A freezing cold Saturday morning, but it was cosy in the garage. Managed to drill out the tricky heater bracket screw, which also holds the brake line (to the servo) and has a clip to the fuel line. This allowed me to remove the brake line and fuel line which I have been trying to do for a while. I released the nuts on the inlet and exhaust manifold. The exhaust manifold is now hanging down in the engine bay, still connected to the exhaust pipe, but the inlet manifold came off completely. I cleaned this up with degreaser and my rotary tool, it’s not perfect and will need more work, but that can wait. I bought a new plastic box and stored the manifold in there along with the carburettors. Had another go at removing the thermostat housing on the front of the engine block. Its mounted on three studs and they are very tight. I used an old flat screwdriver to start levering it off, then used a cold chisel and a hammer. I managed to get it probably half-way up, but one corner (of the triangular configuration) was stubborn, so I stopped pending researching on the internet. It’s going to have to come up the studs evenly, or not at all, so I sprayed some more releasing agent and left it. I could try heat (haven’t got my own torch yet) and maybe try some copper grease around the studs. Internet research suggests it can be difficult to remove, so it’s just a case of keeping trying.
Identified that one brake line (which goes to the back I think) and the wiring loom fixing low in the engine bay, is very difficult to get at due to the engine (starter in particular) being in the way. This makes me think that I might be better to remove the engine after all. Even if I don’t get the paint shop to respray under the bonnet, I could prepare and paint it myself more easily with the engine out. I could get good access to all the fiddly bits and also have the engine out of the way of this messy task. As an experiment I used a wire brush wheel to clean up the engine bay where the master cylinder goes, also removed the bonnet catches and sanded the cross-member to see how it would clean up. This shows that’s it relatively easy, if long winded to clean up the engine bay myself. Good progress, but I need to move towards an engine-out date to move this project along.