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Freed a stuck 259

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  • Freed a stuck 259

    About a month ago, I dragged home a VERY rusty '61 Lark 2 door sedan. The body, save for a very few usable parts, has gone to its reward. I left the engine sitting on the frame for the time being. It was stuck.

    A couple of days ago, I decided it was time to see if I could get it un-stuck. I removed the crab manifold, complete with water pump, and removed the pulley and front crank bolt. I used a pair of holes in the pulley as a guide, and drilled a pair of holes near the end of a 4-foot piece of angle iron. Bolted this device to a pair of the pulley studs, and I now had a handy handle with which to turn the engine. I reefed on it, to and fro, for some time, with no action.

    So I pulled the heads off. Very little rust in the cylinders, and a small ridge, not as bad as many I've seen. Number 7 seemed to be the stuck one. I soaked the cylinders all with PB Blaster, and called it a night. That was yesterday. Today I found an old 259 piston and rod, which had been in the trunk of the '61, curiously enough. The rod was rusted solid to the wrist pin. I inserted this piston head first into #7 cylinder, so it was flat against the top of #7 piston, and gave the end of the connecting rod a few whacks with a 2-pound hammer. Then I tugged to and fro on my angle iron lever, and gave it a few more whacks. Success! The engine broke free. I turned it clockwise until my lever hit an obstruction (the fuel pump), took the lever off its pair of studs, and moved it to another pair, and turned it some more. Used my putty knife to clean all the carbon off the piston tops.

    Then I cleaned up the heads. There were 5 stuck valves (all exhaust, too), and I freed them up up with PB Blaster on the stems and a little hammer massaging. Then I cleaned the heads, and all that I could reach of the block with various scrapers and solvent, and sprayed them with silver rust paint from a rattle can. I cleaned all the encrusted gasket goo off the steel shim head gaskets with rotary wire brush and a scraper, and coated them with copper-filled gasket spray, and re-used them. No point in "wasting" new gaskets on an engine that may well have to be torn down before it is put to use.

    Got the heads on, and torqued down, and even got the heat riser valve freed up. I connected a battery to the starter, and it spun over, not fast, but smoothly.

    Next tasks include clean and paint intake manifold and crab manifold, breather stack and oil filter, and valve covers. I'll set all the valves to .025" cold, and see if I can make it run at all. If it fires up, then I'll hang a radiator on it, and let it run until warmed up, and check oil pressure, and then do an oil change.

    I don't have an immediate use for this engine, but if it becomes a runner, it will go into dry storage for future reference. I never painted the oil pan or the undersides of the cylinder banks, but that can be much more easily done once the engine is hoisted out of the chassis. And if this engine does prove to be in need of an overhaul, at least a big chunk of the necessary cleaning is behind me. I was on it for about 15 hours between yesterday and today. Here's how it looked as I quit this evening:



    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  • #2
    Could be great as long as the fiber timing gear is not about to disintegrate. Good luck with it!
    John Clary
    Greer, SC

    SDC member since 1975

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    • #3
      Gordon you are amazing!

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      • #4
        quote:Originally posted by gordr




        Did Biggs drive that up to your place from California?

        [)]

        Dick Steinkamp
        Bellingham, WA

        Dick Steinkamp
        Bellingham, WA

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        • #5
          No, I wish. Wouldn't have been so rusty then. I got it for $50 from a storage yard in Edmonton, Alberta. If I can make the engine run, and I do expect it will run, then I got my money's worth.

          I patched the battery shelf in the gray Lark with some POR-15 and fiberglass mat, and it appears to have hardened up OK. I may get the floor mats out of it tomorrow.

          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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          • #6
            Hey Gord, You sure you want to fire it up without fresh oil? I'll bet what's in that pan looks like my last attempt to make fudge. [xx(]


            A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. - Edward R. Murrow

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            • #7
              Tom, that's a matter which has been subject to considerable debate here. FWIW, I pulled the dipstick, and the oil is clear brown. The cooling system had antifreeze in it, too.

              Now the car had been sitting for years before I got it. Presumably the oil is clear because all the sludge has settled out. If I drain the oil now, engine cold, I'm going to get a pan-full of clean oil, and the lion's share of the sludge will remain in the oil pan, waiting patiently for its chance to contaminate 5 quarts of brand new oil.

              When the engine last ran, the oil in it was being filtered by the bypass oil filter, so chances are it was as clean as it could get, depending on the age of the oil, which cannot be determined. Sitting like that, the engine is not likely going to shed a whole lot of coarse particles into the oil. The fines, which get through the oil filter, have settled out, and they will be there whether I use the current oil or a fresh batch.

              If the oil were visibly contaminated with water, rust, or antifreeze, I'd change it for sure.

