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VIEW SOLUTIONS TO COMMON PROBLEMS
Short Block Vs Long Block
Linkages and Vacuum lines
Exhaust Manifold Bolts
Intake Manifold Bolts
Belts and Hoses
Timing Cover Gasket and Seal
Belts and Hoses
Thermostat Vent Holes
Cooling System Air Bleeds
Flywheel / Flexplate
Harmonic Balancer Repair Sleeve
Select a part to view solution for common problems associated with the item.
Advice: The term short block refers to a rebuilt engine minus the cylinder head. The term long block refers to a rebuilt engine that includes a rebuilt cylinder head. If the engine that you are replacing has a known good cylinder head it may be cost effective to buy a short block engine and reuse your old cylinder head. It is advisable to send your cylinder head to the machine shop to be tested before deciding on a long or short block engine purchase.
Operation: The chain guides help to align the timing chain for smooth quiet operation. Advice: Reusing worn chain guides can result in a noisy timing chain job, and shorten the life of the new chain. Recommendations: Timing chain guides
Advice: There will be several linkages and vacuum lines that will have to be disconnected or removed during the average engine swap. Plastic wiring harness clips and vacuum hose connections can become brittle and easy to break, use caution, some of the biggest headaches in a job are self imposed. Before dismantling, it's a good idea to mark key components and the place that they belong with colored or numbered pieces of masking tape. A Polaroid or digital camera is a good tool to refresh your memory with, take a few shots from different angles and use them to refer to later. Recommendations: Masking Tape
Operation: The chain tensioner is designed to maintain proper chain tension for smooth quiet operation. Most chain tensioners have a rubbing block or surface that the chain rides against. This rubbing block is either tightened down with bolts after proper adjustment has been made or is kept in contact with the chain using spring tension or a hydraulic piston fed by engine oil pressure. Advice: Reusing a worn chain tensioner can result in a noisy timing chain job, and shorten the life of the new chain. Recommendations: Timing chain tensioner
Operation: Exhaust manifold bolts hold the exhaust manifold(s) to the cylinder head. Advice: Exhaust manifold bolt damage in the way of head stripping and/or breakage is a common problem. To help avoid this headache, spray a good penetrating oil generously over all of the exhaust manifold bolts and allow to soak in for ten or fifteen minutes. Repeat this process a couple of times while you work on other areas. Always use a six point socket or six point box end wrench to loosen exhaust system bolts. A twelve point wrench, socket or an open end wrench could easily strip the head of a corroded bolt. Recommendations: Penetrating oil Six point socket set Six point box end wrench set
Operation: The crankshaft sprocket links the crankshaft to the rest of the timing set. Advice: As the timing chain wears, so do the sprockets. Generally the crankshaft and camshaft sprockets should be replaced with the timing chain as a set. Recommendations: Crankshaft sprocket Camshaft sprocket
Operation: The intake manifold bolts are responsible for maintaining the pressure needed to seal the intake manifold to the cylinder head. Advice: Intake manifold bolts are not always the same length, take notes as to where the longer and shorter bolts were originally installed for later referral. Intake manifold bolts are designed to be tightened and loosened slowly and systematically in a specified pattern that maintains equal pressure on the sealing area at all times. Unequal pressure can lead to intake manifold damage and broken bolts. Check the repair guides for the correct torque specs and tightening sequence. Recommendations: Repair guides
Operation: The camshaft sprocket links the camshaft to the rest of the timing set. Advice: As the timing chain wears, so do the sprockets. Generally the crankshaft and camshaft sprockets should be replaced with the timing chain as a set. Recommendations: Crankshaft sprocket Camshaft sprocket
Operation: The motor mounts are responsible for holding the engine in place and for dampening the vibration of the engine. Advice: A new engine deserves new mounts. The motor mounts are the last thing disconnected and the first thing connected, When lining everything up, it's best to keep the motor mount bolts loose so that the mount is somewhat moveable until all bolts are hand started. Recommendations: Motor mounts
Advice: Most timing chain jobs require the removal of all belts and some hoses in order to gain access to the timing components. While you have them off it is an excellent time to evaluate the condition of the belts and hoses, and replace as needed. For more information select the "Job Info" tab under belt or hose lookup. Recommendations: Belts Hoses
Operation: The head bolts are responsible for maintaining the pressure necessary to seal one of the most important gaskets in the engine. Advice: Head bolts are not always the same length, take notes as to where the longer and shorter bolts were originally installed for later referral. Head bolts are designed to be tightened and loosened slowly and systematically in a specified pattern that maintains equal pressure on the sealing area at all times. Unequal pressure can lead to head damage and broken cylinder head bolts. Some head bolts are designed to be used only once. They are called torque to yield bolts. This style of head bolt is designed to stretch once the proper torque has been reached. This stretching maintains the intense pressure needed to seal the cylinder head to the block. Once removed, the bolt can not stretch properly a second time and should be replaced. Recommendations: Head bolts for short block installation.
Advice: It's a good idea to change the engine oil and filter to remove any nylon plastic or metal debris left behind from the old timing parts. If there are any severely damaged pieces, remove and clean the oil pan and oil pickup tube. Recommendations: Engine oil Oil filter Oil pan gasket Gasket sealant
Advice: The water pump and the oil pump are two of the most important parts on the engine. If either one is inoperative for very long the engine is subject to irreparable damage. A new oil pump is usually included with the replacement engine. It's worth the extra money to install a new water pump as well to ensure that your new engine will last and give you good service for the money you've invested. For more information select the "Job Info" tab under water pump lookup.
