First time engine rebuild

Flyboy1400

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I've come here for some help and guidance. I have a '66 Satellite that I have been slowly working on for about the last 10 years, I bought it as a rolling shell and the seller included a '68 440 and a '71 727. The engine looks like it was marked from a junk yard as it has "1968 New Yorker" written on the valve cover in paint pen, and the engine is heavily caked in old oil/grease/road grime. I would like to start working on rebuilding the engine, this will be my first engine, so I'm looking for some advice. I've picked up a couple books to help (Don Taylor's 'How To Rebuild Big-Block Mopar Engines' and Chuck Senatore's Big-Block Mopar Performance') as I've read several posts suggesting these books. The car is going to be a driver so I'm not looking to build anything crazy, as this is my first engine I really don't know what to expect cost wise, but if I can keep it under 5K I'll be happy. Current plan is to keep the internals mostly stock, install a slightly bigger cam, carb, headers, and replace the points with electronic ignition. I would love to hear some suggestions, advice, or whatever you've got that might help.

A few of questions to start with;
1) on the pad with the block stampings, what does the sideways "A" off to the right indicate? (it's hard to see in the picture but it looks like its been stamped 3 times on top of each other.)
2) after cleaning and disassembly should I leave the crank in the short block when it goes to the machine shop or bring it along with the block? does it matter?
3) what are some methods you use to mark and keep organized the parts like lifters, rod and main caps, etc that you don't want to mix up?
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turbine68rt

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The sideways A is supposed to indicate a factory .020" overbore. Even though mine was stamped the same way it still had the standard 4.32" bore. Not sure why.
Crank can be left in for transport since they will need to remove it for inspection, journal measurement. The main caps are numbered so they will be easy to reinstall in their original order. The rod caps should also be stamped by the factory with matching numbers to the rods. If you are going with a different [flat tappet] cam there's no reason to save the original lifters since they should be installed/broken in together as a new set.
 
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493 Mike

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I've come here for some help and guidance. I have a '66 Satellite that I have been slowly working on for about the last 10 years, I bought it as a rolling shell and the seller included a '68 440 and a '71 727. The engine looks like it was marked from a junk yard as it has "1968 New Yorker" written on the valve cover in paint pen, and the engine is heavily caked in old oil/grease/road grime. I would like to start working on rebuilding the engine, this will be my first engine, so I'm looking for some advice. I've picked up a couple books to help (Don Taylor's 'How To Rebuild Big-Block Mopar Engines' and Chuck Senatore's Big-Block Mopar Performance') as I've read several posts suggesting these books. The car is going to be a driver so I'm not looking to build anything crazy, as this is my first engine I really don't know what to expect cost wise, but if I can keep it under 5K I'll be happy. Current plan is to keep the internals mostly stock, install a slightly bigger cam, carb, headers, and replace the points with electronic ignition. I would love to hear some suggestions, advice, or whatever you've got that might help.

A few of questions to start with;
1) on the pad with the block stampings, what does the sideways "A" off to the right indicate? (it's hard to see in the picture but it looks like its been stamped 3 times on top of each other.)
I can't tell you but, some one else probably will.
2) after cleaning and disassembly should I leave the crank in the short block when it goes to the machine shop or bring it along with the block? does it matter?
It would be best if you completely dissassemble the engine. You will become more familar with the details that way and save on machine shop labor too. Have the shop hot tank all the ferrous metal parts. You can clean the rest at home.
3) what are some methods you use to mark and keep organized the parts like lifters, rod and main caps, etc that you don't want to mix up?
I use old ice cube trays for lifters I reuse but, if a new cam is going in, new lifters must be used. Make sure rod and main caps are marked before disassembly. Mains usually have cast in numbers and rods are usually stamped at the parting line on Mopar engines.
Disassembly is the detective phase of engine building. It can tell you a lot about prior usage. Use that camera at every step too!
Mike
 

66Satellite47

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The main caps are numbered in the casting, factory rods are not numbered IIRC, that's done by a rebuilder, so keep each cap with each rod. If you want to mark the rods, get a stamp set and mark each rod on the pad on the side by the parting line. I suggest replacing the cam & lifters with something more modern design. But if disassembling & re-using, lifters do need to go back in the same hole.
For degreasing, I get a bunch of engine degreaser from the auto parts store & bring it to the local spray car wash, it's messy but better for your machine shop.
A '68 440 from a New Yorker is not likely to have seen much abuse, so crank and rods should be real good. Heads may need work. If the sideways A means .020 over block, it may need to go .030 over. Good luck.
 

turbine68rt

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factory rods are not numbered IIRC, that's done by a rebuilder, so keep each cap with each rod.
This engine was assembled 5 days after mine, and the first time it was opened up since new 15 years ago all of my rods and caps were number stamped. My guess is his are the same way.
 

OKDart

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Sounds like you want to buy the parts and assemble it yourself? I usually disassemble completely and take the block to the machine shop for a test bore. And have them check the crank. Then you can order the right pistons, you'll want to have a compression ratio in mind. As far as assembly, have the machine shop press out/in the wrist pins, cam bearings (they'll need a camshaft on hand to test fit), and intermediate shaft bushing at the very least. I usually have them install the pistons/rods/crank, but last time I was charged $500 and it made me think I need to start doing that myself.
 
