Miscellaneous Notes and Revelations

10/21/00 Miscellaneous Notes and Revelations

I’m writing these thoughts down because I don’t have any other place to put them. I’ve also begun to realize how valuable this site has become to me, simply as reference to assist my horrible memory. The search engine (lower left frame) works pretty well in locating information I wrote down months ago that I would have easily forgotten.

Engine notes:
François is currently working on a 250 outside plug engine with the aluminum head firmly stuck to the block! It seems to be a common occurrence because of the electrolytic reaction between the aluminum head/block, and the steel studs. Coolant from the water passages and corrosion builds up on the studs and locks the head in place. A special plate is installed on the head to distribute pressure on the studs and push the head off the block. As with anything stuck to a machine thread, patience, pressure, and lots of penetrating oil will get it apart. This particular engine has never been apart in over 35 years, so with over 70,000 miles, you can imagine how stuck it can get!

I’ve received a lot of mail regarding Ferrari engine rebuilds, and have discussed some of these questions with François. He also gets a lot of customer requests to save money in their rebuilds by only rebuilding part of an engine. He often will try his best to convince the customer to rebuild the whole engine because in the long run, they will save money. As with the seized head mentioned earlier, unforeseen problems arise, and you can imagine what kind of trouble this would have been if this had occurred when the engine was left in the car because only the heads were to be done! François has also seen engines smoke worse after the heads are refurbished because once the top end is sealed tight, it only makes the rest of the engine blow oil past the rings.

We spoke about longevity, and it’s been known that Ferrari valve guides rarely last much past 50,000 miles. On the other end of the engine, owners are faced with another problem, the oil control, and compression rings. These are often not affected by mileage, but age. The old rings loose their ability to push against the cylinder walls and spread and scrape the oil. Installing new rings will return compression, and stop the smoking. François has some customers that have put well over 50,000 miles on a rebuild he has done, with no smoking, or drop in compression. The new designs, and parts seem to last longer than the originals.

Why there are apprenticeships:
A few weeks ago I made a dozen or so aluminum line clips to hold fuel and brake lines in place underneath the car. I set up a small assembly line where the aluminum was cut, bent, shaped, and drilled into a clip. A few weeks later I discovered I needed to make some more clips of a different size, so I began the process of making new clips. I remembered basically how to make these clips, but had forgotten the little techniques I taught myself from the last batch I made. It wasn’t until after I made a couple before it all came back to me. That was when I realized why it was so important to have apprenticeship programs. In the old days of Craftsman/Apprentiship relationships, the apprentice was made to make hundreds of clips like these. As he made that many, he imprinted the job into his brain, where he no longer had to think about how to make these clips anymore. Picking up a piece of aluminum, his hands would automatically fashion a clip from it. Each job was taught to him by doing, and imprinted the same way. It all makes sense now.

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