Engine mechanics:Cleaning and Teardown


Ford Motor and other manufacturers say that dirt is the chief cause of callbacks after major work. The direct effect is to contaminate the oil supply; the indirect effect is to create an environment that makes craftsmanship difficult or impossible.

The need for almost septic standards of cleanliness argues against the practice of opening the engine for less than comprehensive repairs. Of course, it happens that such repairs must be made, regardless of the long-term consequences. Nor is it possible to maintain reasonable standards of cleanliness during in-frame overhauls, although the damage can be minimized by moving in quickly, cleaning only those friction surfaces that are opened for inspection, and getting out. Dirt accumulations on internal parts of the engine cannot be removed from below, while parts are still assembled, and attempts to do so will only release more solids into the oil stream.

When, on the other hand, the engine is rebuilt, the block, cylinder head, pan, and other steel stampings are sent out for thermal or chemical cleaning (see Chap. 7). These processes also remove the paint, which is all to the good. Crankshaft, piston assemblies, and other major internal parts receive a preliminary wash-down for inspection by the mechanic in charge of the job. These parts are then forwarded to the machine shop for evaluation. When pistons are reused, the machinist will chemically clean the grooves and piston undersides—chores that save hours of labor. About all that remains

for the shop mechanic is to degrease fasteners and accessories that have been detached from the block and remove the rust preventative from new parts.


Drain the oil and coolant and degrease the outer surfaces of the engine. Disconnect the battery, wiring harness (make a sketch of the connections if the harness is not keyed for proper assembly), and exhaust system. Attach the sling and undo the drive line connection and the motor mounts. With the engine secured in a stand, detach the manifolds, cylinder heads, and oil sump. The block should be stripped if you contemplate machine work or chemical cleaning of the jackets.

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