Friday, December 30, 2016

For that one guy.

I wasn't going to do a blog post today.  I feel like utter crap. 


There was one guy on the Duramax Forums who wanted to know more about the valve adjustment because he was going through the same thing.  I hate for him to go uninformed.

So, we get a post. 

I woke up today and felt like crap.  But, the weather is going to take a turn for the frigid soon and that makes work suck too.  So either way.

I went down to the garage today armed with some papers. 

This link explains it better than I possibly could right now. It is what I used coupled with a list of torque values I found on The Diesel Place forums

To work.

Rotated the engine using a 12 pt, 36 mm socket until TDC for cylinder one

Checked the clearance with the .012 feeler gauge. Adjusted as needed

The valves that can be checked at the same time, color coordinated.
 It took a couple of hours. That included cycling the engine by hand a few times and rechecking clearances. I will probably do that again before I put the valve covers back on just to be sure. 

There was still daylight, so I kept going. I put in the glow plugs and thought about injectors, but decided the exhaust manifold needed to go on first.

New exhaust manifold gaskets on top of expectant injectors

Old glow plugs back in place.

Tissues for my face.

Snotty rags and oily rags. 
 The exhaust manifold defeated me for the day.  I couldn't get the top back bolt past the gasket and threaded.  There is a nut that I needed to adjust to get the head in place and again to line up the manifold.  I got literally every nut in pace, except the top back one.  In frustration, I went to the driver's side, which was worse.

When the kids came in to see if I was alright, I should have quit. 

I didn't. 

When the snot was dripping down my face because I was using both hands, I was shaking and cramping, then I quit.

I'll deal with the cold weather.

Evil adjustment nut in question

Stinky, stinking exhaust manifold gasket.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Putting it all together

Or, at least the pieces I can find.

So, I didn't get a lot done over the holidays. Now, I have three days off and that means truck work! Except for this cold we all came down with. That says get in bed and stay there.


Oh yeah,don't forget the book.

Now, let's put some pieces back on. 

The sequence for torquing down the head bolts.
 Armed with the sequence, I took the 17mm socket off of the regular ratchet and put it on the small torque wrench for the first step. The directions call for three equal steps to reach 125 ft/lbs. First step was to 42.  Life, the Universe, and Everything. I lubed up everything with the supplied pooky and went after it.
Don't be stingy with the pooky, they provided plenty.

All cleaned up and pretty.  Let's TORQUE SOME NUTS!
 Step one went fine.

Step two, 85 ft/lbs or so, worked too. 

But, when I started on round three, a problem appeared.

First bolt, around the second turn, the wrench slipped off.

That isn't good.  Not at all. The nut seemed to be fine. The socket showed a little damage.  Maybe I had it crooked.  

Nope.  Second pass at it went the same.  

Maybe it's the nut. I decided to try the number one nut on the other side. Same result. 


Maybe it isn't the same 17mm 12 point socket.  Maybe these bolts are different.  Let's see if a 16mm fits on there better. There was a little play in it, after all.

Notice anything missing?
 Crap.  Another run to the store for a new 16mm 12 point socket. That's nearly an hour round trip. 

But hey, had to happen.

That's better.  And no guilt over Harbor Freight tools this time.
Worked like it was meant too.  Add that little nugget to my knowledge base. The ARP stud nuts are 16 mm. 

Step three torqued fine.  Then it was off to chop some firewood.  It's cold and our house has many drafts. What kind of jerk put the walls up on this place?

Today I went out and installed more stuff.

Like push rods. Fresh oil on both ends and inserted.

Forgot to put up a picture of my head bolt hole blower.  Here ya go.
 Then I put on the rocker arm assembly.  I went to look at the torque values on the sheet I printed, I don't have reception down at the garage, and it said some number in in/lbs.  Well, my wrench is only in ft/lbs. How do I convert that? 

I don't.  I go home and look it up.  And, when I got home, there was hot coffee waiting and my lovely wife and son were reading the book I wrote. 

My head cold is making me feel all weird and fuzzy headed.  I think I'll get back at it tomorrow. 

I left it like this for the night.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

Too busy to take the day off.

So, off to work. Did I mention it was 31 degrees and the garage has only one oil heater we keep in there to keep the cat from dying? 

It was cold.  And iron engine parts stay cold.

But, time's a wastin'.

Bur first, did I mention I wrote a book?

And for a glorious moment it was beating Jenny McCarthy.
 Sorry, I'm easily distracted by shiny objects.

The engine. Got the gaskets in, heads back, new injectors.  Time to rock.

