The actual nuts-and-bolts of your engine rebuild is about to commence. By this stage, all the cleaning, machining, parts selection, and painting should be complete. This critical portion of your project has great bearing on whether all your time, effort, and money result in success or failure. Consequently, this is the most detailed chapter in this book. I cover the processes step by step, and subassembly by subassembly, to help you get everything right the first time.
This Tech Tip is From the Full Book, 4.6L & 5.4L FORD ENGINES: HOW TO REBUILD. For a comprehensive guide on this entire subject you can visit this link:
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Proper engine assembly takes place in phases; assemblies and subassemblies must be dealt with in a certain order. I set up my work area with only the tools and parts that are required during that phase of assembly. This reduces clutter while keeping parts in order and away from possible contamination.
If you take the time to make your work area safe, clean, and organized, your project goes smoother, and you achieve better results.
Remember to take your time and double-check your work as you proceed for best results.
Safety and Cleanliness
Take the time to keep your work area safe during engine assembly. You are working with heavy parts, potentially harmful or combustible chemicals, and tools with sharp edges or points. This is not the time to set aside the fire extinguisher, safety glasses, and dust mask or disregard the need for proper ventilation of your workspace.
Make sure the work area, workbenches, and parts storage shelves are clean and stay that way before you begin to assemble the engine. I often use clean cardboard or newspaper to cover surfaces during this phase. Don’t forget to clean your tools before you use them to avoid contaminating clean parts. The old adage “cleanliness is next to godliness” really does apply when it comes to assembling your engine, because the smallest contaminants can cause major damage later. Although it may sound somewhat excessive, I take the time to clean my hands as often as possible during engine assembly.
The shops of professional racing engine builders often have a “clean room” or area that is separated from other shop activities or where engines are assembled. The clean rooms are for the sole purpose of preventing the contamination of engines.
You must thoroughly clean the block before beginning the assembly process. You should do this even though the block is fresh from the machine shop. It fairly sparkles and even came home sealed in a plastic bag. The following few simple, yet critical, steps quickly show why your cylinder block needs a thorough scrubbing before assembly begins.
Give the cylinder block a hot bath with proper products and implements. I use a bucket of hot water, Tide-brand laundry detergent (racing engine builders have used it for decades), various brushes, a garden hose, and compressed air. I start using the hot, soapy water to thoroughly scrub down all the interior and exterior surfaces of the cylinder block. Although a standard scrub brush works well for most of the job, specialized brushes are required to access the oil galleries and smaller areas.
Use a lint-free towel to thoroughly dry the engine block. Remember that the exposed cast iron is wet and starts rusting immediately. Some owners paint their blocks; if you want to keep the surface of the block from rusting, you must coat it with a lubricant, such as WD-40.
Clean Cylinder Walls
With all the soap and scrubbing the block must be clean enough to assemble now, right? Wrong! The cylinder walls have proven this. Take a clean paper towel, and soak it with a small amount of automatic transmission fluid (ATF). Now wipe the surface of one of your freshly machined and thoroughly washed, cylinder walls. The machining process leaves microscopic lines in the cylinder bores. The dark material appears on the paper towel as dirt. You need to wipe down the cylinder bores with paper towels and ATF so your block is clean and ready for assembly.
Specialized Tools and Products
A number of specialized tools and products ease the task of assembling your engine while ensuring the fit and longevity of critical components. First and foremost is a sturdy engine stand that allows the engine to be rotated, as well as stopped at various points, during the assembly process.
Although I don’t use RTV (room temperature vulcanizing) in place of gaskets when assembling an engine as some builders do, I find gray RTV to be an excellent gasket sealer in areas where it cannot get into oil passages.
Anti-seize lubricant is a must when parts and fasteners are of two dissimilar metals, such as when a stainless-steel bolt is installed in a cast-iron part. Failure to use antiseize in such cases results in galling of the threads in the part.
Indian Head gasket shellac is a time-honored product that I have depended on for sealing engine gaskets, particularly those relating to the cooling system, for many years. The fact that it is still available is a testament to the product’s effectiveness.
In addition to your standard collection of hand tools, you need the following tools and products to aid you in your task.
Bottom End Assembly
Step 1: Check Main Bearing Clearance
Now that the cylinder block has been thoroughly cleaned and dried, the next step, before final assembly begins, is to check the clearance on the main bearings.
