Advice For Engine Rebuilding
- masking tape
- a pen with permanent ink
- spiral notebook
- zip-top sandwich bags
First, clean the engine thoroughly.
As each component is removed, clean everything and place that component's hardware and associated small parts in a zip-top bag and label the bag.
Some parts need to go back in the same place they came from, like rockers and push rods. Use a 2X8 board with nails driven through and set rocker arms over the nails. Holes drilled part way through the board in front of each nail store the corresponding putrid and lifter.
Rod and main bearings go in individual zip-top bags with their corresponding caps and bolts.
Shelve the parts and hardware in the order they were removed.
If a gasket is destroyed during disassembly, note the need for a new one in the notebook. Leaving out gaskets is a common occurrence.
Thus organized, you can work your way down the tables, reworking some components, selecting others for a trip to the machine shop. While waiting for your machined parts to be done, why not install brushes in the alternator and starter and rebuild the carb just to prevent any future problems? A can or 2 of engine paint really is worth the cost.
Replace all the vacuum lines as a matter of course, especially if the truck is over 5 years old.
As you collect replacement parts, carefully match them with the old parts to make sure you have the right ones. Then label the new parts just as the old parts are labeled. Do not try to transfer labels from the old parts to the new.
New parts are kept in their original packages until time to reassemble
Oil, coolant, assembly lube, gasket sealers, Loc-Tite, etc., all need to be on the tables. People start rebuilt engines without oil and/or coolant. It is easy to overlook something when the project is nearing completion and the adrenaline kicks in.
Assembly is just working backwards through your notebook and down the tables. The time you use keeping everything recorded, labeled, and organized will more than be made up by the time you save digging through piles of parts looking for that certain bolt, if you even remember you need a certain bolt. All your wires, cables, hoses, brackets, etc., will be hooked up correctly, possibly saving hours or even days of trying to troubleshoot a misplaced vacuum line.
Once the truck is running properly, throw away all the old parts and clean up your work area.
Converting a Small Cap 7mm Spark Plug Wire System to a Large Cap 8
You will need to pick up 4 parts:
- Spacer. This is the adapter that allows the large cap to be used. The large cap is actually flat and snaps onto the spacer. This can be had at a wrecking yard cheap.
- Cap and Rotor. Matching set, get one for a late model 302 or 351W. Can be had at the wrecking yard if you can find a good set.
- 8.5mm Spark Plug Wires. The larger cap will only work with the larger wires so your old wires won't fit. If the donor vehicle has a good set snag them.
You will notice that all parts can be had at a wrecking yard if they are in good shape. This may not be too far fetched because some people will give a dying car a tune up to try to keep it running and when it does die the new parts go to the wrecking yard on the car. There are tune up kits that include the cap, rotor and wires but normally the spacer is not included so that is the only one you should get at the wrecking yard.
Installation is straight forward:
- Remove the old distributor cap and rotor.
- Install the new spacer. There is a rubber plug in the base of the distributor that will cause a little interference. The spacer has a square tab that fits in the cut out that the rubber plug is in. The plug can be compressed by the spacer so it will fit or you could trim the plug. I don't recommend trimming it because you could cut the wires that go to the magnetic pickup. See the arrow in the photo.
- Secure the spacer in place with the snap springs that held the old distributor cap.
- Install the new rotor.
- Install the new cap.
- Install the 8.5mm spark plug wires.
- Step back and enjoy your handy work.
How To Change Spark Plugs
Start by removing the cover over the throttle body (the black plastic cover that says "5.4" on it). There are three 10mm head bolts that hold it on. Next remove the air intake tube from the throttle body to the air filter housing. You loosen the hose clamps at either end of it, disconnect the connector on the AT (about half way up the air intake hose), the pull out the small hoses that go into the air intake tube near the throttle body. Next remove the brace from the power steering reservoir to thermostat housing. There are three 8mm or 5/16" head screws that hold it on. Now you should be able to see the COPs.
To remove the COPs you can use a 7mm or 9/32" wrench or nut driver or socket, extension and ratchet or all of the above. If you turn the fuel injectors to the side it will give you more room to work with the COPs. Unplug the connector on each COP by pressing the tab in and pulling on the connector. After you're done that just twist and pull the COPs out. A couple of the COPs on the driver's side and #4 on the passenger's side are a bit hard to get at but with some patience they will come out.
After you've removed the COPs take a blow gun and blow out the spark plug holes. Don't be surprised if there is rust and junk in them. Next you can actually remove the plugs. Use a combination of extensions, swivels (universal joints), sockets and ratchets to get at them. Whatever works best for you is good.
On the harder ones to get at usually use a socket with a 4" extension, then a swivel, then a long extension, then the ratchet. The plugs are way down in the holes which is why to use the extension then the swivel. The swivel makes it easier to clear the firewall.
