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Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:12 a.m.

Back in the fall I won a contest called, "The Performance Therapy Online Photo Contest" http://www.performancetherapycontest.com/ organized by John Hotchkis. The winning photograph of me in my Firebird was taken by my bud John Hendrick at the famous Sebring Road Race track. As the Grand prize winner of the contest I am recieving products from Hotchkis Sport Suspension, Baer Brakes, Flowmaster, MSD, Rushforth Wheels, Yokohama tires, Lifeline Fire Systems, Redline synthetic oils, and Hot Wheels.

I started a project thread over on the Maliburacing forum and thought since there's a bunch of g body guys here I'd paste the posts over here as I go. This is a very low budget project and since I'll be doing all of the work myself I think it fits in well as a Grassroots topic. I'm going to paste all the previous posts in first and then will keep up with progress from there as I continue.

Since my Firebird already has a Hotchkis suspension, MSD ignition, and sidepipes (which I like) I'm going to use some of the prizes to give my Malibu some much needed Performance Therapy. During the 15 years or so since I paid a whopping $300.00 for the bu I've used it on and off as a DD and slowly fixed it up a little at a time until about 5 years ago when I decided to repaint it again. It hasn't been driven much since then mostly due to an idiot keeping it for a couple years when he was supposed to weld in a Jegs rollbar kit. the gory details can be seen here. http://www.maliburacing.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90869 And after that I moved far away which was a huge nightmare and at one point I was so fed up I didn't even look at the bu for a whole year.

With 70,000 miles on the car currently, it still has the original unmolested 229 V6 auto combo and all stock suspension except for a rear swaybar I got off of a parts car. So this is going to be an awesome upgrade I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. I've just about finished reassembling the exterior of the car and just need to put a new Landau vinyl top (I like them) back on.

The Plan: I've got a '70 350 4 bolt engine from a C-20 that was rebuilt by my brother almost 30 years ago but never fired. According to the note on the engine it was magnafluxed and decked, bored .030, has a 3 angle valve job, double roller timing chain, ported head, and a ported intake refered to as an "inverted high rise" which I never heard of. That is all I know (or will know) about it.

I'll be installing that engine with the stock trans and rear by using the MSD prize to set up the ignition, the Flowmaster prize for the exhaust (the new stainless system coming out in a couple weeks), and the Hotchkis prize will cover the suspension and steering. Should turn out pretty cool!

Ideally I'd pull the engine apart and give it the once over with new assembly lube etc. before installing but thats not going to happen. This has to be done on an extremely limited butget and pretty quickly. I've got a few carbs hanging around and I'm hoping I can make one of them work. As it is I think I'll need to upgrade the radiator? and find a V8 fan shroud plus probably a few other odds and ends along the way. This is a grassroots type effort, no media blasting, powder coating or any other costly unnecessary expenses can be done at this time. If a hose or belt can be reused it will be. Anything that comes off that can be sold to help offset expenses will be. The engine compartment will get the infamous "Krylon Touch" to give it a neat clean appearance.

I started recieving the Hotchkis products today so I figured I'd start this thread and let everyone follow along and I'll update while I progress. Here's the list of Hotchkis stuff I'll be using. And I know I need to switch spindles to use the kit.

TVS kit with Extreme swaybars Steering rebuild kit Ball joint kit Tubular upper A arms Bilstein shocks Air bag kit

Here's a few pics of the car. The dormant mouse that will be installed can be seen on an engine stand in the corner in the 1st pic.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:18 a.m.

The Jegs kit rollbar that I had installed in the Malibu by a supposed "expert" was installed so poorly it was turned into garbage and I cut it out. I can't afford to have another installed so it will remain without for the time being. The Malibu has since been dubbed "Uncaged" on another forum.

