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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have finally started assembling my engine. Here are the highlights of what I am working with:

- Len Williams 455 short block
- Nitemare Performance Stage II heads. Heads are 6X with larger exhaust valves installed. ARP studs to mount
-Melling 60 PSI oil pump (wanted to go with a Butler unit but not available). I installed a deep pan pick up for use with an 8 qt Canton pan
- Billet timing gears with double roller chain
- Comp Cams 507 intake, 510 exhaust cam shaft (recommended by Darrin at Nitemare)
-Comp Cams Ultra Gold 1.5 ratio rockers
-FlowKooler water pump with a new housing (my old one was no good)
-Cold Case radiator (not sure if I plan on running electric fans or not)
-RARE manifolds with the larger exit ports
-HEI distributer
-Torquer II intake manifold (I'll explain the reasoning on this)
-McLeod 11 inch clutch

I have just about everything to put this back together so the list would be long. Not to mention I ordered a lot of these parts last summer.

I'm running way behind on this project. I have been working really crazy hours the last year because my company moved around staffing to ensure we could operate if some one (or multiple someone's) got sick. Parts availability has also been spotty this year and some other projects took priority (painting and replacing the floor in the bed room to keep the enabling wife enabling).

I have the oil pump, cam, and timing set installed. I installed the heads yesterday and have taken some preliminary measurements for the push rod length.

I need to pick up some brake clean so that I can clean out and turn one of my original lifters into a home made solid, but my rough measure using one of the new lifters and the adjustable push rod is 9.40 inches. Does this sound at least ball park correct with the valve train I am using?

I'll think all you guys in advance. I know I am going to come up with tons of questions as I work through this project. The going may be a bit slow since I am doing this around other things and work. Not to mention that I blew out one of my legs a couple weeks back and am waiting to see how bad it is.
 

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I think 9.4 is in the ball park. I think one of mine come out to be 9.314. As to checking, you can install light springs on the valves and check both the pushrod length and the cam position (LCL) with the new lifters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks OMT. As always, solid advice. The 9.40 makes sense since when I test fit a pushrod from the old engine, which I assume is just a stock 9.13, it is WAY to short. The roller is barely on the top of the stem when the valve is closed and the geometry just looks off. As an added question. The heads only have the outer springs installed right now. Would that be light enough to use to check length using one of the new lifters? I plan on doing the actual measurements this weekend. I didn't want to trust my judgment and do this after work.

I'll be honest, I don't think I could have done this years ago. I sifted through 1/2 dozen videos on how to do this. Some are really good and some were posted by guys who are bigger hacks than me. There was one guy building a SBC that really explained it well that I found to be very helpful (I think his channel was Pete's Garage or something like that).

I joke about my wife, but she has always been great. Very supportive of a hobby that she doesn't really understand but knows is super expensive. Great example is when I bought the car years ago, her only question was what color it was. Never asked about what I paid or any other details, just the color.
 

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Looking good!

While you're checking/measuring for pushrod length, also make sure to check for clearance between the rocker and retainer throughout the whole cycle, but especially with the valve closed and on the base circle. Also check clearance between the back of the rocker slot and the lock nut at max lift. If you're using a hydraulic cam, make sure the lifter plunger isn't getting depressed when you check this. Use your light checking springs, or remove the clip and internal plunger then pack the lifter full of aluminum foil, or use a solid lifter that has the same dimensions as your hydraulics. Metal to metal contact in either of these areas can cause bad things to happen.

Bear
 

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"As an added question. The heads only have the outer springs installed right now. Would that be light enough to use to check length using one of the new lifters?"

No, you need really light springs. Just enough to hold the valve up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
"As an added question. The heads only have the outer springs installed right now. Would that be light enough to use to check length using one of the new lifters?"

No, you need really light springs. Just enough to hold the valve up.
Thanks OMT. I ordered a pair of the light weight springs to do the measuring. I really didn't want to disassemble one of the new lifters to pack and I thought hard about using an old one for the measuring and decided it was a bad idea. This has been a long time in the making and I don't want to mess it up over a $10 pair of springs and a couple days wait time. I'll have the light springs early next week and will be good to go. Added bonus on doing it this way is I will need to remove all of the valve springs to install the inners after I break in the cam anyway. Doing one now allows me to try it out while the engine is on a stand and out of the car. While I have been working on cars since I was a kid, this is by far the biggest project I have tackled. I really do appreciate everyone's advice on this. Know that it is not going towards deaf ears here.
 

