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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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Hello guys well after a long time doing my first ever tear down to a short block here is my findings and need some seasoned veterans opinions on what I have as far as it it good to still use and last a while for a year or slightly longer or is it really bad? I am no expert on this as I am used to low mileage stuff and things that are new from scratch and have only seen pictures of used engines etc.

I was hoping to see a cross hatch but with the mirror like polish in the cylinders I am assuming that is what is called cylinder glaze perhaps. Most of the cylinders don't look bad and I found no up and down marks that would catch my finger and the only cylinder that has what looks like some slight rust that came from water from sitting or something was number 7 which you can see in the pictures. I could hardly catch it with my nail but you can still feel it. Also on a cylinder ridge there is a very slight one and it catches my finger nail but not really bad but don't know what is considered really bad. Who ever said they rebuilt this thing sure most have been smoking weed as it it not a rebuilt motor from anytime in the last ten plus years that I can tell for sure.

I am ready to get and buy the rest of the gaskets and stuff to get this thing to be able to put back together but what are your guys opinions? Also does anything look out of the ordinary of what the head gasket left over along with the heads? If you need some more photos let me know. Thanks guys and appreciate your help.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I know it could use a rebore and stuff but I am not looking to do a total rebuild for this as this is only going to be used for a year or so depending on how things goes next year with funds and parts availability. I am looking to clean up and put this short block together and those heads I am not going to use. Just needing to have a usable short block that will sill have some acceptable healthy life in it for a few years and maybe 10,000 miles max even though I would be lucky to drive half of that in two years time.

Just asking what the condition is like as far as things goes on the short block. I only posted the cylinder heads so you can see the combustion chambers and if there are any red flag signs showing on how the engine was ran etc. I am just trying to get as much information as possible and I am only used to reading magazine articles and seeing stuff people are planing to rebuild and not reuse. I am ready to order some stuff but I want to get some opinions before I do. I already bought some parts of a few things but not much. Just a timing chain and a few other things like a new balancer and some stuff needed to get this cleaned back up then put together and ran.

I am just wanting to make sure I go the rest of the way that after cleaning up everything and putting all new gaskets on etc and go to fire it up and then it end up having either a sever oil burning problem or the rings not seat well etc. I did as best as I could a leak down test with a made up gauge with those cruddy heads and all 8 cylinders held within about 5 pounds of the leak down gauge reading to the real pressure from the air compressor.

That is if it worked as good as it was. Got the idea on making my own leak down gauge from you tube and putting parts together. Tried compression but starter was junk so could not get one in time and had to get to tearing it down.
 

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I did as best as I could a leak down test with a made up gauge with those cruddy heads and all 8 cylinders held within about 5 pounds of the leak down gauge reading to the real pressure from the air compressor.

That is if it worked as good as it was. Got the idea on making my own leak down gauge from you tube and putting parts together.
Standard operating parameters for an automotive leak down tester is exactly 100 psi across a 0.040" orifice. Regulator adjusts the pressure to 100 psi on the first gauge which is located on the inlet side of the orifice. Second gauge reads the pressure after the orifice. 100 psi on second gauge = 0% leakage. 75 psi on second gauge = 25% leakage. Healthy engine should be under 20%. Performance engines under 10%.

Anything else gives you readings which cannot be compared to any standard I know of. The 0.040" orifice and 100 psi inlet is key. 5-10 Psi off and readings are dramatically affected. Also best to do warmed up engine and keep piston at the top of it's stroke since this is where most of the cylinder wear occurs. BE CAREFUL!! Air wants to push the piston down if you're not exactly at TDC for that cylinder.

I do a leak down test on my 383 in the S10 each year to check engine condition. Has always been in the 3-6% range, using a Longacre tester. I figure if it is hurt, it should show.

