clean and prep

Thanks for tuning back in, folks!  Hopefully, all the parts you ordered came in, your Honey-Do list is caught up and you are on solid ground with your significant other because ... dude ...  this next part is ... like ... really messy.  Totally.  All that grease, grit and crud that's in the engine right now -- guess where it's about to go ...  That's right, Sparky --  all over *you.*


Cleaning.  There is no "man clean" here -- It's ginormously critical that you do a very thorough job.


At this point, you already have a lot of time and expense wrapped up in this project, so it would be awful to have it all go to waste if, 30 miles down the road, the bearings scored, spun or locked up, or the oil pump failed or ... any number of things from the "Bad" category happened because some grit or metal shavings from all the machining got lodged in a critical part of the engine.


So let's just take a little time to make sure that doesn't happen, shall we?


Heavy cleaning /degreasing
Step 1


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Around the site ....

Apply degreaser to ... EVERYTHING.


  • Use your favorite oven cleaner, parts wash degreaser, brake cleaner or whatever  to loosen things up -- some of that crud has been in there a long time and won't want to come out


  • Use a LOT of it.  Get it on everything and in every hole, port, passage, galley ...  Use some more


  • If you use different cleaners, be sure you are combining safely --  i.e., don't mix chlorine bleach with ammonia ... (that would be ... bad)


  • Put more degreaser on  :)


  • Let it all sit while the degreaser does its "thang."  Get the fire started for Step 4 and then go have some lunch with the Mrs....
main oil gallery
Step 2

Scrub the main oil gallery


  • The main oil gallery is the long passage that runs the whole length of the block, front to back.  You removed the plugs on either end of it, remember?  Because it is the primary artery supplying oil from the oil pump to the rest of the engine, it's pretty important to get it as clean as possible.


  • Break out your gun cleaning kit ... um, you don't have one?  This is the perfect excuse to get one because, as you can see, they are useful for a lot of things beyond cleaning that symbol of American Democracy kept over the mantel.


  • Back to the oil gallery -- assemble the bore cleaning rod and use the .30 cal bore brush.  Apply lots of solvent/degreaser to the bore brush each pass to rinse all the grit you collect/loosen.


  • Repeat until your arms cramp up.  When you feel like stopping, remember how tiny a piece of grit it takes to destroy a freshly and expensively rebuilt engine ...



Under Hotrod Lincoln's careful supervision, Hambone applies a bore brush to the main oil passage.  Sweet waits his turn ...

Crankshaft and block oil passages
Step 3

Scrub the block and crankshaft journal oil passages


  • Shorten the cleaning rod & switch to a .22 cal bore brush
  •  Again, apply lots of solvent/degreaser to the bore brush each pass to rinse all the grit you collect/loosen


  • There are lots of passages in the crack shaft itself, the main journals and the cam journals --  get every one of them!


  • Do them again



hot bath in soapy water
Step 4

Scrub & soak *everything*  in hot, soapy water


  • Remember the fire you started earlier?  Hopefully by now it's brought that tub of water to a boil or near boiling.  If so, add some heavy duty grease cutting dish soap (like Spic & Span powder or Dawn liquid dish soap).  Use a LOT of it -- now is not the time to be stingy.
  •  Run all parts through the hot bath -- Soak, scrub, rinse, repeat.  Be careful around the heat source/boiling water!


  • There is no such thing as too clean.  If in any doubt, repeat until the doubt is gone.


  • For parts that are too big to fit in the tub (block or the head, for example), hold them to the end.  And when all the small parts are done, use some sort of rack to hold them and ladle the hot water onto them for the scrub down.  Use up all the water at this point.


  • As parts come out of the bath, liberally rinse with plain water and dry them with compressed air
  • For the bigger parts with passages and galleries (the crank shaft, head and block), use a pressure washer to apply more soap and then thoroughly rinse everything.  Aim the gun right into all passages and galleries to throughly clean and rinse.
  • Again, follow up immediately with the compressed air to get all the water out.
  • If you see a slight brownish flash rust forming on the cylinder walls and/or journal surfaces, don't worry --  that's a good sign that you have cleaned well.  Just immediately apply a thin film of oil.
  • Whew!  We're now ready to start reassembly!  We'll start with ...






Clean block, ready for reassembly

DJ -- Parts chef!

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