Tractor Weather 
Would anyone believe that the reason I've not blogged since October was that the weather was too bad for tractoring?

Okay so the truth is I did quite a bit at the end of the year and just never got around to updating this page... Still no photos I'm afraid but hopefully I'll remember to take some in the next few days.

Since I last blogged I have sorted out my piston problems - some more cleaning revealed that the number 1 piston was utterly ruined. Who put it in the engine and why is a mystery but I'm almost certain that it was already scrap before it went in as it has huge lumps gouged out of it (all obscured by carbon before) but there's no corresponding damage to the engine. The other three pistons actually had very little wear so the new rings fitted very well. They're all back assembled in the engine with one shiny new piston and the head back on and torqued down.

Today I've been stripping paint off the sides of the block and going over the metal with a course sandpaper to provide a key for some primer, hopefully I'll get that on in the next day or two. I also need to etch prime all the alloy covers, the inlet manifold, the sump etc and get those bolted on properly with the new gaskets in. Once all that's done I should be able to (finally!) put some oil in and turn the engine over. I ran plenty down the cylinders etc when I re-assembled but it's been sitting dripping away into an old rug since then. The sooner I can get the sump back on the better!

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Piston Problems 
When stripping down the engine I broke a couple of rings on the first piston. I got a set of rings (Sparex) to fit on the number one piston with the idea of measuring all the gaps etc and comparing against my other three pistons to decide whether they need replacing or not.
Unfortunately I've come up against a number of issues...

First question: How should the number four oil ring be fitted?
The originals are all a sandwich of two thin rings and one wiggly one.
The Sparex one has three thin rings!

Second question: Why is there a lug in the fifth ring groove? It stops the ring fitting - it's not possible to compress it enough to fit into the liner.

Third issue: one of my pistons is not the same as the other three!
Number one piston has the lower oil ring groove, the other three are the original type.

Final problem: The top groove appears to be wider than the ring, with a thinner and deeper groove at its centre. When in this inner groove the ring compresses right down so should fit into the liner, however when loosening the compressing tool to slide the piston down it jumps up out of the inner groove and sits on the lip. The ring then is sat on this larger diameter part and can't be compressed enough to push down into the liner.

I've sliced one finger tip open already so am calling it a night now!

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Getting on 
I finally got myself sorted and took my head off to a workshop and had it done. It's back with new guides, valves, and a couple of inserts on the two really bad seats.

This afternoon I put all the springs on and then stood in the garage talking to my dad for about an hour, and making a list of all the bits and bobs I have to sort out before rebuilding the engine.
Need to get on and get stuff ordered now and get the garage clear so I can bring the tractor in. It's going to get cold in there soon :s

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Right, the valves are out and everything cleaned. It's looking like it's going to be an expensive trip to a reconditioning workshop for my head :(

The exhaust valves are very badly recessed and a couple of the valve stems are very sloppy in their guides. The exhausts are far worse than the inlets which surprisingly seem to have very little wear. Again it's cylinder 1 and cylinder 4 that are the worst as expected, the exhaust valve seats are heavily pitted and have deep steps before even attempting any grinding. It would be daft to grind the valves in and put the engine back together in that state as the manual specifically says that it needs inserts and new seats cutting.

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Opening the engine 
Well still no photos I'm afraid, I really must remember to take some next time the sun comes out!

I've finally opened the engine and seen the extent of the carbon deposits. Cylinder 1 is worst, number 4 is bad, with 2 and 3 fairly clean (in comparison!). There is a good 5mm thick layer of hard coke covering everything in cylinder 1, I've not removed any of the valves from the head yet to see what state they're in but the cylinder liners are visually fine, there is no deep scoring and all the piston rings on number 1 are intact. I guess it is just even wear all over and probably a poor seal around the valves.

There's a lot of cleaning to do to remove all the black sludge from the sump etc so there's plenty of jobs to keep me busy until I pluck up the courage to pull the pistons out.

In other news I got my seat pan back from my dad's friend with the big hole patched up. I've ground back the welds, filled all the biggest gaps with epoxy and given it a first coat of primer. Just need to decide how I'm going to fit it back onto the seat hinge now. It was riveted rather than welded but I may find some small nuts and bolts I haven't decided yet.

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