Last week Davin was able to disassemble our 300,000-mile 2002 Subaru EJ205 engine. Did he do it the right way? Maybe not. Did it come apart? Yes, it did. However, after going through all the work and talking to some local Subaru guys, we learned a few things worth sharing.

First major Subaru engine-disassembly lesson learned: There are plugs in the block that, once removed, allow the wrist pins to slide out. That means the pistons can stay in the bores while the connecting rods and crank come out together. Subaru aficionados know this one already, but Davin dives headlong into the disassembly and manages to get the job done regardless. Next up, an inspection of the bores and pistons shows that a bit of honing should clean everything up and the piston’s skirts look only slightly burnished, so they could be fine to reuse once they get a new ring pack.

While inspecting the bottom end of the high-mileage mill, Davin finds bearings that are on their last legs. It turns out that the disassembly and rebuild may have come at just the right time before any catastrophic damage was done to the crank’s bearing surfaces. To make sure that the future bearings lead a long, happy life, Davin plans to install an STI oil pump. That means more volume gets pumped out of the sump and up to the heads—but making sure that oil gets back to the sump is important as well.

After a quick look at the heads and valvetrain, Davin is ready to get started on the clean-up process, so it’s time for the parts washer and vapor hone. Before long, things will be coming back together and we’ll have another update coming your way soon!

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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We’ve had our fun with this 300,000-mile Subaru WRX. Now it’s time to get down to business and tear it apart. Davin’s never touched a Subaru before, but how hard can it possibly be? Unscrew a few bolts there, cut a couple of zip ties here, and maybe break out a hammer and chisel and it should fall apart … right?

This 2002 Impreza’s 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four engine is a touch different from the V-8s Davin’s used to dealing with, but that’s a minor setback. “I’m gonna start somewhere, and I’m gonna finish … with just a block … somewhere,” says Davin. (That’s the universal engine tear-down process, by the way. No flaws found.)

First up, Davin has to remove all of the accessory pieces, starting with the power steering pump. Quickly, he realizes how cumbersome this tear-down will be, given the amount of zip-ties and hose clamps he’ll have to work his way through. After removing the wiring harness and making a quick fish joke, (we’re sure that bass you caught was roughly that size, pal) the intake manifold comes off without much fuss. Good news! The intake ports are nice and clean.

With the aftermarket crank pulley removed, (at least 10 horsepower) the timing belt cover is up next. Bolts immediately start stripping in protest, and Davin has to resort to … persuasive methods to get the belt cover off. (Be sure to note the Rock Auto tip of the day here; it may come in handy when you’re dealing with ornery fasteners!)

Next up are the turbocharged and one of the coolant passages across the top of the head. Those come off easy, but after Davin flips the engine over and begins to pick away at the exhaust, rust and rotted fasteners fight back once again. nothing a chisel and a pry-bar can’t fix! “Might not be pretty, but I win every time here,” he jokes.

Peering into the exhaust ports, Davin notices a few issues with carbon buildup and oil leaking through the valve guides. With the oil pan removed (those keeping score at home, that’s Davin, 5, Subaru, 0), it’s time to really get into the internals of this motor. Thankfully, nothing puts up much of a fuss, and within no time, Davin ends up right where he said he would: A block (split in two), a bunch of parts, a few casualties, and quite a bit of sand—wonder how that got there? (Last episode should give you a clue.)

Stay tuned next week as parts head to the washer, then to their necessary shops, and Davin and team begin to bring this Subaru flat-four back to life.

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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Is the hood on the WRX supposed to be quick release? No, but that doesn’t stop it from flying off as Davin hucks around the blue Subie. By the end of the day, of course, the engine will be separated from the car, since the boxer four is due for the full Redline Rebuild treatment. Will it come out easily or prove itself a real pain?

This WRX wagon must have lived a storied life before Davin plucked it out of the CoPart salvage yard last week. With some luck and brute force, he is able to get the car running and driving, which tells him that, though the engine doesn’t need life support, it is hardly the picture of mechanical health. Once the car is up on the lift, however, the engine becomes the least of his worries: Entire sections of the subframe are completely rotted away.

