The TBI Screw and the Hole in the Piston Got Me

Sunday July 3, 2016 Guerneville CA.

We’ll find out what’s wrong today

I was getting it going this morning when John came to my door. He’d been out picking wild blackberries. He had this idea to paddle down to Monte Rio  from the golf course which is up river and watch the fireworks from the water. I’d done that before and was sorta interested in doing that, if my body was in good shape after I worked on the van. We visited for awhile and I said I’d let him know later in the day.

He left and I started thinking about pulling the head out of the van which was my goal for the day. After all, I was interested in what’s been causing my loud clack in my engine and this was going to tell me pretty much what was going on so I can decide what action to take next to get the van back on the road as we’re burning summer.

I got started about noon

Here’s my work area, the engine with the valve cover off and ready to get started on the process of removing the head.van

 

The fly swatter is there for traveling, no bugs to deal with while doing this job, except a couple skidders in the evening that aren’t’ overly aggressive.

Loosen up the rocker arm nuts

I needed to loosen the nuts holding the rockers down so I can remove the push rods. I just got all the rocker arm nuts loose here.rockersoff

 

Push rod box organizer

I watched a couple of videos on YouTube last night and one guy suggested this box thing to keep the push rods in order. It works real good.pushrodbox

 

The head bolts didn’t want to budge so I cheated

Now it was time to remove the head bolts, fourteen of them. I tried the air wrench first, but the bolts were stuck and wouldn’t budge with that, so I got out my half inch breaker bar and  tried that. By putting all  my body into it, I could loosen some of them, but I could see this wasn’t a good thing to do to my body so I checked my three quarter drive set, but it didn’t have a way to put the right size socket on it, so I looked for a cheater pipe and came up with this putting the half inch breaker bar inside this pipe. That did it. It was almost easy using the right method. Remember I’d like to go kayaking with John tonight, so I need to be in decent shape. :O)

Here’s the cheater bar method I used to loosen the head bolts.cheaterbolts

 

Head damages don’t look bad

The head wasn’t too heavy so I was able to put it here to have my first look at damages.headoff

 

Ok, the valves look ok and there isn’t too much damage to the head. That’s a screw imprint at the top above the valves though. The head looks good enough to reuse.headvalves

 

Piston damage doesn’t look good

Here’s my first look at the piston top. It doesn’t look too bad at first,…………..but.screw

 

That darn screw got my engine

There’s two parts to the screw. One with threads at the top with is stuck to the piston and the other part on the lower right which is the broken off head of the screw that has been smashed a bit bouncing around in that spot.screwparts

 

The hole does it in

However, that hole in the piston is not good. It appears the screw punched the hole early on.pistonhole

 

This is the work area as I finished up for the day.workarea

 

Time to think on it

Now that I know what’s going on, I need to think on my options. do I replace the piston and fix this,  or maybe weld up the hole or get a new long block, or is it time to install a 350 V8 engine while I’m still able to do it. The older I get the harder this will be to deal with if I need to do it later. I have some thinking to do. With the holiday going on, there’s not much else I can do anyway.-

Now I will rest up and get something to eat so I can go to the Monte Rio fire works tonight with John.

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2 Responses to The TBI Screw and the Hole in the Piston Got Me

  1. Mister Ed says:

    When Was the last time you had the valve cover off or change the spark plugs
    That’s been a dead cylinder for quite a while
    Is only two ways of that could’ve got in there but I’m surprised you didn’t take the valve out straightaway
    if you do take the Valve out look at the valve itself however it looks too small to be a valve cover bolt??

    The overheating issues that you had a while back I would bet that was your biggest culprit for the hole in the piston But I’m surprised you didn’t notice any blowback Or smoke
    If you can’t find a Hemi 454 to smoke tham tiresI but On a safer note I would suggest a real nice long block that way you know you have everything good with a warranty to boot
    Make a nice summer project enjoy your day

  2. Bob says:

    Hi Ed,
    It’s a TBI bolt that I found missing in the TBI injector that I think they forgot to tighten when they rebuilt it as there were two other screws loose too.
    If that cylinder wasn’t firing for a long time, I’d know it as the van doesn’t have a lot of power,……….. yet.

    The hole looked like it was punched by the screw and it’s possible the screw stayed in the hole until things went wrong and I heard it. The spark plug gap was closed, but not all beat up which would indicate it happened when I heard it as I just wouldn’t have had much power otherwise.
    Now, not a hemi, but a Chevy 350 V8 seems to be the way to go. New out of the box is what I’m thinking at the moment. As far as I know, it’s supposed to just drop right in there and replace the old six cylinder.
    Thanks for the comment.

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