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The Day We Heard a Clunk

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The race to fire the engine (even if only for a moment) is heating up fast. Plot twist – there’s a lot that goes into turning an engine over. A few days ago, I helped one of our techs prime our engine for a Speedway Tech video. What’s priming? Filling the lifters and engine with oil (even easier with a handy little oil pump primer tool P# 5456220) to engage the end of the oil pump drive.

One thing we forgot to do after we were done priming the engine was to get it to top dead center. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably in need of an explanation. Top dead center is the position of the piston in which it is farthest from, or nearest to, the crankshaft. (Thanks Wikipedia.) How does one find top dead center (TDC)? Speedway has a handy article all about it! (Read it here!) With the help of one of our tech friends, we used the “thumb method”. Turns out, we really needed his ‘man strength’ to turn the crankshaft over.

How many people can say they’ve had their thumb in an engine?

Our engine has a timing point near that pulley and the harmonic balance, which bolt to our crankshaft. We spun our crankshaft to line up the timing marks, with the goal of getting as close to 0 as possible.

It’s like the Showcase Showdown. Aiming for the big green 100!

So here we are, watching our helper friend turn the crankshaft over and over and then… CLUNK. Our hearts dropped. We knew this is why we were doing all this prep work before we got the body on but hearing that loud clunk made us stop in our tracks. We quickly went into investigation mode to find the source of the noise.

This is not the fun kind of hide and seek.

First we had a hunch that it might be the dipstick getting caught, so we pulled that out and kept turning. No dice, the clunk made its presence known once again. Our next stop was the flexplate cover. #HotWheelHoney helped take that sucker off and back to turning the crankshaft we went. Turn after turn we waited… and nothing, NO CLUNK. Whoohoo!

We see you little spot.

Now, how do we fix that clunk? If our engine had been running normally, we would easily be able to see a wear spot on the cover to determine where we needed to (ahem) beat the cover out of shape a little bit. But since our engine hasn’t been run since it left BluePrint… we had to check out the actual flywheel. We got back to turning the crankshaft and came across a wear spot in the paint but it was hard to tell if that was THE spot or just a random paint issue.

Our helper friend got to beating on the cover to try and get it to clear whatever it was hitting – literally just taking a rubber mallet to the cover reshape it. After a few rounds of swings, reinstalling the cover, and retesting for mysterious noises we finally got to the point where there was NO clunk. While locating TDC was our “big” task of the day, we also got a lot of other things done! #TinyT got our 3rd member filled with lube and retightened the 3rd member bolts while she was at it.

Glug, glug, glug.

We also reinstalled our spark plug wires. We learned #HotWheelHoney has our firing order stuck to her fridge like a mom keeps her children’s artwork.


#TinyT, #PretTyInPink and I also started the wiring process. Our wire sleeving was a little grimey from the paint process and just sitting for a few weeks so we decided to replace most of it. It’s one of those small, time consuming tasks that really make the world of difference.

The two detail masters, paying attention to detail yet again.

Today, most of our crew had meetings to head to so #TinyT and I were tasked with continuing to replace lock nuts on everything we could find that needed one.

Bag o’ lock nuts… a girl’s best friend.
My prized trophy.

I also learned a very valuable lesson. When installing u-bolts, you really have to tighten each side at the same rate. Otherwise, you’ll stretch your u-bolt through “like a wet noodle” and disform it. Sooo I had to order us a brand new set of u-bolts. #Oops. I’m stronger than I thought…

Last task of the day was putting the radiator, fan, grille shell, and radiator hoses back in their spots. Since it was just #TinyT and I, there is no photographic evidence of that. J We’re one step closer to hearing our baby for the first time and we’re giddy with excitement. Hearing the engine for the first time is another of those “holy crap we’re building a car” and “we’re almost to the finish line” moments and we can’t WAIT.

Later Linda!

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