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V-8 Engine Tech

Non starting MK1 383

Mopar Big Block Talk

by money_one_four » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:00 am

I fully agree with Chris that the original starters don’t sound very fast , when I first got my car it sounded like a WW11 Spitfire trying to start but none the less still managed to fire up , a new battery improved things but I kept the starter and works fine.
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by johnw » Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:47 pm

money_one_four wrote:when I first got my car it sounded like a WW11 Spitfire trying to start but none the less still managed to fire up , a new battery improved things but I kept the starter and works fine.

Same here. I do like that noise, and from cold the chugging priming the mechanical fuel pump gives the oil pressure time to build up before it eventually fires. It starts a bit quicker when hot.
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by Grant » Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:17 pm

I have always loved the slow churning of a V8 Mopar then the burst into life, as is all I remember from those early years.. I refuse to have a fast-wind starter just for that reason :P
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by Chris_R » Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:42 pm

The original starters are direct drive. I think most of the lighter weight "fast wind" starters are gear reduction with a ratio of between 3.8 and 4.4 to 1 which is why the motor can be smaller and lighter but also meaning that although the starter whirs away nice and fast, maybe 4 times faster, the output gear turning the engine may not be turning much faster (if any faster) than the direct drive starter.
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by money_one_four » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:55 am

Lukey reading your post on rotor arm position it would seem it is pointing at number 8 and not 1 move the plug leads round one anti-clockwise and see if it fires then .
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by slotcarone » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:48 am

Chris_R wrote:The original starters are direct drive. I think most of the lighter weight "fast wind" starters are gear reduction with a ratio of between 3.8 and 4.4 to 1 which is why the motor can be smaller and lighter but also meaning that although the starter whirs away nice and fast, maybe 4 times faster, the output gear turning the engine may not be turning much faster (if any faster) than the direct drive starter.

Chris the original starters are gear reduction also. That is why the engine spins over slowly even when everything is working properly. Nice thing a out working on Mopar's is that they all take the same starter! :)
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by Steve Payne » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:52 am

money_one_four wrote:Lukey reading your post on rotor arm position it would seem it is pointing at number 8 and not 1 move the plug leads round one anti-clockwise and see if it fires then .


This is the reason I suggested the distributor was rotated while the key was being turned. One tooth out on the distributor drive and it will never fire. Rotate the distributor as the key is turned one way then the other, it can be way off but and as long as the leads are in the correct order it will eventually fire up.

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by money_one_four » Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:09 pm

Hi Steve agree with you there , just easier to move the leads if you’re working on your own . If we are all reading this correctly from the point of view the rotor arm is pointing just passed the clip in an anti clock wise direction then he has to be firing on number 8 by the lay out of his leads ,let’s hope this is the problem.
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by money_one_four » Thu Nov 14, 2019 1:23 pm

Oh well no news is good news so they say ?
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by lukey » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:49 pm

Unfortunately there’s been a lot of Illnesses in the family over the last few weeks, with my granddad being rushed into hospital and I’m only just getting over something myself.. there’s even been a death in the family that’s hit us all hard.. so hopeful we will get back to work on the car by the end of the week, to take our minds off things if nothing else, we need to fit the new start motor and fuel pump.. after sending the video to Andy at apple Yard, he and his guys looked at the video and said without any doubt the start motor was definitely the biggest issues that they could see, physically not turning fast enough to start the car..
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by lukey » Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:05 am

Hi everyone, sorry for the lack of information over the last few months, Myself and my grandparents haven’t been well so haven't been able to work on the car, but with this lock down it finally gave us chance..

so when we last worked on the car we’d just received a new start motor because several people had said the original one was tuning way to slowly to start the engine, it too us several weeks to get around to fitting it and had several problems getting to fit properly because of the casting snap on the new starter.. anyway after a bit of grinding we got the new starter to fit, including new earth cables and battery leads. Got the timing to where we though it should be tried to start the car and nothing.. it was still turning really slowly Exactly the same as the old starter and we would get the odd back fire, But that was it. Continued playing with the timing but nothing seamed to improve things, over the few short bursts of us trying to start the engine it seamed to be getting slower and slower. We assumed battery so decided to call it a day and put the baton charge... that was probably mid November..

Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago we decided to open the garage up and let some fresh air though and pick up where we left off.. connected the new battery, put a little fuel down the carb, tried to start it and we got a little clunk and that was is it no movement.. so after a bit of head scratching we decided to remove the new starter thinking it had stuck, as that was the last thing we put on and it was turn fine before....removed the starter and tried to turn the engine by hand and it was stuck fast.. so then removed the plugs and tired again.. and no movement.. so we sprayed some oil down the plug holes to try and loosen things up.... came back 2 days later and it still wouldn’t move.. my father was literally hanging off the end of a 6 foot long bar And it still wasn’t moving....

So after some carful thought I decided to remove the heads and see if it would move with the pistons bare.... it was extremely difficult getting the heads off as the bots were extremely tight but luckily they all came out ok.. unfortunately snapped an exhaust manifold bolt but thats easy to fix.... when the heads came off we found 2 stuck valves but they popped back with a gentle tap.. everything looks fine nothings bent or out of shape.. the pistons all look fine and the and the cylinder walls look ok, just some very light surface rust you can rub away with your finger.... we drowned the cylinders with oil and left over night...

