Heidi Hetzer - Update #34 - "Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road"

"Stinkin' To High Heaven"

As It Turned Out, "Hudo's" Engine Was Road Kill
As of our last update, Heidi was again (the fifth time to date) forced to send the Hudson in for major engine work. After reviewing a number of earlier updates covering that topic, these earlier repairs were supposedly completed as "once and done" efforts, but the results indicate otherwise. They were obviously done more than once, making them done"on the fly". 

Fortunately the most recent breakdown occurred at the "right place" at the "right time". It was also undertaken by a team of experienced mechanics, machinists and restoration and preservation experts.

Preservationists Tell Heidi "Our Way or The Highway"
On numerous occasions, we've noted Heidi is very headstrong and often unwilling to change plans or take any advice that does not meet with her protocol. We've also reported these mechanical breakdowns seemed to reflect a pretense for her to drive too hard and too fast, especially when attempting to "make up ground" as a result of these increasing delays.
Club officials meet to review needed repairs
Based on the latest information, all of these "chickens came home to roost". Her newfound mechanical liaisons, the Antique Automobile Club of Chile, put their foot down. After a thorough examination, the conclusion was the Hudson needed an extensive amount of mechanical repairs, front to rear, and they apparently would only agree to complete the work if they controlled the process and thoroughness. In other words, Heidi had no choice.

Discovery Leads To "Demands"and Thorough Repairs
Again, we are skimming translated notes, but he overall consensus appears to reflect the cause of these repetitive engine failures, wheel issues, the lack of properly functioning brakes (the list goes on) were the result of Heidi driving at speeds far above the capacity of the car. 

It seems the Club officials also "demanded" Heidi agree to refrain from driving as if the Hudson were a 2016 Land Rover once they released "Hudo" back to her. In an effort to add some levity to the situation, we present this shortened clip filmed about the same time the Hudson was new. (It covers the three main points-not 100% sure what the trip will be, no brakes and going too fast.)

Four Weeks to Explore
The estimated time to complete the repairs was about a month, which included time to do a full tear-down of the engine, complete block repair, re-boring the cylinders, machining the crankshaft and acquiring all of the necessary parts. There were likely more repairs completed, but as all but brakes were excluded from available details, we cannot determine what they were.
The Club was also very aware of Heidi's interest in exploring as much of the area as possible and in accordance with following her predecessor's (Claire Stinnes') footsteps. They came to the rescue here too. Through the efforts of other Club members, Heidi was treated to a first-class tour assisted by family members of the Club, government officials and her travel companion.

Overview of the Engine Work
The Club's mechanical team went to work by pulling the engine, then disassembling and examining all of the internals. If you have been following our posts, you will recall the straight-eight relies on both a pressurized and splash oiling system. 

You may also recall that on more than one occasion, the splash oiling cups attached to the connecting rods had been thrown free from their press-fit home. Evidence of these occurrences were quickly discovered. The root of the issue was caused by exceeding appropriate RPM levels. This led the mechanics to look for previously overlooked secondary damage. It did not take them long to find it. They also found an undersized and pinched oil tube which added to the oil starvation damage.
The crankshaft journals were now oval instead of round, the cylinders and pistons fit poorly, with deep scores. All of these issues, which had been compounding over time, demanded a more expert approach. 

Doing some additional research of our own, we learned two things about the straight eight in the car: the heads were aluminum, not cast iron. That meant the engine was the higher HP version. Second was a weakness of this and most other straight-eights; the torsional rigidity of the crankshaft and camshaft causes them to deform at increasingly larger amounts, the faster the engine spins. 
Straight-eight engine with firing order 1-4-7-3-8-5-2-6 - Source - Wikipedia
"Due to the length of the engine, torsional vibration in both crankshaft and camshaft can adversely affect reliability and performance at high speeds. In particular, a phenomenon referred to as "crankshaft whip," caused by the effects of centrifugal force on the crank throws at high engine rpm, could cause physical contact between the connecting rods and crankcase walls, leading to the engine's destruction."

The valves were in similarly poor condition showing signs of cracks and excessive wear
During the time spent at the machine shop, the previously repaired heads underwent additional restoration as was a previously welded in patch in the block. 
"...welding work done in Mendoza"
No one had ever mentioned this patch before (the above caption is the first time the patch was pointed out) and we are wondering if the Mendoza-based repair was the result of the engine "throwing a rod" (the result of a complete connecting rod failure during engine operation that commonly results in the rod being shot out the side of the engine block). 
Our most recent article which featured some photos from the repair in Mendoza did not mention any necessary block repairs, but it wasn't until we translated each photo footnote did we uncovered this, "In the oil pan initially finds Heidi one of the two broken connecting rod from the shovel. The search for the second, unfortunately, remained unsuccessful."
We went back through earlier posts and found pictures and descriptions which indicated significant piston and rod damage had occurred, but no details regarding the block. As in any high-grade machine shop, this discovery lead to the machinists to magnaflux the block. This is a process which will cause any visible or invisible cracks to stand out. As the below photo shows, they uncovered an almost invisible crack between two adjoining valve seats.
Once all associated work was completed the engine was reassembled then installed into the Hudson. Apparently a total success for which Heidi was more than pleased.
"Heidi writes: The first small exit has Hudo well mastered. Above all, I've been a long time again a brake. The engine runs great, unlike after the overhaul in Charlotte USA. Since a noise was at a higher speed. This is normal, and I was told would be quieter after the running. But it was not so.  
At the moment I am very happy. Marla added Heidi's GPS to show their progress by Chile. Around 4 weeks, she was supervised in Vina del Mar of the members of the Club de Automoviles Antiguos. She has very fortunate to finally be advised to professionals again. Have a good trip, but please slow, Heidi!"

Until Next Time
Garagistry Out