Clutch time!

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Dec 7, 2016
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This forum always seems to love nuts-and-bolts topics.

I've had the '74 Dodge for 5 years. It was essentially a barn find. Needed some work to wake it up and make it road worthy.

One issue I've ignored this whole time was a chattering clutch. This year, I've worked up the motivation to take care of it.

Roads got salted a week ago, so nows the time to dive in.

Either engine or trans comes out to swap clutch. I opted to pull engine so I can go over it at the same time. Ran perfect, but numerous leaks I could take care of and maybe a few upgrades along the way. Glad I chose this method: more on that later.



DAY 1:

I started off by dropping the exhaust and pulling the hood. After, my wife suggested she learned to drive stick on the old clutch. Not a bad idea. She picked it up quick! Proud of her!
Afterwards, I couldn't resist thrashing on it with open exhaust manifolds!


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Engine came out in 4 hours or so. Love the simplicity of this old iron:

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Notice the grime on the bellhousing.

Next, a rough cleanup. Lots of scraping, degreasing, pressure washing.

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Now, clutch and flywheel out, bellhousing off and get engine on the stand. Here's where I'm glad I'm going over the engine rather than just tossing a new clutch in. Notice how oil soaked everything is. New clutch wouldn't have fared well over time!

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Look at all of the room for activities!

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Beginning teardown after kids went to bed. While it was grungy on the outside, it looks fantastic inside, so far:

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More to come as progress allows!
 

emmett442

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DAY 2

Got a little time to begin tear down the engine tonight. Also built a jig to keep all valvetrain parts in order.

Everything still extremely clean. Bores have nearly no wear after 50 years and 80k. Zero ring ridge. Very good for a carbureted engine.

Found one chunked cam bearing so far.

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More next time
 
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You’re so lucky to have a cleaner old car like that. So easy to work on. I wish I had an antique like that. Maybe someday I will find one. How’s finding parts? Easily accessible?
 
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Dingleberry hone, new rings, cam bearings, rod & main bearings, new cam & lifters, oil, pump, timing chain set, freeze plugs, and gasket set. The heads are where it can get costly if they need guides and valves. Engine Quest used to have great rebuilt Mopar heads to include valve springs. Might be cheaper to exchange than to rebuild the heads.
 

emmett442

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Keep in mind, this engine ran GREAT and is only out because something needed to come out for the clutch, and this engine had a few gasket leaks. This isn't going to be an all-out overhaul. Just a little "refresh", and I don't want to lose sight of that. Clean everything up, new rings, bearings, gaskets, valve seals, then put it back together.

Buying new heads just to replace a clutch is a bit out of the scope of this project. Don't want the beginning of a rabbit hole!
 
Last edited:
Joined
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Keep in mind, this engine ran GREAT and is only out because something needed to come out for the clutch, and this engine had a few gasket leaks. This isn't going to be an all-out overhaul. Just a little "refresh", and I don't want to lose sight of that. Clean everything up, new rings, bearings, gaskets, valve seals, then put it back together.

Buying new heads just to replace a clutch is a bit out of the scope of this project. Don't want the beginning of a rabbit hole!
Got it. I’ll Keep in mind that an engine was pulled for basically a clutch job and what looks like a oil leak at the back of the intake. By the way, the EQ heads I’m referring to aren’t new. Have fun!
 

emmett442

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Got it. I’ll Keep in mind that an engine was pulled for basically a clutch job and what looks like a oil leak at the back of the intake. By the way, the EQ heads I’m referring to aren’t new. Have fun!
That seemed sarcastic.

Engine came out because I suspected both the back of the intake and the rear main seal. Oil pan leaked as well. Also, this engine is 50 years old and has never been opened. EVERY gasket leaked some. With the wide open engine bay, it was quick and simple. Gasket job can be complete, engine can get a new paint job.

I couldn't easily/efficiently tackle half of what I wanted by just dropping the trans and replacing the clutch by itself.

If the engine had running issues outside of leaks, I'd be a little more open to replacing expensive hard parts. But it ran so good, going with a minimalistic approach and only replacing bad and/or heavy wear items. A $1500 set of heads during a $100 clutch replacement and $500 engine refresh seems significant to me.

Thanks for the suggestion anyway.
 
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That seemed sarcastic.

