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Sherlock9C1 builds a wagon

12976 Views 144 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  MWP
[editor's note, I'm migrating this over from GMLongRoof forum, so some of this may be repetitive from my Impala build thread]

Hey guys, it's about time I posted up my wagon project. I've owned B-bodies since 2003, but in late 2013 my fourth Roadmaster wagon sadly caught fire a week after I bought it and was a total loss. I had just moved 1000 miles south and with a new job, three young kids and a whole new city, I needed to simplify. So I sold all three of my B-bodies and just drove minivans for 5 years.

My dad suddenly passed away in fall 2017 and the next summer I ended up inheriting his '96 Impala SS (Dark Cherry, the car I always wanted). It was drivable but needed a lot of work. I was going to sell it, but shortly after I got it to my house the buyer flaked out, so I just drove it and remembered why these cars are so fun (especially compared to minivans!). My wife and I decided to sell one minivan and make the SS my daily driver (which you can do in the Southern US), so I started disassembling it to restore. (That build is over here).

Four months later, while looking for parts, I located a 96 Roadmaster wagon project about 2 hours north of me. The owner had started to build it but hit some snags and health problems and it had been sitting partially disassembled for two years. I figured SURELY he'd be willing to sell some parts from his stash, but no, he said he wanted to sell the whole thing together, and he made me an extremely compelling offer. So I did what any self-respecting guy would do, I told him I'd talk to my wife and call him back.

We talked it over and decided to go ahead and take a good hard look at the wagon. It was dirty and neglected, but other than a hellacious battery acid leak and an unfortunate rainwater accumulation in the left rear quarter, it was rust free and in very good condition.

So we loaded it up with parts, loaded my minivan full of parts, strapped down the powdercoated rear axle and the 383 he had acquired for it (on a specially designed radial transport fixture) and he trailered it to my house.

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The ED setup wasn't made loose for assembly and disassembly ease.
Cam gear removal , with the LT1 long pin it can be a bit of a dance with moving the cam back a bit then rotating the gear around the pin.
That or moving the crank gear forward with the cam gear.
This can be problematic if the crank gear is a tight press .
You can't put the puller against the chain unless you are throwing it out.
The GM ED setup was notoriously loose.
A Cloyes engineer ( the manufacturer ) told me in a phone call the center to center call out from GM was wrong.
They supplied me an "over size " crank gear .
Not every one can tune a 96, should have moved the crank reluctor over to the 95 engine .
need the 96 specific crank key , cover , and damper hub ( or shorten 95 hub .095ish )
That said, one would surmise you would be turning off everything related to the crank sensor and misfire detection


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With all the bearing crush in the caps, it would be interesting to know the crank centerline to cam centerline.
It is what it is but your description sort of suggests they had a "time" with the billet caps and took a lot out of the block.
The dull peen lines at the rear cap line show they were working at it to either move it or snug it up.
As long as the housings are round , striaght, and to size , not the end of the world .
But if they did bury the crank you might be searching for a tighter chain assembly.
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Your machinist certainly knows all this.
Before some were marketed as " for align honed blocks" it was luck of the draw. Some sets were tighter than others .
In the case of the GMPP Extreme duty which Cloyes made for them they were typically loose.
An engineer at Cloyes told me it was GMs spec.
They had crank gears that were technicaly out of spec large that helped .
He sent me one .
With no data to back it up , I believe the timing sets that are speced for align honed blocks are nothing more than over spec gears and or under spec chains put together.

Aftermarket cap install can go astray pretty fast if care is not taken. I have been very lucky with a few I have had done localy
I drive my machinist a little crazy with block preheating and main bore finishing with the engine block position to try and never favor the block over the cap because of hone weight.

Your #5 , you know you can use 1/2 a -.001 and 1/2 a std shell ?

I never compare the actual dias of bearing and journal as in write both numbers down and than subtract.
I just read the difference directly.

As in ,adjust outside mic to crank
Adjust inside mic to bearing in housing.
Look at number on inside mic.
Note exactly the amount I adjust it to fit the outside mic.
That is the clearance.
Same but easier with bore gauge
Zero bore gauge in adjusted outside mic
Fit in bearing, read exact clearance directly .

