Ressurecting the T Type- Engine Build Thread

Pablo

Active Member
Hello Everyone,

It has been years since I've been part of the Buick scene. Late 2009, the 2004r took a dump after a few short months (?) of having installed a 3.8 I built with a girdle, ported heads, 212/212 (?) flat tappet cam, etc. After the trans let go, I let the car sit for awhile bought a thirdgen Camaro to satisfy a road racing itch in the meantime. The buick just sat.
A year later I finally got motivated again and purchased a RMVB TH400 with PTC converter. Turns out pressure in the converter was too high and ate the thrust bearing in the engine pretty much right away. Only drove it around the neighborhood once or twice. This was maybe a few months before my wife and I were scheduled to move to Italy for three years (late 2011). I did my best to pull the engine and trans to fix the issue but as with any project, nothing goes as planned. I discovered that I needed a full engine rebuild. Of course, the first machinist I used took his time and I wasn't able to get the thing together before the move. I put the car in storage without an engine along with a huge stack of parts in boxes and all of this sat for 3 years.
Fast forward to Dec. 2014, I came back to the storage unit to pick everything up. It was sort of like the scene in Back to the Future III where they find the DeLorean in the cave.
The unfortunate part is that this storage unit apparently leaked water at some point which got on some parts.

So I finally got the motivation to pull everything out and get this monster back on the road. This thread is to document my engine build and get a second opinion on the things I am doing. It has been a long time since I have done engine work, I don't want to miss anything or do anything wrong.

Here are the basic specs:
Girdled 109, girdle has been surfaced and checked on surface plate
Stock rods, arp rod bolts
TRW pistons .030 over, stock GM pins (much lighter than trw pins)
New front cover
Comp Roller Cam, 210/215, .517/.517 lift - The cam kit came from Full Throttle Speed
Harland Sharp roller rockers
Home ported and flow benched Irons, ~190cfm on the intake, stock size valves
Cometic head gaskets
Fully ported intake with RJC flow plate
72 lb injectors, MAF GenII translator, LS1 Maf, closed loop wide band WOT.
Powerstroke intercooler
TE-45A turbo
THDP 3" downpipe
Alky injection + 125 shot of nitrous for spooling

I know my turbo is an antique. And I don't even know what everyone is doing for engine management these days. I'll have to get caught up.
With this combo, and the previous flat tappet cam, I had exactly 1 dragstrip pass and put down a 1.54 60 foot with an 11.2@118 at something like 5200 rpm in overdrive. This was with the 2004r and a crappy torque converter that was slipping like crazy, hence the overdrive.
New goals: Run the car on E85, get into the low tens.

Here is what it looked like in its glory days
full.jpg


With all that said, let's get down to business

Un-bagged the engine and decided to look it over. The cylinder bores look ok to me, there seems to be a slight discoloration in the cross hatch (maybe some very light corrosion?) but nothing you can feel. Hardly visible in photos, looks like slight yellow in the picts.
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Seem ok?

Now here is the nasty part, the pistons and rods:
HiJxemPbi-nsB9hIhAfamxP1hiYiZpwli1W83Px6rb4daA53fZC428AUquxcp2H3C0V8eC_PSSbaCuln_l1PVh8OEHtlqHQ9hmBITzukekR5FOVmSJtIL-OTSFMMxAQzcApWjGSPEIK6AAd3-tq7LpeMPi3BvSo4fJiSNmbXRMSD_4p4On4Pi8BbCBZAV8RmC-1A72z8B8iDd-Um3SibQtqor9WfK5SyWBML4bD5CeN5yG_IN087_mR-YZPrvsEoAhUtljBZFMzgHq9MCHc7tiok4EmWcMNBCyrn93VVG5YuApgIU0MUk6nxiKHGqlm8_DMgXj_wg_O42ZJ5YqkWDLBrQCOEwACauoF7Fu6ecqmlHomFhVB6KCzom3VjE8MDVo42nHKd5TZYN5rVRFpIPW_VUC66NIEkFt5mRGFmwAYhRKYlwqwDygH9mIlC4GQ13z9RjXlPkyTIGbudCZzQ0-oRoTLSOXdTN-V-p6ONj5B7Inih0z4xCx2G2Z1ADyDbk5XIpJPZ975WepfgHkSuJCLmnhFv5QmbnnmccbFRBlM=w1636-h920-no

