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Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

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Old 04-16-2018, 11:09 AM   #1  
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Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

So i finally got an L98 engine. Was told it came out of an 88 Camaro with 95,000 miles on it. Looks like its pretty clean. Realistically im going to spend about the next year building this and wont attempt to swap till its all finished next spring or fall. Im not going to touch the engine in my car till I absolutely have to so I can keep it on the road. Staying with the TPI set up because I just like it and thats what goes with the car. I also have read the 305-350 swap tgread like 5 times so i have a good idea of everything iíll need to do the swap itself.

My goals: have a strong L98 that i wont have to do any major repairs to after its put in. As well as just giving it a little extra jump. Anywhere near the neighborhood of 300hp I would be more than happy with.

My initial plan/thought process is this:
-Tear everything down to the block and clean
-Possibly have someone go through the engine
-Get a rebuild kit (gaskets ect.)
-Port the intake
-Paint
-Clean the heads or find an affordable set
-Get a matching cam

Im sure there are many other things to think of and add to this list. But thats my starting point for now. Im open to any kind of comnents or suggestions anyone has because i am by no means an expert.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:15 PM   #2  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Excited for you chief. What cam you intend to run stock or a lil more?
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:39 PM   #3  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Comp cams has a lot of good choices Xe262hr, hotcam or lunati 20080130 just shorten the dowel pin. Depending on lift you might need springs and guide work. .470 is a good max lift of a stock head.

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Old 04-16-2018, 04:44 PM   #4  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Honestly, i really have no idea right now. Im trying to take it one step at a time and not get too ahead of myself yet.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:23 PM   #5  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

since the engine has so many miles on it, it wouldn't hurt to have a machine shop go over it, clean it, and maybe you can bore it out a little and get fresh bearings in it. Give you a little more power and a lot more dependability on the bottom end in the long run. Plus, that will let them make sure that the camshaft and crankshaft area is aligned or they can do a line hone on them as well for even more peace of mind.
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:31 AM   #6  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Finally got the engine and my work bench all set up in the garage to start the teardown.



@Go Blue
Thanks for the suggestion! Once i get it broken down i’ll have to start calling around to see who can go over the block and the heads.
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Old 04-28-2018, 07:44 AM   #7  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

As per a suggestion by Justin I took my heads to P&R engines in Greensburg. They did my duramax heads, and checked over(and set up) my pro comps for a total of $360. Dropped everything off last week and picking them up today. Now it's time to get to work, lol!
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Old 04-28-2018, 07:48 PM   #8  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Thats awesome. Doesnt seem like a bad price either. Im starting to wonder if having my stock heads just cleaned up and gone through will be good enough, but i just plan on putting in a mild cam. So they should be fine. Nice to know of a place pretty close that I know does good work now!
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:42 PM   #9  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Got a little more broken down. Insides look pretty clean.









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Old 05-15-2018, 10:35 PM   #10  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Ok so I finally got one of the heads off and this is about the point where I’m going to need some help and advice from the community as i lack knowledge in this area. At first I was pretty happy that nothing looks horribly wrong on the head or inside the cylinders. The walls are smooth. There is some carbon build up, but i guess thats alright since its all getting cleaned out anyways?

Bottom of the head:


Inside the cylinders:


So I guess is whats the next step? I plan on making this a very mild build. Plan on using the stock heads for the time being and adding a slightly larger cam like a ZZ4 for something comparable. What would you recommend I get do to the heads? And what all can I upgrade without spending a ton of money?
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:29 AM   #11  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Looks like it's in pretty good condition based on the pictures only. The stock heads are pretty restrictive from what I've read and heard. So, if you absolutely can't afford a better flowing set of heads, I would get them ported, polished, and flowed. Get at least a 3 angle valve job as well. At least replace the valve seals and retainers for maintenance and peace of mind reasons. I have heard that if you replace the rocker arms with 1.6 ratio self-aligning roller rockers (someone may correct me on the self aligning part). Honestly, your best route is to get better heads though. The other guys will give you better advice on which ones better than I can. The heads will compliment and help the cam to develop more power and the engine to breathe better.
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:21 AM   #12  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

So since I havent looked into it I guess I shouldnt say that aftermarket heads are completely out of the question. I would have to look at the cost of rebuilding the stock heads vs a set of “budget” ($700ish) aftermarket heads. So depending on the differnece in cost and performance and bang for the buck I guess I could be persuaded.

