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Thread: Block advice - before going to the machine shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    St. Louis, Missouri

    Block advice - before going to the machine shop

    Well I also need some assistance, advice and direction on my í89 SC. I spun a bearing a few weeks ago and finally decided to rebuild the engine. It is a daily driver and I plan on keeping the block, pistons and crank stock, but build on the heads a little. Iíve been searching the forum but most everything pertains to block modifications. I enjoyed following creeperxr7ís thread and it has enlightened me quit a bit. I have some history with building several engines in the past, but this is my first forced induction engine.

    My question is what do you recommend having done to the block, pistons, crank, etc. at the machine shop to make sure that the engine will last for the next ten years, but keeping the internals stock? Stuff like balancing, decking, honing cylinder walls, etc. Now, what little add-onís will help to assist with a long life? Iím looking at a stud girdle, windage tray, type of rings (such as Total Seal mentioned by MIKE 38sc), type of bearings (both crank and rod), gasket set, etc. I plan on keeping it a daily driver but also plan on adding a few bolt-on performance parts in the future. Nothing radical, but just enough to kick up the horsepower a bit. In addition, I am having the exhaust manifolds honed out to support future exhaust modifications.

    Please post your advice and experiences.

    Thanks for your time in advance,

  2. #2
    Well Greg I'll list some the things that I consider minumamly(spelling) required.
    1. Remove all freeze plugs and oil galley plugs.
    2. Have shop remove old cam bearings.
    3. Have block hot tanked.
    4. Have block checked for cracks including the main bearing web area.
    5. Have bores checked with a bore scope to see if the out of roundness and taper is within spec. if its not you will need to overbore or it may be possable to hone the bores straight and use the slighly oversized pistons that Ford sells for that kind of repaire.
    6.Have the line bore of the main bearing saddles checked, if not in spec have the block line bored.
    7. Have the block decks checked for flatness as well as being square with the crankshaft. My pass side deck was .006 off from being square with the crank from the factory.
    8. have the shop install new cam bearings.
    9. Have shop install new freeze plugs.

    This is just a small list of what I consider a bare bones minimum block prep and there are many other things you need to do once you get your block back home.
    I installed a windage tray in my engine, Does it need it? Honestly NO, but I'm very anal.
    My thoughts on the crank girdle are if you do not plan to go after Chris Wise or Dave Neibert on a regular basis you dont need it, so save that money and spend it on things you really need.
    Balancing the internals is good but unless the shop has alot of experiance with that DO NOT let them do it.

    Get you a list of all the clearance specs on this engine and stay within the recomendations. This is a forced induction motor so its under pressures that a NA motor are not subjected to so clearances are very important and should not be skipped over, they WILL come back to bite you.
    Like I said these things are just the basics and I can get alot more detailed if you want, but I did'nt want to bore you at this point. LOL!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Madison, Ohio
    Have your crank throughly checked for cracks. Wouldn't be the first to put the motor together and have the crank snap.

    Basic balance and blueprint is all that should be needed. This motor is tough as nails as is.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Sand all the casting mark off the side of the rods,

    balance the internal parts.

    deck the block,heads.line bore .

    get a valve job done at a shop that has a sedi machine,5 angle.

    blend in the bowl area of port after valve job,and clean up exhaust port.
    Gasket match the intake manifold to intake ports & exhaust port to exhaust manifold.
    port the ends of all the IC tubes to match each other,port and gasket match the intake
    mainfold plenum to the intake manifold.

    Total Seal rings.

    ARP head stud. summitracing .com part number arp233-4003 $75.00 these are chevy v6 they fit perfect.

    Felpro gaskets.

    install 36lb injectors.

    Install a BHJ balancer on the crankshaft and get the crank shaft pulley zero balanced,if you can't
    afford a aluminum under drive pulley for the crankshaft.You don't need the waterpump & alternator UD pulleys.

    Have the radiator cleaned out while your down.

    ON the heater hose on the passenger side buy a new hose to go all the way to the front of the motor
    by the thermostat.And throw the metal pipe away.on the heater hose on the drivers a new hose
    all the way to the oil cooler and get rid of the metal pipe.This will delete the small heater hose that
    gos to the throttle body.You will not need this if you plan to change the throttle body later.And you will
    not need to block off later.And this will make it a little easier to change plugs later.