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rNoBiBdRj8-IGq73CcXBAR35BTljOSrd0V0mpp_GsulPJya0DCX-A-kL9Qg7FrSW9-zhntHHjJqjHDCVaySb4VawUTTfMZDWIVjEa9sQ24FFIi407Zo3T0NCKg6Mf_ZknGnrEauZWPzuf2m8gWcqBqUfExTYudxtWFxplXG95WWXbxM_XeBuVb5RfyPRNvYfJc7OwBi79ZZu-itrjnFxlRA1COn6MpqluEDscFJLgMhV4EFKf9Gi4GDqyF9cpMEV8A--7aUOUWkmwIFF2Cyy20KZIm6sgOuozkEC5MBGlbjJNbjFayPk_5uyRwEKUCKuqheuXdJ-WbAo8rbfMTsDn50Y6dr7XA1jcyvhCBMyMuftGHLE4AjnWMW2UNvdKqMcmRBU-vnNRFZc0nKY0HzhO70btf5ttfZ-Vjvt-pcwiiGYVX7KdTZOie-igp9PwA3CXkYqU8yEiUXmev5wnMqouQ0VsXFMmLmTAtt7u31bCc7LKoe4yRnabDMhOKQ5bzlbY1InSu7EzkfqtixHZM7YW3eugiXZg4kwa9SrzeqWbHQ=w518-h920-no


StvSXLCIrUiRrLQvDA3bcTVIHbCtASU3mk1KbKPyAJx2DbRZLlOabRIQLr6ZYx-nGhl4lXqhZrmDVDCAole_j97ScdJRiKXVGK4eiCQNnCh_1OwQMvBK8rjh0nZdRLIsTuUrDZqEdAyHaCoQe2ETkq0ngClmoRMB6S6MPmHirKGSCGrfRC9kkfiBPpQ2Ontto_uNrXUZvRuBPAwXiWkARUljsCDb56Ck_x45sjnESbSa2dF7_VsYy749KRmo5t1IjNxCugIRBk4sfUExXcoDrShYHHBFKfgXei3stcnqh_fYQ0YZ6qP5fp94UFjWwis6tfJAC5jj0616m-ZOPQOelUewQywQhFRvZ71cV2JBPv8oBynR-t_aQ5vE_TjrkiV4LC0YSZAS_l9F_j-q-a7ylw1XkUQl8xxXqtIjmER1MBoswA_PnIA6l8g9ftgwIAc2yClbgZ9uz8T0LYFiuEHpG9-dDlUdpakOpoy3LtzYHgzoR8Hqn1lkYZC_pzclbCkAwexl5A5OpxygJHcPcYNRcCLTcCS2gAYt0p8EPt75SFE=w569-h320-no

2sp-H4VohaDrhrdPvIfaBqPOu9lqPIQIeMXrEUNUFw4cGIj5wlHMFaKvJEHw8xHLn6HJlhtBthmA-LsUgviCN1BR-k-MIJb2f44m5KYMULdbmGl8vyW79X1Ve888VOvud1iRZryMmIlVYZyPbXcTq4HK43ASwKz4aMPLx1WSsPn9b8RZYNzcW225nysLYcGJIRD4ftHaFUefJHeF_tIeDv4sS4vs84OZPTBVgXtHIcLKfCYHe5V3apchPWN09KVxkzm1lqAItKzRog-RxfBnE0Gnw_TG23JcDNXmgomppvtkO1LryalznN8hEg_wbPROhx94RCWa8fzNLAmOeUxVfxeB0c6ncMfWhamFVvlU4MVzv6F8IbeZjkD470RnFV5sFS6Sz8ITosDgbnujHpFFw-9LM_31I3QdPBfef_9VCTdNKkfBDJIuRRpREckAsQCtezTRPNE8R6mHmR0eAlkq4n-8xPmlIyuO8r4UjaxXh2G0oVeof6MFOBjeZQdfRo3b2bv1g16ipKq1RNS5tEHIA58mo0S8Mv76noBCNFn8sb8=w1636-h920-no


Now the question is, can these be saved? I was thinking I would dunk them in soapy water and scrub away with a green scotchbrite pad + nylon brushes. Is this a good idea? Is there a better way? I just had them reconditioned/sized right before I left.

