Friday, November 25, 2011

My Budget Chevy 350 Build

I have been planning my budget 350 build for a while and I just finally got the ball rolling when I received my parts back from the machine shop. I decided I would list my budget build and show some prices for everything so far.

  • Block - 010, 020 High Nickel Content, 2 bolt main, cleaned, standard bore and ready to build
  • Crank - standard, that was recently ground to .010"-.010" under
  • Pistons - New flat tops
  • Rods - stock rods
  • Heads - 14102191 Swirl Port TBI heads (don't judge, these cost $25.00 in great shape)
  • Intake Manifold - Early 70's non-egr cast iron 4 bbl.
  • Carburetor - Edelbrock 600cfm vacuum secondary
  • Distributor - Factory HEI
  • Camshaft - New stock truck cam
My intent was to rebuild an a 350 engine, not just throw some crap together and hope it runs. My main goal was low price and mild performance and I am sure I will get that with my current build. I have spent a total of $500 so far for all of the above items. My major costs are behind me. I will still need things like gaskets and valve stem seals but so far I believe this is a great price so far.

350 Chevy Parts back from the Machine Shop

I spent the summer doing family things and teaching myself to build computers. This didn't leave me much time to work on my Blazer but in the early fall I was able to drop off my engine internals at the local automotive machine shop. Here is a list of what I had done:
  • Clean cylinder heads
  • Clean intake manifold
  • Clean valve covers
  • Grind stock crank to .010" - .010" under.
  • Install new flap top 350 pistons on the connecting rods
Everything looked great especially the heads. They looked beautiful and they even tough up my valve seats for me. Take a look at my before and after picture of my cylinders heads and they look good.

350 Head Before Cleaning

350 Head after Cleaning

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Camaro Wheels on my Blazer S10

I just got some nice 16" aluminum Camaro wheels for my Blazer S10. I really like the look of the wide low profile tire on the S10's. I will need to do a small drop to get the height where I like it but so far these look great. The tires are worth a damn but replacements can be had for about $80 each brand new. I believe these are the mid to late 1990's Camaro wheels.

1984 S10 Blazer with 1994 Camaro Wheels

S10 Blazer with 1994 Camaro Wheels

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kitec Plumbing in Our House

I am sad to say that my house has kitec plumbing in it. We have owned our new home for over seven years and have experience two leaks so far. Fortunately for us, we were home both time the leaks occurred so we were able to limit the damage to our home. Kitec for those that don't know is a plumbing product whose fittings begin to fail and cause leaks in your home. I believe there was a lawsuit that was settled but it provides no relief for homeowners. This sucks for a lot of homeowners out there that have kitec plumbing and cannot afford a re-plumb at the moment. From my research and from my own experience I have read that the piping is still good in most cases but it is the fittings that corrode by leaching zinc. I am working on a solution to this problem for myself and I will share what I find with everybody in my next post.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Craftsman Cordless 4.0v Lithium Ion Screwdriver, 1 Year Review

It has been almost one year since I posted my first review of the new Craftsman Cordless Screwdriver that I purchased and have been using. It is the 4.0v Lithium Ion Screwdriver, model #315.113980. It is now time to let you all know how it has been performing. First off I want to say that I am in no way being compensated by Sears or Craftsman for this article. First things first here are some pictures of what my drill looks like after one year.

4.0V Craftsman Cordless-1

4.0V Li-Ion Craftsman Drill
As you can see this little drill has some wear on the handle which means I used this drill a lot! The only time I used my bigger Craftsman cordless drills was when I needed a ton of torque or the 1/2" chuck. I probably used this drill 80% of the time instead of my larger drills. This drill packs a powerful punch in a small package and I love using it. It works great inside of a PC case as well as out in the yard driving screws into the fence. I used this cordless screwdriver as often as possible during the rebuild of our 1989 Skamper pop up camper, This drill was great for installing the small cabinets back into the pop up where the full size drills didn't have the room. I do call my cordless screwdriver a drill because it offers two speeds 200rpm and 600rpm. 600 RPM is a little slow for some drilling jobs but it got the job done when I didn't want to go find a different drill. I really pushed the torque limits of this little drill as well. I have probably driven screws that were way too tough for it but the Li-Ion power pack pushes through slowly but surely. I actually thought one time that I broke it but it just popped out of gear into a neutral position until I pushed it back into gear. I am not sure if this was by design but I have not yet broken the gear box. The battery still holds one heck of a charge still. I often misplace the charger because I may not charge the drill for a month under light use. When pushing the drill hard the charge will last for one to two days which is unheard of with a Ni-Cad drill. I highly recommend this drill-driver to all people, you will not be disappointed.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Great Deal on New Camshaft for my 350 Chevy Rebuild