Step 2: Install Upper Inserts
Install the upper portion of the main bearing inserts in their respective saddles in the cylinder block. No lubricant or assembly lube is applied to the bearings at this time; to do so would interfere with the Plastigauge checking bearing clearance.
Step 3: Use Plastigauge (Critical Inspection)
At this stage, you should measure the main bearing clearance. You have to set the crankshaft in the block, but do not install the rear main seal now. Place a small piece of Plastigauge lengthwise along the top of the journal(s) to be checked. Do not rotate the crankshaft during this process. Doing so will smear the Plastigauge and cause an inaccurate reading.
Step 4: Apply Oil
Before installing the main bearing caps in the block apply some oil to the threads and under the heads of the main bearing bolts to ensure a proper torque reading. Here, I am using ARP hardware that comes with hardened washers. Be sure that the beveled side of the washer faces toward the head of the bolt when using ARP hardware. The 312 blocks have taller main bearing caps than the 292; the exception is the rear main cap, which is the same height. As a result, the 312 has two different-length main bearing bolts, with the shorter ones used on the rear cap.
Step 5: Install Lower Inserts (Torque Fasteners)
Place the lower half of the main bearing inserts into the main caps (again without lubricant), and then install the main bearing caps in their respective registers in the block, taking care to ensure that they are properly seated and oriented. Torque the main bearing bolts in three steps: 45 to 65 to 95 ft-lbs (239 and 272 engines are 80 to 90 ft-lbs), alternating side to side and cap to cap. Next, loosen the bolts, remove the main bearing caps, and using the scale on the packaging measure the now-compressed Plastigauge to determine if the clearance shown is within an acceptable range (.001 to .0250 inch). The crankshaft can now be removed from the block.
Step 6: Install Lifters and Cam
Installing the valve lifters and camshaft in the block now (before the crankshaft) makes things much easier. Keep in mind that because the mushroom design of the valve lifters used in the Y-block, it is necessary to install them into the block first and from the bottom. Before installing the camshaft and lifters, be sure to liberally coat the faces of the lifters and the lobes of the camshaft with an assembly lube. Most aftermarket camshaft companies include their recommended product with the cam. Do not use the camshaft lube on the journals of the cam that contact the camshaft bearings in the cylinder block. Use motor oil on the journals and bearings. Use great care when installing the camshaft into the block so as not to damage the cam bearings. Failure to properly lubricate the cam and lifters could result in the destruction of your cam and damage to your newly rebuilt engine upon initial start-up. With the camshaft and lifters in place, apply a liberal coating of oil or assembly lube to the main bearing inserts before installing the crankshaft and main bearing caps in the block. Again, make sure the main caps are properly oriented. Snug the main bearing cap bolts but don’t torque them at this point.
Step 7: Use Hardened Lifters (Important!)
While I am on the subject of Y-block valve lifters, it is important to use a hardened lifter. I was lucky to find these original replacements from NAPA instead of having to buy inferior-quality foreign-made parts.
Step 8: Install Rear Main Seal
Early Y-blocks and all 312s used a rope-style rear main seal. Hand-fit one length of the seal into the groove machined in the block. Install the other in the separate lower seal retainer used in the Y-block series of engines.
Step 9: Install Rear Main Seal (continued) (Special Tool)
Although Ford dealer service departments had a special tool available for installing the rope-style rear main seal (Ford PN T52L-6701-AGD), over the years I have found that using a 1/2-inch-drive extension and a rolling motion gets the job done. Once the seal halves have been installed in the block and seal retainer, use a utility knife to cut them off flush with the surface.
Step 10: Install Rear Main Seal (continued)
Later versions of the Y-block used a neoprene rear main seal. When installing this style of seal, follow the instructions on the package because they may have special requirements. Use motor oil to lightly lubricate the seal, and then install it in the block and retainer with the raised lip of the seal facing the front of the engine. You avoid oil leaks at the seal area if you install the halves with a corresponding offset to the machined surface of the seal grooves in the cylinder block and retainer. You can also see here a simple means for rotating the crankshaft during assembly if you don’t happen to have the rotator tool. You can thread two old flywheel bolts into the flange at the back of the crank and use a large screwdriver for the leverage needed to rotate the crank.