From there I turned my attention back to the block. The crank was left installed and spun freely. There was still a fair amount of lube on things. Since it was all together I decided to measure the thrust. The way I did it was I loosened up all of the main studs, applied 30 weight oil to the threads and washers, and then torqued each pair of studs starting from the #3 cap. I torqued the whole thing in steps, 30-60-90 ft lbs. #3 cap, #2 cap, #4, and #1. I then loosened #2 and then just barely snugged them down again. I tapped the crank rearward with a dead blow, and then tapped it forward before torquing #2 down to 90 again. At this point I measured the thrust and it was right at .009". Sound good to you guys?

Note: I did not install the rail studs on the girdle. My block to girdle gap is around .002 on most of the passenger side rail, and less than that on the drivers side, possibly 0.0. The .002 feeler is the smallest I have, it only partially slid into the pan rail sides in some spots. I didn't think installing the rail studs in this situation would appreciably alter the oil main clearances. Thoughts?

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Decided to continue blueprinting what I could. Pulled the crank and inspected it before I started measuring. Looks like one or two rod journals developed very slight corrosion from what looks like a fingerprint. Here are some picts

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PU_08RITKge6um53ValosxwJQ7oZut-GUOs3CHwgjs7oJuSdPrP7frXxDuHBgi8sebzf9YDYiYHT0mKjmirf_k--Qkl5kRxxizkdukj1vYQt_-5ZmvVlSYC4avBXLIkaKyPu2_rGgz9b6AaJvc52BMXVU7E7L9TcHnOqDBSzvJSb8b0o11-V2g6oWwVRjXXTSFr4ddZ47WOY9TCf1rqjrop_AxgN75gymvJxFcS-HwPKUSl_hjvA9eg76MIvypizlHGdzXWE3RdMqTa0owaVDHIZXorSxOI-fK2QNADf2uGkdQy3jNiWgmvc53WSGSCr2miv8Q6QRTYI48ROa2h3ep2kM_dQ-JdGCk_h7kqofDa8zErFRVSHdPtm-PYgy8CJl2T1787U0TOSqkZv3cwq4K0XFaWczppC1-6qDBtcA6VadYjB_n_S-ovzFN67X5NfKz_VuXxUpz8ZmSv8CgUMN9pZ6aJwhxcgFMOkKuOykkAgebT65USoEDEhLchE4voo829Wfa0zOAcoG7aYuJeLeyL7FSWgcZZ5Cuw2dPCYkLU=w518-h920-no


I could not feel any texture in these areas. I decided to measure the main, rod journals, and main oil clearances. For the main clearances, I bolted the caps and girdle back down just as before. BTW The crank mains are .010 under. Here is what I got:
All crank mains were at 2.4899"
Main clearances: 1).0023" 2).0021" 3).0017 4).0022"
Thoughts?
Note: The main clearances seemed to have a lot of variability, there were only a couple of small areas where I could position the dial bore indicator to get the smallest clearance noted above. I understand things get wider at the parting line, but how much variance is acceptable vertically? Also in trying to establish readings, I put a lot of little marks into the bearings from the dial bore indicator, I'm assuming this isn't terrible, is it?

Rod journals: 1)2.2488" 2)2.2487" 3)2.2487" 4)2.2488" 5)2.24884"
Can't measure oil clearance until I get the rod situation sorted out.

