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Technical what do you consider freshening a motor?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by evilokc, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,230


    I agree, but I have a different definition of "properly" than you do...

    The proper way to freshen up an engine in a piece of crap car that barely runs, is to do the minimum amount needed to get it to run ok, for as long as the car needs to run. Some cars just would never be driven enough, and are not worth enough, to spend more than a couple hundred bucks on the engine.

    Most guys here don't mess with those cars. That's fine.
  2. Crosley
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,028

    from Aridzona

    Geeez , yes freshen the ol engines up. I did a lot of that in the 70's & 80's. Still have my ridge reamer and dingle ball hones. I was using a 3 blade hone till I discovered the dingle ball hones. I always installed new camshaft and lifters too
  3. v8flat44
    Joined: Nov 13, 2017
    Posts: 161


    I spray mine with Glade when the boiling gas in the carb stinks the place up, does that count......?
  4. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 18,693


    We are facing this dilemma ourselves. We have a 350 that is in the nephew's 58. Dad overhauled it 20 years ago, prolly has 10K miles on it. Leaks like a sieve and smokes a tad out of the left bank, ever so slightly. Wondering if it needs valve seals etc. It runs great and I hate to tear into it for a 16 y/o first driver. We are looking at a new oil pan and gaskets. Bead blast the intake, throw some Krylon on it and call it a day. We can always build him another motor if he stays into cars.
  5. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,143


    For me, it gets re-sealed, or totally re-built.

    There is no in-between.
  6. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 755

    Joe H

    I put higher compression heads ( 9.0-1 ) on a good running 8.0-1 compression Pontiac 400. The engine had zero problems till I added more compression. Under a hard pull, oil blew out of every seal in the block. By the time I was back to the driveway, oil was dripping off the rear axle. I cleaned it up and checked it again, no leaks till I hammered on it. The used rings couldn't handle the extra compression at higher rpm, and the excessive blow by blew oil out the front and rear crank seals.
    A new set of seals, rings, gaskets, and cylinder hone cured it.
  7. pkhammer
    Joined: Jan 28, 2012
    Posts: 370


    Can you still get those overhaul tablets from JC Whitney anymore?
    czuch and Truck64 like this.
  8. I like to check cylinder taper. If it's excessive, the engine needs a total rebuild with block machining. If it's within tolerances, rings, [measure ring lands] bearings, valve seals, [check for worn guides] a new timing set, new seals and gaskets including a rear main seal. Valves are hand lapped unless they're too worn. Then a valve job is needed....maybe a new pair of aftermarket heads if the heads need all new valves. New springs too.
    My first engine rebuild [refresh?] was a 53 merc 255 flathead. I was 15. Rings, bearings and gaskets cost $36 with my buddy's discount. My dad ground the valves and seats and I hand lapped 'em in. Together we set the valve lash. Man, it ran good. I found out the little stamped numbers on the rods and the numbers stamped on the rod caps needed to match each other. Put it together and it wouldnt' turn over. Dad explained my mistake to me.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
    6-bangertim likes this.
  9. 6-bangertim
    Joined: Oct 3, 2011
    Posts: 322

    from California

    I wouldn't open it up without a compression test, and checking the oil pressure HOT. Even better would be a LEAK-DOWN TEST - you can determin where the air is escaping - rings or valves, by listening where air is coming out from - carb, exhaust or crankcase.

    That said, pull the heads for a look at the ridge at the top of each cylinder, use a feeler gauge to guesstamate how heavy it is. Squirt some gas or carb spray inside each port, look for seepage around each valve. Next, borrow a spring compressor to pull the valves out - how heavy are the deposits under the head of each vavle? Heavy deposits mean the guides need liners or maybe sneek by with knurling, umbrella seals. Lapping coumpound will indicate how well the valves are sealing. Use a drill to spin the valves with the coumpound, see what you get for a decent seal.

