Captainkirk's Duster project
Where was I?
Oh yeah, the engine.
So I got the bottom end all together, then buttoned up the heads and valve train. Due to costs, I stuck with the stock push rods and rocker arms/shafts. I had purchased an Offenhauser 360 manifold used from some Navy guy who was being transferred, so I cleaned it up and got ready to bolt it on when I discovered it was NOT for a 318 as the guy had promised, but for an early 273; the ports matched up fine, but the manifold bolt holes were drilled at a different angle. Discouraged, I decided to port the stock cast-iron manifold to match the head ports and gaskets (bad idea). I got through maybe 3 or 4 ports before I burned up my Dad's brand new grinder.
This was really starting to suck. Fortunately, a friend of a friend had an Edelbrock Torker 340 with a pair of polished aluminum Edelbrock M/T valve covers to match, and he let them go sinfully cheap ($40.00 comes to mind). They fit like a glove and looked a hell of a lot better, too. This created another dilemma, tho. I had planned on re-using the Thermo-Quad. This manifold had no choke well. Maybe Einstein could have figured out some way to rig up a manual choke with this setup, but I didn't have the patience.
One of my friends had a Holley 600 SP that had been in an engine fire. Aside from being sooty and needing a rebuild, it looked like a good bargain, since he gave it to me free. It fit without an adapter plate, too.
After going through the Holley and bolting on the flywheel, I decided it had warmed up enough to get the motor off the stand and get the longblock out into the garage, bolt on the clutch pack and tranny, and drop it in. There was just one hitch....
Q:how do you get a 400 lb. longblock up a flight of basement stairs and into the garage?
A: With great difficulty!
I believe that could be the understatement of the year. Me and my buddy Howard almost ruined forever our chances of having offspring in later years.
My Mom's freshly painted basement stairs suffered silently as we heaved and strained, gonads shrieking and spinal discs writhing in mortal agony. Whose freakin' idea was this anyway?!!!! We finally got it out the back door, our voices at least an octave higher, when one of us lost our grip (I'll blame it on Howard as he's not here to defend himself) and dropped the SOB on the back stoop. Amazingly, it didn't do much to the motor except scratch the fresh Pontiac Blue paint and maybe put a tiny dent in the pan. The stoop was not so fortunate, losing a 2-inch chunk off one of the step corners. Ooops! Who's freakin' idea.....oh. We covered that.
Undaunted, we lurched and grunted and heaved the longblock out into the garage. My back has never been the same. My family jewels recovered fully...just ask my kids.
So I managed to get the new Borg-warner street/strip clutch and pressure plate bolted on, next came the bell housing and tranny, all dressed up in new paint; the bell housing wearing tuxedo black and the tranny standing out in stark contrast in brilliant Rustoleum White, all bolted to a fresh Pontiac Blue motor, topped off with aluminum rocker covers and an aluminum manifold. I was impressed, anyway. Let the transplant begin.....
Now let me tell you about the way an eighteen year old thinks. If it works, it's OK. This theory applied to my engine hoisting technique as well. I had wrapped a big logging chain around one of the 2X6's in the garage, and hung a 2-ton cable come-along from the chain. Won't work, you say? The joist will collapse? Oh, I'm much smarter than that, mister! I'll wedge a 4X4 under the joist on either side of the car to support it. It worked, too! except.......
The come-along hoisted the motor nicely into the air, and we pushed the car under it. Now, this particular come-along had a kind of switch on the side: flipping the switch either one way or the other allowed you to raise or lower whatever it was that was "comin' along". It worked fine when I pulled the engine out. What I didn't know was......the switch-thing was sort of squirrely. (you know where this is going, right?) If you didn't get it ALL the way to the opposite direction, well...if you've ever gone fishing with your trusty Zebco 404.......
Fortunately, the only damage was to one of the shifter fork threaded rods coming out the side of the tranny. Needless to say, the motor did not get bolted in that fine, sunny day. It took a week of waiting for a new shifter fork and another bottle of gear oil before I went down that road again. Can you believe I used the come-along AGAIN to drop the motor in? (maybe "drop" the motor is not such a good term......) Anyway, this time it went off without a hitch. It was in. A few short hours of hooking up the water pump, radiator, carb, headers and distributor and I was ready to pull the pin on the little blue grenade!
I had gone through all the usual BS with pre-oiling the engine, setting the initial timing, etc, etc. One expects to encounter some difficulties, natch, so I had the fire bottle standing by with a friend and I was really nervous as I finally twisted the key. The motor lit immediately...no cranking, no farting or popping....it was just RUNNING and Lordy, was that puppy LOUD!!!!!!!! Idling about 2000, Howard and I were grinning like a couple of Cheshire cats and when I shut it down, my ears were ringing like church bells on Sunday Morning! The heat from the open headers had melted some of my fresh undercoating, but standing there, hearing the engine ping, pop and tick as it cooled down smelling raw gasoline and exhaust mingled with the baking of fresh paint, there WAS no better place in the whole world to be! We were in Motor Heaven! :angel4: