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You've been waiting for it! How I Build a Big Block Chevy Performance Marine Engine.

obnoxious001

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I recently built a matched pair of 489 cubic inch engines for an RDP member. I will leave it to him to identify himself if he sees fit. With some minor variations, these build instructions could apply to most marine performance engine builds. They left here as long blocks, but were destined to get Pro Chargers installed on them before they went into the boat. Here’s the story of how they got built.

First, a bit of background on myself for those who are new or don’t have a clue who I am. I grew up around boats and boat racing, although my family never owned a boat. We got involved with the Pasadena Boat and Ski Club and went to various water ski and other boat racing events. Back then, one boat would serve as family boat, ski race boat, drag race boat and also run endurance races like the Parker 9 Hour. Through mutual friends, my dad met Lou Brummett who was building and racing the Mandella boats. The shop was close to our home so we spent quite a bit of time there, where I met Louis Unser, who was building Lou’s Ford race engines. Between those times and the shop and various water ski outings, my direction for the future was set. I would eventually get into water ski racing and engine building.

Before I start with all the details, a couple of quick notes about “Balance and Blueprint” To properly balance a rotating assembly for an engine, each combination of a piston, wrist pin, pin locks, connecting rod, connecting rod bearings and piston rings should weigh the same amount. Each of the 8 pistons for our V8 engine gets weighed and lighten to match to the lightest one in the group. Then each connecting rod is balanced, not just as a unit, but end for end. This is done by first hanging one end on a fixture and weighing the other. After the other end is matched, the rods get reversed and the opposite end is balanced. A combination of the piston, wrist pin, wrist pin locks, connecting rod, rings and rod bearings is calculated to make a "bob weight". The balance shop has brass weights that are clamped onto the crankshaft rod pins equal to the bob weight, and then the crank is spun on a machine that lets the operator know where to drill (or sometimes add) weight to make it perfectly balanced. Once the crank is in balance, the damper and flywheel/flexplate can be installed on the crank and spun as well to make sure they are perfect. That's the basic story about engine balancing, it will make the engine smooth.

The "Blueprinting" part of the process is a combination of the machine work that gets done to proper specs, and the measuring of various clearances and specs including rod and main bearing clearances, crankshaft thrust, camshaft thrust, piston to wall clearance, ring gaps, deck height and lifter bore clearance, and don't forget rod side clearance. The cylinder heads, aside from needing to be machined properly, need valve spring pressure set up to go with the camshaft that is being used, and then pushrod length must be determined to work with the combination to achieve proper rocker arm geometry.

This particular pair of engines both had a breakage problem at almost the same time. They were Merc 454's with Pro Chargers on them, and they got run hard to get out of someone's way, and both broke one exhaust valve each. The owner asked about making more power, and since his blocks were not damaged we decided to bore them .030 to clean up, and use good forged internals to hold up to whatever boost he wanted to run. Parts availability and wait time are terrible right now, but I found a couple of Eagle forged 1pc rear main seal blocks to go with his Gen 5 blocks, along with some Eagle H beam rods. My go to source on pistons is Racetec, so I ordered a couple of sets of flat top pistons from them that would be just over 8.5-1 compression, good for what we are doing with the Prochargers. The pistons got made and sent directly to the balance shop in Long Beach, where I had already had all the other new parts for the rotating assemblies shipped.

While waiting for pistons and balance, next trick was to track down some cylinder heads that would retain the stock exhaust port location so that modifications to the exhaust and/or transom would not be necessary to make it all fit. I decided some Brodix Race Rite heads would fill the bill and not completely break the bank, but no one really had them in stock, and the backorder list was long. I called Brodix direct to see if they knew of a dealer sitting on any stockpiles, and also got confirmation that the oval port heads would supply the necessary bottom end power, along with horsepower to meet our goals. They did sadly inform me that they can only produce a total of about 30 sets of heads per week due to the small foundry they use. I am pretty good at sourcing parts, and found some from another engine builder. He confirmed that he had made 600 hp with a single carb and small marine cam with a set, so I bought two sets from him, bare. Then I ordered good Ferrea severe duty intake valves and "Super Alloy" exhaust valves, which are said to handle temperature even better than Inconel valves. I've used them for years in forced induction engines after doing research, with no failures that I am aware of. Springs and cylinder head hardware all had to be purchased separately as well.

Next chore in these trying times was to locate a couple of suitable hydraulic roller cams. Many times I opt to run what's known as a "Sadi" cam core, they are cast and not as expensive as billet, but sadly no one really has them now. My normal custom cam grinder could not help, so I called an old contact at Iskenderian and was able to order two custom cams that Ron and I agreed would work with the Prochargers.

With most of the parts ordered, it was time to start the builds. Some people will assemble a block that was cleaned at the machine shop, but for a few reasons I do not. Once the blocks come back from the machine shop, I inspect them, then usually do a little grinding to remove sharp edges externally that would cut someone cleaning under or around them in the boat, and also take down some "flash" around oil drain backs and oil return passage from the oil filter. I also knock down the ridge in the rear main cap to help promote better flow. I have a selection of bristle brushes that I used to clean oil galleries, lifter bores and cylinder bores, and parts cleaning brushes to get all the rest of the block. I first will clean it with foaming engine degreaser that washes off with high pressure water after all areas are carefully brushed, and then I use a sprayer that I connect to my air compressor to spray it down with soapy water and again brush out all passages and bores. Then it gets washed off with a high pressure hose nozzle that fits into the oil galleries. I run it through both directions to be sure. Before starting to wash the block, I have some oil (I actually use ATF most of the time) to wipe down the cylinder walls, lifter bores and main saddles as soon as I dry them, since they flash rust pretty quickly in the desert environment that I live in.

After the block is washed and allowed to dry I mask the block to paint and still allow a clean surface for gaskets. I cover the block with Duplicolor primer which is compatible to the Duplicolor engine enamel that I use. The paint has ceramic in it, and dries to a very nice shine that almost looks wet.

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Once the masking materials are removed, one of the first things to do on a Gen 5/6 block is to put the 1/8" pipe plugs into the ports in the valley. Not a bad idea to put in the ones that are behind the cam gear now, but I usually have that in my routine later as two of those get drilled for timing chain oiling.

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Next I usually install the cam bearings. I do that myself to insure they are put in carefully and correctly, and it also allows me to make sure the passages are very clean when I wash the block. The Gen 5/6 blocks use the same cam bearing set at as a MK IV block, but the oil holes must be positioned differently. Here I line them up from the front of the block and mark them with a sharpie. The alignment of the front one is more critical as there is only a single hole feeding the bearing. Numbers 2-4 have slots that allow more latitude in alignment, but I try to set them in similar positions. The rear main has a slot that circles the entire bearing. With a MK IV block I can verify the proper alignment of the oil hole in the bearing with a light, with the Gen 5/6 block I use a wire or a scribe with a 90 bend on the end to make sure the hole does get fed from the passage. I always wash the cam in the solvent tank, dry it and then test fit to make sure there is not an issue before proceeding. The Gen 5 blocks were originally flat tappet engines, but the blocks were machined to accept camshaft retaining plates that limit cam travel, or "thrust". Always a good idea to keep ignition timing stable as moving the cam will move the distributor. Cam thrust was measured at .003 on this engine. Also note in the photo that I have drilled the two 1/4" pipe plugs with .040" holes to help oil the timing chain. Oil serves two purposes in an engine, to lubricate and cool, so likely these oilers may extend the life of the timing chain.

