Weekend Engine Restoration

Some paint, elbow grease, and a few new parts can make a huge difference

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Let's face it, having a rusty, grease-covered engine is pretty embarrassing for a true car guy. No matter what the exterior looks like, we all want those oohs and ahhs when we pop the hood. While stripping an engine down to bare bones and installing a ton of new parts will make it look nice, sometimes a little weekend work can get you most of the wow factor with a lot less work.

We wanted to do a quick resto on a small-block that would only take a weekend to complete and didn't require cracking any major seals. That meant the intake and timing-chain cover needed to stay on. We did want a little new-parts flash, so new valve covers and air cleaner were ordered up. The rest would be done with good old-fashioned elbow grease and some Rust-Oleum. This story will show the procedure to do an in-the-car resto of an engine to improve the looks with as little work as possible. Some of the tips and procedures in this story can be applied to other areas of the car, so even if your motor is already clean there might be something in here for ya.

Parts & Prices

  • Valve covers, PN 141-921, $219.95
  • Aluminum mini nuts, PN 66650, $20.50
  • Air cleaner, PN 141-692, $73.95
  • Rust-Oleum Engine Enamel Semi-Gloss, PN 248936, $11.38 for two cans
  • Rust-Oleum Engine Enamel Cast Coat Iron, PN 248955, $5.69
  • Alternator and belts from parts store, $69.93

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