June 17th, 2009



Have you seen Will Smith's recent movie, Hancock? Also starring Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman.

Just finished watching it and the special features, and I have to say it was fantastic! I have no idea why it didn't do well in the theater or why I haven't been able to talk any of my friends into watching it with me. It made me laugh out loud long enough that I had to rewind, cry and smile and think and feel in so many ways. A fantastic movie, can't recommend it enough - though I suspect you need to care about superheroes and humans and superhumans enough to understand the themes.

Go see (rather, rent or buy) Hancock!

One of these days, when I have the car up and running perhaps, I'll make another progress post on the Newport. Worked on it all day and will do the same tomorrow. Suffice to say that I've been documenting the build and will have a few tutorials on my website for others who are rebuilding their Mopar big-blocks. Tomorrow, I install the heads. Getting exciting!


Newport update: prepping the block

Hi folks! Typing this up now because it's 100°F outside with the heat index (that is, counting humidity), and my next step requires torquing-down 34 bolts 3 times in increments of 40 pound-feet, then 55 lb-ft, then 70 lb-ft while leaned over a fender. I expect to stand inside the engine compartment for a lot of the time, because it's nearly impossible to get a solid angle on the wrench in some cases. Good times. So writing up this post allows me to cool off after the first stage of torquing.

So progress, eh? Today I made a bunch! But first, yesterday's work:

First I finished painting the block's nooks and crannies that I'd missed on previous days. Collapse )

While the final coat of paint was drying, I crawled under the car to begin replacing the old sheetmetal transmission pan. Collapse )

Thankfully, I had installed a vent fan and a small air-conditioning unit in my garage a few years ago; if only it could also cut the humidity.

Okay, next up was pulling the protective paper off the block, cleaning off the surfaces again, and cleaning out the head-bolt threads. If the block's threads aren't tidy, the head bolts won't torque down properly, possibly leading to head-gasket failure. That would be bad. Collapse )

Viola! After a few hours of this, the block was ready to take the heads! But first: Clean the surfaces first with dust-free rags (as you can imagine, lots of sludgy oil, rusty coolant, and grime oozed out of the holes as I drove the tool into them), then with more clean rags and alcohol, and they're really ready! Except by now, I'd been working for 10 or so hours and was ready for a Pabst Blue Ribbon and the aforementioned Hancock.

So yesterday culminated in finally prepping the engine for reassembly! Things should go quickly after that, right? Well, I only have a few more parts to install... here's a long-shot of the parts table, showing most of it: Collapse )

So yesterday was the last day of going backward; that is, removing, cleaning, and so forth. Today I made a bunch more progress - and started actual assembly! - though it required three trips to the auto-parts stores, including one trip to fetch a torque wrench. I have no idea where mine went, but handily one can rent such specialized tools from the parts stores these days. Hooray!

Tomorrow I'll post about today's progress....