Posts Tagged ‘1987 Corvette engine’

Polishing Aluminum DIY Videos

Thursday, November 4th, 2010
 

Polishing Aluminum

 Here are a few videos I created to show how I polished the aluminum parts from the TPI intake of my 1987 Corvette convertible.  The methods used here can apply to any aluminum or metal part and not just car parts.  Remember, this is a very time consuming undertaking for optimum results.  If you wish to spend the time on a “Do It Yourself” or commonly referred to as a “DIY” project, I guarantee you will be pleased with the results.  Over the years I have polished many parts mostly by hand and even mounting a buffing wheel in the drill press. The only thing I would do different now that I finished polishing the TPI intake, value covers, and alternator bracket is to record the amount of time I spent on this project.  Once I completed the parts I wanted polished, it was time to clean the workshop.  I could not believe the black coating on everything around the two motors that I had mounted my Enkay buffing wheels on.  

1987 Corvette engine compartment before polishing many of the aluminum engine parts - Many of the parts on the engine was painted with a silver paint.  I suspect this was complete during the first engine re-build that did not go so well.

1987 Corvette engine compartment before polishing many of the aluminum engine parts - Many of the parts on the engine were painted with a silver paint. I suspect this was complete during the first engine re-build that did not go so well.

1987 Corvette engine compartment before polishing many of the aluminum engine parts - Much of the engine compartment was painted with a cheap clear coat.  That did not hold up do well and needed to be cleaned off with solvents.

1987 Corvette engine compartment before polishing many of the aluminum engine parts - Much of the engine compartment was painted with a cheap clear coat. That did not hold up do well and needed to be cleaned off with solvents.

At one point I thought that it would be nice to polish all of the aluminum suspension parts from the C4 Corvette that I am using on my 1929 Ford Roadster hot rod.  Now I am not so sure about that now that I know how much work it will be.  At most, I might polish the front upper and lower control arms but the jury is still not out on that one.  The polishing of the engine parts on my 1987 Corvette convertible was only feasible due to the engine re-build that was necessary due to a few problems with the previous engine re-build by the last owner.  Of course I just did not polish many of the aluminum engine parts, but I cleaned and painted every single part that went back on the engine.  While the engine was out of the Corvette, I also re-painted much of the engine compartment with medium gloss black paint.

1987 Corvette engine compartment after polishing many of the aluminum engine parts - This is a big improvement but was an incredible amount of work to polish the aluminum engine parts.

1987 Corvette engine compartment after polishing many of the aluminum engine parts - This is a big improvement but was an incredible amount of work to polish the aluminum engine parts.

1987 Corvette engine compartment after polishing many of the aluminum engine parts - Parts like the value covers are not manufactured to be polished.  There are many casting flaws that cannot be removed during the polishing process.

1987 Corvette engine compartment after polishing many of the aluminum engine parts - Parts like the value covers are not manufactured to be polished. There are many casting flaws that cannot be removed during the polishing process.

1987 Corvette engine compartment after polishing many of the aluminum engine parts - I cleaned and painted all of the engine parts with a high heat Dupli-Color aluminum color ceramic paint.  The paint is apparently rated for 1200 degrees F or 649 degrees C.  I will say that the paint burned off sand blasted headers in about the first 3 minutes on the initial starting and running of the freshly re-built engine.

1987 Corvette engine compartment after polishing many of the aluminum engine parts - I cleaned and painted all of the engine parts with a high heat Dupli-Color aluminum color ceramic paint. The paint is apparently rated for 1200 degrees F or 649 degrees C. I will say that the paint burned off sand blasted headers in about the first 3 minutes on the initial starting and running of the freshly re-built engine.

 

Aluminum polishing videos available on YouTube by 1929fordhotrod.com

 

Aluminum polishing equipment needed before you start – This is a short video showing the basic polishing equipment needed before you start to think about making anything shiny.  Having the right tools to do any job makes the job so much easier.  If you do not have the power sanding equipment then you can do everything by hand starting with a course grit of sandpaper and moving slowly to the finer grits of sandpaper.  I can remember polishing a set of aluminum rims totally by hand back in the 70’s.  The buffing wheels from Enkay are not too expensive and are most valuable in this exercise. 

Fast Tube
Fast Tube by Casper

 

Polishing Aluminum 2 is the next video showing how I moved through the steps of polishing the top flat section of the upper intake plenum of the TPI injection system. 

Fast Tube
Fast Tube by Casper
 

Polishing Aluminum 3 is the final video showing how I smoothed out the sides and more contoured areas of the upper intake plenum of the TPI injection system. 