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That stuff being done, it's time to measure bearing clearance. First I measure and record the crankshaft journal sizes on a piece of paper using a micrometer that reads down to .0001" (1/10,000"). Then the mic is set up carefully in a small vise so I can adjust a dial bore gauge to zero with the size of the journal. Main bearings of the correct type and size are set into the block and caps and torqued to the proper value. Then using the dial bore gauge the bearing clearance can be read and recorded. Normally the tightest point is at 90 degrees to the parting lines of the cap and block, but the dial bore gauge can be rotated to verify that fact. If the clearance is not what I am looking for (generally .0027" to .0032" for a big block Chevy), I can use different main bearings as they come in .001, .002 and X (extra clearance), including using two different shells that are .0005" different to get what I want. Many times a new crankshaft will be slightly on the "fat" side and require the extra clearance bearings. Once I am happy with the numbers, I use an electric engraver to mark the back of the shell so it can be cleaned in the solvent tank and go back to the same exact location.

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The same procedure follows for the connecting rod bearings. The rods get held in a special aluminum rod vise to prevent damage, and torque applied to the bolts with proper torque and lube as specified. In this case, 63 ft lbs with ARP lube. Bearings measured in the same fashion as the mains, looking for about .0025" to .003" clearance. .003" is the thickness of a sheet of normal paper, but of course we are splitting that in half and looking at about .0015" all the way around the crank.

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Next in order is to fit the rings to the bores. I have an older Childs and Albert ring machine that has been serving me for a lot of years. I think there may be some better ones available now, but mine works great for me. Of course you can buy and use one of the less expensive hand crank manual ones as well, I still have one I started with before getting the electric one. Most sets of rings with come with what they suggest for minimum ring gap for varying types of usage. Marine usually means more than a street type gap, and forced induction even more yet. In this case using a .0055 multiplier supplied by the ring maker times the 4.280 bore, the result is .02345". Rounding up would give .024", but I added .001" to give a ring gap of .025". Remember, it's a minimum suggestion, and this is a heavy 32' boat these engines will go into. The rings get carefully put into the cylinder bore, then squared up with a tool designed to do that. Ring gap is checked with feeler gauges, I usually have two of them out when I am doing this to cover a range from smaller to my intended final gap. Any burrs are removed from the cut end of the ring with a small file or stone, then the rings need to get washed off in the solvent tank.

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obnoxious001

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At this point I normally carefully wash the crankshaft, running a brush through all the oil passages, watching carefully for any dirt or debris that may come out. I let some of the solvent drip off the crank prior to blowing it off with air. Then I use a white paper towel with some brake cleaner on it to check all the crank journals for any remaining sign of dirt. The white paper towel will show dirt easily, and in my experience not leave as much lint on parts as cloth rags. First time I saw an Oberg filter opened on the dyno with rag filaments, I decided on using white paper. If a piece comes off the towel, it's much easier to spot and blow off or out of a part. The measured main bearings also get washed and blown off with air. These engines have one piece rear main seals so I put some bearing lube on the surface that contacts the crankshaft. Then I brush on some Gasgacinch on the outside surface that contacts the block, as well as putting some on the block and rear main cap. The upper main bearings get laid into the bearing saddles in the block, paying careful attention to the locating tabs and oil holes. The the bearings get a liberal amount of the bearing lube. Gen 5 and Gen 6 blocks have a provision for an 0-ring around the oil passage that goes through the main cap, so I always put one in the groove with a little oil on it to help prevent it getting pinched. At this point the crankshaft can be laid into the block, and the rear main cap with the rear main bearing installed in it can be set in position. The 4 main bolts get threaded into the block with lubrication on the threads and under the head of the bolt. I run them in loosely, and then set up a dial bore gauge on the front of the block so I can measure the crankshaft thrust (end play). Preferred for BBC is .005"-.007". Sometimes everything falls into place, sometimes there is more of a struggle, using a screwdriver to move the crank back and forth, snug the rear cap and check again. In extreme cases where the clearance is too tight, the rear main bearing thrust surface(s) can be sanded carefully on a very flat surface. That's sort of another story in itself, and obviously the bearings aside from being kept flat, have to be super clean to go back into the block for another check. Maybe not something for the average back yard builder to do. Once proper thrust is confirmed the rear cap can be torqued down and a final check of the thrust measurement to make sure it didn't shift. If all is well, the other 4 main caps can be put in place, once again being certain of the bearings all being "lowers", and locating tabs in the correct location, and arrows on the caps pointing to the front of the block. The Gen 5/6 blocks have a prominent triangle on them used as the arrow, and normally the number is stamped in them. When you go to tear one apart to send to the shop, make sure the numbers are visible prior to removing them from the block so they will stay in the correct position. After torquing all of the main caps, it's a good idea to make sure the crankshaft still spins freely. The assembly lube is thick and adds some drag over conventional oil, but will stay in place until the engine is oil primed and fired up, so you really just need to feel that it turns 360 degrees without any force.

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Now the pistons get assembled onto the rods. I rub bearing lube on the pin bushings in the rod, and use good Penn Grade engine oil in the pin holes in the piston, as well as rubbing a little on the wrist pin. Every moving part must be lubricated during assembly so there is no dry metal contact on fire up. The rings are carefully installed onto the pistons, oil rings first, 2nd ring and top ring. While I did check oil ring end gap, it's usually looser than necessary (still check it!), so I don't number them, but 2nd and top rings had numbers engraved on them when they were file fit so they go into the cylinder they were checked in. Theoretically all eight cylinder bores will be perfectly the same, but I feel it's good practice to do it this way. When installing the 2nd and top rings onto the pistons, make sure the correct side is facing upwards. I always engrave the cylinder number on the upper side. Then once all the rings are on the pistons, double check to make sure they are all facing the proper direction.

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While finishing preparing the pistons and rods to go into the block, I use my squirt can of the green oil to put more on the wrist pins and move the rod around to help insure it's everywhere. Then the rod bearings get set into the rods. They also have been numbered when they were measured, not just to keep them on the correct rod, but in the correct engine since I was building two simultaneously. Narrowed or chamfered bearings need to be inspected as there is an upper and a lower. They are marked on the back of the bearing. They get carefully seated into the connecting rod and cap. Bearing lube will be applied to both halves. The rod bolts also need to be lubricated, Eagle specifies 63 ft lbs torque with ARP lube.

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Prior to putting the pistons into the block, each cylinder gets cleaned multiple times until a white paper towel comes out white, no dirt showing. This is important because when the block is honed, there is a certain amount of dirt and grit that will be trapped in the cross hatch pattern. No sense promoting premature wear on the rings, piston skirts and cylinder walls, so make sure they are clean! I normally start off with ATF, wipe with brake cleaner sprayed on one of my white paper towels, and repeat. I will switch off sometimes and use Marvel Mystery Oil, it has some great cleaning agents in it as well. When I get real close to clean, I switch up to the Akerly and Childs assembly oil that I use on the pistons and piston rings.

