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.