Step 11: Install Spacers
The rear main seal set includes two side spacers that fit into vertical grooves in the seal retainer. Apply a little RTV to the sides of the retainer as additional insurance against oil leaks.
Two nails are supplied with the rear main seal, which you drive into the spaces between the side spacers and the cylinder block. Use a soft mallet to tap the nails into place.
Step 12: Measure Crankshaft Endplay (Torque Fasteners)
Once the other main bearing caps have been torqued to specification, insert a large screwdriver between the front of one of the front main bearing caps (not number-3) and a crankshaft counterweight. Pry the crankshaft forward in the block. Place forward pressure against this screwdriver, and insert another screwdriver between the crankshaft and the number-3 main cap. Pry the main cap toward the rear of the block. Now remove the screwdriver prying the main cap to the rear while maintaining forward pressure on the crank. Torque the bolts on the number-3 cap to specification. Measure crankshaft endplay by attaching a dial indicator to the crankshaft and prying it forward and backward to attain a reading. Endplay should not exceed .010 inch; .002 to .006 is the acceptable range.
Clearance measurements are important when dealing with piston rings, connecting rod bearings, installing piston and rod assemblies, and checking rod bearing clearance. When installing replacement piston rings, the end gap between the top and second ring must be within specification and not too tight or loose. If the end gap of a piston ring is too large, oversize rings are required. If the ring end gap is too tight, the rings may be carefully filed until the proper gap has been achieved.
The clearances between the connecting rods and their respective bearings and the crankshaft main bearings are extremely critical for engine life and proper performance. A qualified machinist ensures that the parts associated with the bearings are machined to within acceptable tolerance, after which you should use Plastigauge to double-check the clearances during assembly.
Step 1: Select Pistons
For this rebuild, I selected the .040 oversize Sealed Power cast-aluminum pistons (PN 1022P), which are a more modern direct replacement for the OEM pistons (PN 3798). Quality pistons stand up to years of typical service in a properly tuned, well-maintained engine. The minimum suggested piston-to-wall clearance is .0015 inch. The cylinder bores have been finish-honed to provide .002 clearance between the pistons and cylinder walls.
Step 2: Choose Piston Rings
Replacement piston rings come in compartmentalized boxes that identify the location of the ring in relation to the piston. Piston rings are also marked (usually a dot on the ring) to indicate which side of the ring faces the top of the piston.
Step 3: Check End Gap
Piston ring end gaps are critical in sealing the cylinders. To check end gap, insert a ring into the cylinder bore approximately 1½ inches down from the deck surface. Although specialized tools are available to ensure that the ring is square in the bore, using one of the piston and-connecting-rod assemblies works well for this purpose.
Step 4: Remove Material (Critical Inspection)
After squaring the ring in the bore, use a feeler gauge to measure the end gap of the ring. The general rule is .004 of gap for each inch of bore. If the ring end gap is too tight, use a piston ring filing tool to remove the amount of material required to achieve the desired gap. Be careful not to remove too much material from the rings at one time. Check end gaps frequently during the filing process. Although this is tedious and time-consuming, it is a necessary step. If ring end gaps are too loose, rings of the next size are required. If you do file rings to fit, be sure to use a fine file to deburr the ends before installing the rings on the pistons.
Step 5: Install Oil Rings
Piston ring installation begins at the bottom of the piston, so it starts with the oil rings. Oil rings come in three pieces, which are an expander and two rails. Install the expander first, and then make sure that the end gaps butt together and do not overlap. For reference, align the end gaps with the side of the piston pin that faces to the rear in the engine. Install the top rail next and offset the end gaps slightly to one side of the piston pin. Install the bottom rail next, with the end gaps offset to the other side of the piston pin. Check your work when completed to ensure that the expander end gaps have not overlapped.
Step 6: Verify Ring Alignment
Use the ring spreader to install the second ring and then the top ring. The piston ring manufacturer often includes recommendations for ring alignment on the pistons in their instructions. The important point here is to ensure that the ring end gaps of the top and second rings are not in alignment with each other.
Step 7: Install Bearings
Install the connecting rod bearings in the rods, making sure that the hole in the bearing insert aligns with the oil hole in the rod. Each bearing has a tang that fits into a slot machined in the connecting rod to keep it in place.