              The absolute best way to revive a long-dormant engine would be to drop the pan, and manually clean out the sludge, and check bearing clearances, too. That's more effort than I want to put into an engine for which I have no immediate use. Maybe it has bottom-end problems, anyway. It may well have some stuck rings, or have enough rust damage on the cylinder walls to have blowby issues. So I will run it (if it starts), long enough to warm it to operating temperature, check the oil pressure, and do a compression test. If it holds good oil pressure, and has decent compression, I'll mark it as being usable as-is, suitable for getting a non-operating car back on the road. And, if it knocks, or has poor oil pressure or uneven compression, I'll mark it as a core for rebuild. I'll drain the oil, hot, in either case.

              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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              • #8
                Well, I had it running today, for a grand total of maybe 30 seconds, in several short bursts. I took the carb apart, cleaned a mess of corrosion out of the bowl, and replaced shrunken base and bowl gaskets with decent used ones. But the accelerator pump still doesn't work, and I think there may be other passages plugged in it, too. But it did seem to be hitting on all cylinders.

                I never put an oil pressure gauge on it. Kind of pointless unless you can run it up to operating temperature. Even a worn-out engine can show pretty good oil pressure when cold.

                But I'm sufficiently encouraged that I will give the carb a thorough going-over, and go ahead and hook up a radiator and fuel pump, so it can run for an extended period.

                Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
                Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                • #9
                  I have let accelerator pumps set overnight with a mixture of gas and oil...sometimes it kinda rejuvenates the leather seal. Of course if you are going to go through the carb anyway that won't be necessary. I like the rolling engine stand you have.
                  John Clary
                  Greer, SC

                  SDC member since 1975

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Nice goin' Gordon!

                    Did you run it without any pipes beyond the ex. manifolds? I suppose you could there - how far is your closest neighbor? I'm close to igniting a recently rebuilt V8 and have a crossover pipe with lots of holes that I could rig a muffler on seeing as how I'll be holding 1500 rpm for 20 minutes and have close neighbors. Could imagine the racket of doing that with no pipes!


                    A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. - Edward R. Murrow

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                    • #11
                      Tom, there are the remains of dual exhaust pipes on both manifolds. About a foot on the right side, 2 on the left. It has a pretty loud bark, but my nearest neighbor is a quarter mile away.

                      Since the heat riser valve is in place, and freed up, all the bark comes out the left side until it warms up.

                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Update as of 2:00 P.M. Saturday. I got busy this morning, and bolted a radiator saddle to the frame, and hung a radiator in it. Hooked up some rad hoses. Installed the fan, water pump pulley, and a generator. Hung the voltage regulator on the right side of the radiator saddle, and a ammeter on the left. Found an ignition resistor, and mounted it under one of the bolts that retains the water jacket blockoff plate at the rear of the right head. Mounted the starter solenoid at the rear of the left head. Bolted a battery tray to the left end of the batwing crossmember, and tack-brazed the other end to the frame rail. Ran a bunch of wires. I connected the line between the carb and the fuel pump, and dumped a couple of gallons of fuel in the tank.

                        Woo-hoo! It works! Got it started by priming it with a squirt bottle of gas, and after a few moments, the fuel pump kicked in, and the carb filled and it ran on its own. The ammeter kicked over from discharge to charge, so the generator's putting out. When I revved up the engine, a big surge of water came out of the top of the radiator core, through the fan, and all over me. Scratch one radiator. I found a '58 Hawk radiator, which fit, but had different hose connections, so I had to scrounge through the used hose bin for different hoses. Got them on, filled up the rad, and started it again. It starts easily now.

                        I ran it for 5 or 10 minutes. The water pump started out by leaking real bad, but sort of cleared up. But I doubt it will heal itself completely. Accelerator pump is still D.O.A., but it idles fine, and will rev up if the throttle is opened slowly. I ran it until it was pretty well warmed up, and the oil pressure gauge, which showed around 75 PSI cold, settled down to about 50 at a fast idle. I will try another gauge before taking that as Gospel, though

                        While it was idling, I walked around it, and pulled off each spark plug wire, one by one. Engine note changed, and revs dropped a little bit each time, so it's really hitting on all eight holes. Valves are a little loud.

                        Hmmm, all it needs now is a transmission, drive shaft, and seat, and I have a Studebaker dune buggy. Some things just beg to be done, don't they?

                        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
                        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                        • #13

                          Studedunebugbaker.

                          Studunebuggybaker.

                          Studunebakebuggy.

                          Studedunebakerbuggy.

                          As you said, some things just beg to be done. I think I like the last one best. A delivery vehicle for a Saharan bread maker.

                          '50 Champion, 1 family owner

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                          • #14
                            That's GOT to be one of the most satisfying parts of the hobby...to get a motor that has not run for many years (stuck even! [:0]) running...and running WELL. [8D]

                            Congrats, Gord.


                            Dick Steinkamp
                            Bellingham, WA

                            Dick Steinkamp
                            Bellingham, WA

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                            • #15
                              If you're half as good at geology, I want you at my next dig!

                              Hooray for Gord!

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