View Full Version : Rebuild Questions... What Should Be Replaced?

02-09-2005, 05:49 PM
Okay, im pulling my engine next week... im gonna reseal it... Im thinking of just doing the whole engine rebuild since its already off... My dad says just to replace the piston rings... But i want to replace the Rods and Piston also... Anybody know what kind of rods and pistons i should use? Here is waht i already have... i have the


what type or rings and pistons and rods should i get?

02-09-2005, 10:11 PM
I would reuse the stock rods unless the are bent or cracked.

As far as piston you have to ask yourself forged (read: expensive) or hyperutectic.

I think these cars came with moly rings factory, so thats what I would use. Look into the gapless type.

I would also replace:

Timing Chain
Timing Chain tensioner
Cam, Main, and Rod bearings
Oil pump
Freeze Plugs (replace with brass)

02-09-2005, 11:16 PM
What he said. make sure you get the rods checked. Make sure the top of the block and heads are straight. If not mill them so they are. Now is a good time to put in a small cam if you want. I would send the exhaust manifoilds to tbird88 and have them ported. It will help and aid in later mods if you decide to do more.

02-10-2005, 12:02 AM
So tbird88 ports the manifolds. How much does he charge. I need more info in this. Any help is much appreciated. Thanxs

02-10-2005, 12:16 AM
Yes he does a great job on the exhaust. If I would have know then what I know now I could never had spent all that money on headers. Do a search on ported exhaust and I am sure you will come accross him. Its not real expensive if I remember right.

02-10-2005, 04:00 AM
yeah so the manifold porting is out of the question... i already have mine ported :cool: but anywho... since u guys are saying to check for this and that... its making me just wanna buy a new car...

02-10-2005, 04:07 AM
oh yeah... can someone tell me for what engine i should be looking at.... i dont think i can just type SC rings and pistons and something will pop up.... it doesnt work this way with this car...

MIKE 38sc
02-10-2005, 04:21 AM
Everything I ever seen listed from parts stores was listed under.
19xx Ford 3.8L SC (super charged) Engine code R
May I ask how many miles you have on your engine?

02-10-2005, 04:25 AM
its at around lets say 178k seeing as how the head gaskets havent blown im guessing it was not abused before i got it....

MIKE 38sc
02-10-2005, 04:48 AM
Well let me show you some things to think about. The first picture is the rod and main bearings that were removed from my 90 SC motor. I am the second owner and personaly have know the original owner since she first bought the car. The women never abused the car and meticuliosly maintained it. Just one of the things she stayed on top of was oil and filter changes, she had it done every 2,500 miles.....Always! The engine had 128,000 miles on it when I tore it down. Notice how the upper bearings which are the rod bearings are worn all the way through the silver bearing material and are down into the copper shells. The main bearings on the otherhand are not in as bad a shape and still have most of the bearing material on them. Only the very front bearing has worn into the copper on the upper half of the front main bearing.

The second picture shows the bearings out of a 91 SC that was not so well taken care of. The owner did not change the oil as freqeuntly as mine was changed. He told me that he changed every 4,000 miles, see the difference?

The point of all this is to show you how useless it really is not to completely rebuild your engine, since you already have it out of the car.
I have piles of old SC engine parts here and can show you how bad things get at around 120,000 miles.

02-10-2005, 07:34 AM
The things we ar telling you are pretty much standard on a good rebuild. I always figure it would really suck to go thru all the rebuild process and a month later have a water pump or oil pump go out. If you dont beat the car to death it should last quite a long time. If you do it will not last as long. This will even hold true for a brand new car. I had a friend that bought a new SS Camero and managed to kill the motor in 2 years.

02-10-2005, 10:22 AM
If money is not an oblstacle, just tell your machine shop that, and I'm sure they'll offer you a complete rebuild. However, if money is an obstacle, then you're stuck playing the game. I'd recommend spending around $1,000 at the machine shop. This will get you a cleaned block, magnafluxed block, cylinders bored .020 over, new Hyper-U pistons, rods resized, rods attached to new pistons, crank magnafluxed, crank ground .020 under, rotating assembly ballanced, and block decked. Now, a thousand may sound like a lot of money, (and I'm definately NOT saying that it's not), but when you consider the time and effort YOU are putting into this car, the last thing you want to worry about is whether the internals are wearing away every time you step on the gas.

Having rebuilt 2 motors at this point, I can definatley say, that you don't want to have to crack it all open again just to replace a bent pushrod, collapsed valve spring, or worn out / spun bearing.

My brother did a "rings" and "bearings" only rebuild, and after 40,000 miles, (and two harmonic ballancers later) he broke another harmonic balancer bolt. Well, now that car has been laid to rest, and upon inspection of the bearings, they were chewed up pretty bad. Not quite as bad as Mike's 2nd picture above, but close. Now, my '93 bearings looked like the first picture above. and the '90, with a whopping 230,000 miles on it, had near perfect looking bearings. So, if you want any serious longevity out of your rebuild efforts, take the time to do it right, and do it once.