After coming up with a plan to awaken the dormant mouse thats been sitting on an engine stand for almost 30 years I discussed it with my buds Stewart and Dan at "The Machine Shop" in Delray Beach near my house. They thought I was crazy and that I should just bring the engine over to the shop and tear it apart, clean out all the gummed up prelube, check over everything in the engine, then lube everything up again. I know it's the right thing to do but I can't spend anything on it. They assured me that they had extra gaskets etc. kicking around I could use to put it back together if I needed any. That was a very nice offer on their part knowing I have no money to spend. (I'll help them out with stuff at the shop so I don't feel like a user.) So I guess thats the route I'll take. It'll be a little more work that takes time and effort but it will reduce the chances of me harming the engine on start up or having to yank the engine back out. I'll get the engine over to the shop this week and maybe have time to take it apart.

One of the prizes from the Performance Therapy contest was a selection of Redline fluids. So I'd asked for assembly lube along with the rest of the fluids I'll need for this car. Hopefully the Redline products will show up this week.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:20 a.m.

A familiar sight in many garages. An engine put together for a project that was abandoned sits in a corner. This one had been assembled at roughly the same time the Malibu was sold as new!!! Luckily for this engine it may get a chance to breathe again (pending inspection). Today I got things out of the way to make room in the garage to do the swap, took a few pics, and dug out the engine hoist. Anyone know if the oil pan on the engine in the pic will work OK in a G body? I parted out a V8 bu several years ago but I can't remember what the pan looked like.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:22 a.m.

As I mentioned earlier one of the prizes from the Performance Therapy contest was a gift pack from REDLINE Synthetic Oil. I recieved a shipment from REDLINE yesterday with engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, engine break in additive, water wetter, lead substitute, and rear end gear oil as well as a T-shirt, hat and stickers! So I'm set for fluids for the new engine and also got some things I use in other cars like lead substitute. The product packaging looked really nice so I decided to set a up little display in front of the car and take some pics. Thanks REDLINE!

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:24 a.m.

The morning after the last post my home was burglarized and among the missing items was my computer so needless to say my Malibu project "Uncaged" had to take a backseat temporarily. They got about about $3,000.00 worth of stuff and I don't have regular insurance because of the last burglarly (long story) so it's been difficult getting online and getting camera issues straightened out.

Anyway, I got the engine out to bring over to the machine shop and after taking a closer look at it found it's not a fresh (older) rebuild. So we went straight to plan B! I've had a 350 4 bolt block, crank, rods, and some .040 over forged pistons I've been saying I'd get to sometime (also dragging around the country! LOL) Well now's the time! I donated the complete engine and a couple sets of heads to the machine shop. Can't believe I dragged that engine around the country for years and never looked in the exhaust ports or spark plug holes till now!

So I'm going to work part time at the shop along with the donated parts in exchange for machining and instruction on bulding the engine. I'm pretty psyched actually, because although I've been a car guy my whole life I've never assembled a whole automobile engine!

The top pic below is when I was getting ready to transport the engine and realized it wasn't "fresh". I should have pulled the rags, got my glasses, and looked inside the engine 4-5 years ago! And no, Although it looks like we might, we didn't put it in the trunk! Although, I do admit I did it in the 70's and 80's sometimes! Meanwhile another one of the prizes showed up to brighten the day! So the bottom pic is a huge selection of Hot Wheels products that arrived.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:26 a.m.

The Hotchkis products have been arriving. Just a few more parts and I'll be ready to start the suspension transformation. Worked on the interior today getting it back together. It's a shame the rollbar deal didn't work out and I had to cut it all out. Now I have solid back seats without a bar, not the safest combo. I'll also have to put something in for seatbelts since there isn't a harness bar anymore. I removed the last couple stubs of the rollbar tubing today and started putting the carpet etc. back in. It's been apart so long I had forgotten about the clips that had broken taking it apart. I'll have to chase down some interior trim clips screws and other fasteners this week. Here's the Hotchkis goodies I've recieved so far.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:28 a.m.

I worked at the machine shop for a few hours tonight cleaning customers heads after they came out of the washing machine. After I was done with the regular work I gave my '73 993 castings a quick once over with a wire wheel so we could magnaflux them when we did the customers heads.

