Well, after putting it off for way too long, I'm finally starting my project journal.
It all started when I was a teenager in the late '60s and picked up a copy of Hot Rod magazine...I was hooked! The drag racing stuff interested me the most, especially those gassers. Willys and Anglias especially. With Hemis!
I always wanted a Willys with a Hemi, and it took me about another 35 years, but I'm finally under way.
These first three pics show me picking up my Hemi from a Chrysler boneyard down in South Carolina. I found this place on an internet search, and e-mailed the guy asking "you have any 392 Hemis?" not really expecting a reply. He got back to me and said that he "just got one in." It seems he got a '57 Imperial from a friend in California and was parting it out.
After a little negotiation, the deal was made and July of 2001, my wife (and main supporter) and I took a little trip to South Carolina to get it. Got there early on a Friday morning, and by noon, the owner and I had the motor out and safely tucked into the back of my pickup. We were back home in Jersey on Sunday....
We got the motor home and there it is with all of the stuff I got with it. I didn't take the generator, compressor, or transmission, but took the bellhousing and torque converter/ring gear. Carburetor is Carter AFB, although most listings show that the '57s came with the WCFB. This was probably a replacement. Exhaust manifolds were the "two-bolt" versions, and the heat riser was completely rusted. No problem, I wasn't going to use the stockers anyway...Original Autolite dual-point distributor was also in good shape.
Took off the valve covers to take a look...I said it was stock, not clean! Oil hadn't been changed too often, plus it was sitting for many years...
With the heads off, the motor showed typical dirt, carbon buildup, etc., and so far no surprises....
I tried to take as many measurements as I could during disassembly that would be useful later on. I also wanted to see how much the engine had worn over the years.
One thing that was definitely worn was the timing chain. Take a look at that slack! Worth a few degrees in timing right there...
Another measurement that I took was the crankshaft end play. It was still a good .008". Specs call for anything from .002" to .007". The Hemi held up real well.
The rest of the disassembly went along fine. Now it was time to take it to the shop for all of the machine work.
First, I had to decide what I wanted to do as far as the build up and what type of engine I was building. This is going into a '41 Willys streetrod, and will mainly see street use, but I also have intentions of taking it down the strip a few times to see what it will do and have some "fun".
With that in mind I decided to go for a very stout package bottom-end wise. I figured that later on I could always do head and top-end changes, but I wanted the short block to be built strong for almost anything I wanted to do later on.
This was also going to be a blower motor, so that dictated the compression ratio along with a few other "upgrades".
The block checked out fine at the shop including magnafluxing, cleaning, etc.
block machined for 4-bolt main caps
The machine shop did a nice job with the block including honing the cylinders for total seal piston rings. This was done after I had my new pistons sent to the shop so that they could finish hone cylinders according to piston manufacturer's clearance recommendations.
Got the block home and painted it up and got ready for assembly...
I also had my crank done at the same time as the block. That should be in my next entry.