Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pulling the engine down

I tore apart the 351 Cleveland that came with the car over the last few nights, after my children went to bed.  It was messy and stinky, but really fun for a gearhead like me.  I've taken many engines apart, but never taken a V8 apart.  I was actually surprised at the amount of force required to loosen the main cap bolts.

The 351 Cleveland I acquired with the car was supposedly rebuilt.  I had high ambitions for the engine but had considered selling it since I didn't know what was done to it.  It was sitting there, reminding me of Pandora's Box, in silent resilience to stay assembled.  However, I was not satisfied with the idea that I was clueless to what was done, just taking the seller's word for it.  In defense to the the previous owner, I doubt he knew the full scope of what I was about to find, not being the original owner of the engine.

I started pulling the water pump off since the heads had been previously removed.  Wow, that was about the hardest part!  Someone had really stuck that thing on there with oodles of sealant.  I finally had to use a large fence post pounder with some real mass to knock it loose, being lazy since the sledge hammer was down in the basement.

I found that I have a new Melling M84A oil pump upon pulling the pan.  Then, upon pulling the first rod cap and knocking the piston out of the bore, I found that someone had replaced the upper rod bearing but not the lower rod bearing!

Lower rod bearing, showing tons of copper and embedded junk.  
This is NOT what you want to find in a supposedly rebuilt engine!

It appears that only a few rod bearing halves were replaced.  I'm actually quite amazed that someone would think that they could get away with leaving horrible bearings in the engine.  I bet the engine wouldn't have lasted a hundred miles if I had just left it the way it was.

Well, I couldn't get the balancer off the front of the crank snout since I don't have the right puller.  I'll have to wait until Friday to do that.  It appears that someone installed a double roller timing chain, but I have a Rollmaster as well.  The camshaft looks like it is original even though the lifters appear to be brand new.

I did pull all five main caps and took a look at the bearings- same story but slightly worse:

Main bearing, showing full copper.  

I was actually taken back and fully surprised to see this.  I thought someone would have at least replaced the main bearings with all of the nasty assembly lube all over the place.  For some reason, when I broke the bolts loose on the caps, there was a strange burnt smell, which increased to a skunk-like stench.  Even this morning, the garage stinks like it. 

Where do I go from here?  The whole intent is to get the block down to the machine shop, have it cleaned up and inspected.  I know it hasn't been bored out, but I don't know if the block is salvageable.  I had it sonic'd previously, so I know that the block doesn't have the core-shift as bad as it could have and should have plenty of wall thickness to bore into.

I read somewhere that if the crank is stamped "M4A" that it is a high-nodularity crank, and this crank has that stamp.

More to come later...  Happy Thanksgiving!

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