After you have documented your car (as outlined in Chapter 2), several decisions need to be made about how and to what extent you restore the drivetrain.
This Tech Tip is From the Full Book, MOPAR B-BODY RESTORATION: 1966-1970. For a comprehensive guide on this entire subject you can visit this link:
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As you disassemble the engine, take pictures and take the time to bag and tag all parts. It is amazing how quickly you forget how that bracket goes back on. Many accessories go with the engine, but we focus on the long-block from disassembly to the completed unit with factory paint.
Type of Restoration
If your car has a numbersmatching engine and transmission and you want the car to have an original appearance, the best way to proceed is to build the car completely stock. Or at least any modifications should be bolt-on changes that can be easily changed. If the car has survived with its original driveline intact, and still in the car, it demands to be saved. If you really want to drive a modified car with major upgrades to the driveline, do not purchase an original numbers-matching car.
Some owners have restored their Mopar to original condition and shown it at many national venues. Then, after it has aged, they have removed the original engine, stored it, and then replaced it with a high-performance upgrade.
A popular and easy change is to drop a 440 into a 383 car. Many of the parts interchange and improved performance is soon experienced. Add a tri carb to a 440 and hold onto your hat. Another popular change is installing a crate Hemi. You have to make several necessary Hemi-specific changes if you choose this option, but the swap can be done with enough time and money.
If you do not have a numbersmatching driveline, you can really do anything you want in terms of engine, transmission, rear end,etc. You can also restore the car to original condition without a numbers-matching driveline. Once the original driveline is gone, the date codes no longer matter. Some sellers advertise that they have replaced the block with a date-correct block. Although some view that as important, it really doesn’t mean anything if the block is a 1966 or 1970. The block still appears original and fits and performs just as great.
Another popular trend is building a “tribute” or “clone” car. These terms are merely used to increase the value of a basic “hot rod.” If the car came with a 318 and you replace it with a 426 Hemi it is still a 318 car. These cars will never be worth the same amount as a “real” car. However, if one of these cars is done right, it can bring much more money than the sum of the parts.
A number of books have already been published that help you build a high-performance upgrade to any of these cars. This chapter is dedicated to saving and completely rebuilding a numbers-matching car to original appearance that, when completed, can be enjoyed and even can win national-level awards.
The level to which you restore the driveline is completely contingent upon the correct date-coded parts used and the attention to detail while restoring those parts. The smallest detail is important and you should do everything possible to acquire and install correct original parts, if this is the final goal of your restoration.
If the thought of actually disassembling, restoring, and installing the engine in your car terrifies you,this section is just what you need. Unless you are lucky enough to find a car with a fresh engine rebuild, most cars’ powerplant needs attention. The engine and transmission are why you always dreamed of owning a muscle car. No one wants to drive an unreliable, slow, smoking, and leaking muscle car. Restoring the engine to factory condition can be expensive, but if you do all the work yourself you can save a load of money and have the gratification of saying, “Yeah, I built that.”
The 383, or “B” block, and the 440, or “RB” block, are very similar engines. Many parts from the 440 were used on many of the original 383 B-body cars we know and love. Using the free-breathing heads and exhaust manifolds from the 440 on the 383 provided an immediate and inexpensive gain in performance. Because so many similarities exist between the engines, you see many 440s transplanted into 383 cars.
If your car is not numbers matching, and you want more bang for your buck, rebuilding a 440 costs about the same as rebuilding a 383. Now is a great time to evaluate exactly what you want to do with your car when it is finished. That final goal helps you make good decisions during the build of your car.
The tools and equipment needed to perform a restoration are listed in the Chapter 1 sidebar “Tools.” Before attempting to rebuild the engine yourself, make sure you have (or have access to) the following: a garage with room to keep the car in a non-running condition, an engine hoist, a four-leg engine stand (a three-leg stand works but be careful that it doesn’t tip), a torsion bar removal tool, a ring compressor, and a hammer handle.
On a full restoration, we prefer to remove the engine, K-member, transmission, and front suspension, from the bottom. If the car is already painted and needs only the driveline rebuilt, you may opt to take the engine and transmission out from the top. If you do remove the entire assembly from the bottom it is very helpful to fabricate two welded stands with castors that can attach to the car’s frame so that it is still mobile.
Pull the torsion bars and then disconnect the upper A-arms, brake lines, fuel lines, linkage, drive- 9shaft, speedometer cable, all electrical connections, and anything else that keeps the engine and transmission from coming out of the car.
