Tornado build thread

Ken_Parkman

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Oct 28, 2013
334
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Ken
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Hi Guys - I decided to make a build thread of my Tornado project. I have several other projects going on, so this will probably be fairly slow. I am a performance engine guy with quite a bit of experience on AMC's (yes I'm weird), but this is to be a fairly stock rebuild, with an effort to try to keep it from leaking oil. No direct experience yet, but I've taken a couple apart now and decided there things were designed to leak, and there are a few design problems with the Tornado. No matter, the engine is tremendously cool and has the best looking valve cover - ever!

So far I've acquired 3 civilian Tornado's and one military, and been collecting some parts over the last few years, along with doing a lot of research. There were a LOT of improvements in the short production run, and a lot more in Argentina. I'm trying to piece together the best combination of parts while still using the stock motor plate engine support.

Here is my spreadsheet on the changes - I update this whenever I learn some more.
 

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Ken_Parkman

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Oct 28, 2013
334
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Ken
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I've taken the Military engine and 2 of the Civilian engines apart and found some stuff. I'm leaving the engine in the truck alone for now; it did actually run. So here are some of the things I found:

The rods are all crooked - look at the wear on the piston. You can see wear on the left just below the oil ring, and wear on the right at the bottom of the skirt:
Piston wear.jpg

And here is the matching rod bearing - corresponds to the above picture with a bent rod:

rod bearing wear.jpg

And here is what can happen - the piston pin hammers against it's retaining ring, which then spins. The Military engine had spun so bad the pin came out and destroyed the cylinder wall.

Piston pin.jpg

Another interesting thing is there are an assortment of pistons. I believe I have a NOS set of Willys pistons, standard bore, so I sleeved the later block I have (more on that later) back to stock to use them. But I discovered there is a big difference in compression height - about .040" with what I think are NOS being high. It is significant, worth about 1/2 a point in compression. I'll measure exact compression when I get there.

Compression height.jpg

So I've scavenged a set of NOS rods, and tomorrow I'll take them to my machine shop buddies who are old school and have a gauge to measure straightness.
 

wunderwillys

Precision Fit
Apr 20, 2013
994
Cincinnati
First Name
Scott
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I have a considerable collection of NOS tornado engine internal parts if you need measurements, I’m stockpiling for my future project. Including rods, pistons, bearings and various crank and rear main caps and seal kits


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Lookout Ranch

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How do rods become crooked? Were they made that way through a sloppy manufacturing process or is it a byproduct of stress from usage?

Can crooked rods be be straightened or are you destined to assemble a set of the least crooked rods you can find?
 

cwdtmmrs

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Jul 19, 2012
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How do rods become crooked? Were they made that way through a sloppy manufacturing process or is it a byproduct of stress from usage?

Can crooked rods be be straightened or are you destined to assemble a set of the least crooked rods you can find?
Good question. I haven't seen a crooked one in the 4 I have taken apart. They weight close to 2 lbs. each IIRC.
 

Ken_Parkman

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Oct 28, 2013
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Agreed - good question and it's been driving me nuts. All three engines I took apart had the same symptoms to varying degrees.

So I took the NOS rods and the an old one into my machine shop buddies with a rod straitness checker, and the problem is the small end bushing. After you got it apart and started looking you could see the bushing was pounded out. I'll take a picture and post it. You cannot really tell if the rod is strait as the guage uses the pin bore. Kaiser talked about connecting rod alignment in the service bulletins; they are in the library here, but maybe the problems was more the pin bushing.

Of course the next question is - why are the bushings pounded out?
 

Ken_Parkman

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Oct 28, 2013
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Here is a picture - if you look close with the block you can see the pin is not parallel. You can also see the edge of the bushing protruding and it is uneven; at first I thought that was shoddy assembly, but now I'm wondering if that is a result of the pounding. There is a noticeable clearance, and there should be essentially zero.

Another bit of info is while we were at it we balanced the rods. They were up to 15 grams out, but this was a mismatched set of not rods from 3 places. But the moral is balance the engine!

Small end bushing.jpg
 

Ken_Parkman

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Oct 28, 2013
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Scott - do you have a new front filler block? The ones I have are not flat where they mate with the plate and the block; is a new one?
 

Lookout Ranch

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Here is a picture - if you look close with the block you can see the pin is not parallel. You can also see the edge of the bushing protruding and it is uneven; at first I thought that was shoddy assembly, but now I'm wondering if that is a result of the pounding. There is a noticeable clearance, and there should be essentially zero.

Another bit of info is while we were at it we balanced the rods. They were up to 15 grams out, but this was a mismatched set of not rods from 3 places. But the moral is balance the engine!

View attachment 59797
Interesting. When I rebuilt a 226 a couple of years ago, there was a similar variance in the weights of the connecting rods.