On a WRX, the engine must be extracted from the bottom, which means Davin makes liberal use of the lift before setting the whole front end of the car on one of his worktables and unbolting the final fasteners. The body lifts right off the engine and transmission before those two are divorced and the engine finally reaches an engine stand. Now the real disassembly of the grimy engine can begin. Davin manages to keep all his knuckles unscathed getting the engine out, but will he get it all the way apart without some minor injuries? Maybe, but you’ll have to watch next week’s Redline update to find out. Be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to never miss an update or time lapse.

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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Even with the headaches that it brought, you could tell Davin had a real soft spot in his heart for the Chevrolet 283 small block that just got wrapped up. With that little Chevy running smooth it’s time to hook up the trailer and bring in something new..ish.  As much as Davin loves what he knows and has done before, this project is going to stretch him just a bit, and from the first moment he saw the blue Subaru it was a learning experience. Out with the old and in with the new?

This 2002 Subaru WRX is a quintessential midwestern car. The clear coat is flaking off, the interior smells like a sad air freshener factory, and the rust is working overtime to turn the steel body panels to Swiss cheese. Davin thought picking up the project would be the easiest step, but the car had other ideas. Upon arriving at the CoPart facility outside Detroit, Michigan, the team finds out that this trip turned from a quick drive to a crash course in stealing a car.

Well, Davin isn’t actually stealing the car. We did pay for it. After handing a check over there were no keys to be found. Who gives a car to auction without keys? Not sure, but we bought their car and will probably learn a lot more about them as Davin dives further into the project. With no tools in the trailer, it was a small flathead screwdriver and large pipe wrench that saved the day by disassembling the steering column and breaking away the steering wheel lock to allow the tired tuner to be winched backward into the trailer.

Once home the hotwiring continues and when combined with a push start, the little blue Subie putters right to life. The turbocharger even still makes boost and scoots the car along pretty well. Davin thinks it could do better though. If you want to see what he’s got up his sleeve for this flat-four, be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to never miss an update.

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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It was supposed to be an easy build, but the latest Redline Rebuild project provoked quite a few headaches along the way. You didn’t notice as you watched the time lapse? That was the goal, but now you can hear the backstory as Davin and Ben discuss what it took to get our Chevy small-block V-8 restored and running again. It wasn’t always easy, but we got it done and even learned a few things along the way. Nothing is ever straightforward when you’re rebuilding an engine, after all.

From the moment we began to disassemble this 283 small-block, we discovered it was ready for some tender loving care. Davin carefully extracted each piece of hardware and prepped all the key parts for a trip to the machine shop. That meant nearly an entire day of grinding on the engine block. Davin’s goal: to remove as much of the casting flash and texture as possible. His efforts made a big difference later when everything went to the paint booth.

The orange presented a unique problem: It didn’t seem to cover the block effectively. The paint wasn’t thin, but any lump or bump texture was unusually conspicuous—not an issue with any other colors the Redline Rebuild team has used. In this debrief session, Davin thinks a change to the primer or adding a base coat of paint before the final top coat would have solved this issue, but unfortunately we didn’t have the time mid-project.

Final assembly was a breeze … apart from the camshaft and timing-chain fiasco. Once the engine was together, the break-in process proved simple thanks to the hydraulic roller camshaft. Now, this engine is destined for a nice street-cruiser Chevelle.

The mill that is up next might not be so tame, however. If you want to see that and any other future projects, subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel.

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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Rebuild a small-block Chevrolet, they said. It’ll be easy.

Davin hasn’t had the walk through the roses that most expected with this ex-Chevelle 283. Or maybe that analogy is appropriate: At each turn, some thorn waited to create a snag.

