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Mighty Mouse Engine Rebuild & Upgrades


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Charlie, refer back to the initial post on this thread. I Gunk Gelled and car washed the block & head when I got her torn down and there was enough good original paint to have it spectragraphed and get a quart of paint mixed up. They need a fairly flat area about 2 1/2" X 4" to get a scan. He ran the scan in the computer for a match and closest match was an International Harvester engine colour that just needed a little tinting. I told them to mix it a couple shades lighter than the actual block as it had been boiled in oil & engine compartment crud for half a century. I did the same for the air cleaner housing on the 620 a year and a half ago and a Skoda (Czech car) came up closest, needing only a minor adjustment. There is a thread on here somewhere for the 620 air cleaner project. I'll be doing the 320 air cleaner with the remaining paint left from the 620. I'll be posting photos shortly of the result.

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Yeah, keep it coming. It should be nice when done. I like 'em a little rough around the edges. If they're too clean there's no story. A story is worth more to me than brand new paint.


But on that note, I love that you went the extra mile to have all the engine pieces coated.


Rough on top, shiny underneath...perfect.

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Just read through about 80% of this (as i am a simple mind and am pleased by pictures) and this looks like a fun build, and looks like this NL has gone to a good home =D


Wish i could do somethin like this with one of my cars, but either there is enough stock examples i don't have to feel bad, OR they are too far gone in my case! :rofl:

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This is the paint. Code is supposed to be PPG paint and tinted to be a tad lighter than the cleaned up engine block.




This is what I'll use on the air cleaner. This code should check to be a Skoda (Czech car) color.




Photo of the air cleaner on the 620 painted with this paint.



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Setting up to check crank clearance with Plastigage.




Spec. .0005-.0020   

Measures .00175 on journal with highest clearance. It's OK with me.




Endplay: Spec  .002-.003

Measures just under .002

Forge on ahead.


  1. End-Play%20OK_zpscpwxbltd-1.jpg
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I have a while more to think it over, but I'm thinking of running Rotella. All I see on the shelves locally is 15-40. I believe I'd like to run a little lighter. Gotta do more looking around. I didn't take the crank and bearings to the shop with the block & head. I put the pistons in yesterday. They plastigaged like the mains. Between .0015 & .0020. I slept good last night.

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Tatra, I wish !!  The blue car is a 1960 FIAT 500D. I acquired three in 1974. The best one had the engine dis=assembled and piled in the back seat. I rebuilt it for $27 with parts from J.C. Whitney and drove it for thirteen years during the Spring thru Fall seasons. If you think a air-cooled VW has a non-heater, the two cylinder a-c FIAT is much further down the heater food chain. I stored the daily driver for about four years and then got it out in the early 90's. We totally restored/upgraded her over a year or two. I did all the work except the rust repair and upholstery. My wife was operating an upholstery shop for about eight years in lat 80's - early 90's and she did the interior and top. All three were sunroof sedans and I fabricated the full convertible structure from parts manual pictures. Full convert examples are pretty uncommon. over the late 90's & early 200's I built a modified motore with highly modified 1200cc VW cylinders, a PBS cam, biggest valves that would fit, larger carb, internal coatings and the high temp exhaust coating on the outside that the E1 engine parts are getting. It increased the displacement from 500cc to 650cc and amped the performance big time. Also added disc front brakes. The car I'm describing is under the cover sheet just beyond the blue FIAT that you are asking about. Here's the re-furbed 1961 FIAT 500D:






And the modified 650cc engine:




During installation, circa 2003:




The unrestored original 1958 Messerschmitt KR200 that went to live with a new caretaker a year ago to provide funds for acquiring the NL320 and finance the work that I'm doing in this thread.






I've always lusted after Tatras. Maybe I'll give one a good home someday if I live long enough.

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Nice micro cars! It figures that you (a 320 enthusiast) would have other interesting automobiles.


I saw the air vents in the rear deck lid and I knew it had to be something weird.


I wish is was a Tatra too! Then I could say I knew someone who owned a Tatra.

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The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville has the largest assemblage of Tatras outside of Europe. Many other and varied cars and bikes too. If you're ever in the area, do not miss a visit. You won't regret it.

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Time marches on. Progress update.


Crank's in, Pistons in. Front plate on and cam is in. New tensioner assembly in place:




Plugged the new oil pump in and tried to set the pan on.


'Red Alert'.  Pan likes 3/8" setting down on the block bottom surface.





Seems I got a pump for a J13 instead of an E1. It looks like more in this photo, but the J13 is about 7/16" longer than the E1 pump and also has a built-in pressure relief valve.




A lot of the strictly E1 stuff is just not available anymore. Back to the drawing board. Half an hour, or so, of measuring, calculating, and dirty martining. came up with;


chop 1/2" off the bottom of the pickup tube, machine 5/32" the screen mounting surface, and squash the screen a bit and it should fit:




Remove the bottom casting from the pump, set-up on rotary turntable, indicate within .005 and clamp down good and secure:




Lock & Load 3/8" endmill, acquire target, and fire away:




In this machining I removed the 5/32" from the screen mount surface and established the pilot diameter for the screen, clean up the end of the pickup tube, and machine a .150 deep counterbore in the tube for a plug. next step is machine the plug on the lathe and lay out the pickup tube for six 1/4" side entry holes. This way the pump will pick up oil from the side of the pickup tube about 1/2" minimum from the bottom of the pan instead of the very bottom of the tube. After the six holes are drilled and deburred, the plug is pushed in and cross-drilled for a 1/16" split pin so the plug wont come out:




So now the pan seats down on the block bottom surface and I've got at least 1/4" clearance between the bottom of the oil pan and the pickup screen visible through the drain hole.


Back to the dungeon for some more gear-heading.

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Short progress update here. A 'quick-&-dirty' fit-up to inventory hardware/fastener needs. I'm going with mostly stainless (316 or 18-8) hardware where visible and not a strength issue. Did a loose assembly of front mount assemblies and other stuff this morning and took a couple Oics. I know, I know, over-restored.





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