OK, so the rings and bearings are in place on the correct rods, it's time to get them into the cylinders. I arrange the pistons and rods on the bench, odd side (1-7) closer to me, and the even (2-8) on the back of the bench, since I always start with #1. I purchase exact size taper bore piston installers for all the popular big block sizes I use, and have a couple of adjustable tools for odd size bores like 4.320" or 4.290" The tool gets cleaned and lubricated. Using a crankshaft turning socket on a breaker bar I rotate the crankshaft so #1 is at the bottom of it's stroke. Actually, before I put it in position I squirt the Penn Grade oil on all rod journals even though there is bearing lube on the rod bearings. The block is set in the engine stand with the odd bank perpendicular to the floor, so the rod is basically dropping straight in rather than dragging on the cylinder wall. I pick up #1 rod and piston and look it all over, making sure the rod is oriented the correct direction (I've already done that a couple of times earlier). I also double check rings, then put some of the Akerly and Childs oil on the piston and rings, and rotate the rings the way I want them placed. My understanding is the gaps will migrate around, but I want to not start them aligned with each other. The rings should compress easily and slide into the tapered tool, if not, figure out why before you try to beat them through it with a hammer. Once the tool is squared up on the piston, hold it over the #1 cylinder and line up the rod perpendicular to the crankshaft, and carefully start the skirts into the block. With the ring compressor flush to the block, I use the handle of a dead blow hammer to tap the piston into the cylinder. Any hang ups, stop and figure out what's wrong! There is a little trick I learned over the years to bias the hammer to the exhaust side of the piston (away from the intake valve relief). This helps prevent the connecting rod from touching the crankshaft counter weight. Once the piston rings are all in the block and free of the installation tool, I go ahead and reach my hand underneath and locate and guide the rod so it can't hit the crankshaft until the bearing seats. The correct #1 cap gets put in place and bolts pulled up just snug. The remaining 7 get put in the same way, rotating the crankshaft to orient the rod pin down at the bottom of the stroke, and of course move the block 90 degrees to to the even side. When I get #8 into the block, I flip it upside down, install the #8 cap carefully, and then torque all to spec, and I hit them a 2nd time to make sure I didn't miss any or mess up. Then rod size clearance gets checked for all four pairs. .022" suggested minimum, most of the time it comes up a bit more. If it's a bunch more I would get worried.

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While I have the block upside down, I go ahead and tap a 20mm expansion plug into the oil bypass hole. The center bypass is left open since that one feeds the passage to the remote oil cooler ports used in an automotive application. It would be desirable to have larger ports for any marine remote engine oil coolers, and making the oil travel that extra path when returning from the oil filter is also unnecessary. You can, of course, elect to not use the expansion plug and run one of the factory GM bypass valves if you wish.

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Next step, install the timing chain and degree the cam. I bought a pair of Isky hydraulic roller cams. People get confused lining up the dots on the top and bottom gears when installing the chain. Clearly it's easier to see them align if the top gear has the mark at the 6 O'clock position, near the bottom gear mark that is at the 12 O'clock position, but the cam timing is also correct if the top gear is also placed at 12 O'clock since the cam gear rotates twice for each rotation of the crank gear. I put the top gear on with two bolts snug since I assume it will get pulled off to make adjustments, and it will remind me that I need to remove them to add loctite and torque to final 25 ft lbs. If you look closely, you can see I am using the 2 degree advance keyway in the gear, and have used a silver sharpie to mark the 2 degree spot that is now used instead of the dot to align the two gears. The degree wheel gets slipped onto the crank snout, and the "pointer" bolt put into place. The wheel should be close to zero, but gets checked on every engine. A dial indicator on a bridge over the piston is used, and about .010" past TDC in either direction the degree wheel is checked. If the number is not the same, then the wheel gets moved half the difference and checked again to verify TDC. It's not possible to just stop the piston at a zero point on the dial indicator with eyeball accuracy, so this is a necessary step IMG_20220525_113219705_HDR (2).jpg

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At that point I turn the crankshaft to bring #1 intake lobe up to a full open position. I have a special cam checking dial indicator I do this with. Once again, it's not possible to just "eyeball" the full open position accurately, so it's important to go perhaps .020" either side of what you deem to be full open and record the number on the degree wheel. The particular cam was custom ground on a 114 lobe separation angle for me. The numbers on the degree wheel I think were 132 and 90. Adding those together you get 222 degrees, divide by two and the lobe center is at 111 degrees, so it's 3 degrees advanced. I normally set a cam 2-4 degrees advanced with anything my usual cam grinder does for me (that explains why I started with the crank degree 2 degrees advanced), so this is where I want it and I can go ahead and loctite the cam gear bolts. On a race build you may want to use the degree wheel to check all the valve events, and in extreme cases guys will check each lobe. At this point the timing cover can get bolted on. I use Gasgacinch on the timing cover gasket, it does not let me down.

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The timing cover can be bolted on now. The new aluminum Gen 5 covers I bought for the engines came with no seals installed, so they get pressed into place with a plate and a small bearing press. Depending on what seals you are using, it may be possible to tap one in with a hammer, but many times you will mangle the seal.

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Next I roll the block back over to work on oil pump and windage tray. My go to oil pump is usually the Melling M77HV(high volume) I disassemble the oil pumps to look for any issues, and especially check the bypass plunger for free travel, as I have seen a couple of brand new pumps on other peoples' builds that had issues, either sticking open or closed, so pressure would be either low or high. That being done I put a bit of Marvel Mystery Oil on the plunger, put the spring back in place and push the retaining roll pin back into the pump. Then I use a punch to sort of stake the pin in place, don't want that thing to ever come out! The gears of the pump get a little oil on them and the pump reassembled. I put the oil pump drive shaft into the block, and install the pump onto the rear main cap with a tiny bit of the Gasgacinch on pump and cap surface, and set it into place. A little oil on the oil pump bolt threads and under the head, and it gets snugged and torqued once it's been checked to make sure the oil pump drive is not bound and turns freely with the pump. I do this with a small screw driver to make sure the pump and drive shaft rotate as a unit. Torque to 55 ft lbs. I purposely waited to tighten the oil pump cover until it was on the block so I didn't have to stick it in a vice. The 5 small (usually metric) bolts get red loctite and 8 ft lbs of torque, double checked as usual. Gently in a "star" pattern a few times around to make sure they are all good. Tiny bolts, don't want to break the things, but can't have them coming lose either!

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Now the windage tray can be fitted onto the studs. Since the crank stroke as been increased from 4" to 4.25", it's important to make sure the rods don't hit the tray. Once verified, the locking nuts are put in place, also using a small dab of red loctite. Yes I know I said "locking nuts", I also know I don't want them coming off.

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obnoxious001

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We've retained the Merc 8 quart pans on these engines. I had one reasonably priced 10 quart pan here, but with the parts shortage, was not able to find a 2nd one to match it. Oil pump pickups were cut from the original oil pumps and tig welded to the new pumps after measuring and setting depth. A straight edge across the pan, and then across the oil pump pickup helps to do this. Subtract pick up depth from pan depth, don't forget to add gasket thickness. Here 8 3/4 pan depth, less 8 1/2 inch pick up depth, plus 1/8 inch for gasket thickness, 3/8" clearance. This was mocked up previously so I could get the pumps TIG welded. I use a one piece pan gasket from Moroso that has proven to work much better than the blue Fel Pro ones. Tiny dab of silicone top and bottom of all 4 corners is all that's needed, and they don't leak. Fel Pro tends to push the front seal out. If you try to silicone it in place, the problem becomes worse.

