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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
Heads going on after I finally got the drive plate bolts installed. Thats a two person job and its very hard to

get a torque wrench in there, so used some blue thread locker and my calibrated arm. Fingers crossed thats enough.

Gasket kit came with new seals for all the cam cover bolts, so replaced all of those. Next step is torqueing down the heads and hooking up the exhaust.



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Discussion Starter · #82 ·
Valve gear going on. Feels a bit like those guys who spin plates on sticks trying to get the pushrods seated in the rocker arms before tightening it down.

Turns over OK so I figure its still OK internally.

Still lots of detail to attend to, i managed to bend the starter motor heat shield and will need some way to unwedge that before I can hook up the exhausts.

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Discussion Starter · #83 · (Edited)
Valve covers. Now I can see the finish line.

edit: Those 20 little bolts holding down the valve covers are such a pain. Especially the ones on the bottom edge and towards the back.
Also forgot to install the dipstick tube, so that was another pain inducing fight.

edit 2: The engine cover showed up in the post, fitted it for fun, still haven't put the spark plugs in or hooked up the exhaust but everything else is done.
I wasn't going to bother with trying to buy an engine cover they were mostly really expensive, but a guy from near Sydney had one on gumtree and very kindly posted it which was fantastic. Thanks random guy from gumtree, it looks sweet!

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
Slow progress again, the big Chrysler is really fighting hard to be removed from the cosy confines of my work shed. Serpentine belt is back on, although doing that I realised I had routed one of the A/C lines the wrong way and had to pull the bottom radiator hose to fix that. Finally got the starter motor heat shield un-bent and where it should be. Popping in the spark plugs before I commence the final battle with the exhaust system, which I've had a couple of quick goes at but simply can't get the pipe onto the header - the studs just don't want to line up with the down pipe for some reason.

Had a quick play with a friends 1978 VB Holden Commodore this morning, really sweet little car with a 5 litre V8 / TH400 combo. It's not running right so we might chase up some plug leads and plugs and give it a tune. Somebody replaced the original points ignition with a modern electronic one and didn't bother to hook up the vacuum advance so I assume the timing is out completely - it did eventually start and ran better after it warmed up a bit. It's been a long time since I saw one and it gave me the nostalgias pretty hard which was surprising since I didn't really rate them when they were new.

Going to have some lunch and think about how to get those down pipes on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
Buddy came and helped me with the down pipes. Filled it up with oil, tried filling with coolant but it didn't want to take it. Attempted start, turns over OK but it wouldn't fire until I realised I had put a blown fuse into the fuel pump fuse holder.

Replace fuse, turn over, coolant is leaking from one of the heads 🤬🤬🤬 runs but only on 3 or 4 cylinders.

Inspecting it, I can clearly see I have put the RHS gasket on upside down. Fingers crossed I didn't damage too much, will have to tear down that side again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 · (Edited)
Gasket was right way up but in my haste I didnt see that it has an extra hole and doesnt fit this engine.

Not sure what to do now. I ordered new gaskets but who knows if they will fit.

edit: The picture on Rockauto of the gasket looks correct, this gasket is marked "R2" so I assume it's a revision for some other version of this motor.
Now I have no idea if the left gasket is right without pulling the head. Maybe they put the wrong one in the box?


edit 2: I am an idiot. I have installed the left gasket on the right (wrong) head and vice versa. Don't be me, the Fel-Pro gaskets have a very tiny "L" and "R" marked on them, but I just saw the big "R2" and screwed it up. Time to take the other head back off as well. :poop:

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1978 VB Holden Commodore this morning, really sweet little car with a 5 litre V8 / TH400 combo. It's not running right so we might chase up some plug leads and plugs and give it a tune. Somebody replaced the original points ignition with a modern electronic one and didn't bother to hook up the vacuum advance so I assume the timing is out completely -

Be sure to hook that vacuum advance up to "ported" vacuum......very slightly above the throttle body. If you don't you'll have full vacuum advance at idle (much faster than it should be) and it'll never run like it should. At idle it should run at the initial idle advance setting before top dead center. Once the throttle is opened (takes very light throttle) you'll get both centrifugal (mechanical) and vacuum advance. At higher throttle settings and wide open throttle (lower vacuum), you'll just be running only on certrifugal advance.

Many folks used to just hook the vacuum advance up to any vacuum source and think it should work fine. Vacuum advance is there mainly for economy purposes. Running without it is not a problem but, if he's after performance, he should have the distributor set up on a distributor machine (by someone that knows what they're doing) so that the advance curve (how much and how fast [RPM] it advances) is optimal for the cam timing, the type fuel and other engine specifications. Probably not too many of them around these days though.

