Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Valve cover hold downs for the Volvo B-20 engine

Valve covers on the Volvo B-18 and B-20 engines are notoriously leaky and mine is no exception.
 This is the sweet orchestra that lives beneath the cover
Trouble is the valve cover is stamped sheet metal , and fifty six years of overly enthusiastic screw tightening have distorted the metal so the cover no longer puts even pressure on the gasket .
Before I painted it I did a bit of  re-shaping around the screw holes with a ball-peen hammer to flatten out the divets . Spreading the pressure of the crews over a larger area is helpful to prevent it from reoccurring . 
Yea , you can spend money on some store bought hold-downs , but that would just be too easy
A bit of fiddling with some cardboard and scissors . . . gets us something that looks like this
Transfer the general outline to a piece of dumpster salvaged quarter inch 6063-T6 aluminum and go to it with the band saw .
Twenty minutes making the band saw screech , we have four rough cut pieces
Clamp them all together for uniformity and go to it for about an hour on the bench sander with an 80 grit belt . Dipping frequently in a bucket of water to keep from burning your fingers .
And we arrive at something resembling what we wanted .
As the edge of the valve cover has a bead on it we need to make a rabbet to provide space for that
My cheap Chinese Harbor-Fright vertical mill saves the day once again
Looks OK to me
Been dragging those T handle valve cover screws around in a box for twenty years , I think I finally found a use for them .
After taking an eight day side tour of Georgia courtesy of the USPS the new rubber gasket finally arrived
Way better than the stiff ten year old cork gasket
Cleaned the valve cover and installed the gasket
. . . and snugged it all down with the T screws and new hold-downs .
Not bad for a hack . Yea the T handle screws are a bit tacky so I might swap them back out for screws

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Baby's got new shoes

The original wheels on the Volvo are four inches wide with 165/70/15 tires. Anything over 60 MPH on the highway and things got really squirrely .
Last year while scrounging behind dad's tool-shed I found some old Ford Ranger rims with 185/60/15 tires that needed new stems . So I brought them home and stashed them in the barn . I just replaced the valve stems and put them on the car and it makes all the difference. Now 75, even 80 mph is possible without inducing too much pucker factor . The Ford ranger wheels just barely clear the lower ball joint by about a half inch , but they work and the car drives so much better .
Added some bling too . Seems Volvo got their nose all bent out of shape over the prancing moose Ferrari parody , and sued Dave so he can't use the Volvo name anymore. But they are available on E-bay if you search .
Got an old grill badge we've had for years installed .
That should throw a few for a loop at the car events .
The valve cover has been looking a bit ratty for a while as that silver crinkle paint dad used on it was not heat proof and was coming off in big flakes .
So I de-greased the engine and transmission and stripped the old silver paint off the valve cover and repainted it with some 500 F resistant engine paint . Have a new valve cover gasket on order too .
Given I had a wide selection of Marden's Discount .99 cent spray cans.
I chose the one that claimed to be Volvo green . . . .
I'm guessing Volvo Penta , hey why not? Dad would have approved of the marine engine theme .

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Quasimodo Goes to The Ball

Last  Sunday Mike Mack , a local VCOAMAINE member hosted a gathering at his house about five miles from us, so of course despite the wet weather we could not miss the invite .
Quasimodo next to a pristine red P1800 and the three creme yellow 1995 855 T-5R's owned by the Mack family .
Photo blatantly pilfered from the club website . Yours truly top right on the back row .

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Further Adventures With The Infernal Combusted Engine

If you are going to drive junkers you need to have several so that when one is down you have an alternative . I have five all together . All of them quite long in the tooth . Smart right ?  Yea right . . .
I have five as many chances of something breaking and five times as much crap to repair .
So on Monday noticed some fresh oil spots in the driveway where I normally park the Honda van . Upon further investigation it appeared to be dripping oil from under the radiator . Hmmmm? Definitely not engine oil . Perhaps a transmission cooler . Nope , Its not red and it don't smell like transmission fluid .
So I tore the plastic bumper cover and grill off the car today, and I am looking at a couple of long U shaped lines stacked on top of each other.
  Having found the culprit I removed the source of the leak .
 What ever it is , it has a hole in it that is not supposed to be there . Eighteen years of Maine road salt has taken its toll once again .
Further consulting with Mr Google proves it is not a transmission cooler  . . .
But a rather costly piece of quarter inch pipe they call a power steering oil cooler . Made from unobtanium and as expected not available at the local auto parts store .
The local NAPA provides an alternative for the more pedestrian sum of $24 .
Opening the box we find this . .  lemmmmesee . . . I think I can make this work
So I cut the ends of the old pipe off
And cut the three foot piece of hose that came in the kit in half and attach the pipe stubs with the hose clamps provided . 
Fit the other end of the pipe stubs back on to the rubber lines coming from the power steering pump and reservoir .
The little radiator from the kit plugs in to the other end of the hoses . . .
 . . . and gets zip-tied to the air conditioner condenser .