Step 8: Prepare Rod Assembly
To install the piston connecting rod assemblies into the block, a few simple steps, which are repeated eight times, are required. Lubricate the connecting rod bearings with oil or assembly lube and install the protective boots on the connecting rod bolts to avoid damaging the crankshaft. You should also squirt a little oil onto the wrist pins for adequate lubrication during start-up. Then give the cylinder walls and piston rings a coat of oil to assist the installation process. Rotate the engine stand so that the bank of the engine that contains the bore into which the piston is to go is set at an advantageous angle. Align the connecting rod journal of the crankshaft with the bottom of the cylinder bore. A piston ring compressor is required to fit the piston and rod with rings in place into the cylinder. Ascertain proper piston orientation as it relates to the block. Most pistons have an arrow or notch to indicate the front, and the identifying numbers stamped on each connecting rod should face outward, toward the oil pan rail of the block.
Step 9: Install Rod Assembly
Lower the piston and rod assembly into the cylinder bore until the piston ring compressor contacts the top of the bore. Tap around the edges of the ring compressor with a plastic mallet to seat it to the bore. With the heel of your hand against the head, use the handle of a hammer or mallet to push the piston-and-rod assembly down into the bore in one motion. If the piston and rod assembly fails to slide smoothly into the cylinder, do not attempt to force it. Take it out and repeat the previous steps. Forcing the assembly into the bore may result in a broken piston ring.
Step 10: Verify Bearing Clearance (Torque Fasteners)
With the piston and rod assembly seated against the crankshaft journal, remove the protective boots from the rod bolts. Check the connecting rod bearing clearance to ensure that it is within specification. As you did with the main journal, place a small piece of Plastigauge on the rod journal. Next, put the other half of the connecting rod bearing in the cap, leaving it without lubricant for this phase, and slide it onto the rod bolts, taking care that it seats properly against the connecting rod and that the numbers on the cap align with those on the rod. In this rebuild I am using ARP connecting rod bolts and nuts, which come with a specially formulated assembly paste. They are torqued to 50 ft-lbs in increments of 20, 30, and 50 alternating between the bolts. Now loosen the nuts and remove the cap from the rod. As you did with the main bearings, use the scale on the Plastigauge packaging to measure the compressed material on the rod journal. After ensuring that connecting rod bearing clearance is okay, coat the bearing insert with oil or assembly lube, reinstall the cap on the connecting rod, and torque the bolts.
Step 11: Verify Rod Clearance
Use a feeler gauge to check the connecting rod side clearance. The gap between the rods on a Y-block should not exceed .019 inch.
Step 12: Inspect Installation
With the rotating assembly, crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods, and camshaft installed, the 292 rebuild is coming together and the pile of parts on the workbench gets smaller; it’s starting to look like an engine again.
Timing Chain and Gear Installation
If your Y-block has experienced oil starvation, your timing gears may be excessively worn or damaged and need replacement. Make sure the entire area is clean before you begin. You must follow these steps to arrive at the correct timing for the rotating assembly, cam, and distributor.
Step 1: Inspect Components
A baffling array of parts makes up the hardware that attaches the top timing gear to the camshaft on a Y-block V-8. Left to right: camshaft retainer plate, counterweight (upper), beveled spacer (lower), eccentric, spacer, bolt and washer.
Step 2: Install Cam Spacer (Important!)
Cam timing events in my 292 rebuild are trusted to this double-row roller timing chain and gears by Elgin. Double rows of teeth add strength to the timing set while the rollers in the chain links reduce power-robbing friction. When installing the timing chain and gears in the Y-block, the single most important thing to remember is that the camshaft spacer must be installed with the beveled side facing toward the cam.
Step 3: Use Loctite on Plate Bolt
Two bolts hold the camshaft retaining plate against the block. Place a dab of blue Loctite on each bolt before installation.
Step 4: Select Timing Chain Set
This is our Rollmaster timing chain and gearset. The multi-indexed lower sprocket allows for camshaft timing changes as necessary. Retarding camshaft timing provides for more power at the high end of the power curve, while advancing the camshaft increases bottom end power. Note: If you choose to install a timing set with the multi-indexed lower sprocket be sure to read the instructions and note the degree marks engraved next to each slot in the gear.
