I hate square pipe plugs

The oil galley plugs have threaded square pipe plugs that have been impossible for me to remove. Although I didn’t have a pipe socket, I tried every possible tool with a 1/4 fitting possible.  We even heated the threads hoping this would help in the removal process.  Ended having to buy a special, impact 1/4″ pipe socket that worked wonder.  Unfortunately, we stripped one of the bolts so we have to extract that…

Heads and valves oh my

Using our new tool, we were successfully able to remove the valve springs, keepers, and valves.  Although we’ve yet to measure anything, not a single valve had any issue with the seat or clearance. Only one valve has a slight mushroom on top of the head so we need to lightly grind it down so that we can remove it.

Even though these are 882’s with 76CC, we’re still going to reuse them in this rebuild 🙂 Rather than take them to a machine shop for tanking, we opted to clean them ourself by soaking them in purple power for a week.  They came out great, in our final wash before assembly, we will ensure rust and any residue is removed.

Needed More Tools

The valve spring remover I have right now requires too much patience to use. It’s one of the small hand-held types that hook onto the spring with 2 legs, and you crank down the compressor by hand.  Sometimes it falls right off, other times it just stares at you doing nothing.  So I opted to replace it for a more useful, sturdy one.  The bearing tool is only for SBC but it was dirt cheap and until I can find a better one on craigslist, it got the job done.

Finally getting into it

Unfortunately, I’ve been spending all my spare time either at baseball or working.  However, we’re getting back into the groove today.

Cracked the heads off and pulled off the oil pan – it’s a 4 bolt main (figured), and visually looks great.  We rotated the pistons again and watched for knocking and clearance on the rods – no knocking and the clearance looks perfect.

A few piston skirts appear to have rubbed against the bore – I think they collapsed, but won’t know for sure until I measure.  The bores otherwise still have crosshatching which is slightly surprising.  I really want to reuse the pistons and rings and am hoping I don’t need to bore this.  There is a ridge at the top of each cylinder bore, so again, assume we aren’t having to bore this out, honing will clean that up.

The cam is getting thrown away – 2 of the lobes are practically round!

Because of all the sludge, we pressure washed the block thoroughly with hot water and purple power degreaser.

We are going to remove the bearings a different day.

Initial Findings

What the hell did this thing go through?  The insides look as though it was set on fire and then submerged in a lake!

The lifter valley was full of oil/charcoal deposits the size of golf balls!  The liquid sludge was thick, and covered everything inside valve train as well as caked the exterior.  I can’t wait to pressure wash it and then have a machine shop tank it.

It is a 4 barrel and the intake appears to be in reusable condition.  We were able to get the engine to rotate manually so nothing was seized.  We discovered a flat tappet cam so we will be inspecting and measuring the cam thoroughly.  The rockers and pushrods appear to be fine, but we’ll confirm the geometry upon re-installation.  The spark plugs all yielded nothing but more sludge 🙁 We will do as much degreasing and cleaning ourselves as possible, but we plan on taking the block and heads to a machine shop to have it hot-tanked to ensure all the oil passages are cleaned.

New Family Member

Tyler and I wanted another project, so we found a used, 350 small block. We drove to Woodland and neither the owner nor myself had a hoist so it was quite the interesting task getting the bed of the truck at the perfect angle so that the engine stand could properly detach and attach.

The block is a high nickel cast from 1976.  It has the uber-smog-friendly 882 heads, so I’ll be sure to check for cracks.  We’re going to hopefully keep these on during our first rebuild as I want to keep things under a $1k budget and vortec heads just are too much.  We are going to try and do everything by the book, ensuring a good learning experience for Tyler.  This will include measuring the bore, crank, valves, pistons, journals, etc; to ensure within specification.  Assuming everything checks out, judging from the sludge that spilled out of the exhaust ports, we will keep the replacement of parts to the usual list: New piston rings, timing chain and gear, distributor (hei), valve springs, oil pump, lifters, harmonic balancer, and gaskets.  I don’t plan on replacing the cam unless it’s a flat tappet and the lobes are worn. In which case we’ll go for a mild roller cam, being 882 heads, something with <= .500 lift.