This Old Block: Rebuilding the Engine on Our 1968 Camaro

Update by Steve Chryssos to the Chevrolet Camaro project car
Jul 12, 2011

Express Racing Engines boiled, honed and clearanced our engine.
We compared bearing clearances with...
...crankshaft journal diameters.
I.D. measurements are transferred to an O.D. caliper.
Zero spec coated bearings are from Federal Mogul.
The rear main seal goes in nice and easy with the help of petroleum jelly.
The 4130 forged 3.750-inch stroke crank is from Scat.
Billet Steel Milodon four-bolt main caps are tapped into place, and...
...ARP hardware is torqued to spec.
Jeremy's old-school ring compressor is getting a workout.
Red Line Oil engine assembly lube ensures proper break-in.

Johnny at Express Racing Engines looked directly at us as he said the words “idiot-proof.”

Before we delve into the exciting part of our 406 engine project (like heart-shaped chamber design and cam lobe separation), we need to highlight the foundation of our 406. The engine block started life as a 400 from the good old days, when men were men and cast iron blocks had high nickel content. In 1971, the bean counters had yet to figure out that blocks could be made thinner and weaker in the interest of cost savings. So this old block is really strong. This is not a LeMons car, though. We don’t skimp on anything. Milodon billet steel four-bolt main caps hold the bottom end together to limits that far exceed our 6500 rpm redline.

Remember, though: This is a rebuild. As cool as they are, those caps have been in place for eight years. We’re here to talk about how Express Racing Engines offered to make the engine assembly idiot-proof. For some reason, Johnny at Express looked directly at Tom Heath and Steve Chryssos as he said the words “idiot-proof.” We picked up our engine with Total Seal rings already fitted and gapped on their respective pistons. Likewise, crank and rod bearings were already in place with correct main and rod journal clearance. We went ahead and double-checked clearances just to be safe. The Federal Mogul bearings feature a dry film lubricant coating. The delicious-looking red goo is assembly lube from Red Line Oil. Our shop neighbor, Jeremy from Aggressive Auto Parts, helped out so that we could be free to shoot photos. Jeremy is quickly learning how we operate. “Can we borrow a tool?” really means, “Can we borrow a tool as well as the arm connected to the tool?”

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7/14/11 7:29 p.m.

If you try to build something foolproof the world will build a better fool.

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