Refilled the reservoir with two bottles of Honda specific power steering fluid and it appears to be back in working order , and its not pissing power steering fluid on my driveway .
Another couple hours to reassemble the plastic bumper cover and we have a working car again .

Monday, April 8, 2019

Shedding monkeys and a bit of self indulgence

   Had my MRI last Thursday morning . I was told not to expect the results for a few days . But it seems the thing got read right away and I got the call that evening . They found NO cancer . Nothing remarkable about the confounded organ other than "moderate enlargement". Yea , I am getting a bit long in the tooth and have a lot of miles on the odometer . 
   So summing it up the Medieval Torture Biopsy / Easter Egg Hunt from last Halloween showed nothing , yet the doc felt there was still a 20% chance there might be something there , and now in theory this glorified microwave radar job clears up all doubt . I has been one heck of a terrifying ride since last July when this whole nightmare started with the bladder stone . It is a relief to finally have that monkey off my back , though I can't say I'll be completely at ease after this experience .
   The one aspect that has become glaringly evident how fleeting my own existence is . Time is ticking by , and for various justifiable reasons , for way too long , I have been holding back on the things I really wanted to do . Flying was once a big part of it all but somehow I let life get in the way . I'd sure hate to get to the point where I could not physically do it anymore and wish that I had . I want to get current again . Need to renew my medical certificate and find a place to rent an aircraft on a frequent basis to keep my feet in the game .
So as Saturday turned out to be a nice day , and I got the invite to do some instrument practice , we engaged in some unrestrained self indulgence  . . .
N67799 out of the hangar and topped off with 80 gallons of 100LL
First game plan for the afternoon .
While awaiting our departure clearance for RWY 18 we do our mag check and cycle the prop .
The plan is to simulate a panel failure and use the steam gauges to do the instrument approach into Brunswick instead of the G500 display .
Take off from RWY 18 KPWM
Passing over Portland headlight which is actually in Cape Elizabeth
Left turn on course to the BAILI fix
Passing Halfway Rock
Popham Beach on the nose
Entering the holding pattern at BAILI with the primary display dimmed all the way down to simulate a panel failure .
Going around the racetrack
The pink wedge depicts us in real time on the approach plate in the I-Pad. Outbound leg one minute , and then a one minute turn at standard rate , 3 degrees per second , takes us 180 degrees around for the inbound one minute leg . Four minutes around the hold . Shake and rinse three times .
Making the turn in the hold with Popham off the right wing about twelve miles out .
BAILI inbound
Down to 1700 feet before the CARMR fix and intercept the glideslope
Down to minimums at 263 ft, we retract the landing gear , add power and execute the missed approach as we pass over the solar panel array .
 The 01 approach in from the BAILI fix
Fly past Merrymeeting airport where I learned to fly thirty odd years ago
Over Pleasant Pond still iced in , we do the teardrop to reverse course and execute the approach to RWY 19 to a full stop .
After helping a couple Civil Air Patrol guys chase down an errant signal from an inadvertently activated emergency locator transmitter that's been going off for a couple days , we back the Bonanza into the hangar .
With this nifty rig made out of a Milwaukee Sawsall motor to power the nose-wheel
And took advantage of a smooth floor to crawl under the plane and clean the oil off the belly .
Back out in the afternoon sun
We taxi out past some big iron , a fifty million $ Gulfstream business jet . . .
. . .  and take off from rwy 19
And head back to Portland for a practice GPS RNAV approach to RWY 18
Controller brings us over the TOBKE fix
Then inside JANOB and requests we keep the speed up for traffic behind us so we come down the glideslope doing about 150 kts
Zooming in on the short north-south runway at Portland
This is what it looks like from the drivers seat