Lift the car with the engine hoist, slide a roller frame under the K-member, and then lower the car so that it is resting on the roller frame. The car pivots on the back tires and axle.
Unbolt the upper control arms, remove the transmission crossmember, and unbolt the K-member. Lift the car high enough to clear the engine and roll the entire assembly free.
Separate the transmission from the engine. If your car is an automatic, also remove the torque converter and torque plate. If it is manual, remove the transmission, bellhousing, and flywheel. Examine the condition of each unit and repair or replace as necessary. We recommend taking the transmission to a reputable rebuild shop to perform the repairs.
It is extremely helpful to lay out all the new parts, existing original parts, gaskets, sealers, oil, tools, etc. By having an organized workflow you can save valuable time and ensure that you don’t miss anything during assembly.
At about this time, you may start to get cold feet when you think about assembling the engine. After all, it will turn up to 6,000 rpm and needs to stay together for years to come. If you do, just pay the shop to assemble, your short-block, lower reciprocating assembly, or even the long-block, complete with heads, intake and rockers, and make it ready to paint. It depends entirely on your budget and your desire to build it yourself. Either way, it is important to strip, clean, and replace all engine components as necessary.
Rods and Pistons
Each rod and piston assembly is marked by the machine shop for the required assembly order and position. The rods are stamped with their position, the pistons are marked with a notch that goes toward the front of the engine, and the rods are marked with a dot.
Correct rod bearing and crank bearings must be cleaned, installed, and completely covered in assembly lube. Be sure to install the crank bearing with the oiling hole toward the block or you will have engine failure! In addition, use the lube provided in your new ARP bolt kits.
It is vital that you use a highquality assembly lube on all the internal moving parts of the engine. We also use a heavy racing oil to coat parts and to dip the piston and rings in prior to assemble.
Check the block to make sure that all of the oil channel plugs are in place. The machine shop usually installs these, but never assume anything when building an engine. Doublecheck everything. On this block, one of the main plugs was left off. Without it, the oil pressure (if you have any) is low. Use red high-temp RTV to seal the threads and then install.
We recommend replacing all rod bolts and crank bolts with new ARP bolts. We use original bolts externally on the engine for originality, but why not use new hardware inside on the moving parts?
We like to get all the piston assemblies in correct order and orientation in the piston box to help with proper assembly order. To seat the new ARP rod bolts, assemble the rods and caps and then coat with the ARP assembly lube.
Torque the bolts to the manufacturer’s recommended spec, which is different than the torque spec in the factory service manual. If you are using the original bolts, follow the manual’s specs. Always torque everything to the correct and appropriate specification.
Rings and Bearings
It is now time to assemble the rings into the pistons. If you are using the original pistons, be sure to use a ring groove cleaner to remove any deposits or burrs that can restrict the rings’ movement in the piston’s groove. Follow the directions provided with the rings for their order and position. The lower ring is actually made up of three rings. Always stagger the gaps in the rings to ensure proper sealing.
Clean the rods with spray cleaner. Install the rod bearing into the rod assemblies. The bearings have different edges. Make sure the beveled side goes toward the front of the engine on the number-1, -3, -5, and -7 rods and toward the rear of the engine on the number-2, -4, -6, and -8 rods. This allows the less beveled side to mate to the rod that shares the same crank journal.
Crankshaft and Main Caps
Once all of the rod/piston units are assembled and in order, you can install the crank and the main caps. Install half of the rear main seal (after dipping it in oil) and follow the included instructions to make sure it is installed facing the correct direction. Offset it so that about 1/2-inch of the seal is sticking up above the edge on one side of the block. This offset helps to prevent the seal from leaking.
The main caps are numbered 1 through 5. Lube the main cap bearings with assembly lube. The main caps are a tight fit. Make sure to position them level in the block and tap them into place with a hammer handle. Install lubricated ARP main bolts and torque to the ARP recommended torque specs.
Put the crankshaft bolt in place so you can easily rotate the crank. Give it a few turns to make sure it turns freely. Rotate the block up to about a 45-degree angle. Wipe the engine cylinder walls with cleaner and then with a clean rag soaked in oil. Begin with the number-1 rod assembly. Double-check the position of the rings based on the factory service manual instructions. Apply assembly lube to the rod bearings. The number-1 cylinder is on the driver-side front of engine.
Turn the crank so that the number-1 crank journal is at the lowest point from the block. Dip the piston into a bowl of oil; make sure that all the rings are immersed. Using a ring compressor tighten the rings on the piston. Insert piston and guide the rod; do not scratch the cylinder wall.
