I spent a lot of time cleaning my motors. You know what: Never again! It is the siren's song of the Nord 4. They look so pretty when they are on the stand, all polished up. I swear, a week after installing them in the car they turn a dull gray. After a month I pulled that motor out of my Spider and it was just plain grimy. I almost cried.
Anymore, I pull an engine and powerwash it real good with engine cleaner and get all the grit and grime off it. If I go fancy, I powdercoat the cam cover black and polish out the "Alfa Romeo" script, powdercoat the intake manifold silver and the exhaust manifold high temp iron (gray-black). Its a real low maintenance way to go and I like the look.
As to the engine stand, Rossano I can't do any power tuning that is true. But for SPICA motors its not like there is a lot to change. There is a real danger of glazing the liners with a newly rebuilt motor so I limit a new motor to about 20 minutes max. I check for leaks, verify oil pressure and thermostat operation, set the ignition and cam timing and do a complete SPICA set up which is a joy to do outside the car. I actually pick it up with a lift truck for the ultimate in laziness - I don't even need to bend over to adjust the pump! But mostly I just don't trust myself and prefer to get the motor sorted out before I put it in the car and find out I forgot a piston...
BTW, a stole this design from Mike Valant: http://engr.smu.edu/rcam/cpm3v/2lrebuild/2lrebuild23.htm
Yes, that is a 1750 but I routinely mount my 2L to the same stand. The mounting holes are the same. Its just with the 1750 I had to make sure the plate cleared that oil filter stud.
I think carbs would be a good idea in your situation.
The one thing I don't have is an extra working TA. Do a search for "dummy TA" and you'll discover Roadtrip's $.75 alternative to the $200 reconditioned units.
1) Yea, that would be tough to do. You can probably pick up a flywheel for cheap - you'll need one sooner or later.
2) If you are using an impact wrench (which I highly recommend) you won't need to lock the crank. A lot of folks really fight with this pulley nut but honestly, I've never had a problem with the ol' impact. If you don't have one, load the block into the back of the family truckster and go to a garage. I can't imagine they wouldn't do it for free (bring your socket - what is it a 38mm?).
You have all the right references (including this forum!). I also like the cardisc CD.
Finally, Mack is an Australian Cattle Dog. He is overweight and very gray. You know what they say about dogs and their owners...