P.S. My oppinions do not necessarily represent the views of the entire SC community. I am biased b/c I see my SC as a car that I will keep as long as I can find parts for it. I'm gonna start a club one day. Gonna call it the million mile club. Anyone who has flipped the entire odometer on an SC can join. And we can all cry about how we had to manufacture our own wiring harnesses, and had to make an adapter for the adapter we initially made when Ford obsoleted our parts WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY back in the early 2000's. :o

P.P.S. I didn't know there was an oil pan gasket available for the 3.8? Also, I think you can get a FORD rear main seal for under $10.00 from Ford. Lastly, put a selve on the back of your crank shaft. I can personally tell you that it is very depressing to spend way too much time rebuilding a motor to only find that it's leaving little oil spots everywhere you park.

02-11-2005, 07:41 PM
okay hold up... one thing about the rebuild... should i replace the HYDRAULIC ROLLER LIFTERS? im at ROCK AUTO.com and seeing how much the internals will cost me and im starting to get a lil bit worried....

02-11-2005, 09:58 PM
Looking at the mileage I would my self. But then again it all depends on how you plan on driving it.

If you drive hard then there should be no reason not to.

Don't really worry about the price so much. Most cars are expensive anymore.

02-11-2005, 10:02 PM
That all looks pretty good, but (i'm not sure), but I don't think that the Napa Sleve comes with the installation tool. I got one on without it, but I wouldn't recommend it.

then, lifters, pushrods, rockers, oil-pump (not sure about this one, I replaced the internals on the oil pump I took off my '93, but on my '90, it really didn't look all so bad so... maybe someone else can chime in on this one.)

Regarding the Cam bearings, you'll need either the special cam bearing installatin too, or you'll have to pay your machine shop to install them. If they do it, ask them to fit the cam ( just to make sure it turns freely)

Regarding the Main bearings, I think it's the #4 journal (that's the back of the rank) is smaller than the first two, and the thrust bearing only goes in one spot. Depending on the set you get, it will either tell you this directly, or the #4 bearings will have a different number stamped on it than the #1 and #2.

Yeah, the cost will make your eyes bug out the first time you really see what a complete rebuild will set you back, but considering you'll be getting a "BRAND NEW" motor when you're done, it sure beats buying a new car. ;)

In the e-mail notification, it said something about MLS head gaskets, that will run you some more money at the machine shop because you'll need to put a special surface on the deck and the heads. You're machinist should know what to do if you mention you need a "special extra fine" finish on the block and heads.

02-11-2005, 10:20 PM
why did u have to tell me that about the MLS head gaskets... and damn FEL PRO for sending them with the HEAD GASKET SET.... but anywho... my dad is gonna help me rebuild my engine... so i dont have to pay a machinist to do it... i have the book also and half of my garage is full of tools... tools that NASA would envy if i may add... yeah but any who... im not gonna do the rebuild for now... i know what to get and ima get the parts overtime cuz looking at my checking account... and i think dropping 600 bucks on someones lap all at the same time is too much... so what ima do... ima buy some parts every week... and when i have all the parts complete.... i will rip apart the block and replace those piston rings i fried... that was lame... but yeah... its gonna happen... but im not in a big hurry... so for right now... ima do the motor mounts... and drop the subframe and reseal the bottom... and then when i get the internals and stuff... i can rebuild the whole engine.... and drop some seriouse power... but anywho thanx.. and let me know some more info if u guys have some...

02-11-2005, 10:33 PM
sorry to burst the bubble :(

but, rather your bubble than your new MLS head gasket due to an improper install. Do a search for the Cometic head gasket posts out there now. :D

MIKE 38sc
02-11-2005, 10:43 PM
an honest to god rebuild on one of these engines consists at a minimum this list of parts.
1. Pistons
2. Piston rings
3. rod bearings
4. main bearings
5. cam bearings
6. camshaft
7. lifters
8. pushrods
9. rocker arms and fulcrums
10. oil pump
11. oil pump drive shaft
12. timing cover
13. timing chain set
14. timing chain tensioner
15. valve springs
16. valve spring retainers
17. valve spring keepers
16. top end gasket set
17. bottom end gasket set
18. water pump
19. harmonic balancer
Thats just engine parts and does not include any needed sensors or other parts that fail inspection at the machine shop. Now lets look at the needed machine work to do the job properly.

