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Practical Engine Building: Step 9: Long Block Assembly

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Step 9: Long Block Assembly


00:00 - At this point, with our engine short block assembly complete and our cylinder heads both completely assembled, it's time to start putting these pieces together with our long block assembly.
00:10 Before we can start fitting the cylinder heads though, we need to install our camshaft.
00:15 And this is a little bit tricky with the LS engine, given that the cam is located in the block.
00:21 What we need to do here is slide that camshaft gently into location in the camshaft bearing journals in the engine block without doing any damage to those bearings.
00:30 Now you'll remember that we have had those bearings replaced, we chose to have our machinist replace these, given that it is a little bit of a tricky job and it also requires some specialist equipment in order to get those bearings located correctly in the engine block.
00:46 So what we've got here is our Kelford cam, this is an upgraded cam with a lot more lift and duration than stock so we're basically going to be optimising the airflow through the stock cylinder heads with this camshaft.
00:59 What we want to do before we install the camshaft is make sure that it is well lubricated.
01:05 Kelford do supply a moly based assembly lubricant for this so what we want to do is start by applying that generously over the camshaft lobes as well as the journals which will run in the bearing so let's go ahead and do that now.
01:28 Now once we're happy that our camshaft is thoroughly lubricated, what we're going to do is now install it.
01:34 Now this does require us to support the camshaft and this gets a little bit trickier as we install it further into the engine block.
01:41 What we want to do is hold the camshaft essentially horizontal with the engine block so it doesn't drop down and of course this is going to make it easier for us to install the camshaft into the bearing journals.
01:50 Now in order to help with this, what I'm going to do is use a long half inch drive extension, we can fit this into the front of the camshaft and we can use this as a little bit of leverage to help us support the camshaft.
02:01 So what we'll do now is just gently install this into the engine block.
02:15 With our camshaft installed, the next task is to fit our camshaft retaining plate which bolts to the front of the engine block.
02:21 And it's a good idea here for the small investment to replace this camshaft retaining plate with a new item.
02:29 The reason for this is that there is a seal on the back of the camshaft retaining plate and this seal will seal up the two oil galleries.
02:36 So if we don't have a good seal there we risk an oil leak internally inside of the engine which can result in a reduction in oil pressure.
02:44 If you're dealing with a low kilometre engine where the camshaft retaining plate gasket is still in good condition then you can reuse it.
02:51 It's always advisable just to check and make sure before you reuse this plate that the gasket is still sitting proud of the surface, meaning that it's still capable of doing its sealing.
03:01 So here we'll go ahead and install that plate and we'll torque it to specification which in this case is 18 foot pound.
03:18 With our camshaft retaining plate installed, the next step is to install our timing gear.
03:22 In this instance, given our aftermarket camshaft, we've gone with a Crow Cams single row timing chain which offers vernier adjustability of our cam timing.
03:31 This allows us the flexibility to advance or retard the cam to get our cam timing exactly onto the manufacturer's spec sheet.
03:39 This relies on us looking at the timing marks on the pulley and aligning the pulley, particularly in this case the crankshaft pulley with the correct location where it keys onto the crankshaft.
03:52 For our installation here we are going to be installing the cam on the zero position.
03:56 Now the other thing to consider here is the difference between single row and double row timing chains.
04:03 Particularly for a larger, more aggressive camshaft it would be advisable to go with a double row timing chain.
04:08 Your camshaft supplier will be able to advise on the correct timing chain for your particular application.
04:13 Bear in mind that if you do go with a double row timing chain, this does require a little bit of work to clearance the back of the timing cover as well.
04:22 The other aspect to consider here is the cam drive sprocket.
04:26 Now in some installations, particularly the later LS motors where there is a cam position sensor on the front timing cover, we do need to take note of the timing pattern on the factory camshaft sprocket and make sure that our aftermarket cam sprocket matches or provides the same timing pattern and there are a variety here so this is an easy trap to fall into.
04:48 If you've got that pattern wrong, your engine won't start when it comes time to turn the key for the first time.
04:54 And lastly there are also both three bolt and single bolt cams so you need to make sure that the timing chain set that you've got is suitable both for your timing pattern and the camshaft you'll be installing it on.