See, this looks organized.
 I took a few days and cleaned everything up as nice as I could make it.  As per the instructions, I installed all the head studs and went to install the gasket.
Ohhhh, progress.
 Short lived progress.

The gasket wouldn't go on. The down pipe for the turbo was in the way and I couldn't get the gasket on without bending it all crazy.  That didn't sound like a good idea, so I pulled all the head studs back out and only left the two in where the dowels go to hold it in place.

Better, now to put the rest of the head studs back in.
 Then, I grabbed the heavy-ass, cold, and obnoxiously unwieldy head and fought it into position over the studs. I started to slide it down and it stopped.

It refused to go any further. It didn't want to come back off either.

This can't be good.

So, I let it go and looked. It was catching on this accordion folded part of the exhaust pipe.  I imagined all the terrible things that were happening to the threads on the studs. 

Curse word.

So, I pulled it back off.
The dreaded horror pipe is to the left.
 About this time I was pulled away to go to a neighbor's Christmas lunch. It is Christmas Eve after all. And, I like these neighbors, so I went.

For about an hour, then back.

I loosened some bolts and tried to wiggle things out of the way and I came to a conclusion. Either the whole exhaust manifold had to come off, with some very difficult to reach bolts, or the heads needed to go on before the head studs.

Oh yeah, and to reach the bolts to remove the exhaust manifold, I had to remove some of the head studs.

So, the head studs came back out except for two just to help with alignment.  Then, the head studs went back in... For the third time.  Did I mention it was cold metal? My fingers were starting to go numb.

Got that sucker on there.
 To make sure everything lined up, I decided to get the driver's side head on before torquing down the passenger side. And, I had learned a few things.

I knew the driver's side would be more difficult because the lean in is more awkward due to the steering equipment and the firewall was in the way. If you recall from tear down, the far right, bottom bolt had to come out with the head as there wasn't enough room to pull it out any other way. So, it had to go in with the head. 

Talk about a pain. It is hard enough holding that heavy, oddly-shaped, and cold head out at full extension and trying to line it up with the block. Now I had to hold a bolt in place too? 

So, I tried braining it instead of muscle-ing it.

This was the result.
 I left the studs out, except the one held in place by the two rounds of electrical tape holding it up, and set the head on.  Then, I screwed in the studs. 
 Then, Sarah sent Max out to inform me she had hot coffee waiting for me.  My numb fingers and nose told me it was too good to pass up. I could come back out after and torque everything down.

But, she also gave me a Christmas Eve gift. 

The torquing will have to wait.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

We Interrupt This Program

With breaking news.

The book is live people. 

The book is live.

Last night, I finished the last touches on the Adventure Nickel book and uploaded it to Amazon.  You can purchase it RIGHT NOW.

There will be a presale.  All presale orders get counted on the day of the release (1-6-17). If enough people buy during the presale, we could find ourselves on a best seller list and that helps with advertising and book bundles and the like.

So, wish me a Merry Christmas.  Buy the book.  I kept the price low because I want people to read it. If you do buy it, please review it honestly.  Also, I wouldn't feel bad at all if you shared a link with some friends.

I'm totally geeked.

Now, back to work on the truck and at the hospital.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Back to work

Yeah, like I was taking lots of time off.

So, the heads were off and at the machine shop getting tested. I also sent the injectors in to get cleaned and tested.

Then I went to work on the book.  Yeah, for those who don't already know, I have a book coming out soon. Just as soon as I finish it.  Which, if I keep up the work rate I am currently at, should be in around two weeks.

So yeah, busy.

The heads came back.

Pressure tested fine. Vacuum tested fine. Not warped.  They machined .006 and sent them back.

The injectors didn't fare so well. 

Five of the eight failed testing on the return part.  Apparently that is an early indication of failure.  I have the report and can speak about it all in some depth for those that are interested, but most probably aren't, so I'll spare you.

I ordered some new injectors online for the price of two virgin souls each. 

Cripes these things are expensive.

The cheapest reliable place I found them were Injectors Direct. Andrew seemed nice and they shipped fast. 

Everything else will have to wait for judgement.

So, what did I do today?

Big moment.
Changed from lefty-loosey to righty-tighty.
Wait.  I might need something a little beefier.  Maybe something a little more precise than just "that oughta do it."

I love the smell of new tools. The cost however...

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

First I have to finish cleaning stuff.  Now, I know I should have been doing the cleaning while the heads were in the shop, but it's been cold.   I mean below freezing in a large, unheated garage cold.  Working with liquids on a cold, iron block in below freezing temperatures was just more than I could bear. 

I'm a wimp. Sue me.

So I stayed inside and worked on the book.