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Next the harmonic damper can be installed using the proper tool (no hammers!). I lubricated the front timing cover seal before bolting the cover on, and will also apply a bit of oil to the damper, both inside and out. I did not mention earlier that I had installed woodruff keys into the new crankshaft, but that is something that had to be done prior to the timing sprocket, and of course the damper rides on one so it won't spin. The damper gets pushed onto the crank with a proper tool, and the crank bolt installed and torqued to 95 ft lbs. Now a mark has to be made on the new timing cover to show TDC. The procedure is the same as finding true TDC on the degree wheel. Note that the heads are still off so it's easy to see when #1 piston is close to TDC, but the dial indicator must be used for accuracy. Moving the crankshaft so the dial indicator is about .010" past TDC in one direction, a sharpie is used to mark the timing cover. Moving the crank back the other way to .010" before TDC, another mark is made on the cover. I measure the distance between the two marks with my dial calipers, divide by two and set the calipers to make a mark where "zero" is on the cover. Once I look it over and make sure I am satisfied that it's correct, I use a small chisel to make a permanent mark in the timing cover.

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Now we can move on to the cylinder heads. I explained above why we chose what we did, even though it also meant having to buy new intake manifolds. The heads came bare, which is what I usually prefer anyway so I can select which components will work with a given build/camshaft combination. Even though they are brand new, they get inspected and cleaned. I used Ferrea severe duty intake valves, and their "Super Alloy" exhaust valves since it is a forced induction application, they were designed for the turbo Mercedes engines, and are able to handle high heat. The valves get lapped to the valve seats to assure the valve job matches up, and that the valve not only makes contact 360 degrees on the seat, but that the contact patch is in the correct location on the valve. Lengths for the valves were confirmed with Brodix for our hydraulic roller cam application, and I chose valve springs that would be in the range that I wanted for seat and open pressure. Proper valve spring locators need to be used, either internal or external diameter so the spring does not move all over the place. Springs get tested on my Rimac spring tester and a decision can be made at that point what the installed height should be. The spring locators, retainers and locks are laid out by their respective valves and measured for shims, so they all are within about .005" of the same installed height. Common shim sizes are .015", .030", and .060", but I measure them all with calipers and sort if they are not exact. I also usually have a few sort of oddball, in between sizes that help me make the installed heights pretty uniform across both heads. Once measured and shims sizes for each spring are selected, the valves get removed and lubricated (I use bearing lube since it's sticky and should be there until the engine gets fresh oil up there). New valve stem seals are carefully installed onto the valve guides, and the valves put back into the heads. The appropriate shims, locators, springs and retainers are positioned over the valve, and I use a pneumatic valve spring compressor to compress the spring and allow the valve locks to be slipped into position before the air pressure is released. Assembly goes fairly easily and the new heads are ready to be bolted onto the block.

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Now I will take a few steps backwards and mention that I previously mocked up one head on the block with a head gasket, and an intake and exhaust valve held in place with "soft" springs so that I could measure for proper push rod length. I only use about 4 head bolts to secure the head..Rocker studs and a push rod guide plate and one of the new lifters are also used along with adjustable push rods. Since the heads are aluminum, I bolt a steel plate on the head to mount a dial indicator. The camshaft gets rotated to where the base circle, or the smallest part of the cam is lined up with the lifter. With the adjustable push rod in place, set at a starting length I base on an "experienced guesstimate", I can position a rocker arm on the stud and screw the adjusting nut down to "zero lash", no free play. The dial indicator gets set on the valve spring retainer, and set to zero. Now the engine is turned watching the indicator to half the valve lift, or "mid lift". In this case the intake lift is .552, so .276" is mid lift. The exhaust is slightly different on this cam, .578", so .289" on the exhaust valve is where it gets checked. A line can be drawn on one of the rocker arms, or just a straight edge used to make an imaginary line between the center of the trunion bearing and the center of the roller tip. That line should end up parallel to the top of the valve spring retainer. Changing the adjustable push rod length should allow you to do that, even if you have to remove the rocker, make an adjustment, and go back and start from the base circle again to make sure it's correct. The other thing you would like to see is minimal sweep of the roller across the valve tip. I put light oil on the roller, and sharpie on the valve tip to check that and verify that I am happy with push rod length. In this case I did all this prior to assembly so push rods could be ordered and arrive in time to be able to complete the engine.

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If you squint a bit, you can pretend you don't realize this is a different engine, but I wanted to show the rocker in a mid lift position, and you can see the other adjustable pushrod in front of it for the exhaust valve. I don't have a line marked on it, but from this angle it looks like the pushrod needs to be longer to get the axis of the two bearings parallel to the valve spring retainer, maybe just the angle of the photo, I know it would have been correct before I ordered pushrods for the engine.

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Back to where we were, the surface of the heads gets wiped clean, white paper towels and brake cleaner. Same with the surface of the block. The 4 cylinder head dowels get tapped into the block if that was not previously done, and the Fel Pro 17042 marine MLS head gaskets (Gen 5 specific I believe) set into place. I opted to use the "marine" gasket as it is a fair amount less money, still MLS construction, and low boost was planned. One at a time the heads get set in place on the block, and immediately at least one head bolt put into place loosely so the head would not fall off if the stand happens to rotate for any reason. The new head bolts (nope, not ARP in this case) came with thread sealer on them, which is necessary for these Gen 5 blocks, but I chose to add on a coat of my usual sealer as well. Many years ago I sat in the plumbing department at Home Depot and read all the pipe thread sealer labels and chose Rector Seal 5 due to it's stated properties, and it has always worked well. I also put a little engine oil under the head of each bolt. I am in the habit of inserting the bolts in the order of the torque sequence, and running them down with a speed handle to pull the head down to the gasket and limit how much of the thread sealer oozes around. Once the bolts are all loosely snugged that way, I go around the pattern one more time, staying under the starting torque value of the bolts. Then I use the torque wrench and go through the pattern three times, stepping up the torque each time to the final value, in this case I went 50 ft lbs, 63 ft lbs, and 75 ft lbs. After the last pass I go across them a final time at 75 ft lbs to make sure nothing got missed or there are no issues.

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Prior to putting the heads on I had put a little oil in each lifter bore, rubbed around with my finger to get all sides. Nice to not scratch up new parts. Bearing lube gets put on the roller tips, and as the lifters are slid into place, engine oil is squirted around them and they are checked for freedom of up and down motion. Once they are in place, more engine oil, including some on the top where the push rod seats, and all the tie bars, and some on the camshaft.

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Push rod guide plates are held in place with the rocker arm studs, and the intake studs go into the intake runners in the heads, so require sealer, yep, more Rector Seal. The exhaust studs only require a bit of oil. I think it best to position the guide plates in place without tightening the studs until a rocker arm can be set in place to check alignment on the valve tip, since there is some range of motion in the guide plates before they get tightened down. After they are all lined up and snugged, the rocker studs get torqued down. Depending on whose heads you use, they may recommend a different value, but I think I went 50 ft lbs on these.

