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The Car Guys: Rebuilding an engine

This month we will place our focus on rebuilding and enhancing performance to an engine. A car motor is a very complex machine that will not work properly unless all factors are proportioned correctly.

We will talk to race engine expert Phillip Larosa of All-Tech automotive in Clovis. He will explain what to look for and why some motors are a better choice than others. He claims the engine block pattern has a lot to do with the life and performance of a motor. Durability is a big plus for a motor. He recommends a Mopar motor, Chevrolet, and Ford for high performance additions.

“The engine block size is not a factor that should be considered if performance is not the goal,” said Larosa. “For instance a 327ci motor can out perform a 455ci motor if put together correctly for means of performance.” If a race intake, carburetor, pistons, air cleaner, the correct fuel mixture, and other means of street performance are added to a strong motor it can be so powerful that it is difficult to drive on the street.

“For a high school student an engine can be a costly and it can be hard to find a good running motor for the right cost” said Larosa. Look for low miles on the motor and try to find out where it has been. The history of a motor can tell the whole story.

For a non-fuel injected engine, the carburetor and the intake manifold are large factors. After the block, pistons, rods, rocker arms and valve springs are looked at, then everything from the crank up should be looked at and torqued specifically.

When buying a car, especially an old one, there are certain precautions that should definitely be looked at. Not so much paint as body, interior, and the most important of all the engine and transmission. Repairing or replacing a bad motor and transmission can cost more than you paid for the car. Make sure it runs clean and has no black smoke or misfiring. A simple misfire can be from the spark plugs or it can be that the motor is shot.

A car is a very complex machine and can never be looked at too hard. While putting money into a car, make sure that it is worth the hassle and money. Even when all complies, rebuilding a motor can be a very difficult project.

We currently finished our three-week project of rebuilding a 1970 Pontiac 400 Ram Air IV motor for a 1965 GTO. The motor is completely redone for high performance. Fully equipped with an Erson Racing cam, Edelbrock performer intake manifold, Edelbrock 750 cfm carburetor, and a Weind air filter.

For the transmission, we have a Muncie 4-speed attached to a Centerforce dual friction raceing clutch. Also Spectre braided hoses, new rear main seal, and a new oil pump. The motor will be expected to produce anywhere from 485-515 hp.

Next month we have decided to discuss how a transmission works and our views on manual versus automatic gearboxes. Interviews will be conducted to determine what others have to say about transmissions.

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