The Tale of an Engine Build, Part 2

When we left off back in December, I was waiting on a small base-circle camshaft to clear my stroker rotating assembly. It came. It cleared. Hooray.

With that done, it was time to assemble in earnest. The first step was to bolt the heads on and measure for pushrod length. I won’t go into detail on that process, because there are a ton of tutorials already out there. Suffice to say, I ended up needing 8″ pushrods. I ordered a set from Smith Brothers, and promptly installed the valvetrain.

Valverain installed

Also installed was the front cover. This is a blueprinted cover from Boost Crew Motorsports. The oil pump has been ported and clearanced, and it was spot faced for my roller cam button.

The balancer went on next, followed by other items like the oil pickup, the new lightweight (10 pound savings!) start motor, and the oil pan.

Getting the balancer installed required making a plate to go between the bearing on the balancer installation tool and the balancer. The bearing was just a tad too small and wanted to ram itself inside the balancer. No bueno.

Balancer installation

The flexplate went on next, and then the engine went in the car.

Engine back in its proper place

One would think, “Hey! It’s in the car! Easy from here, right?”

Wrong.

First off, the fancy SFI approved super-duper flexplate didn’t line up properly with the torque converter. When I zipped the bolts in, they kicked sideways and cross-threaded the converter holes. Bad. So the engine had to come back out, I had to helicoil the converter, and enlarge the bolt holes on the flexplate. This wasn’t easy. Both the converter mounting flange and the flexplate are made of super high strength steel, so cutting into it was very difficult.

But I got it.

Then, I was staring at a pile of dirty accessory brackets and accessories. Not acceptable. So a can of Dupli-Color aluminum engine enamel and several coats of clear and a lot of patience netted me some pretty blingy parts. The accessory bracket cleaned up really well, and I even disassembled and painted the alternator.

Accessory bracket, painted

Painted alternator!

Completed accessory drive

With the accessories complete, it was time to bolt the intake manifold down.

And it didn’t fit. Since the block has been decked twice and heads milled twice, the bolt holes didn’t line up anymore. Back to the machine shop it went to have 0.010″ taken off each flange. While they had it, I had the manifold completely ported and the EGR tower cut down and epoxied shut.

While waiting on that, I undertook the extremely frustrating act of wrapping my headers. It was difficult. This stuff is so maddening to deal with. You get a wrap started, and just when you’re ready to tied it off, you slip and it loosens and you  have to start over again. Nevertheless, I persisted, and they didn’t come out half bad.

Wrapped header. The wrap ate up ALL available extra clearance. It was a really tight fit.

After that two week delay, the rest went together pretty quickly. I made a small bracket to mount my new boost control solenoid.

Boost solenoid and bracket

I dressed up the wiring and got almost everything buttoned up yesterday. I’m waiting on a few push lock fittings and new battery cables to show up in the mail, and we’ll be set for a first start in the next week or so. I also have a new coolant overflow bottle on the way to replace the one I melted last year.

Mostly complete engine

 

 

 

 

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