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obnoxious001

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Now the new push rods get cleaned out in the solvent tank, and blown out, both directions to make sure there is nothing left inside them. They can be positioned in the lifters now, remember we already oiled the tops of the lifters. I used USA made Scorpion rocker arms for these engines, they have served well in everything that I have used them in, and once again USA made. I put some assembly lube in the push rod cup of the lifter, and on the tips of the valves. Note that two of the Scorpion lifters have a corner with a radius, meant to help clear the valve cover. Those go on the intake valves on #1 and #8. Other brands you may need to sand the rocker arm carefully, keeping metal out of the moving parts. I set the rockers on the studs, apply oil to each stud with the oil can and thread the adjusting nuts down to the rocker. I didn't mention, but it's very important to keep the flat side of the trunion facing up on install, so the adjusting nut has a flat surface to rest on.

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I am to the point where the valves get adjusted so the intake can be bolted on. Valve adjustment is best done before bolting on the intake manifold since it's easy to put two fingers on the push rod and turn it while adjusting, so you can feel with zero lash is achieved, as the push rod stops turning freely. It's also easy to see the lifters as they start to move. I have used a short travel hydraulic roller lifter that was selected for performance characteristics. The plunger has only about .075" travel, so they only get about 1/4 turn preload. The intake valves get adjusted as the exhaust valve just starts to open, that make sure the lifter is on the base circle of the cam. Running through the firing order means less rotations on the brand new engine, so I go through the order for the intakes, then it's time to go through and adjust the exhaust valves. The exhaust valves get adjusted just as the intake valve starts to close, or as the tip of the intake rocker starts to come back up. A good indicator that they are pretty even is to sight along the top of the adjuster nuts when you are done, they should be in line. Then I will go ahead and put more of the Penn Grade oil on the lifters and cam. Yeah, I lied a little bit, on one of the two engines I put the oil in the valley prior to putting the heads on.

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Once the valves are adjusted, I bring #1 back to about 20 degrees before TDC. That's where I like to drop a distributor for easy fire up! Both intake and exhaust rockers should have a little play in them, and it's also possible as the engine is rotated to it's final position to use a finger over the spark plug hole to feel air being pushed out during the compression stroke. The spark plugs can be gapped and installed any time now, as the engine will no longer need to be turned over until time to fire it up. With a conventional ignition I gap them at .035" In this case I chose NGK 5671-8 plugs for the lake use forced induction engines.

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Getting close to completion. The intake manifold gets test fit prior to putting any sealers on the gaskets. Proper port alignment is checked, as well as making sure the bolt holes will line up. It's a good time to also see how much silicone will be needed for the end seals on the block. Not enough, it will leak, too much gets ugly and messy, and may have some blobs circulating in the engine until they get stuck against the oil pump pick up screen. Then I prepare the gaskets by coating them with Gasgacinch around the intake ports, and Aviation Permatex around the water passages. Both the cylinder heads and intake manifold also get those same sealers on them. The Gasgacinch is supposed to be dry to the touch when you mate the parts. Tiny dab of silicone under each corner of the intake gaskets when they get set on the heads, then the top of the intake gasket can get sealers applied. Finally a neat bead of silicone gets run on front and rear surfaces of the block and the intake set carefully in place to not make a mess of it all! Bolts need to have thread sealer on them as the holes in the heads are not blind, and crankcase pressure can cause oil leaks. Torque to spec following the torque pattern GM recommends. As with everything else, I go through the pattern a few times, and then come back and hit them again after they sit overnight, as the gasket will have compressed some.

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I use a grey silicone valve cover gasket that is similar to what GM sells (or sold?), obviously tightening bolts carefully and evenly however the valve covers were not here until the engines were picked up.

I don't think I have photos of the distributors being dropped into place, they got dropped in when the customer was here, partially so I could show him how since the engines would need to be oil primed prior to the first fire up. I mentioned before I like to drop them in with the crank about 20 degrees advanced. Better starting and less heat put through the exhaust until you can get the timing properly set. In this case he mounted the carbs, Prochargers and all other accessories prior to putting them in the boat himself. The boat was running 4th of July weekend, and I understand no leaks and plenty of power!

The finished long blocks!

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sintax

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Woah that’s killer Barry!

I can’t wait to read this tomorrow morning with my coffee, I’m actually super stoked.

And after I read this, I’ll start taking some orders on engine builds! :)
 

Outdrive1

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Very nice write up Barry. Nice work as usual.
 

obnoxious001

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Woah that’s killer Barry!

I can’t wait to read this tomorrow morning with my coffee, I’m actually super stoked.

And after I read this, I’ll start taking some orders on engine builds! :)
Better get some deposits so you can buy all the special tools you will need!
 

lenmann

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Great write up Barry, and I learned a ton. Your attention to detail and methodical approach are impressive. I now better understand the effort it takes to build a motor correctly and why, if done correctly, its not cheap.

A couple of questions:

1. How do you think about and determine valve to piston clearances?

2. Can you share some more detail on the pulling the distributor, oil pumping, and reinstalling the distributor process? I need to do this on my project in the couple of weeks and would prefer not to screw it up.

Thanks again for a great write up. I do understand how much work it is and in my view you nailed it on this one.
 

obnoxious001

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Great write up Barry, and I learned a ton. Your attention to detail and methodical approach are impressive. I now better understand the effort it takes to build a motor correctly and why, if done correctly, its not cheap.

A couple of questions:

1. How do you think about and determine valve to piston clearances?

2. Can you share some more detail on the pulling the distributor, oil pumping, and reinstalling the distributor process? I need to do this on my project in the couple of weeks and would prefer not to screw it up.

Thanks again for a great write up. I do understand how much work it is and in my view you nailed it on this one.
Yes, of course valve to piston clearance is super important, but in this case with the lift of the hydraulic roller cam being .578" I knew it would not come close. Something closer to .700" lift and I would check it carefully. This is based on many years of putting them together.

Has the engine run before? I would bring the engine to about 20 degrees before TDC, as I had mentioned in the write up, verifying that you are on compression stroke. If it was previously run and timed, you can mark the distributor and intake so the housing can go back in the same spot. Pull the cap off and make a mark on the distributor where the rotor is pointing (hint: it should be towards #1 plug wire). Then you can pull it out, run the oil priming tool assuming all oil passages plugged, hopefully with a gauge attached. Once you prime the pump, you simply replace the distributor how it was, and when you fire the engine set timing to where you want it.
 

lenmann

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Yes, of course valve to piston clearance is super important, but in this case with the lift of the hydraulic roller cam being .578" I knew it would not come close. Something closer to .700" lift and I would check it carefully. This is based on many years of putting them together.

Has the engine run before? I would bring the engine to about 20 degrees before TDC, as I had mentioned in the write up, verifying that you are on compression stroke. If it was previously run and timed, you can mark the distributor and intake so the housing can go back in the same spot. Pull the cap off and make a mark on the distributor where the rotor is pointing (hint: it should be towards #1 plug wire). Then you can pull it out, run the oil priming tool assuming all oil passages plugged, hopefully with a gauge attached. Once you prime the pump, you simply replace the distributor how it was, and when you fire the engine set timing to where you want it.
Yes, motor was run in on a dyno and final timing was set then. It was a couple of years ago though, so I want to make sure everything is oiled up good prior to start up. Thanks for the detailed process.

