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Old 09-13-2013, 08:59 PM
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GM crate motor, or continue with my build?

So here I am, frustrated, still in the need of an engine, as usual lol.

My original idea was to build up a new motor since my whole drive train and brake system is in pristine condition, rather than buying a used cheap car with 200,000+ miles and $4000 more in repairs alone, to get me to college. Apparently, my reasoning was flawed.

I finally built my SBC $2500 later:

Chevy 350 4-bolt, bored .060 over,
Aluminum 64cc heads with 2.02 intake and 1.6 exhaust,
10.3:1 compression,
stock crank & rods,
forged pistons,
Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap Intake.

she ran... for 5min... turns out, the comp cams camshaft that I purchased had a bad grind, and one of the lobes was going flat, but not only that, all lobes were heading in this path, the wear pattern through the black dry-lube on the cam was straight as an arrow...

Used the lube that came with the cam, primed oiling system with electric drill, comp cams additive, 10w 30 oil, blocked oil bypass (all oil goes through filter), 80psi oil press (cold, never got a chance to warm up), all lifters spun easy, and no valve to piston contact was made.

Now, the first main journal bearing looks scuffed (though not badly), but I am not sure if it would be a good idea to drop in a new camshaft into this motor with the bearings being in the condition which they currently are.

At the moment, now that I think about it, is it even worth the efforts to continue working on this engine, when I can simply drop in a GM Crate motor for $1500? Especially when I really could use a truck right now, as we are down another car.

I am close to affording the GM SBC as long as I don't spend any more money on this motor, so I have a few options. Set the motor I'm currently working on aside, build it up better than ever while I run the cheap crate motor, OR pop in the new cam and see what happens, and if it fails, get the crate motor?

I seem to be leaning more towards getting the crate motor and run it till I can build something more fun, but I do not like throwing $1500 out especially when I really don't have much money to spare to begin with!

This is what happened to the cam...



I know there are quite a few people who have much more experience in these matters, so I am wondering, which would be the smartest route?

I also have an old '57 283 (never rebuilt) I could take to a machine shop, though, I am not sure if it can be rebuilt less than $1500, since a piston crumbled in it, and the block now has some rust.

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Last edited by trillobite; 09-13-2013 at 09:05 PM. Reason: added engine details
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:49 PM
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Cam's $100....slide one in and see what you have.
I would have to assume something went sideways during your break in.
I argued with an older gentleman a couple weeks ago when I was hanging out having beers while got ready for his 383's first start.
He wouldn't listen cause he has been building motors since christ was a cowboy and knows everything.
Fired it up, cracked the throttle a few times to "set the cam" then set base timing while idling, let it get warm......at idle.....pulled valve covers, installed cut out valve covers, fired it back up, reset valve lash, at idle.......grabbed vacuum guage, set Carb up.....at idle....all the while I'm in a super comfy lawn chair having several beers knowing this isn't going to end well.....then he drove up on ramps, drained oil, replaced filter, filled back up with Canadian tire house brand 10w30.....nothing else.
Drove car off ramps...... offered a ride....its a Vega with a 383 and a stick....so its an absolute rocket....10 min drive, as we are pulling in the lane way, its got a lifter tick....a pretty good one too from both sides....
I left while he was pulling the valve covers to re-adjust.....
His son called me the next day asking for advise on how to warranty the "junk comp cam" that was defective and now wiped out......
I'm not saying you did any of this in any way.
BUT ........the right steps have to be taken to make a hyd flt cam live.
Miss the breakin and your likely done.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bygddy View Post
Cam's $100....slide one in and see what you have.
I would have to assume something went sideways during your break in.
I argued with an older gentleman a couple weeks ago when I was hanging out having beers while got ready for his 383's first start.
He wouldn't listen cause he has been building motors since christ was a cowboy and knows everything.
Fired it up, cracked the throttle a few times to "set the cam" then set base timing while idling, let it get warm......at idle.....pulled valve covers, installed cut out valve covers, fired it back up, reset valve lash, at idle.......grabbed vacuum guage, set Carb up.....at idle....all the while I'm in a super comfy lawn chair having several beers knowing this isn't going to end well.....then he drove up on ramps, drained oil, replaced filter, filled back up with Canadian tire house brand 10w30.....nothing else.
Drove car off ramps...... offered a ride....its a Vega with a 383 and a stick....so its an absolute rocket....10 min drive, as we are pulling in the lane way, its got a lifter tick....a pretty good one too from both sides....
I left while he was pulling the valve covers to re-adjust.....
His son called me the next day asking for advise on how to warranty the "junk comp cam" that was defective and now wiped out......
I'm not saying you did any of this in any way.
BUT ........the right steps have to be taken to make a hyd flt cam live.
Miss the breakin and your likely done.
Man, feel sorry for him, can feel his pain...