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I have been driving for 6 years with an engine rebuild on a short block that looked a lot like yours. Did a simple cylinder hone and journal polish and used a rebuild kit from Northern Auto Parts: new pistons, rings, bearings. Bought new (Vortec) cylinder heads and couldn't be happier with the performance.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
2001Blazer4x4 I did create a .040 hole in my leak down tester gauge I made. I epoxied the center piece and used a drill bit gauge size of .040 and checked everything over on the gauge before I did it. I did the test several times on all 8 cylinders and spend 4 hours doing the tests. On my gauges the difference was about 3 to 5 pounds at 90 psi starting off and kept about the same as it would let the air out.

Also Billpac I am not taking the short block apart and putting new bearings and stuff along with rings and stuff in as I for one don't have the time to do all that stuff and two I would not know where to start if the bearing clearances were not correct starting off wise and then also the crankshaft possibly needing a polish job etc.

I am just hoping the condition of the short block in current state is still good enough to last for a while and is normal for the most part of a high mileage engine but still good and healthy enough to be dependable for a hair longer before needing a rebuild which obviously could use now but if I can use this as is for the time being without any troubles. Would rebuild this thing with a ball hone and new rings and bearngs but this is not my main build and my other one I can't even score a block for it and its long story. Plus the cylinders have a slight ridge at the top and don't know how much that would come into play as well getting the pistons out and back in.

I am well aware of a ridge reamer but I have never seen one being used and I have not done things like that before and would be scared I would mess things up somehow. I am used to new stuff being put together and checking clearances and stuff type of a deal and not a used build like this.

Wish I could at least ball hone it and install new rings as I don't have a ball hone but have everything else to install new rings and other stuff but doubt I could get it done in time. Trying to get this together by the end of this month before the temperatures start to get colder. I don't have a heated garage and need warm days for my RTV to cure on the oil pan and intake. Where I live it will start to dip into the 40's at night come next month.
 

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I'd use a ridge-reamer and then a dingle-ball hone. That was a very common budget rebuild back in the day. I helped a guy do it on a 312 Ford on a Saturday in a dorm parking lot. And that included new rings and bearings -- all from Western Auto, as I recall.

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It will run for a while. Not saying how good and it will more then likely smoke a bit.
I have seen them regasketed before on engine's in your condition and they could run 10 to 20 thousand miles with a new timing set.
It will run but don't expect a hot rod and don't drive it like one.
Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Just a daily driver deal and no hot rodding it. Heck even on my performance builds with fully forged bottom end rotating assembly I would not run it hard at all. I like to be conservative on my stuff and be easy with it but just my prerogative. I have been watching videos and would my crank have to be polished in order to put new bearings on? The closet thing I ever did on a rering job was a motor I had about 5 years ago and it was not high mileage at all and I can't remember what happened to it but it was a fresh brand new block and all things new top to bottom and had to take the engine out.

Some carbon got into my cylinder walls and left some marks (could not catch on finger nail) and I had about a few thousand miles on it and the only thing we did was deglaze the cylinder walls and I put new bearings in and new rings but the crank which was new and not much miles was polished but don't know much about that stuff. I ball honed about two cylinders and only took about ten stroked or so and it was good. My Father who always did my builds was the one who did the rest of the stuff and all I did was help put it back together.

Like I said I have some experience with used stuff but am more experienced with all brand new stuff. I see a rering kit is only about $100 plus bucks or so for basic moly rings and stuff but the ridge and few other things and needing proper clearances and stuff with things being old, I would have not a clue to where to even start and know what to do and go that route for extra insurance. I know from reading you can't just put new bearings in and they are good right off the bat and read about sometimes needing .001 over or under size and how to fix that etc.
 

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You won't know if you need to polish the crank untill you get it out and do some measureing.
If you go the rering route then you might as well rebuild it as you will have it apart.
No sense in pulling it apart and not doing a rebuild. You will just have to do it over.
You might consider buying a salvage motor but be sure you here it run and do the usual test's before buying.
Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well this motor is a used engine I got a month ago to use for the mean time because of my engine in my truck not being usable because of machine shop error on the block decking causing geometry to be off. How much I can't say as its still in my truck. That is a project for next year or later depending on a lot of things but in the mean time this is going to take its place for a while and just need something to hold me over for a year or two but yet not give me any troubles for the time being.

