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Rookie whjo wants to build his 1st engine

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Joined: 11 Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Lakeland Florida
200.86 points

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:31 pm    Post subject: Rookie whjo wants to build his 1st engine Reply with quote

I have never built an engine before. Is there any good resources to help me understand how to do this?
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Paul P

Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Posts: 2459
Location: Townsend, Mass.
83469.26 points

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a lot of good books out there. Just search "how to build small block chevrolet books" There are quite a few out there.

There is a lot of knowledge here too of course. You will need some tools for this as well so be ready to spend some $$ there too.

If you talk with a local engine builder where you will have the machine work done that will be a good starting point. Relationship there goes a long way if they have the time to talk with you.

2001 Focus 2.0 Zetec
stock cams, bolt-ons and tune
15.63@87 MPH 1/4mi

1971 - Chevelle 408 SBC N/A
6.59@104.03 MPH 1/8mi
10.40@127.73 MPH 1/4mi
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Joined: 12 Sep 2002
Posts: 1668
Location: Tewksbury, Mass 01876
53369.72 points

1972 Chevrolet Nova

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know whether your building an engine for performance or general driving. After many years of putting engines together I think it's most important to hook up with a good machine shop. Plan out your build ahead of time. The combination is the key to enjoyment.
If you're building an engine for performance you might be better off having the engine assembled by a professional. You can't guess with clearances and you may not have the necessary instruments to measure properly.
The're are many qualified members on this site that will have excellent suggestions. Let them know what you want to build and how you'll be using it.
If you build it yourself the two things that really come to mind is cleanliness and attention to detail. And you should never settle for less than the best equipment, always buy good parts.
Paul's right. There is a lot of information available on rebuilding engines. My favorite magazine is "Engine Masters". It's a quarterly and unfortunately you have to buy it at a store, it's not available through subscription. I get it at Barnes & Noble. Don't know if they have one in your area. It might be a little advanced but that's the publication I look forward to reading. It's amazing what's available on line. But whatever you question try to get affirmation from someone you trust. You can't go wrong asking SMOKEmUP.com
Good luck and let us know how things are going.
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Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 3483
Location: Houston,Texas
347040.52 points

1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

one thing ive learned as i have gotten older..... when you are 100% sure you know exactly what youre doing, get a second opinion Head Bang .
af2 wrote:
It seems we can look at our magical Balls and come up with a fix?

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Joined: 24 Nov 2002
Posts: 3209
Location: South Carolina
318129.23 points

1972 Chevrolet Nova

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is from another post I did a while back with some good book information.

Here is the information on some of the better books I have.
1. How To Build Max. Performance Small Blocks On A Budget
By David Vizard ISBN# 1-884089-34-8
2. How to Build And Modify Chevrolet Small Block Cylinder Heads
By David Vizard ISBN# 0-87938-547-2
3. How to Build Horsepower Vol. 1
By David Vizard ISBN# 0-931472-24-5
4. How to Build Horsepower Vol. 2 Carburetors and Intake Manifold
By David Vizard ISBN# 1-884089-14-3
5. How to Build and Modify Chevrolet Small Block V-8
Camshafts and Valvetrains
By David Vizard ISBN# 0-87938-595-2
6. Small Block Chevy Engine Buildups
From Chevy High Performance ISBN# 1-5578-400-5
7. Horsepower Handbook
From Hot Rod Magazine ISBN# 0-7603-1814-X
The first two I listed are to me the most beneficial to you right now. #3 repeats a lot of what is in #1. #4 is beneficial if you plan to extensively modify a manifold or carburetor - I haven't really used much out of it. #5 is pretty good to read - it talks a good bit about camshaft selection for specific uses and setting up the complete valvetrain. #6 and #7 are made up of articles from the magazines. I like them because they get all the best articles in one place - you don't have to try to find them in a 5 year old stack of magazines. Good to look at and get ideas.

If this will be your first time doing anything I suggest getting a later model engine and do some basic bolt on stuff to get you familar with them. If you choose well you can swap everything over to another engine later and not lose anything. This way you can get some knowledge and have some fun without getting really lost in bearing clearances, cam selection, balancing, component selection, etc. There are a lot of decisions to be made starting from scratch and I hate to see somebody get overwhelmed and quit. Let us know how we can help and welcome to Smokemup. Clay

p.s. - I'm getting like 10sec.et - the more I learn the less I know.....

I have done so much with so little for so long, I can now do anything with nothing.
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Big Dave

Joined: 04 Dec 2005
Posts: 2666
Location: Tampa Florida
120632.12 points

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Keith and Clay I am learning more and more about the specific subject of designing the ideal engine (building one is a technical chore that requires attention to details, but not inspiration or imagination) but that ideal is moving further and further away with every thing I learn (and I started building engines after I got a degree in mechanical engineering). Everyone has a different idea of what is the "best" because no two people drive the same vehicle or drive it in the same way, so for them, they are offering you their best advice, so they are not trying to hurt your performance.

Heaven help you when it comes time to ask what is the "best" cam, as everyone who speaks up will have his own opinion on that topic. If you read some of David Vizards books you will at least know what the various affects of duration lift and lobe separation angle have on the motor's behavior.

David by the way is another degreed mechanical engineer who has worked at the big three auto makers, Ford, Mopar and British Leland (only kidding), but it is true he never worked directly for GM only; as a consultant. I like the way he describes what is physically happening moment by moment in a car's engine. It is a very dynamic process of converting chemical energy into mechanical force and a lot is happening in a very short period of time. Once you learn what is occurring; you will better understand how to make changes to your build to accentuate what you want the motor to do.

Of course right now you are just trying to master screwing one together correctly so that everything works first time and every time thereafter when you hit the key.

Big Dave
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Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 44
Location: hurst,texas
1795.60 points

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know its been a while since this thread started but i think this is a valid subject since most people dont really know where there going when they decide to build an engine. theeee most sound advice you can get undisputed is to build it on paper first!!! even the most experienced engine builder will use this approach. if your building a high performance engine it will save you a whole bunch of backtracking. the camshaft is the brain of the operation and can make or break an otherwise sound build. camshaft school takes many years and a lot of money so its best left to people who specialize in them.
I allways call comp cams and run the whole mess by them before I get too far along and ive never been sorry. there is other manufacturers but this is the one I have had success with. this way you get a tried and trued combination when your done.
thats 101 for guys on a budget.

If your not doing something stupid than nobody cares!!!
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