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Author Topic:   Crack In Engine Block
Dirt Roller

Total posts: 13
posted December 09, 2004 08:12 AM  
Help!! I purchased a circle track race truck with sbc 350 race engine from a "Good Racing Buddy", the engine had only two races on it and the won the championship with it, at the end of last season a year ago, the race truck it was in was parked for over a year. When I got the truck home I noticed there was a freeze plug poped out on the drivers side above the motor mount, I questioned the seller and he assured me the block and radiator had been drained prior to storing the truck. Well, I pulled the intake the other day to replace it with an airgap manifold and found a crack on the left side inside the lifter galley. The crack is between the two middle cylinders and is about half way up from the lifter bores and the mating surface of the heads, it runs horizontally. And appears to be just in the water jacket. Can this be welded and if so do I use a stick welder or wire welder. Or is there another repair I could do, I really want to save this engine if I can, it runs like a scalded ape. Any and all help will be graciuosly accepted and appreciated. My email is Thanks, Bandit

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 94
posted December 09, 2004 09:02 AM  

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 934
posted December 09, 2004 10:44 AM  
The block had water in it and froze. The block is junk if it's broken into the lifter valley. You should get your money back if it was sold to you as a good engine, with no cracks. Show it to any machine shop in your area, and they will back you up on the fact that it was frozen. If worse comes to worse, you have a slam dunk case in small claims.


Hendren Racing Engines
Rutherfordton , NC

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1363
posted December 09, 2004 12:16 PM  
nice boat anchor...

a "good buddy" will make it right without going to court. i don't know many "good buddies" in racing. most will shove a knife in your back and not lose any sleep.....sorry to be so blunt, but i've found it to be true.

unless you have it IN WRITING that the engine was sold to you as good, you're wasting your time in small claims court. the guy will probably say it was sold "as is" and then it's a "he said she said" deal...

been there, done that, hard lesson learned.

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 13
posted December 09, 2004 01:07 PM  

Garyal, I wouldn't try to weld it myself, that wouldn't be a pretty sight, by my son used to weld professionally, so it will be his chore if we try to repair it.

Outlawstock,I know exactly what your saying, I used the term "Good Buddy" very loosely. As for small claims court... well I know here in Texas for the most part it's a waste of time and money. If I win a judgement, he could owe it to me forever and I would never see a penny other that what I spend to file the claim. OH yea, and I had to laugh outloud at your quote, "Nice Boat Anchor" when I found the crack I called my son and that was my exact first words I said to him. Well the way it is right now I guess I don't have anything to loose by trying to repair it, guess we will try welding it up. Fill it up and run the **** out of the motor to see if it is going to hold before spring gets here.


Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 968
posted December 09, 2004 05:17 PM  
Bandit, You and I both know that for the price of a block,some machine work, and a freshen of rings and bearings, you will have a better motor than you have now. OR you can cobb it back together, rev the cr@p out of it, and more than likely bust up more than you can afford to replace.
I have a motor in the basement I bought from a "buddy" at the end of last will be torn down and insppected before it goes in anything!

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 477
posted December 09, 2004 05:44 PM  
I can add a bit to this...i also had one with a crack on the inside that we v'ed it out and put jb in it and it lasted about 30 some races...still have it. He probally did drain the water out.....but if he didnt pull the lower plugs out of the block it will freeze faster after draining the rad because it still leaves about 1.25 gallons of water around the cylinders and will blow on the inside or the outside.....if i drain for winter i pull lower plugs or leave a heat lamp on the water pump wich keeps the water in the block and rad nice and warm!!

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 13
posted December 10, 2004 06:42 AM  
BK19 & Dirtracer14, thanks for reminding me about good ole JB Weld, I didn't even think about that. I am a firm beliver in JB Weld, when I was in the aircraft business, we used basiclly JB Weld, except it was in a plain white tube with a military AN/FS number.

Eljojo, Thanks for your response, but I really didn't plan on cobbing it up, but instead trying to repair it. Yes, I would love to be able to jump in and build complete new engine, but I race on a very limited budget, a county deputy's salary doesn't go far. I'm not being judgemental at all, because I do understand what your saying, but I also think there is a trend with a lot of racers these days that only want to replace things and won't or don't take the time to build, modify, fabricate or repair things, I guess that is just the modern way though. But again Thanks I do appreciate you responding to my question.