Step 5: Lubricate Retainer Plate
Lubricate the backside of the camshaft retainer plate with white Lubriplate grease before installation. Torque the retainer bolts at 12 to 18 ft-lbs.
Step 6: Align Cam and Timing Gears
Another of the idiosyncrasies in the Y-block engine series, and for some the most challenging, is the manner in which the camshaft and crankshaft timing gears are aligned when the timing chain is installed. In most engines you align the chain and gears so that the dot on the camshaft timing gear faces straight down and aligns with the dot on the crankshaft timing gear, which faces upward; the Y-block is different. Align the timing chain and gears so that the 12 link pins on the timing chain separate the dots on the camshaft and crankshaft gears (shown). You can use the bolt holes in the front of the cylinder block as landmark aids to get the alignment correct. It may take several tries to get the timing chain and gears properly aligned; take your time because it is essential to get this step right. Because a multi-indexed crankshaft gear is being used here, it was doubly important to verify the location of the dot on the lower gear when installing the timing set.
Step 7: Install Counterweight
Install the keyed counterweight on the camshaft as you ensure that the timing chain and gears are in proper alignment.
Step 8: Install Spacer
Some Y-block engines use a keyed spacer in place of the counterweight. The important thing to remember here is that one or the other of these components must be in place.
Step 9: Install Eccentric
Next, install the eccentric that activates the fuel pump arm, and accompanying non-keyed washer.
Step 10: Install Bolt and Washer (Torque Fasteners)
A bolt and washer hold the entire camshaft gear and related components to the cam. A dab of blue Loctite on the bolt is a good idea. Torque the bolt at 35 to 45 ft-lbs.
Camshaft Endplay Measurement
You need to measure camshaft endplay so the cam stays in the desired position in the cam tunnel. To measure this, you need to properly mount a dial indicator on the block.
Step 1: Measure Cam Endplay
Measure camshaft endplay in much the same manner as with the crankshaft. Set up a dial indicator with magnetic mount on the cylinder block with the indicator contacting the camshaft gear. Be certain to install the magnetic base so that the pointer of the dial indicator does not contact the front of the cam gear on an angle. Pry the cam forward and backward using a large screwdriver. A spec of .006 inch is the maximum allowable endplay and optimum is .001 to .003.
Step 2: Install Oil Slinger
With the timing chain and gears in place, properly aligned and tightened, and camshaft endplay checked, slide the oil slinger onto the snout of the crankshaft.
Step 1: Install Crankshaft Seal
Give the front crankshaft seal a light coating of white grease before installation on both the rubber (seal) portion and the outside where it contacts the timing cover. The latter is done to ease installation.
If you don’t happen to own a seal-driving tool, a plastic or rubber mallet is sufficient to install the front seal into the timing cover.
Step 2: Install Cover Gasket
Use sealant on the timing cover gasket, particularly around the water jacket area. RTV gets the job done for both sealing and holding the gasket in place while the cover is being installed. Coat the timing cover bolts with thread sealer to prevent water leaks before you thread the bolts into water jackets in the cylinder block. A thread sealant, such as this product from Permatex, is a must for any bolts or studs that extend into engine water jackets.
Step 3: Install Timing Cover Bolts (Torque Fasteners)
Replace the timing pointer and then install the timing cover bolts. Snug the bolts and then torque at 23 to 28 ft-lbs.
Step 4: Install Water Pump
Once the timing cover is in place, you can install the water pump. You should consider installing a rebuilt or new water pump as a worn-out water pump may cause a coolant overheating condition that could damage your newly rebuilt engine. I prefer to use the old-school Indian Head shellac on water pump gaskets.
Step 5: Polish Dampener Snout
The snout of the crankshaft was a little rough (probably because of improper removal or installation of the dampener in the past) so I used a little emery cloth to smooth it out before installing the dampener.
Step 6: Smooth Woodruff Key
Use emery cloth to smooth the surfaces of the woodruff key that locates the dampener to the crankshaft. A smooth surface here helps with installing the key into its groove on the crankshaft snout and sliding the dampener onto the crank.
Step 7: Install Dampener (Important!)