I am definitely keeping the TPI because I like it. I know its restrictive but thats what I’m doing. I do plan on porting everything myself. So I’ll have to take that into account when deciding on these first few rebuild steps.
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:26 PM   #13  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Picked my L98 up today. Didn't know it had Siamesed runners on it. I'm anxious to tear into it. Supposedly 70k miles with a cam change. Ran good when pulled for LS swap.
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Old 05-16-2018, 10:19 PM   #14  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Nice. You’ll be in the same boat as i am! I’ll be interested to see how you decide to build yours.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:22 AM   #15  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild


Me too!
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:56 AM   #16  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

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Me too!
Looks like SLP headers and runners, maybe its a SLP cam too?
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:43 AM   #17  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

@dmccain looks good! Nice find with the SLP runners on it!

I’ve been looking and asked in a thirdgen facebook group for head suggestions and someone brought to my attention Enginequest heads. Apparently they are styled after Vortec heads but have the bolt holes to match a TPI intake (both pre 86 and post 86). I know they’re obviously not the best out there, but it sounds like for my goals and and budget they might be pretty good. Their have been some other postings about them but not a lot on the threads.

Few threads about them:
https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/tech...tec-heads.html

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/tech...eq-hybrid.html
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:26 PM   #18  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

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Looks like SLP headers and runners, maybe its a SLP cam too?
PO told me it had this package from dealership and definitely had a more aggressive cam to it so I'm eager to see what cam for sure. I'm going to be posting a # hopefully I can get off the cam to see the exact specs.
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:36 PM   #19  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

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@dmccain looks good! Nice find with the SLP runners on it!

Iíve been looking and asked in a thirdgen facebook group for head suggestions and someone brought to my attention Enginequest heads. Apparently they are styled after Vortec heads but have the bolt holes to match a TPI intake (both pre 86 and post 86). I know theyíre obviously not the best out there, but it sounds like for my goals and and budget they might be pretty good. Their have been some other postings about them but not a lot on the threads.

Few threads about them:
https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/tech...tec-heads.html

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/tech...eq-hybrid.html
Sure would save some scratch by not buying the special vortec specific intake. I don't know anything about these heads but I bet they are an upgrade for sure. Sounds like a good deal.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:27 PM   #20  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

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Old 05-17-2018, 09:56 PM   #21  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Thanks, I didnt see that Hot Rodders forum. I think these might be what I go with. I could read good and bad on any heads and I would never be able to pick. For the price and my goals I think these are pretty good.
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:33 PM   #22  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

For the price and my goals I think these are pretty good.


I agree.
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Old 05-21-2018, 08:33 AM   #23  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Just a quick question. Are the stock L98 heads capable of producing around 300whp if they are reworked some? Just want to go over my options before spending some cash. I also emailed the dealer but have not heard back about the heads I’ve mentioned above so i guess i’ll give it a few more days.
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Old 05-26-2018, 06:21 PM   #24  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Decided to take a step back and wait on the heads, which I should have known not to go to crazy looking cuz Im just not there yet. I havent even broken the rest of the block all the way down. So I took the other head off today and the one cylinder in the block had some rust in it.

I also wanted to find more info on the engine and found the block number, 14093638, which says its a Small Block V8 1987-1995 350, 2 bolt or 4 bolt, roller or flat tappet cam, 1-piece rear seal. Not sure the difference between a flat and roller cam so that research will start tonight. Also not sure how to tell what I have.
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Old 05-26-2018, 06:36 PM   #25  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Not sure the difference between a flat and roller cam so that research will start tonight. Also not sure how to tell what I have.

