The light at the end of the Jeep straight-six tunnel getting brighter every day. With the paint dry and short block assembled, there are only a few final checks to do and bolts to torque before this engine is ready to put back into the Cherokee and fire up. Of course, it’s not exactly that easy.

The crankshaft is installed, along with the rods and pistons, so the oil pan can go back on with a fresh silicone gasket. A tip that Davin has shared at least a dozen times makes its return: Reference the photo you took during teardown to ensure proper assembly. In this case, it’s for the oil pan bolts, as some also serve as studs for mounting other parts and pieces. With those torqued to spec, it’s time to move on to the cylinder head.

Before the final installation of a cylinder head, it is best to check the valve to piston clearance. Typically this is done with a small lump of clay positioned on top of the piston, then the valvetrain and head are temporarily installed, and the crankshaft is spun through two rotations. This opens and closes both valves and leaves the clay in the cylinder pressed to exactly how much clearance there is between the valves and piston at their closest point. Davin’s findings are good, and thus the final stretch of assembly is underway.

One of the final pieces on this engine is the distributor. Before putting this ignition piece in place, Davin takes the opportunity to prime the oil system using a cordless drill. This allows him to make sure there is proper pressure and distribution before the initial startup, which could save thousands of dollars in most engine builds. This engine pumped up 60 psi of pressure handily, and that tells Davin that it’s time to truly button up everything.

With the engine looking pretty on the stand, the next step is to drop it back into the Jeep and turn the key. We’re taking bets if the distributor will be 180 degrees out this time—leave a comment as to your thoughts, and be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to be notified of next week’s update … and, of course, the full final timelapse video.

— Kyle Smith

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