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Episode 5: Project COVID-1953 – Cam Bearings & Freeze Out Plugs

Episode 5 –Using a typical camshaft tool, the cam bearings were removed and replaced, and a new camshaft was put in. It’s important to not overlook the cam bearings so the engine isn’t starved of oil. Once that is finished, the freeze plugs go in and Rick moves on to replacing the main bearings in the crankshaft, gets the main caps on, and bolts them to specs.

               Episode 5 – Video Transcript

Rick Drewry: An update on Project COVID-1953.

On the engine, what I did after honing the cylinder walls, rebuilding the heads, painting the block; basically what was next was the camshaft.

I removed the old cam bearings to put new ones in. Used your typical camshaft tool to hammer them in and out. It’s a good thing I did. A lot of people will just put a camshaft in and not worry about the cam bearings. You need to be able to inspect them to see if they’re okay.

The cam bearings have to be in a certain way, and they have to be clocked just right. If they’re not, the oils won’t line up and won’t allow oil to get in between the cam bearing and the cam shaft. So, it’ll starve for oil. Basically, it’s metal on metal and will eat itself up. I had one of those bearings like that, so if I would have just thrown a cam in, it wouldn’t have lasted very long.

All new cam bearings put in, and cam bearings are cheap. Then, the camshaft itself. It’s not an aggressive cam at all. I’m looking for low-end torque, drivability, all that. It’s a 466 lift, 298 duration. The lift has to be under 470 because the Vortec heads can’t handle anything over 470. What happens is the rocker arm moves too much and smashes the guides, so you have to mill the guides and put new guides in. These heads were in great shape, so I don’t want to mess with it.

I can use the money that I would spend on rebuilding these heads elsewhere because there’s a lot to do still. So, I moved on, made a budget decision and did that versus messing with the heads and going with a big cam. I wanted more of a mild cam and a very drivable car. The camshaft is installed, freeze plugs are in, and then I moved onto the crank.

The crankshaft is straightforward. Basically, new main bearings in, and then dropped the crankshaft in, lubed everything up, and then put the main caps on and bolt them to specs. So, another step completed, another thing done, and ready to move!

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