The first "Hawk-Rod" resurrection, Roadkill style

Member's Projects & Restorations

  1. HawkRod

    HawkRod Formerly hsorman FBBO Gold Member

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    Car Details and History
    I know many of you don't like super wordy stuff, but some history is worth mentioning.

    This 1973 Road Runner is a factory 340, 727, with a 3.55 8.75 rear. Major options include air conditioning, power brakes, power steering, bucket seats, console and Slap Stik shifter. It's original color was "Tahitian Gold Metallic". In other words, metallic brown. :rolleyes:

    It isn't worth a whole lot compared to other cars, yet it is invaluable to me. It is my first car I ever had, and it is still in the family. There are thousands of great stories with this car, from when I drove it in high school and college, met my wife through this car, and later gave it to my son. It has been through a lot and it is still with us.

    Here is the car when it came home in 1979. That's my dad driving it up the driveway.
    20210207_155851.jpg

    20170209_092557_2.jpg

    Here is one of the only known pictures of my car when I was driving it in college. This is fall 1984. Yes, that's me in a powder blue polyester suit at a wedding!
    20210207_155903.jpg

    So I "restored" this car starting in 1988 through 1992. It was done on almost no budget, so many shortcuts were taken. At the time, the only color interior I could get was black or white. The gold parchment interior my car had was not available and I didn't want to dye the seat covers, so I ended up buying black interior components. Since I was changing the interior color, I changed the exterior too. So the car became lemon twist yellow with a black interior. I couldn't afford to properly do the engine compartment, so I painted it rattle can black. :eek: I know, I know, sacrilege for a Mopar, but that was what I did at the time with the money I had! :poke:

    Here is a picture of me with my son at a car show in 1997:
    Hawk_Brad.jpg

    I then gave it to him when he turned 16 in 2010. I told him to drive it like any other car, and use it. I knew this would create rust, dings, issues, etc. But that is the way you develop good memories with these cars. He loved his car and was known all throughout his high school for his bright yellow hot rod.
    Brad_Roadrunner.jpg

    In 2016 as he was driving the car to college, the engine let loose BAD. It threw a rod out the side of the block , and destroyed two cylinders.
    20170529_160339.jpg

    You can believe what you want, but I think this was a freak accident and no fault of his own. Regardless, he was/is not in a position to spend money on the car so it has been sitting since the engine blew. He finally said he wanted to give it back to me since he could not do justice to the car. Eventually, I want to give it back to him again, but for now, I have decided to get it back on the road so it doesn't just sit and rot away.
     
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    • HawkRod

      HawkRod Formerly hsorman FBBO Gold Member

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      Car Plans
      So this car has obviously changed a lot since it was new. Now that the original engine is shot, I found a date code correct 340 block to replace it. The original block was cast 2/9/73 and the replacement block I found was cast 2/7/73 - only two days different! Not bad!

      I brought the car up to my father-in-laws place and will slowly build a new engine for the car.
      20201228_104636.jpg

      I do not currently have the time or budget to do a full restoration on the car. So It will get a new engine and some light cleanup of rust and any needed repairs. Then it will hit the roads again as a ratty old muscle car. Later my buddy and I may very well drive this car across the country "Roadkill" style!

      Engine Plans
      Since I needed a new crank, rods a pistons, why not get stroker parts?!? :D So it will displace 416 cubic inches once it is done. The engine rebuild will still be a budget build, and may take some time.

      I will do all machine and engine work on this. I am a bit of an apprentice at my father-in-law's place. He has built race engines since 1968, and has built many record holding cars back in the day: Project Six-Pack and Ken Montgomery's Triple Nickle cars are two examples. I am slowly learning engine building from him so the next set of posts will cover engine build details for the build.

      Hawk
       
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      • tallhair

        tallhair Rufus "Mod-hair" Firefly Staff Member

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        A new Hawk build thread yeah !!!
         
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        • 747mopar

          747mopar FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          Great story, sounds like the memories will continue:thumbsup:. It still appears to be in good shape from what I can tell, sharp car!
           
