3.1 litre stroker: Engine Assembly

A clean engine is a happy engine

Now its time to get anal! Break out the mic gauge, torque wrench and assembly lube. Its time to start assembling all of those new parts. The first thing you need to do is unwrap all of those nice sparkling clean parts and clean them again. Especially the parts returned form the machine shop. Never assume that because a part is new or just machined that its clean. A clean engine is a happy engine. For this stage you will need to have lots of clean lint-free rags, news paper and cardboard. Carb or brake cleaner does a fine job removing the small particles and the old grease. The use of taps to clean up the bolt hole threads is a good idea. Blow any foreign material out of the holes with brake cleaner then compressed air. If you plan to use the original head bolts, take a few minutes to clean and inspect them. Both Eric and I upgraded to an ARP performance bolt kit. This are the same bolts that most of the NHRA teams use. Use your compressor to blow the parts dry. Pay close attention to the block. There are several places where metal shavings can hide. Once you have thoroughly cleaned the parts coat them with WD40 and wrap them in clean news paper. This will keep them from rusting. The cylinder surfaces will rust quickly if left un-protected. Use the cardboard to cushion the heavier parts on the bench or shop floor. At this point some engine builders paint the internal surface of the block (crankcase only). This serves as another layer of protection from sand dis-lodging from the block surface. The paint Eric and I used is called Glyptol. This paint is manufactured by General Electric. GE uses Glyptol to coat the inside of high voltage transformers. It has a high temp rating and is almost impossible to remove once it has dried. Now its time to paint the outside of the block. Standard engine paint works fine. Be sure to mask off the machined surfaces with tape. Locate those oil galley plugs we discussed early and install them. When installing the plugs for the main oil galley, be sure that you donít block off the feeder port to the bearings.

The block is now ready for assembly. I'm not going to walk you through the entire assembly process. That where the sacred tablets come in. Follow the standard steps for the block then the head. Be sure to use generous amounts of assembly lube. To avoid dust contaminating the block and head, use a clean trash bag to wrap the block. Just like the disassembly, you do not need a hammer to assemble an engine. Take your time and always torque to the manufacturers spec. Some manuals will give the dry (non-lubricated) torque spec, and some the wet (lubricated) spec. And some just give you a torque spec. In the case of the ARP kit they provided special moly-lube for their bolts. By using this type of lube the bolt turns easier thus requiring a low torque spec. This is where a good torque wrench is critical. If you plan to purchase one. Be sure it will torque up to 150 foot pounds. This will cover all the parts to torque in your engine.

Once you have installed all the parts for the valve train. Be sure to set the cold valve clearance. This will get you real close for the initial engine crank-up. If you have never set a Z car valves before, have someone show you how. The Nissan shop doesn't do a great job of explaining the procedure. Please take your time. The golden rule is when in doubt, ask someone. I drove Eric crazy asking questions.

Getting Started
The Machine Shop
Engine Assembly
Cranking & Debugging