“You’re going to beat on this thing, right?” Scott asked me as he measured the play with a dial indicator.
“Yes,” I answered, having decided at the beginning that an engine like this would have to live at least part of its life on a racetrack.
“Good,” he said, pulling the thrust bearing to take off a little material.
The pistons were then installed on their respective connecting rods, with a spiral lock on each side of the wristpin to keep them in place. The rings were then installed after being file-fitted to each cylinder; their ends were also verified to be square to one another and carefully beveled. With each of the pistons fully assembled, they were slipped into a piston-ring compressor, a tapered sleeve that compresses the rings so they don’t snag on the block when the piston is placed in the cylinder.
As I watched, Scott deftly slid the first piston through the compressor and down into the number one cylinder, carefully guiding the lower end of the rod so it didn’t nick the crank; he then carefully installed the cap and torqued it into place. All of a sudden, the block was starting to look like an engine.
Once the rotating assembly was torqued into place, we switched to the top end—including the cam, timing set, lifters, heads, intake, and front and rear covers—which we’ll cover next month. The last major bottom-end component we added was the oil pan, which goes on after the front and rear covers have been installed.
As an industry leader in LS retrofits, Holley was a natural source for the right oil pan. Intended to provide maximum ground clearance, Holley’s cast-and-machined aluminum pan has a total capacity (with filter) of six quarts, and it uses a standard LS3 dipstick and tube (not included). The kit comes with most of the other major components required to install it, including a sump baffle and pickup tube; you’ll need to provide a windage tray. We used one from a truck, and followed the included instructions to clearance it where necessary.
Since the LS uses the main cap bolts to mount the oil pan, we stacked washers on the main cap studs to get the spacing correct, keeping clearance between the rotating assembly and windage tray minimal for best oil scavenging.
With the pan in place, we tightened the front and rear covers, and tapped and screwed in the engine-plug kit provided by Comp Cams.
In our next installment, we’ll seal up the top and put the fire to it.