The 365 Cadillac is quickly becoming less of a mess of parts on a table and more of a tidy beautiful blue engine. The process is not a game of simply fitting parts and tightening bolts, however. Davin encountered a few hiccups while assembling the long block of this V-8, but luckily the cameras were around to show you how he got around them.

“Every engine is a little different, and how some of these vintage engines were built new is not nearly as precise as we build them now,” Davin says as he sorts through the valvetrain components on the large table. “Taking the time now to make sure reproduction parts and original pieces play nice together is important, and that might require doing a little extra work.”

For instance, assembling the cylinder heads is always a careful and time-consuming process. This go around was even more so because the special micrometer Davin uses to help set the correct assembled spring height and pressure didn’t fit with the design of the valve seals and cylinder head casting. That’s no problem though. A standard digital caliper did the job with a little bit of ingenuity.

In the same way that a caliper is modern technology being put to work on a vintage project, Davin highlights a great tech tip while rebuilding the mechanical fuel pump. We are all likely guilty of taking something apart and telling ourselves, “I’ll remember how that goes back together. No big deal.” And then we’ve all likely been caught by the err of our ways when we went to reassemble those small bits and pieces, too. Instead of relying on our fleeting memory, reach for your phone (or a small digital camera) and snap a couple quick pictures. It has never been cheaper or easier to document how items are assembled. Keep the photos as long as you need them and delete them when the project is done. It’s that simple.

The Cadillac has come a long way, and now it only has a few final steps in the Redline Rebuild garage. It’s time for the test stand to roll in before this beautiful engine rolls out. Be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to receive a notification when the next video goes live—we know you want to be the first to hear it run.

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Davin is a man who sweats small details, and let’s just say that painting the Cadillac 365 engine block and starting the assembly of the shortblock called for some perspiration. Nothing is too small for Davin’s attention, and that means ensuring no bare metal is showing that shouldn’t be.

“I could assemble the whole engine and then paint it,” said Davin in a conversation while looking over the bare engine block, “but I’ve never really like the finished product of doing it that way. Painting it all separate just has a much cleaner look and I think it’s worth the effort.”

That effort involves taking the time to cleanly tape off the gasket surfaces and protect the innards of the engine from overspray that could cause premature wear and tear. This precaution ensures the gaskets themselves work properly and the paint does not interfere with a good seal. Once taped off, the block can be wiped down with a wax and grease remover and rolled into the paint booth for a gentle coating of color.

Once back at the shop, Davin unmasks the block and brushes on a coat of Glyptal paint to seal up the porosity of the engine block, and doing so also helps with oil drainback. No assembly manual will tell you to do it, but little things like this add up to a more reliable, longer-lasting package.

With both the inside and the outside painted, Davin can begin assembly in earnest. The main bearings are put in place and the crankshaft is delicately lowered into its forever home. The caps are torqued, and at long last the engine is ready for rods and pistons.

That momentous step will have to wait til next time though, as our assembly series on the Cadillac 365 continues. Be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to never miss an update—include the final, full timelapse and startup of this engine at the end of the Redline Rebuild tunnel.

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It’s not a speedy engine, but the Cadillac 365 is sure coming together fast. Davin has been cracking away over the last few weeks to clean the parts that are going to be re-used and source the parts that needed to be replaced. Now the time has come to start some reassemble processes, even though the block is still at the machine shop.

The main thing on the to-do list is to confirm the sizing on the big end of the connecting rods. The process is pretty simple, but there are a few tips that separate proper assembly from “just slapping it together.” The first is the clean and careful insertion of the bearing shells to the rod and rod cap. The final measurement is done down to ten-thousandth of an inch, and since foreign material between the bearing shell and the connecting rod will affect things, most engine assemblers will have a clean room where dirt and grime are banished to keep these precision parts exactly that—precise.

With the bearings placed, the cap is torqued in place as if it was being installed on the crankshaft. A key in this step is to make sure the threads of the rods bolts are properly lubricated so the torque spec is an accurate reflection of the clamping force between the two parts. Once clamped together, the diameter of the bearings is taken, numbers that can then be relayed to the team at Thirlby machine shop, which can cut the crankshaft to the perfect size.

The team at Thirlby has been busy while Davin was checking that clearance. The Caddy V-8 block got the cylinder mating surface decked and a 30-thousandths bore on the cylinder to match the new pistons. The next steps are to take everything back to the Redline Rebuild garage and start the real assembly.

Make sure you’re subscribed to Hagerty’s YouTube channel so you don’t miss a single one.

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The Redline Rebuild master generally looks forward to the work week. The day Davin anticipates most keenly, however, is teardown day. This week, the Cadillac 365 gets torn down so that Davin can see just what he’s getting into with this oddball V-8.

“Tearing into a new project is always exciting for me,” says Davin about the greasy Cadillac. “It’s during this time that I learn the small differences between the various engines we rebuild. Those details are what keep me coming back to the engine stand.”

Davin spots the first oddity in this engine’s design before he even begins taking it apart. The water pump has a radical design compared to a standard small-block GM product: Each cylinder head, along with the transmission, gets its own dedicated feed. Davin hasn’t seen those long hoses that run under the intake manifold to cool the transmission before—but this probably won’t be his last encounter with them.

An engine’s unique touches are fun to think about … until it’s time to order parts for the rebuild. Davin is most worried about sourcing the pistons and piston rings—the last thing he wants is another Buick straight-eight scenario on his hands. Custom pistons are relatively easy to source; the rings, however, are not so straightforward. Now that the Caddy V-8 is torn down and he’s had a look at everything, Davin will start flipping catalog pages and dialing up suppliers to evaluate his options.

If you want to see how Davin solves the piston-ring problem, be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel.

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Last week, Davin gave a quick recap of the projects that he’ll be tackling this year. This week it’s time to get down to work. Up first: returning the Buick to the Hagerty Learning Garage, which means Davin gets to play with a new toy that recently arrived—a forklift.

“It might seem like overkill, but a forklift is one of those tools you don’t think you’ll use until you have one, and suddenly you find all kinds of uses for it,” Davin says. “For example, it’s a whole lot easier to lift this whole engine run stand into the pickup than to take the time to disassemble it all carry it piecemeal.”

Once loaded, the Buick straight-eight took a short blanket-covered trip to be reunited with the 1951 Buick that it will be bolted back into. The car, covered in fresh paint and nearing the finish line of its customizations, has been waiting for the engine to arrive. It should come together quickly now, but Davin is not at the shop to lend a hand with that; instead he’s there to pick up the 365 V-8 from the ’57 Cadillac that has already been stripped down to its frame, right next to the Buick.

The 365 is next up in the Redline Rebuild series, but if you want to see it torn down you’ll have to wait until next week. Davin says there are some interesting tidbits about this engine, and he’s going to dive into all that on a future episode of Redline Update.

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