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Author Topic:   Building Own Engine
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 100
posted October 25, 2005 07:42 PM  
Ok having all machine work done at local shop, he will not assemble motor because im using x rods and hyper pistons (im on a budget). I am reading about all these summit rebuild kit comes with the **** do i use it and where do i use it at!

I do bodywork for a living not assemble motors...

also... can i use a stock oil pan???? i am on a TIGHT budge...i know they "racing, budget" dont belong together but it can be done!

Engine is 355 2 bolt, 488/510 cam, 58cc ported, polished, valve job, etc, totally redone heads...hoping compression will be up around 10.5-11 to 1.

Speed Pro hypers, gm x rods, 10/10 gm crank...

Edelbrock torker II intake, rochester 2bbl carb..

please help

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1876
posted October 25, 2005 08:14 PM  
Well I will try to help you. First off make sure its a good machine shop some dont do a good job.
As for your first oil pan, NO DO NOT USE STOCK BUY A NEW KEVKO OR OTHER NAME BRAND PAN!!! I tried a cheap claimer pan, one time, it lost oil psi in the corner in my street stock motor. Went to kevko and NO problems with any motor, from my street stock to my high rever.
THe comp is 10.5 is not too bad, you dont want to go much past that or you will be working the bottom end very very hard.
Only go .030 overbore dont run more than that if you can.
Replace the x rod bolts with arp's also double check the ring gaps.
good luck, remember keep it extra clean that is very important.

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 100
posted October 25, 2005 08:20 PM  
summit kit says that they rings come pre fit, do not file fit, etc... the machine shop is miller racing engines out of central, pa... builds everyones motors, high doller best in the state i hear. that is why he wont assemble it unless i buy hbeam rods, forged pistons, etc...

if it breaks he odnt want his name on it...

ok anyhow yes block is goin to be 4.030, crank is fresh, rods are fresh. so basically can i just get the 10 10 rod and main bearings and torque them down????

he is going to press the pistons on the rods, put all the bearings in place, rings on pistons, he just wont assemble it. also he is balancing the parts

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 100
posted October 25, 2005 08:22 PM  
forget to mention it is in a pure stock, around 6200 MAX.

rods are not side clearance or cam clearanced... they dont need cam clearanced cuz its not a 383..what is side clearancing???

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 14
posted October 25, 2005 10:16 PM  
I ran my factory stock with the stock pan for years and never had a problem. I had low presure in the coner a couple of times but found out that my pick up tube fell off. I also ran a extra quart of oil in the stock pan and I ran 6500 RPM. I have a nova street car and bought the repair book for it. It shows you torque specs and what pattern to bolt the heads on and so on. I ran stock crank, rods, and hyper pistons as well but had a quaderjet card. Hope this helps and good luck. Nothing like hearing it fire for the first time when you built in your self.

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 238
posted October 26, 2005 05:27 AM  
Use the plastiguage on the rod and main bearings to check your oil clearances. Lay a small strip (1/2" or so) across the journal, torque the cap down (with the bearings installed) then remove the cap and read the plastiguage against the chart on the package. Opinions will differ on how much clearance you should have, but I usually try for around .0015-.002 on rods and .002-.0025 on mains. That way you get room for an oil "cushion" Hope this helps, Dave

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 100
posted October 26, 2005 02:56 PM  
ok thanks...also what is side clearaning??? do i need to have my rods side clearanced for 6200 rpm use????

