Diary of another engine rebuild

1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25: engine # E8L

Part one - the strip down


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So what happened?

This engine was rebuilt in the 1980s, at which time the block was sleeved back to the original bore diameter of 3.25 inches.  The block had evidently suffered some sort of damage inside the tappet chests because the rebuilder tack-welded metal repair sheets to the inner casting.  These crude repairs eventually started to leech water from the cooling system into the sump.  Due to the location of the damage it is not possible to get full access for a successful and permanent repair.  A few extra years of motoring have been achieved by coating the inside of the tappet chests (including the leaking repair plates) with Pro-Weld casting repair resin.  Unfortunately, the block wall or repair plates have distorted to the point that coolant freely leaks into the sump via the tappets.

The time has come to replace the engine block.  Whilst the engine is stripped the opportunity will be taken to inspect the other components and bring the whole unit back to A1 condition.


Date - 2005 Job Hours

Click for pictures

12th September
Drained the oil and coolant.


Click for 3 x images - 168kb
Gearbox under-tray.
Click for 2 x images - 72kb
The gearbox and clutch had already been removed before the need for an engine rebuild had been identified.  These photographs show the main external gearbox features.
Click for 7 x images - 316kb
These photographs show the main elements of the clutch assembly.
Click for 9 x images - 452kb
Click for 3 x images - 160kb
17th September
Removed the bonnet.
27th September
Removed the radiator.
Click for 6 x images - 324kb
29th September
Car onto axle stands.  Removed and stripped all 5 wheels
Click for 3 x images - 160kb
30th September
Took wheels to Macclesfield to be rebuilt.
1st October
Removed the front and both side under-trays.
Click for 2 x images - 116kb
5th October
Spent an odd hour or so disconnecting various pipes and rods that connect between the chassis and engine.
7th October Disconnected the remaining links between engine and chassis.
Click for 5 x images - 256KB
9th October Removed engine from the chassis.
Click for 6 x images - 368kb
10th October

Busy day, today.  5 pages of activity! 

Removed the rocker shaft.

Click for 7 images - 244kb
10th October Removed the manifolds.
Click for 4 images - 188kb
10th October Removed the cylinder head.
click for 4 images - 152kb
10th October Removed the water pump and other odds and sods.
Click for 10 images - 440kb
10th October Inverted the engine and removed the front sub-frame.
Click for 6 x images - 288kb
11th October

Today was a bit like the Curate's egg - good in parts.  Realised that I did not have a spanner or socket large enough to remove the starting-dog nut.

Removed the oil pump and sump.

Click for 6 x images - 284kb
11th October Removed the pistons - after much faffing about with the engine stand.
Click for 5 x images - 260kb
11th October Big end problems.
Click for 5 x images - 220kb
14th October Removed the timing cover
Click for 11 x images - 472kb
18th October Removed crankshaft damper
Click for 10 x images - 540kb
18th October Removed #6 main bearing cap to inspect the state of the white metal.
Click for 6 x images - 224kb
23rd October Removed the remaining bearing caps.
Click for 4 x images - 160kb
25th October Removed crankshaft from case. Started measuring journals and pins.
26th October Re-checked journal measurements. Removed sludge traps.


Click for 4 x images - 180kb
29th October De-greased the crankshaft. Measured cam wheel-to-dynamo-drive backlash at 0.0045" (slightly greater than specification 0f 0.003").
31st October Removed the dynamo drive.
Click for 6 x images - 300kb
31st October Removed the cam wheel and bearing carrier.
Click for 4 images - 216kb
31st October Removed the distributor.
Click for 3 x images - 108kb
31st October Removed the cylinder block and tappets
Click for 5 images - 228kb

1st November


2nd November

Started to remove the water pump drive. Two minutes work turned into two hours.


finished removing the water pump drive.

Click for 9 x images - 412kb
2nd November Removed the idler gear.
Click for 4 x images - 200kb
2nd November Removed the camshaft.
Click for 4 x images - 212kb
7th November Degreased all of the big bits. Dismantled the rest of the crankshaft damper.
Click for 4 x images - 220kb
8th November Delivered relevant components to the machine shop. Hollow feeling in the wallet is beginning.
10th November Collected the rebuilt wheels from Macclesfield.
Click for 2 x images - 148kb
15th November Degreasing. Cleaned the sludge traps, cam bearings and all components from the timing chest. The 5 ball races were extracted and checked: 3 were noisy. All will be replaced.
23rd November De-studded the cylinder head (except for the ones that would not budge).
29th November Waiting for everything - kicking tyres. Started to clean the wheel weights.
Click for 5 x images - 198kb
3rd December Continuing with wheel weights
Click for 3 x images - 164kb
4th December Priming the wheel weights - watching paint dry!
Click for 3 x images - 164kb
15th December More wheel work - but at least it's finished.
Click for 2 x images - 96kb
Total hours to date  



Go to Diary Part Two
Go to Diary Part Three
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