Engine Rebuild: Phase Two

small-block-chevy-engine-rebuild-02With Studie’s engine block all clean and painted, and wanting to go back in the car, we decided that since we’d gotten this far it would be a shame not to take out the crank and pistons…

small-block-chevy-engine-rebuild-03So after removing the 16 lifters from the top (done by turning the crank and grabbing each as they pop up…you must keep these labeled and in order so they go back exactly where they came from!) we flipped the engine over, took the oil pan, windage tray, and oil pump off then began the work of removing the pistons. Ethan was doing most of the work here, as I learned by watching for my first time and had the job of holding the piston as it came out (I kinda felt like I was delivering a baby!)

P.S. If you’re a newbie and not sure about all these engine terms being used, you’ll still learn by reading…but hang tight because soon we’ll have an automotive glossary page at GreaseGirl!

In the photo above, you can see the two pistons on the far right are already out. Unbolting the two bolts where the piston’s connecting rod attaches to the crank, then turning the crank as you carefully watch how the piston you’re trying to remove is moving, little by little each piston came out. We used a couple pieces of tubing to put over the studs at the end of the connecting rod to protect the crank journal as the pistons came out. We had to do some persuasion by tapping the studs with a rubber mallet and sometime we had to do a little back and forth before it decided to go where we wanted it (out!)  When it does push out, be sure to be ready so you don’t have a piston banging down to the ground below!


Have a container marked to hold your pistons in order, setting them all in a row, and keeping nuts on the same studs they went off of – when taking apart an engine you want to know exactly where everything goes!


Moving down the crank one-by-one, eventually all the pistons were out, and we could unbolt the main bearing caps holding the crank in, then voila…out comes the crank!


Looking at the pieces all taken out at the end of the night, I was a little surprised at how wonderfully simple an engine is!


The surprise ending to this story is, finding out after taking the crank to the machine shop, Studie’s engine isn’t a 383! I was told it was when the shop put it in – but they actually just pulled it from an unfinished project they’d purchased from someone…who is the person who declared it to be a 383 in the first place. So sans digging into it, I had always believed it to be – but as it turns out she’s merely an over-bored 350. While the cylinders are bored over – in order to truly be a “stroker” 383 cubic inch engine, the pistons also must have an increased stroke length (done by changing the crank…and rods and possibly piston heads for a start). So although my block does have bored cylinders, it doesn’t have all the other stuff – so 383 it is not. Which other then being told that it was, I’m okay with it not being…Studie is still my little hot rod.

One Response

  1. JP Kalishek

    Always prefered a 327 crank in a 400 block myself (destroked and a good revver). but knew plenty of folks with a 383 who spun them up … and many of those came apart a bit more permanently than your not-383 350somthing (depends on the over bore).
    There is much to be said about going with what you got.

    This’ll be a good rehearsal for the Caddy build as the motors had, I believe, the same designer. The Caddy looks like a slightly larger in dimension SBC with a few changes. Find an original first year SBC and the differences are even less.


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