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 94
posted October 26, 2005 05:41 PM  
Side clearances for rods usually 18-22 is good. At 6200 rpm I really think you'll be fine. Use 20w50 valvoline race oil with a good wix oil filter. Even if your clearance is a bit more open you should still be fine. Unless it's under 50 degrees at race time, use the 20w50 valvo. Arp bolts are must on x-rods. Torque the arp rod bolts to 50 ft/lbs. As long as you have good bolts in the mains, torque them to 75 ft/lbs, 70 on the outside if a 4 bolt main. Always start from the middle and snug bolts to a stop with a normal ratchet & socket, then start your torque sequence from the middle and tighten clockwise out. This sequence goes for heads as well, although rods you install however. I would suggest you dry run a piston and rod with the crank in place on cylinder 1, and check your deck clearance. Install the front and rear main bearings, lube them, snug down, but (don't) torque bolts. Install a piston/rod in cyl 1, snug, and torque to 25 ft/lbs to **** the cap against the rod. Get your piston to it's highest point, use a straight edge(or if you are knowledgable about dial indicators, use one). With the straight edge, and a feeler guage,..use the feelers until you get your tightest fit, should just barely slide in with some light resistance. Note your findings, and add that to your calculations to determine if you are get the right compression ratio.

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 94
posted October 26, 2005 05:45 PM has a compression calculator on it's website, and it is very easy to use.

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 82
posted October 26, 2005 09:04 PM  
johder - I just installed a Kevko stock appearing racing oil pan on my enduro engine along with a new oil pump. I have a race this Saturday and will let you know on Monday morning how the oil pressure looked (was having it drop coming out of the corners). The stock appearing pan and pickup shipped to my door was under $100 so it isn't horrible. I'll let you know how it went for me after the race.

Your best bet really might be seeing if someone from that shop would be interested in some side work in evenings and pay them to help you assemble it at your house. The knowledge a engine builder can give you can be worth the cost.

Like others have said - you can't get the engine too clean - keep it in a "clean area" of your shop. Keep plastic around the thing whenever you aren't working on it. Take your time. If you have any machinist friends get them over to help you measure all the journals up and make sure everything is right tolerance wise.

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 100
posted October 27, 2005 04:20 AM  
the engine shop is a one man shop! i have a buddie that assembles motors he'll give me a hand he said, he was just worried about tolerances if there was a problem

Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 56
posted October 27, 2005 07:45 PM  
if you want a good race pan for little cost. midwest motorsports has an oil pan kit for around 90 bucks. comes with pan that has side kickout baffles and gates, with high volume pump and pick-up. i have used them on my mods for years.

Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 55
posted October 28, 2005 11:37 AM  
Just a few other suggestions.

First off, if you are truly clueless on engine assembly, at least find a buddy or pay someone that has some assebly knowlege to be there during the process. Little mistakes will cost you way more than just horsepower.

Second, tell your machinist he is an *** ! Obviously you are on a budget, and at least you have decided on spending the $$$ on his services for a reason. To say I wont assemble an engine because you cant afford top shelf componets is nuts. Personally, I would find another machine shop. But thats just my opinion. Look at it this way, you are using the "best" machine shop around, but you just might shell the engine because of a common error in assembly. I would not take that chance. But I do like the fact that you are willing to take the challenge of building your own engine. When you are finished, it will mean more to you than any shop assembled piece ever could. Anyhow, here are a couple of very basic tips.

1. Keep EVERYTHING as clean as possible.
2. Use good (read ARP) harware on anything that rotates.
3. Soak all hardware in slovent and blow dry with air before assembly. Use the correct thread sealer or lube for the bolt you are installing. Remember, some bolts enter water passages and require sealer, some dont and require lube or lock-tite.
4. Torque in increments and get a diagram for torque sequence on your head bolts.
5. Use a good assembly lube. When you are sure you have enough lube on a part, put more on it!
6. Make sure you have the right tools. Get a quality set of feelers. Get extra plasti-gague. Get a good torque wrench. Get a good ring compressor. Use a balancer installer, not a hammer!. Be sure to positin your rings correctly. Check ring gaps.(dont care if they are pre-fit or not.
7. Rotate everything over and over again. If it looks, feels, sounds, or even smells wrong...STOP!
8. Be absolutely ANAL about everthing!
Get good gaskets, especially head gaskets.
9. Oil is blood for an engine. Dont even think about a stock pan. You dont have to get a 600.00 one. The Milodon circle track pan is a good choice for around 150.00 or less. Get the pickup made for the pan. Use a high performance oil pump. NOT a high volume one. Melling M55A for a small blck chevy. High volume pumps can starve your bottom end for oil on circle tracks.
10. When you are finished, break it in properly! Fill it with regular parts store oil and a regular WIX filter. Make sure when you start it the first time, it is ready to go. Set up some fans to blow on your radiator. Prime the engine oil system witha drill first. Set timing quickly and then run engine at 2000 RPM for at least 20 minutes. Let it cool down, check for leaks and tighten anything if necessary. Drive it around under load but at less than 3000 RPM for another 20 minutes. Drain your oil into a clean pan. Stick your hand in the oil and feel for anything sharp or metallic. Cut open the filter, look for any metal. Then fill with Valvo 20w50 VR-1 Racing oil and a WIX racing filter. Change your oil again after the first race, again check the oil and filter. If everthing is still intact and clean, you are probably set for good.

