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Engine back together- now the feared tune to run

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  • Engine back together- now the feared tune to run

    My I can do anything mindset often gets me in trouble. But usually after delaying the inevitable project and allowing fear of a pending disaster to build for several weeks, I get up one morning and just dive in.

    The 259 is back in the Champ and it runs.... sort of. The tappets sound like a malfunctioning machine gun and sometimes it didn't need ether to fire up. But, it did (qualified) run after I did everything I could do personally in my garage to clean and replace seals, gaskets, freeze plugs, grind the valves, remove carbon etc. etc. and put it back together. However, since it would barely make it around the block in this condition, it was mandatory to either dig into my allowance and call a pro or once again pretend I knew what I was doing.

    First kudos to these two links:

    Valve adjustment:
    Studeblogger or Clark, if you have an alias here, thank you!

    On tuning with a vacuum gauge:

    Tools: Harbor Freight $15 vacuum gauge, a Craftsman dwell meter/tach that I've had at least 40 years. 1/2" socket and open end, plug wrench and a couple of screw drivers.

    I followed the following steps and spent at most 2 hours to accomplish the entire task:
    1) Set the dwell with dwell meter.
    2) Rough set timing with tach on dwell meter.
    3) Set carb jets with vac meter.
    4) Set timing with vac meter.
    5) Set idle screw with dwell tach.
    6) Removed plugs.
    7) Pulled valve covers and set valve clearance in timing order sequence. Set #1 TDC with mark. Advanced crankshaft with socket on generator nut. Used screwdriver in spark plug hole to identify when each piston was at TDC.Then adjusted valve clearance at that point.
    8) Reinstalled valve covers

    Starts easy, purrs like a kitten and drives nice in the neighborhood. Highway test to come. Heck now I feel like an expert !!

    Under hood tweaks... 240Z radiator, 280 degree thermostat required 13 pound radiator cap; Remote master cylinder reservoir made from another master cylinder; KN knock-off reusable dry air cleaner from Advanced Auto; Relay protected Halogen headlights (Relays by Battery).

    Need to finish installing door panels and some interior trim, repaint front clip and install the shiny stuff. The 4' x 8' Presidential sign boards and my "back to the good old days" sign should be in next week. I think we'll be road worthy by then and I'll be ready to have my own personal parades on I-25 during rush hour!

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by mmagic; 07-05-2012, 09:40 PM.

  • #2
    Don't forget the battery hold down, don't want the other BP getting on your case.
    Castro Valley,


    • #3
      Actually, I went to sleep last night contemplating whether to salvage the old tie down, create a new one, see if the parts store has one that would work or design a nylon strap tie-down.

      I have to periodically go back and remind myself where we came from-----
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      • #4
        Merlin, thanks for the plug - I did that valve-adjustment walk-through specifically for guys like me who had no idea how to do a valve adjustment Glad to see it served its intended purpose!

        Your engine looks very sanitary There's nothing like hearing the sound of a well-tuned Studeb V8 burbling along happily at cruising speed. Keep that puppy rolling!

        Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" |


        • #5
          Showbiz... the one place I poor-boy'd your walk-through was setting a screwdriver in the sparkplug hole and using it as a marker for TDC. Particularly helpful were the notions of following firing order and a ratchet on the generator nut for a controlled turn of the crank. Those two saved lots of time and kept things very consistent compared with how I might have done it. Thanks again.

          When I opened it up each piston had a different overbore and one was even sleeved! It had obviously been ridden hard but still is serviceable... a testament to the "you can wear'em out but you can't blow'em up" reputation of this hunk of iron. If I can get 10,000 or 20,000 fun miles out of this one it will be a personal success.

          If my plan to use the truck as a rolling billboard between now and November makes a difference it will be worth every dime and minute of investment.