    Good luck Randy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Mike, Dave and Randy,

    Thanks for the responses and advice. Sorry for the late response, but I didnít log on all weekend because I was under the car. I have basically the transmission to drop, and the accessories on the left side of the engine before I can pull the engine out of the car.

    With your advice, I pieced together what one should do in just rebuilding the engine with stock crank, rods and pistons, but be able to handle some additional bolt-on products in the future. Any additional suggestions?

    Sand casting marks off the side of rods.
    Have shop remove freeze plugs.
    Have shop remove oil galley plugs.
    Have shop remove old cam bearings.
    Hot tank block.
    Have shop check block and main bearing caps for cracks.
    Have shop check/ correct bores for roundness and taper within specs. Use bore scope.
    Have shop check/ correct line bore of main bearing saddles.
    Have shop check/ correct block decks for flatness.
    Have shop check/ correct block decks being square with crankshaft.
    Have shop install new cam bearings.
    Have shop install new freeze plugs.
    Have shop balance rods, pistons and crank.
    Have shop install Total Seal rings
    Install using Felpro gaskets.

    This is just for the block and itís internal.

    I have read somewhere of having the block deck ringed to assist in the head gasket seals since the block is under tremendous internal pressure. Could any of you expand on this?

    In addition, rings, cam bearings, crank bearings and rod bearings are still the question of the day. Total Seal was suggested by Randy and seems to come up a lot in the Forum so I used put it on my list. Is there particular brand of bearings that you would suggest?

    Mike, I have the shop manual for the 1989 Super Coupe. I hope this has everything in it to rebuild the engine. What are your thoughts for other sources? Oh, thanks for the crank girdle advice. Iíll save my money for other parts. The only time that I would catch up with Chris or Dave is at a red stop light!!

    Randy, I appreciate the additional info that you provided. Do you know if there is a detailed outline on gasket matching? Also, if I put in 36lb injectors, I thought I had to change the MAF too. Is this true, and what about the stock fuel pump? Can it handle the 36lb injectors? Iíll have to look into the heater hose suggestion. I have an ideal of what you are outlining but my shop manual pictures arenít helping me. Iím sure once the engine is pulled and I can follow the hoses, Iíll have a clearer picture. Iíll also have to scan the forum on the BHJ balancer. I had a stock one put in about a year ago, but thanks for the suggestion. This is the type of info that Iím looking for.

    Sorry for the long winded reply. I appreciate all the suggestions and keep them coming. Iím just now starting to look into the heads and see what I can do for my $. I just have a budget that I need to stay within.

    Thanks again,

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Greg, You can pull the motor with the trans attacted.

    I don't think you need to o-ring the block.

    The Total Seal rings cost more ,but they are worth the extra cost in the long run.

    I best valve cut that you can get is done with a serdi machine.You can get this done in
    St Charles,Mo. at Stiegmeier.1-636-949-2275 He works on a lot of SC.This may be a good
    source ,since you are from St Louis area.He is tops on SC heads.So your lucky you live close to him.

    I just brought up how to delete the small 3/8 inch hose that attatches to the bottom of the
    throttle body.In case you plan to upgrade to a larger throttle body later.You don't need that
    small 3/8 inch heater hose on the throttle body.Its just easy to do now.If you are sure you
    are going to change the throttle body later for a larger throttle body.

    If you go with the lager injectors you will need to have the MAF to match.The 36# injector
    are not needed.they may drop you fuel milage.

    With the stock injectors,And upgrade the throttle body to 75mm BBk,and a 76mm MAF C&L
    with larger cold air pipe 3 will get better gas milage.With these parts plus a raised
    top 3/4 inch .I got 222.7RWHPand about 25.5 MPG.Be fore these upgrades I got about 22 MPG.
    And the fuel pump is big enough for the stock injectors or the 36# injectors.You can alway
    change to bigger injectors later.The stock injector for you right now may be just fine.They
    are easy to change later.Forgot I had a SCP exhaust & a chip from APTEN with this HP.

    MIKE OR DAVE D. Will be better to comment on bearing ect. they have more time in this area than I do.

    It will be worth your time to go to STIEGEMEIER'S or give him a call its hard to beat a machinest
    that has had hands-on with SC like him.And he is close.

