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Pertronix Ignition Bundle
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Victor Reinz Head Gasket Kit
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Episode Transcript

(Pat)>> You're watching Powernation.

(Pat)>> You know we hear it all the time. Why don't you leave that big shop and build an engine like we do at home.

(Frankie)>> Challenge accepted. Today on Engine Power it's gonna get hot and it's definitely gonna get dirty. ♪ ♪

(Pat)>> Hey everyone welcome to Engine Power. If you've watched our show before you've seen us do some cool builds in a very well equipped shop. We have things like air conditioning, power tools, and even engine building equipment, but you can see by my lack of pocket arsenal we are doing something a little bit different today, and we're gonna build an engine in the great outdoors with common hand tools. The great outdoors is actually our parking lot, and we're gonna show you that you can build an engine correctly no matter where you build it, and there's the engine right there in Frankie's sweet truck. Clean, one owner! [ engine idling ]

(Pat)>> That's what I like to see. An engine on a tire with a tote full of junky parts beside it. It's gonna be fun. ♪ ♪

(Frnkie)>> We chose one of the most popular, plentiful, and easy on the wallet engines there is, a Chevrolet 350 t-b-i small block. It was someone's unfinished project that we picked up partially disassembled with a few new parts thrown in for good measure. Total cost $500 bones.

(Pat)>> Once we got it on the engine stand we wanted to see exactly what our money had gotten us. This is a flat tappet.

(Frankie)>> Up until about '95 they still in the trucks for some reason. I don't know if they just had old stock or what but they kept using flat tappets. We actually have a cam kit basically with this engine. I bought a cam kit and we got an engine for free.

(Pat)>> That's what's cool about this is because the actual parts the dude was gonna put in it are more expensive than the actual engine.

(Frankie)>> They'll work for us.

(Pat)>> This thing's got a little bit of schmutz in it.

(Frankie)>> Supposedly it ran. I don't think it's gonna be too bad but only one way to find out.

(Pat)>> This is one where we're gonna freshen it. We're not doing any crazy performance build. We're not out here putting a set of aluminum heads on it or a tunnel ram. This is something that in this state not bad. We are going to get it apart, see what it needs. Hopefully it doesn't need much. It does have a starter on it. So what I propose is once we get it all done. We've never actually done this before, we should fire it right here. ♪ ♪ As I'm pulling the stalk out where the oil pressure sensor was it actually snapped clean off and snapped off flush in the block. So I went to put an easy out in it to back it out and then the easy out snapped off. So I've had to trough around it and now I've got it moving. This was just really brittle and just busted right off. ♪ ♪

(Frankie)>> Whoa, look at that. A couple of the oil shrouders are broken. I actually saw one of those on the other head but there's a couple in this head that are broken.

(Pat)>> I have never seen that before. All the rockers look good. It's very tempting to just zip it apart but since we're gonna reuse a bunch of stuff on this now's the time to catch it if something's goofed up. If they come out good that's the big thing, and none of them are wasted.

(Frankie)>> Yeah, on the bottoms. Ready, pop it!

(Pat)>> You got to hold it? Hold on I'm stuck.

(Frankie)>> How'd you get stuck?

(Pat)>> You reefed it out of there.

(Frankie)>> I didn't do it.

(Pat)>> Okay this side looks just like the other side. ♪ ♪

(Frankie)>> Just some water and oil, and some oil water. I don't see any chunks though.

(Pat)>> So far our build out in the wilderness is going pretty well. Now we partnered with Autozone on this setup to not only get the parts that we need to get it back together but to utilize their free loan a tool service. If you're building something at your house and you don't have it, say a harmonic damper puller or maybe a piston ring compressor, you can go to your local Autozone and get one for free, and use it and return it to them. We're gonna get our dampener off with this setup. This tool is a little pricey to justify owning it if you're not using it on a regular basis. This is why Autozone offers many specialty tools in their loan a tool service. Having the right tool makes it faster and easier to get the job done right. Even with limited tools you can still build an engine the right way. We'll show you how.

