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puttin' together 409

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Larry T, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    I don't have all of the parts to finish this yet, but since it's tech week I figured I'd start a thread about throwing a 409 together.
    When I got the block back from the machine shop, it was vatted, bored and the cam bearings were installed. It needed a little cleanup though. You can see that there was some casting flash in the lifter valley and lots of bumps and flash on the block that didn't need to be there. So I drug out grinders and cutters and cleaned it up.
    Then I checked the main bearings to make sure they were boxed right and installed the crank. Main cap bolts torqued to 100 ft/lbs. Since I always prime my engines on the stand, I just used 30 weight oil to lube the bearings.
     

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  2. what heads are you using?
     
  3. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Next, I installed the camshaft. I use Crane Molylube on the lobes and a can of EOS when I prime the engine. I just installed the camshaft straight up and didn't degree it since this is a street engine and I've never had a Bullet cam that was off. I used the stock style timing gears and chain. When I build an engine I usually install the cam with the timing marks to the center. It doesn't really matter if you do it this way or put the dots to the top of the gear, as long as you TDC the number 1 cylinder on the compression stroke when you stab the distributor.
    Next I installed the timing cover and balancer so I could check TDC. I installed the number 1 piston and rod assembly (without rings) and set a dial indicator up on the block. I rolled the crank over and as the piston came up I marked the balancer when the piston was .050 down in the hole. Then as the piston passed TDC and started down again, I marked the balancer when it was .050 down again. The mark on this balancer was right, but I always like to check. You can also check TDC by bolting a piston stop on the block, rotating the crank till it (gently) hits the stop, mark the balancer and rotate the crank the other way. When it hits the stop again, mark the balancer and split the difference.
     

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  4. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    It's a QB engine with the 690 HiPo heads. I'll try to get some pictures of them tomorrow.
     
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  5. OOF!! sweet!
     
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  6. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    Funny thing, we had big temperature problems with our 327 in the 57 BelAir. Tried all the usual suspects and ended up pulling the pan and timing cover after a tip from this Forum. The timing marks on both cam and crank were at the top of the gears when at TDC. We contacted the builder who said all was OK. But all was not OK. I changed the gears back to the center timing mark conventional location, buckled it back together and never had a heat problem again whether we used the 4 row aftermarket or the 3-row original radiator.
    What gives?
     
  7. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member


    I don't know. An engine spins over 2 times for every one time the cam turns. If you put an engine together with the timing gear marks together and spin the engine over once, the dots will both be at the top. The only problem you can have is the distributor being 180 degrees out if you take it apart one way and put it together the other. Maybe when you changed it, you changed the distributor timing enough to cure the heating problem??????

    I got to thinking and I guess your engine builder could have missed setting the timing gears by one tooth. It happens to the best of us and it's possible that when you reset the gear you corrected the problem.
     
  8. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    After I checked the TDC, it's time to put the pistons in. On this engine, I went with Ross pistons, had the rods rebuilt with ARP rod bolts and had the rotating assembly balanced. So when I got ready to install the pistons, I checked the rod bearings to make sure they were boxed right and started checking the ring gaps. I put each ring (top and second) in the bore it was going in and checked the end gap, one at a time. I did this to each ring in every cylinder. On this engine the ring gap was .016 +/- on the top ring and .022 +/- on the second ring. Besides checking the ring gap, it shows if something else might be wrong in the engine (like the bore not right). It goes something like check ring, check ring, install rings on pistons, install rod bearing, install piston/rod assembly in block, snug rod bolts, and go to next cylinder. LOTS of fun. After all the pistons are installed, I torqued the rod bearings to 50 lbs. Usually I set the oil pump pickup tube to pan clearance, tack weld the tube into the pump, install the pump and oil pan now. But I don't have the pan here so I started on the heads.
     

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  9. Nailhead
    Joined: Oct 3, 2007
    Posts: 540

    Nailhead
    Member

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  10. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    The heads were "barn fresh" when I got them. My customer mentioned that they hadn't been run since they were built and he was right. When I got the heads apart I found that they had a good valve job, bronze wall guides, swirl polished valves, PC valve seals, and some other good stuff. Trouble was that they also had rust EVERYWHERE. I decided to try to clean them up and save the work that was already done to them. If I had taken them to a Machine shop to have them cleaned, I think they would have had to bead blast the heads to clean them and that would have called for more machine work. My customer wanted them ported anyway so I figured I'd just grind the rust out. On one head the rust was just surface rust and came off pretty easily. On the other, the ports had the "crusty" stuff in them and I really had to work to get it out.
     

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  11. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    To start the clean up on the heads and valve train I took the springs apart and soaked each one of them in Lime Away. It's a kitchen cleaner that I found works on cleaning rust and water deposits of carb parts, so I figured it's work on valve springs too. It did and when I cleaned the springs, you could tell they were new and still see the blue paint they marked them with.
    I soaked the heads down with PB Blaster. It's a penetrating oil that seems to dissolve rust. It worked on the surface rust, but not the crusty stuff. I was pocket porting the heads and slicking the ports, so it just took some extra grinding to get the rust out. When I was satisfied with the port work and the cleanup work, I started putting the heads together again.
     

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  12. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    I lapped the valves into the seats when I started putting the heads back together. That took out any imperfections in the valve job and double checked everything. Since we're putting a pretty big cam ("I want it to sound better than the stock 425 hp cam.") and the springs didn't come with the cam, I wanted to check for coil bind on the valve springs. The springs had been shimmed when the heads were built the first time and I checked the installed height. They all turned out to be between 1.82 and 1.86 installed height. I put a spring in the vice and collapsed it, coil bind was 1.05. Knowing that and that the cam had .525 lift, I did a little math. 1.05+.525=1.575. 1.82-1.575=.245" clearance, which is more than enough. So I put the valves in the heads (using 30 wt. oil to lube the stems) and they were ready to bolt up.
     

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  13. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    When I got ready to bolt the heads up, I had forgotten to tap out the threads for the headbolts in the deck. I should have done it when the block was bare, but I rotated the block over far enough that the cuttings dropped on the floor and not in the cylinders. Then I grabbed the head gaskets. They were the old style gaskets and that's ok if you are gonna retorque the heads after a few heat cycles. The trouble was that once the engine leaves the shop, I probably won't see it again to retorque them. So I bought a set of the blue Fel-Pro PermaTorque gaskets and used them on this build. I'll save the ones that need retorqueing for later. Also the heads were a little bit crushed where someone had over torqued them at sometime. So I ordered a set of headbolt washers to take care of the problem. To make sure I didn't pull the threads out of the deck, I needed a set of head bolt that were a little longer than stock to use with the hardened washers. I did some checking and found that some headbolts for a bigblock and some for a smallblock fit the bill. I dropped the heads on the block and I'm waiting for the washers to get here to finish bolting them up.
     

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  14. Ford Fairlane
    Joined: Aug 22, 2004
    Posts: 178

    Ford Fairlane
    Member

    I love these type of posts. When you get the rest of the parts, please show the rest of the build.
     
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  15. That cam should talk, mine is 242 @ .050" and it sounds great! But I prefer solids, customer preference?
     
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  16. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Ford Fairlane,
    Thanks, I'll add to post whenever I make a little more progress.

    Unclee,
    Yep, he wanted a hydraulic cam. Also, he want's it to sound like "feeding time at the zoo" at idle and a solid lifter cam sounds smoother than a hydraulic lifter cam with the same specs. We called the cam grinder and told him what we wanted and they sent a cam with lots of duration for the lift it has. Might have given up a little horsepower to make the valve springs live longer, but I'll bet it'll run pretty decent too.
    Larry T
     
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  17. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Head bolt washers got here and I bolted down the heads. I oiled the head bolt threads and screwed them in hand tight. Then I torqued 'em down (in the correct sequence) to 35, then 45, then 55, and finally 65 ft/lbs of torque.
    I wasn't going to show the painting part, but I guess it's a visually important part of engine building. I wiped the outside of the engine down with Berryman B-12, and masked everything off that didn't need paint. On anything that has a sharp edge (front and rear of block, under the intake) you can take a file and run it along the masking tape. Then you can peel the extra tape off and leave a clean sharp edge. On something like the intake surface of the heads, trace the top of the intake gaskets and cut them with a razor knife. Screw some old plugs in the heads, stuff paper in the exhaust ports and paint.
    I usually use 3 coats of paint, letting it tack between each coat.
    Yea, this is simple stuff, but it needs to be done.
    That's about it until I get some more parts in.
    Later,
    Larry T
     

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  18. Moonglow2
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 658

    Moonglow2
    Member

    Nice post. Maybe you can answer a question about 409's that has bugged me since 1973. I rebuilt my hi-po 62 409 that year and let the machine shop who cleaned up and honed the block talk me into one of their Wolverine solid lifter cams which supposedly had the same specs as the factory solid lifter cam it replaced. The engine was a dog. I read some time later that the timing gears for lo-po 409s retarded hi-po cams several degrees. Have you ever heard anything like this?
     
  19. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Moonglow2,
    Uh, I think the truck roller timing gears are retarded 4 degrees more than the car and I think the 409 car setup used the same crank gear as the smallblock Chevy. I've never heard of more than one part number for the wide gear for the silent chain for SBCs. Am I sure the standard and the hipo 409s used the same timing set--------no. Am I gonna go back and check the cam timing on this engine------yes. See what you caused! LOL
    Larry T
     
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  20. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Ok, I got around to checking the cam timing today. The back of the cam card can explain it better than I can.
    First (since I had checked TDC earlier) I set number one on TDC, installed the degree wheel and pointer, and set TDC on the wheel. I took a base mount for my dial indicator and bolted it on to the head. Then I installed the number one intake lifter and pushrod. I set the dial indicator on the pushrod and started rotating the engine. After a couple of rotations I figured out that .050 before max lift on the intake cam lobe was 52 degrees. .050 after max lift was 157 degrees. (52+157)/2=104.5. Looking at the cam card above, the intake lobe center should be 104 degrees. It's about as close as you can get it, now back to gathering up more parts.
    Larry T
     