I just received a brand new stock camshaft for my 350 Chevy small block rebuild. It is a stock non roller camshaft for the late 80's Chevy V8 truck. I got it on super special for about $27.00 delivered from Titan Engines off of eBay. I believe this was the last one at that price I got but they have a lot of other great deals. I now have my new cam bearings, my cam bearing installation tool and and my new camshaft. Now I can set my cam bearings in place and test fit the cam before I move on to the next stage of my rebuild. I am following the build process that David Vizard uses in his book "How to Rebuild your Small-Block Chevy".

New 350 Chevy Stock Camshaft

Sunday, May 22, 2011

350 Chevy Small Block, Cam Bearing Tool

I had a friend of mine, who happens to be a great machinist, make me a cam bearing installation tool for my Chevy 350 small block. He made me the working end of it and I will provide the longer ram part of it and the centering part. This was money well spent because it saves on the transport time for me having to take my engine to the machine shop just for installation and removal of bearings. Here is the picture.

Brass Cam Bearing Installation Tool for 350 Chevy

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My 350 Chevy Block

Here is a picture of my new Chevy 350 engine block for my Blazer install. It is a high nickel content early 70's block. This is indicated by the "010 and "020" stamped on the front of the block under where the timing cover would sit. The block has been cleaned and honed and I have test fit my crankshaft and main bearing already. I will be installing new cam bearings when I get my cam bearing installation tool made. I am going to go with an easy going compression ratio of around 9.0:1 and small chamber heads for a motor with good torque. It's going in my 84' Blazer S10 so I don't need a ton of power.

1974 High Nickel 350 Chevy Small Block

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rebuilding My Chevy 350 Engine - Initial Stage

I have begun collecting parts for the rebuild of my high nickel content early 70's Chevy 350 V8. It is a 1974 block and it is in good shape. I have been reading that the compression ratio of these engines is a very low 8:1 or 8.4:1. I am in the process of increasing that without having to switch to super octane gasoline. I know that I have to keep the CR in check. There is lots of information out there on the web but I made a great discovery that I have all of that information at my finger tips with David Vizard's book, "How to Rebuild your Small Block Chevy". I got my book used from Amazon for $13.00 shipped. Two great pieces of info that will already help me save a ton of money are the plans to make your own cam bearing installation tool. I could have figured this out but it is nice to have it already defined for you. It also has a great chart on calculating your compression ratio based on piston type and head CC size. I am going to go with some newer style 350 small chamber heads because they are in great shape and have a 64cc chamber. It looks like I need to switch to flat top pistons as well to get the compression ratio at 10.3:1. I lived at a high altitude as well and may need to adjust for that.
Chevy V8 64cc Chamber Head before it goes for Cleaning

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Brass Wire Wheel used to Clean 350 Chevy V8 Valves

I searched around on the net for the best way to clean those nasty engine valves and many folks said to use a brass wire wheel to get the job done. I am glad to say this is very true as I just cleaned four valves myself about an hour ago. The brass is soft enough not to damage the steel valve but strong enough to get rid of that baked on gunk. Check out the picture below.
Set of 350 Chevy Valves, before on the right and after on the left

Before and after close up

Exhaust valve close up

350 Chevy Valve Side by side comparison

Another comparison

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cheapest Homemade Small Block Chevy V8 Valve Spring Compressor, $9.00

Hi All,

I believe I just made the world's cheapest homemade small block Chevy V8 Valve Spring compressor. It took me about a half hour and it works great! Home made tools are the best! Here are the parts you need to make it from:

  • Harbor Freight 8" C-Clamp               $5.99
  • Harbor Freight 7/8" Socket - Deep    $2.99
8" C-Clamp and 7/8" Socket - Deep

