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The Long (Over)Haul

Part V: Putting it together for the final time

Dave Verna - July 04, 2013 10:00 AM

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1 Meticulous cleaning needs to take place for every single part you put in a new engine.

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2 Every single passage, even on brand new parts, must be cleaned at this point. The bristles and parts washing fluid are first, followed up with compressed air to ensure all areas of all parts are clean.

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3 The COMP roller lifters had assembly grease in them to keep the rollers in place for assembly. When we used compressed air, they started to blow out. These were all cleaned out and filled with oil prior to installation.

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4 One last cleaning of the cylinder walls reveals that you can never be too clean. The progression of paper towels went from looking clean to actually being clean.

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5 Assembly time! Make sure all the seals are properly lubricated on the one side, and a sealer on the other side, just for a belts and suspenders type of approach.

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6 With the crank in place, the thrust set, and the caps torqued, it’s time to check the end play of the crank again. Make sure you can back up your previous numbers.

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7 With every single part clean and waiting, they get numbered, lubed, inspected, and finally assembled. During the assembly process, taking your time is key to a successful build.

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8 The oil along the rings and skirts get rubbed around and they will all be ready for staging. Lining things up the way they go in will speed up the process and help you avoid mistakes.

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9 The underside of the bolt’s heads and threads are coated with ARP’s assembly lube. Not doing so will affect the torque required to assemble the engine.

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10 ARP has an installation tool for every bore size. The tool is taller than most and really aids in the proper installation of the pistons.

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11 Attention to bearings is critical, as the chamfer on the BPE crank is a radius type that will interfere with some bearings.

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12 While the bottom end is being assembled, the lifters take a bath in some fresh oil. Roller lifters need to go in before the heads due to their length.

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13 The heads get bolted down, then pushrods and rocker arms.

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14 The intake and distributor had some issues on two of the three intakes we are testing on this engine.

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15 We elected to use COMP’s new break-in oil even with a roller cam. The high zinc content is beneficial for proper break-in of all moving parts, not just lifters.

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16 An electric drill is used to prime the engine while Neal turns the crank and watches the pressure gauge. A quick pop of the valve cover confirms the oil has made it up to the top end of the engine.

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17 With the stock set of heads and dual plane intake bolted up to our 430, we are getting it set up on the dyno and next time we will make plenty of pulls.

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We placed a bead of sealer along the corner where two gaskets meet. The gasket is placed into that bead, essentially splitting it so the bead is on either side.

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Keep the seal as even as possible as you are tightening things down. The sealer is starting to squish out now with just the four corners started.

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With the pan now torqued into place the sealer is evenly distributed through the entire area. Too much is not good, as you will have the same amount on the inside of the engine, where it can come loose and clog passages.

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The Kevko pan’s internal baffling and scraper combine for superior oil control compared to a stock pan.

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A close-up of the weld shows a bit of spatter. Even after cleaning they did not move, but may with intense vibration, heating cycles and hot oil.

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A quick wire brush eliminates the issues. Care must be taken to clean this out thoroughly after wire brushing.

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This month we will get into the final assembly of our stroker small-block.

We covered the pre-assembly process in Part III (March-April 2013 Auto Enthusiast, page 68) in hopes that everything is all ironed out for the final assembly. While 99 percent of the internals are ready to go, we kept a few external pieces off until now.

The intakes and oil pan still need to be fitted up. If you have not test fit them, do so before you get into final assembly time. We discovered issues with all three intakes as well as the oil pan — we’ll cover it later in this story.

The final assembly process is not so much a time consuming one, if you do the pre-assembly process correctly. The emphasis is really stressed on cleanliness at this point. We will get into the details later but the importance of having a clean assembly process cannot be discounted. A clean engine is the first step in the hopefully long life of your new engine.

We took the entire bottom end and cleaned everything in a hot tank, followed up by a steam pressure wash. From there we took it to the assembly room parts washer and finally a bath with towels and brake cleaner.

When you see new parts in the box you might think they are clean, but in reality they are not surgically clean. This final step is what prepares them for a long, happy life inside any engine.

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