The Engine Overhaul Part 2

7 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

The Engine Overhaul Part 2

By Bill Lites


 At this point I need to remind you that this story takes place around 1972, and I was working on an original 1960 Chevy 6-cylinder 235 CID engine.  With my memory what it is today, I may stray with some of the exact details from time to time, so please bear with me. 


That said, and with my car in my garage, I researched my handy Chilton’s Auto Repair Manual, and discovered that this engine had a ‘timing gear’ instead of a ‘timing chain’.  So, when I removed the timing gear cover, I saw that some of the teeth on the phenolic timing gear had sheared off (why would anyone design a phenolic gear to mesh with a metal gear?)  The timing gear was pressed onto the end of the cam shaft, and the only way to remove the cam shaft was to remove the engine; or to disassemble the grill and remove the radiator to provide straight-on access to the cam shaft.  I had no provisions in my garage for removing the engine, so the latter option was really the only way I could go. 


However, in order to remove the cam shaft, I would also need to disassemble the top-end of the engine for access to the pushrods and hydraulic lifters. Then there was always the possibility that when the timing gear teeth sheared, with the engine running at high RPM (the loud clattering noise I heard) for the instant before I could get my foot on the clutch, there might have been some damage to internal parts of the engine.  If so, I would need to remove the oil pan to check for metal particles.  That normally simple task, on this car, required raising the front of the engine enough for the oil pan to clear the cross member under the front of the pan.  Are you beginning to get an idea of where this story is headed?  It seems that most of my simple ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) projects turn out to be major undertakings before they are over. 


So, I bit the bullet, and waded into the project with both hands.  It took time but I finally got everything disassembled without too much trouble.  Then I removed the camshaft, with the help of my wife, DiVoran, (that extra pair of hands).  I had to take the cam shaft to a friend who had a press to remove the damaged timing gear and install a new one for me.  When I got the oil pan off and checked, there were no signs of damaged engine parts in the bottom of the pan.  That was a big relief!  I have always found that it is a lot easier to disassemble something, than it is to reassemble that same something.  This timing gear replacement project was no different.


After cleaning and inspecting all the removed parts, I reassembled the engine, again, with a lot of help from Mr. Chilton’s wonderful book and from DiVoran, who didn’t like handling car parts, especially when leaning over the fender of the car.  Then I reinstalled the radiator and reassembled the grill, and topped off the water and oil.  I held my breath as I turned the engine over for the first time, but there was no hesitation.  The engine fired right up and settled into a quiet purr.  The car was ready for the road again.  As amazing as it might sound, that 1960 Chevy served us and others for many years after that incident.

I’m sorry to have to say, they don’t build cars like that anymore.

Photo by Bill Lites

—–The End—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

2 Responses to “The Engine Overhaul Part 2”

  1. divoran09 July 7, 2021 at 4:35 pm #

    I’m sorry I couldn’t exactly follow the repair, but I’m glad I was a good wife and able to help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Onisha Ellis July 8, 2021 at 8:58 pm #

      I have held, twisted and pulled many things while Mike worked on a car and seldom had a clue why. I often found that Mike wasn’t interested in chatting while repairing the car.


Thank you for stopping by and reading our posts. Your comments are welcomed.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: