A while back I had talked about a project that I would be working on this past summer. As with most projects this one is running behind. I have started the process of building an AMC 360 engine that will be documented & have an article written about it in Car Craft Magazine. I plan on following the process on here for our dedicated followers. Check back often for the progress.
The firs order of business with any engine build from scratch is to find a good core engine to start with. Any motor can look good on the outside & turn over but be junk once you dig in. It’s heart breaking when you spend a couple of hundred dollars on a core only to pull a head & find a badly rusted cylinder or a crack from freezing.
So our first step with the build is to disassemble the engine slowly & look over each part carefully to see what kind of a life the engine had & if it is worth salvaging. I started to disassemble the old 360 to see what we had. It didn’t look too crusty on the outside which is a plus. I pulled the intake & the heads. There was not much sludge in the valley. The bores looked surprisingly good for a 40 year old motor. The head gaskets were factory originals showing that the heads were never off this motor. The less a motor has been messed with the better piece you have to work with. This motor appears to be a gem.
The next steps are cleaning & checking. We use a degreaser we get from a commercial cleaning supply company. One inch in a spray bottle & the rest filled with water is enough to make you choke from the fumes & peel the skin off your hands. Perfect! Spray it on all the parts scrub with brushes, rinse in scolding hot water & blow dry with compressed air. Sounds easy but it is a ton of work. Once all the parts are clean we can start the checking process. Close inspection & accurate measuring is one of the most important processes in my opinion. A flaw or an off measurement caught before the build starts can save thousands of dollars & endless hours wasted. We check all bore diameters & deck heights. The deck height seems to be an important measurement in AMC engines. We have seen some off as much as .015. That is huge in the engine world.
These first steps don’t seem real glorious but are extremely important to start thing off on the right foot. The next steps will be to modify the block for improved oiling & partially fill the block with Hard Block to strengthen the cylinder bores. Then off to the machine shop!