Project Defiant1
If you are using any OEM parts, always check with your Factory Service Manual for clearances on those parts! Make sure you aren't starting with junk parts!

Next after cleaning the block is checking clearances of your crank to determine if you can use standard engine bearings. The ideal way is to use micrometers and bore-gauges, but if you don't have those the only option is Plastigage. Plastigage is a soft plastic that gets squeezed as you torque the rod or main bolts down with your engine bearings in place. Once at the proper torque, take your bearings apart and check the clearances with the plastigage cover.

Project Defiant1
The Plastigage is the little green line on the crank surface.

Another measurement you should take while you are checking the rod bearings is their side clearance. This ensures that your rods will not make any contact with the crankshaft. You should also check the crankshaft by turning it as you torque the main bolts down. If you have a hard time turning it without the pistons in it, you have a problem!

Project Defiant1
Checking the side clearance of the rod on the crankshaft.
Project Defiant1 Project Defiant1
Here I am using Plastigage to check rod bearing clearance.

With my engine at proper clearances, I use Sealed Power bearings in the standard sizing. I also coat the bearing surfaces with engine assembly lube. This will ensure that there is little chance there will be a dry start, which will damage the engine. Next I move on to checking bore clearance, this ensures that there is proper room for the pistons to increase in size as they heat up.

Project Defiant1
My Federal-Mogul Sealed Power crankshaft bearings in the crank girdle.
Project Defiant1
Oh, the fun is JUST starting!


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Thursday, December 01, 2011 5:36 AM
I love that first pic: the mesh over the turbo inlet. It looks as if it wants to suck in some parakeets.
Thursday, December 01, 2011 6:38 AM
Good overview of what goes into engine assembly.

Didn't know KA's had a main girdle like that! Sweet! Extra displacement and truck motor strength... why was the KA always shit on? Seems like a winning recipe for a turbo build.

Remind's me of the iron block 2.0->2.3 setup I have in my miata...
Thursday, December 01, 2011 7:51 AM
I know this is a budget build, but next to the Plastigauge, is that rust on the crank rod journals or just dust and shop crud?

Is polishing rust out easy to do on a budget build without removing the crank and chucking it up on a lathe to do the shoestring and emery cloth trick? Does it really matter and will the bearings absorb/wipe away the crap?

Not trying to be a troll. I don't have any room to throw rocks. You should see my junked boat engine...waiting to do a SBC 383 swap. Great project and thanks for doing the write up!
Thursday, December 01, 2011 7:55 AM
@SuperCharger.Heaven: Mesh on turbo inlet. "Can't have an air filter slowin' me down yo!" (umm...yeah...) Concur on parakeets!
Justin Banner
Justin Bannerlink
Thursday, December 01, 2011 8:14 AM
Yeah, it was just some crud I didn't totally remove when I took the picture.

As far as shoestring and emery cloth, when I used to work on cars for a living, I'd do it on vehicles that just got a bearing replacement and the crank wasn't damaged or just had surface rust. I wouldn't use much pressure and wouldn't take off much, if any of the surface. Other than that, if it was scored or covered in rust I would replace a crank.
Chris H
Chris Hlink
Thursday, December 01, 2011 2:36 PM
Awesome i am in the process of building a KA24DE myself for turbo duty, will keep an eye on this...
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Thursday, December 01, 2011 6:41 PM
Keep it coming Justin!

Hey didn't we miss some sort of deadline? Hmmmmm....... :-)
Justin Banner
Justin Bannerlink
Thursday, December 01, 2011 6:45 PM
Deadline, what deadline? :P

Yeah, it was supposed to be ready and on the road, TODAY. Of course when I made that deadline I had a real shop to work in instead of being outside or having to use my dad's sign shop.
Friday, December 02, 2011 1:09 AM
Wheres the editors note this time? lol
Friday, December 02, 2011 6:06 AM
"What I hadn't realized is 1. MotoIQ hasn't done a Budget Engine Build article... EVER. 2. A boring, detailed engine build could actually help you guys who are doing this in your backyard, too. "

So true! Thanks for writing these articles!

Justin Banner
Justin Bannerlink
Saturday, December 03, 2011 2:21 PM
BTW, I am at 100 Drifters of December at Summit Point Motorsports Park, WVA and I will be judging tomorrow. If you haven't gone down there, tomorrow will be the day I make my Judging debut to make up for the non-debut of Defiant1. $10 gets you in, $75 gets you drifting on THREE TRACKS!
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Saturday, December 03, 2011 6:32 PM
Haha, good luck then your Honor!
Monday, December 05, 2011 7:08 AM
Can't wait to see the final outcome. Great read in the meantime.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 4:34 AM
I went to that shop on Chamberlayne over the summer for a valve job on my 4A-GZE. The work was phenomenal, BUT they did not correctly adjust the valve clearances (which was supposed to be included in the cost of the valve job) which resulted in my car being down an additional two weeks while I sourced the right shims.
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