Block Preparation

I picked up a 400 sbc at the wreckers for $100. The 400 block was in poor condition with one cylinder quite worn from a damaged piston. The block needed to be bored out 0.040" for the one bad cylinder. This gives a displacement of 409 cid.

I also painted the block black (2 coats) so that it would show off the cheesey accessories better. New cam bearings and brass water plugs were installed.

bearings installed

The block is painted black and very clean main bearings installed

plastic gauge

The crank was installed, main caps torqued to spec with plastigauge.

- I plasti-gauged the main bearings to verify clearances and found that bearing #1 (closest to the front) had a bad taper of 0.001" clearance at the rear of the bearing and 0.003" at the front. I measured it twice just to make sure that I didn't squeeze the plasti-gauge removing the cap. This means that the block needs to be align honed.

Match the width of the flattened Plastigage with the paper reference to determine the clearance

The crank was installed, main caps torqued to spec with plastigauge. I cleaned up the plasti-gauge and oiled all the journals. Reinstalled and checked to see if the crank by chance would spin easily. Spinning easily are not the words I would use! It definitely needed to be align honed. So off to the machine shop it went.

Tip of the week: When mounting the engine block to the engine stand, don't try to manouver the block on a hoist when bolting to the engine stand. Remove the engine stand's engine mount from the base and bolt it to the block. You can easily align the stand's engine mount's 4 mounting bolts without fighting the weight of the block. Grease the pivot with Permalube or white grease so that it will rotate much easier. Then you just have to slide the stand's pivot back into the stand's base. It's a lot easier to position the pivot back into the engine stand then try to line up 4 bolts to a block hanging in mid air!

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Copyright May 2011 Eugene Blanchard