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Further adventures of the Renault 6 - update p7 - Honin' In The Honeyard


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You may have picked up from some other threads that I have been lucky enough to snag Bob the Renault 6 from @Slowsilver and today Bob was picked up from Milton Keynes and delivered to me by Dave at Windmill Towing (13/10 good boy can recommend).

Progress so far can be seen in this thread: 

Thing is, my first car was a Renault 4 (almost the same engine) and back at my parents' place I knew of an engine and box that was in good running condition, er, about 20 years ago. Since then I had been agonising over whether I should buy Bob from Slowsilver to continue the saga. After all, I had access to an engine, and therefore it seemed like I should...

So when Bob was offered gratis I made a snap decision and said yes please. Since then I've been worrying over whether I've done the right thing. I'm very good (or perhaps bad) at taking on unrealistic projects which then turn out to be rather difficult and adversely affect my mental health. I fear this may have happened again. But whatever happens, you can follow the story here.

I extracted the donor engine from its resting place and loaded it up, brought it back to my unit, and ordered an engine crane. This morning I was all set to pop out, separate engine and box, get the engine on the stand and then work on it at my leisure. Here is the engine and box, optimistically dangling from my engine crane (bonus audio geekery in the background @Dan_ZTT)

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Needless to say, it's all gone to pot. This was the first sign of trouble.

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Look by the strap - there's a big rusty hole in the sump pan.

There has been animal ingress. This is what came out as I was trying to remove the box.

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That means (at best) moisture will have been free to get into the bottom end. At worst, the sump was holed before the car was parked up, and my dad had forgotten that detail, and this engine was seized 20 years ago. Still, I pressed on. Undid all the gearbox mounting bolts. But the gearbox will. not. come. free. from the engine. I've got some clearance now between engine and box, probably about a quarter of an inch, but it won't come any further, The HBOL is full of dire warnings about "at no point let the weight of the gearbox be supported by the input shaft" but that will have happened several times by now. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUdge it.

To top it all off, it started drizzling, the sort of drizzle that gets everywhere even when you're working undercover. I knew Bob had been picked up at not-much-after-8AM and it was getting to the stage where I needed to clear the unit to have space. So I miserably manoeuvred the engine back into the boot of the Saab, dismantled the crane, put that in too, and cleared the unit. Oh yes, and I'd been planning to get it on the stand and then drain all the fluids in a nice tidy fashion, but needing to put it back in the car with a loose gearbox meant it had to be tipped backwards and forwards... and what engine oil was left in it was now on the floor of my unit, and/or the floor of the Saab.

Yeah. "low ebb" describes it.

The actual arrival of Bob was pleasingly easy. The car is so light that it was very straightforward to push it into position.

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I suppose after all that negativity we should look at some good points.

Bob is an absolutely charming car. The interior is fantastic. The trim and switchgear has that elegant French feel in spades. The Renault 6 is a lovely shape, and I think better looking than an R4. All the bits are there - I had a look round and the only trim I can see missing is the "6" from the boot. So it will be eminently possible, given a working engine, to Properly Restore this car. The sump from the original engine will hopefully fit this one. It will need the floor welding and a new exhaust.

There's a lot more surface rust than I had hoped, but equally, the structure looks in very good order. However, I am not a bodywork guy. So I see my job now as to get an engine running and installed and get Bob mobile and safe to be on the road. Then he will be moved on, hopefully to someone with the bodywork skills to give him the finish he deserves.

Next thing is to get this engine out of the Saab again, and keep trying to separate the engine and box. I really need to get it on the stand so I can strip it down to just the engine, no ancillaries, and try and get it turning over - or diagnose conclusively if this engine is as irretrievably fucked as the original - in which case I will just have to find another :) Luckily I know where there are a few more...

 

 

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I've been following The Tales Of Bob with interest for a number of reasons - my name is Bob, I was brought home from hospital aged 2 days in a K Plate 6, the first car I ever worked on was my dad's 845cc 4TL RHK595K, my first car was a red 845 4TL JLE627V, and the first "second" car I bought was a 4GTL A32KLL.

