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How to Rebuild a 350 Chevrolet Engine

by Francis Walsh

When an engine reaches its durability limit, it performs poorly or it does not perform at all. Chevrolet is a good example of one engine builder with loyal owners. Because its 350 motors were easily rebuilt and produced big power, they became popular in the racing industry. The Chevy 350 engine remains one of the most rebuilt, upgraded, tuned and reworked engine in history. One reason is because you can rebuild it back to new.

Loosen and remove all the retaining bolts of the upper block including the valve covers, intake manifold and fuel pump. Pull each component free from the long block and set aside. Remove the lifters and valve shafts from the each head and store to the side.

Flip the block over to access the oil pan and crankshaft to remove them from the block prior to any work to rebuild a 350 Chevy engine. Removing all the internal parts will give you access to the cylinders and bearing, which when replaced or machined, will be what makes your rebuild good or great.

Remove the oil pan to expose the crankshaft and its journals. Remove each piston from the crankshaft at the base of each rod that the piston sits on and then remove the bearing that holds the crank in place. Pull the crank out and set aside.

Flip the block back over and remove the head bolts and separate the heads from the block. Scrape away any and all gasket remnants and clean the block inside and out with quality solvents. Clean the engine block to free it of all debris and dirt before moving on through the steps to rebuild a Chevy 350 engine.

Hone the walls of each cylinder until the inside diameters of each cylinder match. Repeat the process for each lifter port. Honing the cylinder walls smooth will keep the pistons aligned perfectly to improve the performance once the Chevy 350 engine is rebuilt.

Grease the cylinder walls, the pistons, the lifter ports and around the camshaft before beginning to assemble the parts when you want to rebuild. Start at the bottom and work your way to the top of the engine, turning the block in the engine stand each time you need access to the upper or lower engine block. Oil each component liberally and remember to torque each bolt securely.

Tip

  • Purchase a new camshaft instead of polishing or rebuilding the factory one. You will increase the inside diameter of each cylinder wall when you rebuild a Chevy 350 engine, so a new camshaft fits right into the new dimensions of the rebuilt Chevy 350 engine.

Warning

  • Lubricate more than you think you need. Any dry surfaces that come together during the initial start after you rebuild a Chevy 350 engine could possible result in internal damage caused by friction.

Items you will need

About the Author

Francis Walsh has been working as a freelance writer since 2003. He has contributed to websites such as Shave, Autogeek and Torque & Chromeas, as well as provided content for private clients. Walsh has worked as a performance part-packer and classic car show promoter, now serving as crew chief for Nitrousfitz Racing.

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  • orange and black image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com