I hate to think what the book rate for this job would be – it’s taking me bloomin’ ages  Alright, I haven’t got all the whizzy tools or experience a garage setup would have, but you can’t escape the time it takes to systematically de-coke and clean the head, valves, pistons and block 

Before running up against the night-time power tools curfew, I managed to start off by cleaning up each of the valves in turn. Most effective tool for doing this without gouging at the metal was a 3M ScotchBrite Clean & Strip wheel in the drill – hopefully no-one will jump in and scream “you used what???????” 

Pinto valves being cleaned up

When doing the face of the valves (particularly the exhaust valves like these), I also used a small brass brush in the drill to get into the dimple in the middle. There was at least half to one millimetre of white “stuff” baked onto each exhaust valve, so given that they’re designed to be a certain shape – all this work can only help matters 

Coked Pinto valves and after cleaning

The block is difficult to get to for long periods of time without knackering your back, which I guess is the price you pay for having such a big and versatile engine bay. No doubt it’d be easier if everything was out of the car and on a stand – but maybe next year for that, hey? 

Remembered to smear grease on the edge of the pistons before starting and to cover up the other bores.

Cleaning the gasket off the Pinto block

After cleaning up the block with the 3M wheel again (and splattering myself with stray blobs of grease), I worked my way across the piston crown(?) with another brass brush in the drill.

The piston has what looks like “816 177 110” stamped on one side and “2 ->” on the other. Guess it means something to someone? 

This is as far as I got tonight. Three more pistons to do tomorrow before I can even think about starting to put it all back together