When I bought the Spitfire it came with no history so I had no idea of the state of the engine, all I knew was that I did 2000 miles and there we no problems with the engine, gearbox and differential. I had an idea the car had been restored at some point and that the engine had been rebuilt but how many miles it had done since then was unknown. I was interested to get the cylinder head off to see if there is any wear in the bores and check the rest of the engine over.
The first job was to remove the rocker cover, this was a simple job of removing two nuts and lifting off the cover to reveal the oily mess of the rocker shaft and valve gear.
To remove the cylinder head the rocker shaft has to be removed first (on some engines the studs that hold the rocker shaft also go into the block and are used to hold the head in place so must be slackened in the correct order or the cylinder head could distort). On the Spitfire engine these studs only go into the head so the 4 nuts can be taken off without fear of damage to the head.
To remove the head there are 10 nut/studs to be slacken off in the reverse order to the tightening sequence given in the engines manual. I got all the nuts off and a couple of studs came off at the same time which is not a problem. The head was tapped with soft faced hammer and could be lifted but would only move about 1/8 inch. I had to remove some more of the studs before the head would lift free from the block.
With the head removed the push rods were taken out an pushed through the lid of a cardboard box (see picture) in the order that they came out of the engine so that they could be replaced in that order when the engine is put back together. Next off was the water pump assembly which I have no idea how to clean up so will put to one side for now.
I could now have a look at the state of the cylinder bores and was pleased to find that they were nice an smooth with no scoring and no ridge at the top where the piston rings don't sweep. With the bores being so good it was obvious that the engine had been rebuilt and did not have many miles on it. When the head was first removed it was impossible to see any markings on the top of the pistons due to carbon build up. After quite a bit of careful cleaning piston number two I could just make out 0.60 which I assume means that the pistons have been renewed with 60 thou oversize ones. This is good news as it means that I do not have rebuild the engine so it will save some money. I will take the sump off and check the lower part of the engine.
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