 

Lookig forward to seeing you crack into this - bodywork doesn't need much, it's MoT exempt anyway, and if it was too well sorted it wouldn't bethe same.

But hey, your car now, it's your choice, it'll me TOP SMART tosee him alive again, in whatever state.

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9 minutes ago, outlaw118 said:

Looking forward to seeing you crack into this - bodywork doesn't need much, it's MoT exempt anyway, and if it was too well sorted it wouldn't bethe same.

 

You're right, the fact that it's structurally sound means that it can be left as it is.

I'm not part of the Do Not Paint crowd, I think that it's fine either way. If left as it is, it tells a story. If stripped and resprayed, I don't feel that would be a bad thing - just the next chapter of the story.

For me the issue is just that I don't have the ready cash to throw at a respray. In terms of the value before and after restoration, I think it's hanging in the balance whether it would be financially worth it. It's vanishingly rare and yet people don't want them as much as 4s because it's so unknown. A well sorted 4 is £2500 all day long but...

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My name is not Bob, but if you can get this running & roadworthy, I'd like to call first dibs & be next in line for the six. My only 6 memories involve my metalwork teacher, Graham Brown who packed the class into his & drove it like a mental. He went around a certain corner just outside Coalville five up, at a speed that I have been unable to achieve in my 944 solo. My cousin also had one, and when speed bumps were still in their infancy used to practically launch his six over the only one in Loughborough.

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1 minute ago, barefoot said:

My name is not Bob, but if you can get this running & roadworthy, I'd like to call first dibs & be next in line for the six. My only 6 memories involve my metalwork teacher, Graham Brown who packed the class into his & drove it like a mental. He went around a certain corner just outside Coalville five up, at a speed that I have been unable to achieve in my 944 solo. My cousin also had one, and when speed bumps were still in their infancy used to practically launch his six over the only one in Loughborough.

Epic.

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Glad it arrived safely. Sorry about all the free dust. The '6' was missing when I acquired it so I definitely don't have it here unfortunately. Sorry to see that your engine is not a good as you thought it was, but isn't that always the case when you start looking closely. I did mention and show a photo of the hole in the floor in our Bob thread, but I thought the exhaust looked OK. From my examination of Bob's engine it is not in bad condition apart from the two pistons which have seized into their liners. I think the cylinder head and rocker gear may be a bit past it. So if yours has at least two unseized pistons and a serviceable cylinder head you can hopefully make one good engine out of the two. Looking  forward to seeing the progress on here. Best of luck.
 

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2 minutes ago, Slowsilver said:

Glad it arrived safely. Sorry about all the free dust. The '6' was missing when I acquired it so I definitely don't have it here unfortunately. Sorry to see that your engine is not a good as you thought it was, but isn't that always the case when you start looking closely. I did mention and show a photo of the hole in the floor in our Bob thread, but I thought the exhaust looked OK. From my examination of Bob's engine it is not in bad condition apart from the two pistons which have seized into their liners. I think the cylinder head and rocker gear may be a bit past it. So if yours has at least two unseized pistons and a serviceable cylinder head you can hopefully make one good engine out of the two. Looking  forward to seeing the progress on here. Best of luck.
 

Yes, agree. About to head out to have another crack at the donor engine. Further bulletins later...

(and you might be right about the exhaust. If it turns out to be too rotten I can probably make one easily enough.)

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It's weird seeing Bob in a different garage. Good to see Dave got him there without incident and fingers crossed you'll have enough good bits to make one working engine out of the two. Best of luck and I look forward to hopefully seeing him being driven for the first time in more than 25 years.

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Congrats on saving this! 

Would it not be wise to pull the plugs and drop the sump on the 'new' engine before fighting with it any further. 

Least than you can ascertain whether it turns over/is seized/has a corroded bottom end (ooh-er) and then see if it's worth the fight. You should be able to do this whilst it's complete on the crane. And then can just Wang it back in the boot if it's scrap. 

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Great to see Bob moving safely on! Hopefully the engine saga can be dealt with avoiding too much arseache,  though my instincts would be that it's a lot less grief to hunt down a known good drivetrain than cobble together something from the buts you have. Either way, best of luck!

