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.

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