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Now, with nearly 1900 miles...

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  • Now, with nearly 1900 miles...

    Well gang, I think I succeeded.

    As I write this, I am 107 miles short of 2,000 miles in the new engine I installed on the 23rd of September. This is the engine I have been working on and pestering you folks with all kinds of questions. Thankfully, it seems you all took me under wing and helped to get me here.

    Next week I'll have time to get a compression test done to ascertain how good she's pumping but for now I am really happy. This is one of the smoothest engine I have had the pleasure to own and now has the grunt I had imagined it should have. Temperature holds 180 degrees and oil runs 50-60 at speed with 10-15 at idle when I get off the freeway. Unfortunately I had late rocker arms combined with early shafts. I since have picked up the later shafts so once I get those properly cleaned and ready, I'll swap them in. Power comes on almost from the basement but really picks up steam over 2700 and runs right through 5500 where it notably tapers off. Porting the cylinders with guidance from Mike Van Vechten paid off. Had I the money to pay him and the time to wait, I can only guess what this lump would do.

    I did an oil change with 210 miles so I really cannot say what oil consumption was at that point but in the near 1700 since, the engine has used just a tick over half a quart. In my feeble mind that should work out to 2500 miles per quart. I think I can be quite happy with that.

    Also, I am really glad to have made the switch to stick-shift, even if "only" a T10. In the end, I ended up making my own mounting plate for the Hurst shifter. It now resides up in the console mounted to the rear most tailhousing mounts. No adaptor between the shift mechanism and the shaft so with the 8" shaft, I have a fairly short throw. Now to swap the 3.73 gearing for 3.31.

    Anyway, long story short, thanks to all with the encouragement and advise given over the past year plus.

    Ken Buchanan

  • #2
    A lot more than I have on the 74. Keep on Keepin' on. Well done. Bob


    • #3
      So, tonight I got off my duff and ran a compression test. Upon inspecting the plugs, only the #1 plug had any hint of colour and not much at all.

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      Now, keep in mind that the compression ratio worked out as 8.25:1 when I got done porting the heads and unshrouding the valves so the pumping pressures I got are pretty much spot on.

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      A 2 psi spread, t'ain't bad.

      Off to the dyno to see what's coming out the other end.


      • #4
        If the Heads were CC'd at 8.25, that is VERY close to the advertised 8.5 for a Standard Lark/Hawk 259/289.
        Those would normally pump more like 140-160, so that does sound a bit Low, but even is good, and it sounds like she runs well.
        Maybe a valve adjustment check is in order.

        Is it running Avanti shallow Dish Pistons?
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner


        • #5
          Rich, this was a spare engine I had bought when I realized there was something wrong with the original. The pistons are full dish. As I got to working on it, it became more obvious that major work was due and I went for it.

          So here is the run down.

          Dished pistons at .060" over.
          Block decked by .010"
          Steel head gaskets
          Squish at .033"-.035"
          Heads milled .040", ported and valve pockets relieved. I did cc the chambers but I will have to look up the individual numbers on old posts. At the time I calculated I have 8.25:1
          Ported the intake manifold to match the ports on the heads.
          While doing the first oil change, tightened valves from .024" cold to .018".

          So, she won't set any records on the dyno or at the strip but for a daily driver that can run on pump gas anywhere in the country, it'll do. I am going to take it to a local dyno that was recommended by a neighbor who built his fair share. Once that happens, I'll let you all know what the result is. I'll probably the run it at Irwindale for grins. With skinny tyres and a non limited slip, I won't be setting any records there, either.


          • #6
            With skinny tyres and a non limited slip, I won't be setting any records there, either.
            Heck Ken, that's the best part of drag racing. In my Youtt!! four of us towed a 55 chebby all over the state drag racing. I think we were in N-stock with the bored and decked "265". Got to rub elbows with the big dogs, learned a lot about tuning SBC's and got our arse kicked by the upper class guys in trials. We did hold our own in our class though.

            Fond memory, That light, quick revving SBC could launch out of the hole great. On a couple of occasions, I hole shotted some big Mopar's. Felt great until they caught up and roared passed. Still remember the exhaust sounds of those big blocks, 55+ years later, as they went by. Nirvana!!

            Enjoy, Bob


            • #7

              I am no authority on cam specs but I believe the cam on the standard 259 is a bit milder and typically the lash should be .021" hot, therefore the cranking pressure will be higher than a more aggressive cam with tighter lash. Nominal 8.25:1 is likely 6.00:1 dynamically when cranking. Add in RPM and the cam effect coming in and things start to change.


              My game plan on the strip is to get the clutch out as swiftly as possible before really mashing the throttle. With an aluminum flywheel it should wind up with full engagement pretty quick, it sure seems to on the street. I'm thinking on shifting for 2nd around 4,000 RPM and 3rd at 4,500-5000. The strip is only 1/8 mi so I may find myself holding off shifting till a tad later and saving a shift. I started doing the math and it's been at least 35 years since I was launching a Kawasaki GPz 550 at Orange County Raceway, trying to better my starts for roadracing.