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There are many milestones in the engine assembly process, but when the pile of parts becomes something that actually looks like an engine, you’ve passed one of the most formidable checkpoints. Davin and the Buick straight-eight cross that threshold in this week’s Redline Update—not, of course, without a hiccup or two.
Even with all the documentation and guidance you can gather, sometimes the assembly process comes down to simple trial and error. Bolting down the Buick’s cylinder head is straightforward, but sliding together the shaft rocker assembly proves more challenging. The rocker arms are marked with “I”s and “O”s to designate which is intake and exhaust—at least, that’s what Davin thought. Turns out those marks actually tell the direction of the slight bend in each rocker arm that accounts for the offset between the pushrod and the valve.
“Sometimes you just have to assemble it and see if you are right,” says Davin about the valvetrain. “So long as you look at it with a critical eye and make sure you’ve got it right, it’s not a bad thing to make progress, even if it requires one step back to make two steps forward.”
The project did indeed take a step forward. While it’s not quite a long-block, the straight-eight is shaping up and will start to progress quickly. Items like the custom timing pointer Davin assembled will make that first startup much easier. If you don’t want to miss the next big step for this engine, be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel and tune in for each new update.