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Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Episode 2: Project Covid -1953 Chevy Bel Air -Teardown and Assess

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Episode 2 – Rick Drewry tears everything down on his ‘53 Chevy Bel Air and determines the best place to start is the engine. The engine has already been pulled out and is sitting on the stand, ready to be torn down. Most everything is in pretty good shape, but hey, it’s the engine – so, a new camshaft, new bearings, new oil pump. It’s going to take some time and elbow grease to get it all back together, but this is the fun stuff!

               Episode 2 – Video Transcript

Rick Drewry: Looking at the initial impact was to tear it down and see what I have. I’ve had this car for a long time. I wanted to assess what I have and determine the best place to start. In my opinion, it is the engine. So pulling the engine out, it was already out sitting on a stand. It had been sitting there for a long time, probably over 12-13 years. And, I decided to tear it down to see what I’ve got.

It has Vortec heads on it. It’s a 1979 four-bolt main 350 truck engine. It is a stout motor for a 350. I tore it apart; the bearings weren’t in bad shape. I probably could have just slapped it together and got it running, and everything would have been fine, but I want a little more insurance than that. I tore it apart and pulled the pistons and the rods. I measured the cylinder walls. They’re actually pretty good.

I’m going to hone the cylinders and then put all new rod bearings and main bearings in it. New oil pump. All the good stuff. New cam bearings and a new camshaft. I don’t know what kind of cam was in it. So, I decided to start from scratch there. With Vortec heads, you cannot have a giant cam. It has got to be a small enough lift that you don’t screw up the valves, the valve guides, actually.

So, this is the initial tear down. You’ll see how it has been torn apart, and I’m getting ready to start working on each component to get it back together. There’ll be quite a few things to do, but it’s building an engine, so it’s kind of the fun stuff to do.

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