396 Piston Teardown problems - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 9th, 03, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Help, I am new to tearing down an engine and am having problems trying to get the pistons out. I am disassembling a '67 SS 396 MW coded motor, that has been out of a car for at least 10 years, no plugs in the heads, and always stored indoors. I have the heads. balancer and oil pan off, but the crank will not turn. The pistons seem very gunky, but not heavily rusted looking at all. I sprayed WD40 in all cylinders, and have some of it already leaking down. I tried using a 2x4 block of wood and a sledge on the piston to break the rings from the cylinder walls, but nothing is moving. All of the connecting rods have side to side play- is this normal? I will be using larger pistons, so saving this set and protecting the cylinder walls is not a big deal. I have a crankshaft socket with a leverage bar, and it still will not turn. I am tearing it down to save some bucks at the machine shop. Thanks for any advice.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 9th, 03, 03:25 PM
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Even though the pistons will not be used again, you need to be careful with the cylinder walls. You can ruin your block very easily. remember when talking about larger pistons or an overbore, we are only talking .010 -.030 you could easily knock a ding or gouge deeper than that. With that said you are on the right track by using lube. I would suggest loading up the cylinders with motor oil and letting them soak for a while. If you have access to a propane torch, a little heat could help a lot.

Yes it is normal for connecting rods to have some side play. With that in mind if you can get them all to wiggle/slide that tells me the rings are stuck and thet it's not the rod bearings. Be patient, the $50 you save by doing it yourself san easily be tripled if you jack up the block. Good luck

PS. Try using a rubber, rawhide, nylon, wood mallet. I wouldn't use a metal hammer or anything like that inside the cylinders.

Royce (NO XQSSS) Bradley

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 9th, 03, 03:29 PM
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WD40 is ok, but best thing i've used has been PB Blaster, work buys it and I borrow some now and then...

68 Camaro~LSx ~all motor
1.54 60'--6.95 @ 98.45 660'--10.96 @ 121.53
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 9th, 03, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Camaroman for the info. Just to clarify, when I use a 5# sledge and 2x4 block ( @ 6 inches long), I am hitting the 2x4 block which is on top of the pistons. I am extremely careful not to have bare metal bang against bare metal.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 9th, 03, 05:42 PM
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Put a flywheel or flexplate on it & put on some leather gloves so the teeth don't eat your hands. Try to turn the flywheel back & forth as far as you can. Probably won't go far, but oil the cylinders again (I used some used motor oil) & try it again the next day. I freed one up that had been sitting outside with no heads for a couple of months like that, but it took four days. I had to scrape the rust out of the cylinders with a pocket knife several times, but it finally turned all the way around on the fourth day.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 11th, 03, 03:22 PM
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Spist, (Name ???)
I am going to tell it like it is, others might not like it but..... If the pistons are stuck that badly, the cylinder walls are going to be pretty bad anyway when you get them out. Go from the underside, take one rod cap off that you can get to, put some bolt protectors on the bolts so you dont mess up the crankshaft. Now get about a 3/4" diameter steel rod (I have an old 1/2" drive extension I use), put it in from the bottom against the underside of the head of the piston, and wail on it with the hammer. It will break loose and beleive me, you are not going to hurt the cylinders any more than they already are. Do this one pison at a time. Once you get a few out, you might be able to turn the crank over to get to the rest. You can also try beating on them from the top till they start moving. Forget the wood...if they are badly stuck, the wood will cusion the hammer blow and they wont budge. Just be careful, if you nick the block a bit, so what ? It needs to be bored anyway. You have already tried being "nice" now stop wasting time and get them out [img]smile.gif[/img]
Hope this helps,

Bill Koustenis
Advanced Automotive Machine
Waldorf Md
1971 Chevelle "Heavy Chevy" original owner

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