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Good deal. I know the temptation of wanting to get it done, but making yourself stop and do everything right will pay off. Do you have a good valve spring compressor? I recently got a different style and it's SO much better and feels safer to use than the c-clamp style I'd always used before, even the heavy-duty ones. I don't remember which brand I bought, but it's this style:

Moroso 62370 Moroso Stud Mount Valve Spring Compressors | Summit Racing.

It took just a little heat and bending on the forks to get the angle right for Pontiac heads, but that was easy to do. A plus is that it can be used with the heads installed as long as you have a way to prevent the valve from dropping.

Bear
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good deal. I know the temptation of wanting to get it done, but making yourself stop and do everything right will pay off. Do you have a good valve spring compressor? I recently got a different style and it's SO much better and feels safer to use than the c-clamp style I'd always used before, even the heavy-duty ones. I don't remember which brand I bought, but it's this style:

Moroso 62370 Moroso Stud Mount Valve Spring Compressors | Summit Racing.

It took just a little heat and bending on the forks to get the angle right for Pontiac heads, but that was easy to do. A plus is that it can be used with the heads installed as long as you have a way to prevent the valve from dropping.

Bear
I have the Proform version of the one you linked. It looks exactly the same. I had heard the angle was a bit off on all of that style but figured I'd give it a shot. Heat is a good idea if I need to adjust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK. The light springs came in yesterday but I was having a lazy day and blew off going into the garage until after work today. I remeasured and got 50/1000 bigger than my rough measure for the other day. I started out with my original measurement and covered the top of the valve with sharpie this time. The line was a little high on the valve so I made the rod a little longer and nailed it dead on center. Unless I am totally missing something I have this measured correctly. Both intake and exhaust is the same which makes me feel even better about this. I also watched the rocker the entire cycle of the engine, twice, and it looks like it's good. I just placed an order for the push rods, a poly distributer gear (I kept forgetting to order this), and the break in oil. I know there are some small odds and ends that I still need but this last order should at least get the engine in the car. Well, once the manifolds arrive that is.

Side note. The valve spring tool I bought is the Proform version of the one posted above. The feet on the Proform were a bit off too. There is a small lip on the side so I was able to straighten them out a bit using my vise. Worked perfect once the feet hit the top of the spring cap flush. That was way easier than I expected it to be. I used compressed air to keep the valves closed while I worked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That's what I came up with. Sounds like it would be too long but when I put a stock one in to compare, it was WAY too short. I'll double check this again once the push rods show up before I get too far. Easier to reorder if needed then to have an issue on start up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks OMT. This is my first rodeo. The feedback from you seasoned guys really does help. The pushrods shipped yesterday so it is possible that I'll have them by the weekend. Shipping to me from Tn is a few days so it'll be pretty close.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey guys. This may be a dumb question but which end of the push rod is up and which is down? I am using the style supplied by Butler that has a ball on one end and the other is rounded off with no indentation (ball).
 

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I would install the ball end up, but only after confirming it with the Butler's. My logic is that the lifter moves in one dimension, whereas the rocker is sweeping over the top end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks OMT. That was my thought too. I confirmed with Butlers as well. They did say typically installed ball side up though so I guess someone might go the other way(?). I'll be proceeding with the assembly this weekend and will post more pictures once I make more progress. I've been side tracked with other things and haven't had time. I bought a cheap car for my son (first car) and it needed a little work to get it ready for him. Nothing major, just some little things to make it safe and reliable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Rainy here today. Decided to install lifters and rocker arms. I had everything soaking in break in oil overnight incase I felt like doing this today. Glad I did. Excuse the mess in the background. I am working is a small two stall garage that has my LeMans and my dads Vette so I have limited room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, someone on here told me there would be things I forgot along the way and those things are going to be a headache.

I kept forgetting to order a new dipstick and since the one from the old engine is in decent shape, I figured I'd reuse it. I bought the bottom end assembled with the dip stick tube installed. I can't believe I almost missed this but the lower tube was not installed, only the upper that is pressed into the block. I finally got around to sticking the dipstick in the hole and it just dangled out the bottom (someone else on here warned me of this and I thank you). The engine that came out of my car was a 74 block and did not have a windage tray. Since I am going to be running a baffled oil pan, I wasn't planning on using one on this engine either. I've had the engine bottom side up on the stand several times and just did not notice this. Well the #3 main cap is not drilled and tapped for the lower tube while the #2 and #4 caps are so looks like I need to order a windage tray and the lower tube. I'll order a new dipstick as well. It seems kind of silly to go through all of this and not replace a $14 part at this point.
 
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