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Micke's Tecumseh Hh120 Build

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#16 MountainMichael OFFLINE  

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Posted November 19, 2014 - 09:49 PM

You've posted some great details.  If the rebuild doesn't work out, I know it won't be your fault!

 

Ben W.

Thanks, Ben!


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#17 MountainMichael OFFLINE  

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Posted November 19, 2014 - 11:24 PM

Ok, the reason I'm rebuilding this relatively low hours crate motor is due to dirt leaks that caused enormous premature wear and made the engine useless.  Well, and it leaked oil like a sieve, too.  But that's covered elsewhere.  

 

I thought I should run down those various leaks that were allowing a lot of dirt to enter - and what I did to end these problems in hopes of maybe helping someone else avoid all the work and expense. 

 

I still prefer rebuild to repower, but as regards antiques, man it's expensive.

 

I suppose it is becoming a close thing whether we like it or not.   

 

Some of this is pretty basic:

 

1.)  When I brought this tractor home, the HH120 had a very small OEM looking foam air filter and sheet metal housing on it.  I'm not sure if that assembly was ever stock on a Sears Suburban type tractor so maybe it was only included on crate motors?  I've only seen it a few other places and it is always painted white like a replacement engine component.  It was only about 4" in diameter.  The foam element had been cleaned in gasoline many times (it had that burnt yellow/brown look around the edges) so it has maybe shrunk some.  There was very little dirt holding capacity, so when the filter was quickly plugged, the engine was simply pulling the dirt around the sides of the foam element and straight into the engine.  The dirt paths were clearly visible and significant. 

 

I bought and restored an original 1968 Sears Suburban air cleaner assembly using a paper filter with oiled foam pre-filter.  The capacity of this filter is probably 20 times what was on the crate motor.  With proper routine maintenance, I expect this will solve this portion of the problem.  

 

2.)  The throttle shaft was majorly worn out.  I mean a rattle fit.  It was sucking a LOT of dirt through this worn out shaft to bore interface. 

 

After having Carb Rescue redo things, when I did final assembly I added a wool felt washer and steel washer to help deflect dirt from rapidly wearing out the throttle shaft again.  I copied that from newer replacement carb diagrams and pictures I saw.  The longer throttle shaft from Carb Rescue provided the needed room for the 2 washers just under the spring.

 

I can snap a pic if anyone wants.  

 

Some Sanderson mil-spec aircraft moly disulfide paint on the top of the throttle shaft boss on the top of the carb body makes the felt washer slide like glass.  If you're wondering where to get the wool felt washers, I obtained some nice ones cheap in fleabay from a music store for usage under the buttons of a trumpet.  They'll be a nice stylish green.  ;-)  Seriously, though:  My sister who is into spinning, weaving, homemade yarns, etc warned me that felt is available made with 3 or 4 different fibers.  She counseled using wool only for a friction wear surface.

 

If you buy the Sanderson moly disulfide, it really has a thousand uses.  But please take care to use a respirator; at least one variant contains lead.  Some of the newer stuff is lead free.   

 

3.)  The throttle base was massively warped.  Nearly 1/4".  I found an excellent quickie in here on how to straighten that throttle flange prior to sending it to Carb Rescue and was pleasantly surprised it worked so well and didn't crack or break.  I finish cut the flange on a lapping plate. 

 

That warpage was clearly allowing huge dirt inlet.  It also explains the insane idle mixture setting.  But in the same stack, there is a sheet metal heat deflector and then another gasket before the block.  That hidden gasket  under the sheet metal baffle was cracked and missing pieces.  It was sucking major dirt there.

 

The baffle dovetails under the main shroud so the hidden gasket doesn't get replaced when it should be since tedious disassembly is required.  Quick mod for easier maintenance when you have it apart:  Abrasive wheel cut off 1/4" to remove the dovetail and now the heat shield can be removed pronto for easy gasket maintenance ANYTIME THE CARB IS OFF.  Too easy.  

 

4.)  The tappet cover or breather has a hose that had shrunk badly where it fits like a grommet into the sheet metal.  This had allowed the assembly to be surprisingly loaded with dirt.  I soaked it several days, expended a can of red brake cleaner until the major mud was out and until it ran very clean, then sealed and reinforced the loose/shrunken junction with Permatex high temp ultra copper RTV. 