True, a bad grind is one in a million (probably literally), but looking at one of the old cams I have in my closet with a nice S shaped wear pattern, and looking at this one, I have to agree with the individuals who told me it was a bad grind, and luckily I did get a refund.

So you say pop the new cam in and see what happens? This would be my procedure:

With outer springs only 1.5 rockers:
Install with: Isky rev-lube on lobes, motor oil on journals,
Mark each push rod while installing rockers to look for lifter spin,
Pour 1 qt. into lifter valley and rockers,
Drop in 5 quarts of Brad Penn Grade 1 (6 quart oil pan),
Prime oil pump with electric drill,
Set to 8* BTDC,
Set rotor to cyl 1,
Fire it up, rev to 2000-2500rpm for 25min.

And cross fingers that it all survives ?
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by trillobite View Post
Man, feel sorry for him, can feel his pain...

True, a bad grind is one in a million (probably literally), but looking at one of the old cams I have in my closet with a nice S shaped wear pattern, and looking at this one, I have to agree with the individuals who told me it was a bad grind, and luckily I did get a refund.

So you say pop the new cam in and see what happens? This would be my procedure:

With outer springs only 1.5 rockers:
Install with: Isky rev-lube on lobes, motor oil on journals,
Mark each push rod while installing rockers to look for lifter spin,
Pour 1 qt. into lifter valley and rockers,
Drop in 5 quarts of Brad Penn Grade 1 (6 quart oil pan),
Prime oil pump with electric drill,
Set to 8* BTDC,
Set rotor to cyl 1,
Fire it up, rev to 2000-2500rpm for 25min.

And cross fingers that it all survives ?
For the cost of fluids and a cam yah I would try.
Pretty much yah, I use different fluids myself, but that's more preference then anything.
I always wash the cam first with a good soapy wash. Then make sure its dried, I use whatever lube came with the cam. I massage the lube in until I look obscene doing it.
Once its ready to fire get it to 2500 right away, and will vary between 2200-2600 for 25 min.
Shut it down, drain oil and replace filter, I fill back up with Rotella 15w40 and add comp additive pn# 159 . Then do the same at every oil change. How right, or how wrong my procedure is Im sure someone smarter then me will chime in and tell you, i just know I haven't had a failure yet.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:14 PM
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Have you got flat tappet springs in those heads? Maybe those heads are set up for hyd roller?
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bygddy View Post
For the cost of fluids and a cam yah I would try.
Pretty much yah, I use different fluids myself, but that's more preference then anything.
I always wash the cam first with a good soapy wash. Then make sure its dried, I use whatever lube came with the cam. I massage the lube in until I look obscene doing it.
Once its ready to fire get it to 2500 right away, and will vary between 2200-2600 for 25 min.
Shut it down, drain oil and replace filter, I fill back up with Rotella 15w40 and add comp additive pn# 159 . Then do the same at every oil change. How right, or how wrong my procedure is Im sure someone smarter then me will chime in and tell you, i just know I haven't had a failure yet.
First:
Whichever admin moved this thread, thank you.

