October 28 - November 8, 2002
Dana Waldron at Waldron Machine and Welding called me Monday morning at work and said he was finished with the heads and the other work he was doing for me.   This was good news because I was anxious to get the engine assembled.  The engine has been sitting in Dave's shop covered with a garbage bag since we finished the bottom end a couple of weeks ago.   The garbage bag may do a good job of keeping grit and grime out of the engine but I'll feel much better once it's totally buttoned up.  Besides, we were quickly approaching the end of the "good weather" season in Nebraska. 

The total bill for the work at the machine shop came to about $70 more than the original estimate of $425.  Most of the additional cost came from the extra work I had Dana do on the exhaust manifolds and a small charge for hot tanking the valve covers and intake manifold.  All-in-all I wasn't unhappy  with the cost (although I'm never "happy" to spend money) and Dana's work appeared to be first rate.  Here's a list of the work I had him do:

  •  Hot tank heads, intake manifold, and valve covers

  • Magnaflux heads

  • Surface heads

  • Replace one valve guide and one exhaust valve

  • Install all new valve seats, valve stem seals, and valve springs 

  • Grind valves and valve seats

  • Flush grind and fill-weld smog equipment plugs on passenger side exhaust manifold

  • Shot peen exhaust manifolds

  • Paint heads, intake manifold, and valve covers

After work, Dave and I began installing the parts on the engine.  Not really much to installing the heads -- just set them in place and bolt them down.  The only things to be concerned about are making sure to tighten the bolts in the proper sequence and to the proper torque.  We used the bolt torque (65 lb. ft.) and the torque sequence specifications found in the 1972 10-30 Series Truck Service Manual.  The only thing that presented a problem was deciding whether or not to apply gasket sealant to the head gaskets.  

Dave suggested we use a Hylomar-type spray-on tack sealer on the head gaskets.  He said he had used it several times in the past and had good luck with it.  I noted, however, that the instructions that came with the Fel-Pro gaskets specifically said to not use any kind of sealer on the head gaskets.  To double check, I went to Fel-Pro's web site.  Here's what it says on their web site -- "Under no circumstances should any type of chemical sealer be applied to a soft faced, coated head gasket.  This includes adhesive, shellac, tack sealers and RTV silicone".  Like any good shade tree mechanic, I'm not sure Dave was thoroughly convinced, but he agreed it was my decision and I choose to go with no sealer.

Once the heads were installed, we installed the push rods and rocker arms, giving them a liberal application of pre-lube.  Then we proceeded to adjust the valves.  There are several methods to adjust valves.  The method we used is more time consuming than most of the other methods I've seen. But, I'm not planning on doing this for a living, so that's ok.    I found the method we used on Century Performance Center's  web site and their explanation of the method made a lot of sense.  If you want to see a detailed explanation of the method, check it out in the "Tech Zone" section on their web site.

The only major piece left to install was the intake manifold.  Fel-pro said a gasket sealant could be used on the intake manifold gaskets, so to appease Dave we used the Hylomar-type spray-on tack sealer.  We debated whether to use the rubber seals at the front and rear of the manifold.  Some "shade trees" recommend these be thrown in the trash and just go with a bead of RTV.  I figured if the car company went to the expense of using these originally, they must of had a good reason, so we used them.  We did put a small amount of RTV at the water passages where the seals butt to the gaskets.  

Again, we used the bolt torque (30 lb. ft.) and the torque sequence specifications found in the 1972 10-30 Series Truck Service Manual.  We knew we would have to replace some of the bolts after the engine was installed because some of them are used to attach other parts, such as the air conditioner brackets.  We would figure out which bolts needed replacing after we installed the engine.  Also, we didn't buy new bolts for the heads or the intake manifold.  I know some will think this is crazy, but all of the bolts looked good visually (no scoring, rust, galls, etc.) and this was the first time the engine had been torn apart.  This is just a stock rebuild, so I think the bolts will be fine.

Before we installed the valve covers we wanted to prime the oil system to make sure the oil galleys were full and that the rockers were oiling properly.  We put on a new oil filter, filled the engine with the proper amount of oil and then used a tool Dave had in a 1/2" electric drill to turn the oil pump through the distributor hole in the intake manifold.  Almost immediately oil began flowing through the push rods on the passenger side of the engine.  Things were looking good.   Then we noticed that there was no oil flowing through the push rods on the driver side of the engine.  This was not good.  The only thing we knew to do was keep pumping in the hopes that if something was clogged up it would break loose.  We pumped until the oil was milky colored from all the agitation, but still no oil on the driver side.  We finally gave up and I told Dave I would check with the gear heads on the Stovebolt Page bulletin board and the 67-72 chevytrucks forum to see if they had any ideas.  The gear heads came through and I had the answer almost immediately.  It seems this particular engine will oil on the driver side only when the distributor shaft is in place.  The distributor shaft blocks off an oil galley, which allows sufficient pressure to pump oil up to the heads.   There are special tools you can buy to mimic the distributor shaft or you can make a tool using an old distributor.  We decided that since the passenger side was oiling perfectly, we could safely assume the driver side would also oil properly once the distributor was installed.  As of this writing, the engine has about 300 miles on with not problems, so I guess we assumed correctly. 

With our minds at peace we proceeded to install the remainder of the parts:

Valve Covers -- Black gasket sealer between the gasket and the valve cover but none between the gasket and the head.  New PCV grommet, oil spout grommet, and a new "710" oil filler plug.  To those that aren't familiar with the "710" oil plug, take a look at the picture on the right.  (hint - it's upside down)

Exhaust Manifolds -- Black gasket sealer between the gasket and the manifold but not between the gasket and the head (hey, I'm just following the gasket instructions).  I did buy new bolts for the exhaust.  The old ones were badly corroded.  I had a devil of a time finding someone that sold the original type bolts used on the exhaust.  The original bolts are blue/black in color and the only type I could find locally were all zinc plated.  And forget about the manifold locks and original type washers. You can't find these at the local parts store.  After much searching, I finally found a place on the internet that carried the correct bolts, manifold locks and washers.  I found them on the Zip Products web site.   The web site is for Corvette parts, but the same 350 engine was used in most GM cars, so the parts interchange.

Everything Else -- Starter, water pump, fuel pump, exhaust heat riser, spark plug shields, spark plug wire looms, hoist brackets, distributor, coil bracket, coil, spark plugs, spark plug wires, harmonic balancer, pulleys, radiator hose housing, motor mounts, oil dip stick pipe, oil fill stand pipe, and air conditioner mounting bracket.  Basically, we tried to pre-install has much as we could.  It's much easier to install stuff on the engine while it's on the stand, rather than sitting in the engine compartment.  

We were now ready to put the engine back in and crank him up.  I'll chronicle that in my next episode.



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