 

5.)  There was a 1/8NPT elbow on the front of the block (front when installed in a Sears Suburban type tractor).  I'm not certain, but I believe that was there to route crankcase pulses to a diaphragm fuel pump.  That fuel pump was long since gone.  However, the cap on the elbow was split and leaking and the pipe fitting itself was totally loose.  I mean I removed it with zero finger torque.  Not sure how much dirt was getting in there, but at least some.  And it was sure leaking a lot of oil, too.  Since the tractor has long since had a Bendix electric pump, I removed the elbow, cleaned the threads with brake cleaner and Q-Tips and installed a brass pipe plug on Loctite 592 thread sealer/locker.  I made it tight.  I don't think this particular problem will be coming back.

 

The engine was used in Colorado where there is extremely low average relative humidity.  Because of this, anytime this machine was mowing, it was doing so literally in a cloud of dust (abrasives).  This would be a worst case place for massive dirt leaks.  

 

My Uncle owned this tractor back when the crate motor was installed.  He managed a major heavy equipment mechanical repair operation at one time and is a very good mechanic.  However, anyone can forget to look for:  Have ya' found all the reasons the old engine failed?

 

Muddying the water:  The old engine also had a repeat head gasket failure (it was an OLD engine before the Belleville washers partial fix by Tecumseh - and it had the old long head bolts... and you guessed it; some of them were bottoming out).  The persistent and repetitive head gasket leakage finally massively veed out the block at the gasket area between the valves.  I mean like 1/2" deep.  Yeah, someone neglected it for a long time. 

 

So it is possible this glaring failure distracted him from looking for other possible engine killers.  

 

I respect my Uncle a lot and I'm sure not throwing rocks.  Among other things, I'm a former certified master hack but he knows more about mechanics than I ever will.  And I'm glad the tractor eventually was used for several years by my Dad and then trickled down to my garage.   

 

Partly because rebuilding antique engines has become terribly expensive, I look very carefully for anything that may have contributed to a failure.  And of important note:  I had the distinct diagnostic advantage of seeing HOW the 2nd engine (the crate motor) wore out prematurely from abrasives.  That lead me to look for and find a lot of dirt leaks just as I'm sure it would have for most people including my Uncle. 

 

Having attended to every dirt leak I could find, it is my hope that this overhaul may actually go the distance.  Or such is my plan at least.  But with all these power mods, it might kick out a rod at 8,000 rpm or something.  jk! ;-)  I'm keeping the governor set for 3,600, obviously.


Edited by MountainMichael, November 20, 2014 - 02:43 AM.

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#18 MountainMichael OFFLINE  

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Posted November 20, 2014 - 04:10 PM

Regarding the following info:  If someone is installing the old style HH120 with the old style bolt mounting flanges and unthreaded through bolt holes, the below is not relevant or necessary.  The below only applies to the newer style HH120 block castings with the expanded oil sump which necessitated blind threaded bolt holes coming in from below.

 

Engine is in place and bolted down.  Those back 2 bolts are a treat.  In advance, I'd made up 4 alignment pins by cutting the heads off of 3/8NC bolts and steeply tapering the ends. Screwed in the alignment pins 3 or 4 threads in advance, then carefully placed the engine in position on the frame.  Without those pins, I'm not sure I'd have been able to get the back 2 lined up and in.  (might explain why the last guy omitted the back 2?)

 

Possible risk warning:  Not that it's original thinking on my part (it isn't), but if anyone decides to use the alignment pins idea or maybe replace the bolts with studs, I suspect the engine casting is very vulnerable to damage from dropping or even bumping the alignment pins hard, so I would suggest being very careful moving the engine around when the alignment pins or studs are in place. 

 

Fingertips only to get the alignment pins out and the bolts in.  I'm thinkin' it was fortunate I chased all the threads in advance.  I'm wondering now if permanently installing studs might be an easier method?  Regardless, my forearm just wouldn't fit very well where it needed to.    

 

Months ago during removal, I noticed that small gravel had worked its way between some recesses of the block casting and the frame and was carving things up from engine vibes.  Controversial, but I went ahead and sealed the engine down to avoid that in the future.  I suppose I could try to call that a "vibration damper", too?  jk


Edited by MountainMichael, November 20, 2014 - 10:19 PM.

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#19 MountainMichael OFFLINE  

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Posted November 21, 2014 - 05:04 PM

Dale Colvert's Overnight Solutions HET (hall effect trigger) aftermarket ignition:

 

When I first got the tractor home and before teardown, I did some troubleshooting using Ed Stoller's guide and found that the OEM ignition was dead.  I googled varous options from repairs to using auto components, etc, and decided to try this solution.

 

A suggestion right up front:  It's been said many places, but it may be a good idea to check the screws holding the magnet to the flywheel.  My flywheel had loose screws.  No damage to the magnet yet, but I'm glad I checked.  I removed the screws, applied red Loctite, then retightened.

 

I haven't run this yet obviously so I'll let you know how it works out.  The Gorilla Tape is to hold down some wires that wanted to stick up while the RTV dries.  The RTV will keep the wires down long term and will double as a grommet to protect the wire insulation from sheet metal edges.  Dale didn't recommend the RTV, that ugly idea was my doing.

 

Dale's instructions say that proper grounding is important so I added an extra ground wire (on the left in the photo) and used sandpaper on the iron casting to get clean contact for both ignition and ground.  I first tried the added ground wire loop under the same bolt as the ignition module.  However, that would have been hit by the magnet.  I saw the available solder point on the pc board saying "alt ground" but decided not to solder on there. 

 

I also added a fused/switched circuit to power the ignition and to serve as a kill switch.  That circuit also provides power for the epoxy potted automotive type ignition coil that was included in this particular kit variant.  Not sure where I'll mount the coil yet; leaving my options open for the moment.

 

According to Dale and his instructions, there is no need to set air gap.  It runs at a wide air gap as not a lot of magnetic gauss is needed to trigger a Hall Effect device.  Instructions say how to install the unit for as-built timing.  Dale said he times these for factory ignition timing at .095" BTDC.  Says he builds these in a jig to get precision timing and has had no problems there.

 

While Dale says there is sometimes a small amount of adjustment available in the bolt hole, I didn't find that here.  In fact, the fit of the bolt to the bolt hole was tight enough that the bolt had to be threaded through the hole in the pc board.  Not a criticism; just sayin'.  

 

HET perspective.jpg

 

HET Closeup.jpg

 

Below is a link to Dale's website in case anyone else is interested in taking a look at this possible solution.  Prices are listed in the website.  Not cheap; but if it is an improvement and a lasting solution, I think it may provide an alternative for some.

 

At a glance, it appears Dale provides the HET aftermarket ignition conversion kit for a Wisconsin small engine as well.  

 

http://overnight-sol...les/Page682.htm

 

It appears there may have been a price increase so the actual prices on the price list are somewhat higher than on the above product page. 

 

As is typical, things are getting in the way of the project so going is slow.  Still, I try to get some progress each day.   


Edited by MountainMichael, November 21, 2014 - 10:53 PM.

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#20 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 21, 2014 - 07:31 PM

Be anxious to hear your report on how you feel Dale's product performs.
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#21 MountainMichael OFFLINE  

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Posted November 22, 2014 - 11:32 PM

I found some tinkerin' time today.  Below is a pic of the magneto side of the installation.  That side is almost done.

 

After the Pontiac blue metallic gets faded and dirty, I think it will be a decent match with most of the tractor.  Nothing will match the tank since fuel has kinda' turned it greenish.  The red is arguably a bit over the top but I'm liking it ok.  The red probably won't last long since it isn't engine paint; it's just Krylon Fusion.  The tractor will have some other bright red accents.  Example:  Seat and maybe a few other things

 

Coil wiring is a bit improvised until I get the head heat cycled and re-torqued and that angle bracket in the back in.  Not sure I'll leave the coil where it is but it clears the hood fine.  There is a lot more clearance between the head and the coil than this picture angle might seem to suggest.

 

Head shroud is on top right now also pending re-torque of the head bolts. 

 

Latest cold snap is here.  After that passes (maybe Wednesday next week?), I hope to get some more time with the tractor to put together the PTO side.

 

Thank you to all for your input.  It is appreciated.

 

The manual suggests running the engine up to temp for 15 minutes, allow engine to cool completely, then retorque head bolts.  Does that sound about right to you all?  Or is it better to repeat it a couple of times or run it longer each interval?  

 

TIA,

 

m

 

Left side closer.jpg


Edited by MountainMichael, November 22, 2014 - 11:38 PM.

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#22 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2014 - 08:28 AM

I would do as the manual suggests and then for a second torque, run it for at least an hour and do it again... considering your additive on the threads.

The paint job is looking good. Thanks for sharing.
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#23 MountainMichael OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2014 - 04:37 PM

I would do as the manual suggests and then for a second torque, run it for at least an hour and do it again... considering your additive on the threads.

The paint job is looking good. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you for your input!  That is exactly what I will do.

 

m


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#24 MountainMichael OFFLINE  

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Posted November 26, 2014 - 05:44 PM

Ok, so I found a few hours for the tractor today so here are some updates if you're interested.  Below includes some assembly pics, one spring installation trick that worked for me and some exhaust pipe port work that is arguably unnecessary.  I decided to avoid calling that work "headers" ;-)

 

Here's with the PTO side going together.  That spring was a fight. 