In the "old" days (60's through about early 80's), they used to sell generic pre-set advance "curve kits" that kind of worked, but usually not optimally. They usually just brought full advance on quicker (at a lower RPM) but, in many cases it would cause pre-ignition because of being too much, too soon.
 
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Discussion Starter · #88 ·
The commodore is running a holley instead of the factory quadrajet, pretty sure one of the blocked of ports is for vacuum advance. That job can wait for a while.

Made no progress on the chrysler today. New gaskets are sitting in Phoenix hopefully will be here early next week. I have a couple of days off later this week so can inspect for damage from my mistake with the gaskets. Looks ok so far.
 

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Do you know the "List No." on the carburetor? Is it a spread bore type? Ported vacuum (Holley calls it "timed spark") will always be on the butterfly base (throttle body) on the primary side of the carburetor. Depending on which model Holley he has, it's normally under the primary float bowl or maybe slightly at an angle near or under the float bowl. Holley's description is as follows:
"On carburetors equipped with timed spark advance (no advance at closed throttle) a port in the throttle bore is exposed to vacuum as the throttle plate moves past the port....usually slightly off idle."

On your Hemi, be sure to follow the FSM torquing procedure and at least double torque the heads, as if you only do the sequence once, the center bolts will end up with less torque than the bolts toward each end. On the final step I usually do the sequence 3 times, just to make sure all bolts are torqued evenly. Also, be sure to use engine assembly lube on all contact (metal to metal) points on the valve train, including push rod ends, rocker arms and valve heads. At least double torque the rocker shafts too. If you're using new lifters, do not run the engine above about 1400-1500 RPM for about the first 15-20 minutes. This will insure the lifters are pumped up enough to avoid any piston to valve collisions.

Good luck on the reassembly and have fun!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Will grab the part number off that Holley. Trying not to get too involved got enough problems of my own, fun toy though.

I think the chrysler is lubed right. That 90 degree final torque is quite the effort at step 3!
 

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Will grab the part number off that Holley. Trying not to get too involved got enough problems of my own, fun toy though.

I think the chrysler is lubed right. That 90 degree final torque is quite the effort at step 3!
I really like the older stuff.....easier and more fun to work on, plus not nearly as frustrating. Also, none of the electrical/electronic mumbo jumbo stuff on them. Does the Commodore have the GM HEI distributor on it? I am guessing yes, unless someone went back to the old style one.
 
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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
. Does the Commodore have the GM HEI distributor on it? I am guessing yes, unless someone went back to the old style one.
Not sure what the dizzy is except its not factory. Has a coil pack built into the cap, two wires coming out of it. This engine is the holden V8 which is a bit different to the small block chevrolet motor. I dont know whether a chev distributor would work on it.

Its Australia day holiday today, good day for pulling the rest of my hemi down and will also get to replacing the brakes today while I wait for fresh gaskets to arrive. Still in Memphis I think.
 

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You sound too ambitious. You should relax on your holiday and have a beer or two....or three or more. I used to be that way (ambitious) too but have slowed down a lot over the years. Now it's, "tomorrow is another day."

That distributor sounds like the stock GM High Energy Ignition (HEI) unit. They were pretty good units and, for sure a lot better than the earlier ones with breaker points. The centrifugal advance mechanism in them is almost exactly like the earlier GM distributors that ran external coils and breaker points or electronic ignition modules. The ignition module in the HEI is also similar.....no breaker points. to wear out.

A little gee whiz side note on these ignition systems, FWIW. Back in the mid 80's I bought a 77 Cadillac Seville for $700 U.S. that wouldn't run and the owner was told needed an engine overhaul. The "so called mechanic" even wrote the compression pressures (all good by the way) on the fender wells. After I paid the owner for the vehicle, he even had it towed to my house. Once home I did a little troubleshooting and it turned out to be the electronic ignition module. Cost to repair was under $20.00 and took about 15 minutes. It ended up being a good vehicle for quite a few years.

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Discussion Starter · #95 ·
Left hand head is off. Looks like no damage to the block or pistons. Some coolant in the oil (expected) so a rather expensive mistake but not as bad as it could have been. I'm not 100% sure the gasketed spark plugs are sealing 100% due to the damage done with the incorrect tapered plugs put in the head. The internet consensus seems to be that once some gorilla has put tapered plugs in your cylinder head, that's what you'll be using from then on. Will do the old "fill the head with fuel" check to see if it's leaking through the plugs.

So...bullet dodged. Ready to have another go once the gaskets get here. Managed to tear the rocker cover gasket pulling it out, might just put a dab of silicon on that and see how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 · (Edited)
Stupid stuff to do while waiting for parts. Painting the brake calipers prior to putting in new disks and pads.

edit: looking cool, I didn't really want slotted rotors but they were the cheapest thing I could find :cool:

edit2: of course of I put the rotors on the wrong side and had to swap them. :ROFLMAO:

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