I am still not sure what the worst, or most probable outcome could be if I threw in a new cam, but if it survives, then maybe it will be worth while to get back in there and replace the bearings, knowing that when its all back together again, it should theoretically be back to running as it was.

Good thing is, I have a HV oil pump, helping with worn or loose tolerances... though I really hope it does not destroy the crank. So far, I have not found much of any metal fragments on the bearing surfaces, so HOPEFULLY my filter and magnet picked it all up. Honestly, I don't even know how metal fragments get into those bearings, all my oil went through the filter, and oil pressure is pushing OUT not sucking in.
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:35 AM
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Pictures are a bit small to see much detail. It almost looks like a roller grind that ran with non roller lifters.
I would try the cam swap as mentioned. You have everything to gain. If it doesnt work, you still need to tear into it and go back through it .
Too bad it went south on you.
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:50 AM
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Read and heed.....
http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/w...ips_and_tricks

bygddy, I know what you mean about bein' all humped over, workin' the molybdenum disulphide into the pores of the metal with your thumbs. Fellows have looked at me strangely for years.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:04 PM
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<Warning, Rant, ill mark where to begin reading, if you would rather not read a rant.>

The most difficult part is staying relaxed, and not rushing. Every single time I get all my parts, there are individuals rushing me to finish this engine, they tend to make cruel remarks: "ohhh if you don't finish it in a month, we need to sell it, what's the point of having a broken car?"

Today, my land lord comes up wanting it moved since apparently it's a piece of dirt in her eye, and must be moved where it cannot be seen. The questions were, "will it be running TODAY?" "Can you assemble it just so it runs well enough to move it?" For some reason the average person thinks you can just assemble an engine, and it will run as if nothing could ever go wrong.

I am not so much annoyed with the engine, or my bad luck, but, I am absolutely more frustrated with individuals who are completely unwilling to look at the situation, relax and let me do my work. They all seem to be in a rush to have me finish it, but they are all completely unwilling to lend a hand.



<To skip rant, begin here>
Anyways, enough with my rant (I have lots of them lol), it's just one of these times when you get to see the true nature of the people who are around you, and I am shocked. I was however, talking to someone yesterday, he used to work on aircraft engines, when he brought up a good idea of taking basically a cotton wheel which you can attach to a drill, and clean out the cam journal bearings. I think it would be great, just to be sure its nice and clean for the new cam. Instead of a polishing compound, ill just grab some motor oil and soak the wheel in it, then move it through the bearings with a low rpm on the drill. I noticed that I do not see any scratches deep enough to show a copper coloration, so this may actually work! So, as long as I do not get a wheel which is too abrasive that will actually take material off the bearings, but instead lightly polish, it may be just good enough to work.

I also have a big 5 quart jug of 10w30 oil which has no zinc additives, so I will not be using it for anything, and I am starting to think I could actually just take that jug and quickly wash down the engine with oil by pouring it through the lifter valley, hopefully picking up any more metal shards as it falls down to the oil pan. (just another thing that wont cost me anything.)

I have one more question, I do have some dry graphite spray, I heard there are some putting it on their camshafts, and it also helps to hold the break-in grease on the cam. The camshaft guy I usually talk to told me it was a bit over-kill, but I am willing to go over-kill, especially if it only takes me 20 seconds to spray the cam with graphite... why not? I got the stuff made by "BlasterCorp.com"



I would like to thank the members on this forum, I have got myself in over my head with this engine, and you all seem to be more willing to lend a hand, while most individuals I know in person, would rather see me give up, and take my pride and joy to a scrap yard. And yes, I have been specifically asked that question recently of when I would be doing that. I usually tend not to burden others to help me with the mistakes I have made, but there are times when I accidentally over-estimate my abilities, and under-estimate what is required to accomplish a goal.

I have learned far more from all this than sitting at a desk with a pencil in my hand, listening to a lecture.