Everything started off so smoothly with this latest Redline Rebuild candidate, though. Teardown was a breeze. (Especially if you only watch the time-lapse footage, in which the engine “disassembles” itself.) In the real world, Davin was turning the wrenches; but the bolts extracted easily and each piece that came off was in good shape, considering this engine sat uncovered for the last 25 years.

Once inside, the good news continues. This engine might have been sitting in that Chevelle for 25 years, but it ran well when it was pulled. In the right situation, the 283 probably could have been plopped back in a chassis and continued to run for quite some time. Even the flat-tappet cam and nylon timing gear were still in serviceable shape.

No matter—first, everything had to be thoroughly cleaned. Then, a trip through the machine shop to re-flatten all the critical surfaces, resize the cylinder bores, and freshen all the wear items in the cylinder heads. With all those parts ready to function flawlessly, it was time to make them look flawless. Off to the paint booth. (The self-peeling tape is sourced from a top-secret warehouse, so don’t ask where you can get some for your project.)

The block was treated to a full day of grinding and cleanup work before it saw the inside of the paint booth, and it shows. The absence of visible casting flash either inside the lifter valley or on the outer edges of the block makes for a subtle but really nice finishing touch. Who cares what an engine looks like if it doesn’t run, though?

That’s where things got sticky. The rotating assembly bolted right in and … didn’t rotate. Back to the machine shop for a line bore of the main bearings to get everything back in proper alignment so the crankshaft would not bind. Davin installed the camshaft with a bowstring-tight timing chain—only to discover that it wouldn’t time properly. After three camshafts and four timing sets, Davin finally got a short block that would accept the cylinder heads and was ready for final assembly.

Once it is all together and purring along, the 283’s sound is perfect for a good-looking street car. Just a little bump at idle, as you’d expect with a non-stock camshaft, but nothing that indicates a need for special care and feeding. A perfect cruiser. There are a few projects in the Redline Rebuild shop in need of an engine, but nothing quite fits the cruiser bill … which means there must be something fun hiding in the shadows.

If you want to see what that might be and what may become of the 283, be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to never miss an update.

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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Building an engine is all about the details. Sometimes it seems like measuring everything is just plain overkill, but then you run into a situation like Davin did with the camshaft for the 283 Chevrolet small-block and it all starts to make sense. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: Building an engine takes more than just bolting parts together.

The rub on this particular build comes at the installation of the camshaft and timing chaintwo critically important pieces to a good-running and long-lasting engine. The first timing set Davin installed was tight as a bowstring. The second had proper tension, but the cut for the keyway did not allow proper timing of the cam. The original nylon gear-timing set fit perfectly, but it is likely on borrowed time before self-destructing. Only a final, fourth, timing set finally put everything into the right place for a proper running valve train.

With that finally sorted, it’s time for a quick check of pushrod length and valve clearance before bolting the cylinder heads on and torquing everything down. Some clay is placed on the tops of the pistons, the heads are bolted down, and the engine is spun over. The clay allows Davin to know exactly how close the valves are getting to pistons, and the top of the valve stem shows the contact patch of the rocker arm, thanks to a little scribbling with a permanent marker.

Luckily, everything spec’d out nicely and final assembly can begin. It’s going to start moving fast now, so be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel and never miss an updateincluding when this engine has its first start in just a few weeks.

— Kyle Smith

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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Anyone who has built an engine knows that Davin’s double- and triple-checks of each part aren’t just for fun. Each of those examinations serves a purpose, and this week is the example of exactly what he hopes to catch. While it’s not exciting, this process is critical to get all the little details right. Especially the spinny bits.

The block of this 283 Chevrolet is finally ready to begin assembly. That starts with the camshaft, in Davin’s case; he likes to do the cam before the crank because it allows just a bit more access if you need to help guide the camshaft through its bearings. Once he shifted his attention to the crankshaft, however, things got interesting.

The bearings pop right into place. Then, he slathers a little Red Line assembly lube in place before nestling in the nicely balanced crankshaft, retained by the bearing caps. Where’s the drama, then? The video you are seeing here is the second time Davin’s run through this process. The first time left him a little stumped: The caps were torqued, but the crank would no longer turn.