05:06 So with that out of the way, let's start by installing our lower drive sprocket onto the crankshaft, taking note of the keyway position, making sure that the timing mark is correct and then also installing our oil pump drive.
05:17 Now prior to doing this as well, I've already rotated the crankshaft through so that number one piston is on top dead centre.
05:24 And this is an important part of the timing process because this will have our timing mark on our cam drive sprocket pointing vertically up and it's going to align with another mark on our cam sprocket which needs to point vertically down.
05:38 So it's helpful if you get this done before installing the componentry.
05:41 Let's go ahead and install those now.
05:48 Once we've got that installed, it's a good idea just to have another visual check and just make sure that the timing mark is in fact pointing straight up.
05:54 Before we go ahead and install the cam chain and the sprocket onto our camshaft itself, it's also a good idea to rotate the cam so it's going to be approximately in the correct location.
06:04 What we want to do is rotate the dowel so that it's about the 3 o'clock position.
06:09 Once we've got that in place, we can go ahead and install our camshaft sprocket and our timing chain.
06:15 And this can be a little bit fiddly getting everything to line up initially.
06:29 With the camshaft bolts now installed finger tight, we can torque them to the correct specification which is 22 foot pound, so let's do that now.
06:44 Once we've torqued those bolts down it's also a good idea to just have one last visual check and make sure that our timing marks are lined up, making sure that our cam is in fact timed up correctly.
06:54 From here, we can move on and we'll start installing our lifters and our lifter trays.
07:00 Given the poor condition of the lifters as well as the lifter trays from our donor engine, we made the decision to replace all of these components with new parts.
07:07 Which fortunately given the popularity of the LS platform, is relatively cost effective.
07:13 Now we're going to go ahead here and install our brand new lifters into our lifter trays and then we're going to drop those into the lifter bores.
07:21 Before we do this, what I'm going to do is take our oiling can and I'm going to apply a generous amount of oil down into the lifter bores so let's go through that process now.
07:38 With that done we can install our lifters into our lifter trays.
07:41 Now a lot of people do soak the lifters in oil prior to installation.
07:45 This really isn't strictly necessary provided that we have lubricated our lifter bores and we have lubricated the lifters themselves, this really isn't an issue.
07:54 The other aspect here is that I will be applying a little bit more moly based lubricant to the roller on the end of the lifter where it's actually going to contact the cam lobe, so let's go through that now.
08:15 With our lifters all properly lubricated and installed into our lifter tray, we can now gently drop the lifters down into the bore and tighten the lifter tray into the engine block.
08:35 With our first lifter tray installed, we're now going to go through the process of repeating that for our remaining lifters.
09:01 We also need to reinstall the locating dowels for the cylinder head that were removed by our machinist when the engine block was decked and these just require locating them into the recess in the block and then they can be tapped into place using a hammer.
09:20 Given that we're using an ARP head stud lit, now's a good time to fit our ARP studs into the holes in the block so let's go through and do that now.
09:51 With our ARP hardware now installed in the engine block we can take our new Cometic multi layer steel head gasket, making sure of course that both surfaces of the head gasket are thoroughly cleaned and we can gently drop that into place, making sure that it's located correctly over the dowels on the block.
10:11 With our head gasket in location, we can now clean down the deck surface of the cylinder head using brake clean and a clean rag and then gently lower than down into place over our studs, making sure again that it locates correctly on the dowels.
10:35 Now that we've got our cylinder head in place we can go through and install our ARP hardware including the washers and nuts, just taking note of the instructions from ARP about where to place their assembly lubricant.
10:47 So let's go through that process now.
11:13 With all of our ARP hardware now tightened down finger tight, we're going to go through the torque procedure outlined in the ARP instructions.
11:20 It's important to make sure that we follow the correct torque order as well as the torque values.
11:26 In this case the larger 11 mil studs will be torqued down in three stages to 70 foot pound while the smaller eight mm studs will be torqued down to 28 foot pound.
11:35 So let's go through and do that now.
12:03 So at this point we've got our first cylinder head completely torqued down, we can now rotate the block on our engine stand and we're going to repeat exactly what we've just looked at for our remaining cylinder head, so let's go ahead and get that done.