 Here are the tools I used to make it:
  • Drill Press
  • 4" Grinder with cut-off blade
  • 1/4" endmill
  • 1/4-20 tap
Here are the steps I used to make it followed by the pictures:
  1. Mark socket wall for cutting and cut with grinder using a metal cut-off wheel. I cut out two of the flats to create the opening and cut right before the thick wall started on the inside of the socket for the height. I also had to shorten the socket by 1/4" to make it fit better to the heads. I cut the extra off at the socket opening
  2. Take your C-Clamp over to your drill press and clamp it to your table upside down as shown. My drill press is the larger table top one from Delta so I was able to do this easily. Small drill presses may have problems with this.
  3. Move your table into position so that you can cut a flat directly inline with the clamp screw and tighten it into position. I eyeballed it and it worked fine.
  4. Then you break the golden rule of never putting an end mill in your drill chuck just this once. Tighten your drill chuck in all three holes of the chuck with your chuck key.
  5. Make sure your drill press is set at its slowest speed since you are cutting cast iron. Then, slowly and I mean slowly move the endmill down so it cuts a flat onto the curved surface of the C-Clamp. You only need enough of a flat to start a drill hole.
  6. Next remove the endmill and try and insert a small drill without moving your table. This allows you to drill on center of the flat you just made.
  7. Drill you hole starting with a small diameter and end up with a .201" through hole.
  8. Chamfer the edges of your .201" diameter hole and then tap it using a 1/4-20 tap.
  9. Get a 2" long screw and some washers and mount your  cut out socket to your C-Clamp to create your $9.00 Chevy V8 Valve Spring Compressor. I already had the taps and screws lying around.
One final note on construction of this tool, if you don't have a drill press or a large enough one you can still create a flat on the curved surface of the c-clamp using a file. You can then clamp it down upside down and drill by hand. A little harder to do but definitely doable.
    8" C-Clamp in drill press

    Harbor Freight 7/8" Deep Socket cut out

    C-Clamp with flat milled on it

    C-Clamp with pilot hole drilled

    C-Clamp with 1/4-20 tapped hole in it

    Small Block Chevy V8 Valve Spring Compressor for $9.00

    Final Product

    Small Block Chevy V8 S10 Blazer!

    My new path forward is to install a small block Chevy V8 engine into the Blazer. I am doing this instead of going with the 3100 for a few reasons. One reason is that of budget and the other is a realistic expectation based on what I can and can't do. I really want to complete this project and get it rolling by the end of this summer. I have already made more advances that I did with the 3100 engine. I want to revisit the 3100 engine again because it is an impressive little powerhouse but it's not the right time for me and the Blazer. I gave the 3100 engine the "It's not you, it's me speech".

    I was able to obtain a nice mid 70's high nickel content 350 block with crank, heads, and pistons for $100. I also got a truck transmission with bell housing, flywheel, shifter, fork, and pressure plate for $80. The block is honed and new mains installed. I am moving much faster now with the availability of 350 parts.

    I came upon a crossroad on my 3100 Blazer Project

    It's been a while since I have last posted but as the title of this posting states I came upon a crossroad in my project. My last posting showed that I was faced with having to hack up a structural cast aluminum oil pan that bolts to the crankshaft mains. In order to get the 3100 engine to fit I need to create a deep sump pan from it. With so many obstacles ahead I decided to go a different route and drop in an small block Chevy V8 motor.

    One of the main goals of my build up of this Blazer S10 is to do it on an extremely low budget. So far I have been able to do this and have a great bottom line so far. I will share that with you all later. Wish me luck.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    2.8 Chevy V6 Oil Pan Comparison

    Hi All,

    Here is a picture of my 2.8 v6 I just pulled and the oil pan for the 3.1 engines I have. I am now starting to doubt the cost effectiveness of completely swapping engine blocks. I may have to look into getting a RWD block and rebuilding a hybrid motor. Check out the picks.

    2.8 & 3.1 Chevy V6 Oil Pans

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Lots of 2.8 and 3.1 Chevy V6 Engine Parts

    I now have three complete Chevy 60 degree V6 engines. I will be rebuilding a couple of them. I have two 1999 3.1 and one 1984 2.8 liter motors. I am not sure if I need to get rid of any of them. Hear is a picture of what I have.

    Lots of 2.8 and 3.1 Chevy V6 Parts

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    The Engine is Out!

    I finally got the engine and transmission out of my blazer. I was held up by the nasty cold weather we got but we're back in the 50's for now so I got the engine pulled. I've got a lot of clean up work to do on the engine bay but I look forward to it.

    2.8 Chevy V6 and Borg Warner T4

    !984 Blazer Empty Engine Compartment

    1984 Blazer Riding High in the Front

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    1984 S10 Blazer Transfer Case

    I removed the transfer case today. It went pretty well, I have been getting lots of help form the guys over at the 60 Degree V6 forum. They are all super helpful. Here's a link to the site It is well worth your time to sign up and be a member. Here are some pics of the transfer case.

    New 3.1 Chevy Pistons, 3100

    I finally got some new pistons for the 3.1 (3100) engines I am re-building. They are .020" over so the block will need machining as well.