The BB Big Day! - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 05, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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The BB Big Day!

After 3 1/2 years of hard work I'm finally ready to fire the big iron. Not all that time on the motor though. This has been a frame off restoration project. The car looks awesome! Installed the motor and transmission this past weekend and hope to crank the engine Saturday. The motor (396/325) has been gone through completely. Everything new except for the block, crank, heads, and intake manifold. I've read that I should ramp the motor up to around 2000 rpms for about 30 minutes to break-in the cam properly. Is that correct? Are there any other tips that might help?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 05, 08:34 PM
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Re: The BB Big Day!

put a box fan or two in front of the radiator. 2000 rpm for half an hour standing still makes a ton of heat. Hook the mufflers up so you can hear any bad noises. have a volunteer turn the key while you stand by to set the timing and mixture. No finesse, just twist the distributor till it sounds good. Close the choke, then preadjust the idle speed so it's the same place as the top step of the fast idle cam, thet'll get it reved up and keep it there.





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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 05, 09:41 PM
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Re: The BB Big Day!

Good advice above.

Though I disagree with setting the carb to run at exactly the same speed. It's better to fluctuate the speed from 1500 to 2500,..this will spread the oil around.

Also,..prepare for a leak of some sort,..obvioulsy check for fuel leaks first (have an extinguisher handy).

Here's a link with a tip on accurately setting the timing prior to start-up...cams can be wiped if the engine has to crank too much before starting:

https://www.camaros.net/forums/showth...ing+spark+plug

Good luck!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 05, 10:02 PM
 
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Re: The BB Big Day!

All the above advice is good. Especially having an extinguisher handy. But I also keep a decent size decently wet rag (clean of oil or gas) handy for a small fire. The reason is if it is a small fire you can just throw the wet rag on top of the fire and it will smoother it right away. An extinguisher will make an awful mess of everything. But my all means if the extinguisher is needed don't hesitate to use it. This is just my experience of having two friends cars having small fires. Good luck with the engine break in. I can't wait to build my BB this winter.

Tom
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 05, 06:39 AM
 
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Smile Re: The BB Big Day!

And I always keep my garden hose around so I could stick it in my rad.!! As well as wet the rad. down on the outside IF it got too hot before I got her "normalized"!!

pdq67



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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 05, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The BB Big Day!

I installed the dist. just as the "How To Build Big Block Chevy Engines" manual stated. Little uneasy about that step but we'll see. Used that book for the entire engine assembly. Great step-by-step instructions. Awesome book.

Will the steps listed in the link supplied by Straight-Line-69 work the same for a BB?

Just that I understand completely: Take the driver's side valve cover off, turn the crank, and watch for the intake valve to shut completely. Should this put the harmonic timing indicator at 6-8 degrees advanced as stated in those instructions? Make sure rotor button is pointing close to #1 wire. Using an old plug in #1 wire, ground to the engine, turn the ignition on, and rotate dist. until fire is noticed.

Also, I had the carb completely rebuilt. Will I have to make any major adjustments to get the engine to crank and run long enough to break in the cam? If I have to, I'll rig up something to hold the throttle in position for the 2000 rpms. Not worried about the final adjustments. I'll have someone tune the engine later.

Thanks for all the advice. I'm nervious, anxious, worried, and excited all at the same time. To me, this is one of the most important steps in my total restoration. Any othe advice will be greatly appreciated!

Tim
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 05, 08:23 AM
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Re: The BB Big Day!

I think several sets of eyes are a plus. Keep someone monitoring the gauges, and looking underneath and on top. Leaks can sprout pretty quickly. If you're in a garage make sure there's going to be adequate ventilation, 30 minutes is along time when it comes to exhaust fumes. Also don't be overly alarmed by initial smoke or smells but don't ignore them either. Various paint or oil film will be burning off during the process.

Robert

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 05, 09:02 AM
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Re: The BB Big Day!