A couple of the customer heads I was cleaning up were lightweight castings which tend to crack between the middle chambers. Two of the heads had already been repaired in the past by another shop and will be repaired again. The customers heads had easily visable cracks so it made it nice for me to take pics showing how magnafluxing works.

First pic: My workspace. OK new guy, here's a bunch of heads, a drill, and a bunch of wire wheels, scrapers and other various implements to clean heads. Make um pretty! In the pic are my heads, no they haven't been cleaned yet. Just wire wheeled enough for magnafluxing in the chamber areas.

Second pic: Bad news for me. One of my heads has a small crack by an exhaust valve. The pic's out of focus but you can see the line. We'll have to make a decision to pin the crack and install a new valve seat or seek another head or pair of heads. Good thing we checked them before washing and thoroughly cleaning them.

Third pic: For those who never witnessed Magnafluxing this is how its done. Electromagnet is located so the area you want to test is located between the posts. Then some "magic dust" (in my best Cheech impersonation) is puffed ofer the area to be checked and the dust jumps right to the crack. Even if the crack is very small (like the one on my head) it will show right up. The crack in this pic was easily seen by the naked eye but it made for a nice easy pic to display the process. The lightweight head in the pic had been sleeved for the bolt hole previously so thats why theres a circle of magic dust around it. The dust knows it as a crack. This head will be pinned to repair the crack. If the opportunity arizes to get pics of "pinning" sometime I'll get some.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:29 a.m.

I've been on hold with the Malibu suspension upgrade due to waiting on parts for another project that has to be done first. However I've been working in the machine shop regularly (learning a lot!) and have been getting things ready to build the new engine for uncaged. I found another 993 head in the shop to use as a replacement for my cracked one and cut them both for screw in studs.

I figured I'd post up a little exercise on how to replace pressed in rocker arm studs with screw in ones that guide plates and hotter cams can be used with. I know there's lots of guys here who know much more than I ever will about this stuff but for the young guys learning and those new to the car hobby this may answer some questions.

The first step is to solidly mount the head to the drill press table so you can work on it without smashing your foot.

The next step is to remove the pressed in studs. There's an old fashioned tool (pictured) I'll be using, and a newer style (real expensive) power tool I wish I was using. After soaking the studs with penetratring fluid and tapping (banging) the studs with a hammer and brass drift, 2 big wrenches are used on the tool to draw the stud out of the head. Lots of muscles needed!

Next the holes for oil drainback are drilled out to increase flow. No need for the holes to be perfect so just line them up pretty straight and drill. You can see the holes on the left of the pic below have been drilled and the oval holes on the right are next.

The next step is to get the stud holes aligned with the drill press. The stud holes need to be aligned with the drill press so the holes will remain straight and the rocker arm studs will all be perpendicular to the original stud bosses. This is done by inserting a straight rod which a level can be attached to into the stud hole then adjusting the work table till the level is correct so the hole in the head for the stud will line up perfectly straight with the drill bits and other cutting tools used in the drill press.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:30 a.m.

The highest cast stud boss is located by using a straight edge across the top of all of the stud bosses. Then a tool which is set to account for the thickness of the base of the "screw in" stud (the nut part) and the spring seats is used to cut down the casting. The tool automaticly stops cutting at the preset depth. Once the first one is cut the drill press is set so that it will not allow the other bosses to be cut lower even though their original "top" is not as high as the first one is. Follow? This way the guide plates will all be level and the studs will be level. This is much more acurate than the factory setup. Below is the cutting tool used to cut the stud posses down.

After the bosses have been cut the remaining part used to "guide" the cutting tool must also be removed so a different cutting tool is used to remove the remaining metal till it's flush. There is no preset stops involved in this procedure. It's up to the machine operator to make it perfect. Which of course I did as shown in the photo below. LOL

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:31 a.m.

Once the stud bosses are cut down the hole for the stud is chamfered with a tool in the drill press. This makes it easier to line up the tap which will cut the threads.

