'Mater - '77 Cherokee S 4-door

bigwalton

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Got the new drivetrain separated.

Didn’t have as much time as I’d hoped today. I’ve not pulled that many motors, so the effort to get the thing safely on the stand still stresses me out big time. It’s on there now and the real fun can begin.

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I’m going slowly because I know me and I’m cleaning everything as it comes off. If I don’t, I’ll get excited to get it back together and will skip it. Got the York (I won’t be using) off, cleaned the mount, started pulling the front end apart before I had to make a taco run.

Got to find a 13/16” spark plug socket and I got a partial shipping notice on the BJ’s stuff. Unfortunately the new water pump wasn’t shipped. I could do without the other delayed items. I can do the pump later, but that would suck. Have plenty to get going with. Onward.
 

bigwalton

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Intake off, cam out, AMC builder/racer friend came to look it over and said things looked solid and he’d plow forward with my plan :thumbsup: found I need a different spring compressor to swap the new springs in and that's coming today.

first part of my BJ's order got here. mainly for the poly engine/trans mounts and I took the opportunity to grab some other small
parts the Jeep's always needed. Flow Kooler water pump being drop shipped.

cleaning up the engine and parts, jumping around while waiting for tools and parts to get here.


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Cleaned up some of the casting flash in the intake water passages. There was a decent buildup of gunk on these. All of them had it, this was the worst
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First pass at cleaning the upper sealing surfaces, block and timing cover gasket areas. Need to find Roloc wheels


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where it stands now. Got one spring off and stopped waiting for the new spring compressor. If folks don’t know the cord trick, you feed a bunch through the spark plug hole and crank the piston up to hold the valves in the head so they don’t fall down into the cylinder. I REALLY don’t want to have to pull the heads or remove the “non-leaking” headers (according to PO and there’s no evidence to the contrary).
 

Randyzzz

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Intake off, cam out, AMC builder/racer friend came to look it over and said things looked solid and he’d plow forward with my plan :thumbsup: found I need a different spring compressor to swap the new springs in and that's coming today.

first part of my BJ's order got here. mainly for the poly engine/trans mounts and I took the opportunity to grab some other small
parts the Jeep's always needed. Flow Kooler water pump being drop shipped.

cleaning up the engine and parts, jumping around while waiting for tools and parts to get here.


View attachment 83326 View attachment 83327

Cleaned up some of the casting flash in the intake water passages. There was a decent buildup of gunk on these. All of them had it, this was the worst
View attachment 83328 View attachment 83329
First pass at cleaning the upper sealing surfaces, block and timing cover gasket areas. Need to find Roloc wheels


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where it stands now. Got one spring off and stopped waiting for the new spring compressor. If folks don’t know the cord trick, you feed a bunch through the spark plug hole and crank the piston up to hold the valves in the head so they don’t fall down into the cylinder. I REALLY don’t want to have to pull the heads or remove the “non-leaking” headers (according to PO and there’s no evidence to the contrary).
Compressed air works well too. There is an adapter available for spark plug to air hose. Simply get the piston at TDC compression and pressurize the cylinder. Enough to hold the valves up. Works great!
 

bigwalton

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Compressed air works well too. There is an adapter available for spark plug to air hose. Simply get the piston at TDC compression and pressurize the cylinder. Enough to hold the valves up. Works great!
I know, I have a loud, crappy single cylinder home compressor and there’s no way I’m sitting there listening to it run for as long as it will take me to do this.
 

bigwalton

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Well, progress pictures are still few and far between, but there have been some key things checked and decisions made.

So this engine was a solid runner and the seller had no issues driving it until he went to start on his LT swap. It's got less than 65k and ran strong with no smoke, but it had an intermittent tick that he isolated to the #7 cylinder. He thought it must be a sticky lifter because it wasn't constant and didn't noticeably affect how it ran.

I was willing to take the gamble on this purchase because he's not a "normal" seller, as an experienced CJ guy and current Jeep engineer and I know and trust him. To his credit, he offered to give me some money back on the deal if there did turn out to be bigger issues and he's been very interested in following my progress so he can know that this will work for me.

