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Old 09-29-2014, 10:23 AM   #1
HectorM52
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LS1 Into My New...

Well, I have been thinking of upgrading the LT1 to an LS1 for years. Going to these Pro-Touring events and getting walked by LS1 engines is just dis-heartening. So over the years I've kept an eye on Craigslist watching prices, seeing what's out there. And this summer I finally picked up a longblock for $360 including an intake, minus oil pan.

Here she is riding home, all snug in the Nissan.


The engine had spun the #6 rod bearing. Apparently this is a somewhat common issue as there were several folks selling their sets of seven pistons.

Looks like they actually stopped running the engine prior to completely destroying things. But the bearings didn't look the best.




I purchased one piston off one of the Facebook LSx parts lists. And apparently when I say "piston" I'm thinking piston & rod combo. Others are thinking just the PISTON SLUG. So I get this rod without a cap and a piston slug. At first I was upset, but I guess during our conversations I never mentioned the word "rod" so I have only myself to blame. But then I notice that the piston was "interfered with" at one point. Can you see it?





Then he said he would send me the cap so I could use the rod (which he never did), but the rod appears to have been dropped on it's cracked end and marred up, basically rendering it useless.





So I head off to LS1Tech to find a piston from NOT-a-moron. And I end up with a great looking rod. Unfortunately, it doesn't match my rods. This is going just swimmingly!





Notice the "cleaner" of the rods has the little "wiper" on the side of the rod. Apparently it's the better design, but not the RIGHT design. And you can see my rod with no cap as well, LOL.

TBC
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:41 AM   #2
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Okay, so the third time's the charm, right? In this case, yes. I finally get the right piston. So my idea of piecing an engine back together on a budget has taken a small hit, dammit. Oh, and no picture, doh.

Anyway, I started cleaning up the nasty pistons. Mine are the darkest, most burnt of the bunch above. That last pic shows it the best.

I soaked them in a partial purple-power/water mix for 48+ hours and that did take the majority of the nastiness away, but left a bit of the harder/thicker crap on the piston slugs.

Here are a few pics of what they look like AFTER soaking. Yes, some come out cleaner than others...







I pulled the rings on 4 of them (one at a time, of course) and cleaned out the ring-lands with a piece of the ring from that awesome piston above. So I guess it did prove somewhat useful after all. Hit them with the wire wheel just to take the edge off a bit.

They cleaned up good and should do fine for what I plan for this engine (stock refresh).





So my current concerns are as follows:

The piston that spun the rod bearing doesn't look the best. I can't think of a reason how the bearing would affect the piston, but apparently it did. Look closely at this picture, you can see kind-of a chewed up area, just to the left of the black. And also some ugly spots on the left side of the face. Any ideas as to why this would happen?





Secondly, there is one more piston head where I don't really like the surface. It's really easy to see in person, but these pictures aren't really doing it justice. Look closely, you can see some tiny "divots" in the face of the piston. I keep thinking SPARK KNOCK. Would that do this?


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Old 09-29-2014, 10:52 AM   #3
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So my thought process might need to change.

I originally wanted to just replace the one rod and re-use the same pistons and rings. Just hit the cylinder walls with a quick hone so they reseat nicely.

In my head, I'm thinking that pistons and bores kind of "snug up" to each other. They move up and down in there so many times that they kind of take one another's shape, right? Whether it's perfectly round or slightly oblong, they're kind of "one" with each other. Especially after 80k miles or however many were on this engine.

Now I'm scared of two pistons. The one that spun the bearing, and the other one picture last above. And with my theory on piston/bore mating...am I asking for trouble if I pick up two more slugs and swap them over?
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:59 AM   #4
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And I'm not totally sure what this will go into. Most likely a '66 or '67 Nova. Still trying to work on that part.
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:17 PM   #5
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Seems like your starting off in LS world the hard way.

I know samdogmx had a piston contact a valve in the first rendition of his Camaro build. and he did what you are doing, bought a used rod/piston from interwebs tossed it back together and ran another season like that. His bearings had no issues from my recollection though.

Personally I'd have a hard time doing that and not just going through the whole thing. Cause I don't like to do stuff twice (even though my ls had to come apart/out 5 times) I would have been more at ease buying a non-damaged running example.

but I understand budget also. And I have never been able to keep one lol
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:19 PM   #6
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On a side note note once the piston/rod situation is done and you move on. Change the timing chain to an ls6 chain. Also recommend changing the oil pump to ls6 style if yours is and early block, and doing the old port/shim treatment.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:30 PM   #7
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Could the bearing have flattened out so much that it gave the piston a little "room" to hit the head @ TDC? It wouldn't have been rammed home, but enough slack to allow the piston a bit more travel then it would have had w/ tight bearings?

As far as the pock marks, looks like detonation to me. Maybe nitrous hits? dunno..
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Hot wiring is bad news.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:32 PM   #8
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oh and man, pull the dowel rings back off the block, find a piece of glass or the flattest thing you have in the garage, hose down the deck w/ wd-40 and use 220 grit paper, cross hatch pattern, flatten the deck out. Roloc discs are frowned upon w/ aluminum.
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Hot wiring is bad news.
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Old 09-29-2014, 03:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by static low 92 View Post
Seems like your starting off in LS world the hard way.

I know samdogmx had a piston contact a valve in the first rendition of his Camaro build. and he did what you are doing, bought a used rod/piston from interwebs tossed it back together and ran another season like that. His bearings had no issues from my recollection though.

Personally I'd have a hard time doing that and not just going through the whole thing. Cause I don't like to do stuff twice (even though my ls had to come apart/out 5 times) I would have been more at ease buying a non-damaged running example.

but I understand budget also. And I have never been able to keep one lol

On a side note note once the piston/rod situation is done and you move on. Change the timing chain to an ls6 chain. Also recommend changing the oil pump to ls6 style if yours is and early block, and doing the old port/shim treatment.
Yeah, the goal is to have a running engine for around 1k. For an LS1 that seems to be almost impossible. Jeff was well on his way to making that happen, then he got bit by the LS6 bug, lol.
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Old 09-29-2014, 03:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotwire View Post
Could the bearing have flattened out so much that it gave the piston a little "room" to hit the head @ TDC? It wouldn't have been rammed home, but enough slack to allow the piston a bit more travel then it would have had w/ tight bearings?

As far as the pock marks, looks like detonation to me. Maybe nitrous hits? dunno..
That's the only thing I could think of. But those don't appear to be hits from valves or head. I suspect that the issue with the bearing caused a lot of spark knock/detonation which basically just destroyed that piston. I will probably NOT be reusing that slug. Gotta remember to check that head / those valves closely too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotwire View Post
oh and man, pull the dowel rings back off the block, find a piece of glass or the flattest thing you have in the garage, hose down the deck w/ wd-40 and use 220 grit paper, cross hatch pattern, flatten the deck out. Roloc discs are frowned upon w/ aluminum.
Yeah, I thought about that after a bit of light reading about these engines. The good thing is that I have it totally apart and can do whatever I want before putting it back together, allowing me to clean it up real nice. Part of me wants to go home and go to town, but another part is reading that I need to have it mic'ed out for roundness. I'll have to pick up some sort of body-shaping tool or something to get something really flat.

I think that part of my theory was right from above, but it seems that guys are pretty much swapping pistons willy-nilly with decent luck. I'll pick up another piston or two and get them swapped over, then get this thing mic'ed out and start picking up bearings.

Would love to have a longblock before Winter.
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