How-To Machine Chevy 350 Small Block Engine Motorz #64

How-To Machine Chevy 350 Small Block Engine Motorz #64

Today on Motorz, Chris is taking our small-block to the machine shop Presented by AMP Research. In our previous engine rebuild episode, we showed you how to tear down a Chevy 350 all the way to the block .Well the next step is take it to a machine shop so that it can be checked for cracks and cleaned up before we can rebuild the bottom end using products from Mahle Motorsports and Eagle Specialiy Products. Britt Bostick the owner of the owner of NewTech Engine Systems in Ramona California, did an excellent job machining our block. He took it from a boat anchor to a usable block that with just a little bit of paint will look like new. Now lets head over to NewTech to see what it took to get our block to look like this. Britt’s shop NewTech Engine Systems is located in Ramona California, he has a ton of specialized equipment that most of us just don’t have access too. So when it comes time to machine your block you need to take it to a shop like NewTech, now since Bret has a full service engine building shop he can build anything from a daily driver to a full blown race motor. Now we could also have him assemble the motor for us but that would take all the fun out of it. Well Britt, thanks for letting us into your machine shop, everybody wants to know the process of machining a block so what’s the general overview of what we’re going to do today. [Britt] Ok, well, first off we’re working with a Chevy 350, you guys have already stripped it down so it’s going to go into the jet-wash tank, after it comes out of the dish washer, then we’ll buff it and get it all clean. [Chris] Using a camshaft bearing tool, Britt removes all the bearings in our block, we’ll use the same tool later to install some new ones then he removes all the freeze plugs, using a punch, hammer, and some pliers next step is to magnaflux the block to make sure there aren’t any cracks. [Britt] We’re going to mag it with this magnaflux mag, and this powder is basically blow the excess off and you look for cracks this powder is consists of cast iron, talcum powder and it’s got a color in it so you can see it do the lifter bores a lot of these later model 350 Chevy’s they lighten up the casting so they have a bad habit of cracking up in the lifter bores Well, that’s that, you guys lucked out. No cracks. [Chris] We’re going to take a quick break while Britt gets our block ready for line honing. [Chris] Well you’ve got our block setup in your line hone machine, what’s going to happen here? [Britt] We’re going to dress the main saddles, get all the burrs off them, the other thing I like to do is go along and ease the edge here, that way when we’re done when it goes on assembly, you’re not peeling metal when you push the bearing in. We’re going to go over in a bit and cut the caps, and then we’ll rough line hone it and we’ll get it to the low side of the spec and then at that point we’ll measure up the crank and we’ll put a bearing in it and we’ll physically measure and check the clearance. [Chris] Britt uses a belt sander to deburr and champher the main caps this will make it easier to install and remove the bearings during the assembly process then he uses a cap and rod reconditioning machine to square the main caps in preperation for line honing. [Britt] Now that we’ve cut the caps and we’ve filed these mating surface, we’re going to go back and file the edge here. [Chris] In preparation for line honing, Britt puts the all the caps back on in a specific order, adds some bolt lube, puts the bolts back in, tightens them down, then torques them down to spec. Britt uses a setting fixture for the Sunnen dial-bore gauge, setting it on a low side, he’ll line hone our block to that setting. Now once that’s done we’ll put the bearings in, use a micrometer to measure the crank size, set the dial bore gauge again and then verify our clearance and make adjustments as necessary [Britt] So we’re at minus 3, minus 3 and half, minus 3 minus 3 and about 2/10’s, minus 3 and this was a minus 2 but we’re not going to get excited about that because that cap is wider and it cuts slower [Britt] This one is half, second one is half a thou, half a thou half a thou, about 4/10ths [Chris] a micrometer or a mic, is a precise measuring device when you need to measure something down to 1 thousandths of an inch or smaller, Now we’ve got our crank from Eagle Specialty Products, what do we need to do to it? [Britt] For right now we’re going to mic it, because we want to get the size of it, put a bearing in that block and then set the dial bore gauge to the size of the crank and then that way we’ll get an accurate on what the oil clearances will be but since we’re here, we’re going to go ahead and mic the main and the rod journals and record those on a build spec sheet for later references because we’ll need the rod sizes when we compare the oil clearance on the rods, when we get to that part. Now we got the gauge set and bearings in there and the caps torqued up, gauge is set to the size of the crank we’ll just gauge this hound dog and see what we got for clearance. All right, we checked out clearances with a standard bearing in here, it so happens the crankshaft, a lot of these manufacturers will put the performance cranks on the low side so we ended up with 2 and a half clearance, and since you’re going to run synthetic oil we want a little less than that, so we put some 1 under bearings in here and we’re going to check that now. And we in fact have 1 7/10ths clearance, so we’re going to call it a day [Chris] All right Britt, we’re done line honing the block and we’re standing in front of the block master, what is this thing going to do to our engine? [Britt] We’ve got a fixture that BHJ makes, and we’re going fixture is all up, put it in there and when we’re done it’ll lines up the cam and the mains and the deck surface 90 degrees to each other and then at a 45 to the centerline of the block you’ll find these blocks will be rolled one way or the other and they’ll be off end for end, so this makes all the cylinders will end up being the same size when we’re done. [Chris when we’re done. [Chris] When we’re done squaring up our block in the Block Master we’re going to move onto our cylinders. So hang in there, we’ll be right back with more Motorz [Chris] We need to use the micrometer to verify the diameters of each piston before we hone the cylinders, that way we’ll make sure we end up with properly sized cylinders. We’ll bolt on a torque plate to simulate the stress that the head