So when I pulled the intake, I found a bent pushrod. The spring, keepers, retainer were fine and the valve seems fine when I went to replace the spring and spun/moved it before putting on the new spring. A friend brought a borescope over and we looked at the piston and cylinder walls and saw no evidence that the valve hit the piston. The lifter seems ok, isn't stuck, wear is similar to the others and there's no issues with the lifter bore. The cam looks fine, no issues on that lobe. Rocker and bridge look fine.

So, after talking to a couple trusted friends, I've decided that short of going down the path of a full rebuild (which can't possibly happen right now and would end up causing this to be pushed against the wall for who knows how long) I've checked everything I can possibly check to ensure that things will work if I put this back together with the new cam/lifters/springs/gaskets/main seal and swap my nice oil pump and intake on.

The seller, after hearing that there was a bent pushrod with no other indication of damage, talked to an old AMC engineer he knows and was told that this can happen from a sticky valve after sitting for a while. As the seller had let the jeep sit for periods without driving it, this seems the most likely situation. The other guess is that something hung the lifter up and subsequently cleared. There's also the possibility of a nut or something falling into the intake that got between the piston and valve and ended up going out the exhaust.

I'm going with the fact that this was still a strong running engine and the stuff I've looked at thus far means that the odds are really good that it will work for what I need. Onward!

Offending pushrod next to one of the new ones I have to replace them all showing the bend.
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Edelbrock intake removed from the 360 and cleaned up. Found that I neglected to move the intake baffle over from the stock 360 intake. This must be why I saw some oil at the PCV on the 360 :banghead: I also put an insulating spacer under the carb before the EFI swap that made the carb much happier. I think the intake bathing in engine oil was causing excessive intake temps too. I have one coming from Jody Abbot that will get installed with some steel wool under the PCV to further help keep oil out of the system.

You can see the oil stain from the oil bath it was constantly getting.
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I got an aluminum water outlet and oil fill tube from BJ's Offroad with the stuff I bought from there. The outlet on the 401 was nice but the 360's was rougher, so I splurged a bit rather than scavenge the nicer one off the 401 intake (same reason I got the intake baffle from Jody rather than take it off the 401) The stainless oil fill is going to look totally bling. Waiting to get the baffle on before that goes in.
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I did a first pass at cleaning up the timing cover. Now to swap the BullTear oil pump setup over from the 360 and bench test my clearances (pump to cover, dizzy to pump).

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Valve springs swapped and the block is as clean as it's going to get with bolt holes all cleaned out other than needing to flip it to pull the oil pan and do the rear main. Waiting until the top is back together before I get into that.

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The new valve springs were too "coarse" to use the rental valve spring compressor to install, so I got one of the lever arm units from Jegs. This is meant to go on a rocker stud, but my setup is obviously bolted, so I had to make up a "conversion" stud to go from the bolt threads to the compressor threads. I cut the head off of a grade 8 bolt to match the larger stud thread size and chucked it in a drill to take the other end down with my angle grinder to the point where I could run a die down it to match the rocker bolt for the head. Worked like a charm.

Also had to alter the angle on the "forks" of the compressor so that it compressed the springs properly without canting them off to one side. You can see the stud in the bottom here. I use the nut on the stud thread side to lock the stud into the tool, makes it easier to thread on/off. The angle on the forks was more than double what you see here as it came. The forks thread on/off, so I just put them in a vice and bent the crap out of them with my largest adjustable wrench. It's a custom-made stock AMC head valve spring compressor tool now!

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As you use it. Very cool the way it "locks" in the lowest position, makes pulling/installing keepers dead simple.
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So now I have more time while I wait for the intake baffle to show up. I'll rebuild the drive shafts and finish cleaning up the trans and tcase.

I'm a bit worried that I haven't seen the water pump yet and haven't gotten any word on the lubelocker trans pan gasket and aluminum valve covers I ordered. Running out of patience trying to follow up with BullTear on the valve covers, I've tried being exceptionally patient with all that's going on but this is getting ridiculous. May end up skipping them if no one can bother getting back to me and reverse the charges on the card.

