Rebuilding the engine

I used the lapping paste to clean up the seats. They came out excellent! Notice the fine workmanship on the valve seats. I will probably sand blast the heads and repaint later. Then I sanded the surfaces, sprayed with oil and set aside. Like my flags?

The rocker shafts are cleaned up next. Amazing what varsol and a pipecleaner can do (in general).

Took the empty heads and power washed them with varsol to get all the crap out.

Assembled the intake and heads and plugged up all the holes, and sandblasted them - again.

Sprayed some VHT-gloss yellow over the fellas - again.

While I had them out, I blasted and painted the headers. I think this is the 3rd time, but this time I stuck to the VHT header paint (cast iron grey).

Now that the heads are cleaned, blasted and painted. I did some fine tuning on the surfaces with fine sandpaper, and cleaned out all the passageways, and all the overspray.

Then I installed the valves with the new Sealed-Power springs, new Mopar Performance rubber seals, and polished the valve stems with 600-grit paper. I installed the old locks and keepers.

I had decided to go with CAMS machine shop for all the work. Cecil from CAMS, discovered that a couple of the pistons were damaged and had to be tossed. Also, a couple rods were killed, and the crank was beyond repair.
So, after much thought, I decided that I can still proceed with the plan as long as I could find either a couple used ones, or a complete set. I actually found a complete set from a '69 motor from "Bob the Charger Guy", out in Peterborough. But since Im going with a new set, I need to do a complete balance, and hone the block. So off goes the block, new rods, pistons to Cecil.
Here is Denis posing next to Mom's overloaded Toyota RAV4 which transported the beast.

While waiting for all the bits and pieces to come back, I started accumulating parts. Ill do a complete list of all the new stuff at the end of the show.

I finally baught some new speakers. The old ones were total crap and generated more fuzz than music, so I splurged and got some nice new ones. Here is a set of 4x10 Kenwood KFC-415C (only need 1 for the front), and 5x7 Clarion SRC5724 for the rear. So the Sony will be driving something decent for the first time. Anyhow, dropped them in and they sound great.

I finally got a chance to debug the electrical problem Ive had. The problem is a measured 45mV drain on the battery when parked. I contacted Viper and asked techie if this is correct. He said that a 8-10mV drop is whats expected and so i have done something wrong. Since I never really tested the alarm, I thought I would give it a shot.
Anyhow, the alarm works perfectly, it detects which zone triggered the alarm and lets you know via LED flashes. Also, most importantly, if the battery gets disconnected, EEPROMs will hold the state, and remember when power is reconnected. Even the starter kill works correctly, so the alarm is not the problem. The picture shows a 8mV drop, and Ill tell you how I found the problem next...

It turns out that the problem was the alternator wiring. I incorrectly hooked up the field line directly to the power line (thanks to advice from the electrical rebuild shop). The field line tells the alt what the reference voltage is, and since its the same, it will always try to charge to maximum voltage. This is fine if the car is running, but if the car is off, the field circuitry still wants the alt. to charge, which causes a constant drain.
So the correct solution is to tie the field line to the run circuit on the ignition, which after some researching, is how all cars do it. So I made a little metal tree which I tied to the ballast resistor. When the motor is in, I will complete the connection. There is also an extra spot for an electric choke line for my new Edelbrock carb. Oh baby, cant wait! I also cleaned up the electrical tape job I did last time, it looked kinda tacky.

This is the current wiring I've got now. The V++ is the raw voltage from the battery. Either the run or start wires from the ignition will drive this voltage, but not at the same time. This gives the coil a little extra boost during starting, and when you switch back to run, the coil gets whatever comes out of the ballast resisitor (V--).

Also, while in the start mode, the "b" pin on the ballast will also get juice back accross the ballast from "a". This will be V--, because the run wiring from the ignition is not being driven. Now, Im guessing this will be OK for the alternator, because its not charging during startup, but the choke may complain. I dont know if it needs V++, or if V-- is enough. Its kinda important, because the choke is crucial during startup. Anyhow, I guess we'll see. If it doesnt work, I can try swapping the choke line to "a", and if that doesnt work, Ill need a f!@#$n relay.