Also, thanks again for the knowledge you share here, not everyone is as generous, and I know many of us appreciate it.
 

sintax

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ok, finally got some time to work my way through it, i really enjoyed the detail and you taking the time to walk us through everything.
 

Ladsm

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I use all the same assembly sealants and never have leak issues. That Aviation form a gasket is wicked stuff and impossible to get off the fingers or clothes.
 

rivermobster

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Wow...

You must have been working on putting this write up together for WEEKS!!!

That write up is a ton of work right there. Hours and hours of labor and proofing.

Hopefully this will give people a rough idea of why building an engine Correctly is more than a five minute job, time wise, and why its costly to have it done right.

I started on a 540 build write up when I was at Mike's, and barely got past taking all the pictures.

I took a ton of pics on my BIL's build too, but never found the time to write it all up.

You truly can't appreciate how much work this is, until you've tried to do it yourself.

Hopefully @RiverDave will buy you a beer or two for the effort.

Outstanding job on this. Well done!

👏👏👏
 

Roosky01

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What an impressive thread! After reading this a couple of times, I am still sure I'm not talented enough to tackle this and it's better left to the professionals.

Did you forget to add the part where you show all the misc. bolts/fasteners left over at the end or did I miss it?
 

SoCalZero

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Thanks for posting Barry. Thanks for always taking the time to share your knowledge with all of us here on RDP. Whenever someone has a technical question or needs advice, you are there and take the time to share. Thank you.
 

obnoxious001

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Wow...

You must have been working on putting this write up together for WEEKS!!!

That write up is a ton of work right there. Hours and hours of labor and proofing.

Hopefully this will give people a rough idea of why building an engine Correctly is more than a five minute job, time wise, and why its costly to have it done right.

I started on a 540 build write up when I was at Mike's, and barely got past taking all the pictures.

I took a ton of pics on my BIL's build too, but never found the time to write it all up.

You truly can't appreciate how much work this is, until you've tried to do it yourself.

Hopefully @RiverDave will buy you a beer or two for the effort.

Outstanding job on this. Well done!

👏👏👏
Joe, thanks for recognizing the effort I put into it. I guess it's been 10 years since I did anything close to this. I still see things I missed or could have presented differently.

I had to consult with Dave on this as the site gave me some problems (read that as "lost 3 pages of drafts I had put up". Rather than toss in the towel I asked Dave for help with how I wanted one continuous read before others commented, as you can see it too 4 posts to get all the text and photos in, so thanks to Dave I went ahead and did it all over again rather than just saying "F it" After all, I mentioned a few weeks ago I planned to write this up, the engines were done and running his boat by 4th of July weekend, and his feedback to me has been great.

I guess the engines and article were worth the effort put forth.
 

obnoxious001

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What an impressive thread! After reading this a couple of times, I am still sure I'm not talented enough to tackle this and it's better left to the professionals.

Did you forget to add the part where you show all the misc. bolts/fasteners left over at the end or did I miss it?
Those just go in the trash can when no one is looking.

Everything for this pair of engines was new except the block and oil pan. Main bolts were reused, but all external bolts were stainless steel purchased for this project.
 

obnoxious001

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WOW!! Great job Barry. I wish you would have done that on my 632 you built... LOL
I have photos from yours, but apparently you didn't pay your subscription fee? A 1969 Camaro is a great car, but it's not a boat, and we both know that thing has plenty of power to roast the tires off of it!
 

obnoxious001

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Yes, motor was run in on a dyno and final timing was set then. It was a couple of years ago though, so I want to make sure everything is oiled up good prior to start up. Thanks for the detailed process.

Also, thanks again for the knowledge you share here, not everyone is as generous, and I know many of us appreciate it.
I was in a hurry this morning as I had a friend bringing a boat for some help, but I left out that you probably want to see which way the oil pump drive is oriented when you pull the distributor, and after you oil prime put it back in the same clock direction, so that hopefully the distributor will drop right onto it.
 

rivermobster

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Joe, thanks for recognizing the effort I put into it. I guess it's been 10 years since I did anything close to this. I still see things I missed or could have presented differently.

I had to consult with Dave on this as the site gave me some problems (read that as "lost 3 pages of drafts I had put up". Rather than toss in the towel I asked Dave for help with how I wanted one continuous read before others commented, as you can see it too 4 posts to get all the text and photos in, so thanks to Dave I went ahead and did it all over again rather than just saying "F it" After all, I mentioned a few weeks ago I planned to write this up, the engines were done and running his boat by 4th of July weekend, and his feedback to me has been great.

I guess the engines and article were worth the effort put forth.

On some big write ups I've done in the past, I'll do em in something like MS Word first. Then copy and paste when done.

It's a tremendous amount of work. Nothing worse than seeing your efforts just disappear!!!

This site is Really good about saving drafts. But shit happens no matter what.

Cuddos to you for staying the course. 👍🏼
 

obnoxious001

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On some big write ups I've done in the past, I'll do em in something like MS Word first. Then copy and paste when done.

It's a tremendous amount of work. Nothing worse than seeing your efforts just disappear!!!

This site is Really good about saving drafts. But shit happens no matter what.

Cuddos to you for staying the course. 👍🏼

I was trying to save drafts multiple days, with photos in place. No Bueno, that's why I originally called Dave to find out how long they would stay. Because of length and number of photos, I had to break it into 3 sections, so had drafts in three different headings, plus the original complete text in another.

MS Word was locking my computer up after a paragraph or two max, so I gave up on it and did not download another word processor just to do this project, actually put it all in the body of an email.

Thanks for the thumbs up!
 

ltbaney1

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Thank you very much for taking the time to write that out and document what you do! I skimmed it once and actually read it twice and enjoyed it.
 

bocco

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Wow, that was an excellent read. Like others, I do plan to re read it a few times. I may never actually do this but I love learning about it. Right down to the details about push rod length.

Great photography also.

I did a valve job on my 500hp over the winter and it blows me away the difference in port sizes from the heads that you use. My 088 Chevy heads have huge ports compared to a lot of the newer designs.

Can you add some detail on those valve guides?

And finally, just curious what your opinion is the valve adjusting method of just snugging each valve at 90 degree turns. Then after 2 full crank turns you take them all down the recommended number of turns. 1/2 or 5/8 etc.

Thanks for the effort.
 

snowboat

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Thank you for the impressive write up. It's just in time for my new build. I'm glad to pick up some pointers.
 

obnoxious001

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Wow, that was an excellent read. Like others, I do plan to re read it a few times. I may never actually do this but I love learning about it. Right down to the details about push rod length.

Great photography also.

I did a valve job on my 500hp over the winter and it blows me away the difference in port sizes from the heads that you use. My 088 Chevy heads have huge ports compared to a lot of the newer designs.

Can you add some detail on those valve guides?

And finally, just curious what your opinion is the valve adjusting method of just snugging each valve at 90 degree turns. Then after 2 full crank turns you take them all down the recommended number of turns. 1/2 or 5/8 etc.

Thanks for the effort.

