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Chevy 350 Engine Value Pack - Bullet Short-Block--On The Cheap!

We Pump Up Our 350 Test Mule With A Teaspoon Of Compression Courtesy Of A Summit Racing Rotating Assembly Value Pack And "Hot Off The Shelf" Summit 750CFM Carburetor.

By Mike Ficacci, Photography by Mike Ficacci

First and foremost, we cleaned the cylinders using lint-free rags and some WD-40. We use white rags because it is easier to spot any dirt or debris that is accrued during this process. Liberally spraying WD-40 and running up and down the bores with these rags will clean most of the fragments left over from the honing process. Even if your block is washed after the machining processes, it is a good idea to make a final pass. We simply repeated this process until the rags came up clean.

As part of the Summit Racing Rotating Assembly Value Pack, the internally balanced 350ci/3.480-inch stroke crankshaft provides a base for all operation. Made out of cast steel, these cost-efficient crankshafts come with crank keys and are an affordable way to make power. Trust us when we say that we will be putting all of these parts through their paces over the next several weeks. I have no doubt we will not have a problem.

Next, we prepared the main caps, crankshaft bearings, and crank for assembly. The crankshaft was placed in the parts washer and then blown off with an air gun. The main caps and bearings were cleaned with denatured alcohol. Out of the box, all bearings need to be given a final cleaning. Never assume that new products are ready for assembly. Just look at the amount of residue that was on these bearings.

After a liberal amount of oil on the crankshaft journals and bearings, the crankshaft was slid into place. Then, the main caps were installed in the position in which they came out. These main caps were marked on top with a 1, 2, 3, or 4, with an arrow pointing to the front of the engine. They must be installed in the correct position.

Once the main caps are torqued down, give the crankshaft a good spin by hand. If it does not spin freely for a rotation or two, you have a problem. Pull the crankshaft back out and start all over. Chances are that one of the main caps is not seated properly. Ours spun freely.

Next, we attacked the Total Seal rings. Using the supplied chart, Total Seal recommends the top ring gapped at 0.018-inch for a naturally aspirated motor and 0.022-inch for a forced air application. We will be forcing some air into this engine very soon so we stuck them at 0.022-inch to be on the safe side.

Next, we dried off both the engine block and main caps where they make contact with the bearings and slid them into place. At this point, ensure that the keys on the bearings are lined up with the keys in the main caps and on the block. Also, some bearing kits come with upper and lower bearings that must be installed properly. Make sure to read both the box and back side of bearings, as they will have a "U" or "L" or "UPPER" and "LOWER" on them.

At this point, we used a torque wrench to tighten the main caps. Knocking the main caps with a rubber hammer until they are flush with the block is a great idea before getting to work with the wrench. Working from the middle, out, we torqued them in sequence first at 45 lb-ft, then at 65 lb-ft. If at any point you feel the bolts are binding, stop, pull the caps off, inspect for any problems, then try again. The key to any engine build is taking your time. If you think you forgot something, or have a bad feeling, work backwards and start again.

By Mike Ficacci
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