Also measured the cam journals.
They all came out to around 1.8103-1.8105"
Measured the oil clearance on the cam bearings. I found a lot of variability in the readings. I could only get to the first three (engine stand is blocking access to the rear). First two, smallest reading was .0027", third was .0040"
These numbers were only the smallest in a small area. They varied widely from there going up to .006" in spots. Any thoughts on this?


Tomorrow I'm hoping to start on the rods and pistons, possibly pull out the front cover and pump to set that up. Sort of don't really know what order I want to do things beyond that. Any thoughts and/or moral support appreciated.
 

gunzandgearz

gearzandgunz
Some of those rods are probably gone youd need to dip them in rust remover and re way them probably would still not trust them.As far as the crank, you could use emery clotch and a shoe string to polish the journals, just wrap emery clotch and shoe string around journal and work back and forth, good to go. As far as checking main bearinig clearance you need to torque all caps down in steps like you did and also girdle. everything needs to be torqued down just like its going to be run. this is why a good machine shop will use a torque plate to hone a cylinder block because the bores will change shape when the heads are bolted to it and will not be totally round, and rings will not seat and seal properly. Now as far as micing the bores mic from 12 to 6 position and youll be good, by the way the marks in bearings form mic, don't worry about, normal. If you do these steps and you still end up with #3 smaller than others you can order a .001 oversized bearing set and install just the .001 oversized bearing in the cap and this will give you a half a thousandth more clearance, which would put you right in line with the other main bore housing measurements. Now you can go about putting crank in engine and torqueing down the main caps, I always start with the rear main first and then the #1 cap second tap crank back and forth with deadblow hammer and check end play. now you can install center cap and repeat until you have them all torqued down. .009 is a little loose I like to see between .005 and .008 for an automatic about .003 for a stick car but you are right there on the high side so probably ok. Might see if anybody has anything too add but ive always had good luck doing it this way so good luck.
 

Pablo

Active Member
Thanks for the reply Gunz,

Just want to be sure I understand what you are saying about the .001 oversized bearing. So, the bearing set in there is .010 oversize, so that means each half is .005 thicker than stock. So if I install a .001 oversize bearing, which is .0005 thicker on each half, that would net me an extra .0045 would it not? Seems like it would be too much. Have I misunderstood what you meant?

As far as your cap install and thrust check procedure, since I have a girdle, I have to have the caps in there before I tighten anything down. Would you suggest just doing that but following your sequence anyway? I.e. tighten rear and front, check thrust, then third cap, repeat, then second cap? I imagine I should see more thrust until I tighten that second cap down correct?

Finally, what is the downside of having too much thrust clearance?

Thanks again for your help!
Pablo
 

gunzandgearz

gearzandgunz
Torque everything down in sequence and girdle next. Now check main bearing clearance with preferably a good .0001. [ten thousandths]mic.You can use a one thousandths mic not that big of an issue,i have a thousand dollar sunnen dial bore guage but you don't need this unless youre planning on assembling a lot of engines, I even checkmy machinests work, every one is capable of mistakes.In my earlier post I said oversized and should have said undersized, remember sizes are based on what you did to crank so if crank is turned .010 under then you need a .010 undersized bearing.You have to use the same bearing manufacturer and you can call them and see if they offer a .001 bearing that is offered in .010 undersized which if you used this bearing set would make youre clearance .001 more on #3 now clearance would be .0027 which is to much, but if you used only one half of the .001 insert, and you put it in the block now we have a change in clearance of .0005 or half of a thousandth, which would now make youre clearance on #3 .0022. As far as end play being too much this can effect a lot of things but mainly think about the rods you don't want them walking backand forth too much as this will cause premature rod bearing loads as well as a host of other things. Hope this helps
 

gunzandgearz

gearzandgunz
Here is something else of concern, I don't know how capable you are with using youre mics. so you might ask someone who has done this a few times to check and see if they get the same readings.Also you might want to mic. main bores with bearing inserts not in block to see if they are within factrory specs. If not might need align honed, if they are now you can play with clearance using bearings. By the way, unless you are running pretty high horsepower numbers the clearance on #3 is closer to what I would want to run on a stock or slighty modified motor.
 