Once in place, tap the top of the piston with medium force until it is fully in the cylinder hole. Then guide the rod onto the crank journal while continuing to tap the piston from the top. Put the rod cap on and tighten the rod nuts leaving them only snug.
Install the number-3, -5, and -7 rods and then flip the engine block so you can access the other side; install the number-2, -4, -6, and -8 rods following the same procedure. Turn the engine over and torque all the rod bolts to ARP specs.
While the engine is bottom-up, dip the rear main rubber seal unit in oil and install. Be sure to follow the instructions so that the seal is in the correct position. Offset it about 1/2 inch on the opposite side from where you installed the lower seal before putting in the crank.
Install two sticks on each side of the seal unit. Apply RTV liberally to the channels on each side then press the sticks into the RTV. Apply RTV to the block surface and carefully slide the unit into place; make sure that the sticks remain in place and do not slide out of position. This is a must if you do not want the seal to leak.
Put in the special headed bolts and finger-tighten. Apply more RTV to the outside edges of the unit where it meets the block. Let the unit set for 5 minutes and then torque to specs.
Turn the engine to the upright position. Install the new crank timing chain’s lower sprocket; the timing marks must remain visible. Clean the new camshaft with spray cleaner. Lube all of the lobes thoroughly with the assembly lube. Carefully insert the cam making sure to support it all the way in; do not nick or scratch the bearings. Lube the upper and lower timing chain sprockets with assembly lube.
Position the upper sprocket so that the “0” is at 6:00 and the lower sprocket’s “0” is at 12:00. Line up the cam’s peg with the upper sprocket’s hole. When the chain, upper sprocket, and lower sprocket are lined up and partially on, tap the upper sprocket onto the cam.
Install the cam bolt (or bolts) and torque. Use red Loctite on the threads.
Install the oil slinger onto the crank.
Install the stock fuel pump with the pump rod in place. Notice the correct-headed bolts. Use new gaskets and RTV seal when you attach the oil pump. We suggest you replace the stock pump with a high-volume pump. It looks stock but provides more oil flow to the engine.
Do not torque until you have installed the distributor driveshaft. Position the crank so that the number-1 piston is at TDC (top dead center) and the two “Os” or dots line up on the upper and lower timing chain sprockets.
Lube the distributor driveshaft; use a large screwdriver to install it with the slot in the 10:00 position. You have to turn the shaft as it goes in to get the gears to mesh. You may have to try several times to get the slot at 11:00. This position ensures that the distributor, rotor, and cap are in the correct position for the number-1 plug wire.
Torque the oil pump bolts now that the shaft is in place.
Windage Tray and Oil Pan
Now that the timing chain cover is installed, rotate the engine to the bottom-up position and install the oil pickup tube. Be careful when starting it; it is easy to cross-thread the unit. Tighten it with a pipe wrench until you have about 1/16- to 1/4-inch clearance between the pickup and the pan. Also check for clearance and fit of the windage tray.
The windage tray and oil pan require two gaskets. This engine’s original gaskets were cork. Use cork gaskets because they do show after installation.
Spread a light coat of red hightemp RTV on the engine block. Place one gasket in the engine and coat it with a thin layer of RTV. Place the windage tray next. Coat the oil pan’s rim with a layer of RTV and place the gasket on the pan. Then apply another layer of RTV to the gasket.
Place the pan on the block. Install the pan bolts, note the correct head marking, and snug all of the bolts.
Let it set for five minutes and tighten each one until you see the gasket start to swell toward the outside of the pan. At that point, do not tighten any further or you split the cork gasket.
Start with the completed short-block in the upright position.It is a good idea to chase each head bolt hole in the block with a tap to make sure they install correctly. Spray-clean all areas to remove any dirt or shavings; then re-wipe all of the pistons and head surfaces with a clean, freshly oiled rag.
Place the head gaskets on the block. Don’t use any sealer on these gaskets.
Spray-clean the heads and wipe dry before installation. Then position each head onto the block. You do not have a left or right head; they are identical. Again, chase the threads where the intake bolts go. If using stock original head bolts, dip the threads in oil and insert them in the head. If using ARP bolts, apply the provided assembly lube to the threads and washers and then install.