A little white grease applied to the snout of the crankshaft will also aid when installing the dampener. Important: The vibration dampener should slide onto the crankshaft with just a minimum of effort. Do not use a hammer to install the dampener as damage to the dampener and the crankshaft could occur.
Step 8: Torque Dampener Bolt
Mark off the dampener in 90-degree increments from TDC, which assists in setting valve lash both before and after start-up. Torque the bolt securing the dampener to the crankshaft at 85 to 90 ft-lbs. To keep the crankshaft from turning as you torque the dampener bolt, wedge a pry bar or big screwdriver between two old flywheel bolts installed in the rear flange of the crankshaft and your engine stand.
Oil System Installation
Step 1: Choose Oil Filter Adapter
You are getting ready to complete the bottom end of the engine. Here’s something to consider if you are working with an early-series Y-block that uses the canister-style oil filter: The adapter shown here is a modern spin on a type of oil filter that saves time when servicing your engine and prevents the leaks that are associated with the canister type. Be sure to grease the O-ring that seals the adapter to the block. Just to the right of the filter adapter is the oil-pressure sending switch for the idiot light on the dash. If you intend to stay with the light for monitoring your engine oil pressure, the least you can do at this point is to install a new sending unit. Be sure to use thread sealer to avoid leaks.
Step 2: Install Block-Off Plate
If you are also converting your engine from the road draft tube to a more modern and efficient PCV system, you need a block-off plate such as the one pictured to cover the hole in the side of the block left by eliminating the road draft tube.
Step 3: Clean Oil Pickup and Screen (Professional Mechanic Tip)
It is imperative that the oil pickup and screen are clean so leftover dirt or foreign particles don’t damage the engine. To be doubly sure, replace the pickup screen with a new one. It is held in place by a simple spring clip and is easy to replace. Rich Stuck chose to use an NOS pickup tube on this rebuild.
Step 4: Install Oil Pickup
The oil pickup on the Y-block Ford engine is external. It is fed through a hole in the oil pan from the inside out. Two sealing washers are included in the engine gasket kit for the pickup. One goes to the outside (the thicker one) of the pan and seals the pickup against the pan. The other fits between the large nut and the oil pan. Thread the large nut onto the pickup from the outside but do not fully tighten it at this point. The oil pan may now be installed. Be sure to use sealer (I prefer RTV) on the gasket; it seals well and also helps hold the gasket in place during assembly. Once you start the numerous oil pan bolts, a speed handle, socket, and extension to snug them up are great time-savers.
Step 5: Install Pickup Tube Seal
The opposite end of the oil pickup tube, which connects to the oil pump, uses a rubber seal that is also included in the engine gasket kit. A light dab of grease helps protect this seal during installation. Some thread sealer on the nut that secures the pickup tube to the pump is also a good idea.
Step 6: Align Oil Pump Gasket
Before the oil pump is installed, check the gasket for alignment with the bolt and oil passage holes in both the block and the pump. No sealer is used on this gasket. I have seen cases where RTV was used here, and the engine was later damaged by pieces of the material that had broken off and become lodged in oil passages.
Step 7: Install Oil Pump
I consider priming the oil pump before installation a must. To install the oil pump, first fit the gasket to the pump, install the pump drive (I highly recommend using this heavy-duty drive from ARP), and then feed the assembly into the block, taking care that the pump drive is in the correct location. A second set of eyes checking alignment of the pump drive from the top (distributor opening) is helpful here.
Step 8: Install Oil Pump Bolts
The oil pump on a Y-block is held in place by three bolts. Once you have the oil pump and drive in proper alignment, use the bolt that enters into the pump from the top to help hold it in place while the other bolts are installed. Do not tighten the bolts at this time.
Step 9: Torque Oil Pump Bolts (Torque Fasteners)
Place the end of the pickup tube into the oil pump. Once you are sure that all components are properly aligned, tighten them. Do not overtighten the nut that secures the pickup tube at the oil pan. The torque value of oil pump to block bolts is 12 to 15 ft-lbs.
Top End Installation
Step 1: Install Cylinder Head Gaskets
The cylinder head gaskets go on the block only one way. Pay attention to the embossed lettering on the gasket that indicates the front. The gasket must face toward the front of the engine even if the lettering faces down when the gasket is in place. Be certain that the locating dowels for the cylinder heads/gaskets are in place and in good condition. If they are not, these parts are the same as those used on later small-block Ford engines; they are available through dealer parts suppliers.
