Rebuilding an Engine, Part One
There are a few things I learned during my dating years. One of them was never date an alcoholic. And another was never rescue an alcoholic. I did both. This is the "dating" part of the story versus the "rescue" part of the story.
One of my boyfriends owned a late 1960's mustang fastback. I'm likely to get lynched for saying this, but I really don't remember what year it was. It was shiny and black and had a honeycomb grille. Anyway; the first time he went out racing in his new/old muscle car, he blew the engine. So I got to hang out at his house and watch him rebuild an engine. I thought it would take him a week or so. He had all the parts. He had all the tools. It should have taken a week. It took him the better part of 3 months.
Now, to be fair; he usually worked on his car over the weekends. It's not like he could quit his job to spend a week rebuilding an engine. And he had to have the job to pay for the pretty chrome parts he kept attaching to his car that didn't run.
I wanted to help. I'd spent a lot of time around street racers, and knew exactly how to take an engine apart and put it back together again. The only part I didn't know was how to connect the engine to the transmission, and what the thingie* that made the pistons move looked like. *see glossary for "thingie"
The fact that my classic car ran, and his classic car did not wasn't enough proof that I could help. I had to stand in front of the engine and use a lot of technical non-thingie speech while pointing to the various parts before he would accept that I might know what I'm talking about. Even so, all I was allowed to do was clean engine parts. But that came later; after he had actually stripped the engine down to the block.
Prior to that glorious day, I would come over to his house and we would spend an hour talking about how pretty the car was. Then his friend would show up with a case of beer. The two of them would drink a beer and talk about what they were going to do that day. I would drink a Pepsi that I had purchased with my own money.
They would stare at the engine and debate what could have caused it to lock up, while drinking another round of beer. I guess they needed the beer to build up the courage to use tools or something, because after a pair of beer apiece; they would start "working" on the car. Generally, this involved pulling the valve covers and hoses, getting greasy, putting everything back on, and polishing chrome. And of course, drinking a lot of beer.