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92k lt1 is block ok for heads and cam?

This is a discussion on 92k lt1 is block ok for heads and cam? within the LT1 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; So I've got a '97 trans am m6 with 92k miles on it and bolt ons, and I'm doing heads ...

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    92k lt1 is block ok for heads and cam?

    So I've got a '97 trans am m6 with 92k miles on it and bolt ons, and I'm doing heads and cam with all sorts of supporting mods: fuel system, progear chain, electric waterpump, valvetrain, etc. The only thing I wasn't gonna mess with was the block. According to Mr. Lloyd Elliot the lt1 stock block is safe up to 6300 rpm, which I've set my build around. The only question I have is should I mess with the block or just leave it alone? Originally my intentions were to leave it be and in a year or two stroke it to a 383 and upgrade my internals. As it stands I know the previous owner didn't take the best care of it. I once helped him with an oil change which I later found out was at 7000 miles instead of the standard 3000, BLACK as hell. As of now I've put like 15k-20k miles on it and full exhaust, msd ignition, a tune, and some small stuff on it. Its running strong with only an egr leak at the header which I'm too lazy to fix. I haven't heard or felt anything very out of place, so it seems like everything should be ok. But I figured I should ask the experts, do I need to have a machine shop inspect the block / replace bearings etc? I was thinking about putting in ARP connecting rod bolts but if I don't need to mess with it I won't. I feel fairly confident with the heads and cam install but as for the block all I could do is pull the oil pan and poke my head in there. Should I leave it be or give it to a proffessional? The budget I'm working with is gonna be stretched if I need any major work but I don't want to chance anything.

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    Senior Member justinmc978's Avatar
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    sold: 1999 firebird
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    i wouldnt, but those ARP CRBs sound like a good idea

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    Senior Member bigrondownhiller's Avatar
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    Do some basic checks to see what is up. A compression test and a leakdown test will give you some hints as to the condition of the block.

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    Senior Member 5.0THIS's Avatar
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    Well, you're going to be pushing the motor harder than it ever has before, and it will be making more power as well. And you already admitted that the motor may not have had the luxury of the best maintenance practices throughout its life. Some basic machine work, new bearings throughout, new pistons, rod bolts, oil pump, and a good balance job (key for high rpm longevity) would probably run you 1500$ or so, maybe less. It would be good insurance, but only you know what your budget will allow.

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    Get some plastigauge and check the bearing clearances. If they are on the loose side buy some new bearings and check clearances. 1 rod bearing is $2.99. check with that, chances are if the clearances are too loose on 1 bearing they will be loose everywhere, and that will give you your answer as to whether or not you sould rebuild the lower end. You may get lucky and you may be able to drop in a set of standard bearings. Get a new oil pump too, just not a high volume one.

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    Oh it got so serious. I got wrapped up in trying to figure out what I wanted to do and which would cost less and what made the most sense. End result is I just lost my mind for a minute and next thing I know block was on engine stand and there were little baggies with pistons and rods in them. Some place in my brain said TAKE IT APART I MUST KNOW HOW IT TICKS O_O So now the machine shop has it and I'm getting a 383 stroker kit with money I don't have. Lloydd Elliot is a pretty cool guy he just said send him the cam back and he'd send me a more appropriate one, 236/244 I think. I need to buy different injectors and send back my ARP rod bolts as well since the new rods don't use them. Besides the obvious financial troubles, the BIGGEST stumbling block I'm hitting right now is the electric water pump. Everything says its super easy and I've found several quick install guides but I am DEFINITELY doing something wrong. I tried to press out the first one's impeller and BOOM cracked the housing. Found a used one for $70 and tried again using heat and a hammer first then press again and BOOM cracked exactly the same way. I'm not sure what I'm missing but its got to be really simple, wish I could find more detailed instructions with some pictures :/

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    Senior Member JaycenK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingD View Post
    Oh it got so serious. I got wrapped up in trying to figure out what I wanted to do and which would cost less and what made the most sense. End result is I just lost my mind for a minute and next thing I know block was on engine stand and there were little baggies with pistons and rods in them. Some place in my brain said TAKE IT APART I MUST KNOW HOW IT TICKS O_O So now the machine shop has it and I'm getting a 383 stroker kit with money I don't have. Lloydd Elliot is a pretty cool guy he just said send him the cam back and he'd send me a more appropriate one, 236/244 I think. I need to buy different injectors and send back my ARP rod bolts as well since the new rods don't use them. Besides the obvious financial troubles, the BIGGEST stumbling block I'm hitting right now is the electric water pump. Everything says its super easy and I've found several quick install guides but I am DEFINITELY doing something wrong. I tried to press out the first one's impeller and BOOM cracked the housing. Found a used one for $70 and tried again using heat and a hammer first then press again and BOOM cracked exactly the same way. I'm not sure what I'm missing but its got to be really simple, wish I could find more detailed instructions with some pictures :/
    lol well a couple more and you could have just bought a brand new GM water pump. Call tech suport.

