Engine Rebuild: Phase 1

I know you’ve been wondering why a month has passed without any progress on Operation Stude being posted. The honest answer is: work has been crazy and I got sick. I have however been fitting time in the garage little by little – and this past 3-day weekend provided the time I needed to get to the next step.

Recap: If you haven’t been keeping tabs – I’m taking the small block Chevy from my Studebaker, regasketing and cleaning it up, adding a Lokar floor-shifter to my 700 R4 transmission, and putting the ol’ gal back together…until I can afford to build the 331 Cadillac engine to make Stude into a “Studillac”.

After hours of scrubbing grease from the engine block…

  • Phase 1: Wipe off as much grime as possible
  • Phase 2: Begin scrubbing with engine degreaser, wire brushes, rags, and scotch pads
  • Phase 3: Once you think it’s pretty clean, scrub again with fresh scotch pad and rag…pay extra attention to small nooks and crannies
  • Phase 4: Wipe down one last time using paint-prep wax and grease remover (I use this one from TCP Global)

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Between #3 and 4 I took to the piston and head surfaces with a zippy-gun wheel. After posting an Instagram picture, a friend commented that this shouldn’t be done while the pistons are in the block, due to residue getting down into the cylinders between the piston and the wall…but I think quite a bit of people do it this way, it all depends on your level of anal-ness with your engine. As it turns out, I’ll be taking the pistons all the way out anyway. Any readers opinions on this one? Share in the comments.

After the hard part’s done, mask off as necessary…

…and hit it with primer. If you’re a total beginner to this painting thing, check out a YouTube video on how to spray paint properly - you may also enjoy the Metal Flaking Video Lori made when me and the gals flaked Studie’s roof.

Before the primer is dry, lay on your color. I followed the instruction on the can to lay two light coats and one medium coat.

Who can guess what color I choose????

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I choose GOLD! Not correct to Studebaker and definitely not Chevy…but a nice contrast to Stude’s original paint. Wanting a neutral sort of gold in comparison to very yellow golds, I shopped around at local parts stores before ordering this VHT SP132 Gold Engine Enamel from Amazon.

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All that work leading up to for what took less than an hour in painting, what a transformation! I can’t wait to see how everything looks when Stude is back together – I’m aiming to get it done in time to go to my friend’s Girls in the Garage Car Show at El Camino College on March 15th! Eek…that’s going to come quickly!

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