Step 2: Install Lifter Valley Cover
I prefer to use weather strip adhesive to hold the lifter valley cover in place and seal it because there are no slots or dowels to hold the gasket in place during assembly. The lifter valley cover is held in place by two bolts and grommets. Do not overtighten the bolts; doing so bends the cover and creates oil leaks around the cover.
Step 3: Thread-In Head Bolts
There is close tolerance between the lifter valley cover and the cylinder heads. Of particular note here: There are both left and right cylinder heads on the Y-block Ford engine. This passenger-side head is identified by the freeze plug located at the back. The driver-side head has a bung for the temperature sender in place of the freeze plug. Once the cylinder heads are in place and seated on the locating dowels, thread in the head bolts. Remember to put a drop of oil on the threads and under the heads of the bolts. Keep in mind that the Y-block’s cylinder-head bolts have different lengths. (The two longer top bolts go on the ends.) It is a good idea to arrange them by length on each side of the engine before proceeding.
Step 4: Choose Engine Gaskets
Because of production variations in the Y-block engine series, your engine gasket set likely includes several different intake manifold gasket sets. Match the correct gaskets to your cylinder heads before installing the manifold.
Step 5: Install Intake Bolts (Critical Inspection)
Carefully set the intake manifold in place. I often fit the bypass hose to the intake first and then install it as a unit. Install the intake bolts snug but do not torque them yet. The intake bolts should thread into the cylinder heads smoothly.
It is important to note that the end intake manifold bolt holes on the Y-block open into the pushrod holes of the cylinder heads. You must use bolts with the correct length. Installing bolts that are too long interferes with the pushrod.
Step 6: Torque Head and Intake Manifold Bolts
Torque the cylinder head bolts in three steps (35, 55, and 75 ft-lbs) following the sequence shown on page 142. Once the cylinder-head bolts have been torqued, go back and torque the intake manifold bolts to 26 ft-lbs, alternating side to side and front to back as you go.
Step 7: Orient Rocker Arm Assembly
When assembling the rocker arm shafts on a Y-block, it is easy to get them in the wrong position. The bottom of the rocker arm shafts has holes drilled in it for oil to pass through. The proper orientation is for the holes in the rocker arm shafts to face downward toward the cylinder head. Failure to get the rocker shafts in the correct orientation results in a lack of lubrication that results in engine damage.
Step 8: Orient Oil Holes
When putting the rocker arm assemblies together, you can keep the oil hole orientation correct by first installing one of the end cotter pins with the open end facing down.
Step 9: Assemble Rocker Arm Parts
Line up the components (rocker arms, spacer springs, and stands) in the correct order and install them on the rocker arm shafts. Lubricate all components with oil before assembly then install each of the components in the correct order, beginning at one end of the rocker arm shaft. This is a good time to refer to the photos you took during the disassembly process.
Step 10: Install Pushrods
After lubricating both ends of the pushrods with oil, make sure that they are properly seated in the valve lifters when installing them.
Step 11: Install Rocker Arm Assembly
The rocker arm assemblies are now ready to install. An oil-return tube is located at one end of each assembly. The tube on the passenger’s side of the engine is located in the front and the driver’s side to the rear. The bottom hole of each rocker stand (at the ends of the rocker assemblies) holds the studs to which the valve covers mount. Secure the rocker arm assemblies to the cylinder heads by bolts that extend through the stands.
Step 12: Adjust Valves
The final step is to adjust the valves. Because the specification for “valve lash listed” is hot, set the valves several thousandths wider to allow for the expansion that occurs when the engine heats up. Begin by setting the number-1 cylinder at TDC of the compression stroke. After setting the lash on this cylinder, rotate the engine 90 degrees to the next mark on the dampener (see page 110) and, following the firing order, adjust each set of valves in turn, rotating the engine to the next mark on the dampener as you go. Use a feeler gauge to determine the gap between the tip of the valve and the face of the rocker arm. Each rocker arm has an adjuster that is turned until the proper gap has been achieved. A slight drag on the feeler gauge should be felt when the lash is correct. Set valve lash again with the engine hot after initial start-up.
Written by Charles Morris and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks