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Documenting my first engine rebuild

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Hitting the Pause Button

blog-0839425001450240334.jpgI'm setting this project aside for a while. I just had my floors replaced and a 5 speed installed, leaving the project fund depleted for now.

The car is running and driving great, so aside from a few small projects, I'm planning to just enjoy the car when the weather allows.

Late spring or early summer, the 38/38 will be replaced by a 318i manifold and Ford edis-based megasquirt efi conversion.

After that, I'm considering going turbo, which will completely change my build plan for the block. I need to make a decision before investing any time and money into this rebuild.

I hope to be back next fall (2016) with a new plan.


I finished tearing down the bottom end and getting all the manifold studs removed from the head. Lots of signs of wear as I would expect from a 43 year old engine that doesn't appear to have ever been rebuilt.

This post is basically just a photo dump to have a future reference. I got a new toy and will probably post an update in the next few days after I put it to use;










Need to reshoot the crankshaft. I thought I took a photo of each, but apparently not. Here are a couple photos. I need a micrometer. I doubt the calipers are accurate enough for this. Time to order another toy.




Several of the head bolts were really stuck in the head. Oil sludge collected in the passages and since there's a shoulder at the top end of the head bolt threads, it prevented the bolts from coming out. It took several rounds of brakleen, penetrating oil, and a bit of pulling and twisting to finally get them out.


I need to do a bunch of cleaning now. And pull the wrist pins so I can toss the pistons. Then get the crank, rods, block, and both heads off to a machinist to look everything over.


Popped the head off today

blog-0581932001446429444.jpgI popped the head off today. Lots of rusty gunk clogging the water passages, but everything looks pretty good. I see some light scoring in the cylinder walls of #1 and #4, but I can only just feel one line.





Pistons are still factory 88.97, so lots of cylinder wall left for an overbore.


Next, I need to give the cylinder head a good cleaning and inspect for cracks. Maybe tomorrow. I need a parts washer.


Peek inside the oil pan

Tonight I decided to take a quick look inside the oil pan and see what I could of the cylinder walls from the bottom end.




Doesn't look too bad.

I couldn't get any good photos of the cylinder walls, but no signs of scoring from this end. We'll see in a few days if it looks equally good from the top end when I get the head pulled.

Minimal play in the oil pump chain.


More sludge in the water pump.




Impeller was in good shape and bearings felt good must be a newer water pump. The rust stuck to the inside of the timing cover looks like it'll clean up fine. No obvious pitting.


First Look

This is my first attempt at a blog, so why not use it to document my first attempt at rebuilding an engine?

I picked up an m10 from another FAQ member last night with the intent of doing as much of the rebuild myself as I'm able. I'll farm out machining and perhaps some of the head work, but I'll do the teardown and final assembly.

The engine in my 2002 is running fine so I'm going to take my time on this build. There may be long lapses between updates but that probably means I'm out enjoying my 2002.

When the engine is finished, I'll swap it out for the engine currently in my 02.

My goal is to build a street performance engine that can handle a bit of track time. Not quite sure exactly what specs I'll go with but I'm thinking 9.5 or 10.0:1, 292 or 304 cam, and mild porting of the head. More research to be done.

I'm currently running some bolt ons to an otherwise stock engine. This will be my baseline at the end of the project.


This is with a shorty header stainless downpipe, and stainless exhaust, all from Ireland Engineering. On the intake side, I'm running a 38/38 Weber on a hogged out stock manifold. Ignition is pretty basic with a blue coil and pertronix.

Tonight, I got the engine moved from a pallet


To a stand


Then I pulled the intake and exhaust manifold. Aside from a failed exhaust gasket on the #3 cylinder exhaust port, it all looks pretty good so far.


There's some sludge in the top of the head, but not too bad and nothing looks out of place here. Valve lash was good on 6 out of 8 rockers. The other two were just a tax loose.


Head is still at the factory 129mm thickness


This engine came with a 121 head. I also have an e12 head that I picked up a few months ago. I'll use whichever one my machinist thinks is in the best shape.

Any suggestions, feedback, comments, or questions are welcome.