That means that the block has the provisions to use a factory roller cam setup, but it was delivered with a flat tappet setup. Look in the lifter valley under the intake manifold. You should see 3 bosses along the length of the center of the valley used for mounting the "spider" retainer. Hopefully yours are drilled and tapped for the bolts. The area around the lifters should be taller for the roller lifters.


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Old 05-27-2018, 04:47 PM   #26  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

So mine looks like the above. I had to unbolt that “spider”’piece from the block. So that means i would be able to use a roller cam when putting the engine back together if I wanted? Just from reading posts, it sounds like everyone says the roller cam is better.
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:45 PM   #27  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Yes, you can use a roller cam, you can even re-use the roller lifters if they are good.
Converting a Gen 1 SBC to roller is expen$ive, the block you have is already roller-ready, so it's much cheaper. Roller cam is better and almost necessary now because of the reduction of ZDDP in the engine oils over the years. ZDDP is the zinc and phosphorous high pressure anti-wear additives that are necessary for a flat tappet cam & lifters to survive.
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Old 05-27-2018, 09:53 PM   #28  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

That's a sick looking FB BTW damn. If youre in PA please keep it off the salty roads and sh*t. Seeing classics with rust underneath kinda sucks.
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Old 05-28-2018, 12:10 AM   #29  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

@noemissions84TA
Thank you for the info. I never would have known that and im glad mine has it all set up for it. When it comes time for cam selection, i’ll know to get a roller.

@Pro
Thank you. Its pretty rust free. I got it from a guy in Ohio so it seems like him and the previous owners took care of it, or atleast kept it out of the snow. Its a late spring to mid fall car and garage kept in the winter.
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:23 AM   #30  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Question: is there a cam i can get that would work well with my stock l98 heads and then that i would also be able to keep and work well with a set of aftermarket heads later? Just curious because i know youre suppossed to try to match the heads and cam.
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:08 AM   #31  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Found a little more time to work on this last night. Got the lifters and camshaft out. Also got the oil pan off and turned it upside down to start working on the crankshaft and pistons later this weekend hopefully. The oil in the oil pan looked great. No sludge at all. Ofcourse lesson learned, engines are still filled with fluid and oil. Wish I would have known that before turning it upside down. Geeze, what a mess.
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:00 AM   #32  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Gravity check....
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:43 PM   #33  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Really jealous! I found a 19,000 mile L98 out of a '91 Z-28 that I came "this" close to buying, but feared it may be a little too ambitious for my skill level. I can always revisit down the road, I suppose.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:08 PM   #34  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

@rt66er
I have been using youtube videos to help me tear this apart and researching these forums on the way as well. Engine knowledge is at the bottom of my list, right above wiring as far as skill level but im just winging it. I decided to go the rebuild and upgrade route since this engine had a little over 80k miles on it.

And yes, gravity always wins.
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Old 06-29-2018, 06:00 PM   #35  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

This is where my lack of engine knowledge sucks and I cant find anything online...How do I rotate the crankshaft so that all the bolts on the pistons are easy to get to? The pulley did not come with the engine so all I have is whats shown below. I think I found that the right way to do it is by getting the $30 socket, but I was wondering if there was another way.





Also does anyone know the thread/bolt size for the crankshaft pulley? I could probably put a bolt in there and spin it that way.

