Saturday, December 17, 2011

Machine Shop Blues

I took my 351 Cleveland block and 4V quench heads to the machinist two weeks ago this past Wednesday.  Roger at RB Machine will be looking at the block & heads.  The task at hand is to clean both block & heads up and then check them over.  Immediately upon seeing the block and heads, Roger said that it didn't look bad at all.  He checked the bores with his finger and said "it'll need 20 thousandths over".  He agreed to disassemble the heads and clean them at the same time as the block.

I got word on Wednesday about what I was in for.  It seems that the block is in excellent condition and should be a great foundation for the engine.

The 351 Cleveland 4V quench heads (casting D1AE-GA) are a different story.  Roger said that the heads have pitted valves and valve seats, need new valves, and doesn't trust the double springs with dampers.  What I thought were stainless steel exhaust valves are actually two-piece stock, burnt valves.  He said the keepers are in poor condition and will require replacement.  The bronze valve guides are actually cheap bronze guide inserts and Roger didn't recommend keeping them, even though the valves are tight in them.  So, in a nutshell, the good heads I thought I had aren't very good at all.

I called the guy who sold me the heads on Thursday.  I explained what we found and tried to be as understanding and calm as possible.  He said "send me the pictures and let me dig back into my emails to see what I said I was selling you".  Sure enough, he emailed me on Friday and offered new valves or a discount on another item I need for my project or even a refund if I shipped the heads back.  I haven't decided which to do, but I'm leaning toward the discount on the other item.  I really appreciate his acceptance that the heads weren't what I thought they were.  I am also glad that he didn't say "I can't help you since I didn't know about that".  +1 for him in my opinion.  I never thought he tried to pull a fast one and this confirmed it.  He told me that he would stand behind what he did, even if it was painful or costly for him, and he has done just that in my opinion.

Obligatory pictures:

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