Wow, so much extra time. I Fiiiinaly fixed the windshield leaking problem by sealing along the outside inner seal. I sealed the inside, but never the outside and was always getting some leakage. So I did it right this time (hopefully). I also put the trim on. I was worried it woudlnt fit, but the bitch fits nice and tight.

So the block, crank and pistons are ready from Cecil, and I picked them up. This is a shot of the block after the acid bath.

This is Cecil putting the rings on the finished and balanced pistons. The crank is in the backround, it is a re-ground used piece.

The fellas are all numbered nicely for easy installation. I broke out the instruments and re-measured everything. All is within spec. The crank mains and journals are ground 20 over, so the bearings are 0.020 oversized.

With the calculations giving the green light, I first began by stripping the old paint with a wire brush, and then cleaning with varsol.

Shooting the block with a fresh coat of VHT - again.

Re-scrapped all the gasket surfaces, cleaned out all the passageways and lifter bores, and light sanded all rust spots on the cylinder walls. Then power-washed the whole thing with WD-40 and let dry...

Installed the new Mopar Performance purple cam.

Installed the new/reground crank. Denis is lightly tapping down the main caps before torqueing to spec.

Aligned the rings and installed pistons after drenching in oil.

Here is Malcolm test fitting the new distributer drive with teh new bushing and cam.

Oiled everything and installed the lifters (pre filled) and pushrods.

Installed the old valve-train and torqued down to spec.

Here is the beast ready to go.

Installed the motor in the bay and fired her up. It works! Check out the video we took in the Videos section. Notice I didnt hook up the rad or the alternator.

Everything is installed including the rad and alt. Here I am breaking it in by running it for 30 minutes at 2000 rpm. During this perious all the rattles and squeeks quieted down and she was purring like a kitten afterwards.

I dont remember the exhaust ever being this clean!

Showing off the new Charger floor mats.

Installed a new Accel hi-perf coil, new ballast, and new carb and put a 100 Kms on her. After that I removed the valve covers, and headers and re-torqued the heads. What a pain.

After a quick tune-up.

Aftter discovering that the friken carb vacuum was hooked up wrong all these years I finally figured out how to et the timing. Here is me with a vacuum guage checking out the vacuum at various speeds. Im gonna have more on this later...


PI 3.142 3.142
DECK 10.725 10.725
STROKE 3.750 3.750
BORE 4.320 4.322 *
GASKET 0.018 0.040 **
ROD 6.768 6.768
PISTON 2.030 2.030
HEAD 85.000 85.000
DOME 0.000 0.000
PIS_WID_TOP 4.295 4.295
RINGLAND 0.391 0.391
Dome vol (in inches) 0.000 0.000
Head vol (in inches) 5.187 5.187
Ring vol (calculated) 0.265 0.265
Swept vol 54.972 54.972
Displacement 439.779 439.779
Deck Clearance 0.052 0.052
Compression 9.486 9.065

* This is an approximation of the wear. To do it correct, I should take the measurement under the skirt, and the bottom, use the swept height and the cone volume equation, find the total volume, then find the diameter of the equivilant cylinder.... Or I could just guess. :)
** This is the height of the uncompressed gasket. After you torque it down it will be slightly smaller. I dunno, I guess I could use a gapper and find out that way. Anways this is close.

So the compression has gone down a bit. I need some exact numbers, but these are over conservative, so the actual compression is gonna lie somewhere between the old and the calculated.
The gasket height makes a BIG difference. Also, Im running a slightly more aggressive cam with a higher lift, and the new carb has about 200cfm larger, which will also affect dynamic compression.
I will just have to dyno it to see what has really happened.

Cost Breakdown

Parts Cost Total
Used Crank
Box of used pistons and rods from Bob Main Bearings (0.20)
Rod Bearings (0.20)
8140-Accel Hi Perf. Coil
Fuel Filter
2 Ballast Resistors
New Throttle Cable
Valve Seals
MP Purple Cam P4452783
Sealed Power Valve Springs
few more Mini Fuses
Distributer drive gear
Engine tear down gasket kit
Valve Seals
Oil pump
Oil Priming Shaft
Engine Plug Hardware Kit
Misc Frost plugs from various stores...
Loctite and other greases and lubes
Engine & Header Paint
Bosch Alternator
Edelbrock Carb
Exhaust Gaskets
Misc hoses, clamps, solvents, brushes, etc..
Sandblasting sand

Check Block for size, degrease + deglaze, check cam bearings + frost plug.
Re+Re Pistons & Rods, check all pistons & rods for size to fit block, number each piston, rods, assemble pistons to rods, install rings.
Balance rotating assembly.