To accurately pre-set the timing, yes, pull the valve cover, turn the motor while watching the # 1 intake rocker. After it closes the intake valve, you'll turn the motor another half turn until you see the timing line on your harmonic come into position under the timing tab. Set it at 8-10 degrees.

Then adjust the distributor as instructed. She'll fire right up!..and you'll look smart!

Some other thoughts:

1) Prime the carb...better yet, do you have a good working carb on another car?
2) Prime the oil pump using the oil-priming tool,..you can rent one from about anywhere...(you'll need a good strong drill for a BB,..maybe a 1/2 incher)
3) If you hit the key and nothing happens, make sure your neutral safety switch is connected and working (is this a 4-speed car or auto?)
4) Again, I disagree with setting or fixing the speed at a constant rpm. I'm of the opinion that it's better to flutuate the speed from 1500 to 2500.
5) As noted above,..this is a two-man job,..somebody on the gas pedal watching guages and somebody under the hood watching, smelling, and listening.
6) Minor ticking is acceptable,..probably a rocker that needs another half turn (after break-in), or it could be a small exhaust leak. If it grows louder or you have a pronounced knock, shut her down and investigate.
7) The obvious,..make sure your fuid levels are up,..fuel, coolant, oil,..duh.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 05, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The BB Big Day!

After the rebuild we primed the oil pump and repeated that every week or so building the pressure up (about 5 minutes usually got oil pumping across the rockers). May not have been necessary but we did it anyway. How many engines set in warehouses for extended periods of time before they get installed. Did that one last time before installing the distributor. You're right, it took a 1/2 drill to turn the modified distributor.

Don't have another carb. sitting around. Hope this one is close enough to run. Best way to prime a Rochester?

This is a TH-400 automatic car. All of the new wiring harnesses are in place but everything is not connected. I'll have to see how the safety switch connects. Didn't think of that.

I pre-set the rocker arm tension based on the assembly manual. Hopefully I won't have to re-adjust them (hydraulic lifters). Nice painted motor with new chrome valve covers. Oh well, may have to fix a leak anyway. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Tim
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 05, 01:41 PM
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Re: The BB Big Day!

You can pour fuel into the vent on top of the q-jet,..an ounce or two is all you need. Then pour a small bit directly into the primaries, and you're primed.

The neutral safety stuff,..under the dash there's a dual-purple wire that goes to a switch that attaches to your shifter. If all that's not all ready, simply disconnect the wire(s) from the switch and run a jumper in the connector that completes the loop of the purple dual-wire (one of the wires is purple, the other is purple & white). Make sense?
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 05, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The BB Big Day!

Thanks for all the help! I let you know how it goes.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 10th, 05, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The BB Big Day!

Fired the BIG IRON today. Thanks to all of the tips!

Straight-Line-69,

Thank you so much for the hints on how to fire the new engine. Your directions worked perfect. It cranked on the 2nd try. We ran into a firing problem 7 minutes into the breaking in period. Think it may have been the coil wire. Ran the engine another 30 minutes (1500 - 2000 rpms). The only leak was a transmission line at the radiator. The new dual exhaust leaked but that will be an easy fix. I was surprised how well it ran without timing or carb adjustments. I'll have a pro do that over the next week or so.

Another big step behind me!!! Again, thanks!

Tim
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 10th, 05, 05:34 PM
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Re: The BB Big Day!

Congrats!!! Can't help but use the old one liner "I like it when a plan comes together".

Robert

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 10th, 05, 06:29 PM
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Re: The BB Big Day!

Ok Tim. Now that its running, We all want a ride!!
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 10th, 05, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The BB Big Day!

Can't wait to give everyone a ride! Hopefully this spring. I was so nervious and anxious because this being the original motor. My dad and I have built several motors over the years but none as important. I'm a big supporter of the book I mention early in this post ("How To Build Big Block Chevy Engines"). It really helped me plan and build the engine step-by-step. Thanks for all the positive comments.

Tim
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