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Old 06-29-2018, 08:18 PM   #36  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Crankshaft bolt is 7/16"-20.
But a better way to rotate the crank is to put 2 bolts in the rear flange and use a BIG screwdriver or flat bar between them to rotate.
Or buy one of these (on sale now) from Summit. $8.99
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/s...SABEgKqWvD_BwE

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Old 06-29-2018, 09:26 PM   #37  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

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Or buy one of these (on sale now) from Summit. $8.99
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/s...SABEgKqWvD_BwE
If you get this, you need a 1-3/4" socket to put over the nut, ask me how I know....
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:45 PM   #38  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

With no heads to create compression, you can rotate the assembly with the factory balancer bolt in the end of the crank. Stack washers or nuts to keep the bolt from bottoming out. With oil on the rings it should take 30 ft/lb or less to turn it.
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Old 06-29-2018, 11:08 PM   #39  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Thank you guys for the help. I’ve been struggling finding an answer online. I think I’ll hit up a few local auto stores tomorrow to see if they have a balancer bolt. If not plan B will be to try the 2 bolts and I hope it doesn't get to plan C!

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Old 06-30-2018, 12:08 PM   #40  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Plan B became plan A and the bolts in the rear flange worked perfect! Thanks NoEmissions84TA. All thats left now is to take the crankshaft out. Heres what the pistons looked like. Assume they're average.

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Old 06-30-2018, 12:10 PM   #41  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

And does anyone know what piece I broke? It was in the oil pan. Ofcourse it was sitting there already out and I picked it up at the stem. Looked like a piece holding them stem to the rest of it.

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Old 06-30-2018, 01:08 PM   #42  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Oil pump driveshaft collar, usually they are pinned to the shaft. You will (or should) be replacing that whole assembly so no worries.
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Old 06-30-2018, 06:58 PM   #43  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

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Originally Posted by PaulyC View Post
Oil pump driveshaft collar, usually they are pinned to the shaft. You will (or should) be replacing that whole assembly so no worries.
Do they still use those cheap plastic sleeves for the oil pump intermediate shaft?

BTW punzak9, your rod bearings look terrible, from what I can see in that pic.
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Old 06-30-2018, 08:10 PM   #44  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Melling IS55-E
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:31 PM   #45  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

@PaulyC and Drew
Thanks for the info on the collar and the part #. As soon as I touched the stem it just fell apart.

@NoEmissions84TA
They very well might be. Im actualy not knowledgable enough to know what they should or shouldnt look like. So I appriciate anything as far as stuff like that.
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Old 07-01-2018, 04:18 PM   #46  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Got it all torn down...finally. So now the question, whats the next step? How do I clean the block so its not all grimey and oily before I take it somewhere to get cleaned out and checked?

It sounds dumb, but Im really not 100% what the next step would be.
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Old 07-01-2018, 07:01 PM   #47  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Local quarter car wash. Leave the mess there.
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:32 PM   #48  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

Cool. Might try that this weekend. What do you guys usually do at this point in your build? Send it out to get what? Not sure what the wording or process is called to ask for.
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:00 PM   #49  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

FIRST, you need to find a machinist that you trust to inspect your parts and tell you the truth about what you have - and don't have. Before doing any of this, you need to decide on your realistic goals of what you hope to achieve. Otherwise you will end up being the proverbial woman that takes her car to a garage and gets taken advantage of. NO OFFENSE LADIES.
Weigh the prices you get against the cost of a crate engine or short block. You don't want to end up paying double the cost for half the engine vs what you could have had.
Look through here for some ideas: http://www.competitionproducts.com/P...products/1597/
Also check out the Broom Sheet Clearance items.

Last edited by NoEmissions84TA; 07-04-2018 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:52 AM   #50  
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Re: Punzak9ís L98 350 rebuild

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Originally Posted by punzak9 View Post
Cool. Might try that this weekend. What do you guys usually do at this point in your build? Send it out to get what? Not sure what the wording or process is called to ask for.
The incorrectly overused term you are looking for is the word "blueprinted", usually accompanied by "balanced". It really means nothing more than assembling an engine to a predetermined set of specifications. Google "what is a balanced and blueprinted engine".

BTW, just by asking your question of, What do you guys usually do at this point in your build? Send it out to get what? Not sure what the wording or process is called to ask for., was the smartest first step you could have taken. Good job.
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