Engine came out because I suspected both the back of the intake and the rear main seal. Oil pan leaked as well. Also, this engine is 50 years old and has never been opened. EVERY gasket leaked some. With the wide open engine bay, it was quick and simple. Gasket job can be complete, engine can get a new paint job.

I couldn't easily tackle half of what I wanted by just dropping the trans and replacing the clutch by itself.

If the engine had running issues outside of leaks, I'd be a little more open to replacing hard parts. But it ran so good, going with a minimalistic approach and only replacing bad and/or heavy wear items.
Sorry. None intended. My personal experience with older engines is they usually need valve guides, a few valves, possibly springs, and full on refacing. A lot of times it’s discovered that a fully refurbished set of heads with core exchanges ends up being a more economical way to go.
 

emmett442

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Engine torn down, it's time for cleanup.

First, heads torn down. Guides feel ok, but valves and seats could use a little cleanup!

50 years of buildup
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Wirewheeled clean
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Lapped valve faces and seats

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Pistons cleaned up. All of the compression rings were free, but about half of the oil rings were stuck with carbon:

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Bores were in good shape with little/no ridge, and only 0.0006" taper. Good enough for me. Quick ball hone job to deglaze:

1ITt7yx.jpg


Block cleaned up and getting ready for assembly. All core and oil galley plugs removed, everything cleaned out!

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Last edited:
Joined
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Apple Valley, California
Engine torn down, it's time for cleanup.

First, heads torn down. Guides feel ok, but valves and seats could use a little cleanup!

50 years of buildup
JxJWCvf.jpg


Wirewheeled clean
1tiMDzy.jpg


Lapped valve faces and seats
1tiMDzy.jpg

QtUH8yh.jpg


Pistons cleaned up. All of the compression rings were free, but about half of the oil rings were stuck with carbon:

BAro8qj.jpg


Bores were in good shape with little/no ridge, and only 0.0006" taper. Good enough for me. Quick ball hone job to deglaze:

1ITt7yx.jpg


Block cleaned up and getting ready for assembly. All core and oil galley plugs removed, everything cleaned out!

xhpbjzz.jpg

QgwJyrs.jpg
Keep in mind that on a small block dodge the cam bearings have to go in a certain order and position.
 

emmett442

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Thanks. I think that's true of most all cam-in-block engines.

I installed cam bearings last night. If you look close in the picture of the bottom end, you'll see I marked hole position on the web with a sharpie, to help line myself up during install. All oil hole alignment in all positions verified after install!
 

emmett442

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So what cam and lifters did you decide on? I saw your post on a Mopar site also.
Edelbrock 2177. There were lots of choices, but with the supply chain problems now, this was chosen because it was available. I can't afford the time and garage space waiting months for a cam.
 

emmett442

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Still chugging along.

Bottom end together. Mains and rods plastigaged right at 0.002". Perfect.

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Looking more like an engine again!

Assembling the front, installed oil pan.

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On disassembly, I noticed one exhaust manifold stud was broken. A curious thing, as all of the hardware was rust free and otherwise looked like new. Further investigation revealed that the exhaust port surface on the heads wasn't quite flat. Since these originally sealed without a gasket, there was no cushion to allow for that movement, putting a lot of stress on the hardware.

Waiting on the heads to get that surface flattened.

Getting close! It'll look nice once it gets a fresh coat of it's factory blue paint.
 
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Edelbrock 2177. There were lots of choices, but with the supply chain problems now, this was chosen because it was available. I can't afford the time and garage space waiting months for a cam.
That’s an excellent choice. No worries with low vacuum at idle. This is an assumption but I’d bet that your looking at 16 degrees initial timing. Most aftermarket camshafts require more initial timing than stock.
 

emmett442

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Wisconsin
That’s an excellent choice. No worries with low vacuum at idle. This is an assumption but I’d bet that your looking at 16 degrees initial timing. Most aftermarket camshafts require more initial timing than stock.
Stock timing is TDC, which is pretty incredible. But I suppose that's a function of the mid-70's time period when smog concerns were ultra high.

I had recurved the distributor while on the stock cam for 12 or so initial, 35 all in. That was a huge performance difference all around. Better power, better starting, better idling.

I may revisit ignition timing again after this is all done.
 
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