 

PTO Drive On.jpg

 

I'm sure you knew which spring but anyway, this one:

 

Tough Spring.jpg

 

CHEAP BIG BEARING IDLERS:

 

In the above, you can see the ebay "big bearing" idlers I finally found.  They took some fairly easily improvised spacers and the bolt diameters aren't a perfect match but they were inexpensive; about $30 shipped for the pair.  Although it may require a bit more coordination than the original idlers, they install well and act very solid so far.  The white clutch idler was the more difficult to find since many have shallow Vee grooves.  This one is fairly wide and deep and I have no concerns about it throwing belts.  Will update of course if I'm wrong on that count.  They're as yet unproven but if anyone wants PN's, say the word; I can dig them up in my ebay profile.

 

edit:  The white Vee type clutch idler pulley is Stens part number:   SG  280-127

 

The flat idler pulley is Stens SG 280-156

 

(please note that with most SAE washers including grade 8, the next size smaller washer will usually fit the bolt.  For example, a 5/16" flat washer will fit (albeit closely) the shank of a 3/8NC bolt.  This made it easily possible to use washers as spacers without damaging contact with the pulley and or bearing seal in one case.  In any case, what's necessary to adapt these idlers will be apparent to most.  I'd have rather used actual spacers, but here out in the sticks the hardware store doesn't carry a lot of that stuff)

 

CLUTCH SPRING TOOL:

 

This caption is a bit out of order, but regarding that tough clutch spring I'd mentioned earlier:  Regarding the next picture below:  I had to install the spring last due to some bad info in my tractor's documents folder saying "...buy one inch shorter belt next time..."  In truth, a standard length belt would have been perfect because I've replaced the worn out idlers. 

 

Anyway, the below pic is of a sacrificial bailing wire double loop gadget I made in about 5 minutes.  It was used with a pry bar applied in front of the battery tray to overcome this very stiff spring's force - along with vise grips clamped on the spring end to guide the spring on.  This got it done.  If you ever have to make one, this one was 5-1/2" long before it was sacrificed - and that seemed just right.  Can't believe it worked first shot, but it did.  It's sketchy and pry bar may skate around a bit, so if you do this, please be careful so that you won't have to grow some new knuckles.  In fact, if I have it to do again, I'll probably temporarily place 2 or 3 layers of duct tape on the front of the battery tray to reduce some of the prybar's skating action.

 

By the way:  When installing the spring by this method, running the bailing wire gadget under the clutch idler belt guide nicely keeps the clutch lever all the way up.  

 

It was sacrificial because once the spring was in place, I had to cut the loops of the bailing wire from that end to get the makeshift wire out of there:

 

Sacrificial spring tool.jpg

 

PIPE FLOW IMPROVEMENT (?) WORK:

 

In the below which is the exhaust pipe entrance, I spent some time removing the typical constriction at the end of a pipe threaded pipe.  Also radiused things a bit.  This is arguably worth nothing, but since I chose to sweat the details of port and valve work elsewhere, I went ahead and took the time.  As stated before, I live at very high altitude and engines lose a lot of power here because of that.  Hence my efforts to recover some of the high altitude power losses, I hope. 

 

This is the entrance end of the exhaust pipe:

 

Pipe porting - ahem.jpg

 

Here is the exit end.  Much less time spent here because a step on an exhaust exit can actually have anti-reversion properties that are worth as much or more as any turbulence reduction that might be achieved:

 

Pipe exit end.jpg

 

PIPE THREADS - FUTUREPROOFING?

 

I threaded the pipe into the exhaust port using high temp nickel anti-seize so next time I have to remove the pipe maybe it won't take dangerous torque levels for removal like the old destroyed-during-removal muffler did.  After tightening the pipe with a typical pipe wrench to maybe 50?? foot pounds of torque, I re-used the conduit locking nut that was on the old muffler.

 

As for how tight to make the pipe threads, please follow your own counsel since I don't really know how tight these should be.  And I wouldn't want to influence a decision that leads to a cracked block/port or thread damage.  I may have gotten away with that torque level only because of prep work I did with a 1" pipe tap when the block was apart, I don't know.  

 

CUB MUFFLER:

 

Here is with the Cub muffler installed.  I like a tad of forward angle.  I found that the first baffle holes in the muffler core would begin to be obstructed just past 1-1/4" so I marked the pipe prior to installation and then clamped the muffler on at approximately 1 inch:

 

RF view of cub muffler.jpg

 

And the below is in case I get forgetful at a bad time like now or soon:

 

Earlyheimers.jpg

 

So I need to pick up a lot of tools and organize.  I'll be out of town tomorrow, so weather permitting, I may try to start it up on Friday - or with as bad as my garage is right now, Saturday might be more realistic.

