Up until this point, the major stalling point in this project has been the head, which I knew needed to be sent away to be re-surfaced. Here, I took some recommendations from friends, who suggested I take it up to Gil at “Just Heads” in Shawnigan Lake. Now.. if you Google “Just Heads Shawnigan Lake” you get linked to a pretty obscure and not descriptive yellowpages.com website, so right away I knew that Gil wasn’t really “up” on his technology, which I always find a little frustrating because the introvert in me has a hard time calling people I don’t really know on the phone. So naturally, I asked my partner to do this. We set up a day to deliver the head, but first… cleaning.
As you can imagine, a head with 39 years of use is not a clean thing.
I scrubbed, and I scrubbed, and I scrubbed.
Through this process, I definitely started to come up with a cleaning technique that worked best, and figured out which materials and cleaners did the best job.
Now, you’d think that I would have to invest in fancy and expensive tools and cleaners, but honestly.. the best things I found were simple and cheap. Sunlight dish soap, scotchbrite scouring pads, and hot water.
The head went to Gil to be re-surfaced, a process also called “skimming”. Here, the entire “chunk” of metal is put on a mill and the surface of the head that mates with the engine block surface is thinly milled or scraped off; kind of like those single-bladed cheese slicers.
Now, you might be asking “Why do you mill a head?”, and there’s a pretty neat reason why. My goal for this car is for it to be a simple, well-running, summer car, but with a little bit of “pep” to it, and one way that you can achieve said pep aka horsepower is to make your engine’s combustion chambers smaller, so that the combustion “explosions” that power an engine have more power to move all the other parts. By taking away some of the material of the head, it takes away some of the space used for these explosions, like moving the wall of a room to make it smaller. Confused yet? Here’s a GIF that might help
The coloured boxes above the moving light grey pieces (the pistons) that change colours are the combustion chambers. If you make these chambers smaller you get more zoom!
Next step: re-assembly! Stay tuned….