Advice: The timing gears are lubricated with engine oil. To ensure against oil leaks, it is important to replace the timing cover gasket including the timing cover seal which is also the front crankshaft seal. Recommendations: Timing cover gasket set
Advice: Before installing any new gaskets it is very important to compare the new gaskets with the old ones. All passages must align correctly for proper sealing. When the intake and exhaust manifolds are located on the same side of the head, they often share a gasket, or their gaskets are joined together to ease the assembly process. This style of intake/exhaust manifold setup will usually have several bolts that pull down on both manifolds at the same time. These bolts will often have a large flat or convex washer to distribute the load evenly across both manifolds. Ensure that these washers are properly in place and not cocked to one side before tightening the bolts. Always tighten the bolts to specifications in small increments following the correct tightening sequence found in the repair guides. Recommendations: Repair guides
Operation: The water pump circulates coolant throughout the engine. Advice: On most engines, gaining access to the timing chain requires the removal of the water pump. While the water pump is off inspect it carefully for any signs of leakage especially around the front shaft seal area and the weep hole on the bottom. If there are any signs of leakage, the water pump should be replaced.
Operation: Gasket sealant is used to fill in the small imperfections in the gasket material and the sealing surfaces to be joined. Advice: Before deciding on which type gasket sealant that you need, take a good look at the gaskets that you are replacing. Many gaskets now come with a bead of sealant already applied. If the engine you are working on is computer controlled, make sure that any sealant you buy is safe for oxygen sensors. For paper and fibrous gaskets, a thin coat of sealant on both sides of the gasket is sufficient. Unless otherwise noted, there is no need to use gasket sealant on rubber gaskets. Recommendations: Gasket sealant
Operation: The harmonic balancer repair sleeve is a thin metal sleeve that installs onto the sealing surface of the harmonic balancer giving the front crankshaft seal a new sealing surface to ride on. Advice: By the time the timing chain is ready for replacement the front crankshaft seal will probably have worn a groove into the sealing surface of the harmonic balancer. Slide your fingernail across the sealing surface. If the groove is deep enough to catch your fingernail, a repair sleeve should be installed.
Advice: A new engine deserves new belts, hoses and hose clamps. For more information select the "Job Info" tab under belt or hose lookup. Recommendations: Belts Hoses Hose clamps
Operation: Engine coolant is a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. Besides protecting against freezing, antifreeze also has lubricant and anticorrosive additives that help to prolong the life of the cooling system components. Advice: Any muddiness or brown coloration is an indication of dirt or rust in the system. As antifreeze ages the lubricants and anticorrosive properties wear out, leaving the system susceptible to corrosion. Modern antifreezes have varying life span expectancies. If you are unsure how long your antifreeze is good for, a general rule of thumb is to flush the system and refill with fresh coolant every two years. Some manufacturers recommend a specific type of antifreeze, such as GM's Dex-cool. Check the repair guides for the vehicle that you are working on. Recommendations: Repair guides Antifreeze
Advice: Some engine designs require that the thermostat be installed with the vent or bypass hole in a certain position. Failure to position the thermostat properly can cause engine overheating. Check the repair guides for the vehicle you are working on. Recommendations: Repair guides
Operation: Air pockets trapped in the cooling system can cause the engine to overheat. Some cooling systems have air bleed valves built into the system to aid in the removal of air pockets. Advice: For many cooling systems, the method of removing air pockets is to start the engine and allow it to run with the radiator cap off or loose until all the air escapes from the neck of the radiator. For some systems this method is not sufficient, and the manufacturer has installed air bleed valves usually near or on the thermostat housing. Consult the repair guides for the vehicle you are working on. Recommendations: Repair guides
Operation: The cylinder head mounts on top of the engine block and seals the top of the combustion chambers. Most, and on some engines all of the valve train components are housed in the cylinder head. Advice: In most cases, any work that is to be done on the cylinder head(s) should be left to a capable machine shop. For more information select the "Job Info" tab under head gasket lookup.
Operation: Vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission have a flexplate, vehicles equipped with a standard transmission have a flywheel. Both flywheels and flexplates have a ring gear that the starter interacts with to crank the engine. Advice: Check the ring gear for chipped or worn teeth. In the case of a flexplate, check for cracks between and around the flexplate mounting bolts. If damage is found in either area, the flywheel/flexplate should be replaced. Recommendations: Replace a cracked or worn flexplate/Flywheel.
Operation: The harmonic balancer repair sleeve restores the worn seal surface to a like new condition. This prevents oil leaks when a new seal is installed. Advice: Always install a repair sleeve if the seal surface of the balancer is worn or grooved. If the seal surface is not worn or grooved, lightly sand the seal surface area with emery cloth where the seal makes contact with the balancer. Recommendations: Harmonic balancer repair sleeve Emery cloth
Operation: The harmonic balancer is sometimes called a torsion damper. The balancer absorbs the pulses caused by the power stroke of each piston allowing the crankshaft to spin smoothly in the engine block. It also provides the reference point for ignition timing and distributor installations. Advice: The harmonic balancer plays an important role in smooth engine operation and preventing premature wear to the main bearings. Always inspect the harmonic balancer's outer inertia ring and the rubber bonding material that holds it to the balancer. If the rubber bond is broken or severely cracked and deteriorated, the balancer should be replaced. Sometimes the outer inertia ring will slip or turn on the balancer preventing the timing marks from aligning properly. If this happens, the balancer should be replaced. Advice: New harmonic balancer