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Right. Got the engine out again and, apart from the small matter of dropping it off the crane, I was able to take a slightly more measured approach.

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Here you can see the naughty bit. That shaft is just stuck in the clutch.

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I was not helped by the fact that my pry bar has gone AWOL, but by wedging the wood in, in increasing thicknesses,  a big crack happened, then another one. And...

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The rust on the input shaft shows where it was seized on.

This does not look good...

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But. Hey. Onwards and sideways, if not upwards. Now for a quick Zoom meeting that I had completely forgotten about with all this excitement*, then I'll try and get it on the stand. It's not ideal that the bellhousing is only half way round - less support - but hopefully I can work something out.

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1 hour ago, somewhatfoolish said:

Is there not a bit missing, a plate to keep the smelly stuff lubricating the diff and not lubricating the clutch?

You know what - yes - you're right, there is, and it's out of shot.

BUT - more to the point - brainwave - there must, of course, be a barrier between the sump and the clutch for the same reason. And I'm pretty sure I could see the flywheel through the rusty hole in the sump before SO - that hole is perhaps factory fit, and there isn't a mouse in the bottom end after all - just in the bellhousing. Woo!

Just off outside to see!

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Ah, fuck it.

So. Off outside. While I was on my meeting it had dropped a load more oil.

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I seem to have failed to take any pictures for a couple of hours after this, but:

  • Got engine into place near the stand
  • Assembled stand
  • Then realised I didn't have any long M10 bolts.
  • Brainwave, I do have some long M10 eyes so I can screw those through the stand and into the block and then follow some nuts down behind! Genius!
  • ...except the threads in the block aren't standard M10 pitch. Sod it. Had to mount the engine straight to the plate on the stand, using the original studs.
  • Drained the sump oil. There was actually still a lot of oil left in it. A horrible plug of scum came out first followed by oil...
  • Took the sump off. There's half an inch of horrible scum in the bottom. Lovely.

The acorns etc shown here dropped out of the dry bit of the sump pan.

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Here's the sump pan. Again, the detritus went in after it was dropped, not before...

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So after all that, the bottom of the engine was still oil tight. Here, avid readers, are the bottoms of the pistons. HOT UPSKIRT ACTION follows:

 

#1. Looking OK. Corrosion inside the skirt but not worried about that.

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#2. Looks good! Honing marks still visible on the bore!

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#3. Also not bad!

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#4. This is the one I'm most worried about. Corrosion visible at the bottom of the skirt.

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So, a tentative step forward. Bottom end doesn't look too bad. The engine still won't budge by hand though. I found a precision* block of wood and tapped the lowest lobe of the crankshaft (piston #4) upwards a bit, but no movement.

Figuring that God hates a coward, I hooked up the starter to 12v and then applied 12v to the solenoid. Click click click it goes, but still no movement - flywheel solid as a rock.

So after all that I found myself back where I perhaps should have started even before pulling this engine out of the donor car; removing the plugs to have a quick look inside. Removing #2 plug, this happened.

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That's a big puddle of water. #2 cylinder was full of water.

Fuck.

Here's a close up. You can see the offending open valve. So water has got into the top end and this cylinder has filled up with it.

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Where the hell do I go from here?

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24 minutes ago, Tamworthbay said:

Whip the head off and fingers crossed. Are oversized pistons available if needed?

Urgh. You're probably right.

I just really wanted to get this done without separating head and block, because I don't want to have to fudge around with the timing. But it looks like that's the way it will have to be.

I think first, I will remove all the ancillaries and then get it on the bench and remove the crank. Then I can try and gently free each piston individually.

It's impossible to be miserable when you have this for tea. Yes, I already ate the other 5.

 

image.thumb.png.a1e25b37321b1206933ebd797bf527c3.png

 

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26 minutes ago, PhilA said:

Upend it and get the water out, diesel/atf/acetone mix into the plug holes and walk away. Tomorrow come back and clout the crank and see if it shifts because trying to get one of these rotating is easy with the heads off, the liners just do a merry dance...

 

Phil

What he said.

Wouldn't be by any means the first time I've seen an engine that's had a cylinder full of water for years freed off with a bit of persuasion and patience.

