25 With the piston and rod assemblies set, it was time to check our rod bearing clearances. The same method used for the main bearings is used here. Jason likes to see the bearing clearances on the rods fall between .003- and .005-inch.
Using the inside mic, and based off our rod journal measurement from the crank, our bearing clearance was at .005-inch, on the loose side but still within spec.
27 With that done, we could install the piston/rod assemblies. After putting some oil on the cylinder walls and ring compressor, the assembly is slipped through the ring compressor, and gently tapped into the cylinder. Always be careful when doing this so you don't nick the cylinder walls with the uncapped rod ends.
28 After installing everything, we turned the block over to install our oil pump. We went with a standard Melling M-77HV (high volume) oil pump from Summit Racing. With our clearances on the loose side, we felt comfortable using the high volume pump on our street engine. In applications where a HV pump is used in a street engine with tight tolerances, the increased pressure can blow the oil right off the bearing surfaces, meaning they don't have the proper amount of oil to prevent wear. Consult with your engine builder or the manufacturer if you're unsure which volume pump to use. We also used the corresponding Melling oil pump driveshaft.
29 Jason likes to pull new oil pumps apart and check their insides for any casting flash that could break off during operating and get sucked into the motor to cause damage. Once he's made sure it's clean (ours was fine), he uses this special tool to install the oil pump pickup.
30 Big-blocks use three different depth oil pump pickups. Starting with a standard one, Jason measures from the bottom of the oil pan to its flange. Then he goes to the block, and compares his measurement with the location of the pickup. Enough clearance has to be left so the oil pump can suck oil through in high enough quantities to feed the engine. To get the right clearance, you either have to change pickup lengths, or simply rotate the pickup enough to get the proper clearance while keeping the pickup immersed in oil.
31 Once we had the pickup clocking set, Jason tack welded it in place.
32 Next up was installing our windage tray. A windage tray keeps the crankshaft from frothing up the engine oil, which restricts oil flow, along with creating parasitic drag on the crankshaft. The windage tray also helps with oil baffling to keep the oil in the sump area of the pan during acceleration and cornering. We used a standard Moroso big-block windage tray form Summit Racing, part no. 23030. The first step is setting the lower nuts the will set the tray's depth.
33 Next, Jason sets the tray down and adjusts the lower nuts till the tray is level and clears the crankshaft throws.
34 Once the depth is set, the top nuts are tightened down, securing the tray.
35 When using studs or bolts with provisions for a windage tray, you have to check their depth in the pan to make sure they don't hit. With no gasket installed, our studs were hitting the baffle on the oil pan. Easily solved. Using the marks the studs had made, Jason used a drift and hammer to tap reliefs in the baffle to clear the studs. After that, the pan sat flush (without gasket) and had no clearance issues/
36 And there you have it. Our short-block is assembled (minus oil filter adapter and filter) and ready for the top end of the engine. In our next installment, we'll cover that, and the proper method for breaking in a flat tappet cam. Stay tuned!