Pablo

Active Member
Thanks for the reply Gunz,

I see what you are saying now about the .001 undersized bearing. Makes sense. I will have to do some research on the bearings to see if that is an option. I don't even remember which brand I got, I think they are King bearings but I will have to double check.
That said, is having all of the clearances close to the same critical? The reason I ask is that based upon what I've seen you and others recommend, the #3 cap is closer to ideal and the rest of them are on the loose side. I did (and still plan on) running the car hard but I don't know what constitutes "high horsepower" these days.

This is terrible but I *think* I had the block and caps align honed before I left. I can't remember.

I think I have a pretty good handle at getting repeatable and accurate results (I come from an aviation background) with mics, but it no doubt helps to have someone double check the work. You aren't in Southern California are you? :) J/k

Speaking of mics, my set of outside mics is .0001", my dial bore is .0005". And while I am at it, I might ask you about my dial bore. I picked up a Fowler set (the cheap chinese one) and it came with a sort of plastic cover for the dial indicator. I've seen something that looks similar on my machinists Starrett but I can't figure out exactly what the purpose is or how you would attach it to the dial bore indicator. Here is a pict:
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Can you tell me what the purpose of that is? The dial bore 'rod' (for lack of a better term) has a thumb screw that you tighten to attach the shaft of the dial indicator. In order to use the thing I just had to remove that plastic cover. Wondering if I'm supposed to remove the thumb screw and use the screws on the plastic cover to hold it to the rod instead?

Thanks again!
 

gunzandgearz

gearzandgunz
When you start getting above about 500 horsepower and really start twisting the motor I like about .0025. there are several factors but just remember this, its better to have a little too much clearance than not enough. now not saying you couldn't run the thing like this, but I personally would want to know why im so far off on just one hole, so I don't run into a problem after engine rebuild. Things that I would look for I mentioned above mains not being in spec without inserts in block, mic bearings to see if theyre all same size or crank journal different size from rest. As far as dial bore guage not sure I would just have to see it usually theyre is a hole made into the housing on the back that you use with some other pieces, everything I have is starrett with my dial bore guage being sunnen. just remember buying or using cheap Chinese measuring tools would be like using a cheap Chinese rotating assembly and spinning it to 9 grand, youre gonna get bit.
 

turbofabricator

Well-Known Member
Ain't girdles a pain to get right? I typically have to hand stone the pan rail to get things right. A mill would be easier, but I like hand fitting everything. Takes a lot of time, but I know its right. Girdles work well, but are a problem child. I wish RJC would cut an o-ring groove in them to get a good oil seal. They tend to leak horribly. "The Right Stuff" works the best that I have found.
High bearing clearances only create low hot idle oil pressure. Put a piece of electrical tape over your oil pressure gauge below 25psi so you don't see it. 10 psi per 1,000 rpm is more than enough.
 

gunzandgearz

gearzandgunz
Aint that the truth, the oring deal is an excellent idea. I use the theory of 10 psi for every 100 h.p. although I know a lot of guys use the 10 for every 1000 rpm. By the way that's a wicked looking setup you've got on youre avatar , what is that.
 

gunzandgearz

gearzandgunz
Ha that's funny, I still go to the local cruise ins and might go do some thumpin afterwards and that would probably scare everyone off if you lifted the hood.
 

ek02

Well-Known Member
The plastic cover on your dial bore gauge is just to protect it when stored. There is no way you could use it with the cover on. Your girdle should have .005 between it and the pan rail after the main studs are torqued, but before the pan rail studs are torqued. RJC says to use .002 shim stock between the caps and girdle, but turbofabricator I think has a better idea to get the clearance so you only need the .060 shims. Use The Right Stuff between the block and girdle and it will not leak. If you can press the pins out of those rods, soaking them in apple cider vinegar for a few days may take the rust off. it's cheaper than the rust removers sold by hardware stores and it actually works better. Glass beading the corroded parts of the pistons may save them too. The skirts look good.
 
