I was just reading the posts of NITRO450EXP's replacement of his tired 283 with a newer 350, accompanied by a lot of excellent photos. During my excursion through his posts, I had a sudden memory rush of my last engine install, and went back to my photo folders until I found the records of that event. It was then that I realized it was coming up on FIVE YEARS since I last rebuilt my Poncho 455! Time sometimes flies. But I still recall those milestone days, like NITRO recorded, when you reach certain points of the install.
While I had the block at the machine shop, I had also updated the front suspension/steering and brakes, so had removed the front clip for ease of access and to facilitate painting frame, firewall, inner fenders, etc. to "dress up" the engine bay.
So the most recent build of the Pontiac has stayed together well - the first build didn't fare so well, but that's another story!
I have since torn into an old 283 that I had sitting on the shelf and am working to build it for an upcoming Model A 5-window project. Five years! It's been too long since I've held a ring-compressor in one hand and a wooden mallet handle in the other. Bet I'm gonna need a fresh tube of RTV, too - mine's probably all dried up 😄
I am going to tag @NITRO450EXP just to ensure he reads this!
That's a beautiful, very clean install! I knew from your previous posts that you did great work, but wow, this is very impressive!
Yeah, 'cause assembling an engine under a willow tree and installing it in a barn with a gravel floor is the epitome of "clean installs", right? 😆
But, I've worked in worse conditions, to be sure...
Anyway, thanks for the nice words!
NITRO - I've got memories going back more than 55 years that are similar to the Pontiac one, but digital cameras didn't exist (or at least, not for me) for most of them, and frankly, I didn't even think that recording that sort of stuff was important when I had film cameras. Unlike now, I never used to even take many photos of my cars, let alone my work on them. My only "pictures" of many of the builds I've been part of since the '60s exist in my head and in the visits/talks I have with some of my old car buddies. In fact, the pictures I'm able to post today are 100% due to my wonderful wife being a shutter-bug. In most cases, I would just do what I do and there would be no record of it if not for her!
I was just thinking the other day (when at my youngest daughter's home, where I lived as a teen) about the time I decided to swap a '55 Chevy 2-dr. hardtop body onto a 4-dr. chassis because of a bent frame. I solicited the help of 5 able-bodied friends and we lifted the two bodies onto each other's frames. The final positioning of the 2-dr. was accentuated by a violent scream from the guy on the passenger-side rear corner - whose thumb was caught between the body and frame. We lifted it off, and man, was it ugly.
Now, as it happened, that guy was the lead guitarist for the band in which I played, and we had a high school gig the next weekend. We finally taped a pick to him with thumb and finger all in a bundle, turned his volume down a bit, and everyone else played a bit louder. Didn't exactly work great, but we got through it. After that he refused to ride in my new 2-dr. Bel Air, but Scott and I remained friends until his untimely death about 10 years ago.
I could bore the readers of this forum with about a zillion "memory lane" posts, but I couldn't provide pictures. Although now that I think of what his thumb looked like, I'm not sure photos would have enhanced the story!
We (members) have discussed in other posts how being a part of the car community is like "family". When I can read and see pics of other posts that have similar (or even quite different) experiences to mine, it really is like sharing stories of growing up with cousins. Coming from an old guy, my heartfelt thanks to the people who post things in the Hagerty Community that quite often are a very bright spot in my day! 👍
Great time capsule of your build. I agree with Sajeev, that is a nice clean install, willow tree and gravel floor or not. That is also one beautiful tribute car. I love those milestones. Things like running in a cam or a fresh engine for the first time. Mine isn't running in the cam necessarily. These days it's cutting open the oil filter after the break in and finding no glitter.
@SamAdamsPaleAle - thanks. As I indicated in the story, that was only ONE of the 455 Poncho's rebuilds. The motor seemed to be in pretty good shape when I bought it, and I was low on funds, so I just looked at crank and rod bearings, put a scope into the plug holes, and did a little cosmetic work. When the car was initially put into service (May 2008), I ran a few miles on it, and then took it on a 500 mile freeway trip in 95-degree heat. Probably not my most sane idea. But it held together.
Even crazier was the idea to do a little drag racing with a buddy in 2012. Pow! When I pulled the pan, guess how many pieces of piston skirt I found? (Hint: any answer more than "zero" indicates bad news).
So, it was then time (after what, only four years?) to do a complete rebuild. Hot tank and deck the block, line bore crank journals and cam bore, .020 overbore, new pistons and rods, head work, new cam, roller rockers and balance everything - pretty much the works, but still staying pretty close to "stock" specs.
That build lasted until 2015, when an overheating problem manifested itself into a blown head gasket (Hint: a dipstick should not look like it just came out of a milkshake). Fortunately, no major damage done, but I took the opportunity to move up to a bigger cam, better flow intake and carb, and headers - along, of course, with all new bearings, again. And that went in in the spring of 2016, as the photos indicate. It's now held up for 5 whole years - I'm going for the record! Plus I think I may, just may, be driving it a tad bit more maturely than I used to (insurance people, are ya paying attention?), so that might actually be adding to its life expectancy.
However, I have dreams and plans for if it blows again: aluminum heads would be the first thing. Possibly a roller cam? Cut a hole in the hood for a blower? Pull out that 4-speed I've got tucked away under the bench? I mean, I may be old, but I'm still a 19-year-old hot-rodder at heart! 😋
I still like mowing through the gears. The only thing is that here in Metro Atlanta, it can make a stick just get cumbersome. I'll stick with my built auto, mild convertor, and my inner justification telling me "Shifting that auto on the floor is the same thing. Right?"😁
I have pulled and installed a few Pontiac engines in GTO’s.
We were racing and lost compression on two cylinders. Cast pistons and too much timing will crack ring lands.
This was a 428 in a 65 GTO. We had that engine out a few times that year so we times the pull after the race. From the time he stopped on the rack till the engine was on the ground was 28 min. Two guys and a hot engine.
Luckily the ring lands did not hurt the cylinder. Two pistons, some gaskets and we were back on track.
Thing teens used to do. Lol.