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Old 09-15-2013, 03:42 PM
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That was a well-thought-out post and I understand where you're at. I too, was pushed by first this person and then that person to hurry through a project when I was a young man. As I got older, I had my own garage and could let a project sit for years if I wanted to, without hearing a damned thing from anybody else about finishing it. Hopefully, you will get to that point earlier than I did (about 30 years old).

My best advice, based on experience, is to completely disassemble the motor down to the last core plug. Mount it on an engine stand so that you can roll it outside and use galley brushes and kerosene to loosen and remove all the shrapnel, followed by a good brushing with Tide or other detergent, hosing down with hot water and a blowing off of all machined surfaces with compressed air. Don't forget the oil passages in the crankshaft.
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/mor-61820/overview/
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:19 AM
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Just wanted to give an update:

So I am still working on making a decision, I am however going to wait at least until Sunday where I will have the engine out and can actually look at everything more clearly.

I am going to not only look at the condition of all the bearings, but I am also going to measure the lifter bores and make sure they are within spec. I am especially going to take a look at the lifter bore for the lobe which went out on the comp cams. If the lifter bores are out of spec, I will either look into a retrofit camshaft or go for the crate motor, and I will for sure return the flat-tappet I just bought, since I don't want to be bringing back a chewed cam lol.

Installing a retrofit camshaft looks promising, and very do-able, that is, as long as my bearings appear to be good enough. If the main journal bearings are bad Ill get the crate engine, but if it's only the crank and rod bearings which are bad, ill replace them and install a retrofit. My reasoning is that if the main journal bearings are bad, I do not have the proper tools in order to replace them, and getting the proper end-play requirements will be beyond me, and getting the measurements wrong, I assume, would result in more catastrophic failures.

It is quite odd, but I am actually having troubles finding info on installing a retrofit camshaft, If anyone has info that would be AWESOME lol.
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:04 PM
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Don't overlook the part about cleaning this engine completely.What you can't find will come up and take a big bite out of your game plan.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trillobite View Post
So here I am, frustrated, still in the need of an engine, as usual lol.

My original idea was to build up a new motor since my whole drive train and brake system is in pristine condition, rather than buying a used cheap car with 200,000+ miles and $4000 more in repairs alone, to get me to college. Apparently, my reasoning was flawed.

I finally built my SBC $2500 later:

Chevy 350 4-bolt, bored .060 over,
Aluminum 64cc heads with 2.02 intake and 1.6 exhaust,
10.3:1 compression,
stock crank & rods,
forged pistons,
Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap Intake.

she ran... for 5min... turns out, the comp cams camshaft that I purchased had a bad grind, and one of the lobes was going flat, but not only that, all lobes were heading in this path, the wear pattern through the black dry-lube on the cam was straight as an arrow...

Used the lube that came with the cam, primed oiling system with electric drill, comp cams additive, 10w 30 oil, blocked oil bypass (all oil goes through filter), 80psi oil press (cold, never got a chance to warm up), all lifters spun easy, and no valve to piston contact was made.

Now, the first main journal bearing looks scuffed (though not badly), but I am not sure if it would be a good idea to drop in a new camshaft into this motor with the bearings being in the condition which they currently are.

At the moment, now that I think about it, is it even worth the efforts to continue working on this engine, when I can simply drop in a GM Crate motor for $1500? Especially when I really could use a truck right now, as we are down another car.

I am close to affording the GM SBC as long as I don't spend any more money on this motor, so I have a few options. Set the motor I'm currently working on aside, build it up better than ever while I run the cheap crate motor, OR pop in the new cam and see what happens, and if it fails, get the crate motor?

I seem to be leaning more towards getting the crate motor and run it till I can build something more fun, but I do not like throwing $1500 out especially when I really don't have much money to spare to begin with!

This is what happened to the cam...



I know there are quite a few people who have much more experience in these matters, so I am wondering, which would be the smartest route?

