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Detailing an assembled motor

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Richard D Avatar
Knoxville, TN, USA   USA
When I had the 1275 engine in my '67 Midget built in 83, the block and head were never detailed out and given a fresh coat of paint. Or any of the other parts for that matter. It has been hanging on the engine stand ever since.
I guess my question is what would be the best approach to detail it at this point? I thought I could remove the valve cover, oil pan and most anything else that I can without cracking into the motor itself. I really don't see a need to remove the head if I don't have to. Everything else most likely needs fresh gaskets anyway.

Before I started removing anything, I thought I would use a hard blasting fast evaporating aerosol cleaning solution of some kind to blow out all the hard to reach nooks and crannies. Maybe a carb or brake cleaner, or even an electrical contact cleaner(?).
Once all the parts are off then I would try to use something like the 3M roloc pads to prep the head and motor for primer n paint, just taking my time with it.
Has anyone used the 3M scotchbrite bristle disc? I was wondering how flexible the bristles are.

Are there any motor seals or anything else that I should be concerned with at this point?



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 2019-02-11 09:42 AM by Richard D.

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AN5L8016 Avatar
AN5L8016 Mark Haynes
Nederland, CO, USA   USA
If its been sitting since '83, you should pull the whole motor apart, clean EVERYTHING including the oil passages and oil pump, then reassemble it. I just finished putting a Ford 289 back together that had been long blocked and sitting since '88, and it was stuck, all of the assembly lube had solidified, etc.
Buy a complete engine gasket set including a Payen head gasket and go from there. JMHO

'58 Bugeye
'05 Mini Cooper S

Richard D Avatar
Knoxville, TN, USA   USA
Hello Mark,
Thanks for your reply. That is exactly what I was hoping not to have to do. I have kept a light machine oil on the valve stems and periodically turned the crank by hand to keep the cam and valves working a bit and the rings from setting stationary against the cylinder walls. That may not have been enough though.
I am going to spin the oil filter off today and see if oil has even been circulated through the motor. The oil on the dip stick is still clear and flows well.

Thanks again,


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Hawkmonster Avatar
Hawkmonster Joe Policastro
Flagstaff, AZ, USA   USA
Richard your first kind of confused me. The way I read it your engine has not been rebuilt and you are looking to do a cosmetic refresh.

Here is what I have done. Strip the external parts off the engine. Keep the head on and the plugs in. I would buy some Simple Green. You will need a gallon. Fill a hand sprayer with it. Straight do not water it down. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Repeat process at least three times. Hose spray between applications. If you still have some spots use Gunk engine cleaner. Use the foam type. Follow directions. You may need to wire brush between all the above applications.

Let it dry completely. You could scotch pad it. I then remove the plugs if you want to reuse them. If you do then take washers and cover the with masking tape (painter's tape) and put that where the plugs were. Use painter's paper to cover your rocker and tape where the valve cover goes. You are now ready to paint. You ahold remove the wires. Label them before. Use the painter's paper to cover the items you do not remove like distributor, fuel pump, etc.

See photo of what a Mini engine looked like doing the above.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-02-12 04:22 PM by Hawkmonster.

image.jpeg    55.6 KB

Richard D Avatar
Knoxville, TN, USA   USA
Joe, that engine looks good. that is the look I am after but in an OEM green.
In '83, I had rod bearings, rings and head work done to my 1275. I just never got it installed into the car.

When I get the chance I'm gonna drop the oil pan and roll it over on the engine stand and do an assessment of the engine from the lower end. Depending on what it looks like, I will make my final decision on which way to proceed from there and how far to break it down.


Kerr Avatar
Kerr Platinum Member Norm Kerr
Ann Arbor, MI, USA   USA
Two thoughts:

intake valve stem seals, and the front timing cover seal might have dried out, from sitting for 35 years (flexible parts actually wear slower when being used), it wouldn't take much work to replace them now (compared with the access after in the vehicle)

there is a possibility one of the piston rings could have become stuck in its groove, due to either stale oil/varnish (acting as a glue) or to some small amount of corrosion (due to humid air entering through open valves), you could confirm this by hooking up the starter and spinning it over to run a compression and a leak down test of each of the cylinders

Richard D Avatar
Knoxville, TN, USA   USA
Thanks Norm, Good food for thought, I really don't want to set myself up for headaches down the road.
I have reached out to Hap Waldrop at acme speed shop, Hap was very helpful.

There is still a 72 Chevy garaged in front of the Midget hampering any real attempt at productive work on it. That will have to be resolved.
Kicking around here, what little time I have been a member, has really got my anticipation for wrenching on the Midget renewed.
Great bunch of Folks here it seems.


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