Barn-Find 409 Engine Rebuild - Unearthing A Legend, Part 2

Updating our barn-fresh 409 with aluminum heads and a roller valvetrain

Tommy Lee Byrd Jun 5, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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409 Engine Rebuild Double Roller Timing Set 2/28

15. The Comp Cams double roller timing set is installed. We installed the camshaft straight up, meaning the dot on the lower sprocket is lined up with the dot on the cam sprocket.

409 Engine Rebuild Top End 3/28

16. The other big aspect of updating this engine is the top end setup we ordered from Edelbrock. The Performer RPM cylinder heads are half the weight of the original iron castings, and they came fully assembled with valvesprings, 7/16-inch rocker arm studs and guideplates.

409 Engine Rebuild Cylinder Heads Valve Springs 4/28

17. We ordered the cylinder heads with valve springs that are set up for hydraulic roller camshafts with maximum lift capabilities of 0.600 inch. Comp Cams offers more aggressive valvesprings if needed, but keep in mind that more than 0.600-inch valve lift may require custom pistons.

409 Engine Rebuild Edelbrock Heads Valve 5/28

18. The Edelbrock cylinder heads feature stock valve sizing to ensure a true bolt-on experience. No machine work is necessary to install the Edelbrock heads on a stock short-block. Notice the lack of combustion chamber in the cylinder head—the combustion events occur inside the cylinder.

409 Engine Rebuild Fel Pro Gaskets 6/28

19. Fel-Pro gaskets are used, and the Edelbrock heads are installed onto the dowel pins.

409 Engine Rebuild Arp Head Bolts 7/28

20. Before the ARP head bolts can be installed, we must first remove one of the rocker arm studs from each pedestal. Then we rotate the guideplate far enough to allow the bolt to slide into the bolthole. This also provides enough clearance for a socket.

409 Engine Rebuild Arp Thread Sealer 8/28

21. As we install the ARP head bolts, we apply ARP thread sealer to each bolt. Every head bolt in a 409 is a wet bolt, so thread sealer is a must if you don’t want coolant leaks. Don’t forget to also coat the threads in ARP Ultra Torque to ensure proper torque specs.

409 Engine Rebuild Torque Bolts 9/28

22. Starting in the middle of the cylinder head and working our way outward in a clockwise pattern, we torqued the ARP head bolts. We tightened the bolts in three steps, with a final torque reading of 70 ft-lb.

409 Engine Rebuild Comp Cams Retro Fit Link Lifters 10/28

23. We begin the valvetrain assembly by installing the Comp Cams retrofit link bar roller lifters. The link bar is pointed away from the block surface, and the lifters should easily drop into place.

409 Engine Rebuild Rocker Arms 11/28

24. The Comp Cams Ultra Pro Magnum rocker arms offer a lightweight and very durable construction. Rocker arm ratio is 1.7:1 for this application.

409 Engine Rebuild Pushrods Lube 12/28

25. Before sliding the rocker arms onto the studs, we used the Cam & Lifter Installation Lube on the ends of the pushrods and valvesprings. These surfaces see a lot of friction on initial startup, so pre-lubrication is always suggested.

409 Engine Rebuild Rocker Arm Nuts 13/28

26. We threaded the rocker arm nuts loosely into place. We will adjust the valves in next month’s installment.

409 Engine Rebuild Finished Long Block 14/28

27. The finished long-block is looking good, so check back next month when we put the finishing touches on the 409 and see how it handles a serious thrashing on the dyno.


Comp Cams
Memphis, TN 38118
Torrance, CA 90503


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