Anyway, good luck and most importantly, if you have any doubt, ask someone!


Normal Sullivan
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 39
posted October 28, 2005 12:10 PM  
Magician: Exceptionally good advice.

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 100
posted October 28, 2005 04:06 PM  
thanks guys and keep em comming

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 182
posted November 04, 2005 05:35 PM  
I agree with everything except breaking engine in with ordinary parts store oil. We tore up a COMP cam during break-in this spring and the first thing COMP asked was what oil we used during break-in. It wasnt a oil problem, we use oil that we race with to breakin....if its not good enough to race with, we sure arent going to break it in with. Its not that more of an expense.

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 278
posted November 06, 2005 08:05 PM  
Find another machine shop. Also there is no reason to ever use a stock rod anymore. It costs as much to machine and install rod bolts in a 25 year old rod as it does to install new ones. I have used Eagle SIR and Scat I beam rods for several years with no failures at all. Hyper pistons are fine for a budget.That machine shop didn't want his name on it but he **** sure took your money didn't he.

oceanridge motorsports
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 27
posted November 06, 2005 09:38 PM  
Buy the book "How to hotrod the small block chevy " read EVERY page before you do anything . The advice given here so far has been excellent , it is not rocket science , you just have to be PERFECT on all your specs , sounds like you have a good motor going . I would clay the valve to piston clearance , just to be safe . Good luck , and remember , building your engine is the only time in racing it is good to be slow !

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 100
posted November 07, 2005 04:19 AM  
actually the shop didnt charge me anything yet...I had a assembled 400 sittin in the garage and swapped him straight for the 350 block. 100 for the 10/10 crank...i have a set of x rods that need arps in them.. and the heads are in my garage all ready really i need the shortblock done lol.

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 171
posted November 09, 2005 10:53 PM  
I believe your best bet would be to have the shop doing your machine work to check and set the bearing clearances and the side clearance. Very few if any professional engine builders rely on plasti-gage. Look at it like this, if you get your parts back and begin to assemble and you check with the plasti-gage and you don't have the recommended clearance, then what?

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 18
posted November 10, 2005 05:42 PM  
Clean is a must [no dirt,dust]. get agood assemgly manual. You said you have abuddy who said he would help and he has experiance. that would be a big help for tou even if he just watches you and stops you from making a mistake . Also use agood quality assembly lube. And prime the engine before you start it and you should be ok. use a good pan and oilpump[I prefer high volume over high pressure oilpumps,thats just my preferance]. but above all remember this is a race engine and sometimes they break . we broke one this year and it was good stuff JE piston broke almst intwo. MAIN THING IS KEEP IT CLEAN.
Other than I would find another machine shop .he may be the best in the state but. If he isn't willing to work with you and advise you on building a motor you can afford . weather it lives or not . Then it does you no good to use his service .
Our car owner runs an engine shop . he may not always like the parts the customers can afford but feels it is his responsibility to give the engine the best chance possible buy seeing it through.

Dirt Newbie

Total posts: 1
posted November 13, 2005 12:51 AM  
When running a machine shop you have to be just like a bartender. You don't have to like what someone is drinking to serve it to them.

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