12:45 With both of our cylinder heads now fitted and torqued down correctly, we're going to proceed with fitting our push rods and our rocker assembly so we're going to start here on our right bank of cylinders seeing as that's the head that we finished off with.
12:58 And again because of the condition of all of the parts we removed, we are starting here with brand new push rods as well as brand new rocker gear.
13:05 So let's go ahead and start with our push rods.
13:08 What I'm going to do is use some moly based assembly lubricant on the end of the push rod that's going to be inserted into the lifter.
13:15 Let's do that now.
13:27 Now I've just applied a generous amount of our moly based lubricant to the other end of the push rods as well as the end of the valves, of course these are the two areas that our rockers are going to be operating on.
13:37 From here we can fit our plate into the cylinder heads that the rockers are going to bolt down to, then we'll take each of our rockers, oil them or lubricate them thoroughly with clean engine oil and we can get them inserted into place.
13:48 Let's go through that now.
14:00 Once we've got all of our rocker gear loosely arranged here we can push down on the rocker, down onto the push rod and we're going to then find that that will push the lifter down onto the cam lobe.
14:11 What we can do now is go through and tighten all of the rocker gear down where there is no pressure on the valve springs.
14:19 We're going to find that there will be two here that will have pressure on them.
14:23 So once we've tightened down the ones that are currently loose, we can rotate the engine through and then tighten our remaining rockers down.
14:39 Once we've got the six rockers that aren't pre loaded down into location just finger tight, we can then go through and torque these down to 26 foot pound, so let's do that now.
14:57 Now we can carefully rotate the crankshaft through until the two remaining rockers have the tension off them and we can repeat that process, getting those torqued down as well.
15:17 Alright we've got all of the rocker gear fitted and torqued down on our right bank cylinder head and of course you can do the left bank cylinder head simultaneously alongside the right hand bank, it's just been a little bit easier for our filming process here.
15:30 So what we're going to do before we move on, we're going to fit our new rocker cover onto the cylinder head along with a fresh rocker cover gasket.
15:39 So let's go through that now.
15:47 Alright we've got our right bank cylinder head completely assembled there with the rocker cover on, now we're just going to repeat the process that we've just looked at on our left hand bank cylinder head, so let's jump ahead a little bit.
15:57 With both of our cylinder heads now completely assembled and the rocker covers on, we're going to take the opportunity while we're working on the top side of the engine here to also fit our valley plate.
16:06 Now again because of the poor condition of our original valley plate, we took the opportunity to replace this with a new part.
16:14 These components are relatively cost effective which means that restoring an engine like this is not a particularly expensive task.
16:22 So we'll take our new valley plate which also includes a new set of bolts as well as a fresh gasket on the underside there, and we can fit that in place.
16:47 With our valley plate now fitted we can move back to the bottom end of the engine and the next process is to fit our oil pump.
16:54 And on the LS this is actually a little bit time consuming and a little bit involved.
16:58 What we need to do is actually makes sure that the pump gears are running concentric with the crankshaft and this requires us to shim the inner and outer gears to both the crankshaft and then the pump housing, so that when we finally tighten the oil pump housing to the engine we're going to know that everything is running perfectly concentric.
17:17 So in order to do this, I'm using three sets of feeler blades and just for simplicity here I've removed the feeler blades that I'm going to be using.
17:25 Of course you will be wanting to follow here your pump manufacturer's instructions, we're using an aftermarket high volume oil pump here again, just due to the condition of the existing pump and the sort of racing that this engine is likely to be involved with.
17:40 So the first step here is to take our brand new oil pump housing and I've already removed the gears from it, we've already disassembled it so that we can go through this process.
17:51 We need to make sure that before we actually fit the pump that we do fit a new o ring into the back of the pump so this seals the pump to the engine block.
17:59 And we can see there is an o ring groove here and we just want to make sure that that o ring is positively located in that groove.
18:08 Once we've done this we can now fit the oil pump housing to the engine block and we're going to use the four bolts to tighten this down, we're just going to do them finger tight at the moment so that we are going to be able to correctly align the components, so let's fit this to the block now.