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66Satellite47

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This engine was assembled 5 days after mine, and the first time it was opened up since new 15 years ago all of my rods and caps were number stamped. My guess is his are the same way.
OK
 

roadrunnerh

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Don Taylor's 'How To Rebuild Big-Block Mopar Engines' is a GREAT book. I rebuilt a 383 for my Scamp using that as a guide.
 

66Satellite47

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Another great reference book is "How to Build Max Performance Mopar Big Blocks" by Andy Finkbeiner. A ton of good info.
 

RTSE470

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I am not an expert but in my limited experience I would:

1) Figure out what you want out of this motor (carb/fuel inj, valve train, comp ratio, electronics, etc).
2) Find a local Machine shop that the local muscle car clubs endorse and have an earnest discussion with them about your expectations and budget for this engine. Develop a build plan with a list of parts you want then stick to your plan. Some shops prefer to disassemble and inspect the engine themselves. They also may have parts from other builds that were not used that they are willing to work with you on price-wise.
3) Once you know what you want from the engine, work with the shop, some of them have buying power that we don't and can source parts cheaper. Know your own abilities and limitations, if you want the motor to be warrentied, they may expect that they do all the work in order for you to be covered.
4) Get er done and enjoy your ride!
 

66Satellite47

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I agree with what RTSE470 says. Decide what you want, then be sure you get a good shop. Be real about what you want to spend. 50 years ago my buddy's & I agreed on the saying, "figure the cost, then double it". Today maybe it's triple.
 

Challenger340

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Piston selection is absolutely critical with 440's in regards to the 'compression distance' of the Piston, and probably one of the first areas to consider adding to the Budget.
Do NOT accept Pistons spec'd in the low 1.9's Compression Distance range, with even the 1.99" offerings extremely limited if any 'performance' potential is at all expected.
Using any of the factory open Chamber Cast Iron Heads, or entry level aftermarket aluminum heads.... Pistons with 2.06" Compression Distances are rec'd to achieve even mid 9's Compression ratios in the real world similar to the 440 "Magnum" Engines of yesteryear.
remember this...
because invariable both whatever Shop you choose and many 'experts' will sing otherwise.
 

Flyboy1400

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Thanks for all the replies, sorry to have left this thread so long, work got crazy and I wasn't able to do much for several weeks with the engine. I now have it completely disassembled and have been inspecting and cleaning everything.
The sideways A is supposed to indicate a factory .020" overbore. Even though mine was stamped the same way it still had the standard 4.32" bore. Not sure why.
This engine was assembled 5 days after mine, and the first time it was opened up since new 15 years ago all of my rods and caps were number stamped. My guess is his are the same way.
Can confirm, bores on my engine are standard as well and rods and caps are stamped at the parting line.
1) Figure out what you want out of this motor (carb/fuel inj, valve train, comp ratio, electronics, etc).
Well, most important is drivability, so pump gas, and reasonable idle. I have a few parts sitting around I'd like to use such as a weiand 8009 intake and a 750 cfm edelbrock 1411 carb. As for valve train I pulled the trigger on a set of stealth heads and plan to reuse my rocker assembly from the 906s that came off the engine. With those heads my CR should be 9.89 to 1 if I can reuse my factory pistons.
I agree with what RTSE470 says. Decide what you want, then be sure you get a good shop. Be real about what you want to spend. 50 years ago my buddy's & I agreed on the saying, "figure the cost, then double it". Today maybe it's triple.
There are a few shops in my county, and the ones I've called have quoted between 2k and "6K or more" for labor to prep the block and crank for reassembly. I haven't settled on anyone yet, but one of the shops closest to me has been in business for longer than I've been alive and I've heard good things about him for many years, so I'm leaning that way, although he said he's several weeks out and wouldn't give a price at all.
Using any of the factory open Chamber Cast Iron Heads, or entry level aftermarket aluminum heads.... Pistons with 2.06" Compression Distances are rec'd to achieve even mid 9's Compression ratios in the real world similar to the 440 "Magnum" Engines of yesteryear.
If I can't reuse my pistons I've been looking at the speedpro L-2355F-30 it's listed at 2.061 which is about .031 taller than the stock pistons. According to Summit's CR calculator, with the Stealth heads, my CR should be 10.03 to 1, which is about as high as I want to go on pump gas. Does that seem right?

As for the block, I measured the bores several times with a dial bore gauge and double checked with the ring gap method. The largest measurement I found was 4.3235 at the top of #5 cylinder 90* from the centerline. That's .0035 larger than standard and .003 total taper in that cylinder. When I mentioned this to one of the machine shops i called he said that was out of spec and would absolutely have to be bored. I was a bit confused by this comment because Don Taylor's book claims that .006 is the max taper before needing to bore. Any thoughts on this?

As for reusing the stock pistons they seem ok, no major or obvious damage. There is some odd pitting, or maybe casting defects in the head of several of the pistons, barely deep enough to feel with a fingernail. I've put up some pictures what do you guys think, are they junk or not an issue?
20220826_154808.jpg
20220826_154223.jpg
Piston Head 1.jpg
Piston Head 2.jpg
 
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