Supercharged Camira..

Craig and Adam\’s attempt at adding an SC12 to a JE Camira wagon

Head Job… (cough)

Posted by superchargedcamira on August 26, 2007

Yes its another attempt to get more hits by using common search terms.. Well there is also a relevant meaning to the title to as you will soon find out.

As of our last post we had just got our newly machined crank pulley completed. We fitted the new pulley and bought new belts for the alternator and supercharger. We fitted the alternator belt and tensioned it, however the supercharger was not yet mounted, so we decided to come back to that. Fitting the pulley ended up being a little more time consuming than expected due to the crank being rotated an unknown amount while the timing belt was off. This meant we had to find TDC (top dead center) of cylinder 1 and align back to our timing marks. We had also marked the belt before we took it off, so once we realigned to our timing marks, our belt marks again matched perfectly and all was once again well in camira land.

We thought it would be a good idea to reconnect the cooling system, put the throttle body back on and get her running again before permanently mounting the supercharger. Since we hadnt started her in around 6 months, the battery had gone flat.. and yes we know we should have thought to disconnect it. So we set about getting everything back together which didnt take too long. Finding a radiator hose that would run from the thermostat to the top of the shorter radiator involved us looking through a room full of hoses to find one roughly in the shape we need. Radiator hoses are pre-shaped and generally cant be reshaped that easily without the tubing folding. Luckily we found one that we could cut to fit.

We had the engine back together to a runable state, so we connected our replacement battery and turned the key. As hoped, she started immediately. We checked over the engine while it was warming up but discovered there was no coolant in the radiator hoses and the engine was heating up rather quickly. We connected up the laptop and let the engine heat to 90 degrees (the point at which the thermostat opens and lets coolant circultate through the radiator). For those who arent aware, no coolant flows through the radiator until the engine gets up to temperature. This is because its better to get the coolant up to temperature as quickly as possible so the engine is operating at optimal temperature as soon as possible. This helps reduce wear and improve fuel economy. Anyhow once the thermostat was open, there was very little coolant in the upper radiator hose, and it was getting rather hot. This indicated that our new radiator probably had a blockage and would need to be reverse flushed to try and clear it. (and yes we should have checked it better before we put it back together, oh well, we know better for next time now haha). But that wasnt our only problem, she seemeds to be using more coolant than expected. We discovered that the continued coolant loss appeared to be due to coolant leaking into the cylinder(s), as there was a fair amount of coolant/water coming out of the exhaust. There was only one course of action, it was time for a head to come off, aka the aforementioned head job.

We made an early start this morning, just after 9 (hey its early for us, its sunday damnit!) We started by draining the cooling system again. There just doesnt seem to be an easy way to do this without making a mess. Unfortuantely it had to be done in the garage because the car is on stands and we were too lazy to put the wheels back on and move it. We got most of the coolant into a bucket, but still ended up having to hose down the concrete.

We grabbed our gregorys manual and proceeded to review the required steps to remove the head. First up required depressurisation of the fuel rail, which involved starting the engine with the fuel pump fuse removed. Hmm we probably should have looked at this before draining the coolant haha. Oh well, the engine wasnt going to run for long without fuel pressure, so no coolant wouldnt cause any problems (well none that we could think of anyway, horray for backyard mechanics!). So once the fuel system was depressurised, we disconnected all the required fuel hoses from the inlet manifold, and disconnected the battery. Next was the electronics, that was easy, just involved disconnecting a heap of sensors. We also seperated the throttle body from the intake manifold so we didnt have to bother disconnecting all the vaccum hoses from that. Draining the oil was next, a fairly simple process as most car enthusiasts would know, remove the sump plug and take the oil filler cap off and watch it flow. We then had to remove the exhaust manifold, most of the nuts looked pretty rusty, but they came off fairly easily. After the exhaust manifold was disconnected, we removed the distributor and coil. We then decided to tackle the removal of the timing belt again. Once again the water pump was loosened and used to take the tension off the belt. There was still coolant in the system that hadnt been released when the radiator was removed, so of course that came pouring out when the water pump was loosened. We were prepared for it though, so we managed to contain most of it.

Now we were up to the interesting part. First we took the rocker cover off and got our first look at the camiras valve springs and overhead cam. The manual then told us we had to remove the top camshaft gear by using an open ended spanner to hold the camshaft in place while the camgear bolt was removed. Our problem was that we didnt have an open ended spanner big enough to fit over the specified holding point. We tried an adjustable spanner and even multigrips, but none could grip it well enough to prevent it turning when the camgear bolt was turned. Well reading a bit further it turns out the only reason to remove the camgear is so the inner timing belt cover can be removed. Luckily for us, some thoughtful person had already broken it halfway down which meant we didnt need to remove it. So the camgear was staying exactly where it was.

Out came the 19mm socket to remove the head bolts, and damn they were tight. There were 10 in total which had to be unscrewed in small increments in a certain sequence. Bascially it involved taking loosening the each bolt by a 1/4 turn in the specified order, then proceeding to do a 1/2 turn to each bolt in the specified order until they were loose. Worked up a bit of a sweat getting that inital 1/4 turn on each bolt. Once the bolts were out, we lifted the camshaft housing out and placed it aside on some newpaper in a relatively clean area.

Now came the big moment, lifting the cyclinder head out. But wait i hear you screaming, how can we remove the head with the inlet manifold and fuel rail still attached. Thats a good point, we had assumed that we needed to remove it, but the manual said nothing about it. Well since the book was quite obviously wrong, we went about removing it. There were 9 nuts in total, 7 of them were relatively easy, the other two were stupidly difficult to get at, but we managed in the end. We also had to remove the channel that flows coolant between the head, waterpump and thermostat, another glaring ommision from the manual.

So now the big moment.. take two! We lifted the head out and onto more newspaper to absorb some of the oil that hadnt drained away. The head actually looked in very good condition, and the head gasket looked fairly new. Were we wrong about the coolant leak?.. there was coolant sitting on the cylinder heads when we took it off, however that could have just been from some residual coolant in the head which hadnt drained away. It was time for a expert opinion.

We jumped in the car and took the head down the road to our mate Brett Lupton from Fastlane racing. (A formula ford racing team). Brett builds race engines amoung other things so we figured he would definately know what he was talking about. He examined the head and was also suprised at how good condition it was in. That left only one thing to do, get the head pressure tested. We suspect the leak may actually be inside the head (possibly in the ports). So tomorrow we plan to take it to one of bretts mates who is just down the road from our work who does pressure testing of heads and find out for sure.

Well thats where we are now up to, and thats easily the longest post we have ever written, so if you’ve managed to read all the way down to this point, good effort! Below are some hastily taken pics (so excuse the poor quality).

From left to right,
Inlet manifold, camshaft housing and rocker cover, cylinder head and value springs, cylinder head and valves, engine bay and engine block.

Inlet Manifold and Fuel Rail Cam Housing and Rocker Cover Cylinder Head and Valve Springs Cylinder Head and Valves Engine Block with Cylinder head removed

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