18:32 Alright we've got our oil pump housing fitted to the front of the engine just finger tight there.
18:37 The next step is to take the inner oil pump gear and locate that on the drive collar on the crankshaft.
18:43 Once we've got that in position we're going to take three feeler blades.
18:46 The specific thickness of these feeler blades will vary from one pump to the other.
18:50 In our case we're looking at two thousandths of an inch.
18:53 It's really important, more than the actual thickness of the feeler blade, to make sure that all three you're using are the same thickness.
19:00 What we're looking for here is just the maximum feeler blade that we can comfortably slide in there.
19:06 So we're going to locate the oil pump gear then get those feeler blades in there so that it's going to be nice and concentric with the crankshaft so let's go ahead and do that now.
19:25 We've now got our inside oil pump gear located on the crankshaft and shimmed, we're going to do exactly the same now with the outer gear.
19:32 Now this can be a little bit fiddly to locate so that it will slide into the housing and the inner gear.
19:38 Once we've got that located, we're then going to use our shims, three positions around the outside of that gear between the gear and the oil pump housing.
19:46 And again the actual thickness of your shim will depend on your particular oil pump.
19:52 We've found in this case that we need a 1.5 thou feeler blade so let's go ahead with that now.
20:09 We've now got our inner and outer oil pump gears shimmed correctly so we know that everything's running concentric with the crankshaft, so we can now go ahead and tighten down those four bolts holding the oil pump housing to the engine block.
20:21 Once we've got that tightened down we can then remove our shims.
20:34 With our oil pump housing correctly tightened and our shims removed from our oil pump gears we can now take those oil pump gears back out of the housing and what we're going to do is lubricate those using our engine assembly lubricant.
20:45 Once we've got them back in the oil pump housing, I'm also going to apply some of our engine assembly lubricant to the voids between the gears and this will just help when we come to our initial startup to allow us to gain engine oil pressure a lot more easily.
21:01 So let's go through that now.
21:14 With our oil pump now correctly primed and lubricated, we can go ahead and fit the end plate to our oil pump.
21:33 Now we can fit our front timing cover.
21:35 Here we're reusing the existing timing cover and I've gone ahead and removed the existing crank seal as that's well and truely worn.
21:43 We're going to be fitting a new crank seal but as with the oil pump here, the front timing cover is not dowelled onto the engine block.
21:52 And there's quite a lot of play between the cover and the bolts that hold the front cover in place.
21:58 So what we need to do here is make sure that the crank seal is concentric with the crankshaft.
22:03 Now there's two approaches we can go through with this.
22:05 One is to insert the crank seal, fit up the front timing cover with the bolts just finger tight and then we can install the front crank pulley and use the front crank pulley essentially to centralise that crank seal.
22:18 Once everything is centralised there then we can go ahead and tighten down those bolts.
22:24 The other approach which we're going to be using here is to use an alignment tool.
22:27 Now these are relatively cheap and easy to get hold of.
22:31 This particular product is front Mr Gasket and we sourced this from JEGS in the U.S.
22:35 So essentially this particular alignment tool sits in the front cover, it aligns the front cover to the crankshaft.
22:43 Once we've got everything aligned we can tighten the bolts down and then we can use that tool to also press the crank seal in.
22:50 Now before we go ahead and fit the front timing cover though, we do also need to apply some lubricant to our chain.
22:58 So we'll start by doing that.
23:05 Now we're going to take our front cover with our new gasket behind it and just loosely install that with all of our bolts finger tight.
23:24 Now that we've got our timing cover loosely installed, we're going to take our alignment tool, we'll insert that onto the end of the crankshaft and make sure that our cover is correctly aligned before tightening it down completely.
23:45 Now we can take our new crankshaft seal, we're going to install that onto the housing and we're just going to use that alignment tool along with our plastic hammer in order to tap it gently into place.
24:04 We've now got our timing cover fitted along with a new gasket and our new crank seal.
24:09 We're now going to repeat much the same process by fitting our rear cover to the engine.
24:13 In order to do this we're going to just spin the engine around in the workshop here so that it's easier to see.
24:20 Before we can install our rear main seal, we need to reinstall our oil restrictor barbell.