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    Senior Member bigrondownhiller's Avatar
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    Gotta love when a small project gets out of control. should be fun when it is all done. Keep us posted.

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    Sadly I never figured out the water pump secret. As far as I can tell I did it wrong and I give up. I called the company and they told me how to do it, and it really didn't help. I called the guy I just bought a used water pump from and broke it, and he was VERY helpful. I feel pretty retarded because when he asked about why I needed another water pump, he told me he had a housing with the impeller removed sitting in front of him and asked me if I wanted it. If only I'd have asked before I bought the first one T_T So now I've got it on the way and I am just gonna take the broken water pump as a failed experiment. Tax refunds and parts are on the way. I'll keep whoevers interested posted.

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    Senior Member JaycenK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingD View Post
    Sadly I never figured out the water pump secret. As far as I can tell I did it wrong and I give up. I called the company and they told me how to do it, and it really didn't help. I called the guy I just bought a used water pump from and broke it, and he was VERY helpful. I feel pretty retarded because when he asked about why I needed another water pump, he told me he had a housing with the impeller removed sitting in front of him and asked me if I wanted it. If only I'd have asked before I bought the first one T_T So now I've got it on the way and I am just gonna take the broken water pump as a failed experiment. Tax refunds and parts are on the way. I'll keep whoevers interested posted.
    Turn it into a lamp or a cool colored led light for the garage. Or stress relief. Keep us updated

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    Oh that broken water pump is gonna get the full treatment. I think I'm just gonna bring it to work with me and use the wrecker's oxy/acetylene torch + sledge hammer etc until its in a million pieces. I'm not actually mad anymore but I'll probably end up feeling better anyhow. I did forget my other problem though. I have had a stage 2 clutch kit from carolina clutch for over a year now, this time when I took it out I didn't realize the bolts were all the way out and just sticking. Friction disk and pressure plate hit my foot from 6 feet up and I've never been so glad to be wearing steel toe boots in my life. The friction disk is no good because a spring flew out and the plate in the middle broke. It had so much life left too =/ The pressure plate itself looked ok but I just found what looks like a crack in it on the machined side. It doesn't go all the way through the ring, its fairly small, and just feels like a scratch with a fingernail. I don't know if that makes it fubar or if a machine shop can grind off enough of the surface to get rid of it before it spreads. If I get time I'm just gonna take it to the machine shop to have them look at it but I really hope I don't have to buy a new pressure plate.

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    Developments are small. The crank is balanced and the machine shop guy can be done whenever I want pretty much. I'm waiting on my heads and a different cam from Mr. Elliot. Should be getting them around the end of the month. The water pump guy screwed me and sent me a pump that had a f**ked up mating surface and so I told him about it. I'm currently awaiting a new pump from him that he sent for free. I'm thinking about the first or second weekend of April I'll actually be putting stuff together. Until then I'll be helping my friends put their cars together.....ironic.

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    Senior Member JaycenK's Avatar
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    LOL that sounds like my kind of luck. I always seem to get the bum parts.

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    Success!

    Today was a good day. I got my cam, water pump, and clutch kit all within 5 minutes of each other. I took the water pump into the shop and tried a different method and OMFG. I'm about retarded. It was so ridiculously easy to get the impeller out, I feel silly for trying to do it the other way. The pump they sent me is in great shape and very clean for a used pump. Soooo as far as I know I'm all set except for gaskets and when Mr. Elliot finishes the heads. All is well in the universe.

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    Senior Member JaycenK's Avatar
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    Cool man what heads and cam did you get from Lloyd?