The new pistons were also surprisingly varied.
I ended up buying a 7th piston, which allowed me to eliminate the worst outlier and reduce the amount of weight reduction required on the others.
 

cwdtmmrs

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Ken, my engine guy didn't say anything to me about any major discrepancies in weight when he balanced my motor. Nothing about bent rods and I am not sure he had to do anything with the rod bushings either. He is very good and a performance guy like yourself and wouldn't have missed anything. Plus, he worked for me back in the late 80's/early 90's, so he would have told me something wasn't right. I will call him and check again.

EDIT: I spoke with my engine builder/balancer today and he said that there were no unusual issues with any of my 230 parts.
 
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wunderwillys

Precision Fit
Apr 20, 2013
994
Cincinnati
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Scott
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Scott - do you have a new front filler block? The ones I have are not flat where they mate with the plate and the block; is a new one?
I do and I also have the coveted rear fillers, not looking to sell yet but I don’t mind helping


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Ken_Parkman

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Oct 28, 2013
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I figured it out Scott.

The front filler blocks I have are very un-flat and I was wondering if they came that way. But on closer study I can see the machining marks, so the flange was probably flat originally. The Military one is flat, but you can see where it was redesigned to stiffen it. It seems the early civilian ones were not quite strong enough and did yield a bit. I do not think this is a big deal, I will flatten it a bit to improve the seal. Looking at the arrangement for the filler block you can see where it does not drain, and leaves a pool of oil resting on the gasket, so I was going to drill a drain hole which would improve but not fix the problem. Kaiser came to the same conclusion and the military block has an added drain hole.

A couple other bits of information - the NOS pistons are very good for balance and did not need anything, and the crankshaft is also very good. The flywheel however was quite poor.
 

cwdtmmrs

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Ken, the civy and the military front filler blocks aren't interchangeable, right? Also, I strongly advise you to use the 1 piece military rear filler block seal rather than the 3 piece civy design. Make sure you use a good sealant in the upper filler to block plate as well. You will have to remove the crank if that one leaks.
 

Ken_Parkman

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Oct 28, 2013
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Yep, the bolt patterns are not the same. The mil one is much nicer, but I think there may have been an improved civ one. Actually, does the one you have look like this civilian one Scott?

Here are the mil (top) and the civ front filler blocks. You can see the different bolt pattern, and the much thicker flange. Also note the mil block has a drain hole for oil from the timing cover back to the oil pan. On the mil cover it is pretty good, but the civilian cover is lower there and will still leave a pool of undrained oil even with adding a hole. But it will be less of a pool so I'll add it.

Yep, I put sealant on the rear filler block - and it sure would be a pain if it leaks!

Front filler block2.jpgFront filler block 1.jpg
 

cwdtmmrs

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Ken, do you think the mil filler was built stronger because the timing cover bolts directly to it and the civy cover bolts to the front plate instead?
 

Ken_Parkman

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Oct 28, 2013
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I *think* it was just an improvement they learned was a good idea. The Civilian one should be more important for strength to try and support the plate better, and the plate is going to flex. I have a newer factory parts book from the AMC days and there is a different part number for the filler block so I *think* they simply learned it was not stiff enough and made it stronger. If anyone has a picture of a newer one could they post it?
 

Ken_Parkman

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Oct 28, 2013
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Time for cylinder head drainage. There are (at least) 3 different styles for oil drainage from the cylinder head. The first casting has some real problems with oil drainage, and accumulates oil around the exhaust guide which makes it susceptible for oil consumption through the exhaust valve seals. They made an improvement by changing the casting while keeping the same casting number (which is verboten in my world) I think sometime in 63.

Here are pics of early and late casting 928760. This shows the exhaust spring seat for cylinder number 1. Look carefully in the first picture and you can see the cast iron for the spring seat extends over into the adjacent wall, and on the second picture they opened a drainage channel in the casting. There is no way for oil to get out in the early casting other than through the exhaust valve seal! This problem is particularly bad on cylinder 1 cause the oil can't get out at the front either. They did also open channels on cylinders 3 and 5.

928790 Head Early 3.jpg928790 Head Late 1.jpg

Look at the second picture and you can see the added material in the casting at the front of the casting to add a threaded hole for an extra bolt between the plate and the head. More on that later when we get into plate support.

I don't have a picture of casting 938028 (I think that is the number) but I assume it is similar in this area. That is the one where they added a boss on the drivers side for the plate to bolt to.

Here is the still later 944076 casting, and I think it is the ultimate. This can be machined for either the Military timing cover or the Civilian plate, but the bolt patterns are not the same. This head casting has another drainage channel cast in so oil can drain from the right side into the timing cover area. Probably not absolutely critical, but a good idea none the less. You can also nicely see the drain channel behind the valve seat, and the added bolt for the plate bolt.

944076 Head 1.jpg
 
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