24:25 Now this is a small plastic fitting that presses into the back of the main oil gallery and it seals with an o ring.
24:32 Obviously as its name implies, it's designed to restrict and control oil flow.
24:35 In order to install this, all we need to do is lightly lubricate that o ring using some vaseline or some rubber grease and just gently press it into the back of the oil gallery until it's flush.
24:46 With that installed, we can now go ahead and fit our rear main seal.
24:50 Before we actually fit the seal though, I am going to take some vaseline and just apply that to the seal where it's going to contact onto the crankshaft surface, basically providing some lubrication for that seal.
25:09 We can now take the seal and gently feed it between the engine stand and the block, get it into location and gently slip it over the rear flange on the crankshaft.
25:24 Once we've got the first two bolts started, we can go ahead and fit the rest of the bolts and then tighten them down.
25:43 With our rear main seal now installed, we're going to turn the engine over on the engine stand and we can begin working on the sump components.
25:50 As with many of the components we have been fitting to this engine, we've chosen to replace the windage tray and the sump with new components.
25:57 Our sump in particular comes with new fasteners and a new gasket which is already riveted in place to the sump.
26:03 Now with the windage tray here you may find if you are using an ARP main stud kit like ours that you will need to open out some of the holes in order for it to slip over the larger diameter 10 mm studs.
26:15 In this case we are also going to be replacing the factory nuts that hold that windage tray in place and here I'm using a 10 x 1.25 mm Nyloc nut, the Nyloc just helps prevent the fasteners coming loose in operation.
26:30 So we an take our windage tray, taking note of the orientation, there is a note here showing which side will go towards the front.
26:39 And we can lower that gently into place.
26:42 With the windage tray in location we can then take our Nyloc nuts and tighten them down.
26:48 Bearing in mind at this point we haven't fitted our oil pickup so there are two studs that at this point we don't want to place nuts on because these double up as being the location where our oil pickup will tighten down.
27:00 So let's go ahead and fit our Nyloc nuts now.
27:14 Once we've got our windage tray tightened down, we can go ahead and fit our oil pickup.
27:19 Now it is important with our oil pickup to make sure that we have the correct size o ring fitted to this and what I'm going to do is just apply a small amount of vaseline to the outside of this o ring which will allow it to slip easily into place in the oil pump housing.
27:36 Alternatively you can also use a rubber grease.
27:38 So we're going to get this located, slipped down over the two studs and we can fit our remaining fasteners there.
27:54 Once we've got all of our fasteners snugged down there we can go through and follow ARP's recommendation for the torque setting on the windage tray nuts, here we're looking for 28 foot pounds of torque.
28:05 So we'll go through and torque those down now.
28:16 Now that we've got our windage tray and our oil pickup fitted, we're going to use brake clean and a clean rag to just make sure we've got no oil or debris located on our sump rails before we fit our sump.
28:35 Finally before we fit the sump and our new sump gasket, we are going to apply a small bead of silicon just to the locations where the front and rear covers bolt up to the engine block and this is just going to help prevent any change of oil leaking through these areas.
28:53 This is also a good time to mention that when we are aligning the front and rear covers, there will be the ability to slightly rotate those covers so it's always a good idea when we are tightening those down, just to make sure that we don't have any protrusion or any hollows between the front and rear covers and the sump.
29:11 We're essentially trying to get a flat surface between all of those components while still making sure that our front and rear main seals are concentric with our crankshaft.
29:21 So let's go ahead and apply our silicon sealant now.
29:29 With our sealant applied, the last task here on the underside of the engine is simply to fit our sump and then tighten that down, so let's go ahead and do that.
29:49 Now that we've got our sump fitted, I'm going to go ahead and refit the gallery plugs that we removed in an earlier step of the process here.
29:56 We've got three of those gallery plugs on the engine block and it's really important to make sure that these go back in and are sealed properly.
30:03 On this note it's a good idea to swap out the existing sealing washer, these will normally be aluminium or copper, with a brand new washer just to give you the best chance of seal.
30:13 I'm also going to add a small amount of a teflon thread paste to the threads just to again make sure that we're not going to have any problems with leakage.
30:20 So let's go ahead and fit those now.
