AS41 Engine – Days 21 to 23

Day 21 – Change of Muffler / Stand Placement

So while the EMPI extractor muffler was ok for the loose fitment, when it came down to actually getting it installed with the J-Pipes fully tightened it just wasn’t going to happen without some bending and I really wasn’t in the mood for figuring out how to do that with my meager tools.

Muffler changed to the EMPI peashooter

I grabbed the other EMPI peashooter style exhaust down and while I had not sanded and repainted it, it did fit well enough so I just got it all on. This’ll be good enough for the break in period.

With the exhaust installed, I could finally figure out what to do for a running stand.

I could not properly install the flywheel on the build stand, so I went about putting something together.

Now I’ve had this large heavy duty pallet that a huge server rack came in on at work. I new it would be ideal for some kind of car work and with a few bricks and pieces of wood it’ll be great for breaking in the engine.

It has a layer of foam under another wood platform for vibration situations so that will likely come in handy.

I played with a few different configurations but ultimately decided on lifting it a few inches off the platform.

Mak and I, along with Matt moving pieces and guiding it, got if down from the stand on onto the platform. 3 people would be the minimum to do this right. 2 would have made me feel we were putting it down blind.

I think this will work.

Day 22 – Tackling the flywheel and setting the end play

So while my neighbor got the flywheel reamed, he told me the shop guy that did it said there wasn’t all that much material removed.

With the engine off the stand I could finally start trying to get it installed but it was proving to be very difficult.

It just would not go on in any easy fashion, or I suppose I should say go on at all without feeling the need to really pound the dowels into it.

Very light reaming with the dremel

I decided to take my dremel with a small deburring attachment and slowly go around each hole and then refitting it.

It took about 3 trips back to the dremel until just enough material had been removed to at least slide onto the 8 dowel pins.

And then the nightmare started.

End Play Insanity

Now I had spent many hours reading up on the process to check and set end play on the crankshaft. I’d watched some vids on YouTube as well as my Bug Me video and I thought this would go smoothly, regardless of the method.

I could not have been more incorrect.

I spent 6 hours trying to just get any motion on the damn thing but nothing.

There was literally no movement forward or backwards.

Rotational was fine, but there was just no play to shim up or to even be able to measure.

It was horribly frustrating.

Dial Indicator Method

I kept disassembling and reassembling but nothing.

I tried using the dial indicator method as I’d seen many people use and was just not getting anything that I could see as significant enough to measure to the .004 ideal play.

I finally got so fed up I went to the EMPI end play tool.

EMPI tool

Now the endplay tool is in practice the easiest. You install it on the engine mount hole, pull the flywheel back as far as possible, set the feeler bolt, then either push/pound the flywheel in or from the crank pulley, pull forward. This should move the crank along the main axis of the case and then you can measure the gap to determine if you have too much or too little movement and then change the shim sizes to get to ideal .003 to .005.

I had been aiming at .004 but nothing I did really made a different with this tool either.

Every time I hand tightened the gland nut it would tightly compress the shims and there was just no movement.


It didn’t matter what combination of shim sizes I would use.

Now of course, I was not using the stock crank pulley, but there just seemed to be no space up front to pull or push either.

Hour after hour and nothing.

I finally got so fed up I almost push the damn engine off the stand in anger so I knew it was time to call it done for now.

After several posts on the usual Facebook suspect boards, I posted on a few others and thankfully those guys were a lot nicer. And while none of their advice worked to give me movement, at least they weren’t as typical as when I’ve come to expect asking questions elsewhere.

I decided I’d keep researching and take a few days off.

Day 23 – Tackling the end play again

After many days of not doing anything I came back to the engine today.

I started from scratch, taking everything off from flywheel, shims, crank pulley, and the special spacer I even had to buy.

I figured this would at least remove everything that contributes to the lack of space.

One thing I decided not to do was tighten the gland nut as tight as I had. I wasn’t torquing it, but I was wrenching it down a bit.

After trial and error many other times I was finally able to get some space made for the feeler gauge to go through.

I finally settled on 3 .24 shims as the best option and was, with pulling the crank pulley forward, finally about to get a .004 feeler in.

With this the most I could do, I decided to use these shims and treat this as the starting point.

The almighty mail oil seal installed!

I greased up the shims, got those installed onto the crank, and then finally felt like I was on to something new with the main oil seal installation.

One 8 hole gasket finally in the correct orientation and with the flywheel oil ring installed, everything got torqued down to what I hope is near that 250ft/lbs. I borrowed what I refer to as the “magic pipe” from my neighbor that I use for all of my breaker bar heavy torquing.

To at least make it feel like I’ve done something more (after days not doing anything) I went ahead and put the clutch and pressure plate on too.

Basic stock clutch

At least it looks like I made progress.

Next up will be finalizing the coil placement, making sure things are tightened and the carbs are at the initial settings.

Then it’ll be time to bring out the engine running parts and crank this thing up.

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