I am dying to get this in and running but I'm trying to be very moderate in how long I spend out in the garage each day with Kate and Laura both home all the time. I've mainly only done from lunch to dinner and not gone back out at night. It's trying my patience but it's also, strangely, making me take more time to clean/prep than I would otherwise. Multiple times while cleaning up the intake I thought to myself "Wow, am I really doing this? I can't believe I'm being this anal! Who am I, @spankrjs?!?" :shrug: :rotfl:
 

Jeeper_4_Life

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I am not sure how your EFI system is setup. My Fitech's MAP sensor port in the thottle body will only read one side on a dual plane intake if the intake divider hasn't been milled down 1/4" or so, or you are running a spacer that will let it read both sides. Some people think that could cause things to run strange or cause issues. Not sure if your system does the same or is completely different. I was going to suggest you mill down the center or run a spacer, but you already have a spacer. I have had a 1" aluminum spacer ever since I put the 304 in my Scrambler, so I can't verify the spacer helps or not.

I have also read at least with Fitech and Holley Sniper the heat off the intake could be an issue and a lot of guys are running the phenolic spacers to help with that like you had done. The spacer may have more benefit than just heat though. I am not sure but I thought the center two ports in the intake valley are exhaust cross over, so it gets pretty damn hot through there.
 

bigwalton

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I am not sure how your EFI system is setup. My Fitech's MAP sensor port in the thottle body will only read one side on a dual plane intake if the intake divider hasn't been milled down 1/4" or so, or you are running a spacer that will let it read both sides. Some people think that could cause things to run strange or cause issues. Not sure if your system does the same or is completely different. I was going to suggest you mill down the center or run a spacer, but you already have a spacer. I have had a 1" aluminum spacer ever since I put the 304 in my Scrambler, so I can't verify the spacer helps or not.

I have also read at least with Fitech and Holley Sniper the heat off the intake could be an issue and a lot of guys are running the phenolic spacers to help with that like you had done. The spacer may have more benefit than just heat though. I am not sure but I thought the center two ports in the intake valley are exhaust cross over, so it gets pretty damn hot through there.
I hadn’t heard that, interesting thinking though and I can definitely pop the spacer back in just for poop and giggles. I’ll look at the TBI when I head out here in a few. I wasn’t running it but I still have it. Probably not a bad idea anyway just for heat :shrug:
 

bigwalton

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Just looked and the MAP sensor on my FAST EZ-EFI accounts for this, it straddles the two sides and has a recess to allow it to be open to both. When mounted, the divider is right under this.

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I am going to take a shot at blocking off the exhaust crossover with pieces of my old valley pan cut into holes I’ll cut into the new valley pan just to keep the heat down in the intake and since I never drive this in any really cold weather. I’ll probably skip the spacer until I get a feel for how hot the intake runs on the 401.

Great info to know regardless :thumbsup:
 

bigwalton

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So I cleaned up the timing cover, swapped the crank seal out, moved the dizzy gear from the 401 to my HEI because both it and the cam gear look fantastic, swapped the Bulltear oil pump gears and mid plate over to this and dry fit everything to check clearances.

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pic before I final cleaned the gasket surface)

Just for fun I tried it without the oil pump gasket and it locked the oil pump up solid. I think a lot of the cam/dizzy gear issues with these is due to either the cover dragging on the gears or the dizzy being forced down on the oil pump shaft by the clamp, binding it up and killing those gears.

with the gasket, very small play in the pump and the dizzy shaft had the perfect play up and down. No binding, everything spun free :thumbsup:

now if my water pump would show up :angry: the front of the engine would be ready to go back together.

got to do the rear main and reseal the oil pan, slot in the cam, lifters and new pushrods, bolt the rockers back on, install the intake after slapping the new baffle on and (hopefully) seal the valve covers up. Oh, have a new clevite HD timing set too, need to check the oil passage for flash and oil passage alignment.

getting there, slowly.
 

sdsupilot

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Looking good! I don't think I have ever given AMC engines enough credit. Its pretty cool that the distributor is in the right place. Its handy that you can change the oil pump without dropping the oil pan. You can also change the distributor gear without changing the cam shaft.