1. remove freeze plugs
2. remove cam bearings
3. hot tank the bare block
4. have bores checked, if bores check out good have bores honed to the correc t finish for the type of rings you're using.
5. if bores dont check good have block bored to the appropiate oversize then hone for your rings.
6. have main bearing saddles and caps checked for cracks
7. have line bore checked on block saddles, if not in spec have block line bored
8. check block decks for sqaureness with the crank on both axis's and for flatness, if block fails any of these checks have block decked and trued up.
9. install new cam bearings.
10. install new freeze plugs.
11. have crankshaft inspected for cracks and straightness
12. have crankshaft journals inspected to make sure they are within tolorance, if not have crank ground to next undersize and polished
13. have old pistons removed from rods.
14. have rods inspected for twist and bending, replace any that fail this inspection.
15. have big end of rods resized.
16. have the new pistons installed onto the refurbished rods.

Now for the machine work on the heads.

1. completely dissassemble the heads and remove freeze plugs
2. have head castings pressure checked to look for cracks
3. have the heads decks checked for flatness, if not flat have them decked just enough to straighten them up.
4. have valve guides checked for proper clearance, if not within spec have new guides installed.
5. have valve seats recut if there still good enough, if not have new seats installed and cut.
6. have valves refaced if still in good shape, if not have new valves faced and installed.
7. have new valve seals installed.
8. have new freeze plugs installed in heads.
9. have heads completely reassembled using you new springs, retainers and valve keepers.

A couple of things might have slipped my mind but you get the idea here.
This is a engine rebuild, anything less is just a repair so do not expect the engine to go another 100,000 miles without having problems.
Do you get an idea now why it costs so much money to have an experianced engine builder to rebuild an engine? This does'nt even address the special tools needed or the knowledge or understanding of what works and what does'nt work. One of these engine not built correctly will end up being an expensive boat anchor in just a very short time.
You need to set down and be completely honest with yourself on this one. Are you tooled up? Do you know how to measure critical clearances and have the tools to do so? Do you have a room thats so clean you would eat off its floor? Cleanlyness is very much close to Godliness when building that engine, dirt,dust or metal shavings getting into that engine while being built can kill it very fast.
These are just "some" of the things you need to consider before attempting this.
Hope this helps. :)

02-11-2005, 10:53 PM
damn man... why u gotta bring me down to reality so hard huh... what did i ever do to you? :( but GOD DAMN! all those damn things you just said... screw it... im buying me a new car... you must have some really really deep pockets... i work at a cashier... you must work in the OIL INDUSTRY if u can afford all that... well anywho... like i said before this isnt gonna be a COMPETITION car like at the strip or anything... ima rebuild it but its gonna take time... and money... lots and lots of preciouse money.... but anywho... it will be done... im just looking to push atleast 300 - 350 horses... thats it... but i will do it over time... not all at once of course...

MIKE 38sc
02-11-2005, 11:14 PM
damn man... why u gotta bring me down to reality so hard huh... what did i ever do to you? :( but GOD DAMN! all those damn things you just said... screw it... im buying me a new car... you must have some really really deep pockets... i work at a cashier... you must work in the OIL INDUSTRY if u can afford all that... well anywho... like i said before this isnt gonna be a COMPETITION car like at the strip or anything... ima rebuild it but its gonna take time... and money... lots and lots of preciouse money.... but anywho... it will be done... im just looking to push atleast 300 - 350 horses... thats it... but i will do it over time... not all at once of course...

Darkstar sorry for the slap of reality but its true. I just hate seeing a young person such as yourself setting yourself up for a disaster. I've been there and done it myself way back when I was fourteen and thought I knew it all, but I quickly learned I did'nt know ****.
I'm not a rich man and in fact have never been one, thats why I learned everything about this subject that I could from some of the best wrench's in the country. I did all of that and more to my SC engine for less than $2,000
only because I knew how to do it and only had to farm out some of the machine work. I shop around for parts and get the best prices I can on things. All the stuff I listed is for a stock rebuild only. There is no high performance stuff in that list.
Here's the funny side to all of this to me. People complain and never have the money to do something like this right the first time. However they always seem to have the money to do it all over the second time.
I've seen people piss and moan about what it costs to get an engine built because they always seem to have a buddy that can do it for half the price.
Well when they come back a couple of months later they dont have any trouble throwing wads of money at you wanting there beloved car running again because Bubba's rebuild job just went south.
Kinda like the old Fram oil filter comercial. You can pay me now or you will pay me later. Lotta truth in that.

02-12-2005, 02:36 AM
Bubba, that bastard! He's like Sancho for your car.

02-12-2005, 03:41 AM
Bottom line is things have to be done right. Half a rebuilt is no rebuild. Things have to match. Unless you go with wild heads a wild cam will do you no good. Spend the money on the basic stuff. GOOD machine work and assembley is critical. Good parts are a must. You are building a supercharger engine, Have the crank checked and polished at a mininum. I spent a ton on my bottom end and so far it has paid off. Blow a bottom end out and then you will see expensive. Even if you have to save wait whatever, get good stuff. As far a s H.P. is concerned it will come along as you go. In your case a mild cam would work well do a search under cam specs.