I also have an old '57 283 (never rebuilt) I could take to a machine shop, though, I am not sure if it can be rebuilt less than $1500, since a piston crumbled in it, and the block now has some rust.
This sounds like it started out as a very nice build. My first negative about it would be stopping the filter by-pass. This can be very detrimental to the engine. This isn't simply a bypass of the stock filter, what most hot rod wisdom gails to mention is that the filter needs to have a large increase in flow capacity when this is done. The minimum filter that allows you to keep a spin is the Delco Duraguard 2 quart filter. Using a smaller filter will net one of two things either insufficient oil flow (pressure is to an extent meaningless what's needed is volume) or the pump will exert enough force to jam any debris right through the filtration medium which will undo what you tried to prevent in the first place. A good consideration is that dirty oil will scratch and gouge parts but rarely results in failure of those parts, a lack of oil results in part failure. The other way to go if there isn't space to accommdate the GM 2 qt filter is to use dual remote mount filters which using two of the typical 1 quart filters nets about the same flow capacity of the Delco 2 quart minus whatever losses occur in the hoses and fittings.

The flat tappet cam is obsolete for the street I don't see anyway to reserect it without spending as much money on hardened cams and composite lifters as you'd put into a roller. Most younger than me people don't remember that the flat tappet cam was always on the edge, failures in the Ford flat head were common for example, so today's problems may be new to younger people but they are in fact far from new. If you don't need a flat tappet cam for a rules built engine, I just wouldn't mess with them anymore.

Bogie
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:56 PM
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This sounds like it started out as a very nice build. My first negative about it would be stopping the filter by-pass. This can be very detrimental to the engine. This isn't simply a bypass of the stock filter, what most hot rod wisdom gails to mention is that the filter needs to have a large increase in flow capacity when this is done. The minimum filter that allows you to keep a spin is the Delco Duraguard 2 quart filter. Using a smaller filter will net one of two things either insufficient oil flow (pressure is to an extent meaningless what's needed is volume) or the pump will exert enough force to jam any debris right through the filtration medium which will undo what you tried to prevent in the first place. A good consideration is that dirty oil will scratch and gouge parts but rarely results in failure of those parts, a lack of oil results in part failure. The other way to go if there isn't space to accommdate the GM 2 qt filter is to use dual remote mount filters which using two of the typical 1 quart filters nets about the same flow capacity of the Delco 2 quart minus whatever losses occur in the hoses and fittings.

The flat tappet cam is obsolete for the street I don't see anyway to reserect it without spending as much money on hardened cams and composite lifters as you'd put into a roller. Most younger than me people don't remember that the flat tappet cam was always on the edge, failures in the Ford flat head were common for example, so today's problems may be new to younger people but they are in fact far from new. If you don't need a flat tappet cam for a rules built engine, I just wouldn't mess with them anymore.

Bogie
Lots of good info right there, I did use a 1 quart WIX oil filter, and intended to drop the bypass enabled spin on adapter right after the initial break-in. This time, I could use a 2 quart, it would definitely fit, but if I go to a retro-roller, I don't see a reason to block the bypass anymore as the odds of camshaft failure is crazy slim.

I never knew flat-tappets had problems as common as it is today, I always assumed that the oils had more zinc and phosphorous. Guess there is always a reason why GM would upgrade to the newest tech, especially since they probably could have saved a bunch staying with a flat-tappet setup, there must have been a legitimate reason.
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:23 PM
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Guess there is always a reason why GM would upgrade to the newest tech, especially since they probably could have saved a bunch staying with a flat-tappet setup, there must have been a legitimate reason.
Yeah the EPA said zinc is clogging up our catalytic converters (ca 1980's). Then later they said the zinc was clogging up our O2 sensors (ca 1990's). All the while EPA is mandating cars to have higher MPG's, which for the roller cam is just icing on the cake since it can make more power with less duration anyway.
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