Operation "Jane Heart Replacement" has begun! As some may recall, back in August I had kind of a huge fiasco in which I somewhat killed Jane's engine and transplanted in a new engine in 18 hours flat. I then proceeded to let that engine sit for 4 months while I went haring off to Texas. Now I'm back in NC and taking another stab at putting Jane's first engine back together!
The new engine (which was a 6-bolt that fit less than optimally with the rest of my 5-bolt accessories) has been removed and was sold within 20 minutes. The money from that is now funding the rebuild of the old 5-bolt engine. It should be noted that this isn't Jane's original engine (clearly, if it's a '64 engine in a '66 car) BUT it does have sentimental value (having carted my butt around the entirety of the US) and it bolts right up to all of my parts quite well. It's lighter too, which is nice.
Anyways! This is the build thread on this engine. Here is what was wrong with it upon teardown:
1) Oil pump failing/failed (what caused the engine to be pulled in the first place)
2) Heads trashed - valve seats pounded out, valve guides torn up, exhaust valves more or less ruined, all kinds of valvetrain wear
3) Cylinder sleeve improperly installed; had come loose and was floating around in cylinder #2
4) Cam worn - looks to have a lot more miles on it than the engine itself did. Suspect cam pulled from another car. Alternatively, someone wasn't running the right oil, causing premature wear. Still functional and not at all wiped, but just worn.
5) Timing set nearly nonfunctional - so much slack in it that I could pull the chain off the sprocket while still on the car
6) Main bearings worn through to copper - suspected cause was oil pump causing starvation; however, bearings also appeared either very old or original. Crank was original and had never been polished/turned/cared for.
7) Mismatched pistons - different brands (yep)
That about covers it! In short, this engine should not have been anywhere near as reliable as it was. I put 20,000 miles on it since April of last year. Never let me down though it has been unhappy (low on power) for 6000 miles or so.
Oh yeah, and I sent my distributor out to Dan at G/N to be rebuilt. He called me to ask if the distributor had been pulled from a running car. When I told him yes, all he had to say was, "WOW!" Yes, it was that bad.
So! The engine got sent off to the machine shop. While there, the shop hot tanked everything and then:
1) Resleeved cylinder #2
2) Finish honed the cylinders (despite the fact that the engine was trashed, it only had about 40,000 miles on the current bore (4.040") and the bores were apparently so close to perfect that they didn't even need honing)
3) Rebuilt heads with iron valve guides, new exhaust valves, hardened valve seats; resurfaced
4) Installed new cam bearings
5) Turned the crank 0.010" under and polished
6) Assembled rods/pistons (I got a nice set of Speed Pro +8cc hypereutectics)
Now the engine's back in my possession and ready for assembly (also known as "busy work"). Here's what the block looks like:
Yep, that's pink. Not sure how that one happened...
And here's the heads:
The first step in assembling the bottom end was to gap the rings. According to Speed Pro's specs, the top ring (chromoly / iron) needs a gap of 0.016" to 0.018" (Ford spec is 0.010" to 0.020"). So I put those at more or less 0.017".
[View of the chromoly/iron layers in the top ring]
This was done by putting each ring into a cylinder and pushing it down to a depth of 1-1.5" in the bore, then measuring the gap with a gap gauge. I used one of the old pistons to push the ring down evenly and squarely. I used the same cylinder to gap all of the rings for consistency's sake, though I suppose if I was being really super careful about it I should have matched each ring to its own bore.
I found that all of the top rings were within gap spec straight out of the box. The second rings (iron with a dot facing upwards) were all gapped too small. I remedied this by evenly filing one end of the ring against a flat file, stopping to recheck the gap pretty frequently.
[View of the dot indicating "up" on the second ring]
After I gapped the rings, I installed them on the pistons. I started with the bottom oiling rings, which is a stack of three rings (thin ring, "crimped" ring in the middle, thin ring), then did the middle ring (dot up to top of piston), then the top ring. I made sure that the gaps on all of the rings were clocked such that none of them lined up. Having the gaps lined up will score the cylinder and result in uneven cylinder pressure, apparently.
[Oiling rings on]
[Second ring on]
[Top ring on]
Some people only use ring extenders to install rings. I just spiraled mine on because it's an acceptable technique according to "How to build a small block Ford". And honestly, this isn't a crazy build that requires perfect precision by any means. The rings went on just fine.
After installing all of the rings on all of the pistons, I moved on to installing the crankshaft. First, I inserted all of the bearings into the block and main caps dry, ensuring that they were correctly aligned and installed with the tabs in the right location. I also installed the rear main seal - note that it's offset in the block to help prevent leaks.
I then smeared a ton of assembly lube on the surfaces of the bearings that contact the crank (as well as the sides of the thrust bearing) as well as the crank itself. Plopped in the crank (carefully).
After the crank was seated and all surfaces were definitely covered in assembly lube, I installed the main caps. I just tightened them to "snug-ish" to start out with to properly seat the caps, then torqued to spec (~65 ft/lbs) starting from the middle cap and working my way outwards. I then rechecked torque on all of the caps. Keep an eye on the rear main cap as you have to make sure that the offset rear main seal doesn't get squashed or bent or do anything crazy.
The next step was piston installation - a harrowing process. To start with, each piston was dipped in a bucket of motor oil.
I'll admit it fully - Chas did this entire next part. He has a ring compressor that has been handed down through his family for a couple of generations (read: old as dirt) and he prefers to be the one installing pistons if he's using it. I'm cool with that. So we compressed the piston rings, set the piston + compressor on the head, ensured the compressor was square and tight on the bore, and then used the wooden end of a hammer to carefully tap the pistons down into the bore.
While Chas did the tapping, I made sure that the rod ends were going into the correct place straddling the crank. If you don't watch it, the studs have a nasty tendency of just poking the crank and stopping butted up to it, which you don't want regardless of if you have something protecting them or not. Do not let the crank get scratched or marred in any way!
It should be noted here that usually, you install the rod bearings before installing the piston in the block. However, we wanted to avoid issues with the bearings jumping out of their pockets and onto the floor during installation. My hands are small enough that I can stick them down in there to get the bearing on the rod after the piston has been stuck into the bore (but before final installation on the crank journal, obviously) so we did it that way. A little more difficult but better for the technique we were using (and definitely better given my propensity for dropping things on the floor... which is not good when building an engine!
After each piston/rod was fully seated with the bearing on the crank journal, I installed the cap. I just snugged the nuts to finger-tight to keep the bearings in place. After all of the pistons had been installed, I went back and torqued all of the nuts to 24 ft/lbs. Take special care to ensure that the number on the rod matches up to the number on the cap.
So, that's where the engine sits now. Bottom end is installed, lubed, and torqued to spec. I'm currently waiting on head gaskets (I figured out that the Felpro head gaskets that come with the kit are 0.047" thick and wanted some more compression out of the motor so I ordered 0.041" gaskets) and my new cam. Lunati is duplicating the old cam but with the 351W firing order. They've been a lot slower than they quoted me and I have really been having to stand on them to get the damn thing back to me. I chose them because they're known for quality work and they had a (theoretically) shorter turnaround time than Comp Cams. We'll see what the new cam is like. I hope it's good because they are pretty mad at me right now. It should be coming in tomorrow!
Til then.... guess I'll just sit around on my thumbs