Let The Assembly Begin!

Didn’t get to spend much time on the engine yesterday.  My dear wife has an extreme case of gastro, so there are things to be done to keep the house ticking over (like feeding the kids).  We had also planned to renovate a room over the long weekend…which ain’t gonna happen  😦

Later in the afternoon I had some time so I removed the block from the engine stand so I could access the rear to install the rear lifter oil gallery welch plug as well as the other two rear plugs.  I wrapped the block to keep it clean and rigged it with some rope so I could control when I removed it from the stand.


Once I had it off the stand I stood it up on end so it was easy to access the rear holes.

IMG_2176 IMG_2177

First task was to insert the small welch plug which closes off the oil gallery for the lifters (in the hole to the left).  This went in perfectly with a bit of assembly lube to help.


The large plug seals off the rear of the camshaft.  This went in with a little bit of Permatex Aviation Form-a-Gasket for good luck.

The final freeze plug is the smaller one which seals the rear of the engine once you have installed the lifter oil gallery plug.  I went to get the freeze plug from the kit, but couldn’t find one the right size.  I bought the freeze plug kit from Falcon Global (eBay), and it was supposed to be complete….obviously it isn’t.  I have plenty of other sizes left over, just not the one I need.


I tapped out an email to Falcon Global asking if a 1 1/8″ plug should have been included.  We will see what the response is.

This is really frustrating as the more the block is assembled, the heavier it becomes and the more difficult it is to maneuver.  Anyway, I put the block back on the engine stand so I can continue putting it back together.

Uncle Isky

The first thing to go into the block is the camshaft….. an Iskenderian 262 Hydraulic Supercam.  The specs are:

Advertised Duration: 262/262
Duration @ .050″: 208/208
Lobe Centre” 112

This should give a good increase in power in the low & mid rpm range, but still have a nice smooth idle. Before inserting it I put a good layer of Isky assembly lube on every lobe as well as the distributor drive gear followed by some Amsoil assembly lube on the bearings and journals.   The cam went in easily to start with, and then got quite stiff as I slid the cam all the way home.  I pulled it back out to check everything was OK and it all looked fine.  After examining it, I put it down to the high shear strength of the assembly lube, which is quite tacky and sticky to ensure it stays where you put it until the engine is started and oil begins to flow through the journals.

IMG_2183 IMG_2184


Next up is the crank.  First step is to place the bearings in the block with some lube to protect the surface.  I dropped the crank in (man it weighs a ton!) and rotated it to make sure it turns free.  Nice and smooth, no tight spots….all good.

IMG_2199  IMG_2185 IMG_2186

Next step is to check the main bearing clearances.  I expect the bearing clearances to be on the high side as the crank has done 67,000 miles, and I am installing a standard set of bearings.  The obsessive side of me would love to re-grind the crank and line hone the block to get it perfect, however it is not really necessary for this cruiser build.

An easy way to check the bearing clearance is to use a product called Plasti-Gauge.  This product is a thin piece of plastic which is placed in between the journal and bearing, and then the bearings are torqued up.  When the caps are removed again, you measure the width of the Plasti-Gauge and read off the clearance.  Basically the tighter the clearance, the wider the squashed piece of Plasti-Gauge is.

Recommended clearance for a brand new is 0.0008 to 0.0025″, with the maximum allowable clearance at 0.005″.  The torque for the main bearings is 90 to 100 ft lbs, so I tightened the bearings to 90 ft lbs with the Plasti-Gauge in, as this will show the largest clearance.

IMG_2190  IMG_2194  IMG_2196

The clearances measured between 0.003 and 0.004″, with one bearing at 0.005″.  I will be running 10W-40 oil in this engine which is slightly thicker than the original 10W-30 oil, so these numbers will be OK.  A little loose is always better than a little bit tight when it comes to main bearings.  I removed the crank, cleaned off the Plasti-Gauge and made sure the journals were clean and ready for final assembly.  Before installing the crank for the last time I installed the rear main seal (the blue bit).  The bag which contained the seal suggested offsetting the seal join by 3/8″ to the bearing cap join to reduce the likelyhood of an oil leak, so I did this.

I then cleaned the bearing cap join area and applied a small amount of RTV sealant next to the seal – this is to ensure there is no path for oil to leak out at the back of the engine.  Miss this step and you have a big problem!  The trick here is to use enough sealant to ensure there are no leaks, but not so much that it squeezes out and makes a mess of the seal.  I also applied a film of Amsoil Assembly Lube to all the bearing surfaces and the rear main seal.  I also put a light film of assembly lube around the rear crank journal where the seal is to make sure the seal doesn’t have a dry start as this would damage the seal surface.

All of the caps went on easily, and the rear main seal lined up spot on.  To try and close up the bearing clearances a little I tensioned the caps all down to 100 ft lbs – this will squeeze them all just a little bit tighter and might reduce clearances by a couple of tenths.  Once torqued down, the crank rotated by hand nice and smooth, although I could really feel the thick assembly lube dragging, which is just what it is supposed to do!

IMG_2198  IMG_2199 IMG_2200  IMG_2201


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