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Pablo

Active Member
So I spent some time on my rods, got them pretty clean:
vn7mxAsmeeX9tsB7Z2C-os0gNv7jSZwqnHs2500xvSmGF5PiIVjQXdEiJ_YMrEIOYawSAryoeILthhR3Lt3fzq_ySIk0w7EPGY1iOXVoEp3KA6IGdYPj6-WYfkmRZa-ftkkFaRV6Vpwvwx2zXz5n3hkQQ0S0xLJCLipJ4I-EwTXaessl28yshP-jzRRFhte-XKOmuD-qscPnKPuUORnDP7i3O5PzhWFqP6f8ZYwI7kPIhD2sWHzJLuDP5UTa6j0yUucnqoHihv7tsWRSA7iOvve7wyFsv7qEQIhEfMoNMZKGtRkMWbrslRbAHqmw5Fu7wXrrkix7UsVNzkCX-ojxa3EYEf3-L9trtvNMyu4MtOjmKUnycqASEiCv7pTkUhHMQL6nvro7AAt5D7CPeGfYR8x7AgoeQTVfiJVJPTEYwmC9x6D8evgG4vVCVdk8sK7PAv0uKNtTFKjQyaX1l71si-c7lZseAgTTt-dNEWqQoVM0f8b2EcIklrY_GcU2PNRRhqKrrBNcWz3nZhttYPszx85xAn3P168l5XMuhRdKjFY=w1636-h920-no

Wgj66_J2gBDZcmX2qLAUx_7iEEDTHStMGxdV7-YIYUOuqJBLfJBkCUZr1BRlLZPpUVxTBnsWm8udPMosfRiOEi-S3CbZkqsspS2_L4Z33Sc66IfShfUCl3-S5ldhJPcyiJQ3NV_2iEWuucy5DpE1d1C34wGsgT3RYE8NXAZ9IR7iD-s_JOoWLkZQBN_1Y8PG4dznQFF-FZKWFZ3KGm7ImQkfACzrRGFx53LXDxiKSla0K8Cq7IxEhL6MNwKS09sADb475g1JNarbfzRP_5Oe2582is7BS5EYIXFbbOkNld9gdPioZ17dH8WeRp0sc15cXzZF11GcroQCCxaLHw9QlfAhQ4lBLN_sQRIjlOLdJAkmJPtpEVt718Qe1aErHURlyu6NHGg7bhwHz4OGOZLuEIRT_XKOoeODT5OjLy0bXVIN_HAx8MLr8tUS_uOSYfNIwDRz7xm-d_PvhR1zcX5zJ4SpZcItaJY7__fKCMAqECkVR5TP3svhTr01vAWoa-BitGh9ThJuywzR9Cfo5fFDlAjlteIM9WtjeKXionsbLME=w1636-h920-no

Just masked off the big end bore and piston and ran em through my blasting cabinet with Al oxide grit. Then dunked them and scrubbed with some grey scotchbrite. Took a bit of elbow grease but they came out nice. One or two got just a very very light dusting of flash rust because I didn't hit them with compressed air fast enough. I could do them again but I think it would just be for cosmetics at this point. What do you think? Pistons cleaned right up with the scrubbing pads too, minimal effort required. I left one of them alone because it was clean out of the box, so the coloring is slightly different.

I then measured the big ends of the con rods. The smallest measurement on all of the rods were within a range of +/- .00015. The only thing that seemed to be questionable was that every rod seemed to have a taper to it that was up to and pretty consistently at + .0003 or so from the smallest area. Of course I measured all of these 90 deg. from the parting line. Just different depths gave different numbers. Is this taper excessive?

Finally, I found the answer to my dial bore question, in this video from mahle, you see exactly how one mounts the plastic dial indicator cover on the dial bore setup. Look at the 2:00 mark:
 

ek02

Well-Known Member
I stand corrected. You can use the dial bore gauge with the cover on to protect it, but it does make it harder to use. The rods and pistons cleaned up very well.
 
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