If I wanted and had the coin to have the block rebored and all things else I would but I need to get this put together by next month and my other one out and then running by October before it sets in to late fall early winter where I live. I have very poor health so it takes a lot of time and certain days I can't do things because of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Guys just a quick question I was reading an article on checking cylinder bores and stuff and they mentioned that sometimes the ridge at the top that catches your finger nail can sometimes be carbon build up and using an emory cloth to clean it up. My question is I would like to use emory cloth to clean that up and other things and what grit would that be? I would like to use it to clean up my crankshaft end since I am putting on a new balancer as well.

Thanks guys to who have contributed so far and much appreciated and can't thank you all enough.
 

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I "rebuilt" many engines in the 1980s using the method discussed here. ... I would dingle ball hone the cylinders first to check for a ridge. Dingle ball hone removed carbon. If you install new rings, I would suggest a ridge reamer tool. I used a basic Snap On brand ridge reamer. If the ridge is thick enough , it may break the top ring.

I usually installed new camshaft and lifters. My wife worked at a Performance shop and parts were easy to get
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Crosley its still together and I have not taken anything apart on that. I read you can't take the pistons out with the ring land ridge. I can't say how much of a ridge I have as don't know how to measure that. I have a dial bore gauge and was thinking of checking the ridge dimension and then underneath it if that is a proper method to do that.

I don't really want to rering the thing if I honestly don't have too along with new bearings and stuff. It would be nice yes. Even though that route is feasible, if its still good enough for the time being then I will leave it and do what I have to do and clean up the head gasket surface which is another post unless anyone wants to chime in on the best way to clean the head gasket surface and how will I know when its clean enough and the safest method to clean off the pistons and keep junk out of the ring lands.Seen a lot of videos on youtube but many have warnings about doing those methods.

Read not to use dish washing scotch brite pads to wipe off the surfaces of both the pistons and the block deck as the scratch pads will leave residue and mess things up and I definitely know not to use a wire wheel or rolock disc. I will use a razor blade and acetone and brake clean and shop towels but I have never done this part of cleaning pistons and the head gasket surface. Have only done intake swaps while doing camshaft swaps etc. Thanks guys you all rock and can't thank you enough for your help input and is much appreciated.
 

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Use a cylinder hone with stones instead of the dingle ball hone. I would cut the ridge at the top to enable removing the pistons safely. The cylinder hone with the stones will help to get rid of any taper and even out the cylinder walls as the stones are straight where the dingle ball hone just follows the contours of the existing cylinder walls. Get rings that require end gapping so you can adjust for any slight oversize cylinder walls from the honing. Just measure the gap both top and bottom of the cylinder to allow for any tapper remaining. I remember when it was common to knurl the piston skirts to close up the clearance between piston skirt and cylinder wall. I do not know if this is still done today but worked in the past. This should get you a few more years out of the engine without boring and new pistons.
 

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I can only imagine what the inside of my old 350 looks like.

It is currently in the Monte Carlo, and has either 265 or 165k miles on it. Probably 265.
It came out of my dads old truck, and only he could tell us how many times the odometer went around.
It sat for 10 years after he passed, but fired right up. It has been in and out of the truck, and is in my car for now until the 427 goes in.
This engine runs great. It got a 350 horse 327 cam in the 80s along with a set of 882 heads while I was in Auto Mechanics Class in high school.

Oil pressure is in the red on the stock gauge at idle, but goes right up with throttle. I just added 3 quarts of oil yesterday, and I have to do this every thousand miles. (I should check it more often!) But I don't see smoke out the back, and its not dripping so most likely its burning it up somehow.
This is my backup motor, and has been like this for many years but it still keeps going.

I bet yours will be fine for what you need it for if you just put it back together and run it until your good motor gets fixed.
 
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