As always , the above is just my opinion
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" fool proof"

I might use one of those words with plastiguage.
Too many possible factors to alter the reading.
I have some here , should look in the package. Probably dust after 35 + years.
Plastigage , to me, comes under the heading of BETTER THAN NOTHING.
Standard mics , easy to see .00025 and guess .0001 ( 1/4 and 1/10)
Digital bore guage is quite nice and you have a tracer to watch the sweep.
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Amazingly the plasigage is still pliable.
Time flys , I bought the inside- outside mics in 1973!!


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It might be the lighting , those journals look awfully rough finish.

To restate, while a bore gauge is nice it is a luxury.
Properly used , quality inside - outside mics will show you .00025 easy and you can eyeball closer than that.
The graduations are .001 but you can read between the lines, so to speak.

To each their own but I will always use a coated bearing if available.
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Mine do not have graduations between the .001's but seeing 1/2 - 1/4 of the thou pretty easy , 1/10th do able.
Office supplies Writing implement Wood Font Publication
Cosmetics Fluid Material property Cylinder Audio equipment
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they were all around 0.022-0.025 with one at 0.029 on cylinder 5.
One hole big ?

Time for file fits ?
Think the larger spec clearance on 5 is more to do with the width of the bearing ; rather than the thrust.

Thrust issue.
Not saying this is your issue but I have seen the following.
During the cap cut in preparation for align bore-hone they get the cut infinitesimaly off true.
This shows up the machined surface on the cap where the bearing flange is leans.
The tip edge of the thrust flange hits the crank before the rest of it.
You can check this with a little bluing or even a felt pen.
It will show up as a shiny spot .
If this is what it is the edge can be dressed on a surface plate with some 400-600 paper.

Picture later
Auto part Cylinder Composite material Household hardware Metal

They cut more here
Gas Auto part Composite material Metal Cable

Or here
Gas Camera accessory Gun accessory Auto part Tool

this or the other side leans
Tints and shades Auto part Rim Bumper Metal

bluing or felt pen

Wood Composite material Auto part Automotive tire Engineering
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Synthetic rubber Tread

mark on edge , front or rear depending on which why cap leans .
Automotive tire Water Automotive wheel system Rim Tints and shades
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If cap crank to flange clearance , or lack of is the same all the way around the half then yes it could be offset due to lack of clearance at the hardware.
If that were the issue I would be more inclined to run a 7/16 end mill down the hole offset a couple thou.

Further checks.
The clearance with the cap removed should be able to be duplicated cap on , no less .
Example even if in spec , if you cant get the same number the cap is ether leaning or hardward is holding it offset.

Try pulling the studs and putting bolts in.
If you can now get the same number as without cap on then you are likely correct, stud shank is likely holding it .

If the cap on number is still less even the tinyest bit that suggests the cap is leaning.

If crank was out you could check cap to block parting line. Undoweled caps should be able to go a little wrong in either direction.
Hardware should not , as you know, be pushing on the side of the hole.
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Just make sure that's what it wants first .
Any old bolt the right length would do for a test .

Maybe an old head bolt with washers , crap grade 5 from the store torqued to 35-40 , anything.

The med length end head bolts , my info shows them as .275 shorter than the rear cap bolts
Oh , I would
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Besides, a lawn mower is more valuable than a mini van!!!
I might retract my first statement after your photos.
Minivan , the sweatpants of automobiles. 😄

Your real world test might be how much fuel is coming out of the return line at the regulator, with min fuel in tank so the weight of the fuel on the inlet doesnt help the numbers
This to factor in all the losses.
Wouldn't have the acceleration enertia of the fuel in the line but I honestly dont know how much that is in a 3/8 od line.
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Yup, at least pumps don't have "personal taste " factors like exhaust.
Pumps , I do feel some headroom is nessasary to account for the unforeseeable. (Sp?)
My Bosch 044 choice might be a bit of a sledge hammer at 560rw but it is a known quantity vs the latest flavor of the month.
One thing that usually , to me , means quality is when people make a knockoff part of the real ones.
The 044 is rated at 5 bar and Bosch themselves pull some from the line and if they meet the 7 bar output tests they are restamped and sold as motorsports pumps for big money.
Brushless pwm pumps for the win.

We , the forum, have already gone down the which pump , how many pumps , makeup tank , discussion route so I will bow out of another.

Excess return fuel heating because of over size pump , within reason it gonna do it at low demand times anyway.
Put a cooler on the return ?
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While the smaller pumps are not tested , some interesting data just the same
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