(Frankie)>> We're mixing it up today, leaving our well equipped air conditioned shop to build a complete small block Chevy with common hand tools much like you or we would do at home. This is the right way but it works this way too because on this thing it's not gonna matter. ♪ ♪

(Pat)>> That's very sassy of you. Jumped off there!

(Frankie)>> That's not too bad.

(Pat)>> Not total milkshake. It's kinda dirty.

(Frankie)>> No matter how well you plan your project it seems like there's always one or two things you need to pickup after you get started. Autozone makes it easy with the Autozone mobile app. You can even order online for same day store pick up and their rewards program earns you a $20 dollar reward after you've made five purchases of $20 dollars or more. ♪ ♪ Nasty!

(Pat)>> This is a horrible job. That's what cardboard's for.

(Frankie)>> Before removing all of the rod and piston assemblies we'll number the rods and caps to make sure they go back in the right spot. We don't have our dedicated number stamps with us but a sharp punch does the job just fine.

(Pat)>> People walking by wondering what we're doing. So I'm just waving randomly. That's our neighbors. No we didn't get kicked out. I want to know who comes up with these hair brained ideas to do stuff outside.

(Frankie)>> I know who. It was you!

(Pat)>> I don't think the humidity's actually 100 percent.

(Frankie)>> I think the humidity was worse this morning. I feel like some of it burned off.

(Pat)>> It's like almost winter time. There we go!

(Frankie)>> Not as bad as I thought they were gonna be.

(Pat)>> A little debris went through her.

(Frankie)>> I thought it was gonna be worse. So I think the real question is gonna be are they standard or are they undersized?

(Pat)>> That's a 10 under. A quick tip, use rubber hose on each rod bolt to stop them from scratching the crank journal. We're going past a little bit of carbon built up.

(Frankie)>> That's pretty standard stuff.

(Pat)>> Do the rings move?

(Frankie)>> Yeah they still move, which is good. That's a good sign.

(Pat)>> The important part is the skirt. Skirt is not gouged up.

(Frankie)>> Not broken off.

(Pat)>> And doesn't look collapsed. Gravy, that's nice!

(Frankie)>> That's not even that bad. ♪ ♪

(Pat)>> The stock flat tappet looks to be in decent shape but we won't be reusing it. These are aftermarket caps on this, you notice that?

(Frankie)>> Yeah and I'm assuming that's like when it was a reman and the core came in they didn't actually have any caps for it.

(Pat)>> Just like the rod bearings the main bearings are also 10 thousandths undersized and are in about the same condition. ♪ ♪

(Frankie)>> Now the long arduous process of cleaning our parts by hand begins starting with these crusty valve covers.

(Pat)>> While Frankie gets filthy I'll recondition the cylinder finish with a 320 grit ball hone. This establishes a new finish for the fresh piston rings to seat on. Using engine oil as a lubricant the ball hone is turned at approximately 300 r-p-m moving in and out of the cylinder to achieve roughly a 45 degree included angle on the cross hatch. To final clean the block we'll start off with foaming degreaser and copious amounts of scrubbing. We'll finish with stiff bristle nylon brushes and watery dish soap. By hand it took over an hour to get all the sludge out of this block. A good ole fashioned garden hose helps clear the passages and rinse off the soap. ♪ ♪ Engines can flash rust quickly especially in humid conditions. We'll use compressed air to get our block dried off in a snap.

(Frankie)>> After all the hours we spent scraping and scrubbing this engine we hope it starts.

