It high time for assembly to begin on the Jeep straight-six living in the Redline Garage. The steps on a short block go fast, but that doesn’t mean we overlook any essential details. Davin, after all, is never one to take shortcuts. However, sometimes that means taking literal cuts. Stay with us.

The engine block recently returned from a second machine shop trip to re-cut the deck height, and it was  also re-cleaned so it can be ready for final assembly to begin. That process starts with the freeze plugs—and also a few threaded plugs—in the case of this particular engine. Those threaded plugs are a taper pipe thread, which means they don’t technically need any sealant of coating. Davin points out that assembling dry is perfectly acceptable but more than likely will lead to the plugs becoming all but unremovable in the future. A quick dap of teflon sealant will keep them serviceable.

Then it is on to the pilot bushing in the crankshaft, the cam bearings set into the proper places, and then the final torque of the crankshaft main bearings. Toss on the pistons rings and send those into the bores and things were going swimmingly. Almost too smoothly.

The combination of parts Davin uses is all Jeep in origin, but that doesn’t mean they were designed to function together.  The first time these incongruences appear is just as the harmonic balancer is installed on the snout of the crankshaft. The new balancer sits a little further in, and thus Davin has to do some fabrication with the plasma cutter and lathe to make an appropriate “washer” to ensure everything is held properly by the crankshaft bolt. In the end, it’s a fairly easygoing and quick process.

Will Davin keep this pace as the assembly continues next week? We all hope so, but even if it doesn’t you’ll get all the grimy details in the next episode of Redline Update. Be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to never miss a new episode.

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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There are two words most people use when describing the process of putting an engine together: assembling or building. Davin is here to make sure you don’t confuse the two. The Cadillac is getting its pistons and connecting rods, and that requires the person holding the tools to be an engine builder—not an assembler.

“At times it can seems like building an engine is just putting parts together, and it sort of is,” Davin says about the progress on the 365 V-8, “but it is also a process that requires great care and precision at times. Knowing when those times are is very important.”

For instance, the pistons rings for this engine are not file-to-fit, but Davin still takes the time to check that the end gap is correct once fitted in the cylinder bores. A few of the rings came in a bit too tight, which would have ended badly if Davin had simply assembled the parts. A quick run on the ring filer sorted it out though.

The oil pan closes up the bottom end of the Caddy, and the final touch of the short block is the installation of the timing set. Similar to the pistons, this is a step that requires close attention. There are timing marks relative to crank and camshaft location that need to be properly aligned. This ensures that the two are in proper sync as the camshaft rotates at half speed relative to the crank.

From there on out, it’s tightening up a couple bolts before Davin calls it a day. It won’t be long now before the Cadillac is on the run stand for break in. If you want to see what’s left to be built, be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to never miss an oily minute.

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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 no secret that the Buick straight-eight has been a bit of a thorn in Davin’s side. Each step in the rebuild process has involved some annoyance or mechanical complication. That pain might be easing, though, because this week, work progresses smoothly and the short block goes together.

“Short block” is a term used to described a milestone in engine assembly. With the rotating assembly (crankshaft, camshaft, and pistons) all fitted—and with the timing cover, oil pan, and balancer installed—Davin has created a short block. Of course, these pieces don’t just fall into place. It takes a bit of fitting and squeezing—at calibrated amounts—to get all the components to play nice with each other and perform their tasks at first startup.

“These pistons have been a real holdup on this project, so I am happy to finally have a version that works like I want it to,” says Davin. “It’s the third design I’ve tried, and the first that accomplishes the compression ratio I am after while also fitting with the valve geometry so they won’t kiss the intake or exhaust.”

Problems like this arise even when doing mild custom work, like Davin’s done on the Buick. Davin won’t let assembly frustrations slow him down, though, and his persistence is beginning to pay off. Could it be only be a few weeks before this engine fires to life? If you want to be the first to find out, you’ll have to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel and wait for the video. We promise it’ll be worth it.

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