Snug all bolts in place on both sides of the engine. Refer to the factory shop manual for the head bolt tightening sequence and torque spec. Remember that ARP bolts use different torque specs than the stock bolts. Spray-clean the new lifters and liberally lube with assembly lube, then slide them in the bores. If using new pushrods (or even the originals) clean and lube each end and install them in the lifter through the head. Lube each valve contact point. Stock rocker assemblies are very basic and yet very reliable for street use. The individual rockers have a left and a right, but the assemblies do not. The rocker shaft must have the oil holes facing toward the block. The spacer and all attaching bolts and brackets install a certain way. Clean each component and reassemble with oil on all parts.
Position each assembly on the head perches. It helps to have two hands to keep all the pushrods and rockers in line. Slowly tighten and make sure you are not binding the pushrod that is not in the lifter and rocker recess.
Repeat for both sides. When the shaft is seated, torque to spec. We recommend using the valley pan gasket that has the heat crossover blocked. Unless you live in a very cold area or you plan to drive the car daily, you do not need the heat crossover functional. Also, if you do not block it off your intake discolors and blisters after a few hours of operation of the engine.
Only use the metal gasket; you do not need to use the additional felt gaskets that come in some kits. Be sure that the rails and bolts are cleaned and ready to install. Put a dab of RTV sealer in each corner and lay the gasket in place. Install the intake manifold and torques to spec. The negative battery cable on all wedge big-blocks is mounted underneath the return carburetor spring bracket. The cable was attached when the engine was painted. Many restoration articles have said that only a small portion of the cable was painted.
If you are lucky enough to have the original cable you need to duplicate the amount of paint actually on your cable. For most, however, that is not the case. Our engine has the original cable to use as a guide and it was almost entirely painted all the way to the end.
As you install the intake, be sure to mount the cable and then torque it down. On engines before 1970, a negative ground wire was used on the rear passenger side of the engine that was also attached and painted. We had the correct original bracket, with serration, bolt, and cable for a 1970 440 or 383. Harmonic balancer, water pump, water pump housing,inlet tubes, throttle bracket, any spark plug wire brackets, valvecovers with the PCV rubber grommet and valve mounted on the cover, and exhaust manifolds were also attached at the factory when the engine was painted.
Yes, exhaust; and the paint burned off as soon as the car was driven. Each owner has to decide whether or not he or she will paint the exhaust. Most people choose not to paint them, but to be completely factory correct they were painted.
Use cork gaskets on the valvecovers because they show. Attach all of the additional parts to your long-block. Then, mask off all open holes and wipe the entire engine with lacquer thinner.
Rebuilding a 383 Engine
The following is a step-by-step guide to rebuilding an original 383 engine.
Bearing, Piston and Rod Preparation
Open up the main bearings and identify the center main. The oiling holes must be inserted toward the top of the block.
Use assembly lube and insert the center main, followed by the other main bearings.
The machine shop returns the pistons and rods labeled correctly.
The notch in the piston faces the front of the engine. The rods are always numbered and must match the rod and the cap with the same number.
Clean the bearing with spray cleaner, grease with assembly lube, and then install.
Notice the correct tang in the rod. The rod cap should always have a tang that matches.
Be sure to use the correct lube when seating the rod bolts and bearings. We recommend using new ARP rod bolts on an engine build. They are much better than original and almost never break.
Tighten the new rod bolts to specification in a vise before installation to seat them.
After all bearings are installed and all rod bolts are seated, place all of the pistons and rods in numerical order for installation into the block.
Following the instructions that came with the ring kit. Place the oil ring first. Next, place the upper and lower oil ring retainers; be sure to stagger the gaps according to the instructions.
Install the compression rings next per the instructions. Be sure to insert the ring properly with the correct beveled edge upward.
Double-check the main bearings and make sure the oiling holes are lined up.
The engine mounts are specific to each side and for what bolt and nut goes where. Take pictures or follow this example to install them correctly.
We always recommend purchasing new engine mounts when rebuilding an engine. Years and years of torque being applied weaken them over time.
Always use a certified assembly lube when building an engine. Under startup conditions it ensures that no damage occurs until the oil flow reaches the bearings.
Coat each bearing with moly lube and make sure the oiling hole is lined up properly. Be sure to install the upper rear main seal in the block. Follow the instructions provided with the seal.
Drop in the crank and rotate it to make sure it spins freely. Watch for any catches or drag while turning the crank.
Begin to install each main bearing cap. They are numbered 1 through 5 with the number-1 bearing cap at the front of the engine. Be sure to install them in the right order.
The bearing caps are a tight fit; make sure to line them up evenly so that one side is not in farther than the other.
Sometimes you must tap the bearing caps with a hammer handle to make sure they fit properly. Do not use anything metal because it may damage the main bearing caps.
