Getting the heads on

The heads have two 7/16″ alignment pins to help with the head installation. The pins are all short pieces of thin walled tubing. Two of them double as passages for oil to return to the pan from the rear of the heads and two are blind holes up front.

One of the pins was missing and fortunately it was from one of the blind holes. I tried removing the piping from another set of heads, but I found it impossible. So I cut off a short piece of a 7/16″ bolt and epoxied it into the head. I used the threaded end so that the epoxy had lots of surface to grip.

My head gaskets are NOS and have suffered a bit over the years from poor storage. I used a scotch brite type pad to clean away the small spots of rust. I will use a gasket sealer to make sure I don’t get any leakage of gases, oil or antifreeze.

A Studebaker buddy gave me some Perfect Seal gasket maker to use. This is the stuff that Studebaker recommends in their original manuals to be used on the head gaskets. It’s pretty thick, but goes on not to bad with a cut-back disposable brush.

I put a thin coat of Perfect Seal on the side of the gasket that will be placed on the block. I was careful to get sealant into all the groves. As you can see I am using the thin style gaskets. From here I placed the gasket on the block and coated the other side also with sealant. I then positioned the gasket for a best fit with the block passages.

I rested the head on the alignment pins and moved the head up until it slipped in place. I then installed the 9 lower short and the 5 upper medium length cap screws – just a snug fit.

Here are my used lifters and rods. Each is marked so that the lifters fit back to their original cam lobe and the rods go back in the same lifters. I replaced the rocker arms with new ones so the mating of the rods isn’t all that important.

There is a sequence to engine assembly. You need to install the lifters and push rods before installing the rocker arm assemblies. I coated each lifter and lifter bore with engine assembly lube. Old toothbrushes are great for this.

Rods and lifters in place for the right head. I put a dollop of engine assemble lube on the top and bottom of each lifter rod – and on the top of each valve.

The rocker shaft is in place. It is a bit awkward to get the rocker shaft mounting brackets in position so the long cap screws can be threaded in by hand. Some of the push rods hold the rockers up because the cam lobes are at the lifting point. Once the cap screws are all loosely in place the rocker arm can be pulled down compressing the valve springs as needed. I also ran in the smaller bolts – two of which are for the valve cover hold-down nuts – before snugging down the four long cap screws.

Once the rocker arms are in place the heads can be torqued down. The manual calls for all the cap screw threads to be dipped in oil before assembly. This will effectively increase the torque by about 10%. The specs call for 55 to 65 ft lbs of torque. I first torqued the head at 40ft lbs following the torque sequence laid out in the manual. I then re-torqued them to 65 ft lbs and then went over them once again to be sure they were all still at 65 ft lbs.

Heads are in place and the valley cover is loose fitted.

Next I will adjust the valve lash – cold.

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