Came back the next day and tried to turn the engine by hand again but it still won’t turn.. so now we’ve decided to buy a 2 ton engine Hoist ( should be here within the next few days ) And remove what’s left of the engine and gearbox together and do a complete strip and start from scratch....

When my granddad bought the car in the late 80s the engine was already in bits, And most of it was actually in the boot of the car ( we never found out why ).. he had everything refurbished that he could, and had the engine rebuilt by a friend who supposedly knew what he was doing... the engine was put back in the car in 1991 and plumbed back in.. a few days later my grandfather was hit by a forklift truck and never worked on the car again.. so the rebuilt engine was never fired.. the car was put in a fairly dry And lock garage with the engine covered with old carpet and the Bonet closed, and that’s exactly how it sat until September 2019 when I took over Rebuilding the car.... so I’m theory we would have been fine

Though after taking the heads off myself a few days ago, I’m not convinced the guy who rebuilt this engine knew what he was doing as almost every single bolt apart from the internal head bolts were different sizes and lengths, and had all been cut shorter to fit... and considering the engine should be in freshly rebuilt condition inside, it’s absolutely disgusting. One of the inlet ports is full solid with carbon.. we found a 2inch stone stuck inside the intake manifold.. and the general condition of the internals look un cleaned and untouched from when it was found in a muddy farmers field in the 80s.. it looks like the guy just threw it together without any thought..

So now I’m going to rebuilt it probably myself, ( I can’t afford for anyone else to do it ) at least Then I know it will be done right.

Is there anything I can do to improve the engines performance while I have it in bits ?? That doesn't costs an arm or leg...

We’re also wondering if the gearbox is Jammed in gear hence why the engine won’t turn, dose anyone agree and or have any ideas.? We’ve tried to select neutral but the selector is stuck solid.. is there a way of selecting neural from the linkages them selfs?

Thanks luke, sorry I know it’s a long read.
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by slotcarone » Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:15 am

Sounds like the person that originally worked on the engine really did absolutely nothing! The transmission will not stop the engine from turning. Only the torque converter/flex plate turns with the engine when the trans is in park. Even if it is in gear it will not matter. :)
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by Roh » Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:48 am

lukey wrote:
Is there anything I can do to improve the engines performance while I have it in bits ?? That doesn't costs an arm or leg...


That depends on your definition of an arm and leg.

There is a good chance that the crank and rods need machining and that the cylinder bores need enlarging a size which would necessitate new pistons. If this is the case a stroker kit wouldn’t be much more expensive and it would add a lot of torque. Basically the amount of torque is proportional to the engine capacity. You won’t get any more power without improving the breathing ability of the engine.

A similar situation exists for the heads. If they need reconditioning or the addition of hardened valve inserts to run on unleaded fuel then aftermarket heads may be an affordable option. There are Stealth Alloy heads that look like OEM heads, but most don’t look anything like the originals. If you are sticking with the original heads you can always port them.

There are a whole bunch of other things that you can do. What are your goals for the motor? Do you want it to look original and be smooth, look original and have a bit of a lump to it, or do you not care how it looks? Do you want a high stall converter etc.
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by lukey » Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:13 am

Ah thank you @slotcarone, that’s Exactly what I needed to know. I may as well go ahead with my plan and pull the whole lot out, and start from scratch, I was thinking about separating the gearbox first and trying to turn it then, but I won’t bother now.

Arm and leg, well basically nothing. Because of lockdown I haven’t worked since January so had absolutely no income, and don’t look like I’ll be starting back soon either

Well the racer in me would make the car as light as possible. Enlarge the bore, stick a blower in top, get rid of the stupid auto box. Widen the rear arches... etc.... but I could never do that knowing how rare the car is. My goal at the moment is to just get the car driving so my granddad can see it moving and hear it. He’s 83 so want to do it before it’s too late... the car will always be in the family so in the future that might change.. I’m just thinking it’s probably going to be a long time before that engine comes back out again, if there’s any easy / cheep things I can do now it’s out I may as well.. my first thought was to change the exhaust, from the manifold Back. Maybe enlarge it an inch or 2 to help it breath better.. but that’s easy over £1000 and I can’t afford it... I’m basically going to have to port and polish the heads anyway to get rid of the surface junk off them, though I’m probably not going to be aggressive enough to again any really performance... a new intake and carb is just about in reach cost wise but. But there might be more important things to spend money on yet so I’m a little reluctant at the moment..

When I get the engine out and strip what’s left of the block, if I find the cam is shot what options do I have for improvement there??.. I don’t mind changing international parts because you can’t see them but I would like to try and keep the car as original as possible if I can..

98% of the car is there, just needs stripping and restoring. If it wasn’t so complete I would go a different route.
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by Grant » Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:24 am

Mopar purple Cam is the one you want Lukey, plenty of low down power and vacuum.. don't be tempted to go aggressive on that.. and put a manual gearbox in the goose!! :P
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