I live in Benbow at the bottom of Benbow hill. When I get up in the morning I go out, get in the truck on a cold morning, then go full throttle up Benbow hill on a cold engine. My wife does the same thing. Needless to say I have to change head gaskets on everything that I own every 60 to 80 thousand miles. You have no idea how many head gaskets that I have changed. I would list them but I almost lost you in the first paragraph with my list. I dare not chance a list that long again. It was rainy and wet this winter when the gaskets on my truck went out again, so I just kept adding water until the weather dried up a little. The last time that I changed the gaskets was at eighty thousand miles. The truck now has one hundred and eighty thousand miles. I seem to get way more mileage out of my repairs than the factory engines gets. I credit "Copper Coat" head-gasket compound. They seem to go about one hundred thousand miles.
You guessed it, one morning I forgot to add water. I was going up Benbow Hill, the temperature started getting into the red, then as I crested the hill it when from hot to... bam... cold. NOT GOOD. I changed the head gaskets but exhaust was still blowing into the water jacket. Cracked heads. New heads are expensive. used heads and rebuilt heads are risky. New heads on and old engine is a foolish waste of time. My wife started to gloat. "I told You so". So I decided that before I bought a new truck that I would shop a little for a new motor. I found out that the Mexicans down south of the boarder build a darn fine GM engine in the factory that NAFTA gave us. I shopped around a little and found that I could buy a new engine shipped from the GM factory back by the Great Lakes.... and a new engine plucker-lift for @ two thousand dollars. Any thoughts of rebuilding my own engine, like I've always done in the past, went out the window like the little birdies in the cartoons.
So, I ordered a new motor and bought the rest of the stuff at the local Napa store. The engine arrived in about a week and a half, Three days later I gave birth to a brand new engine in my truck. I started it and it purred like a kitten. I ran the RPM up to 1800 RPMs like everybody does when they start a new motor. I ran it for about 15 minutes. It had a small exhaust leak on the manifold doughnut. I though that it had started running a little funny, and it was lunch time. So I shut it off to cool. When I came back I fixed the exhaust leak and started it again. It ran real good at first then slowly started running real rough, like it was getting way too much fuel. I let it idle down to check things, but when I got out of the truck it chugged to a stop. I tried to start it again, but it wouldn't turn over. My first thought was the starter, but I put a wrench on the front engine pulley. It's really called a vibration dampener, but I'm trying not to lose you here. The motor was way stiffer to turn over than it should have been. My elation turned to a very sick stomach. So, I did what I always do when I don't know what's wrong. I took the motor apart, clear down to the short block. On my way there I found that the vacuum tube that senses the intake manifold pressure had burned in two. That is why it was running way to rich with fuel. I took the heads and the timing chain off to check the bearings on the camshaft. It was fine.
The reason that the motor was hard to turn over is because the wet fuel mixture going into the cylinders had washed the oil off the cylinder walls. One squirt of oil on each piston and the motor was loose as a goose. That means that it turned over real easy. I'm trying really hard to not lose you here... After oiling the pistons, I slowly turned the motor over, imagine my joy when I found absolutely no scoring on the pistons or cylinders. I did a little victory dance over my great good fortune. Then I remembered that it was really not that great good and fortunate to have my fuel mixture control tube burn in two.... As most mechanics know, working on a motor is a combination of extremes, good luck, bad luck, and bad language. I had a friend that claimed that no one that didn't know how to cuss could ever be a good mechanic. I know that statement is probably not true, but I take great comfort in the knowledge that I can cuss with the best of them.
So, I put the motor all back together. I was extra careful to route the vacuum line to the mixture control away from anything hot, I fixed the loose connection on the starter. HEY... the starter is in a really bad place! I couldn't see the loose connection!
I checked everything multiple times, then I started the the engine. It runs very, very smooth. I took it on a forty mile trip, going through all the break-in procedures. You all know what they are. They go from never over rev it, don't ever go past half throttle, only drive it downhill for the first fifty miles... to... drive it like you stole it. I tried to come up with my own compromise. It must have worked, the engine runs perfectly. The truck will go up Benbow Hill at half throttle, and do 65 MPH. What? You didn't expect me to admit speeding did you.
One more thing. When I was kid, my dad was a good mechanic, and I had the opportunity to work on many things. I was lucky enough to have known Pete Star, a mechanic in Briceland who owned the Briceland Garage and Shell gas station. he had the reputation of being the best mechanic far and wide. He was adamant about doing clean work. If your work wasn't clean enough to eat your lunch off of he didn't even want to see you in his shop, and he meant it. By the time that I got through working on my motor I could have worn white clothes and kept them clean. I always seem to get some strange joy out of clean work, that, and I always think of Pete Star and my dad.
Now the test: Did you read this whole thing? Give yourself 10 points if you did. If you understood it give yourself 5 more points. If you are female give yourself 10 bonus points. What is your score?