Snug all the bolts on the crankshaft in order. Again, make sure nothing is dragging and the crank turns smoothly. Torque all main bolts to specifications and check again to make sure that the crankshaft turns freely.
Begin to assemble the rod bearings. Pay careful attention to the chamfer on the edge of the bearing. Install the flat side of the bearing in the rod where number-1 and number-2 rods meet. The chamfered side of the bearing then matches the chamfer on the crank journal. This applies to the rest of the rods.
Piston and Rod Installation
Pre-lube all of the rod bushings in preparation for assembly into the block.
Before inserting the pistons into each corresponding numbered hole, dip them into the assembly oil. This ensures that all of the rings are lubricated before assembly.
Wrap the spring compressor around the piston. Make sure that the rings have the proper staggered positions according to the instructions that came with the rings.
With the spring compressor tightened and in place, insert the assembly into the bore. Be careful not to scratch the cylinder.
Seat the ring compressor in the cylinder bore and tap the assembly into the bore, a little at a time, with a hammer handle. Never use anything metal or you may damage the piston.
Make sure that the rod bolt does not scratch the bore or crankshaft. Install the correct rod cap and snug the nuts onto the rod bolt. Repeat this procedure until all pistons are installed. Torque the rod nuts to spec. Turn the crank and make sure that all of the pistons move freely in the engine bore.
Cam, Timing Chain and Rear Main Seal Installation
Clean and pre-lube all of the camshaft’s lobes and the camshaft bearings in the block.
Install the camshaft; be sure that you do not nick any of the cam bearings. Work it in slowly, and clear each bearing as the camshaft goes into the block.
With the crank rotated so that the number-1 piston is at TDC, hold the timing chain and slide the crank sprocket on. At the same time, you can also line up the camshaft sprocket.
If the camshaft dot and the crank “0” are lined up, the cam installs without any advance or retard. Be sure to follow the instructions to set the cam because each manufacturer is different. Install with red thread lock and torque the cam bolt (or three bolts if it is a triple-bolt cam).
Install the rear main seal. Take every precaution to make sure the seal is installed correctly or it will leak. The rear main seal in a Mopar big-block is already prone to leaking. Two beveled “sticks” are located on each side of the aluminum seal retainer and the lower crank seal. Use plenty of silicone sealer on the side sticks. Do not use silicone on the rubber crank seal but dip it in assembly oil. Then, position the rubber crank seal so it is offset.
With the rubber crank seal offset, push in the alreadyinstalled upper crank seal to match the offset of the lower seal.
Push the side sticks into the recess in the seal retainer. Make sure that the wide part of the beveled stick is positioned to the outside.
Work the seal retainer assembly into the block. Be sure that the sticks are all the way in the block as far as possible. Any gap and the seal will leak.
Even when the seals are installed correctly sometimes a very small part of the stick seal needs to be trimmed off.
Fill the remaining recess with silicone to help ensure that you have no leaks after assembly. Torque the seal retainer bolts to spec. Do not use any extra silicone sealer inside the block.
Oil and Fuel Pump Installation
Install the oil pickup tube. If you are using the original be sure it is clean and the screen does not have any blockage. If you are using a new tube be very careful when starting it in the block or you may cross thread the fine threads. The pickup is very stubborn to get it all the way in place. You can use a pipe wrench to tighten it. Be careful not to bend or collapse the tube.
To test the tube’s height and position, install and remove the windage tray and the oil pan as you go. The oil tube pickup cannot be flush against the pan bottom or oil starvation occurs. However, it only needs about 1/16-inch clearance.
Install the fuel pump pushrod. A plug is located just under the fuel pump opening on the block. Lube the rod with grease and insert it into the block. You see only a small portion of the rod when it is fully installed.
These are correct original fuel pump bolts; most engines have lost them over the years.
Coat the gasket with silicone on both sides to ensure no future leaks.
Position the fuel pump into the block. Make sure that the pump lever is seated correctly against the pump rod.
You feel some slight resistance from the pump lever when it is in the correct position. Install the bolts and torque to specifications.
Apply silicone on the fuel pump pushrod access plug. Install it tightly.
Always replace the original oil pump with a new high-volume pump. It looks the same and more oil flow in the engine is always a good thing.
Install the pump but don’t tighten the bolts completely at this time. Install the oil pump driveshaft from the distributor. If you tighten the bolts now you will have difficulty positioning the rod in the pump.
The machine shop should have installed a new brass intermediate bushing in the block. Lube the oil pump driveshaft with assembly lube.
