More engine progress

Last week I temporarily installed the camshaft, and after a bit of a learning curve got it degreed. I could have saved the effort; the cam reads within half a degree or so of the specs on the cam card. It’s well within my confidence of the measurement process, parallax errors when reading the degree wheel, etc. So, it’s getting installed straight up. The cam is a Summit Racing K3600, which has substantially more lift than the stock cam but not enough to require screw-in studs and the resulting head machine work. Once the cam was checked, I slathered it with the supplied assembly moly lube and re-installed it along with the timing gear and double roller timing chain.

With that done, I went to work on the heads. The stock ’66 289 heads aren’t bad for compression at about 9.3:1. They are not, however, renowned for their excellent flow characteristics to say the least. While this engine was not thermactor equipped, there were large lumps cast into the exhaust ports for air injection. I say there “were“, because they’re gone now. I’d never used a die grinder before, never modified a cylinder head, any of that… but the heads have the thermactor lumps ground out, exhaust ports smoothed as much as I could manage, and I even took the time to gasket-match the ports. I’ll do the same to the exhaust manifolds before re-installing them. I probably removed a pound of cast iron from those heads; what a mess.

Sunday the 5th I got all 8 pistons back in the block, just not torqued yet. And why is that? Because there’s one block, eight pistons, eight connecting rods, eight rod bearings, eight rod caps, and fifteen nuts to secure the rod caps. Where is nut #16? I do not know. My best guess would be, “Somewhere on the garage floor”… although “buried on the workbench” would not be an unreasonable guess either. Sigh. The hunt continues.

As the re-assembly moves on, I’m giving some thought to painting the engine once it’s all back together. One issue is the extreme grime on the oil pan, along with a few other bits. I believe I’m going to gather up the external bits — oil pan, heads, valve covers, timing cover, maybe the exhaust manifolds — and take them to a car wash with a can or two of oven cleaner. I don’t have access to a parts washer or hot tank (which would destroy the timing cover anyway). The valve covers won’t need much since they’re chrome… I’m debating whether to leave them alone or paint them to match. I’ll probably leave them chromed.

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