(Frankie)>> We did what we could to clean the cylinder heads, scraping carbon deposits off the valves. Then lapping the valves to the seats with some fine lapping compound. The heads get a heavy coat of degreaser and some scraping and scrubbing. A cheap wire wheel on the end of our drill makes cleaning the exterior faster and a little bit easier. When cleaning off parts you have to be very careful to not let the metal rust. Now an easy way to do this is use a good water displacer or petroleum lubricant and blow it off with compressed air. Now to do that in the parking lot we're gonna be using this Predator inverter/generator and this McGraw eight gallon portable air compressor that we got from Harbor Freight. This generator can support up to 3,500 watts running and it has some really cool features, like 420 volt 20 amp g-f-c-i outlets, one 30 amp 120 volt outlet, and even a d/c five volt outlet for charging mobile devices. It also has a 3.2 gallon gas tank and with a load sensing throttle it can run for hours on end. Our air compressor is great because it's light and easy to roll around on its wheels, and with 150 p-s-i max pressure and four c-f-m of output it's great for running things like blow guns and small air tools. All we've got to do now is we'll get this fired up, get this baby running, and finish up our heads. [ engine starting ] [ compressed air hissing ]

(Frankie)>> Since we're reusing the pistons they need a thorough cleaning to remove the built up carbon. A scuff pad, some degreaser, and a lot of patience is all it takes. To remove the carbon from the ring lands we gently run one of the old piston rings in the ring groove. It's important to take it easy or you can accidently remove aluminum from the piston.

(Pat)>> The heads receive a fresh set of valve seals and new valve springs, which are setup for our hydraulic roller cam. No fancy pneumatic tools here. We're using a manual spring compressor. ♪ ♪ Woo, I don't know if you can hear me over the cicadas but we finally have all of our parts clean and the engine is ready to get assembled. Like I mentioned before we partnered with Autozone on all the parts to get our project back together, and what's great about Autozone there's a couple different things. One, there's probably one close to where you live because they're all over the United States and two, they have same day store pickup when you call in and order stuff, and if they don't have it they can usually get it for you right away. First on the list is to get our crankshaft in and measured up. Now you usually see us measure it with precision gauging but we have some precision gauging of a different kind. This is Plasti-gage, also offered at Autozone. It's a great way to check clearances on your mains and rods without anything like a dial bore gauge. So let's get her going. We want a true oil clearance. So if you lube the bottom you're actually putting an oil film underneath the crank and it won't give you an actual true reading on the Plasti-gage. So we'll lay the crank in dry, put our Plasti-gage in, torque it to spec, measure our Plasti-gage, and if everything's a go then the crank gets lubed up and then it goes in for real. Now as long as you don't turn anything it won't mark up the bearings and everything will still look good. ♪ ♪ Now that the Plasti-gage is compressed from torquing you can compare the new width of that little green piece to our gauging. Looks like are right at two thousandths clearance. I'll take that, that's good! The old crankshaft was in poor condition. So we picked up an engine rebuilder crankshaft kit. It came as a set with the correct rod and main bearings. The mains get torque to 65 pound feet. ♪ ♪ It has three thousandths. We don't have to put a gauge on it because I can just feel that. One of the nicest parts that came with the engine was a hydraulic roller cam kit from Comp. The grind on it was probably designed for a higher performance engine but since we have it we are gonna use it. If you can turn it with your hand like that, golden! The kit also came with a new double roller timing chain. Now it's time to check gap on our rings. Now these are a pre-gapped set. These were replacement rings for our size piston but that doesn't mean you should not check it for minimum end gap, and what we're gonna do is stick these in the bores and the square them up. We don't have a ring squaring tool out here. We're gonna show you how to square them up. So the first thing we're gonna do is take them, put them sideways in the bore. Then we're gonna take a piston that already has the oil ring installed. Just like a piston ring squaring tool we're gonna stick the piston in with the crown down and it's gonna square the ring up. We have 18 thousandths and that's more than enough. What you want is a minimum amount of gap. You can have more but you have to have a minimum in case the thing gets hot. We don't want to butt the rings and cause damage to the piston or the cylinder. So we are good to go. On thicker rings such as these it's a great idea to use a ring expander to install them. You can get one for under $10 dollars at Autozone. One compromise we will not make installing a cam without degreeing it. Even without expensive tools you can degree a cam. This degree wheel runs about $20 bucks and is well worth having. A magnetic base dial indicator can handle the rest. The cam comes in at 106 degrees of intake center line, which is four degrees advanced.

(Pat)>> As the sun fades away all we want to hear is this small block run. Will it?