Not Totally Necessary Parts
"Charger" car mats

Total 3701.57

Some of the stuff above I did not pay tax for, so all the numbers are sans tax. Also, the prices above are heavily discounted, due to my years of loyalty to the dealership, and also on hunting around for the best prices. So total I paid is a little more than above.

How To Quick Tune-Up Old Cars With Single Points

1. Vacuum The whole idea behind an engine tuning up is to make sure the spark is good, everybody gets one, and is where its supposed to be at various times.
The first step is to figure out the low speed advance. The engine needs advance so the spark goes off sooner and sooner the higher RPM. Unfortunately if you got points, you're doing things the old school way. So there is a vacuum advance system which is for low RPM < 2500. And a centrifugal advance which kicks in at high speeds.
So to set the vacuum advance, you have to find the vacuums from the carb. This should be set already in most cases, but in my case it was set wrong from the beginning and I never noticed. In fact the dealer had the car and THEY never noticed either. I guess the term "expert" is subjective, anyhow, this is how to check it yourself. The following picture shows the essentials for my Edelbrock :

If you run the engine and check with your finger the vacuums at the timed and full ports, you'll notice different vacuums at different speeds. Full vacuum means you get essentially full vacuum all the time. Timed vacuum means depending on what your speed is, you'll get different advance. I baught a vacuum guage and measured the vacuum at these ports at various speeds. Here is my findings :

Timed Vacuum
Full Vacuum
Anyhow, then I hooked up the vacuum guage to the vacuum port on the distributor pictured below :

By just using my mouth to create a vacuum, I could see the advance occur on the rotor. And I generated about 15Hg. So its impossible that this car is full vacuum, because full vacuum starts at 18Hg even at idle, which is about 85% full vacuum according to the graph.
So basically, the way it was hooked up before (at full vacuum), the vacuum to the distributor was always at 100% vacuum, which cancelled any benefits of my distributors low-speed advance system. Thats why I could never get a good idle. It was always weak, and was never below 1000RPM. Thats because there was no retard at low speeds. The spark timing is actually supposed to move. In fact it moves all the time at every speed. Anyways, once I simply switched to timed vacuum, I could set a very strong idle at 800RPM, which I have been using ever since.
Anyways, the rate of advance as a function of speed is fascinating. I know that this old system needs a lot of help. I still dont think im set 100%, and am sure theres lots more potential left in this beast. Anyways, one day Ill figure out how to set her right, or maybe just upgrade to EE. Anyways this is just quick tune-up.

2. Gap Next set the dwell/gap and check the points. Here is the basic setup on a single-points type ignition :
So the next step is to use a spark plug gapper and set the space between the max cam height and the point gap at that height. For Dodge V8s, use 0.017" gap. The Dwell is set by setting the gap, so you dont need a dwell meter. Anyhow the technical definition of dwell is : Dwell is measured as an angle: with contact ignition, the points gap determines the dwell angle. The definition of contact ignition dwell is: 'the number of degrees of distributor rotation with the contacts closed'.

3. Adjust Distributer Run the engine at 2500 RPM's or slightly above, with that bolt loose move the distributer counter clockwise to retard, or clockwise to advance your timing. Advance the timing till you hear the exhaust popping and it runs rough, back it off till it runs smooth and the RPM's start dropping as you retard the timing, set it right there and tighten it down, your done.
4. Carb mixture/idle Using the idle speed screw, set the idle to be as low as possible without dying. Then lean out the mixture on both screws as much as possible (turning clockwise). If the speed changes, then set the idle again. One at a time, richen the mixture by unscrewing the idle set screws until you get maximum rpm. Dont go too rich, or else you'll just be fouling plugs. Set one, then the other and repeat.

This should get you adjusted enough to be up and running. Personally, Im happy the way its set, but im sure theres room for improvement.