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          • HawkRod

            HawkRod Formerly hsorman FBBO Gold Member

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            First order of business was to start working on the block. My main bearing bores were a little on the large side: A couple were .0008" over (with an allowance of .0005")
            20201117_131133.jpg

            So I cut my main caps about .0015 in preparation for align boring. Main caps thickness is not standard, so both sides need to be measured.
            20201117_225526.jpg

            Since caps are not machined to be perfectly square either, cutting them can be a pain in the arse. I started cutting them on a standard cap cutting machine, but then went to the Bridgeport so I could cut them more precisely.
            20210105_204746.jpg

            After cutting the caps, I finally was able to align hone them to get them to the proper size. The spec for a 340 main journal is 2.6925" to 2.6930". In other words, only 5 ten thousands of an inch!

            I cut the caps until they were about .001" under the minimum spec. I screwed one up and it was under by almost .002". When we align honed them, we kept checking each cap. When any cap reached .0003" under minimum, we loosened the cap so it would not get honed any more. My screwed up cap was the last one to get honed down to about 0.0003". Then they were all about the same and the final honing was completed to get them in spec.

            Let me tell you - this is a LOT of work, and I have newfound respect for machine shops that get these things spot on to where they are supposed to be. It is time consuming and very detailed work to get everything perfect!
            20210113_141735.jpg

            But now the mains were spot on where they should be. Right size (about .0002" into spec) with no taper.

            First step done!
             
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            • 747mopar

              747mopar FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              I couldn't agree more, every time I'm in the shop I use I tend to wonder around and watch the various steps in a build, there's a lot going on! On assembly I double check everything and have yet to find a mistake. There's definitely a reason it's not cheap.

              Very cool that you have the opportunity to experience this, I'm sure it will benefit you in other aspects as well.
               
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              • Ghostrider 67

                Ghostrider 67 Power corrupts.....lol..... FBBO Gold Member

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                I have been soaking up the 440 engine build videos of Pete's Garage on You Tube. Surprisingly he has it going on and I actually learned a few things. One thing was that even a new oil pump right out of the box is very dirty. Everything new is dirty, couldn't believe the crap he got out of everything, including the check valve. Lots of timely tips about assembly and what the machine shop does and all. Very worthwhile watching. He's a cleanliness nut. I mean OCD about it. but that's a good thing when assembling engines.
                 
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                • HawkRod

                  HawkRod Formerly hsorman FBBO Gold Member

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                  Unfortunately, the tin worm is starting around the rear wheels. There is also some rust in the trunk rain.
                  So it is far from being a show car, but also not a total rust bucket either!

                  Yes, I am really enjoying learning the machine work, and I will take you all on my journey of learning the details of engine machine shop work. It is detailed and time consuming work to get it right. While the cuts take mostly only seconds to make, the setup to make sure they are EXACTLY right takes time!
                   
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                  • Ghostrider 67

                    Ghostrider 67 Power corrupts.....lol..... FBBO Gold Member

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                    Since even a minor mistake can trash a block or head...
                     
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                    • HawkRod

                      HawkRod Formerly hsorman FBBO Gold Member

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                      I couldn't agree more. So to checking parts: My new Scat rods were over spec (very slightly, but still over spec) right out of the box! I'll post about those parts shortly as I catch this thread up to current day.
                      Regarding cleanliness: My father-in-law is nuts about this too, and it makes sense. You can't have this crud floating around your engine - small stuff destroys bearings and such! He wants machined surfaces to be wiped with 2+2 and have the rag come out 100% clean. Only then is it clean enough to assemble!
                       
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                      • Ghostrider 67

                        Ghostrider 67 Power corrupts.....lol..... FBBO Gold Member

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                        It's the same way with choppers. Don't want to be falling out of the sky over a small bit FOD in an engine...it's a religion there...
                         
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                        • Ghostrider 67

                          Ghostrider 67 Power corrupts.....lol..... FBBO Gold Member

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                          Pete was even telling how your fingers have oil that's acidic and will create rust...like on bearing surfaces...
                           