(Frankie)>> As the sun creeps closer to the horizon the 350 small block Chevy nears its completion. Once the double roller timing setup is installed we can move on to the oiling system. Around an open engine this means you have to careful not to drop anything into the block.

(Pat)>> These have compression stops. So go right down to the stop.

(Frankie)>> These lifters are part of our cam kit. They are tie bar hydraulic rollers, which may seem like overkill for this engine. Once again since we have them we're gonna use them. We got a complete Victor Reinz head gasket kit from Autozone, which contains everything you need for the top end. ♪ ♪

(Pat)>> I wish that crew would come do our work that normally does it.

(Frankie)>> The ninjas? The midnight ninjas, yeah.

(Pat)>> You know the 10 to 20 people that do all the work for us while we're sitting around drinking smoothies and reading magazines.

(Frankie)>> I haven't had one mimosa today. Can you believe that?

(Pat)>> Why don't you talk to somebody about that.

(Frankie)>> The heads get torqued in three stages to a final value of 65 pound feet. Just because you're building an engine outside doesn't mean it can't look good. We're going with a classic GM blue.

(Pat)>> How's it going back there?

(Frankie)>> I'm almost done. I'm gonna have to go get another piece.

(Pat)>> The stock valvetrain goes back in but this time we're using the shorter pushrods that came with the cam kit. Before the intake drops on we'll fill the engine with STP 5-W-30 synthetic oil we ordered from Autozone. Weatherstrip adhesive holds down the intake manifold gaskets. A tall but gorgeous bead of black r-t-v on the china rails will seal the intake. I don't need the gun. I can just do it. In place of the original t-b-i intake we'll use an old school Weiand Street Warrior. ♪ ♪ The harmonic balancer installer we borrowed from Autozone's loan a tool service is used again to crank down the balancer. Ready?

(Frankie)>> Yep hit it. ♪ ♪ Before we test fire the engine we'll prime it to circulate the oil. With the valve covers still off it's easy to make sure the valvetrain is getting proper lubrication and has adequate oil pressure. Looking good! We knew we'd be working late into the night. So we got a Braun dual head l-e-d work light from Harbor Freight that puts out 4,500 lumens. Plenty for seeing what we're doing.

(Pat)>> For ease of getting the engine running Pertronix's ignition bundle works perfectly. Their ready to run distributor only requires two wires and an ignition coil to light this small block. A Street Demon 650 provides the fuel. We've used this particular one lots of times and it's rock solid reliable. Here we go, solid!

(Frankie)>> You like those? I borrowed those from the guys down at Carcass.

(Pat)>> I knew we'd get use out of them one day. With our MacGyver'ed electrical and fuel delivery setup in place we're ready to see if this thing runs.

(Frankie)>> Fuel and starter! [ engine cranking ]

(Pat)>> Oh yeah it's gonna run. [ engine starting and idling ] [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> Did you shut it off?

(Frankie)>> Yeah.

(Pat)>> That's a win right there. Hi five!

(Frankie)>> That might be one of the crazier things I've done.

(Pat)>> What did you miss most about being in a shop though.

(Frankie)>> Probably the nice cleaning equipment cause pretty much what I have to do at home is what we did here. We're just cleaning stuff in the driveway or in the parking lot, and hand scrubbing everything. I think that ate up a lot of time on this one.

(Pat)>> This went together as clean and checked as well with stuff that we had as anything that ever built inside.

(Frankie)>> It got the same amount of attention as any other engine we build.

(Pat)>> We checked bearing clearances. It was clean. We spent two hours cleaning the block, which would normally take 45 minutes in the jet washer. We'd like to thank Autozone for helping us get this thing together. They were a great partner on this build. I don't even know what time it is.

(Frankie)>> It's time for food is what it is.

(Pat)>> All I know is it's dark and I'm hungry. I'm slightly sweaty but we have a running engine done in the parking lot.

(Frankie)>> That's a win!

(Pat)>> Let's go! For more information on anything you've seen on today's show go to Powernation TV dot com.
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