Thursday, August 21, 2008

This is why you should listen to the old guys...

At the end of our last posting, Team Unsafe had discovered that the Corvair's flat 6 was running as a straight 3 with 0-0-0 compression numbers for the right bank of cylinders. This was not good. The 140 HP engine is the highest-strung of all the Corvair engines, and we thought that the problem was caused by a seriously messed up head, which would mean a new head, which would probably require new pistons, which would need new bores, etc, etc, etc...

Before buying an ATV jack and lowering out the engine, (Yes, it's a rear-engine car and the enging lowers out under the frame, like a Porsche. Or a VW Bug. Or a Porsche!) we decided to post our problem to the collective wisdom of the Corvair Center, We received a number of knowledgeable replies within a day. The likely causes for our compression woes were either an improperly torqued head, or improperly adjusted valves, with most of the votes going for the valves.

So, today the valve cover came off and we checked the valves. Guess what? Every valve on the right side, both intake and exhaust, were way out of spec on the tight side. We couldn't believe it. Coming from a variety of motorcycle backgrounds, and having dealt with a variety of shim-under-bucket, screw-and-locknut, and (shudder) desmo valves, theses valves are dead easy to adjust. Adjust the rocker nut until there is no free play, then turn in one turn. Could it be that simple?

We hooked up the compression tester and the new reading were 120-120-120. Perfect, thank you Corvair Center! Now all we have to do is rebuild and sync four carbs, figure out why the left rear wheel has 15 degrees of camber, find a correct set of springs, get a seat, install the cage, fix the timing, redo the electrics, track down a battery box, deal with the crunching noises coming from fourth gear... But most importantly, this fix required exactly $0 from our budget. We have $400 to go before we need to start selling parts.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Compression Test and Suspension

Byron, Jake, and Shane got together today to do a compression test on the Corvair's engine and see if we could determine what the heck was going on with the camber on the left rear wheel.

The good news is that the camber should be an easy fix. Jake saw that the camber plate is adjusted in the "wrong" direction and that the left rear control arms is probably installed on the right side of the car. It's going to be a shame to fix, really. The car went around left turns so well...

The bad news is the result of the compression test. The compression test on the left side cylinders was 100/130/100 - a little low, but perfectly acceptable for LeMons duty. Compression on the right side cylinders was 0/0/0. Hopefully it's just the gasket, and not a dropped valve seat.

A few pics from the shop day. Shane cranks the mighty flat 6 and dreams of LeMons glory...

...while Jake checks the compression and contemplates running the car as a straight-3.

Meanwhile, Byron found the detachable face for the stereo! That's another $50 in our account when we sell it on eBay.

4 carburettors feeding 6 cylinders. I hear it's a piece of cake to synchronize.

While nobody likes to hear that their engine is half dead, at least we know what we need to do. Jake will get a copy of the shop manual, Shane will figure out if the head can be removed without dropping the engine from the car, and Byron will find some jack stands.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Corvair has landed!

It took a little bit of work, and two jump starts, but we got the Corvair back to the house. Here are a few pictures:

The car (which needs a name, BTW) already has electronic ignition installed, so that saves $50 from our precious budget. Tomorrow we will check the compression and spark in each cylinder and take a look at the carbs.