Fast Tube
Fast Tube by Casper

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Building a Small Block Chevy / SBC Engine Pre-oiler

Monday, August 9th, 2010
 
 
Building a Small Block Chevy / SBC Engine Pre-oiler
 
   

 

The engine for my 1987 Corvette convertible was brought to the machine shop to be repaired last summer.  I am just getting around to installing the engine now, a year later.  This past year was a busy one for me not allowing me to get in the shop as much as I would have liked.  Since the engine has been sitting in the engine stand in my shop for an extended period of time, the engine would need to be primed or pre-oiled before starting it.  This would prevent unnecessary damage to the rotating parts requiring lubrication and may have dried up.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - Start with any SBC distributor

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - Start with any SBC distributor

I gave a local wrecking yard a call in the morning, so I could come and pickup later in the afternoon an old distributor from a small block Chevy engine.  I told them that it did not need to be complete and all I really wanted was the main housing.  In the afternoon I pick it up and paid $20 for it. 

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - Remove all internal parts, they will not be needed for the pre-oiler.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - Remove all internal parts, they will not be needed for the pre-oiler.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - All of the internal parts removed.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - All of the internal parts removed.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - These parts are not needed.  Sell them, maybe on eBay, store them for spares, or just throw them out.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - These parts are not needed. Sell them, maybe on eBay, store them for spares, or just throw them out.

Back at the shop, I started to dismantle the old distributer.  The main shaft bushings seemed fine and did not have any play in them.  Everything required to make the small block Chevy distributer work in the car as part of the engines ignition system was removed.  These parts where eventually thrown out in the garbage.  I removed the shaft from the main aluminum distributor housing.  This would make the shaft easy to mount in the metal lathe allowing me to remove the lower camshaft gear. 

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - The rotating shaft has been removed.  The lower gear needs to be taken off.  I used the metal lathe. If you do not have a lathe use a grinder.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - The rotating shaft has been removed. The lower gear needs to be taken off. I used the metal lathe. If you do not have a lathe use a grinder.

A few years ago, I purchased an old Logan metal lathe.  The price was right and it would allow me to fabricate a few more parts like this engine pre-oiler I am building.  Some day, I will replace it with something better, but for now it is perfect for this sort of project.  A metal lathe in the shop is as valuable as the Mig welder, grinder, metal cutting band saw, and cutting torch or plasma cutter.  By having a good variety of equipment in the shop, I find that fabricating small items like the small block Chevy engine pre-oiler is becoming much easier.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - The lower gear has been removed along with a good part of the upper housing.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - The lower gear has been removed along with a good part of the upper housing.

After a few minutes in the lathe, the lower camshaft gear was removed.  If you do not have a metal lathe at home, the gear can be carefully removed with a hand held grinder.

I took a look at the top end of the aluminum housing were the lower part of the distributor cap would match up to.  This part of the housing had a large diameter and I would never screw a distributor cap onto this housing again.  So, I fitted the distributor aluminum housing in the metal lathe, and reduced the diameter of the upper part of the small block Chevy distributor housing.  This modification would allow for easy storage of the pre-oiler later.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - The completed pre-oiler all cleaned up and ready to use.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - The completed pre-oiler all cleaned up and ready to use.

Everything was quickly cleaned up and the shaft was re-inserted to the aluminum distributor housing.  With all of the parts removed from the top of the small block Chevy distributor, the shaft will move up and down in the housing.  A 0.625 inch shaft collar was used as a spacer and second shaft collar with a 0.5 inch inner diameter was used to fasten the shaft in place.  I only used the set screw on the 0.5 inch shaft collar.  If the set screw is used on the lower collar which is only a spacer, binding may occur on the rotating shaft.  Before final assembly, I lubricated all of the rotating parts.

In the small block Chevy engine the distributer turns in a clockwise direction.  To keep everything visual, I used a marker to indicate this on the top of the engine pre-oiler.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - The pre-oiler installed the the 1987 Corvette TPI engine.  The shaft must turn clockwise

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - The pre-oiler installed the the 1987 Corvette TPI engine. The shaft must turn clockwise

Now I was ready to use my newly made small block Chevy engine pre-oiler.  I installed it in my 1987 Corvette engine and attached my 0.5 inch variable speed drill to the top of the pre-oiler.  Making sure the drill turned in a clockwise direction, I powered up the drill slowly.  At first the drill will turn freely without any load.  Once the oil starts to move through the engine, the load on the drill will increase, making the drill harder to hold onto.  With the valve covers off the engine, after about three minutes, oil will start moving through the push rods and onto the rockers.  I continued running the drill till oil started to drip down onto the top of the heads.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - Use a 0.5 inch varible speed drill using a slower speed.  As oil starts to move through the engine, the load on the drill will increase.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - Use a 0.5 inch varible speed drill using a slower speed. As oil starts to move through the engine, the load on the drill will increase.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - After about 3 minutes oil will move through the pushrods and down the rockers.

Small Block Chevy engine pre-oiler - After about 3 minutes oil will move through the pushrods and down the rockers.

If you do not have a small block Chevrolet / SBC engine, you can use the same technique and procedure to build your own engine pre-oiler for any Ford, Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, or other North American or European engine.

Below is a short video of how I built my small block Chevy engine pre-oiler.

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