    And if you have a fairly new stock balancer that may be just fine.

    Good luck and maybe we will run into each other some day I live 78 miles from the
    track by east St Louis, in Madison Il. RANDY
    Last edited by Randy N Connie; 10-14-2003 at 08:59 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Gasket matching.

    First you need to have the right tools.You can get away with out having any carbide cutters.
    But you will half to have.
    1.a die can be done with a drill.

    2.Mandrel to fit the die grinder I like the 1/4 inch ones ,get the shank to be 2 inch.
    The mandrel will hold the taper roll cartridge for sanding.To do a complete port
    job you would need longer mandrels.2 inch is about right for gasket matching. need to buy some taper rolls.This is sand paper rolled up to make a round
    taper ,glued together,to spin on the end of the mandrel that is in the die grinder,
    to cut or sand the ports to the shape you want.YOU need to buy 120grit about
    25 of them.AS the tapered rolls ware down change to a new one ,but keep the
    olds ones for later.You can use the old ones,to get a smoother ports later.
    This will save some money.You should guy some80,& 200 grit tapered rolls though.
    Tocut & polish with.You can buy these items from a tool house for machinest.
    This is one place near you in St Louis KBC TOOLS $ MACHININERY.PH.1-800-521-1740
    You will also need a scribe to make marks in the aluminum you are gasket matching.

    To start your gasket matching.You take your intake manifold gasket,Put it up aganst
    the intake manifold.Put the intake manifold bolts in the holes to hold and line up the
    gasket.Make a scribed make with a scribe on the inside of the intake gasket..
    Then take the gasket off.And start to sand up to the scribe marks.Hole the grinder
    straight to the gasket flang face.When you get close to the line stop.Put one of the
    old taper rolls on the mandrel ,and finish sanding to the scribed line ,use the old
    or finer grit roll to make it smooth or a polished finish.JUST go up to the scribe line
    you want the hole on the intake manifold to be the same as the intake port in the head
    or smaller.If the hole is larger you will be making a wall for the air to run into as it enters
    the intake port on the head.

    Now you can start on gasket matching the intake port on the head.Do the same as youdid on
    the intake manifold.Take the intake gasket,put it up against the intake ports on the head.
    put the intake manifold bolt in to the head to hold the gasket in place.Scribe lines around
    the inside of the gasket next to the intake ports.Remove the gasket.Then put a new sanding taper
    And then start to sand the ports out to the scribe line.Only sand into the port about 1/2 inch.
    While holding the grinder at a 45 degree angle.Do the bottom of the port only.Then move to
    the next port,and sand only the bottom of the port,move to the next port and sand only the
    bottom of the port.Do only the bottoms of the ports untill you are finished ruffing in all the
    bottoms of all the ports on both heads.PORT ALL THE BOTTOMS JUST UP TO THE LINE.
    Then move to the top,and do all of the tops of all the ports on both heads.Then move
    to the wall of the port,and sand one wall on all the ports.On both heads.Then move to the
    fourth wall and do all of them on both heads.You do one side of the walls to keep every
    thing the same .you want to do the same steps as you go along.To keep every thing
    concentric as you go.

    now that you have sanded up to the scribed line.Take a old or finer grit taper roll and
    sand to JUST THE OUTSIDE OF THE SCRIBED LINE.Just far enough that the scribed line is gone.
    This will make the intake port on the head slightly larger than the port in the intake manifold.
    This is so when the air travleing out of the intake manifold will not have a wall to hit as
    the air enters the intake port in the heads..
    This is why you are gasket matching.Because the intake manifold port and the intake ports
    in the heads were not lined up from the factory.So you just make sure the intake port in the
    heads is slightly larger that the intake manifold ports.

    Now move to the exhaust side.Do the same as above with the gasket 7 bolts.scribe your line on
    the exhaust ports in side of the gasket.And do the same to your stock exhaust manifold.
    Do the same steps as above one wall at a time.And hold the grinder at 45 degree angle
    to the gasket face,and grind inside of the port about one half of a inch it can be farther but not much.
    Do the same as above.But this time you want your stock exhaust header when finished to
    have the largest hole so there will not be to much of a wall for the air flow to run into.The
    header bolt bosses will be in the way a little but not much you can do about this with stock

    The bolt bosses in the stock headers is one of the biggest reasons to buy after maket headers.