Set the gap on the new plugs to whatever it says on your emissions decal on the radiator support....usually .052-.056". Apply a small amount of anti-seize to the threads only on the spark plug. You can use a piece of vacuum hose or fuel hose over the end of the plug to get it started in the hole. Carefully start the plugs in their holes. If you can't get them most of the way in by hand with the hose take a look and see why not. Cross threaded plug threads are no fun! The plugs are to be tightened to 13 lb-ft. which is just hand tight with a short ratchet. Don't over tighten them! The threads in the aluminum heads have enough problems as it is. After that just put everything back together in reverse order. Apply some dielectric grease to the plug boots as well to help seal them.
How To Break In A New Engine
The following procedures assume that proper assembly and installation procedures have been followed for rebuilding and installing an engine. Proper fuel and ignition management must be ensured, as things will be happening very quickly upon initial fire-up. If you are in doubt about how these procedures have been executed, seek competent advice before continuing.
Pre-oil the installed engine before installing the distributor by filling the crankcase and filter and spinning the oil pump shaft with the proper socket and drill. Install the distributor and time statically according to procedures in your rebuilding manual.
To assure proper cooling system bleed, leave the top heater hose off of the water pump when filling. Fill the radiator until coolant spills from the pump fitting. Install the hose and finish filling. Let it sit for about 4 hours, ( I like to let it sit overnight ) then top it off.
Pull the coil wire and crank the engine over until oil pressure is indicated at the gauge, or the indicator light goes out while cranking. Hook up a timing light and make sure that the distributor is loose enough to move. Fire the engine and quickly check the timing , speed is important as the cam must be run-in . Don't let the engine idle any longer than is absolutely necessary.
Follow the break-in procedure recommended by the cam manufacturer for a new cam. Usually they recommend 2500 rpms for 10 minutes, but I like to very gently rev it up and down from 2300 to 2700 rpms after about 5 minutes to set the rings.
Watch the oil pressure and temp. As soon as the thermostat opens, ( the top radiator hose will get warm and you'll feel the water flow when you squeeze it ) carefully pull the radiator cap off and top off the coolant. Don't let the engine overheat.
As soon as you know that it's leak free and holding oil pressure, and there is no danger of overheating, set the timing and tighten down the distributor. Take it up the road a few miles, moderately accelerating ( the purpose is to get it under load ) and gently bring it down. Deceleration is bad at this stage. Avoid keeping it at any one speed for any distance.
Park the vehicle on concrete or cardboard to detect any leaks. Do not run the engine again until it completely cools, usually overnight is best, Before restarting the engine, check the oil and water again and top off as necessary.
Proplems due to Truck Engine Idling
- A typical truck burns approximately one gallon of dieselfuel for each hour it idles.
- If this truck idles for 6 hours per day and operates 300days a year, it would consume 1,800 gallons of fuel peryear, simply idling.
- At a price of $2.50 per gallon of diesel, this idling comeswith a price tag of $4,500 per
- Running an engine at low speed (idling) causes twice thewear on internal parts compared to driving at regularspeeds. According to the American Trucking Association,such wear can increase maintenance costs by almost$2,000 per year and shorten the life of the engine
- Idling vehicles can emit significant amounts of pollutionincluding: carbon dioxide, which contributes to globalclimate change; nitrogen oxides and volatile organiccompounds, both of which contribute to the formation ofozone smog; poisonous carbon monoxide; and particulatematter.
- While sitting in an idling vehicle, drivers are exposed tothe vehicle’s pollution more so than when the vehicle is inmotion since there is no air flow to vent the emissions
The Long and Short of Used Truck Engines
Ford or Chevy, GMC or Toyota, a used truck engine can truly revitalize your pickup, van or sport utility vehicle. Not to mention that when you do the math, a new truck or even a complete engine overhaul will really set you back. With the large number of replacement engines available, you might as well do yourself a favor and save some money, too.
Right now, you can order a used truck engine with a full warranty, generally have it shipped within twenty-four hours and have it delivered to your mechanic inside of forty-eight hours. That is not too bad, considering that full engine overhaul would take at least that long. And it is the labor costs that really count when your mechanic hands you the bill.
Long bed, short bed, long block or short block-the number of makes and models of engine replacement options is staggering. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you know what you are getting into. But for the rest of us mortals, you can have the used truck engine you have bought shipped directly to your mechanic's shop.
Before you seal the deal on that perfect used or remanufactured engine, go down a quick mental checklist. Does it have a warranty? How much is the shipping? (Probably a lot less than you think) What parts will you need in addition to the long block or short block? All this plus a labor estimate will give you a good idea of where you stand. But you'll probably still be ahead of the game.