The Spirit of Granny?

Helmer the 1800 needs help. Purrs like a kitten, nice quiet valve train, but poor power.

A compression test revealed something like 128-150-148-132 (if I remember correctly). A wet test brought all up to over 150. Time for an overhaul. But what do I do? I can either pull the original B18 (creating potentially lengthy disruption in my nicely refinished garage) or freshen up Granny’s B20.

The Nicely refinished garage. Floor epoxy in the spring.

Yes, I know I could marathon it and knock the job out quickly but what if I all of a sudden hit a patch of extreme laziness? And considering the path of least resistance leads right to my basement where Granny’s ~60k mile B20 sits on a stand…

How convenient.

The complete package. Brought down the stairs by beer-fed volunteer minions.

But honestly I am torn. I like the idea of the 1800 having its original engine, but 2 liters is attractive.

Well it won’t hurt to pull the B20 apart and check it out, will it? Nope. Apart it comes.

A nice father-son activity. Juice-fed volunteer Minkanic?

An 8-year-old Minkanic was actually really helpful. He took off all the externals.

Bores are perfect, no ridge at all. Just carbon.

Lots of cleaning and a little wrenching later, cylinders are revealed.

Looks ok. Oil pan was full of timing gear teeth. Every time I changed the oil a few would come out. : )

I’ve seen better rod bearings in my life but not a deal-breaker. It was a hard ~60k miles.

Now I need to decide on a head. I do have one that has been ported, shaved, and has big valves.

I think it started life on a B18. Can anyone confirm from the casting marks?

The pic is crappy but the intake porting is pretty dramatic.

Here’s the stock B20 head in front and the ported mutant out back.

The mutant’s combustion chambers are noticeably shallower and of a different shape. The mutant also has 44mm intake valves v. the stock head’s 42mm. I’m a little afraid of pushing the compression up too much. Maybe an IPD thick head gasket is an option. Maybe I just go with stock. I guess it will depend on whether the stock cam is any good. I’ll pull that apart next and post some detailed pics.

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  1. Jim, it’s hard to imagine how timing gear teeth would get into a B18 or B20 oil pan!

    • Jim
    • November 23rd, 2012

    Oh they found their way down there all right. You can kinda see in some of these pics where they would make their way by the first main bearing cap:

    https://olddeadvolvos.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/timing-gear-is-everything/

    Check out how spectacularly the gear was stripped. Highway speeds!

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