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Technical Hey SBC Guys, Would you run this?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by brett4christ, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. I spent time last night tearing down an early SBC that I traded for a while back. The codes indicate it's a late-56 production date for an early 57 4-barrel Powerglide car. The heads are later Powerpacks from 62-67, but I have some staggered-bolt heads coming.

    My plan is to polish this turd to a mild runner, not interested in making 250+ hp! It will eventually find its way into my 31 Tudor. I'll either paint it orange (for that just-pulled look, or black for covert operations...either way, it will get mated to an early Ford trans.

    I stripped it down to a short block and flipped it over to inspect the bottom end. I pulled the #1 connecting rod cap and the #2 main cap just to see what the bearing surfaces looked like. Here's what I found...

    Connecting rod

    Main cap

    Now, my question....Assuming the others are in the same condition, would you run this or have it machined?
  2. elba
    Joined: Feb 9, 2013
    Posts: 628


  3. big duece
    Joined: Jul 28, 2008
    Posts: 6,404

    big duece
    from kansas

    Mainly looks dirty. When its apart, maybe a polish on the journals. Would have to mic the journals to see if they are under.
    brett4christ likes this.
  4. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,412


    That will run forever. Nothing to do but re-torque and gaskets.
    brett4christ likes this.

  5. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,894

    from NKy

    Run it like you stole something in it !
  6. Normal wear & tear. Put it together, get it going and dump the oil and filter in 200 miles.
    brett4christ likes this.
  7. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,317


    Send it out, hard to tell from picture but it looks like it'll polish up without needing to turn. You are this close, might just as well take the extra step to get it perfect.
    brett4christ likes this.
  8. Thanks for the input so far. Forgot to mention, I do plan on having it tanked and cleaned. There is some crud on the water side.

    I'll try to get cylinder bore pics tonight...forgot that part!
  9. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531


    I agree, clean it up and polish the journals. Replace the bearings and gaskets then run it. I have torn down old Chevys where the bearings were worn down to the backing and they were still within specs for standard bearings. Tough cranks.
  10. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,495


    There's always crud on the water side.

    The average person only changes coolant when a hose fails.
  11. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,371

    dan c

    if it ain't broke...
  12. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856


    Time to get out the Crocus cloth.
    firstinsteele likes this.
  13. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,468

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    If you're having it tanked, I would polish the crank and replace the main and rod bearings while it's apart.
    Hell, SBC parts are relatively cheap. I'd replace the oil pump, cam, lifters, timing chain, fresh set of heads, etc. while it's apart too and know I have a zero mile engine that's good for 100,000 miles. You're already committed to the tank work, freeze plugs, full gasket set...
    drifters cc likes this.
  14. Tanked and cleaned... you see the tip of the iceberg...
    belair likes this.
  15. I think you could slap the caps back on and run it or tear it down and do a rebuild. Not much sense in doing anything in between.
  16. I see y'alls point! I know there might be some unseen surprises, but I do want to get the bore/main journals/rod journals checked and get the rust out of the water side. If it goes south from there, I have a couple more blocks in reserve...
  17. Yep, I just want to get it clean so, next time I can only blame myself! :)
  18. Well... a standard rebuild with what you have there may not be a bad idea. My current build got way out of hand.
    brett4christ likes this.
  19. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    Polish the crank. There are bearings made in plus .001 over to make up for mild wear. Don't reassemble with used bearings, if that's what the plan was. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
    brett4christ likes this.
  20. Thanks Dave, I hadn't thought of that one!

    That's another reason for me to have a shop "inspect" everything! I want to know if it has ever been into before and, if so, how worn is it from standard.
  21. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,989


    If you're going to boil the block, have the crank polished and put in a new bearing set, gaskets, oil pump, timing chain. Cam and lifters if you want. Hone cylinders and new rings if you want.

    That engine is fine to run the way it sits. Clean the pan out well, put on some new gaskets and go.
    brett4christ likes this.
  22. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,469

    jimmy six

    Remember before first start to remove and not put in the distributor and turn the oil pump with the valve covers off to make sure EVERYTHING is lubed. We always hand crank it over with ratchet on the nose when pre-lubing. Good Luck.
    brett4christ likes this.
  23. Thanks, Jimmy! These are the things I'll need to know once I start back with it!!
  24. If it is round and in tolerance polish it and run it. It doesn't look bad at all. just driven.
    brett4christ likes this.
  25. Just as I said...polishing a turd!
  26. oldrelics
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,727

    from Calgary

    I scraped the mouse poo out of SBC and derusted the cylinders with WD40 and red scotchbrite. Ran great and with NO oil burning! Have you seen what they do to them in Cuba? Run it!
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
    volvobrynk and brett4christ like this.
  27. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,288

    from so-cal

    Grooves in crank just holds more oil
  28. wheeldog57
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 2,422


  29. you're not the only one who says that. ;)
  30. Just as several suggested, since you are going to take it down and hot tank the block, just get the crank polished and put new bearings. Fairly cheap and then you are assured it is good. If you want to go cheap, just reassemble and run it. That bearing wear is not excessive, just a bit of dirt got in there and made the slight scratches. Not going to cause any problems. Remember the clearance is approx 0.003 inch, does not take much of a dirt particle to get stuck and travel around making a scratch.
    brett4christ likes this.

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