Photos were with my Motorola cell phone, hands need to be too clean to get the real camera out there, but thanks for the compliment. Photographer's eye type of thing I guess, been seriously into photography a good portion of my life now, including darkroom and studio work.

What specifically are you asking about the valve guides?

I prefer the method I mentioned for adjusting valves. I know some racer will do 4 at a time with only 90 degree turns, but this way is very precise, and very difficult to make a mistake if you don't allow yourself to get interrupted during the process. Done in firing order, it's only 4 revolutions.
 

025

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Now the new push rods get cleaned out in the solvent tank, and blown out, both directions to make sure there is nothing left inside them. They can be positioned in the lifters now, remember we already oiled the tops of the lifters. I used USA made Scorpion rocker arms for these engines, they have served well in everything that I have used them in, and once again USA made. I put some assembly lube in the push rod cup of the lifter, and on the tips of the valves. Note that two of the Scorpion lifters have a corner with a radius, meant to help clear the valve cover. Those go on the intake valves on #1 and #8. Other brands you may need to sand the rocker arm carefully, keeping metal out of the moving parts. I set the rockers on the studs, apply oil to each stud with the oil can and thread the adjusting nuts down to the rocker. I didn't mention, but it's very important to keep the flat side of the trunion facing up on install, so the adjusting nut has a flat surface to rest on.

View attachment 1145835

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I am to the point where the valves get adjusted so the intake can be bolted on. Valve adjustment is best done before bolting on the intake manifold since it's easy to put two fingers on the push rod and turn it while adjusting, so you can feel with zero lash is achieved, as the push rod stops turning freely. It's also easy to see the lifters as they start to move. I have used a short travel hydraulic roller lifter that was selected for performance characteristics. The plunger has only about .075" travel, so they only get about 1/4 turn preload. The intake valves get adjusted as the exhaust valve just starts to open, that make sure the lifter is on the base circle of the cam. Running through the firing order means less rotations on the brand new engine, so I go through the order for the intakes, then it's time to go through and adjust the exhaust valves. The exhaust valves get adjusted just as the intake valve starts to close, or as the tip of the intake rocker starts to come back up. A good indicator that they are pretty even is to sight along the top of the adjuster nuts when you are done, they should be in line. Then I will go ahead and put more of the Penn Grade oil on the lifters and cam. Yeah, I lied a little bit, on one of the two engines I put the oil in the valley prior to putting the heads on.

View attachment 1145840

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Once the valves are adjusted, I bring #1 back to about 20 degrees before TDC. That's where I like to drop a distributor for easy fire up! Both intake and exhaust rockers should have a little play in them, and it's also possible as the engine is rotated to it's final position to use a finger over the spark plug hole to feel air being pushed out during the compression stroke. The spark plugs can be gapped and installed any time now, as the engine will no longer need to be turned over until time to fire it up. With a conventional ignition I gap them at .035" In this case I chose NGK 5671-8 plugs for the lake use forced induction engines.

View attachment 1145849

Getting close to completion. The intake manifold gets test fit prior to putting any sealers on the gaskets. Proper port alignment is checked, as well as making sure the bolt holes will line up. It's a good time to also see how much silicone will be needed for the end seals on the block. Not enough, it will leak, too much gets ugly and messy, and may have some blobs circulating in the engine until they get stuck against the oil pump pick up screen. Then I prepare the gaskets by coating them with Gasgacinch around the intake ports, and Aviation Permatex around the water passages. Both the cylinder heads and intake manifold also get those same sealers on them. The Gasgacinch is supposed to be dry to the touch when you mate the parts. Tiny dab of silicone under each corner of the intake gaskets when they get set on the heads, then the top of the intake gasket can get sealers applied. Finally a neat bead of silicone gets run on front and rear surfaces of the block and the intake set carefully in place to not make a mess of it all! Bolts need to have thread sealer on them as the holes in the heads are not blind, and crankcase pressure can cause oil leaks. Torque to spec following the torque pattern GM recommends. As with everything else, I go through the pattern a few times, and then come back and hit them again after they sit overnight, as the gasket will have compressed some.

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I use a grey silicone valve cover gasket that is similar to what GM sells (or sold?), obviously tightening bolts carefully and evenly however the valve covers were not here until the engines were picked up.

I don't think I have photos of the distributors being dropped into place, they got dropped in when the customer was here, partially so I could show him how since the engines would need to be oil primed prior to the first fire up. I mentioned before I like to drop them in with the crank about 20 degrees advanced. Better starting and less heat put through the exhaust until you can get the timing properly set. In this case he mounted the carbs, Prochargers and all other accessories prior to putting them in the boat himself. The boat was running 4th of July weekend, and I understand no leaks and plenty of power!

The finished long blocks!

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I know it's a long read, hope people find it useful. Happy to answer any questions if I can. I see a few photos that didn't get taken, but this is fairly complete.
Barry, thank you for taking the time to write that. I watched years ago for part of the assembly of my turbo motor and was completely impressed by the attention to every detail, cleanliness and the methodical process. Btw, it has shown years later as it still runs awesome. When it gets refreshed it’ll be heading to you again. Great work!!! Matt
 

obnoxious001

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"Barry, thank you for taking the time to write that. I watched years ago for part of the assembly of my turbo motor and was completely impressed by the attention to every detail, cleanliness and the methodical process. Btw, it has shown years later as it still runs awesome. When it gets refreshed it’ll be heading to you again. Great work!!! Matt"

How many years is that now? When I sold my Schiada without the engine after about 6 years of racing and river use, my turbo engine was still basically perfect. When I sold the engine I pulled it apart and put rings and bearings in it, but they didn't need replacement. Glad to hear you are enjoying it, fun to see that you run it at the Arrowhead ski races.
 

bocco

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Photos were with my Motorola cell phone, hands need to be too clean to get the real camera out there, but thanks for the compliment. Photographer's eye type of thing I guess, been seriously into photography a good portion of my life now, including darkroom and studio work.

What specifically are you asking about the valve guides?

I prefer the method I mentioned for adjusting valves. I know some racer will do 4 at a time with only 90 degree turns, but this way is very precise, and very difficult to make a mistake if you don't allow yourself to get interrupted during the process. Done in firing order, it's only 4 revolutions.
Just curiuos what kind of valve guides those were. In one of the pictures they appeared to be threaded into the heads. Or threaded for seal?
 

obnoxious001

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Just curiuos what kind of valve guides those were. In one of the pictures they appeared to be threaded into the heads. Or threaded for seal?
That's a normal bronze guide that Brodix uses. Pretty sure most or all brands of aftermarket heads use a guide like that. They cut the guides in order to give the valve stem seal something to grip onto, in a sense like a fish hook barb, so the seal won't slip off. Early factory Chevy guides were cast iron, and when they were cut down for modern aftermarket seals, they would have a plain, smooth surface from the cutter.
 

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Great write up Barry! I appreciate the time you spent on this.

A couple questions...

Did you have the machine shop finish the bores with any additional clearance than a typical n/a marine build for the addition of the prochargers?

Same question about valve guide clearance

I see you used a comp fixed guideplate, how was the rocker alignment with the race rites?

What rpm did you plan for and how much spring pressure did you choose to go with?

Thank you sir!
 