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                          • Cranky

                            Cranky Henchman #1 Staff Member FBBO Gold Member

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                            Can't remember now where I read it that an oil pump needs to be opened up to be cleaned but to also check the rotor face clearance. Lots of years ago I got a 340 in that was new but had no oil pressure. Turns out the pump only had .001" clearance and a tiny piece of casting flash (looked like) got in and locked up the pump.

                            Nothing like working for hours on a huge horizontal boring mill to do a 15 minute machining operation lol. If you know what a channel head for a heat exchanger is (big ones like in a refinery), those things were usually easy to set up and took at least 45 minutes to make a cut across the faces...but were noisy because of the interrupted cuts from the channel partitions and were done on a 54" Bullard or 100" King VTL.
                             
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                            • qkcuda

                              qkcuda Well-Known Member

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                              Geez Hawk, that sounds familiar. That's how the 500 was born.
                               
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                              • zyzzyx

                                zyzzyx FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                                Car looks great for it's age Hawk! You did a nice job on the paint. You're treating her right!
                                 
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                                • HawkRod

                                  HawkRod Formerly hsorman FBBO Gold Member

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                                  So onward with engine block work:
                                  The foundation of a block are the mains. They must be absolutely in spec, no taper and perfectly in line. Getting this done was covered in post #5 above. From there, you want the deck surface to be perfectly plane (flat), 90* to one another, and in a perfect line with the crank. This means the deck height must be the same for every cylinder. This is often known as squaring up a block.

                                  So how to do this: A big 2 inch solid iron rod goes through the mains with appropriately sized spacers for the mains in question. Then a special rod goes through the camshaft channel. This line between the camshaft and crank sets up the alignment of the block. There is a special plate that connects the crank and camshaft rods. The plate is perfectly square so everything is then referenced off of that plate.

                                  Mopar blocks are known to NOT be very square and flat, but this one was actually very nice! There was only a .002" difference from one end of the block to the other, and a .005" difference inside to outside. The other bank of cylinders was actually more consistent and nearly perfectly square (although .001" low) from reference. In the picture below, you can see the plate to the left of the block. Note that all measurements are from the cutter, since this is what will make the end surface on the deck of the block. First, measuring off the cutter, you set the block perfectly level using the plate. Then you measure the imperfections on the block.
                                  20210217_214444.jpg

                                  So the process for doing this was to cut the worst side (with a .005" difference) to make this the reference side. I cut .010" off the one side, and then measured deck height. The deck height becomes the reference for the other side of the block, as you want to make these identical for all cylinders. The other side was then cut to ensure the same deck height. Of course this cut also has to be deep enough to clear up any deck surface imperfections. If not, then you measured wrong!

                                  The picture below shows me cutting the deck. Note a little bit of black marker left over just beside the cylinder. Black marker is used to set zero state on the cutters. When you turn the black marker gray, then you know you are at zero. Then the cut (in my case for my first side, .010") is set and cut. The machine automatically runs the block through.
                                  20210223_192419.jpg

                                  At the end of this I had less than .0005" difference in deck height between all the cylinders. This is a super result; typically anything less than .002" is fine. Now the block is ready to be bored and honed.
                                   
                                  Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
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                                  • Builderguy

                                    Builderguy Builderguy FBBO Gold Member

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                                    Whip it into shape Hawk! An engine master you will soon be.
                                     
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                                    • HawkRod

                                      HawkRod Formerly hsorman FBBO Gold Member

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                                      Not so sure about that - it takes years and years. But, I've started!

                                      Hopefully the damn thing runs when I am done! :bananadance:
                                       
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                                      • 5wndwcpe

                                        5wndwcpe Huge Member FBBO Gold Member

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                                        Cool beans, good luck Hawk !

                                        BTW - Where does the 'vette fit into the schedule ?:poke:
                                         
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                                        • HawkRod

                                          HawkRod Formerly hsorman FBBO Gold Member

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                                          It quietly slumbers in the garage waiting for warmer weather. The 70 Road Runner is in the heated garage while I work on it. :D

                                          At some point in the spring I will replace a few minor parts that are incorrect. I can hopefully Top Flight the car at that point, even though it is unrestored. I'm sure my father-in-law would be thrilled if that would happen.
                                           
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