Dodge lorry rebuild Dodge truck restoration

Major work on the Dodge's badly damaged cylinder head.

Restoration Part 6. Click here to return to the main Dodge lorry restoration page. Part of oldclassiccar.co.uk. Contact page.

June 2007.
From early on it had been obvious that the cylinder 'head' of this sidevalve engine had been repaired a long time ago. A bead of weld was evident along almost 12 inches of the cast iron head. With it removed from the block, it was possible to have a closer look at the damage.

At some point, over 50 years ago, the water jacket running inside the head must had suffered frost damage. A quick repair had been effected, which did the job, but now was in dire need of proper looking at. It was taken to an engineering shop to be pressure tested, and their prognosis was not good, suggesting that a better replacement should be found. However after 12 years of looking, I knew that finding a replacement would be a tall order, so it was time to look into repair options. The section of casting, as well as having cracked, had bowed upwards too, meaning that it would be a difficult repair (plus welding to cast iron is not an easy process in itself). I contacted Lockstitch up in Rochdale, and they asked me to bring it over for them to look at. They specialise in rescuing otherwise scrap lumps of iron just like this, and fortunately they were able to fix it up for me. Phew.
Damaged cylinder head This is what happens when an engine is left with plain water in it during freezing conditions. The red paint highlights the length of the original weld 'repair'. Leaving the head like this was not an option if the engine was to be relied on when back on the road.
Repaired cylinder head A couple of weeks later and the head was collected from Lockstitch. A section of new iron had been sourced, and metal stitched back into the gap. While the head was at the machine shop, the waterways were coated in a ceramic mixture to improve water flow, and the head given a light skim (it was noticeably warped).

A crack near one spark plug hole was also metal stitched.
Repaired cylinder head This view shows the repaired and pressure-tested cylinder head in better detail. I'm now told that the repairs can be made in such a way that they are not visible. This part of the Dodge cylinder head is covered so that wasn't a priority for me - getting it solid once more and reliable was the main thing.
Metal stitching A closer look shows some of the work that went into stitching a fresh section of cast iron into the cylinder head. Few companies can effect this kind of repair, so I'm really grateful to the fellas at Lockstitch for fixing this up for me. Otherwise I'd have been stuffed!
Return to the Dodge truck rebuild page for more info on this restoration.
Previous Page: Part 5 - Dismantling the engine block.
Next Page: Part 7 - Cleaning & de-rusting of the chassis commences.
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