Engine Upgrade - Part 1 - 01/18/2016

The wagon one day shorly after returning from work started dripping some more coolant and oil than normal. I then noticed the timing cover leaking at a good pace. I decided to attempt to loosen the water pump bolts that I know would be a problem...

...and it didn't work. So I had to get the car in the garage because this is going to NOT be a quick and easy job.

Tight fit once the blue car is out of the way.

Narrow squeeze.

JUST barely fits with room to work around.

And start tearing things apart. Both of those belts have GM part numbers for Pontiac on them...

Look at that! A rebuilder's tag. The rods are 0.020" undersized and the mains are 0.010" undersized per the sticker, dated September 14th, 1981. Must have been run pretty hard to need a rebuild after only 7 years of ownership. This shop is still in business too.

Alternator, brackets, and hardware.

Managed to get the long skinny intake bolt out without it breaking, victory. The water pump is crusty, date coded to December of 1973.

Thermostat housing comes out without breaking, yet another victory. Wouldn't want a repeat of last year.

The bolts aren't great, but they aren't bad either. A little cleanup and anti-seize and they'll be fine!

Another old hose. It has a GM part number too. Timing cover has seen better days but isn't beyond hope.

Fuel pump ready to be removed.

Fuel pump fitting at carb is removed without issue. Throttle linkages are all removed to facilitate removing the intake later on.

Draining the radiator and spilling coolant everywhere is part of the job.

Removed the radiator to allow easier access as I'll likely need to replace the cam too. The lower pulleys are removed too after much effort and grime.

Water pump and divider plate. Clearance between the fins and the divider was 0.170". These are the same gaskets the factory used and it's dated close to the engine, so I can't say it is or isn't original. The water pump is in good shape, bearing is good and inside is clean. Might just hold onto it. That the divider plate is in as nice of shape as it is means that someone kept clean coolant in it for most of its 40+ years.

The balancer bolt comes out after some coaxing.

Balancer comes off after some gentle nudging too. The seal is wasted and the surface is completely ruined with grime and score marks.

Well this is special...

Timing cover gasket is nasty and they LOVED the silicon on the lower 1/3. Timing gear is odd and chain is sloppy, but not too loose. Stud on the left had no hardware attaching the timing cover to the block, so I can imagine the source of the leaks!

LOTS of wire brushing and sliding junk nuts on and off reveals the threads are usable.

After 10 minutes of heating up each broken stud with MAP gas then hitting it with PB Blaster, the first broken stud comes out without damage.

Both come out with some coaxing.

Nice to have a win and no damaged threads. Now it's time to clean up the block and pan...

All cleaned up. Well, for now that is. New razor blade and some brake cleaner will help get it ready for the cover to go back on.

Lots of work so far, more to go. I suspect the cam has a lobe or 2 going flat due to loose and spinning push rods. Since I'm this far in and already going to change the timing chain and gears, might as well pull the intake and valley pan to have a look! I also have a set of 4X-3H heads which are for a 400, so they'll help bump the compression up slightly that using an 068 cam will really improve the car's performance and efficiency.

Return to 1973 Grand Safari

Last updated January 18th, 2016