The Story of a Kit Car Build


Things were moving along OK now, but one problem I had was the engine smoking badly when running, so it needed the valve stem oil seals changing. I was reluctant to remove the cylinder head. Dave mentioned that he’d once had a SIERRA’s seals done without removal of the head. It’s possible by using a cylinder compressor which fits in place of a spark plug and you use compressed air to fill the chamber to about 80 PSI (I think) then, using a large enough ring spanner, you lever the valve spring down and remove the spring, replace the seal and put it back together. Easy. I didn’t lever against the camshaft lobe, but to one side, so as not to risk any damage.

Once all eight were done I started it up and, while it’s not perfect, it’s much better.

One of the things that some car builders seem to do from the start is to re-condition parts like the engine. In fact, that’s what the first owner of this car did. But when you consider that it might be 12 months or more to the finish of the build, any warranty will have expired by then without the engine being run-in. My way of thinking is that if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. So the engine I’ve put in my car has come straight out of the donor with just a clean up, oil change and repaint.