It’s alive!

In goes a seat, not bolted down of course and we are off down the road. Success, we made it back to the shop! As we breathe a sigh of relief we shut it down confident and happy.

Hey what’s that oil drip coming from under there? Turns out it’s the valve covers. What we didn’t know was that even though they make valve cover gaskets for this engine it’s a cardinal rule to never use them. A lot of scrapped knuckles and Mike has the covers off. They are cleaned up and new silicone is applied. As they are reinstalled a lot of the silicone gets smeared around but we are confident it will succeed. The next day we start it up again and after the shut off we peer under.

Uggg. Here come the oil drips again. The heartache and sorrow follows as the decision to remove the body once more is agreed upon. at this point Mike can remove a body in about 90 minutes, at least we have that bonus. The valve covers are once again removed and super cleaned this time. More cleaning ensues as this really needs to be the latest time. New silicone is applied and with several threats made in the direction of the hummer being left in Albuquerque so we can collect insurance for a stolen vehicle, we wait another night for the proper cure time.

The morning has come, the valve covers are torqued and here comes the body once again. You would think that the third time would be even easier, that’s why you don’t get to do the thinking. The front body mount on the drivers side has decided to take a day off from reality and after 6 hours of attempting to get it right the day is over and so is the week.

Over the weekend Mike successfully and finally gets the mount finished and it’s time to start again. Wait, forgot one thing. Not everything went as planned actually.

While the body was off we discovered that one of the bolt holes for the valve cover actually cracked and a chunk of the hole with half the threads was missing. Mike came up with a solution of genius and the top secret fix worked thankfully.

Now it’s time to start again, the engine is shut down and it’s about damn time, no oil leaks!

The same can’t be said for fuel. Two injectors were cross threaded. Not a horrible disaster but just more delays as we wait for parts to arrive. All fixed and finally we are breathing with relief.

We did have a few more issues with timing and another tiny fuel leak but confidence is confirmed and the major stress seems to be going away.

Test driving finally! Put some miles on it and we made it back to the shop! Ya know how they say one bolt can cause the whole space shuttle to crash? Well we had that one bolt. Mike parks and a few mins later a 8” pool of oil is on the ground. Thinking it was his welded bolt he finally admits defeat.

A few phone calls later and new heads and valve covers are on the way. Everything arrives fast and all hands came to help out. Within a couple days the body once again comes off and on and the heads are back on. Here comes the frustrating part. Since we had the original problem of oil leaking we decided to use spreader bars on the valve covers to ensure a good seal. To use those you of course need to use a little bit longer bolt to seat everything.

As we got the bolts together for this final assembly, Mike noticed one bolt was a little bit longer than the others. It turns out that bolt never put pressure down on the valve cover and that is what caused the leak. One bolt was responsible for new heads and a week and a half of work and blood. Yes there was blood involved.

After the last disaster with the roof we decided to try a different method. We used more straps this time and a more balanced lifting process. Still a lot of utterings of get a hammer and just push it harder and it finally rested neatly and evenly. The hood which was a big worry went on like it belonged there. No issues with height from the body lift or anything, like butter!

Disaster again, we step on the brake and the turn signal indicators light up inside. Not a single light works outside including the headlights. A lot of tinkering and new wires and two days later all the lights except the dome lights are nice and sparkly.

Everyone says ya can’t make a race truck pretty. Well we managed to get all the interior trim pieces back in and it still looks beautiful. Except for the ugly unnecessary roll cage, Mike still hates it. Just in time to make our deadline and we are set.

Oh and we added a rear steering system. Stay tuned for that news next!

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