Slide the shaft in and be sure that it seats in the oil pump.
The teeth of the shaft and the cam mesh together. To get the slot in the top of the shaft to the right position, hold the slot at about the 9:00 position to start.
Turn the shaft clockwise with a big screwdriver while supporting the shaft with the other hand. During insertion, the mesh of the teeth allows the shaft to turn to the desired 11:00 position. When the shaft is in position and seated in the oil pump, torque the oil pump bolts to spec.
Install the timing chain cover. It has a rubber seal mounted in a metal ring. The seal must be tapped into the cover. Again, make sure it is in the position shown here.
Install the oil slinger, which serves two purposes. It keeps the chain lubricated better and also keeps excessive oil off the crank seal.
The seal is installed correctly with a gasket and a thin coat of silicone and is ready to install on the block.
Always torque the front bolts to specifications. The timing chain cover has two different-size bolts.
Oil Pan Installation
You are now ready to install the oil pan and windage tray. This requires two cork pan gaskets. Apply high-temperature copper silicone on the oil pan. Coat both sides of the gasket with sealer and put the first gasket on the block.
Put the second cork gasket, with sealer, on the factory-correct 402 oil pan.
Position the windage tray on the block.
This is an original, correct, pan bolt. Note the self-locking dot about halfway up the threads. Many enthusiasts have never seen this dot because, most of the time, the original bolts are long gone.
Finger-tighten the pan bolts all the way around. By doing this you don’t flex the pan before you fasten them.
Snug the pan bolts with just enough pressure to have the equal pressure on the gaskets.
Tighten the bolts one by one while watching the two cork gaskets. Continue until you see the slightest movement of the gaskets and they start to bulge. Do not overtighten the cork or it will split and you will have leaks.
Make sure all of the lifters are clean, even if they are right out of the box. Pre-lube all of the lifters with assembly lube and install them in the lifter bores. Be sure they move freely. Then install the head gasket. Some sets recommend not using any sealer.
Head and Accessory Installation
Place the already completely rebuilt and clean cylinder head on the block. Stock heads are identical so you don’t have a left or right.
Once the head is in place positioning pins in the block keep it from falling off.
If you are using the original bolts make sure they are clean and then dip them in engine oil. If you are using new ARP bolts (shown) use the lube provided. If you are going to show the car in an OEM setting use only original-style head bolts. ARP bolts were used on this build because they are difficult to see and the new bolts do not have a chance to fail. Follow the tightening reference for the head bolts found in your factory service manual and torque all head bolts to spec.
Lube the ends of the pushrods and insert them into the lifters. Put some assembly lube on the ends of all the valves where they contact the original rocker arms.
You have a left and a right rocker, several spacers, different-size bolts with specific spacers, and a rocker shaft with oiling holes. If you have any doubt about how your rocker assembly goes together, you can use this picture as a reference.
Position the rocker assembly with all bolts in place.
Carefully line up each rocker, pushrod, and bolt with spacer as you set the assembly on the head.
It is good to have an extra pair of hands to hold the rockers and pushrods in position. Tighten the bolts slowly and equally. As you tighten, each rocker comes to rest at a different height based on the cam lobe’s position. If you do not have everything in position you can bend a pushrod.
Torque the rocker assembly bolts to spec and repeat on the other side.
Intake Manifold Installation
You are now ready to install the intake manifold. Even though this original intake was blasted you can see heat coloration of the metal. Unless you live in a cold area or you plan on driving this car every day, use the valley pan gasket that has the heat crossover blocked off. If you don’t block the heat crossover with this gasket, all of your beautiful new paint burns off and discolors the intake.
These are the original valley pan bolts and bars. The washer indentions show where the two smaller bolts were. Not all engines have this; put it back the way you found it.
Before installing the valley pan gasket add some silicone on all four corners where the heads meet the block. No other sealer is needed on the mating surfaces of the valley pan gasket.
Press down the new metal gasket so it bends and conforms to the block and heads.
Again, an extra set of hands helps to hold the gasket in place while the intake is placed on the engine.
Place the retaining rails and bolts in the front and back of the valley pan and then tighten the bolts. A bevel is on each end of the rail; the longer side faces up.
The original intake bolts did not have any washers on the cast-iron intakes. The aluminum Dodge 19691 ⁄2 6-Pack and the Plymouth 19691 ⁄2 6-barrel intake originally had flat washers.
Snug the intake bolts starting with the inner bolts, alternating from side to side, working toward the last outside bolts.