    On the bottom end, check each rod and main bearing with PLASTIGAUGE to determine your clearances. Use your fingernail on the crank journals - IF it doesn't catch on any grooves, shine it up some with a strip of 400-grit wet n dry paper, WD-40. Before ordering bearings, LOOK at the backside of each insert for numbers - STD, .001, .002, .010, ect. order the SAME size as what came out!

    Check the top of the pistons - oversizes will be stamped on the TOP of each one, but no marking for a standard bore. You can fudge a lil on rings here - use the next oversize UP, but checking RING GAPS is a MUST, might need to be opened up to minium spec with a file.

    I can go on and on... The BEST $20 you can spend at this point is for David Vizard's book - 'How to Rebuild Your Small Block Chevy' - even IF it's not a SBC - for all the details he discusses with text and photos. Get the book, READ the crap out of it - THEN determine a 'game plan' for your engine. At BEST, plan on rings, bearings, timing chain set, cam and lifters, gaskets, for a minimal freshening!

    I'm about to go down the same path with a Chevy 261 truck six, with no ridge on the tops of the cylinders! Good Luck, Tim
    czuch likes this.
  10. Schwanke Engines
    Joined: Jun 12, 2014
    Posts: 782

    Schwanke Engines

    Refreshing an engine is just a basic ring/ bearing rebuild.

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  11. Perry Hvegholm
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 109

    Perry Hvegholm

    I hunted down a 9 1/4 sure grip rear for my 64 300. The rear end came from a cream puff New Yorker that was headed for Derby. The seller started the engine, which ran smoother than any Chrysler C-barge that i've seen in a long, long time. He offered me the entire drive train for not much more than I was committed to pay for the rear alone.

    I hauled it home with the intent to store it until a fitting project surfaced. Figured i'd go through it and at the very least, do a homebrew ring and bearing job, provided there was no taper in the cylinders. Then my Challenger's smallblock suffered a collapsed lifter, and the front seal on the trans began leaking. I contemplated tearing it down as it's a rebuild that I dropped in well over 100,000 miles and 20 years ago. That's when I looked around my garage in resignation and my eyes came to rest on the 440/727 smog beast laying on the floor in the corner.

    The first clue in tear down was a spotless double roller T-chain. No carbon buildup. The bores had perfect crosshatch. Bearings look brand new. Clearly, someone had been inside this motor recently.

    I bought a set of 440 Source's Stealth aluminum heads. I'm in the process of installing one of Comp Cams high energy cams, one that works well with the lower compression. It's getting a new oil pump, windage tray, Mopar M1 intake, Eddy AVS 800 carb. Comp Cams online dyno program calculates a peak of 512 HP. Torque is monstrous and more like a plateau than a peak. I figure that HP estimate is slightly optimistic, but it's probably fairly close and not bad for a low compression smog mill...and a total investment of less than 3000 bucks. That's what I'd call freshening. Gonna be fun.
    Joined: Feb 16, 2016
    Posts: 62


  13. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,756

    from vail az

    Redneck Rebuild.
    Rings, bearings, gasket set, timing set, freeze plugs.
    I've done these many times, the micrometer is your friend, or not.
    I had a inliner that needed an inframe every year.
    Good thing I was young and didn't know what I was doing so I was looked after.
    Now I know much more.
    I'm doing a '71-4 bolt 350 that will be a long runner, or not.
  14. oldsman41
    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 1,113


    Hate to be this way but i tear down a sbc and if it needs more than 400 or 500 thrown at it including machine work and i sell it and get a crate motor.
  15. Its a bit off topic but I have farm tractors. And they have removeable sleeves or liners. and usuallyfor less than 500 bucks you can get new sleeves and pistons. However I usually just put in new rings. No point in spending $500 on parts on a $300 tractor. I have over a dozen tractors and none get excessive use. One a little Super A Farmall I did install new sleeves & pistons. Because I found some new old stock ones $100 for the set. But they weren't for a super A. they where M&W over bore for a Super C. But I had just brought home from my job at the scrap yard a locked up 200 engine. So I took it apart and put new bearings new valve guides valves and valve springs. spent $300 .Now that's my personal stuff. For a customer You cant take the risk no half measures new everything.

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