will put on the block and then finish honing our cylinders [Chris [Chris] Next, Britt cleans out the lifter bores so that the lifters are free of rust and debris then to prevent damaging the skrits of our new Mahle Motorsports pistons Britt chamfers both the top and bottom of each cylinder then finally he chamfers the distributor hole which makes our block more accomodating to an aftermarket distributor with an o-ring Now that our block has been machined, the next step is to test fit our brand new crank from Eagle Speciality Products, but before we do that we have to pop our caps off, put everything back in the jet washer and get that thing clean again, after adding some assembly lube we can install our crank and our caps and then take one of the pistons and put it in each cylinder to make sure we don’t have any clearance issues, our cap bolts did clear, but it was a little bit too close for comfort, so Britt took a sharpie and marked the area and then opened it up a little bit while the maching of our block is done, we’re not, so hang in there for Partz, coming up next Partz is brought to you by the Sears Blue Tool Crew We have just about every size standard and metric Craftsman socket in our shop so that we can quickly finish our project and meet our deadlines, now we’ve got the standard chrome sockets as well as impact sockets for our air tools in both standard and deep sizes. Most of the time that’s all we need, but occasionally we encounter a fasterner like this guy where our deep sockets just aren’t deep enough. In tight situations like this quite often the best tool is an open end box wrench, but as you probably already know, unless the sitation is ideal, which it rarely is, you can never get the leverage you need and the open end wrench just keeps wanting to slip off. That’s why Craftsman came out with this max access socket ratchet and drive tool system there isn’t a bolt in the world that is too long for this innovative tool due to its pass-through system, which elminates the need for deep sockets, plus the max access system provides exceptional fastener clearance for long bolts and it fits in spaces where traditional sockets and ratchets can’t included in the system are two low-profile pass-through ratchets that are 40% stronger then traditional ratchet designs, only have a 5 degree ratcheting arc which allows you to turn a fastener in tight spaces without a huge swing just like the standard ratchet versions these feel great in your hands thanks to the ergonomic paint handle design, also included with the system are extensions and a adapters for both 3/8″ and 1/4″ sockets so you can even use these ratchets with your regular sockets, pack it all up to go with the included plastic carrying case and have a piece of mind that if one breaks you can replace it thanks to Craftsmans lifetime warranty. Check them out at websites partz page, at or visit your local Sears store. You probbly already know about vehicle programmers that plug into your OBDII port they quickly increase the performance of your vehicle, conduct tests and more. SCT has been making them for years, like their SF3, X3, or even their touch screen Extreme. SCT’s automotive programmers can increase your vehicles horsepower, torque and throttle response and a whole lot more all by optimizing your vehicles engine management computer. But what if you’ve already got a iPhone, an iPod touch, or an iPad. Now if you’re like me you’re wondering why the heck we can’t use the mobile devices that we’re already carrying around to tweak our rides brain. But the only way to interface with you cars computer is via the OBDII port, which is located under the dash in 1996 and newer vehicle. So how do we get this to talk with this. Well our good friends over at SCT figured it all out by creating the first bluetooth OBDII interface of its kind that communicates with your iOS device. It’s called the iTSX and not only will it give your vehicle more perfromance in 15 minutes without getting your hands dirty or even cracking open the hood, but it can also monitor your vehicles engine parameters, read and clear diagnostic trouble code and measure your vehicles performance by using the built in performance calculator all wirelessly. It includes a variety of configurable on-screen virtual gauges and layouts and for parents with younger drivers the iTSX also has the ability to set a vehicle speed limiter for increase safety Yeah, my daughter is going to just love me for that one [female] Dad! [Chris] It’s currently available for 1996 on up, Ford and GM gas and diesel vehicles, this is by far one of the coolest and most useful gadgets I’ve seen in a long time. We’re already having a lot of fun with it the iTSX app is available right now in the Apple AppStore and you can find out more about the iTSX hardware by clicking the Partz button at our website, If you want to give your late model Mustang that classic retro Shelby look there are a number of things that you can do, from suspension to wheels, a body kit, and a whole lot more. But one of the simpliest accent pieces you can add that will make a huge difference in achieving that look are these side quarter panel scoops from 3d Carbon. They give you bold styling with a tight, flush kit that is very easy to install using the OE approved 3M double sided tape there isn’t any drilling or cutting, either. They’re manufactured using 3D Carbons high pressure injected polyurethane and they’re backed by their factory matching warranty. The kit comes with a side quarter panel scoop for each side, polyurethane dome mesh decals for the side scoop insert, 3M adhesion promotor, and of course the 3M tape to stick it on. They come in a matte white finsh, but they can be painted to match your vehicles paint code available for Mustangs 2005 and up, you can learn more by visiting the Partz page at our website. Do you have one clunky old garage door openers that just make a ton of noise every time you open and close them? Then you should check out the new garage door openers from Craftsman. This belt driven model includes a DieHard backup battery for when your power goes out, two remotes for your vehicle wall control, as well as an exterior keypad. Now the really cool thing about this whole setup is the Assurelink connectivity. You hook this litlte guy up to your Internet router and you can control and monitor your garage door from any mobile device or computer. Now we already have a garage door opener here in the Motorz studio that and the excellent step-by-step instructions from Craftsman are going to make installation a breeze. Now lets get that old garage door opener out of here! Now that we’ve old garage door opener removed, we can assemble the trolley which is going to our garage door on a rail which is really easy to assemble it just snaps together like this. Which our belt looped through the front of our rail, we can install our pulley with the supplied hardware then loop it around the gear on top of the garage door opener, then connect and adjust our tension Install the door bracket at the top of the garage door then attach the door arm, we removed our old senssors using some Craftsman wire cutters, we’re going to take our new ones and add em onto our existing brackets make some adjustments, check the alignments and tidy everything up Installing the DieHard backup battery couldn’t be any easier with its built in storage area, connect your wires for the sensors and the wall control and then set your thresholds for the garage door. The only thing left to do is to mount your wall control customize your settings, set the time, and test everything out to make sure that it all working properly. If you’d like to monitor or control it remotely all you’ve got to do is visit Craftsman website and add your device. The installation of a Craftsman garage door opener, especially if you re-use your existing wiring like we did. Now we’ve got 4 different ways to open up our garage door whether its from a vehicle remote, our wall control, our keypad outside, or anywhere in the world from a mobile device. Letterz, brought to you by E3 Spark Plugs Burn to Burn Welcome to Letterz, now we love hearing from you guys now all you’ve got to do to get your letter on the show and possibly get some E3 Spark Plugs along the way, is head on over to our website, click on that Letterz button that is right there on the home page. We want to hear what you think about this episode, what you think about our website, anything else we want to hear your suggestions and comments, everything is valuable. We listen to every thing, whether its at our website, our Facebook or our twitter. Now our first letter comes from Nicholas King, he writes. – What’s up Chris I have been watching your show since the first season and it’s helped me work on my Mustang. What I love most are all the tools you have on the show, and it got me thinking.. Where;s the hot tool girl? Keep it up, DIY guy! [Chris] Well Nicholas, you’ve already met her she was at the top of the show and you’ll see her again in the credits with our bloopers, her name is Olivia Korte, we found her during a recent casting call for the Motorz Girl, she fit the bill perfectly, she’s beautiful, she’s got a great voice, she’s got experience in the automotive industry, I could just go on and on and on, but if you want to find out more information just head over to our website at to find out yourself, and stay tuned for more episodes where she’ll be doing even more with us. Our next letter from Raylon who writes – I’m a big fan of your show! I’m a college student in Lousiana and I’ve modified my 2002 Honda Accord Coupe SE by watching your show. I’ve switched to E3 Spark Plugs, installed a cold air intake, aftermarket headlights and I’ve even installed a Viper alarm. Thanks man! [Chris] Well, you’re welcome Raylon. Now not only did he send in this awesome letter he also sent us a couple videos to show us all the things he’s done to his Accord Take it away, Railan! [Railan] Hey Chris Duke, This is Railan just wanted to say thanks for the helpful tutorials and this is my 2002 Honda Accord coupe SE So here’s a couple of modifications I’ve done to my car, aftermarket headlights with HID lights underneath here I have 4 E3 Spark Plugs and the cold air intake and to wrap it all up I have the Viper alarm with remote start [Chris] Well, Thanks Railan, your Accord is looking pretty nice, that’s a lot of work! Now if you’d like to have your vehicle featured on the show, like Railan’s, just head on over to our website and click on the Letterz button and send us a letter. Next up is Tyler who writes – Hey Chris, I love the show and watch it all the time. I own a used 1997 Chevy S10 and it needs a lot of work. ANy advice for a DIYer like myself? And do you know of a good place where I can get a cheap OBDII reader? [Chris] Well Tyler, of course in additional to Motorz you can check out other shows on television and online, but the best thing for you to do is to check out a Chevy S10 enthusiast website, there are a lot of great people at those forums and they can help you out with everything you’re trying to do, because they’ve probably already done it before as far as your OBDII reader, head over to or check out your local Sears store, because last time I was there they had a ton of options and check their Facebook and Twitter accounts as well, because they often have discounts Iggy wrote in and said – How should I install an oversized drain plug in a 1989 302 HO motor? I started to slowly turn it into the oil drain pan, but there was too much resistance. This is a stock double hump oil pan with two drain holes [Chris] Well Iggy, you should try to use a thread tap to try and repair those threads to you can use a factory sized plug, now if those threads are so far gone you’re going to have to use the thread tap to create some new threads, then get a new, slightly larger plug for it. and finally Chris asks – I’ve got a 2003 Kia Sedona with 80,000 kms and the crankshaft needs to be replaced at Kia. They asked me for $2,500. Do you think it’s worth it or buy another car? If so which minivan would you recommend? Thanks for your help! [Chris] Well Chris, you should check out what else may be wrong with your Kia Sedona, as well as the status of your pocketbook to make that decision on your own, but if you do move ahead with a new minivan, check out the new 2012 Dodge Caravan RT, and the copperhead pearl coat. Now that’s a swagger wagon! I want to thank Chris and everybody else for sending in their letters to the show, you guys get E3 Spark Plugs for your ride, now for more information about E3 Spark Plugs or to find out if they’re available for your ride, just head on over to As you can see, machining a block is quite and involved process requiring a lot of specialized equipment you can’t get at your local Sears store, now in our next episode we’re going to show you how to install new pistons from Mahle Motorsports, and the bottom end from Eagle Speciality Products Now we want to thank Britt at NuTech for helping us bring our junkyard engine back to life. For more information on all the products used in this episode, head on over to We’ll catch you next week on Motorz!

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “How-To Machine Chevy 350 Small Block Engine Motorz #64

  1. It would be best if you have the shop clean it. You could do it yourself, but any mistakes or missed spots could be very bad for the block when being machined. Some places may clean it for free if machining it.

  2. i want to know how much this would cost me.. no one ever tell the cost! 
    only thing you guys said was WWW:AMP-RESEARCH.COM!!! YEAH 

  3. sorry… that's not a cold air intake!!! it is breathing hot under hood air. It changes all the fuel trim. The original air cleaner was really a "cold air intake"
    People don't get it

  4. oh, and K&N air filters are problematic junk!!
    if you can read a newspaper through it, it's not filtering air and the oil is not supposed to be in the intake system. They were designed for carbureted race cars. not delicate computer controlled cars!

  5. I am not familiar with how machine shops do what they do , I like everything I saw except the part where he moved the block from one part of the shop to the other via straps thru the main caps. Is this normal ?

  6. hey, you line bore first, then align hone to finish size, boring makes the holes round, else your just honing a  a hole that isnt round, all measurements are determined by the crank center line!!!!!

  7. Im looking for 292 six cylindet –four bolt mail engine to replace my 327 v; 8. To put in my 60, s chevy van

  8. At the shop I used to work at we had old cranks and bearings that we'd use adn clearance the block BEFORE any other machine work was done.

  9. Pistons are slightly eliptical, relationship between material and expansion under heat, so do you measure the bigger diameter or?

  10. Very well done. You guys even mentioned in 5 seconds an old secret of mine that used in building the fastest engines in my day.

  11. I'm surprised a shop this nice lets their operators use dial bore gages like that. Those are notoriously inaccurate even when used properly, and using them properly is a bitch.

    Spend a few thousand and get real bore mics and never second a measurement. 

  12. Was just curious why they torqued on a torque plate…..but then show them honing the block without it. Then a little bit later the torque plate is back on while they are honing it?