Then a tap with the correct threads to match the screw in studs is used in the drill press to cut most of the threads. After checking the depth of the stud hole we decided to cut the last few threads by hand with a bottoming tap so as not to risk injury to the heads. Both tools are shown in the pic below.

A screw in stud like the ones that will be installed during final assembly is used to check all the holes and make sure everything is good. Then take this head off the table, get the other one, and start all over!! LOL

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:32 a.m.

Next up is some mild port work to blend in the bowls. A carbide tipped grinder is used to remove enough metal to get rid of extra material that disturbs flow to the valves under the seat area. In the first pic the intake on the right has been ground while the left is untouched. The second pic shows a closer look before a grinding stone is used to smooth out the rough surface left by the carbide bit and the original factory casting.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:34 a.m.

Since I'm on a "no budget" sort of build up here, I made a deal to clean up a set of BBC headers for someone in exchange for a set of SBC headers that should fit the malibu. Both sets of headers were rusty from neglect but with some elbow grease I think they look pretty good and will work out fine for my application.

Here's "my" headers with one wire wheeled to get the major stuff off. After this pic I took them to the shop and sand blasted them to clean them up some more and get into the nooks and crannies the wire wheel couldn't get. I did one at a time so I could get pics of the full effect some cleaning and paint can have with a before and after pic at the end.

Next up was some Eastwood stainless steel high heat paint. Choice of paint was due to it being the only high heat paint I had hanging around and the lack of a budget. Oh ya, I cleaned the insides as well with wire brushes.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:35 a.m.

I also got started on the crank for the 357 going in the Malibu.

In this pic the crank is set up in a machine that will slowly rotate the crank. I took the pic after I started cleaning one of the bearing surfaces so you could see the difference after a little cleaning. The crank had been left standing with no protective oil on it and started to rust. Totaly my fault, I just forgot about it the past couple years because I was busy with other things and it's humid where I live.

In this pic the machine with the belt on it is used for cleaning, sanding, and polishing the bearing surfaces. In the pic there's a velcro belt on and I'm using it to clean the rust off the surfaces.

This pic shows an oiling hole I've chamfered with a grinding stone to provide better oiling to the bearings. Since the oiling holes are on an angle, the hole is opened up a little on the side the oil is coming from to provide that side of the bearing better lubrication. The chamfered edges will be rounded a little more with a very small round file by hand to smooth the sharp edges before more work is done to the crank.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/13/10 12:44 a.m.

I've been working nights and weekends at the shop learning while getting work done for them. Sunday I had some extra time while waiting for a SBC 400 to be be readied for decking so I did mine and took some pics for those that have never seen how it's done. This is not the latest, greatest, fancy machinery but gets the job done accurately.

Anyway "decking" the block involves machining the surfaces where the cylinder heads bolt on so that it's perfectly flat. In this case I took off about 10 thousandths of an inch. This is done by having the block move back and forth under the spinning head with a cutting bit in it. The block moves back and forth because the table it's sitting on moves rather than the rotating head. The process involves about a half dozen passes. The first pass very light to allow corrections to be made followed by passes where 1.5-2 thousandths are taken off with the last pass being made at a very slow table movement speed to get a nice final surface finish. Here's the basic steps involved....

First get a bud to help heave the block up onto the machine. There is a large bar that the main bearing journals rests on which is level with the cutting head. A bracket is bolted into the deck of the cylinder bank not being machined which gets an adjustable "foot" placed under it. Then a big file is used on the surface to be machined to pick off any lumps bumps or other abnormalities.

Next a straight edge is used to check for any warping. It's not unusual for a deck to have a bit of crown or bow but it's necessary to know before leveling the block

Then a very accurate level is used to level the block front to back and side to side. The adjustable foot is used for the side to side adjustment, and to make any minor front to back adjustment a piece of paper or two are used between the bar the block is sitting on and the main journal surface. There is fancy new equipment to level and rotate blocks but this is the basic old fashioned way, the new ones just make it easier for the machine operator. The block is not bolted solidly in place. It's just sitting there held only by it's own weight.