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barry maybe as follow up, please explain the difference in your building of a marine engine as compared to an automotive engine......things like clearances, cam choice or different components entirely.

certainly enjoyed your detailed post👍👍👍
 

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Wow!

Thank you for taking a few weeks of your time to document from start to finish how to assemble a marine forced induction engine "Obnoxious" version!

Anyone who has assembled an engine completely and gone through the hundreds of steps in cleaning, measuring, assembling, rechecking, recleaning, then finally assembling knows what a labor of love this was!

I am sure I'll have more questions as I re-read it, but one thing popped out when you were lapping in the valves, for my preferences I would have wanted a slightly narrower seat and it's position on the valve lower on the face to help heat soak and thermal heat transfer cooling, do you find a wider seat closer to the top of the valve helps that with a boosted motor?

Once again, huge props on such a great article, I am sure many (myself included) will be using it as a bible reference when building my own projects!
 

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"Barry, thank you for taking the time to write that. I watched years ago for part of the assembly of my turbo motor and was completely impressed by the attention to every detail, cleanliness and the methodical process. Btw, it has shown years later as it still runs awesome. When it gets refreshed it’ll be heading to you again. Great work!!! Matt"

How many years is that now? When I sold my Schiada without the engine after about 6 years of racing and river use, my turbo engine was still basically perfect. When I sold the engine I pulled it apart and put rings and bearings in it, but they didn't need replacement. Glad to hear you are enjoying it, fun to see that you run it at the Arrowhead ski races.
It’s been a while, I lose track of time. You lived in Glendora then which means it’s been a while. Really fun to ski race with it. Should have one more this year I hope. Thanks again for taking the time to write that.
 

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Mr. Obler, you sir nailed it!! What a great outstanding write up you have provided all of us here. It's been 20+ years ago but I was fortunate enough to have a mentor show me the ins and outs of engine building. He built all classes of circle boat engines but was big in K boats and he built drag boat engines as well from blowen gas to top fuel and even campaigned his own blowen gas hydro. I spent so many nights in his garage (years) starting with tearing down engines for him, then he promoted me to block/parts washer and eventually after a couple years I was able to help assemble. This article you have produced here brought it all flooding back, I can almost smell the oil, what a great thing you have done here, seriously! Reading this tonight has gotten me more excited to build my new boat engine than I already was, and yes, I will be referring back to this write up (already printed it.......just in case something happens to RDP, naw that could never happen). My only hope is that maybe you are showing/teaching someone all the things you have learned as everyone knows we are not here forever, and this type of knowledge is priceless, the only thing better than this article is getting your hands oily and building one. The tingles you get from hearing your first engine fire up are the same as the 10th.......at least for me it was. Thanks again Barry, I can't imagine the effort this took, not just wiping your hands off to take pictures but just remembering to take the pictures while assembling! Kudos!!
 

Roosky01

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Do you have a standard checklist that you follow during the build where you document and record every step and pass it on to the customer that you are building for?
 

obnoxious001

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Great write up Barry! I appreciate the time you spent on this.

A couple questions...

Did you have the machine shop finish the bores with any additional clearance than a typical n/a marine build for the addition of the prochargers?

Same question about valve guide clearance

I see you used a comp fixed guideplate, how was the rocker alignment with the race rites?

What rpm did you plan for and how much spring pressure did you choose to go with?

Thank you sir!
Racetec custom makes pistons to your specified bore size, including any additional piston to wall clearance needed for a given application, marine, forced induction, race, etc. @RaceTec would still tell you to have the pistons made prior to final hone, but I find them to be very accurate.

I check valve guide clearance and can hone if required.

The Comp guide plates worked well here, and have seen them be a better fit than some other brands on other heads as well. I do have a set or two of adjustable push rod guide plates on the shelf if necessary. Many years ago we would use a large drift punch to adjust the guide plate, and often they would crack and need to be TIG welded to be able to use them on the engine.

Springs would be about 150 lbs on the seat and 350 lbs open for these engines.
 

obnoxious001

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Wow!

Thank you for taking a few weeks of your time to document from start to finish how to assemble a marine forced induction engine "Obnoxious" version!

Anyone who has assembled an engine completely and gone through the hundreds of steps in cleaning, measuring, assembling, rechecking, recleaning, then finally assembling knows what a labor of love this was!

I am sure I'll have more questions as I re-read it, but one thing popped out when you were lapping in the valves, for my preferences I would have wanted a slightly narrower seat and it's position on the valve lower on the face to help heat soak and thermal heat transfer cooling, do you find a wider seat closer to the top of the valve helps that with a boosted motor?

Once again, huge props on such a great article, I am sure many (myself included) will be using it as a bible reference when building my own projects!
These engines will see very mild boost, so the valve job was left as it came from Brodix, merely lapping the valves to verify sealing.
 

obnoxious001

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Mr. Obler, you sir nailed it!! What a great outstanding write up you have provided all of us here. It's been 20+ years ago but I was fortunate enough to have a mentor show me the ins and outs of engine building. He built all classes of circle boat engines but was big in K boats and he built drag boat engines as well from blowen gas to top fuel and even campaigned his own blowen gas hydro. I spent so many nights in his garage (years) starting with tearing down engines for him, then he promoted me to block/parts washer and eventually after a couple years I was able to help assemble. This article you have produced here brought it all flooding back, I can almost smell the oil, what a great thing you have done here, seriously! Reading this tonight has gotten me more excited to build my new boat engine than I already was, and yes, I will be referring back to this write up (already printed it.......just in case something happens to RDP, naw that could never happen). My only hope is that maybe you are showing/teaching someone all the things you have learned as everyone knows we are not here forever, and this type of knowledge is priceless, the only thing better than this article is getting your hands oily and building one. The tingles you get from hearing your first engine fire up are the same as the 10th.......at least for me it was. Thanks again Barry, I can't imagine the effort this took, not just wiping your hands off to take pictures but just remembering to take the pictures while assembling! Kudos!!
Sorry, I forget what your real name is to go with your screen name, but you clearly demonstrated that my taking the time to write this up was worthwhile.

Of course this is written to help inspire people to learn, and I do have some local guys asking to learn, but they are not very good at showing up when I am willing to have them. The enduro race engine I am currently finishing up is far to critical and important in my mind to risk being interrupted with questions while I am working on it. This time of year I am extremely limited as to how much "cool" time there is in the shop, even with the AC running from early morning.

Thanks for your reply, kind of got my day off to a good start!
 

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Do you have a standard checklist that you follow during the build where you document and record every step and pass it on to the customer that you are building for?
I don't have a "checklist", but keep handwritten notes about bearing clearances, crank thrust, ring gap, cam thrust, cam timing, etc. I later put those on computer and am able to supply copies.

I have seen some guys actually make up a very complete notebook including photos. One of those included a photo that clearly showed he had put a roller lifter into the block improperly, and in fact I was rebuilding the engine that had blown up after only 4 hours run time, due to that lifter not rolling on the cam.
 

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Hi Barry,
Being the RDP member who received these Bas Ass Engines I wanted All to know I couldn't be happier with the results! The entire process and collaboration was beyond expectation. There is no substitute for experience, and it shows in all things Barry does as you read in his write-up. I knew I had come to the right person the moment I meet him.
Thank You Barry and thanks for taking all the time to write this up!!!!
 
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