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 715
posted December 10, 2004 08:17 AM  
Here is one vote for the jb weld.Been there repaired that.

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 2007
posted December 10, 2004 08:26 AM  
Not saying it wont work because i have never tried it in that application. But anytime I have used JB weld it eventually cracks and falls off. With the temp and vibration etc inside an engine i woudl be afraid it would break loose and end up doing more damage inside the motor. Outside i wouldnt worry about it but inside....i dont know.

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 13
posted December 10, 2004 12:54 PM  
Dirtbuster, this kinda takes me back to my original question... the crack is probably about 4 to 5 inches long and runs horizontally between the two inside cylinders on the left (drivers) side. The crack is approx. half way up between the bottom of the lifter galley and the top of the block (head mating surface). There does not appear to be any spider webbing of the crack, at first glance it nearly appears to be a casting "JB WELD" or weld it for real. My son does our welding, he is a real welder unlike my self. We have two different wire welders, one set up on gas and on flux cored and of course the old faithful "cracker box" stick welder.

Thanks to all for your input, Bandit

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 2007
posted December 10, 2004 01:46 PM  
Like I said above JB weld might work but i personally would be a little skeptic of it. Maybe there is something better out there that a machine shop would know of to use.

I am not sure about the welding. I am pretty sure you need to use a special rod (nickel i think)on cast iron and technically i think your supposed to keep the blcok warm (like in an oven)and let it cool slowly over several hours, to prevent any more cracks from the welding process.

In the end you might be ahead to find another block.

unregistered Total posts: 2007
posted December 10, 2004 03:44 PM           send a private message to dirtbuster   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/QuoteBBBBBB
If you weld it, you need nickel rod and need to heat it a lot, then remachine the whole thing, including the lifter bores I believe.

Dirt Newbie

Total posts: 4
posted December 10, 2004 07:33 PM  
drill and tap 1/4 inch pipe plug locktighted in at start of crack and keep repeating till you get to the end overlapping the pipe plugs about 1/8 inch. Ran this till the crank gave out for ?? shows.

Donnie Ross
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 264
posted December 11, 2004 07:48 AM  
check with local machine shop there is a stitch method by cast masters that works well,

unregistered Total posts: 264
posted December 11, 2004 09:37 AM           send a private message to Donnie Ross   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/QuoteBBBBBB
If your crack is 4-5 inches long and runs parallel with the heads, its likely going to open up when the heads are torqued on, and deffinitely open up when the block get to temp and the pistons are pushing pressure up against the heads...

If it were running the other way up towards the deck it would be something I would try with jb or something of that sort.

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 338
posted December 11, 2004 05:17 PM  
jb weld works good , but a good block would be better, also ,just so you know, when i drain the block i also **** out the water with my shop vac then blow it with air and **** it out again. its always worked well.

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 968
posted December 11, 2004 06:41 PM  
Hey Bandit, I by no means meant any offence to the quality of work that you (or your son) do. I am probably one of the most pennypinching dirt racers I know and build not only my own cars but also my own motors. I can fix darn near anything this side of the crack of dawn. BUT I understand cast iron. Welding it properly involves (as previously stated) an intense heating and cooling proscess, if done properly. Therefore an attempt to repair it with out removing and dismanteling the engine, going thru the correct welding procedures, and re-assembling it would be, in my humble opinion, cobbing it back together.
I hate that you got stuck with a bad motor, especially from a "buddy," You may want to approach him about replacing the block. Repairs to cast iron usually don't last. Sorry if I offended you.

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 131
posted December 12, 2004 09:51 AM  
I had one the same way. I put block sealer in the water and ran it. 11 races later it got claimed. after every race just drained the water out of the oil (about 8 drops).

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 16
posted December 12, 2004 09:55 AM  
I've used the drill stitch method on cracks in heads it should work really good on the inside or out side of a block.It's the old time repair that works

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 370
posted December 12, 2004 06:39 PM  
Depends what route you decide to go. But if you go jb weld. Take and run moroso crack sealer through it. Comes in a white bottle with red label.

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