Day 113 Assemble Engine
With the holidays in the past it is time to get the tools back out and build something. I figured it was a good time to assemble the engine so I got started on it. Not going to get into the step-by-step here.....there is plenty of good reference materials available for those that want to build an engine. I have built plenty of Pontiac engines in the past but it has been about 30 years since my last build so I had to dig out my notebook and refresh my memory. Lucky I am one of those people that never tosses out my old stuff for those "just in case...." situations. I was pleasantly surprised with the excellent machine work on the block and crank. The clearances were almost exactly as I requested. I don't know if it's due to the skill of the machinist or the equipment he was using (or both) but he did a very very good job.
1968 GTOs would normally have 2 bolt main 400 cubic inch blocks with cast pistons and cast rods. This car was ordered with the optional L67 (Ram Air) engine so it would have originally been fitted with a 4 bolt main block, forged pistons and cast rods. The engine I built is 4 bolt main, forged pistons and forged rods. A purist would likely have used cast rods but this is a service replacement engine anyway so I wanted the stronger rods for peace of mind. I did have the rotating assembly balanced...which is something I always do anyway so it should run pretty good.
In 1968, manual transmission cars received more aggressive camshafts than the automatic cars. This car, being a RA II manual trans would have had the 9794041 camshaft which later became known as a RA IV cam since that is the engine that most people associate the "041" cam with. So, you can stump your friends at your next Pontiac gathering with the knowledge that the "041" was first used in 1968 RA II manual trans cars (GTOs and Firebirds). I ordered a camshaft from Comp Cams that is supposed to be an exact copy of the "041" and it appeared to be perfect. I installed it straight up and it degreed perfectly.