A very light first pass is made to check and make sure the deck is square with the cutting head in this case it was perfect! You can see that the cutting tool is just skimming the surface and touching both sides of the deck or grazing the surface from side to side like between the cylinders.

Then succeding passes are made and in the pic below you can see the bit is cutting almost the whole surface except a few small areas.

And then on the final pass which is done at a slow table movement rate the surface is done. After the final pass you get a bud to help pick up the block and flip it 180 degrees so you can do the other deck surface and start all over. File straight edge, level, light pass etc. If we're decking a block say 35 thousandths or something to raise the compression we would drill register holes in the deck to the correct depth ahead of milling and would also mill the ends where the intake manifold would sit. With my block since I was only taking off a little bit neither of these steps were necessary.

Pat Reader
6/13/10 6:14 a.m.

Great project...subscribed.

Feedyurhed HalfDork
6/13/10 7:11 a.m.
Pat wrote: Great project...subscribed.

Ditto. I am digging that Malibu,

EricM Dork
6/13/10 4:38 p.m.

holy berkeleying E36 M3

gamby SuperDork
6/13/10 4:57 p.m.
EricM wrote: holy berkeleying E36 M3


Appleseed SuperDork
6/13/10 5:38 p.m.


Jensenman SuperDork
6/13/10 8:17 p.m.

Machine shops are fun places.

a401cj New Reader
6/13/10 8:34 p.m.

great write up. I enjoy your writing style. I guess I'm a bit confused, however, about how you suddenly discovered the mouse in the corner of your garage wasn't "fresh". I mean you make it sound almost like it was a loaf of bread and you sampled a piece...

AngryCorvair SuperDork
6/13/10 8:43 p.m.

very nice to see the pix and read the explanations of the processes we've all heard people talk about for years. I did not know that the block moved under the stationary decking cutter.

[Kyle Broflovski] You know, I've learned something here today. [/KB]

Marty! Dork
6/13/10 8:53 p.m.

Cool project but I have to say I'm most jealous of all the Hot Wheels swag you've got going on there.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/14/10 8:12 a.m.
a401cj wrote: great write up. I enjoy your writing style. I guess I'm a bit confused, however, about how you suddenly discovered the mouse in the corner of your garage wasn't "fresh". I mean you make it sound almost like it was a loaf of bread and you sampled a piece...

I started writing out the story about how I could have this engine but never really paid attention to it. It's just too long. The basics are...

My brother is a shiny happy person.

He left a vehicle,several engines, and lots of parts at my moms when he moved out back in the 90's and wouldn't go fetch or dispose of them when she sold the home and moved.

I had other people help me dispose of his stuff who read notes and then moved the engine which was the only thing that wasn't hauled to the dump. And if it wasn't for the note about rebuilding it would have also been dumped. Like many of us I already had more car crap than I should at my own house so adding another engine to the mix wasn't really something I needed. The engine got left in my enclosed for lack of a better place to keep it. It actually rode to a couple track days in the trailer because I didn't feel like moving it.

I moved, and again someone else moved that particular engine, then my new (to me) home was burglarized and destroyed around the engine (note new sheetrock in background of engine pic). So the engine was not on my priority list.

I have too many cars and too many projects and just ignored the engine because I had a lot of other things taking up my time and had no real intention of doing anything with it untill I scored the parts from the contest that prompted me to upgrade the mechanicals on the Malibu. Prior to that I had planned on just driving it with the original drivetrain and suspension since it's got fairly low miles and ran fine.

Rad_Capz Reader
6/14/10 8:19 a.m.
Marty! wrote: Cool project but I have to say I'm most jealous of all the Hot Wheels swag you've got going on there.

I gave away almost all of the Hot Wheels stuff. My bud that took the pic I used for the contest, workers at my local tire, paint, parts, and machine shops as well as friend that helped me get the Firebird project going almost 20 years ago, my shiny happy brother, and a couple Hot Wheels fanatics on a forum I frequent all got goodie boxes. I only kept a couple for myself. It was fun giving them out! And they all loved getting them.

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