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Install the Transmission

This is the last thing to be done before installing the engine in the car. You could potentially install the engine in the car and then install the transmission but this will undoubtedly be more difficult.


  • Torque is really important, especially on the flywheel and harmonic balancer.
  • Be careful of intertia of an engine on a crane, it's basically a potential wrecking ball.
  • Installing the Torque Converter in the Transmission correctly is important.
  • Using a Transmission Jack makes this much easier.


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Assembling the rest of the Engine

The rest of the engine includes the fuel delivery, throttle body (air delivery), exhaust, electrics and accessories.


  • Important to make sure all this stuff is clean (for aesthetic reasons, these are the parts people will see).
  • Mostly fairly simple stuff.
  • Here is where it is really important to have take good photos.


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Simple Maintenance

Safety First:

  • Always disconnect the negative battery terminal before conducting any kind of maintenance.
  • If you are going under the car, never just leave it on a hydraulic jack, always make sure it is on a jack stand and that the wheels are chocked.
  • Usually best to work on a car when it is cold.



Some examples of engine maintenance you can do yourself:


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Best information is often free.



  • Haynes

  • OEM Workshop Manuals

  • OEM Workshop Manuals in Japanese

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Machine Shop

Some stuff you can't do yourself. For this there is the machine shop.

Machine Shop Services:

  • Valve Regrind
  • Mill the Block and Head
  • Rebore or Bore Hone
  • Clean
  • Balance the Crankshaft


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Tools Required

Minimum Required Tools:

  • Screwdriver Set
  • Pliers

  • Socket Set

  • Spanner Set
  • Shifter Wrench
  • Vise Grip (Locking Wrench)
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Hydraulic Jack
  • Jack Stands
  • Wheel Chocks
  • Decent Torch


Getting Serious:

  • Torque Wrench

Ebay Torque Wrench

Home Made Torque Wrench

Why you need a decent Torque Wrench.

  • Electric Rattle Gun (Impact Wrench)

  • Impact Socket Set
  • Flare Nut Spanners
  • Engine Crane
  • Engine Stand

  • Foam Underlay

  • Puller (Steering Wheel)
  • Piston Ring Expander
  • Piston Ring Compressor
  • Paint Brushes


Getting Carried Away:

  • Air Compressor
  • Pneumatic Tools
  • Welder
  • Club Hammer

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If you can get new parts this is the best way to go. You will know they will work, and you won't have to clean them.

Places to get new parts:


Parts I got new.

  • Camshafts
  • Distributor Cap
  • Valve Lifters
  • Gaskets

  • Oil Pan
  • Alternator
  • Power Steering Pump
  • Oil Pump
  • Piston Rings
  • Bearings
  • Spark Plugs
  • Spark Plug Wires
  • All Hoses
  • Thermostat
  • Oil Seals
  • Head Bolts
  • Some Hardware (Nuts and Bolts)
  • Lube



Used parts are often cheaper, but you will have to clean them and test them. Some parts you just can't get new.

Parts I got used.

  • Throttle Body
  • Camshaft Housing
  • Power Steering Reservoir
  • ISCV



You can send parts away to get rebuilt or reconditioned. It's usually the most expensive option, and reserved only for parts you just can't get or can't trust used.

Parts I got reconditioned.

  • Harmonic Balancer


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What Next?

Started like this:

Finished Like this:

Install the parts I am still waiting on.

Install all the other bits and pieces:

  • Radiator
  • Air Conditioner
  • Engine Wiring
  • Exhaust


Run the engine.

Finish off building the car.

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Reassembling the Head

A lot of the tricky stuff was already done by the machine shop (seating the valves).


  • The surface of the cylinder head and surface of the block should be spotlessly clean before assembly. In particular they need to be clean of oil (which is difficult because they will have been oiled to prevent rust).
  • It is essential to use new head bolts and to make sure they are torqued inn order and to specification.
  • Clean everything. :(
  • Always check everything!
  • Follow the Manual!


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Why would you want to do this?

  • Learn more about cars.
  • Work with your hands.
  • Better workout than the gym.
  • Build something cool.
  • Inspired by other people's projects.

  • It's a dying art.
  • It's fun!
  • There's a community around it.
  • Want to push the limits of your patience.


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General Info

How does an internal combustion engine work?

Basic Four Stroke Engine:

1. Intake
2. Compression
3. Power
4. Exhaust

What Parts Make Up an Engine?



  • Valves
  • Valve Springs
  • Rockers
  • Lifters
  • Camshaft

  • Cam Pulleys
  • Spark Plugs
  • Distributor
  • Fuel Injectors

  • Throttle Body



  • Crankshaft

  • Harmonic Balancer
  • Piston
  • Conrod
  • Bearings
  • Fly Wheel
  • Oil Pump


Head and Block

  • Timing Belt



  • Alternator
  • Power Steering Pump
  • Air Conditioning Compressor


Types of Engine

  • Straight (Inline)
  • V

  • SOHC

  • DOHC

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Reassembling the Block

Reassembling the Block is the real fun part of the whole project. Most of the cleaning will have alread been done by the machine shop.


  • Don't force anything! (Gasket destroyed by over-torque)
  • Using the right tools helps a lot! (Piston Ring Debacle)
  • Everything needs to be spotlessly clean.
  • Always make sure that the crankshaft is easily able to spin.
  • Be careful with oil seals.
  • Always check and recheck everything, because once it is all sealed up you will not be able to re-do it.
  • Follow the Manual!