Fiat Update

So I’ve been meaning to give an update on the Fiat saga for a while. Late last December I went outside to start her up and she made a pretty heinous grinding noise when I turned over the key. I was thinking starter grind possibly as it still ran and didn’t sound rough so while curious about what on earth could possibly have made the noise I didn’t have time to check into it any further. Then on Christmas she wouldn’t start at all. Fuel was getting there and spark was good, but it just turned and turned but wouldn’t fire. I didn’t really have too much time to look into it so I had to move on. Luckily this happened before I had the chance to drive it down to Atlanta for New Years Eve and get myself stuck.

Ever since I’d first picked up the car I’d intended on ramping up into rebuild/restore mode, but didn’t have the motivation or time to do it until now. So fast forward to March when my lease was getting ready to run out and I knew I’d loose the facilities of my precious garage. I decided to go ahead an pull the motor so I’d be able to work on it back in the corner of my parent’s garage. The day before I was scheduled to fly out to Denver for work, coincidentally this cars original home, I decided to pull the engine and begin to get down to the bottom of things. I’m still fairly green when it comes to working on cars and thought ripping her down to the core was as good as any place to start my education. So after a very long day and missing a few very, very important steps in the removal process I was able to get the engine removed. There was a bit of jumping on top of the engine to get it to break free and I can definitely say I’ll read instructions more thoroughly from here on out, but it is out none the less.

Once my lease was up my friend Dusty was kind enough to volunteer a spot in a barn at his folks property for the chassis to sit while I work on the motor. We loaded her up and rolled her back into an old barn they had used to raise rabbits when he was a kid and trailered his old VW Beetle back over to his place so he could start a bit of tinkering with it. If you ever get a minute he’s got some pretty hilarious stories about raising rabbits.

Back over at my dad’s garage we built a makeshift engine stand out of some old casters and chunks of wood that would suffice for the first part of the engine deconstruction. After removing the cam towers and getting to look at the cylinder head I noticed one very heinous problem with a shim bucket that sits on top of the valve springs. The bucket had somehow ruptured and the metal split open banging into the cylinder head when the engine turned over and then eventually jammed in place in the cam housing…not a good thing, but I’m still not entirely convinced that was the root of the problem. As nasty of a break as that was I would have thought the car would have at least started or attempted to fire and just run really rough.

I’d originally planned to do this deconstruction over the two week period of vacation in July, but soon found that wasn’t going to happen. I tend to go into very minute detail when I’m working on something I really care about and I want this to be a thing of beauty when she’s done. I was watching some hot rod tips on block preparation and one mentioned smoothing off the block before repainting so you get a really nice glossy finish. So I think I’ve put in roughly 20-25 hours worth of grinding with my Dremel during the crazy heat of late July and August to as much as I can create a smooth surface. I took home the distributor and worked on it up on my kitchen table; cleaning, disassembling and inspecting and then piecing it all back together. Keep in mind all along the way is a whole new discovery process for me. I mean I get how the basics work, but seeing how they’re implemented and pieced together is a whole other level of detail that I am pretty excited to understand.

I finished the block preparation and was ready for the first spray. We took it up to the chem bath at a local shop for one final wash before the spray to get all the junk and shavings out of all the little nooks and crannies. Let her dry and then plugged up and covered all the holes and did the first spray. And with the exception of some residual chem wash seeping from the radiator plug hole the paint went on beautifully. Even with the knowledge that I’ll have to sand a bit and do another spray I’m pretty satisfied considering I’ve never done anything like this before.

So my next steps are to send off the cylinder head to get ported, repaint the oil pan, powder coat the pulleys(obviously no functional improvement, but I think it’ll look really sharp), replace the core plugs, and then slowly put everything back together cleaning and reconditioning as I go. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to get any pictures of the finished paint on the block, but I’ll have some soon. For now here’s some before and after pictures of various camera quality from the process so far.

Holy hammhocks why do people have to be so difficult

Things are rarely as straight forward as we’d like them to be. I believe in absolutes, black and whites when it comes to matters of right and wrong, fundamental beliefs of faith and personal world views. But try as I may and as much as I want a single statement or a rigid response that I can use to apply to these disparate situations I encounter each day I’m left with none that cover every situation, that I can use applied in the same manner over and over again. There is no formula. Even with the same person at times they require one response and other times another. Love is the target and end goal, but even it is not as simple as we’ve made it sound and defined it in our culture. As a co-worker put it, “love is not always doing what the other person wants.” For that matter love is not always doing what we want. And yet here we are searching, looking for a formula, for a way to navigate the sirens calls and the jagged rocks, but not finding any. Because there’s not a simple answer. It’s simple enough to understand, but difficult in application. Though we may not like it, it is the best way. To go through a desert in order to reach the promised land. If you go the quick way into the promised land will you appreciate it? Will you be capable of upkeeping it? Are you a wiser person for doing so?

Applying truth through paradox, being in a place where you are able to hear the Holy Spirit, practicing love in its full capacity and not just the warm and cuddly version we have, listening and seeking out Godly counsel. It takes not just one, but all of these along with constant re-examination of oneself. Always striving, always applying instruction, never ceasing in zealousness, perseverance no matter how much simpler it is to take the easy way out. In short accept responsibility, lead courageously, resist passivity and expect the greater reward.

– Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser; teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning.
– not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought, but to rate his ability with sober judgment.
– Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
– Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.