All 16 lifters are soaked in oil to get them lubricated (but they aren't pumped up, so as not to interfere with proper valve adjustment), and cam break-in lube is spread on the bottom surface of each before sliding them into their bores. Then the pushrods are inserted, being sure to put some break-in lube on the tips of each as well.
While attempting to install the rocker arms, we found that the underside of the rocker interfered with the valvespring keeper, preventing the rocker arm tip from contacting the valve stem. Look closely and you can see the gap between the roller tip and the valve in the photo. Some rockers encountered more interference than others.
You can see the point where the valve keeper was contacting the rocker here (which we revealed by pushing down on the rocker and wiggling it back and forth atop the valvespring, thereby making a mark). Powerhouse recommended that we grind the underside of the rockers for clearance, so we did, and in the process matched each rocker uniquely to each valve.
With all rockers clearanced, the valves can be adjusted. Spread some assembly lube in the pushrod cup before setting each rocker in place. Turn the crank and adjust the rockers one cylinder at a time, setting lash for the intake rocker just as the exhaust lifter begins to rise and adjusting the exhaust rocker as the intake lifter has fallen nearly to the bottom of its bore. Use an Allen wrench to tighten each adjusting nut in place once you've put the desired number of turns on it.
It's best to proceed along the firing order of the engine (1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2) as you adjust rocker pairs. With all of them completed, we've finished assembling the valvetrain of our stroker!
There's one more mechanical item to take care of before we can start installing engine covers, and that, my friends, is the "heart" of the engine: the oil pump. We sourced Milodon for its PN 18750 high-volume, high-pressure SBC oil pump, which is a deal at $37. We also grabbed a chrome-moly oil pump driveshaft (PN 23050, $15.26) and stroker-appropriate extreme-use pickup (PN 18316, $59.27), which will work with the pan we install next time. Choosing the right parts here will keep your stroker alive, but, as you can see, it won't bankrupt you either.
With the engine flipped upside down in its stand, the Milodon oil pump driveshaft slips into its hole on the rear main cap. There's no plastic on this piece; the high-strength pinned steel collar will pop into place on the pump when the distributor is installed.
We'll be securing our pump with the aforementioned oil pump stud kit made by ARP. The stud is snugged in place with an Allen wrench. Now is also an excellent time to final-clean the area about this stud, which is where oil coming from the pump will enter the block's oil galleys (you can see the oil entry hole in the main cap peeking from behind the stud on the opposite side).
Milodon's rear oil pan baffle (PN 32500, $6.37) is sandwiched between the pump and the main cap, and the pump torqued atop it. This baffle (which will work with the Milodon oil pan we'll be bolting on next time) is an inexpensive way to prevent oil from creeping up to the crank area under hard acceleration. Though not shown here, we ended up having to drill a couple of holes in this item to allow the main cap bolt heads to protrude through; you may be able to tell that the baffle is bowed slightly here, and this ended up interfering with the oil pan installing properly.
Finally, our Milodon pickup is slid into the pump and its bracket is bolted to an existing location on the pump housing. The fit between the pickup's CNC-machined, billet inlet tube and the pump is so tight, you'll actually have to put this pickup in the freezer for a couple of hours so that the metal contracts to the point where it will slide into the pump. This designed-in tight fit (along with the bracket) means it's not going anywhere-and there's no welding required. Note the additional braces, again for extreme use. We'll be running our stroker hard.
We've completed the assembly of our homebuilt stroker's long-block and have only blown another (approximately) $1,383 in parts and $142 in tools, bringing to-date totals to a bit over $3,300-all-inclusive. Catch our next segment for our final parts installations, as well as dyno results, where we reveal just how low our dollar-to-hp quotient can go.