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Small Block Chevy Build - My First Engine Build, Part 2

To The Machine Shop We Go To Have Our Parts Refurbished

Photography by Seth Millhollin

Last month we showed you how our first-time engine (re)builder Patrick Swegles got down and greasy as he ripped into an old junkyard small-block with passion and relentless desire to learn. This month Patrick got some valuable experience on a cleaner level as he carted all of the engine's rebuildable parts over to the experts at Performance Automotive Warehouse (PAW) in Chatsworth, California. PAW is one of the world's largest performance parts distributors, but it also has a state-of-the-art in-house machining facility that allows the company to provide a high level of quality control of all the parts included in its vast assortment of engine rebuild kits.

For Patrick, the experience was both enlightening and frustrating. First, he was met at the counter by one of PAW's experts who quickly and courteously received the old parts and went over the pieces that Patrick would need when embarking on the reassembly process. The bad news came a little later after the machine shop gurus checked out all of the old parts that Patrick had dropped off. As it turned out, Patrick struck out in his first at bat, so to speak, as virtually everything he handed over was unusable. The block had a crack in the lifter valley and both heads were breached with hairline fractures in their castings. Of course it was a given that the crank would need to be turned and that each of the eight connecting rods would have to be completely reconditioned.

Despite the setback, which was actually a realistic example of what many of us have gone through at one time or another, Patrick didn't lose any motivation to follow through with his first attempt at putting a reliable Mouse motor together. In fact, you know what they say about beginner's luck. In Patrick's case, he got a good helping of it when a friend came to the rescue and sold him a good used short-block that had been sitting in the corner of his garage. Patrick was back in business.

With this good news, this month's segment for the first-time engine builder was salvaged. And thanks to the good guys at PAW, all of the typical machining processes were provided so that Patrick can move ahead and put the engine together for next month's installment. With the main engine assembly kit coming right off of PAW's shelves, plus a few add-on performance goodies, Patrick will be ready to test his skills during the assembly process. Stay tuned, our camera will be zoomed right in.

21001 Nordhoff St.
CA  91311
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