Here it is. Part 6 of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird restoration. So we beat on, tools against the metal, borne forward stubbornly to get this crummy car into shape.
Previously, the guys were busy getting the underbody of the Firebird cleaned out and looking good. They used a rotisserie and some cool tools to get the rust off, including a Central Pneumatic Portable Abrasive Blaster Kit which blew loads of sand at all the trouble areas under the car where rust had collected. You can view part 5 here.
But, as the Navy SEALs saying states: The only easy day was yesterday. It’s true for them, and the same goes for our boys as they take on all the difficulties faced with rebuilding the engine. Fortunately, the good people over at Valley Head Service in Northridge, California, were able to service the more specialized needs of the engine with their boring (in a good way) machines.
The cylinders got bored out and honed to .030-over, making the 400 a 406 engine. Jeff re-appeared in glorious fashion to begin the hands-on work, inserting the main bearings into the short block. He uses rubber seals for the bearings, then coats them all in zinc-infused racing oil so the engine can be better suited for its eventual breaking-in.
The crankshaft has to be seated and aligned perfectly, or there will be hell to pay when the car starts; thus, Jeff gets the crankshaft into the engine to ensure the main journals are aligned with the main bearing saddles. He then works the crankshaft around to get it lubricated.
The machining on the thing looks fantastic. And it really showcases the craftsmanship that Jeff and his crew, as well as the people they work with, bring to the table.
Jeff gets his hands on a sweet Pittsburgh Professional 1/2″ Drive Click Stop Torque Wrench to tackle the bolts that need tightening, then uses it to spin the crank. Following that, it’s time for the Badger pistons to get inserted. He coats the cylinders with the same oil as before, and then gets the pistons installed, making sure to get those rod caps facing the correct direction.
But we’re only halfway done at this point. Jeff gets to the heads next, loading them into the dowel pins to hold them in place. The bolts are then screwed in with the torque wrench, from the middle to the ends, just the same as Pontiac did it back in the day.
Although it wasn’t shown, the camshaft and timing belt by Comp Cams were installed into the motor. Jeff goes about installing the push rods and rockers, using copious amounts of oil on everything. He screws on the bolts, and is just about done with the day’s work.
The final step done is the pan baffle and oil pan installation, which is done off-camera, as is the installation of the restored intake manifold and awesome-looking Quadrajet carburetor. It’s been worth the wait, however; the engine looks absolutely stunning, painted in the classic light blue color and combined with the chrome plating of the manifold. Tune in next week as we delve into part 7, where the guys commence to painting the body proper.