30:33 Now with our gallerly plugs refitted, we've got one last task to complete and that's refitting our front pulley so let's flip the engine over and get started on that.
30:44 There are a few things to keep in mind when we are fitting a harmonic damper to one of these engines.
30:49 In particular the Gen 3 LS1 engine doesn't in stock form have a keyway on the crankshaft so the harmonic damper isn't actually keyed onto the crankshaft and essentially can be relocated in any orientation.
31:01 In our case because we've gone to our K1 stroker crankshaft, this has an additional keyway for our harmonic damper, we've also chosen to go with an SFI-Spec aftermarket damper to replace our stock one.
31:12 So the first key here is to make sure that we have the correct woodruff key located in the crankshaft.
31:19 The other thing to consider here is that there is a slight interference fit between the harmonic damper and the crankshaft so can be a little bit tricky to get this installed.
31:30 A little tip here is that we can use a heat gun to apply some heat to the harmonic damper where it's going to slide onto the snout of the crankshaft and this will help make it a little bit easier to get that located and aligned with our key in the crankshaft.
31:43 Another thing to consider here is the bolt that we're using and the stock LS1 crank bolt is actually too short to be useful, helping us pull that harmonic damper into location.
31:55 So what we can do here is purchase a damper installation kit.
31:59 However just buying a longer M16 x 2.0 bolt can also help us out here.
32:06 In this instance I've got a bolt with a large diameter washer, this bolt is around about 25 mm longer than our stock crank bolt and what we're going to do is use this to initially get the harmonic damper located and pulled into place and then we're going to swap back to our crank bolt.
32:23 Another top here is that it is good practice to replace the used crank bolt with a brand new one from GM.
32:29 In this case we would use the original old crank bolt to initially snug the damper into location using a torque of about 240 foot pound.
32:38 Once we've done that we can remove that bolt, we can install our new bolt and go through the torque sequence there which is to initially torque the bolt down to 37 foot pound and then an additional 140 degrees of torque angle.
32:52 So let's get our crank pulley installed into location now.
32:56 What I'm going to do is start by applying a small amount of high temp anti seize just to the snout of the crankshaft, and this will make it a little bit easier to install and then also remove our damper at a later point.
33:12 Now because we're going to be using the new bolt in order to pull the damper into location, I'm also going to apply a generous amount of our high temp anti seize to the threads of this bolt just to allow them to remain in good condition.
33:25 From here what we'll do is we'll take our damper, we'll get it started on the snout of the crankshaft, making sure that the alignment of our keyway is correct and we can get our bolt started.
33:42 With the bolt well and truely engaged in the threads of the crankshaft there's no danger of damaging or pulling out those threads, we can now use our ratchet in order to pull our harmonic damper into location.
33:51 While we're doing this, particularly to start with, we just want to keep an eye on that damper, making sure that it does remain square to the crankshaft and doesn't start pulling down on an angle.
34:01 So let's go through that process now.
34:10 Once we've got our pulley pulled onto the crankshaft enough that we can swap over bolts, we can remove our guide bolt and replace it with our crank bolt so let's do that now.
34:24 For the next step of this process, we're going to reuse our existing crank bolt and we're going to use our electric impact gun in order to pull that damper down onto the crankshaft.
34:33 We're not going to be torquing it of course using our electric impact gun but this will just help us speed through the process so let's go ahead and do that now.
34:50 So at this point we've got our crank pulley pulled home onto the snout of the crankshaft and we can go ahead and replace that bolt.
34:56 Now I'm not actually going to be doing that here during our demonstration and the reason for this is that I'm going to do that once we've got our flywheel fitted.
35:03 This makes it much easier to lock up the flywheel so that we can accurately achieve the required torque and then the angle after that.
35:11 So at this point we've got to the end of step nine of our worked example.
35:16 We've got our complete long block here properly assembled, we're confident that all of the clearances and tolerances inside the engine are where we want them to be, we're confident that all of the components have been installed correctly and of course are up to the task of what we're requiring from this motor.
35:33 From here we'd move onto step 10 of our worked examples which is where we get to go through the process of starting our engine for the first time.
35:41 Right now, we're not going to be able to film that particular step, given that we've got no car for this engine to go into right now.