Cam Shafting

Spoke with the machine shop today about the roller lifter kit vs the "flat tappet" lifter kit.

Aside: the lifters are the metal bits that contact the cam directly.

The traditional flat (no-moving parts) cam kit is $180.  The rolling kit is $1000.

Needless to say, I went with the traditional flat ones.

Here's a picture to illustrate the difference.


Deficit Spending

Took some of the smaller parts to the machine shop today.  Harmonic ballancer is junk, need a new one.  Turns out the timing chain I have is a roller chain, and relatively new, so I'll save some money there.  Intake manifold is good and they'll clean it up for me.

Put a $1200 deposit down, as they are going to get the rotating package for me as well.

Starting to waffle on flat lifters vs. roller lifters.


Welcome to the Machining

I checked in with the machinists on Friday and we closed in on a plan.  Since the block had been bored to ~.034 over before, we're going with .040 over on the cylinders.  Bob said he'd look at rotating packages from Eagle, likely similar to the assembly posted earlier, but he did mention the beefier "H-beam" rods instead of the "I-beam" rods that I was looking at.

He mentioned a custom cam builder that grinds 383 application-specific cams (a cam is the bit that spins and pushes up on the lifters that push on the push rods that open and close the intake and exhaust valves that allow the engine to breathe).  Going with a full roller timing chain (which means the chain links have bearing where the interface with the sprockets to reduce friction and wear).

I'm unsure about using roller lifters or not.  I've been reading on the hot rod mags that solid lifters need more zinc in the oil they use.  So, I may just go with the more expensive lifters just to avoid using special oil in the engine.

Duane also recommended I upgrade to 194 valves on the heads of the engine.  This will increase the amount of intake air the engine can breathe in, but other than that, the heads looked good to them.  Though, they haven't taken the heads apart and examined the valves.

Gaskets will be included in the rotating package price, which is yet to be determined.

So I'll probably drop a hefty down payment soon for all the engine parts and machining to be done on the block and heads.  Still not sure when I'll get the parts back to resume construction on the engine.  I will keep you posted.



The machine shop called today.  Turns out the block had been previously bored to .032" over (a nonstandard size).  So I've been driving a >350 for a while... who knew?

He did say that the block can likely be bored .040 over to smooth out the wear.  Time to look for a new rotating assembly.


Civic Duty

I had to figure out how to load up my engine block into my car by myself.

It was late, and I didn't want to pester any of my friends.

I rigged something up, that got the job done.

I want to get these parts to the shop before I split for the weekend.

Snug as a bug in a rug.


Why am I doing this?

I often ask myself why I'm repairing my old car.  Practically, it makes little sense.  I mean, it's 43 years old. It won't have cruise control, or anti-lock brakes.  It won't ever handle that well.  And if the engine turns out to be anything close to as powerful as I want it to be, it may be hard to just keep it on the road.

Being something of a pragmatist, I find myself often posing the question, "why?"

There's not one answer I can really give.  I feel it has to be done for a few reasons.  Aesthetically I find this car to be beautiful.  Almost elegant, really.  Which is a horrible thing to say of a "muscle car".  I don't necessarily think all generation one Camaros have this quality.  Honestly, I don't think this of most Camaros, to be sure.  There's something of a "hillbilly" reputation that Camaros come with.  Part of the appeal is to see how far I can break away from that stigma and still have something quintessentially American/GM.  There's an interesting tension in there.

However there is something about *my* car that has poise.  The long sloping nose, the square jutting hood scoop.  The arched haunches, and feminine-tapered grace of the roof line.  You'd be hard pressed to find a better looking American car of the late 60's.

But aesthetics only go so far.  I also love that this project is so tangible.  I'm using my hands to make something physical... very physical.  This is a vast departure from my day job... all mental gymnastics and repetition (depending on the day).  Where as my job is pensive and and collaborative, the car is a lot of isolation and testosterone.

Speaking of which, there's something inherently manly about it rebuilding a car.  Which I'll be happy to brag about to my guy friends when I'm finished.  In a time when masculinity is often looked at in the pejorative, the preservation and enhancement of a vintage vehicle is a worthy cause.  Some balk at the amount of gas it will surely consume.  To them I say, "I drive a Civic."  I even ride my bike to work in the summer.  Further, having an interesting project close to home keeps me from driving up and down I-5 every weekend, and may, in some ways, save gas.

Finally, it's something worth owning.  I've found increasingly difficult to find things worth owning.  By that, I mean: what could I pass on to my grandkids (should I be so blessed).  It seems America has gone the way of the quick and cheap.  Not much stands the test of time.  I can't really think of a single "future antique" that I own.  This makes me sad.  Modern cars mostly plastic; disposable.  I love the thought of this car being driven 20 or 30 years down the road.  I don't often feel like I've done much in my life worth doing.  There's something in a man that wants to leave a legacy.  Perhaps this will be a part of mine.