The throttle-return bracket was mounted on the front driver-side intake bolt. They varied in style from year to year. This one is a 1971 type with serrations in the bracket. The 3 x 2 cars also had the serrations on the bracket. The negative battery cable is attached under the throttle return spring bracket. Attach it after the intake valley pan corner silicone seal has had a chance to dry.
After everything is in place and tightened equally, torque all the bolts to spec using the same inwardoutward, side-to-side alternating pattern.
Use cork gaskets because the engine originally used cork and the tabs of the valvecovers are visible. Use silicone sealer on both sides of the gaskets.
Attach the gasket to the valvecover first and then apply a thin coat of silicone sealer to the gasket.
Place the valvecovers on the heads and finger-tighten all the bolts. Then tighten each bolt 3/4 of a turn. Do not overtighten or the cork will split and the covers leak.
Tape off the oil filler hole and intake for paint.
Water Pump Installation
You install the water pump housing next. The only bolt that used a washer is the one behind the heater-hose nipple. Once the nipple is installed, you can loosen this bolt, but you cannot remove it. You can refer to this picture to identify the bolts on the water pump and water pump housing.
After installing the water pump housing, put sealer on the threads of the heater-hose nipples. They must be tightened and not damaged. You can use this method to achieve flawless results.
Attach the negative battery cable and spark plug wire bracket.
Use a grease and wax remover or a good grade thinner to clean everything that will be painted. Don’t use any primer on the engine or the bellhousing.
You can use a touch-up gun to paint the engine. It makes it easy to get to all the little nooks and crannies.
The absolute best original paint match can be purchased from Frank Badalson. He sells pints of the single-stage enamel. It is reduced two parts paint to one part reducer. You should have enough paint for one good wet coat.
Now it’s decision time. Do you paint the engine the same way the factory did or do you paint it better than the factory? There is much discussion about how much paint actually went on the exhaust manifolds. The owner of this engine chose not to paint the exhaust manifold or the PCV valve, even though they were painted originally. The bellhousing and inspection cover were painted on the engine originally. Automatic transmissions were also installed on the engine during paint and only received overspray and some paint on the edges.
Wet the floor (or ground) to reduce dust. A paint booth is preferable, but if you have a perfect day with no wind you can paint outside.
A full-size gun can be used to begin painting followed with a touch-up gun for tight spaces.
Your original negative battery cable may show paint all the way to the end of the cable. Paint the new one accordingly.
You can paint an engine in two ways: with a paint gun or a spray can. Several brands and colors are marketed as the correct factory color. If your car is a 1966–1968 big-block it was painted Chrysler Blue. Many people refer to it as turquoise.
Also, if your car has air conditioning it was painted Chrysler Blue. All non-air cars in 1969–1970 were painted Street Hemi Orange. Chrysler produces spray cans of these paints, but they are not very close to the original color.
We highly recommend using a spray gun and acrylic enamel paint as was done at the factory. You get much more paint, a higher quality paint, and better coverage than with spray cans. If you cannot use a gun, use PlastiCoat Chrysler Orange. It has more gloss than original, but most people like its final results. It is very close to the original color and holds up well over time.
Frank Badalson paints are the closest in color and appearance to factory original. They can be purchased at Auto Restoration Parts Supply, along with many other factory-correct reproduction parts.
A pint of paint covers the engine. It is reduced as two parts paint and one part reducer. You do not use primer or hardener because the hardener adds gloss. You can use a touch-up gun or a high-volume/low-pressure (HVLP) gravity feed gun as we do.
Use short bursts and pay careful attention to keep runs to a minimum and still cover everything that needs paint. Always use a mask whether you paint outside or inside and have proper ventilation.
Wipe down the engine, blow off any dust with an air gun, and use a tack-cloth to be sure the engine is clean, clean, clean. Wet the floor to keep down the dust, and then shoot.
Remove the tape on the engine as soon as it is no longer tacky. You must be careful because you can still mess up the paint before it has a chance to dry overnight.
The block should be factory correct in color, sheen, and painted components. By taking your time and paying attention to details, you can completely restore your engine and do most of the work yourself.
I suggest taking your engine to a dyno shop where they can break it in, tune it for maximum performance, and fix any problems before you install it in your ride. If that is not possible be sure to run the engine at startup at 2,000 rpm for 20 minutes to seat the rings and break in the cam.
Follow the steps in the factory service manual for installing the distributor, setting the firing order, routing the spark plug wires, setting up the carburetor and fuel lines, and installing the transmission on the engine.
