Our Camaro SS396 hasn’t been acting like an SS396. Now it’s in the Redline Rebuild garage for a refresh because of too much blow-by past the piston rings, and oil consumption measuring in quarts. Now the big-block is out and on the engine stand. Let the tear-down commence!

This engine was assembled just five years ago, but according to Hagerty rebuild guru Davin Reckow, a lack of oil prematurely wore the piston rings and cylinder walls. The piston rings in cylinder number three were especially bad, leaving the spark plug covered in oil. Davin noted he would have been surprised it was firing.

Now the engine is out and being torn down, the innards have an interesting story to tell. One valve stem was hammered and mushroomed, again thanks to lack of oil. The valve shortening that took place as a result of this damage was absorbed by the hydraulic lifter, most likely, which kept the system quiet and did not invite cause to inspect under the valve cover.

“It’s a bit of a bummer to see everything this worn after just five years,” Davin says, “but it really underscores the importance of proper oiling in every engine. A little low on oil for a short time can cause a lot of damage.”

With the engine internals laid out on the bench, the block and cylinder heads are headed for the machine shop to see if any machining will need to be done. Be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube page for notifications when each update goes live.

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