Today was cleaning the block and getting all the old RTV sealant off of the intake manifold. I also cleaned out the head bolt holes.

Maybe tomorrow I can attach a head or something.

Shiny, clean heads

Brushes for cleaning out bolt holes.

Still pretty cold. I can think of a better thing here.

When it's cold, they're cold. Take them inside.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Headgasket Chronicles: Down to it.

Back in it, still taking things off.

Shall we?

The tools.

The electric impact wrench made the head bolts easy.

Well, the ones it could reach. Several were too cramped for the gun to reach. Then, it was the breaker bar and the deep-well impact socket.  And one, just one, that was too cramped even for that.

Passenger side head bolts out.

On the driver's side, the stud that attaches the exhaust manifold to the head didn't want to come out. Vice grips to the rescue.

And we're off!
Got the passenger head off and turned back to the engine.

Oh yeah, I never drained the coolant.  Probably should have. 


Here's the thing. I didn't see anything that looked like a blown gasket. 

There were the stains on the outside that looked like a leak, but nothing else. 

Maybe the other side.

The rear, bottom, head bolt on the driver's side required the purchase of another socket. The deep well I had been using was too long. So I had to get a regular 17mm 12 point.  The bolt can't come out until after the head comes out. There is no room.

But, come out it did.

Less coolant to drain into the cylinders.
Oh yeah, don't forget about the grounding strap connected to the passenger head.

And there it was.  Heads were off.

Still have to take the intake manifold off.  Any suggestions?

Don't look!  She's naked!
Tomorrow, the heads and injectors go to different shops for testing and cleaning.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Headgasket Chronicles: We struck oil!

I know, it's been a while.

I'll blame the holidays instead of my fear of actually getting inside this engine.

Yeah, that sounds better.  Where were we?

Oh yeah. 

I was battling the Y-bridge.

So, I had some hard to reach bolts. 

There are four bolts on the front and four more hidden in the back.

10mm ratchet and extension with a wobble socket extension and a lot of cursing.
And I mean a LOT of cursing. There is a rigid fuel line that runs right under the turbo, which is directly in the way.

Stick with it, it will come off.


Guess what I found?  Guess.

Looks like a mouse nest.

Evil mouse built it's nest partially from dead spiders.
Shortly after, I found the little dead mouse body in the garage.  It was either the car, or the antifreeze that spilled. Either way.

But, man, there is so much disgusting to clean up. 

I'll get there, probably.

Next up, the injectors.

The injector is the gun, the hold-down is the scope.
 The injectors came out much easier than I expected. Just unbolt the hold down and then use a screwdriver to pry it out.  These things need to be cleaned or something.

Seriously, these things are terrible.

I don't know how much was there and how much got one during removal.

Then it was time to pull the glow plugs.They came out with no fuss. 

The weather took a turn for the worse about this time.  The days are cold and the garage is unheated at the moment. Working on metal parts sucks when you can see your breath.

For some reason, several pictures are missing from the camera.  I don't know where they went.  You will just have to imagine the valve-cover gasket removal process.  It went pretty easily. There were two bolts that were a real pain in the ass on the driver's side, rear.  They required actual allen wrenches, using the short end. Nothing else would fit in there.  And more cursing.  Lots more cursing.

Engine guts. Not for the squeamish.

Almost there. The driver's side valve cover was a pain too because the steering column gets in the way. Oh yeah, and two fuel lines.  One of the push rods came loose from a rocker arm when I banged it. I hope there was no permanent damage.

Damn, it almost sounded like I knew what the hell I was talking about there for a second.

The pain in the ass fasteners in questions. Lots of room in there.

More guts. Avert your eyes. Not much room in the back there.

Then I worked on the exhaust manifold.  The bolts were hard to get to and on there pretty good.  I used the breaker bar and a 17mm socket. I used a regular and deep-well impact socket as the case demanded. 

Bolts were tight, but came right out.
Ran out of parts bin space.

The driver's side was a little different.

Slightly different view.
 Eventually, it relented, and I got the bolts out.  Mostly. This was a huge, time-consuming pain. I had to disconnect the steering column just to reach one of the bolts.  Oh yeah, and one of the studs stayed in. I'm not sure yet what I am going to to when it comes time to take the actual head off. We will see.

Yeah, there was just no room.

I managed to get one of the rocker bar things off before Sarah came and got me. Coffee was ready and I was cold and tired.  Enough for one day. 

Trying to remember which bolt goes where. That might be important. Not sure.

 So I left it unfinished. I figured I could take my time. I work the next three days and the shop that will test the head wasn't open over the holidays anyway. 

Suckers are almost off.