Blast it out with compressed air first if you've got access to it to get rid of as much water as possible.  At least it *looks* like #2 is pretty much at the top of its stroke there...if so that's definitely good news.

I've never done it myself, but an old boy I used to know when faced with a locked up engine used to fill the bores with diesel, then went one further and filled the intake to the brim with it to make sure there's a bit of a head helping force it by any stuck valves etc (and if you've got a cylinder that's obviously got a valve open like here - helping force it around the piston crown) - he'd then leave it for a week and see what happened.

Not going to hurt anything aside from requiring a bit of cleanup afterwards, so worth considering maybe.

The rings have obviously done a decent job of sealing it off and preventing water getting through into the sump (or you'd have drained gallons of water out before finding oil I suspect), so the damage could well be limited to the area currently above the piston rings.

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ATF + Diesel down the bores. for sure. 

As its  a Renault engine thats not been used for years, the OMGHGF will occur as soon as it/if it ever runs. As mentioned above if you remove the head the liners will just pull out. 

But do expect you'll need to take the head off later. 

These are pushrod? So head removal wouldn't affect the timing

But also remove the valve train/tappets, and see if the valves as stuck solid (wack with rubber mallet), as by forcing the engine over, you could bend a few. 

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Yes, right, positive thinking time.

  1. This engine is still definitely in better shape than the original one that @Slowsilver removed.
  2. Cylinders 1, 3 and 4 are dry above and below the piston.
  3. Head still on so I can use a bit of force on the underside of the pistons without knocking the liners out.

Coffee, and then I'll need to go and buy some diesel.

But first: feed the guinea pig.

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I commenced removing ancillaries and blowing it out with compressed air.

Before:

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Fan off.

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Top pulley off.

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Hose going into the water pump - hmmm.

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If I angle the compressed air just right it will blow all the water out. How do I know?

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Manifolds off.

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Rocker cover loosened...

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...and removed.

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Manky old gasket off.

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Bottom of water pump.

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Water pump off. It's got some sort of waxy substance in it...?

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Mating face of water pump

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Starter off.

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...and the other side.

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I'm now at the stage where the block probably weighs less than the stand so I can take it off to work on it.

So what have I learned? Well; the oil side of the engine looks mostly OK. I have freed off three of the valves and the other five were already moving, so I know that all the valves will now move. By pulling on the timing chain a bit, I have ascertained that there is movement in the camshaft. So the top end is now officially Not Seized!

The bottom end still isn't moving, but I'm taking it slowly. I haven't gone to get diesel yet so I've contented myself with squirting a bit of WD40 into each piston and across the top end just to start a bit of seepage, if possible. I'll head out for diesel later, but for now I've already worked on it for three hours today, done no actual work, and made a big mess on the drive which I will have to clear up later.

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ANNOUNCEMENT

The more I get into this, the more I worry that I haven't got the time to get all this done. I'm generally a negative person and lack confidence in my own ability, but even taking that into account I'm worried that I've bitten off more than I can chew here.

Therefore, since I don't really regard Bob as "my car" as such at the moment, I propose a slightly odd way forward. I'll keep working on this engine and this project. But on this thread, strictly within the forum, Bob will always be for sale. I may get to a point like @Slowsilver where I just can't carry on and I'll give him away. I may get to a point where I have a working engine in, and the floor welded, and he's ready to be "properly" sold. Or there may be points in the middle where I'm just full of doubts and would be happy for someone else to carry on from here.  The Bob Price may go up and down.

The current Bob Price is £150 to include this engine and all its ancillaries.

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3 minutes ago, loserone said:

That seems a very reasonable approach, as long as you don't feel that it detaches you have to the point of not having a drive to get out and work on it

As long as nobody shows an interest then it should be OK ?

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Got to say, you don't look like you lack ability to me, prior to reading you say that I was thinking how bloody well you're doing.

Trust me (& i say this as i'm exactly the same type of person you are), you really are doing rather well with that old motor, so don't worry about your abilities matey. I for one am genuinely impressed with your progress so far.

Don't worry & keep up the good work  :)

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