Engine Gurus....take a look please

I’m sorry to have thrown so many new topics up to the forum in the past couple of days. I am really working hard on this project and I’ve multiple tasks underway simultaneously: wiring, defrosters, starter, radiator, distributor, etc. I am wanting to turn it over soon but I want to do no harm.

I can get a number off the piston tops if anyone wishes it.

The following pictures are the first time the cam covers have been off this car since I bought it in 2003. It’s a '63 S1 FHC. Engine was totally rebuilt…presumably. So far what I see looks encouraging. I’ve looked inside the sparkplug holes and all looks very clean. Sparkplugs still have the paint from painting the block/head on them. The exhaust ports look fresh. I haven’t pulled the intake as yet.

What I see below is clean cams and assembly lube. The chains mostly appear dry but leave an oil mark if you touch them. I plan to oil everything. Please tell me what you see or notice?

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I suggest cross posting this over on the XK engine forum to get the most eyes on it. At a glance I think some people will balk about the fact that the builder left out the D-washers on the cam stud bearing caps. This most often happens because it can be challenging to get them started because with the extra thickness the nuts won’t grab on the threads. It’s easy enough to get around that by starting the nuts on a few studs to get it threaded down to the point where the D washers fit on, and then go back and put the washers on the studs you started with.

Since you already have it open, I’d take a moment and verify the timing. I’d verify compression if you haven’t already. Take a swipe on that assembly lube and make sure it hasn’t petrified. If it has then the oil won’t wash it away and you’ll burn out the bearings in no time. Hoping this isn’t the case because if so then you’ll be pulling it apart to clean them and also pulling the pan to remove the main bearing caps.

Before getting ready to start it, go ahead and fill the cam galleries with oil to the point it starts to drain back. No sense waiting for them to fill up, assembly lube or no.


Hmmm. I need to look up D washers.

How do I cross post?

The assy lube smears nicely when I touch it. So I’m hoping it’s okay. I’ll add oil as you suggest

I can’t verify compress until I get the engine to turn over…there is no starter at the moment either.

I had planned to pre-pump the oil through the galleries before starting, but not before I turn it over by hand. What I’ve done in the past is force the oil through the engine by hand or electric pump. Then crank the engine no plugs, on the starter for 5 secs. Do that several times before cranking in on the starter for 15-20 secs. And do that 4 or 5 times. I’ve had good luck in the past. Still taking advice.

There is no shortcut I know of. Just hit the edit pencil, and select all and copy. Then go to that forum, create a new post and paste it all.

Good deal on the assembly lube. I would have been awful to tear it down.

Dump oil all over the timing chains as well.

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I suggest you put a few tablespoons of oil into each cylinder. The oil will work its way down to the piston rings

Dennis 69 OTS

Is that a 3.8 thing? Mine (if I understand what you are referring to) just had serrated washers.

Okay, I posted a copy of this thread in XK Engines. It will start to deviate going forward I believe. Thanks for the D washer link Erica. George, you can follow the link Erica put up to see the D washers

Oiling everything now.

I may have all you need. PM me with your snail mail.

They were never serrated originally. Rebuilders took to using dished, serrated washers in place of the split washers 15 years ago or so. That’s a fine upgrade I think. However they also often leave out the D washers. I’m not going to second guess that decision except to say I wasn’t super comfortable with it. For one thing it doesn’t distribute the load. For another, it tears hell out of the aluminum when you cycle them off/on for valve adjustment. So I reinstalled the D washers with the dished serrated washers.

Flat washers will also work as well.

If you go to replace those washers, do not over torque those studs. They will strip. Torque to spec only. Some people go under spec by a couple ft pounds.

Paul, PM on the way.

Mine has split washer under the nuts only. I will get D washers, probably continue to use the split washers. They’re on the aluminum now, but the D washers should stop that.

Geesh…this is such a GREAT forum!!

Dennis, I am only used to squirting a couple of shots in the hole. But, I’ve never had to resurrect and engine that has sat for so long. Maybe a couple of teaspoons is best?

If it were me, I would put three teaspoons in each cylinder. Way too much oil can cause hydraulic lock which is damaging.

But I think three teaspoons is enough to soak down into the rings. Then a week or more later, crank the engine without plugs until there is oil pressure on the gauge.

Given the engine has sat for so long, I would squirt oil on all the cam lobes and tappets before reassembling. Also I would squirt oil on the timing chain


No need WHATSOEVER for more than a couple squirts from an oil can. Any more is just a waste.

After letting it sit for a while with oil in the cyls, I’d first try and move it very carefully, and slowly by hand with a socket in case the rings rusted to the bores. You don’t want to crack rings.

A link to the moved topic (though we seem to be in a two-screen theater):

Yes, but I would recommend Marvel Mystery Oil.

as…said…Important:…after the bit of oiling sits a while, and the other prior procedures…can do this with plugs out as it turns easier…and move in the normal direction of operation…while at it you can verify TDC on #6 compressson, then look at cam and timing marks., distributor rotor, all .just for verification of set up. Nick
I’d first try and move it very carefully, and slowly by hand with a socket BTW…be sure to close up that timing chain abyss with towell or saran wrap…so nothing can drop in there…

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Good Info all. Many thanks. I have moved the engine!!! Yeah!!!

I put the couple of squeezes from an old oil can of 5W/20. re-applied the assy lube to the cam lobes. Squirted Shaler Rislone on the cam chains and then directly on the cams. Let that sit for about 1/2 hour. Took off the radiator and used the 1/2" drive and an extension to clear the anti-sway bar and a big pipe extension. It was very resistant to moving (I’m assuming we’re going clockwise as one looks at the engine). But I kept the torque applied and after about 2 minutes of encouragement, it budged. Just a bit. I let that sit for 15 minutes and tried again. Easier the 2nd time. I could feel no harshness or grinding, just stiff, but smooth resistance. Kept that up for 5 min. The let it sit for 15, squirted a couple in the holes. Now it moves pretty good: smooth, no noise, no rough feel. I need to count the flywheel teeth and get a starter. A geared starter, negative ground. I’ve rotated it one full turn and a bit past so as to avoid the same “parking” spot. I’ll try to turn it a bit every hour.

Erica, I saw no evidence of rust at all. All the cylinder bores look clean and bright. I’m going to get a borescope.
Marco I have both Marvel Mystery and Shaler Rislone. I chose the Rislone. Both have low start friction, but frankly, I doubt it any lower than 5W20

[quote=“Nick_53_XK120_OTS, post:19, topic:398063”]
verify TDC on #6 compressson, then look at cam and timing marks., distributor rotor, all .just for verification of set up.
[/quote] Amen to all this.

I’ll give another report in the morning. Meanwhile, thank you all for the help.

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