Jim Smart
September 15, 2007

Oil-Pump Blueprinting
Never install an oil pump right out of the box. Instead, blueprint and sleep easier. McAfee has a routine he follows, and you're free to follow all or some of it. Whatever you do, verify the condition. Check rotor side clearances, properly index the rotors, and check the relief valve for proper operation. Or order yours from MCE Engines for a precision blueprint.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Stop Leak!
Never has there been a better solution to driveway oil spots than the one-piece rear main seal Ford began using in the early '80s. Did you know you can retrofit an older two-piece-seal small-block Ford with a one-piece? Talk with your machine shop about it. All you need is a boring bar and a smart machinist with a nose for Ford part numbers. The savvy machinist uses the boring bar to remove the seal grooves. With the grooves removed, there's room for the one-piece seal.

One-piece seals are not foolproof, however. To be leakproof, they need a thin film of high-temp RTV (gray) around the circumference, then a spot of RTV on each side of the No. 5 main cap mating surfaces, as shown here.

Effective Communication
For a successful engine build, there must be concise communication between everyone concerned. When McAfee sends his machine work off to Motor Magic, he attaches a tag with detailed information specifiying what's to be done, right down to dimensions and tolerances. Include a tag with your castings, be sure to get it all in writing on the work order, and keep a copy.

Why Blueprint?
If you haven't figured it out already, McAfee is obsessive about blueprinting. Why? Because true blueprinting leaves nothing left to chance. It closely inspects and treats everything to ensure uniformity and proper function. Blueprinting means never losing sleep wondering if you missed anything. So what is blueprinting?

  • Close inspection of every part, right down to fasteners and bolt holes
  • Doing an engine mock-up-preassembly of all parts prior to machine work to ensure proper clearances and fit. No one wants to learn during final assembly that something crucial doesn't fit.
  • Getting compression height and deck height uniform across all bores
  • CC'ing piston crowns and combustion chambers to ascertain volumes; then, making the necessary corrections to get all of them uniform
  • Pinpoint machine work that includes uniform
  • machining of both decks and block ends for proper head and manifold fitment
  • Boring and match-honing all eight bores for precision piston fit
  • Uniform piston-ring end gap
  • Thermal-coat piston crowns for heat protection
  • Low-friction piston-skirt coating
  • Micropolish crankshaft journals and radiuses
  • Chamfer crankshaf-journal oil holes for improved lubrication
  • Relieve all stress risers (imperfections and parting lines) in all castings and forgings to prevent cracking and failure
  • Remove all rough edges
  • Dynamic balancing right down to less than 1-gram weight difference
  • Conversion of two-piece rear main seal to one-piece
  • Use of a one-piece oil pan gasket
  • Coating all moving parts (except piston ring package) with Dow Corning 321 dry lubricant for friction-free startup
  • Use of a roller camshaft and full roller rocker arms for reduced friction
  • One-piece pushrods for durability
  • Precision adjustment of pushrod guide plates for minimal contact
  • Deburr and chase all threaded parts
  • Chase threads in all bolt holes
  • Bevel all oil-galley passages to prevent fluid turbulence
  • Open up oil-galley passages at main bearing saddles
  • Install oil restrictor plugs between main and cam bearings at all journals except No. 1
  • Drill a 0.020-inch oil hole in the passenger-side oil-galley plug for timing-chain spray lubrication
  • Dress crankshaft and camshaft mating surfaces for smooth sprocket fit
  • Micro-hone all lifter bores
  • Port-match intake manifold and cylinder-head ports
  • Precise installed valvespring height
  • Check for valvespring coil bind at maximum lift: 0.050-inch minimum clearance
  • Lap all valves and seats to ascertain full contact