Assembling all of the new parts onto the engine has been fun and about 75% successful. The first step in the process was to assemble the front accessory drive serpentine system with the short water pump that I had ordered. Unfortunately the March Performance kit that I ordered did not fit the new “fast burn” heads that the SP350 I bought has, so after a call to Summit, they are going back for a refund and the new brackets are on their way. The March Performance kit seems to be pretty high quality products and their tech support was very helpful, however, since these systems don’t have automatic tensioners, we will see how well they work once I put power through them.
With that holding up the front end assembly, I turned my attention to the bellhousing/clutch/transmission. I decided to follow the instructions and dial in the bellhousing to make sure I wasn’t out of tolerance for the runout of the transmission (0.005″).
Unfortunately we discovered that I was a decent bit outside of that tolerance. Amazon prime to the rescue! The offset dowel pins arrived in 2 days and were enough to bring me back within tolerance.
Other installs that occurred were the fuel pump, engine mounts, clutch, and final bellhousing install.
At the same time, I had gotten it in my head that I wanted to polish the firewall so it wasn’t just a dull aluminum when you open the hood, so after stealing dad’s buffer and buying some aluminum polish and pads online, I went to work. The end result picture below doesn’t do the process justice and makes it look easy, but I am happy with the result. Certainly not a mirror finish and there are still some scratches in it, but I can see my reflection and it looks a lot nicer than before.
About half way through all of those rivets I was regretting not finding an air rivet gun… my hands still hurt.