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  21. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Doug sent some more parts and I thought I'd do a little more work on the 409, so.........
    I have the stuff to set up the oil pump. The first attachment is just to show how I smoothed up the port in the rear main cap to increase flow and get rid of any burrs that might break off and cause problems. Then I measured the actual depth of the oil pan to make sure I set the oil pump pickup screen at the right depth. Then I bolted the pump up, installed and set the depth of the screen. Then I took the pump off and tack welded the screen to it. I installed the intermediate oil pump shaft (specific to W engines) and installed the pump. Finally bolted the oilpan up for the last time.
     

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  22. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    A long time ago, I found out that if you pre-lube an engine it would add around 25,000 miles to the life of an overhaul. So I made an engine primer out of an old distributor. I just had to cut the housing and shaft, grind the teeth off of the gear and it was about ready to use. It works on most Chevy V-8's-----but not 348 and 409's. So I took a 409 truck distributor apart and cut the housing. I installed the shaft out of the old primer and I'm ready to prime the engine as soon as I add oil. Next is installing the valve train and setting the valves.
     

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  23. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    Just an FYI: Lamar Walden makes a bushing, or spacer, that allows a regular Chevy distributor to be run in an '09 (or 348). That'd help with a pre-luber if someone doesn't have a disposable distributor, but it also opens up your options for a distributor on your finished engine.
    -Brad
     
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  24. Fasterthanu
    Joined: Jan 26, 2008
    Posts: 66

    Fasterthanu
    Member

    Awesome thread!!!
     
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  25. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Brad,
    Thanks for the info. I guess I should have emphasized that it was a truck distributor I cut up a little more. It's pretty tough to build them into a performance distributor.
    Please folks, if you have a 348/409 car distributor (with vacuum advance) don't cut it up. Send it to me, I'll see that's it's placed in a nice home. LOL

    Fasterthanu,
    Thanks. I figured I'd kinda let folks see what it takes for me to build a "hotrod" engine. I use about the same steps in building any kind of performance engine, no matter what make or size it is. Sometimes there's even more to building an engine than this. I also figured I could point folks to this thread when they ask me "How come you can't put an engine together in a day, like the guy down the street?"

    Larry T
     
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  26. yellow wagon
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 612

    yellow wagon
    Member
    from WI

    looks really good!
     
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  27. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Ok, I got the ARP rocker arm studs in and did some more work.
    I installed the rocker arm studs, put in the lifters (after I gave the bottom of the lifter a good coat of Crane Moly Lube), and put the pushrods in. I made sure the engine was on TDC with both lifters down and hit the oil primer one more time. Most engines seem to hold about 60 lbs of oil pressure with the primer. If the oil pressure is real low, it's time to double check everything. Then, I installed the rocker arms on the number 1 cylinder and adjusted them. I took all of the free play out of the push rod so that there was a slight drag when I turned the push rod and tightened them up 1/2 turn more.
    After I set both rocker arms on number 1, I turned the engine a 1/4 turn and adjusted number 8, 'nuther 1/4 turn and adjusted number 4. I kept going until I worked my way through the firing order. When you get to number 6 you can double check to make sure your on track, because it'll be on TDC again. When I finished up number 8, I gave the engine one more 1/4 turn to get it back on TDC. I oiled all of the rocker arms and I was ready to install the intake and distributor.
     

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    Last edited: May 1, 2010
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  28. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    The intake was a little tarnished and we wanted to clean it up. I sealed off the intake runners and bead blasted the outside of the intake. Then I spent about an hour making sure the runners were clean. It's amazing where glass beads and dust end up. And they're real hard on rings and such!
    I put the intake gaskets on the heads using black gorilla snot (3M weatherstripping) to hold them. After the gaskets had time to set up, I spread a bead of silicone sealer on the surface of the block where the intake seals in the front and back. I don't use the rubber end seals that come in a gasket set, because I've had some trouble with them pushing out on engines in the past.
    After I got the intake bolted down, I dropped the distributor in. With the engine on number one, the vacuum advance unit and the rotor should be about parallel pointing at about 7 or 8 o'clock looking at it from the front of the engine. This is where the factory installed them. The cap goes on and the number 1 plug terminal is next to the points adjustment window in the cap. I marked it with an orange vacuum cap in the picture. Again factory placement.
    I wanted to install a PCV valve instead of a road draft tube. I used a Moroso baffled PCV grommet in the road draft hole, fits perfect.
    That's about all until I order the paint and decals for the valve covers.
     

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  29. Tindall
    Joined: Jun 7, 2007
    Posts: 399

    Tindall
    Member

    i love 409's all you need is 6x2's, well with 690's it wont fit mabey you should just send those heads to me:D
     
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  30. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Well, I took one last picture of the 409 before we loaded it up and delivered it to Doug yesterday.
    Larry T

    [​IMG]
     

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