Saturday, March 1, 2014

Scamper Engine Upgrades

Since we bought the Scamper in 2011, we do a little bit every year to improve it. Below is the engine (original 390 FE), the day we brought it home. It had some bad oil leaks which we planned to take care of when we could afford it. In the meantime, we'll just keep adding oil and watch it carefully.

The first year it got a much-needed starter and alternator. It worked pretty good that summer and we had 2 or 3 trips in it. It was hard to start though, and it would cough and sputter sometimes when driving it so we we're pretty sure the carb was gummed up and probably needed a carb kit, and also a tune-up.

Next, Jeff painted the air cleaner.

In 2012 we got rid of the points and got a Pertronix electronic ignition and Flamethrower II coil, plugs, wires, dist. cap and rotor button.

I gave the engine bay a good cleaning too (top pic - before, bottom pic - after).

When it came out of winter storage in 2013, we decided to tackle some of those oil leaks and the carb issue. It appeared to be leaking badly from the intake manifold, and antifreeze was also leaking from the intake as well. I stuck our little Olympus camera in the back of the engine to take pics where I couldn't see. This is what it revealed....the intake manifold looks like it has a crack in it and the oil leak is obvious.

We also had bubbles in the antifreeze in the rad, which could have meant a leaking head gasket.

Our mechanic tested it for combustion gasses and luckily it didn't have any so the head gasket wasn't leaking. That was good news. We figured the crack in the intake was the cause of the bubbles.

After doing a lot of reading on the old Ford truck forums (mostly we decided to upgrade to an Edelbrock Performer 2105 aluminum intake manifold, Edelbrock Performer 1406 600cfm 4-barrel carb, water pump, thermostat housing, and passenger side exhaust manifold (old one was cracked).

In the shop - the work has begun. Here is the engine with the old intake and valve covers removed.

The new intake installed.

Jeff used our mechanic's varsol tank to clean the valve covers of grease and oil. Below are the valve covers after being cleaned in the tank:

Jeff then sanded them down with a wire wheel.

Here they are ready for paint:

Painted in Dark Ford Blue. Here are the finished covers. Jeff did an awesome job with these:

The engine now has the new carb installed, ignition components and freshly painted valve covers. Next to install is the water pump and air cleaner.

When our mechanic took the distributor out, he said there was a lot of play in the timing chain and we should really get a new set, so we did. We got an Edelbrock Performer-Link 7808 double-roller timing chain and gear set. When he took the old one out, he said it was a good thing we changed it and showed it to was all chewed up and teeth were even missing.

This is a perfect example of things start to snowball. We needed a new intake manifold, and that led to all these other things. The water pump had a lot of play in get a new one. The timing chain was slack, best replace it....etc. etc. So if you're wondering why we didn't upgrade the cam, well that's because you have to draw the line somewhere!

The final pic:

The end result after all these upgrades:

1. Starts right up every time now.
2. Tons more power.
3. Fuel economy is about the same after one trip, but the carb needs to be adjusted as it's running rich.

The new passenger side exhaust manifold cracked after the mechanic warmed it up the first time. He said this probably means the head is warped. The options are to take the head off and machine it flat or get a new head for it. For the time being, we've put some FireSeal 2000 on the crack it and it's still holding after about 2000kms. We're going to keep doing this as long as we can....if it works, why not?

Below are links to all of my posts about the Scamper:

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