Start the assembly with the small oil plugs such as the front and rear main oil gallery plugs that are sometimes overlooked. Also make sure the plug under the rear main cap is in place as well as the plug below the driver side block deck surface. Start the assembly with the small oil plugs such as the front and rear main oil gallery pl Short-Block Assembly Most budget engine buildup stories bypass the important measuring stage or just use a Plastigauge. We've tested Plastigauge and found it less than reliable. It does serve a purpose to indicate excessively tight or loose clearances, but as a reliable indicator of specific clearances, we think it falls short. We prefer to measure everything with a micrometer and dial bore gauge. These are not items a budget car crafter will have in his toolbox, so you must either borrow them or-if you intend to build more than one or two engines in your life-consider purchasing the quality tools to invest in your engine-building skills. We prefer to check all the rod and main bearings for clearance as well as crankshaft endplay and rod side clearance. If you are reusing all the pistons and connecting rods, the rod side clearance should not be an issue, but it's worth checking just to make sure. We won't detail this part of the story-instead refer to the accompanying How-to References chart that lists the specific addresses on CarCraft.com with more details on how to perform these tasks. It's best to install the crank gear before installing the crank in the engine. We used a 12-inch length of 21/2-inch-diameter thick-wall aluminum tube tool and a hammer. Insert the main bearing shells in the crank saddles and gently drop the crank in place with a small amount of engine assembly lube on the bearings. With the thrust bearing in place, install the rear main cap. Lightly tap the crank rearward and then forward with a rubber mallet to align the thrust surfaces. Now tighten the rear main cap bolts to roughly 10 ft-lb. It's best to install the crank gear before installing the crank in the engine. We used a 1 Assembly tip: Clean the cylinder walls with brake cleaner and then either ATF or Marvel Mystery Oil using white paper towels. Keep cleaning the cylinders until there is no dirt on the towel. Use a dial indicator on a magnetic base to check the crankshaft thrust clearance. Refer to the engine Spec Chart for the proper clearances. Now torque all the main cap bolts. Assembly tip: Clean the cylinder walls with brake cleaner and then either ATF or Marvel My Installing rings is not difficult, especially with 5/16-inch ring pistons. Start with the oil ring expander, making sure the ends don't overlap. Then install the top stainless ring, followed by the lower ring. Most compression rings are marked with top or a dot to indicate that the ring should be installed with this mark up. The Summit top ring in our set had no indicators, which means they can be installed either way. Installing rings is not difficult, especially with 5/16-inch ring pistons. Start with the Install the rod bearings and coat them with engine assembly lube. Cover the rod bolts with rubber boots to protect the crankshaft and then position the piston and rod assembly in the cylinder. Install the rod bearings and coat them with engine assembly lube. Cover the rod bolts with Most pistons will indicate the front of the engine with a mark. If the piston is not indicated, make sure the radius side of the big end of the connecting rod is facing the crank cheek. The tapered ring compressors are the easiest to use, but if you're using a universal-style compressor, make sure the tool is perpendicular to the block. Drive in the piston with a hammer handle. Most pistons will indicate the front of the engine with a mark. If the piston is not indic We prefer to install all the pistons first and lightly tighten the rod bolts. We then turn the engine upside down and stretch or torque all the rod bolts at the same time. Next, we go back over each rod bolt a second time to ensure we didn't miss one. Now is also a good time to double-check the rod side clearance. We prefer to install all the pistons first and lightly tighten the rod bolts. We then turn Next we installed the Lunati Bare Bones camshaft. Make sure to lube those flat-tappet lobes with the supplied cam lube. Next we installed the Lunati Bare Bones camshaft. Make sure to lube those flat-tappet lobe Position the dot on the crank gear pointing straight up. Now install the cam gear and chain, positioning the cam gear with the dot so it lines up vertically with the dot on the crank gear. We've included a link on how to learn to degree a cam in the How-To References chart at the end of the story. Add a little green Loctite to the cam bolts and torque them in place. Position the dot on the crank gear pointing straight up. Now install the cam gear and chai After installing the rear one-piece main seal in the rear cover and the gasket between the cover and the block, coat the crank flange with oil and bolt the seal cover in place. On the front of the engine, glue the front timing chain cover gasket in place on the block and install the cover. After installing the rear one-piece main seal in the rear cover and the gasket between the Attach the original oil pump driveshaft to the pump and bolt the whole mess in place. You can tack-weld the pickup to the pump to prevent it from coming loose, although we've never seen that happen on a street-driven engine. Attach the original oil pump driveshaft to the pump and bolt the whole mess in place. You Assembly tip: Make sure to include a short, 3/8-inch bolt in the upper hole in the right (passenger) front side of the block just above the fuel pump boss. This hole is drilled into the passageway for the fuel pump pushrod and will leak oil if left open. One of the best things about late-model, one-piece rear main seal blocks is the one-piece oil pan gasket. Just place the gasket on the pan rail and bolt down the pan without RTV. This is reason enough to build a later-model small-block. Assembly tip: Make sure to include a short, 3/8-inch bolt in the upper hole in the right ( Another advantage of late-model heads is they are already machined for positive-style seals. Earlier heads will have to be machined, but you can purchase a simple tool that will cut for positive-style seals. After lapping the valves, we cleaned the heads and installed the new Viton seals for the intake valves that come in the Fel-Pro gasket set. Another advantage of late-model heads is they are already machined for positive-style seal Heads Up Our long-block included a set of center-bolt iron heads fitted with the different intake bolt angle for the center four intake manifold bolts. These heads are the typical 76cc chambers that will produce barely more than an 8.0:1 compression ratio when used with dished pistons. Our engine should make around 8.5:1 compression with its flat-top pistons, 0.42-inch head gasket, and 0.020-inch deck height. We could improve compression by milling the heads, but that unfortunately drives up the cost. One trick to increase compression is using a stamped tin set of head gaskets rather than the composition gaskets used in the Fel-Pro kit. The Fel-Pro shim gasket part number is 7733SH1 and measures only 0.015 inch thick. This will increase the compression on a typical small-block by not quite 0.40 point compared with the composition gasket. The first thing to check on used heads is intake and exhaust valve-to-guide clearance. Up to 0.002 inch on the intake and 0.003 inch on the exhaust is less than ideal, but it will work. You can expect the engine to use more oil because of these loose guides since the valveguide seal will not last as long. We checked the clearance with a dial indicator on the valve stem, which gives us a rough idea of the actual clearance. Our heads measured roughly 0.0035 inch for the exhaust and 0.0020 inch for the intakes. The first thing to check on used heads is intake and exhaust valve-to-guide clearance. Up We checked for leakage by pouring solvent into the intake and exhaust ports. This is an inexpensive way to check for valve seat sealing. We had a couple of seats that leaked, so we decided to hand-lap the valves and seats to improve the seal. You can buy the tool at most repair places or from Summit. We checked for leakage by pouring solvent into the intake and exhaust ports. This is an in We also decided to install new valvesprings to keep up with the Lunati cam. Summit's kit includes springs, retainers, keepers, and positive valveguide seals. The new retainers allowed us to trash the clunky exhaust valve rotators. However, that did require adding roughly 0.060 to 0.070 inch valvespring shims to compensate for the deeper exhaust spring seats and maintain a 1.800-inch installed height. We also decided to install new valvesprings to keep up with the Lunati cam. Summit's kit i « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | » | View Full Article By Jeff Smith Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!