Tune-up time! With the extremely effective sound deadening provided by the carpets and underlay absent, I could actually hear the engine and a few noises calling for attention therein. A slight exhaust blow, not bothered about that just now, and the chatter of valvegear. I wanted to check the valve clearances anyway, because they were an unknown quantity to me. The first step involved removing the H.T. lead/spark plug bank cover. Quite oily in there.
This is like a modern engine where the plugs are hard to get at, being deeply recessed. It's a feature of the hemispherical combustion chamber design. With the rocker cover off it was nice and clean and contained plenty of oil. No sludge or heavy deposits.
Rocker cover, like all of them, was 'varnished' from years of service. This is why engine flushes are pointless.
Because, it took some hard scrubbing with neat petrol to clean it up properly, and what was left in the bottom of the bowl told its own story.
Once the valves were adjusted (only the exhaust valves needed any definite adjustment - the clearances were too great) and the spark plug gaps checked, I could put it back together.
I'd prefer not to have NGK but they won't have done more than a few hundred miles. Note the colour is perfect so the carburettor need not be touched. Correct plugs for this engine are Champion N-5, and I have some, but the NGK BP6ES fitted are equivalent to Champion N-9Y, with which the later Snipes were equipped. The N-9Y is a straight swap for N-5's in many cases, although the reach is different.
The next bit, which should have been the most straightforward, became the hardest due to MODERN CRAP. The rocker cover gasket I ordered (old one looked original and had petrified, having to be scraped off in pieces), was too big. Not slightly too big, but miles too big, as the photos show.
This really pissed me off, I shouldn't have to contend with this for a fucking gasket. There was no alternative but to cut it and make it fit, which is folly for a one-piece gasket as you run the risk of leakage. I stuck it back together and will just have to hope for the best unless a properly fitting one turns up.
The H.T. leads fitted are incorrect and were evidently made by someone who cut lengths of cable off a drum. Whilst that's fine in itself, it would be nice if they were to factory specification, and not leave the crimp on the plug as I pull the cable from the spark plug. The car should be fitted with H.T. leads integral with a rubber bung which fills the large tubes, you simply pull the bung out and the connection detaches from the plug. That would also keep any rubbish from collecting in the tubes. I had to do my best and poorly re-crimp the two that came away with some mole-grip pliers. I think getting the correct parts will be a struggle.
Of the 3 people I have contacted for help with the thermostat cover, none have replied, some of these people representing the club and a business... I've never been totally blanked with old car requests before.
Anyway, after becoming miserable I took the car a whole 4 miles to test, and wonder of wonders it got me from A to B and back again. Quite remarkable. I don't know how they manage it.
This was my experience 20 years ago. Parts were difficult because there are so few Snipes left. My experience of the club was that it was made up mostly of older people who knew these cars in their prime - so a response may take a bit of time I'd guess.