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Old 08-29-2002, 01:00 PM
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Post 1974 Nova rebuild

I am doing my first restoration on a 1974 Nova. I am doing a complete rebuild on the engine (350) first and after that I plan to swap the transmission for a 700R4 (bowtie overdrives). My question involves the bottom half of the engine. Do you folks typically get the crank and rods hot tanked and magnafluxed and checked for alignment or do you just wing it? The engine has ~130k miles of tame use. I am just trying to figure out how much I will be going to the machine shop to get this done. Thanks!

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Old 08-29-2002, 01:56 PM
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If you want to do it right I would have it line bored and fluxed. Plus all the other good stuff that goes with a rebuild. New valves, springs, guides, rings if bored pistions, 3 angle grind with hardened seats, new bearings and gaskets. all that good stuff.
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Old 08-29-2002, 02:13 PM

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If you really wanna do a half a** job. You would take off the heads the oil pan. Take out the connecting rods while they are attached to the piston. Just take kerosean poor it down there get the block all cleaned. Put new rings and bearings in, buy a new camshaft and lifters put it all in. Get everything cleaned off. Buy a set of vortec, or fulie haeds completly re-done for around 300 bucks. Put on put a few coats of paint on it. And you would be spending around 500 bucks rebuilding the engine which is including the price of the heads. New gaskets everything. Get a new 20 buck oil pump. The engine will run mint, and look grate. Thats just my two sence on what to do. I am also only 16 so i may have a smaller budget then you.
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Old 08-29-2002, 02:48 PM
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Yes money is the reality of it. I for the most part have none and have had to rebuild a few engines out of necessity. I have rebuilt them with nothing but a ridge reamer, hone, plastigage, and whatever tools I needed for the most part. And on a tight budget I've faired pretty well. Are my engines 90%,87%,96% efficiant? Couldn't tell you. But when I'm finished laying a nice holeshot it's all good. If you have the money and want serious top dollar power go for it, nothing wrong with that. But there's a lot of us in the world who've "winged" some pretty tuff engines.
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Old 08-29-2002, 10:34 PM
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You know many people get machine work done that is totally unnecessary because they read it in a magazine. Align boring/honing is a good example, I have never seen an engine that really needed it unless the thing sat under water for a while and the corrosion was too heavy to be acceptable. If you can rotate the crank in the bearings with the caps off and it doesn't bind that's good enough, throw a dial indicator on the crank and if it runs out less than 0.002" that's good enough. Do this with only the end half shell bearings in place, your own built in vee block stand.

Blocking and decking is another good one, a total waste of time in my opinion. Engine blocks machined at the factory are so good that I doubt you will accomplish anything. Maybe one out of a thousand engines need the bellhousing face trued but that is about it. Remember these things are done on machines that are very accurate, you have a greater chance of screwing it up by trying to fix something that is not broken. Unless the engine was terribly overheated and seized your wasting your time (why would you use a piece of junk in the first place?).

I actually had one guy who wanted me to hone the camshaft bores once because he read in a magazine that it needed to be done, a total waste of time I explained but he was adamant. It wasn't until I showed him with a dial indicator on a boring bar how good the factory hole was did he begin to believe me. Everything has a tolerance and a couple of thousandths of an inch is nothing, but some people insist on perfection, this costs lots of money to achieve and accomplishes nothing from a practical standpoint.

You want to spend money on an engine? Resize the rods after you put new bolts in, index the crank and have it nitrided and only have the rod journals ground if the mains are OK. Watch the radiuses on the rod journals, they are hard to get right. Many machine shops don't bother to check the radiuses properly, use bluing to check. Watch the side clearance on the rods, too much throws a lot of oil on the cylinder walls. Get another crank if it is on the high side. Deburr the bolt holes, oil feeds, drilled passages and chamfer the sharp edges with a file before you hot tank and pressure clean.

Scotchbrite the bores with soap and water after they hone it to get the crud out of the pores, cast iron is full of graphite and sand. Need a flat surface? learn how to draw file, this is as good as any milling machine will get you...maybe better. Remember cast iron has a skin like a loaf of bread, take off the skin and you got soft inside. Then watch things move around.

Why shave a head if it's straight? buy the pistons you need to get compression or use a thinner head gasket. When your assembling sometimes it's better to use a bead of silicone than the factory gasket, Ford intake end seals are a good example. Everything else should get a good non-hardening sealer on both sides of the gasket (except the head). Take apart your new oil pump and deburr the entire thing including the rotor with a hone, you wouldn't believe how many times I have taken them apart only to find cast iron chips inside or a hunk of flash just waiting to get sucked in. Buy a new pickup, you old one is impossible to get clean. Even with ultrasound.

Buy completely new valvetrain components, valves, pushrods, springs, retainer locks, rockers and balls, and don't forget the nuts. Seats can be ground but valves should be replaced and I don't care what the moron with the valve grinding machine tells you, ask him to grind a valve and then rechuck it and see how much it runs out when he goes to touch it to the stone again...you will be surprised. These are all the details that make a motor last, how many cycles do you think springs are good for?

Last...don't believe everything you read, most of it is unnecessary and done to sound good in print.
“She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself.”

— Han Solo
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