    And you have other gasket matching you can do.The Plenum & throttle body,the blower top
    & IC tube,THE lower IC tube to the manifold intake plenum, the intake manifold plenum to the
    intake manifold.Just keep in mined of the dirrection of the air flow.EAch matching surface
    should have a step out so you do not have a wall for the air flow to run into.

    This will improve your gas milage about another 1 mile per gallon.So you may get up to
    26 and some more HP.Depends on how you drive.

    Forgot after you get the ports matched.Take a fine grit taper roll and blend in the ports
    past the 1/2 inch that you started at.

    Last edited by Randy N Connie; 10-14-2003 at 11:42 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Thanks a million for the detailed instructions on gasket matching. To quickly clarify, as the air flows towards the gasket, I sand the gasket to match that side of the port. As the air flows away from the gasket, I sand/ grind the port to match or make larger than the gasket. Are the 80, 120 and 200 grit papers strong enough to sand the aluminum away to make the gasket? Also, I have a dremel rotary tool which I believe could work. What are your thoughts? Iím not familiar with the taper roll cartridge. Is this just sand paper rolled in a cone shape or sand paper rolled in a cylindrical shape? If cylindrical, I know that I can purchase these grits for my dremel tool. Would a grinding stone work just as well?

    As for the heads, yes I would consider myself lucky with Stegimeier being so close, not to mention Chris Wise, Brian Herron and Dave Neibert. I plan on contacting Stegimeier to see what he can do for me within my budget. I also plan on contacting Brian Herron to assist with the APTEN chip and tuning once it is built.

    In addition, with your suggestions and also scanning the tech forum, I am seriously thinking of installing 36# injectors along with a 76mm MAF. Itís been suggested that with using stock MAF and 30# injectors on an engine that had the heads reworked, that the car would run lean and possibly burn up! Any thoughts on this?

    Last question I swear! Do you happen to have a number for Total Seal rings for stock pistons? From the Total Seal web site I see a #7174 number for a 232CI supercharged 3.8L. Do you know if this is correct?

    Again, thanks for all the assistance and donít hesitate to chime in if you have anything else to add.


  9. #9
    Yes 7174 is the correct part # for the rings, just make sure you specify stock size or whatever overbore youre going to use.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Thanks Mike. Do you have any comments on which manufacturer to use for the crank, rod and cam bearings?


  11. #11
    I use Clevite 77 bearings myself.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Greg, yes you have the gasket match direction flow right about gasket matching.

    the 80 grit,120 grit.200 grit are good enough to cut aluminum.If you want
    to go faster get your self a carbine cutter.I can't make a commentes about the dremal tool.
    have never used one .I would think it would work its just small.Yes you can use stones
    But aluminum may clog the stone fairly fast.

    I don't know your budget,But at least get the SERDI cut valve job,It the best.
    The serdi will cut in to the bowl area under the valve.You will want to blend
    this in to the bowl of the port.You must take your time here and not touch
    the valve seat while you are blending in.I don't know what design serdi cutter stieg
    has but it should a 5 angle cut.7 angel cut is the max that will fit a seat.This Serdi
    valve cut will really help your low end.This is what you want when you do stop and go driving.
    The only other BIG jump that can be done to a street head port match job.Would
    be to have the valve s unshouded and the combustion chambers cc.But a pro should do that.

    With just adding a 75mm throttle body,and a 76mm MAF and a raised top.with say a SCP exhaust,
    and port matching.You can run the stock 30# injectors.But you need to have Brian burn you a chip.
    the stock fuel pump will get you by for now ok to.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Somerset, Mass.
    Porting work with a dremel is,well, slow. It doesn't have enough power to eat through the metal very fast, which is good if your just learing like me.

    If you use stones to cut aluminum, make sure you oil them with WD40 or similar to help with the clogging.

    Randy gives excellent advise but sometimes pictures help so check out this site

    Last edited by pastera; 10-15-2003 at 07:27 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Aaron, That is good info for Greg.You the man.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    bound brook nj


    well this may help some or not but i had spun my #5 bering and had my motor done also i had it bored .30 over and floated the pistons also had a valve job done to it and it runs awsome

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