After you restore the front suspension, as well as paint and assemble all of the parts, you can install the entire unit from the bottom of the car the same way you took it out. Do your best to have everything in the engine bay completely finished before you reinstall the assembly.
You either have a manual or automatic transmission. You can change from one to the other, but may parts and an extensive amount of work are needed to accomplish the switch. The following is an explanation of the differences between the two types.
Only a few transmissions were available in B-Body Chryslers during 1966–1970, which were all carry overs from earlier chassis. In the fall of 1963, Chrysler released an all-new transmission, the A-833, available in all B-Bodies ranging from vehicles equipped with slant-6s to those optioned with the legendary 426 Hemi. When introduced, the A-833 was equipped with a standard Hurst-Campbell Competition-Plus shifter and four fully synchronized forward speeds. It was built in Chrysler’s Syracuse, New York, New Process Gear plant.
A-833 manual transmissions found in B-Bodies differed from those found in A-Bodies. The primary difference was in the extension housing and mainshaft length, low-gear ratio, and rear flange size. Although smaller, the manually shifted A-Bodies carried a stouter 3.09:1 low gear, which better assisted with initial acceleration, even when paired with a smaller-displacement engine.
In the following years, Chrysler improved on the A-833 in 1965 with an improved and redesigned 1-2 shifter fork to assist second-gear powershifts. More changes followed in 1966. The Hurst shifter went away, replaced by a hollow-shaft Inland unit. Then the ball-and-trunnion front U-joint was replaced with a more typical sliding-spline yoke.
Other improvements for 1966 included a new speedometer pinion setup (larger pinions and adapters) for more precise calibration, and a new gearset for the new Street Hemi models, featuring Oilitebushings lining each gear as well as new, stronger gear-tooth angles. Hemi cars with A-833 transmissions also featured a new, larger input shaft, with a larger (308) bearing and retainer and coarse-spline clutch disc.
Fatefully, in 1967, Chrysler redesigned the synchronizers. Brass stop rings were designed to eliminate stop ring breakage on hard shifts. A significant flaw was eliminated.
Be sure to have the correct parts for your specific bellhousing and flywheel for the year of your car. An 11-inch bell and 143-tooth flywheel that used an 11-inch clutch was common.
In 1970, Chrysler changed to a 10.5-inch bellhousing, 130-tooth flywheel, and 10.5-inch clutch. Again, have the entire unit rebuilt and all of the seals replaced. Inspect the clutch, replace the clutch plate, and refinish the flywheel. Replace the throw-out bearing and the clutch linkage hardware. The quality of your parts affects the quality of the operation and performance of your car.
The bellhousing and inspection cover were painted at the same time as the engine. Therefore, the bellhousing shows various amounts of paint coverage from total to just overlapping where it attaches to the engine. The transmission is natural as-cast and can also be painted.
This is also a great time to inspect and rebuild or replace the shifter, depending on its condition. Check the input shaft bearing and replace it if necessary. Also check the clutch boot condition; it almost always has to be replaced.
Of all of Chrysler’s TorqueFlite models, the A-727 (which replaced the A-488 in 1962) is the most common among B-Body Chryslers. Once assigned to all V-8-equipped Chryslers until 1964, the A-727 was designed primarily for trucks and heavy-duty applications. Using an aluminum case rather than the outgoing A-488’s cast-iron case (shaving off nearly 60 pounds), the A-727 previously used a pawl (lock) for parking. On some 1964-and-earlier models, a lever actuated it.
In 1966, the rear pump was eliminated, while the 1962–1965 A-727s had front and rear pumps, as did the 1960–1965 A-904. The differences among the 904, 998/999, and 727 were largely in the size of the transmission case and internal components, as well as the torque converters.
The A-904 and A-727 had virtually identical components, but in smaller scale for the 904.
Have the entire unit rebuilt. Now is a good time to have a shift kit installed, if you choose. You can upgrade the torque converter based on the final engine specs (that is, cam profile).
Inspect the transmission mount and replace as necessary.
The finish of this transmission body is aluminum. It can be soda blasted or cleaned and painted with high-quality aluminum-color paint or left natural. The transmission pan is natural steel and the bolts are black phosphate. The inspection cover is also natural.
With limited space in this book we highly recommend purchasing a copy of Jeep, Dana & Chrysler Differentials: How to Rebuild the 81 ⁄4, 83 ⁄4, Dana 44 & 60, & AMC 20. It is a thorough guide to the rebuilding process of your B-Body rear end.
Written by Mike Wilkins & Mike Wilkins and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks