Machine work - Now or Later? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 19th, 05, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Jon
 
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Machine work - Now or Later?

I have a 400 SB that I will be rebuilding to go into my '68. Not sure how quick I will be doing this project. I have a number of projects going on now, and I want to tackle the suspension on the car first. My question is, should I get the machine work done ahead of time and then just store the block or wait to do the machine work until I am ready? The block is the only thing I plan on reusing in my rebuild. I will buy a new rotating assembly and upper end. Which I would like to start gathering parts, but I don't know if the block is good or not, or what size bore, etc.
But I don't know if it would harm the block to have the work done, then have it setting around for 1 - 2 years?
Any thoughts??

Thanks,

Jon
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 19th, 05, 11:11 AM
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

Jon,
Not only should you wait, but you really have no choice. You will need some of the parts to get the machine work done. I would wait until you were ready to build the engine before worrying about machine work. Oil up the block bag it and keep it out of the weather until you are ready to start buying engine parts.

You could have the block mag'd and checked out now, that way you will know if it's worth keeping.

Royce (NO XQSSS) Bradley

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 19th, 05, 11:17 AM
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

Machine work isn't getting any cheaper as time goes by - so I would opt to have the block checked and some of the necessary machine work done ahead of time.
You can have the block checked (mag'd), crank bore/Align Bore (if necessary), cam bores also, deck checked and machined if needed and the overbore necessary can be detirmined and done.
You will also now know if the block is worth using and the necesary over-bore size and other spec.s for parts you will be needing to gather prior to the build-up.
When you are ready to assemble the block the shop can Finish Hone each Piston to it's bore for you.

Once you have the block back make sure to completely clean the intire block and all areas including all the oil passages* (if the shop didn't do this for you) with oil galley cleaning brushes & soapy water, blow dry and then pump and spray lube through them and over the block. I use a 'weed sprayer' with storage oil for this - you could also get "marine storage oil" in spray cans from any boat shop and use it.
(* you do not want small pieces of metal shavings to sit around in a block passage and rust in place - they will break lose at the worst possible time...)

It doesn't hurt the block to set in storage at all, as long as it is;
A.) completely cleaned & coated with a good coat of oil or other storage and rust proofing liquid. IMHO - most older blocks I see just sitting around are Not properly coated or stored and are rusting anyway.
B.) Completely covered with a good quality storage "baggie". Summit and others sell these - but, I use some 8mil industrial bags that fit intirely over the engine/assembly and are then tied and taped shut. Dust and dirt are just as bad on a stored engine.
C.) The block is properly supported in an engine storage stand or allowed to sit upright flatly** on the rear mount flange (where the trans bolts) or flat on it's side pan rails on a flat surface.
(** you may need to remove the dowels or make a flat storage plate from 3/4" plywood that has hole drilled to match the dowel pattern)
Do Not store your motor 'hanging' from the rear mount flange on a engine stand for months on end!
Use of one of the many rolling engine storage stands that cradles the engine by the Pan Rail of side motor mount holes is fine.

Hope this helps and others chime-in with their inputs;
John

ps: Royce has good points and beat me to his post - so I added a few other things that aren't self explainitory to my text - every engine builder has his preferences, you should also check with the shops that you are consider having do the work and get their input on your engine...
Way to go Royce - blow me out of the water...LOL

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Last edited by Vintage 68; Dec 19th, 05 at 11:27 AM.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 19th, 05, 01:44 PM
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage 68
Machine work isn't getting any cheaper as time goes by - so I would opt to have the block checked and some of the necessary machine work done ahead of time.
You can have the block checked (mag'd), crank bore/Align Bore (if necessary), cam bores also, deck checked and machined if needed and the overbore necessary can be detirmined and done.
You will also now know if the block is worth using and the necesary over-bore size and other spec.s for parts you will be needing to gather prior to the build-up.
When you are ready to assemble the block the shop can Finish Hone each Piston to it's bore for you.

Once you have the block back make sure to completely clean the intire block and all areas including all the oil passages* (if the shop didn't do this for you) with oil galley cleaning brushes & soapy water, blow dry and then pump and spray lube through them and over the block. I use a 'weed sprayer' with storage oil for this - you could also get "marine storage oil" in spray cans from any boat shop and use it.
(* you do not want small pieces of metal shavings to sit around in a block passage and rust in place - they will break lose at the worst possible time...)

It doesn't hurt the block to set in storage at all, as long as it is;
A.) completely cleaned & coated with a good coat of oil or other storage and rust proofing liquid. IMHO - most older blocks I see just sitting around are Not properly coated or stored and are rusting anyway.
B.) Completely covered with a good quality storage "baggie". Summit and others sell these - but, I use some 8mil industrial bags that fit intirely over the engine/assembly and are then tied and taped shut. Dust and dirt are just as bad on a stored engine.
C.) The block is properly supported in an engine storage stand or allowed to sit upright flatly** on the rear mount flange (where the trans bolts) or flat on it's side pan rails on a flat surface.
(** you may need to remove the dowels or make a flat storage plate from 3/4" plywood that has hole drilled to match the dowel pattern)
Do Not store your motor 'hanging' from the rear mount flange on a engine stand for months on end!
Use of one of the many rolling engine storage stands that cradles the engine by the Pan Rail of side motor mount holes is fine.

Hope this helps and others chime-in with their inputs;
John

ps: Royce has good points and beat me to his post - so I added a few other things that aren't self explainitory to my text - every engine builder has his preferences, you should also check with the shops that you are consider having do the work and get their input on your engine...
Way to go Royce - blow me out of the water...LOL

I'm just curious why its not good to bolt an engine to the typical engine stands that I have seen. That is the kind where the engine stand bolts to where the tranny would bolt to. Is that what you are referring to? This is the first I have heard this. Just want to get edumicated on this.

Thanks,

Marty

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 19th, 05, 02:39 PM
 
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

I don't think there is an issue with using the trans-mount type of engine stand, you just dont want to store them like that, creep failure i bet. (though i couldnt see that happening with steel over any reasonable time period)
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 19th, 05, 04:52 PM
 
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

Personally I would wait unless you had a perfect storage place waiting. Oil thats on and in your block are great protection. IMHO all the trouble of making absolutely sure all parts stay coated after doing steps A,B,C,& D, with a lubricant and all isn't worth the effort when its coated already. I would still do step B and keep it in a dry place though. If you do decide to have the work done and leaving it for more than a year I would use a heavier protectant on the freshly machined areas such as Lubriplate.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 05, 10:02 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1FASTZ
I'm just curious why its not good to bolt an engine to the typical engine stands that I have seen. That is the kind where the engine stand bolts to where the tranny would bolt to. Is that what you are referring to? This is the first I have heard this. Just want to get edumicated on this.

Thanks,

Marty
Marty:

Yes - the typical Engine 'Build-up' Stands bolt to the Transmission Mount Flange of the Block.
"Storage" Stands will bolt to the Side Engine Mounts, Side and Trans Mount or to the Oil Pan Side Rail at several points (usually 2 front & 2 rear).

The reasoning, and through some testing I now know this to be true, is that the block will "flex" to some degree when mounted by the rear flange only. It is a very small amount but, over time it will increase as the block continues to distort from 'hanging' there.
When installed in a vehicle the block is supported by the side mounts as well as the transmission flange/transmission assembly. This design allows the block to distribute the center mass of the casting mainly over the side mounts and very little of the wieght mass is carried by the actual transmission assembly. This 'balanced' mount design also allows you to do things like remove the transmission with the engine still in the car by just supporting a relatively small amount of the rear mass while you have the tranny out.

I actually first observed a very unique engine build stand* back in the late 60's while looking at an engine being built by Mr. Travers in the L.A. area. Being an Engineering Student, I asked about the stand design and he gave me some pretty insightful information about the block stabilty and reasons for supporting the engine in certain ways to get accurate measurements while fitting components during assembly - I have followed this and other jems of information from him since then...
In an unfortunate 'experiment' of my own, I had built a BB for a boat and the guy didn't come pick-it-up as scheduled. I decided to put the engine on a regular stand and set in the shop office as a display for a little while until he came to get it. A racing season/year or so later he's still a No-show so I decide to recheck everything and sell it. Guess what, I can't turn the crank in the bearings without some binding now...it turned smooth as can be when first assembled. A check of the main bearing bore alignment showed them now out of alignment enough to require an align-hone to restore to spec. - lesson learned...

I still throw an engine on a rear flange mounted stand for final assembly - but, I will never store them that way again.

As Always - JMHO's;
John

* = Think of a 'fork-lift' type set of bars coming off of the normal flange plate where you would bolt the rear of the engine to - these ran along side the oil pan rails and bolted to several of the rail holes.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 05, 10:08 AM
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

Man, if it's possibly gonna be a year or two before you use this block, then don't do anything with it. That's a long time and you will almost certainly change your mind about certain things as the project goes along. You may wish to utilize a different engine, or a stroker kit, or a crate engine, or maybe build a big block. There are so many interesting choices. I say, don't waste a penny on that block until you're committed and have made a final decision on the engine that will be used.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 05, 10:15 AM
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

You need to find out if you have std bore block,..a 400 block can only be bored .030 once then it's done, unless you get her sleeved which if done right could cost more than another 400 std bore core.

Yes, you'll need your rotating assy prior to block prep.

Never heard of problems with storing a block on an engine stand.

Also, once assembled, there's no real hurry to install the engine,..just keep a film of oil on everything, esp the cylindar walls, to prevent rust and you're fine.

Good luck!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 23rd, 05, 09:17 AM
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

Vintage68, thanks for the info. What about a storing a long block on an engine stand that mounts to the tranny flange? Without heads, intake, etc...the less weight should be easier on the block right? Just curious how long you'd allow a SBC long block "hang" on the stand. I ask this because I've had my long block "hanging" for a month or so and now I'm worried.

Thanks,

Marty

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 23rd, 05, 11:46 AM
 
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

A couple a months should be a problem. I have had them on for 5 or 6 months with aluminum and steel heads with no issues as described in this post. I'm not saying it couldn't happen but with just a block alone it should be fine. Blocks do flex but I haven't had one that did this to the point of what was being described here and stay that way.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 23rd, 05, 03:29 PM
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasPerfProd
A couple a months should be a problem. I have had them on for 5 or 6 months with aluminum and steel heads with no issues as described in this post. I'm not saying it couldn't happen but with just a block alone it should be fine. Blocks do flex but I haven't had one that did this to the point of what was being described here and stay that way.
Thanks TexasPerfProd. I feel much better now. Hopefully it's more relative to big blocks and my big mouse will be fine.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 23rd, 05, 03:47 PM
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Re: Machine work - Now or Later?

If the engine was stored on the stand BEFORE the machine work and it did flex/move around, it wouldn't really matter because the machine work would straighten everything back out.
I would wait to do the machining until your ready to put the whole thing together.IMHO.

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