Next you will need a ring compressor. Speedway Motors has a nice one-piece model that is adjustable. Liberally oil theinside of the ring compressor. A wooden hammer handle is a nice tappingtool to push the piston into the bore. Be sure to keep the ringcompressor tight against the block during this operation. If the pistoncomes to an abrupt stop, do not continue, because a piston ring has morethan likely slipped out of the compressor. Remove the piston and reset the compressor.

Once the piston is in the bore and the rod has been guided onto the crank, install the cap. Again, don't rotate the crankuntil the cap has been tightened. The reason for not rotating the crankis that you don't want the lube to spin into the space between the rodand the cap. This space should remain clean and dry. Once all rods arein place and torqued, it is time to install the oil pump. Care must betaken on Chevys to use the correct oil pump attachment bolt. The wrongbolt can do bad things to the rear main bearing. From engine to engine,you might find some differences, but on the small-block Chevy and thesmall-block Ford, the front timing cover is installed before the oilpan.

BACK TO THE CAM Get out that beautiful cam you selected and gaze at itfor a moment. Lather it up with assembly lube or whatever lube your camgrinder recommends. Too much will be just about right. Slide the cam incarefully, trying not to nick the cam bearings. A long bolt screwed intothe front of the cam makes a good handle.

It's now time for the timingchain. The stock chain works amazingly well in these engines.Aftermarket timing-chain sets offer several keyways for changing the camadvance. This is of little use unless you are experienced in the effectsof changes in cam timing. Save this part for your next engine. Degreeingthe cam is a time-honored procedure in racing engines. In this case wedid not align-hone the main bearing bores. Thus the distance from thecrank to the cam did not change. So for your first engine, leave thefancy stuff alone. On the V-8 Chevy there is a dot on the cam gear andthe crank gear. These two dots must line up at the point where they aretogether. Being one tooth off either way will not work. After the timingchain set is installed, remember to torque the cam bolts; the frontcover can now be installed.

Place something about 5/16 inch thick acrossthe pickup of the oil pump. Now, as a trial run, fit the pan with nogaskets. If the 5/16-inch spacer barely touches the pan, you should feelit rock slightly. If it does not touch, then try a 7/16-inch spacer.This spacer should touch the pan. If it does not touch, then remove thepan and make an adjustment to the pickup or the pan. Also check for anydents in the pan. For best engine oiling, the pickup-to-pan clearanceshould be between 5/16 and 7/16 inch without the pan gasket. Ready toinstall the oil pan? Not quite. Most used oil pans have had the boltsover-tightened. When this happens, thin metal dimples and leaks canoccur between the bolts. Using a piece of wood to spread the impact, tapthese dimples gently with a hammer. You want the gasket surface as flatas possible. Don't overdo it.

Now clean the pan once again. The pan gasket needs no sealer. The rubber seals at each end of the pan need asmall dab of silicone sealer at each end where they meet the gasket.

A word of caution about using silicone sealers is in order. If some isgood, then that's enough. Gaskets are designed to work in their place.Sometimes a smear of silicone around a water passage is OK. A dab at agasket joint is OK. Silicone is often used in place of a gasket at theends of the intake manifold on a Chevy V-8. It is OK to do all of thesethings if they are not overdone. I cringe when I see silicone hangingout of gaskets on valve covers and oil pans. When silicone squeezes outof an engine, it also squeezes into an engine. The silicone inside canget loose, and it doesn't dissolve in the engine. Instead, it stops upthe oil pickup screen, and this dissolves the bearings, among otherthings. I have seen this happen more than a few times--one time with myown engine. Learn the easy way or learn the hard way--just learn.

In Part 2 we'll spend some time prepping the cylinder heads. Oncethey're installed, we will move on to the valvetrain. We will alsoinstall the intake manifold, the distributor, and even the water pumpwith its pulleys.

Speedway Motors
P.O. Box 81906
NE  68501
531 Spectrum Circle
CA  93030
Crane Cams
530 Fentress Blvd.
Daytona Beach
FL  32114
Clevite/Perfect Circle/Victor Reinz