people may cringe at this, but as a mechanic by trade, and not a car mechanic, I use a 4" grinder with a wire wheel attached. Cover the valley with rags and old lifters (lifters to keep the rags from getting sucked up in the wheel), AND BUFF HER THILL SHE SHINES. Clean the cylinders out with a clean rag, then blow them out with an air gun to get the small stuff. GOOD TO GO!
DO NOT USE A STAINLESS STEEL WIRE WHEEL AS IT WILL HARM THE SURFACE. AND DO NOT "CLEAN" THE PISTONS AS IT MIGHT BE TEMPTING!!!!
I just did steel head gaskets on my boys 307 last weekend using the same method described above.... NO ISSUES
WELL JUST ONE>>>> WE FOUND OUT THAT HIS MOTOR IN HIS 70 NOVA IS A #'S MATCHING ENGINE!!!! This we can live with!!!