 

Happy Thanksgiving GT'ers!

 

Micke


Edited by MountainMichael, November 26, 2014 - 10:15 PM.

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#25 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 26, 2014 - 05:49 PM

Anyone who has ever had that spring break knows just what you mean.
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#26 MountainMichael OFFLINE  

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Posted November 26, 2014 - 07:40 PM

PERSISTENT VACUUM LEAK LEADS TO WARPED CARB BASE AND SHOT ENGINE:

 

At least, for this engine it did.  This is a discussion of the cause I found for the warped carb base and one of the major vacuum/dirt leaks this engine had.  Also discussed are the 2 different easy fixes I came up with.  Not saying there aren't better fixes; these are just what I dreamed up. 

 

Regarding the severely warped carb base that this tractor had before disassembly:

 

I have a hunch this applies to quite a few of these HH120's but that it will vary from engine to engine.  During the carb rebuild, I used a method from the GT forum to straighten the severely warped carb base, I then resurfaced it on a lapping plate. 

 

But WHY was it warped so severely and persistently leaking so badly? 

 

The answer became apparent during final assembly when the carb gaskets would not seat:  There was NO WAY to properly seat or clamp the usually hidden inner gasket.  At light torque, I saw a GAP, so I stopped and took things back apart to see WHY.  

 

The cause:  I found that the heat shield that is sandwiched between 2 gaskets by the carb base to the block has a stamped radius in it intended to clear the cast iron edge of the port near the one bolt hole.  However, that cast iron edge on this engine was too far out and badly interfering with the stamped radius in the heat shield.  This was true whether using the thick or thin gaskets from the kit.  Is it possible that the thick gaskets were added to the kit in an attempt to alleviate this very problem on some engines?  Anyway, back on point:

 

Because this engine was already fully assembled and I didn't want grinder debris near the intake port, I simply cut off the shaped portion of the heat shield.

 

When the block was apart and before final cleaning, had I known that the gaskets and heat shield ON THIS ENGINE absolutely could not allow contact with the inner gasket, I could have used a die grinder to take off some of the excess cast iron from the block around the intake port (hand fitting the iron to be sure of proper clearance with this heat shield) and then the OEM heat shield could be installed with proper gasket clamping force without resorting to damaging excessive fastener torque.

 

So if you have a vacuum leak you can't get rid of with your HH120... or if the carb base was badly warped, this might be worth looking for.  Preferably when the engine is totally apart so the best fix as mentioned above can be easily done.

 

I was fortunate to discover the above at low fastener torque, so no new damage was done to my refurbished carb's base.

 

This was one of the larger areas where dirt was entering this engine.  This low hours crate motor was totally shot due to dirt ingestion, hence why I'm rebuilding it. 

 

The above also explains why the carb mixture screws at disassembly were so bizarre. 

 

Here's hoping this may save some folks some hard luck.  It's as has been said many times; it's one thing to fix damage, another thing to find the why of it.

 

Below is a photo of a spare heat shield I have on hand.  In the pic, I've placed a red arrow pointing to the approximate area where my engine's heat shield was interfering with the casting preventing gasket contact and clamping.

 

The interference was also pushing the heat shield to the left making the port alignment less than perfect but a bit of power loss is a lesser issue, IMO.  

 

Heat shield from the inside.jpg

 

My improvised repair has left a gap between the main shroud and this heat shield.  So my plan is to bridge that gap with a small patch of maybe 3 layers of Nashua aluminum duct tape.  Not sure it would really matter; just sayin'. 

 

Micke


Edited by MountainMichael, November 26, 2014 - 08:13 PM.

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#27 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 26, 2014 - 08:10 PM

I have seen carbs with two thick gaskets and a inch of blue goo flopped on there.
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#28 MountainMichael OFFLINE  

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Posted November 26, 2014 - 08:26 PM

I have seen carbs with two thick gaskets and a inch of blue goo flopped on there.

Interesting; so this is not an isolated problem. 


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Posted November 26, 2014 - 09:52 PM

Mike, I want to THANK you for taking the time to document this rebuild and also all the machine work you went thru in great detail. Very great info right here. Thanks Again for writing this up for everyone. :thumbs:


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Posted November 26, 2014 - 09:54 PM

Mike, I want to THANK you for taking the time to document this rebuild and also all the machine work you went thru in great detail. Very great info right here. Thanks Again for writing this up for everyone. :thumbs:

You're welcome; thank you for the kind words -very much appreciated.  Felt like it was the least I could do since I've benefited so much from the knowledge everyone so kindly shares here. 


Edited by MountainMichael, November 26, 2014 - 10:22 PM.

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