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    It was the le2 heads and 236/244 cam. Anyways, ALL THE PARTS ARE HERE YAY! I picked up my block and rotating assembly today and its staged for tomorrow. I went out tonight to pick up some last minute supplies and failed. I have to go out tomorrow morning and find some plastigauge before I can get started. Other than that I guess I'm good. I'm no engine builder so I'm not sure how all these checks are going to go but as long as I follow the instructions it should be ok :P I didn't know how much I was going to need to check but my machinist just said to chill out. If I'm doing it myself he said just get some plastigauge, its easy to use. Check all the rod and main bearings with it, he'd check the endplay for me or I could use his tool whichever, he said its easy. Hes already clearanced the block for the rods. And he said for the cam bearings don't even worry about it, if it spins its good. I don't like that last answer but I guess it'll be ok? Also I'm getting mixed messages about break in procedure. He told me just use conventional oil and don't worry about any additives, other people said use the lucas additive, and someone even said use synthetic. I don't know who to believe so at the moment I'm going to just go with the guy who sold me the parts. I bought a jug of 5-20 (or 5-30 can't remember) conventional oil and I'm hoping that will work fine. Any feedback appreciated, I will be posting as I go.

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    Senior Member JaycenK's Avatar
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    You could save that oil for the lawn mower. I like using a breakin oil. It's made to help break in the bearings right. As for how to drive it? all you have to do is start it, fill everything, make sure it reaches operating temp and nothing above then take it out for a drive. Run it normal for about 50 miles and then break in the rings by making runs to 4k rpms and letting the motor break its self back down to 2k rpms. do this several times and then do the same thing as before at 4k but take it to 5k. If you run a roller lifter you don't need to break in the cam, and once you have set the rings you can drive it normal and change the oil. Some wait to 500 mile or 1000 miles and others wait only 100 miles or change it after they first start it up. Your choice really. If you can run a tall filter do it but a tall would not fit with my long tubes so I changed the filter and oil after about 200 miles and cut the filter open to see if there were any parts of my bearings in it lol.

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    Senior Member 5.0THIS's Avatar
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    Changing the oil after initial startup isnt a bad idea. It gets all of the assembly lubricants out of the motor. You do still want to run a break in type oil after that, although using something like Joe Gibbs break in oil, which is high in zinc, is much more critical on a flat tappet motor.

    Do not run synthetic during initial break in, or the rings will not seat correctly. Total Seal makes a dry film lubricant which is excellent to use during assembly. It comes in a small container, and is like a powder. It is designed to lubricate, but allow the rings to seat properly. That would be my recommendation. Use this ONLY in the cylinder bores. Everywhere else the appropriate assembly lubricants should be used.

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    It begins

    Thanks for the advice fellas. So heres where I'm at: I used plastigauge to check all the bearing clearances, boy that was time consuming. Everything checks out within spec (yay!). As of now the entire rotating assembly is installed-- I had the machinist file fit the rings for me he charged me $40, I just didn't wanna mess with it. Crank endplay is good, the cam is in and lookin good, and I had a hell of a time with the timing set but I got it. The crank sprocket just didn't want to go on, but they won't allow open flame in the hobby shop so I couldn't use heat. I ended up pulling it off checking stuff and then just putting it on with some more M.A.N. and everything is good. I don't have access to a degree wheel so....I didn't degree the cam. I may still try to find one just because I'm paranoid but Mr Elliot did say the people he gets the cams from are really good about having it right on the money (Bullet Racing).

    Right now I've got a couple issues. The ARP 7104 rocker studs have like...a shouldered stud I guess I could say, or more like a bevel. So between the head and the hex on the stud there is a gap where it won't go down anymore without the threads cutting into the stud. I spoke with arp and they told me these are for use with guideplates and they don't make ones that aren't. He gave me a part number for some id chamfer washers that "should" work. Fortunately that doesn't halt progress as I can do most of the other stuff anyway.

    The other thing is that I found out the mr gasket 5716 head gaskets are not for 97 and are meant for iron heads. I was freakin out but apparently lots of people run these and they work fine so screw it, they're going on. Today I hope to get both of the heads on, the oil pump and pan, front cover, rear seal, and whatever else I can. And come to think of it I still didn't do anything about that hole in the timing cover for the water pump gear. Might wanna figure that on out aye?

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    Senior Member 5.0THIS's Avatar
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    Make sure when doing the heads to torque down in stages, and in the correct order. Also, use the ARP thread lubricant/ sealer on the head bolts and torque to the appropriate number, which may be different when using the arp lube. Make sure on that, talk to arp if necessary.

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