  13. Reiteration of a theme, done 14 million times. The 1st generation 350ci built from 1968 to 1987 make about [email protected] at the flywheel with pump gas and 9.5:1 compression. Add a  268H cam, and four barrel intake with a Carb, blowing out 1-5/8 primary tube headers. About the same as the V-6 in the 2014 Camaro.  Lame.

    No CNC style ports, unless you opt for later Vortec heads. These are getting lame, tired and are now low buck claimer class at dirt tracks having to run the 883 head castings with 2bbl carbs because the good 462 head castings are all but a memory.

    These old school 350's are lame now. No detonation sensors, no variable valve timing, heavy Iron cylinder heads with poor port design and smog large cc chambers.

    1st gen small blocks are OLD like me.
    Save time, and in the long run your sanity. Build an LS-1 and enter the Twenty first century as a human male-upright and leave stone age Cro-Magnon behind.

    LS-1 is now the most popular swap. 350 real street-able horsepower at the rear wheels, not just gross hp at the flywheel

  14. I had crowner in my engine for few years. Then one of the loop end up worn out. I took the engine completely part and discovered a lot of metal scraps everywhere. I brought new Thumper cam instead of crowner. Rebuild whole thing. You name it. I'm loving Thumper cam better than crowner. Crowner is pretty good but Thumper is better.. At least for me.

  15. They have an ad for E-3 spark plugs. 
    I put those in my Harley Big Twin a few years ago and haven't run anything but them since. I get better gas mileage, I can burn regular gas, it doesn't overheat and I live in Houston and ride even in the heat, and it quit popping, chugging and spitting gas out the EFI port.
    That is the best ten bucks I have spent on my bike. I swear by them now.
    And I am not getting paid to say this either.

  16. so i should have pistons and crank before i take it to get it machined? or can i take it and then buy pistons and crank

  17. these guys are funny, when assembly engine, oil is not enought they must have the specialpaste…. second time they start the engine, thye dont have the paste anymore in there.

    End of story

  18. Reading a hand held gauge is a skill. No two people will get exactly the same reading. Only way to get accuracy is to remove the human error component but that means more money for a system like Reneshaw. It is worth the money if youncan afford it. Its a must for some, like jet engine manufacturing.

  19. Nice shop, informative video, That belt sander is cringe-worthy. (just plain ugly) If a cap has any minor burr on the machined surface, try using a flat razor. Slide the blade flat on its flat bevel. A razor blade in skilled hands is a valuable and versatile tool.

  20. did you use machinist's straightedge on crank journal to see if it needed line boring?most chev v8 need boring cyls .30 .the size of ridge is good indication of cyl bore wear. i wonder if honing will straighten out bore enough. clarence

  21. As far as the spark plug commercial you plugs will only give out what your coil puts out and if you change from standard plugs to hi end Iridium or Platinum plugs is when you will notice the difference compared to say NGK V groves, especially in NEW cars with complex and hi or independant coil packs ?

  22. What about blueprinting and full balancing, which is the most important aspect of rebuilds, even single nut and bolt done to OE tuque settings and all parts are balanced and weights are all 100% the same, everything including lifters ? Springs and retainers ?

  23. NOW under pressure ( via specialised ACID )you have the oil and water guides opened up a little more, think how much they will cost and using the right acid and time line to make sure the right amount of surface is removed and then you have the right cooling and oil transfer, which is what you need to do, especially if your going to add a hi pressure oil pump and hi pressure water or pump ?

  24. My shop teacher had us hold the magna-flux magnet at an angle and not straight across the block. Have things changed since 1960?

  25. You should always mock up the oil pump on the rear cap. It will always pull the back cap out of round, because you are tourqeing 50 pounds on that cap. Witch will usually pull that cap out of round by about .0007

  26. Also you should always bore with a head plate for the same reason. You would be surprised by how much torque causes interference. And if you really want your engine blueprinted this is a necessary.

  27. ….machine shop seems to be mandatory for rebuild, so you are not really "rebuilding it yourself". machine shop =lots of $$. That's why I say it is better to:(1)-remove engine, (2)-order longblock(with a warranty)(3)-remove accessories from old engine and turn in for a core, (4)-bolt everything on the longblock, re-install in car,hook up everything,and go. Still better, If you can afford it, buy a crate engine. Unless you have a machine shop yourself, forget rebuilding an engine yourself, unless it is a very rare or desireable engine…..

  28. Got a 350 from a Chevy van. Plan is to bore it out and built a racing motor. Gonna put it in a nova.

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