Back to the machine shop, then, for the block to be line-honed.

Line-honing removes minute amounts of material from the block and main caps so that the bearings will be perfectly aligned when installed. This is just one example of how fractions of an inch can completely ruin an engine if it were to be put together instead of meticulously assembled.

Luckily for Davin, he only encountered one problem this week. The rings go right onto the pistons, which slide happily into the cylinder bores. It’s satisfying when assembly is pain-free. Hopefully the rest of the build will be similarly smooth, but whether it’s a dream or a nightmare, you’ll get another update next week on the Hagerty YouTube channel.

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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Regular watchers of Redline Update know that Davin can sometimes bounce from topic to topic, but today he has sprung onto  one that involves, well, a decent amount of tension. We’re talking, of course, about valve springs. One of the most critical components inside an internal combustion engine are the valves and their configuration. Get it wrong and your engine will not last long—if it runs at all. Luckily, Davin is all about getting it right. On this week’s episode, he shows us what’s essential for you to do the same.

Valve springs are a key piece of a larger engine puzzle. Their function is to keep the valves closed at the proper moment, allowing for efficient combustion, and also to keep the lifter in contact with the camshaft. What kind of lifter you are using is crucial for to making sure you have appropriate springs. A flat-tappet lifter is exactly what it sounds like: a lifter that rides on the camshaft, with a flat bottom on it. That bottom is hardened and the egg-shaped profile of the cam pushes on that hardened end to push the valve open. Simple!

A common upgrade is the roller lifter, replacing that flat bottom with a smooth roller wheel that rides on the cam. This design removes friction from the system and allows for a more aggressive profile on the camshaft. That profile can achieve more lift, and do so faster, which lets more air and fuel flow in and out of the combustion chamber. Roller lifters require more spring pressure to keep the lifter in contact with the cam.

To set the exact spring pressures, Davin uses a handy tool to measure how much force the spring exerts when compressed a to specific degree. From there he can add shims between the spring and the cylinder head to raise the clamping pressure to meet what Delta Camshaft recommends for the custom cam that he is installing. It’s a straightforward but still time-consuming process that ultimately will take our engine to the next level. To learn other tips and tricks be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to never miss a Redline Update or the full time-lapse Redline Rebuild episodes.

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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Progress continues on our 283 Chevy small-block V-8 rebuild, as Davin heads downstate to our friends at Apex Competition Engines to get the rotating assembly—crankshaft, pistons, rods, bearings, wrist pins, and rings—internally balanced.

Why are we putting so much time and effort into this small-block, you ask? Davin is steadfast. “Because I don’t want it to come apart,” he says, “and the devil, is in the details.”

The starting point is balancing the rods—evening the weight of the large and small ends—by grinding off the weight pads as needed. Then it’s on to weighing to the rings (and you include the bearing because it’s part of the rotating assembly), before moving on to the pistons. Davin explains that each piston receives a “bob weight,” a counterbalance that “represents the weight of the rod and piston assembly, including the rings, and the bearings, and the wrist pins …  When you go to spin the crankshaft, you can’t have the rods and pistons flinging around madly—(so) you control it with this bob weight.”

With everything balanced and assembled, it’s time to spin the crankshaft and recheck the weight. As Davin watches nervously, John from Apex shares some bad news: It’s off … by a lot. That’s what Davin assumed might happen, since these pistons are significantly heavier than the stock pistons. “We’re going to need to add weight to the counterbalances to offset that bob weight—and it’s a fair amount, 140 grams.”

Check out how they accomplish that. It’s a fascinatingly meticulous process.

Before we go, Davin considers the vital role that auto technicians play, and he offers this for his RockAuto.com tip of the day: “Whether you’re looking for your first job, or your next career, or whatever it may be, there are local shops around you looking for someone like you.” So go for it, just like our Redline Rebuild guys do each and every week.

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

 

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