I've been helping a friend work on a CJ7 with a 304 lately. It needs a new cam/distributor drive gear, so in this case the fix is much easier on the AMC than it would have been on other V8s. I see on your engine block that there are alignment dowels, also one on the front cover. Are there any adjustments to make with the cover/distributor/oil pump for clearance or mesh?
 

bigwalton

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Looking good! I don't think I have ever given AMC engines enough credit. Its pretty cool that the distributor is in the right place. Its handy that you can change the oil pump without dropping the oil pan. You can also change the distributor gear without changing the cam shaft.

I've been helping a friend work on a CJ7 with a 304 lately. It needs a new cam/distributor drive gear, so in this case the fix is much easier on the AMC than it would have been on other V8s. I see on your engine block that there are alignment dowels, also one on the front cover. Are there any adjustments to make with the cover/distributor/oil pump for clearance or mesh?
Not that I’m aware of. There’s no play and no adjustment and you can’t see the mesh point outside of the view down the dizzy hole with the dizzy out once the cover is installed.
 

bigwalton

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Waiting on parts sucks. Kind of have a sequence in my head of how I want to move through this and I don’t like deviating even though there’s technically other things I could do.

Tried to be patient on the water pump I ordered and finally followed up after a couple weeks only to find it’s not going to be anytime soon. Got another one overnighted so I could finish dry fitting things on the timing cover and get it together. Oil pump is installed and full of Vaseline, ready to go. New water pump spins freely with one Fel-pro gasket, so it’s ready to get final fitted once the timing cover is back on the block. Mr Gasket fuel pump block off was cheaper than my time to make one, so it’s on and sealed. Already swapped the crank seal and just finished cleaning up all the bolts for all the front end stuff. Rear main and resealing the oil pan is next and then it’s time for things to start going back on.

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bigwalton

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Almost all of my vital parts showed up. Had to cancel the original water pump and get one at Jegs. Got the intake baffle from Jody Abbott, cleaned it up a bit and installed with self tappers and red loctite.

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Finished intake with new stainless 90 for the heater hose and stainless oil fill tube (put in the freezer when I got it, still had to pound it home pretty hard). Ready to go back on.

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Finished cleaning up and straightening the oil pan. Gasket surface pretty lumpy from someone torquing the tar out of the bolts.

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Swapped the rear main seal after finishing cleaning the gasket surface.
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Forgot to take a photo, but got the oil pan back on and sealed (hopefully). I like that I could do it on the stand like this so its weight was working in my favor.

Got some day job stuff the next couple days but hope to get the motor buttoned up to be ready for the header install when the gaskets arrive.

Been in a funk on this since I realized I screwed up the intake baffle on the 360, re-energized now. Back to being ready to break this cam in and drive this thing again.
 

bigwalton

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So close... if I could have gotten the harmonic balancer in another quarter of an inch or so I could have run it in with the bolt.

Cam in, timing setup in, timing cover on, water pump on, lifters/pushrods in, valve covers cleaned and installed, intake installed. So close. Borrowing a balancer installer tomorrow and may try to drop this in...

Checked the alignment of the cam gear oil slot with the cam bearing oil passage, spot on. Passage was also nice and clean
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My home made cam install tool. Drilled piece of flat steel welded to a scrap piece of angle and my largest channel locks as a comfortable handleworks great! 719BE56D-8C41-4215-9224-91D66F79317B.jpeg

more Guts installed
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Remflex header gaskets came today (said Satueday
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I made block off plates for the exhaust crossover from sections of the old valley pan. With EFI and decent weather driving, adding heat to the intake seems pointless. Trimmed the new pan for them and used ultra copper sealant around the port. Seems people use lots of things to make these plates but I liked that the thickness was a perfect match this way.

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Donor sections F79ED669-636E-41D5-B688-143EECF48DFE.jpeg

@MrBeep told me to do this! Silver engine paint and a small brush.
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As it sits tonight. One balancer short of what I’m pretty sure will be enough to drop it in. Debating trying to do it with the trans attached or not. Not sure yet.
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bigwalton

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BOOM! Engine and trans in with the headers on.

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I tried header bolts drilled for these stainless spring-loaded locking wires.

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went with poly engine and trans mounts after seeing that the donor Jeep’s left motor mount was separated and reading that the 401 is apparently known for doing that to stock mounts.
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very tired, very excited, too dehydrated to have a drink to celebrate, don’t care :smokin:
 
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