit 018

Nice shiny hot air intake goes onto the manifold.

Final Prep - inc Chain Part-Refit 019

And finally, the nice (well I think they look nice anyway) cam covers resting on the heads.

Final Prep - inc Chain Part-Refit 020



PLEASE NOTE – these are NOT instructions on how to undertake this job just some pics and words of our experiences, always consult professionals when undertaking any repairs or restorations. (please refer to the disclaimer on our about page)

Heads And Valves

Round Three – Head Re-building and Valve Clearance Setting.

With the heads all stripped and cleaned the next job is to rebuild them. Valves will need to be lapped in to ensure an accurate seating is achieved. Lapping in valves is a bit of a chore in some respects, but an absolute essential if you are to get the full performance out of your engine. When Bill started to check the valve clearances he gave me some great news. If you remember I mentioned in the first phase of this project that the compression on No 4 cylinder was well down. The reason was that there was no clearance on the exhaust valve, therefore it was never shutting properly, hence the lack of compression.   PHEW !!!!!

Some of the essential tools you’ll need for the rebuild. Feeler gauges, shims of different thicknesses, micrometer and out of shot spring compressor.

Head Rebuild valve setting 001

Bill doing his ‘favourite’ job of lapping in the valves.

Head Rebuild valve setting 005

Lapping tool in situ. With lapping paste on the valve and seat you now employ the boy-scout fire-starting reciprocating stick rotating technique which grinds away small amount of the seat and valve against each other ending up with a perfectly mating valve and seat.   It would be much easier to find a boy scout and pay him to do the job in the first place!

Head Rebuild valve setting 007

Everything is now ready to go back into the head now.

Head Rebuild valve setting 010

The bottom couple of coils of the valve springs are coiled slightly tighter than the remainder, so be careful to put them back the right way up.

Head Rebuild valve setting 012

The valve clearances can be a bit of a game. Each clearance needs to be measured with the cam in place. If the clearance is wrong the way you correct it is to ‘calculate’ the difference between what it is and what it should be and then measure the shim currently in place. (The shims are located on top of the spring assembly under the cam follower/bucket). By ‘adding’ the difference to the dimension of the current shim, you will now have the thickness of the required shim to give you the right clearance. Clear? Not a chance! Here’s an example which hopefully makes it a bit clearer. Current valve clearance = 25 thou. Required clearance = 18 thou.  Difference = +7 thou. Current shim thickness = 48 thou. New shim required = 48 + 7 thou = 55 thou. Clear?

Head Rebuild valve setting 017

While Bill was busy working on the valve clearances I spent some time cleaning up and painting the various bits that we’d taken off.

Ancilliaries Clean and Paint 003

Inlet manifold looking good.

Ancilliaries Clean and Paint 004

I put a block of wood under the front cover to support it whilst I belted out the crankshaft seal. When I say ‘belted’ I of course meant to gently persuade the seal to come out.

Ancilliaries Clean and Paint 005

Seal removed

Ancilliaries Clean and Paint 006



PLEASE NOTE – these are NOT instructions on how to undertake this job just some pics and words of our experiences, always consult professionals when undertaking any repairs or restorations. (please refer to the disclaimer on our about page)

Head Cleaning and Prep

Round Two – Head Cleaning and preparation.

With heads off first job is to get the camshafts out so we inspect journals, springs valves etc.

2014 March - Cylinder Head Work 002

Now out with the valve buckets.

2014 March - Cylinder Head Work 003

Next, remove the exhaust manfold.   (haven’t got a clue what a manfold is but I’m sure I suffer from it)

2014 March - Cylinder Head Work 005

Here’s Bill using his patented valve collet removal tool.    One hefty blow and they’re out.

2014 March - Cylinder Head Work 007

Valve spring and valve removal next.

2014 March - Cylinder Head Work 009

Cleanliness is everything so all muck, old gasket and carbon has to be removed.    Copious amounts of white spirit, elbow grease and water and airline and all’s nice and clean.

2014 March - Cylinder Head Work 013

Cleaning off the deposit build up.    The heads were pretty good actually.    The engine has done about 50,000 miles since the last rebuild, but generally was pretty good.

2014 March - Cylinder Head Work 016

Bill using a very flat metal block and emery paper to clean up the important faces, main head and here in the photo the inlet manifold face.

2014 March - Cylinder Head Work 018

Luckily the heads are very good as they have obviously been skimmed in the past, probably at the re-build 10 years ago.    We’re happy they are good enough, flat enough to go straight back on, else we’d be sending them off for skimming.



PLEASE NOTE – these are NOT instructions on how to undertake this job just some pics and words of our experiences, always consult professionals when undertaking any repairs or restorations. (please refer to the disclaimer on our about page)