How-To Tear Down Chevy 350 Small Block Engine Motorz #63

I’m Chris Duke and today on Motorz we’re tearing down our Chevy small block to get it ready for rebuild. Presented by AMP Research. For the past four seasons of Motorz, we’ve shown you how to modify the suspension for both cars and trucks improve your vehicles performance by showing you how to install everything from an air intake all the way up to a supercharger. Add a ton of aftermarket accessories and maintain your vehicle, but one thing we’ve yet to touch is the heart of it all. The show is called Motorz afterall so it’s about time we started working on one of these things. We picked up this old Chevy 350 small block V8 engine online, for under $100. Now the great thing about working on an engine like this is that it is very common, really cheap, they’re easy to work on plus there is a lot of parts and information available on them when shopping for an old vehicle to rebuild the biggest question is whether or not the frame is straight, similarily when shopping for an old engine the biggest question is whether or not the block is usable. Now whether you saw the engine running and then pulled it out of the vehicle, or pulled it out a junkyard, the only way to truely know if the block is usable is by breaking it down and taking a closer look at the block itself Over the course of several episodes this season we’re going to show you how to rebuild an engine on a budget that performs well on pump gas. On todays episode we’re going to show you how to tear down this Chevy 350 engine and what to look for along the way, before we head off to our local machine shop to get it all cleaned up So what do we know about this engine already? Well, we pulled it out of a 1969 Chevy pickup, but we really have no idea if that was the original vehicle for this engine. The previous owner told us that it has a blown head gasket so we’re already expecting some trouble from this 350, but the price was right, so it’s worth a shot. It goes without saying that you’re going to need an engine stand, some basic wrenches and sockets, and an engine hoist. You can rent an engine hoist for the day like we did, and you can pickup an engine stand for around $100 Try to get one that exceeds the weight of your engine, ours is rated at 1500 lbs and one that rotates 360 degrees. Upon initial inspection we can already tell that it has some aftermarket parts added such as the valve covers and the intake manifold, so we can assume other modifications have been made to this engine we really won’t know more though until we start ripping it apart. But before we start the disassembly of our engine we can look at the casting numbers which are in plain sight, although there might be a bit of grease and grime in the way. Now if you have trouble reading them, even after cleaning them off with some brake clean, try smearing some paint over the top of the numbers. Now right here located on the front of the engine are the letters and numbers, V0325CMR, the V tells us it was made in Flint Michigan, the 03 indicates the month, the 25 is the day, so we know it was manufacturered on March 25th the suffix code CMR tells us the engine was made for either a 1974 or 1978 Chevy, based on this information alone we can already determine that this engine wasn’t the original engine in the 1969 truck we pulled it out of. Digging a little deeper on the back of the engine we found a casting number of 3970010, again looking online we found that this number is associated with a 327 from 1968, since this is a 350 we can ignore that one, but that number is also associated with 350 engine manufacturer between years 1969 and 1979, at the time it had a maximum horsepower rating of 370 and could have come from a car, truck, or Corvette Now that we know as much as we possibly can about our engine without actually tearing it apart, lets start digging into it. Now as we remove each part we’ll look for potential problems and once we have it down to just the block we’ll take it to NuTech Engine SYstems in Ramona, California to learn the process of machining a block. Then once we get that back we’ll start the process of rebuilding our engine using pistons from Mahle Motorsports and parts from Eagle Speciality Products, Holley Performance Products, and other manufacturers The tools you’re going to for this project from the Sears Blue Tool Crew include some basic ratchets, sockets, extensions, wrenches, and a swivel adapter, a rubber mallet, a speed wrench, a breaker bar a pry bar, and a harmonic balancer puller. Now when we come back from our break, we’ll start tearing that engine apart. Now before we start removing all the parts on our engine we need to drain out our oil, so we’re going to grab a 13/16″ wrench to remove out drain plug, and after we’ve drained out our oil we’re going to use an oil filter wrench to remove our filter. That’s funny, I’ve never seen green oil before! This is what oil looks like when it’s full of water if your oil looks like this, you definetely don’t was to be running your engine with it There’s some oil. Now although we can use a ratchet to remove all the bolts for our oil pan we’re going to use this speed wrench, it will make it go a lot faster so we’re going to use this 7/16″ socket to remove the 14 bolts along the side and then a 1/2″ socket for the two and either end. with all of our bolts removed, we can remove our oil pan well it looks like we’ve got a 2 bolt main, now lets go ahead and remove our oil filter adapter, and oil pump flip it around and we can start removing stuff from the top of this thing We’re going to use a 7/16’s socket to remove these two bolts right here for our oil filter adapter and then a 5/8″ wrench for this bolt here for our oil pump. It looks like we’re going to need a breaker bar for that, so we’re going to use a 5/8″ socket and our breaker bar to loosen it up Now to remove the one valve cover that we’ve got left, we need to remove this breather cap normally there is four bolts holding this thing on, but the two that are on the bottom are already missing so we just have these two wingnuts up here on top To remove out intake manifold we’ve got twelve of these 9/16″ bolts to remove, to get the two out from the middle you’re going to have to get one of these swivel adapters now with those 12 bolts removed, you’re going to need a pry tool to get this guy off of there to remove our head, we’ve got a total of 17 1/2″ head bolts, we’ve got 8 down here on the bottom and 9 up here on the top before you loosen or remove your last head bolt you want to loosen these 5/8″ rocker bolts as these are applying some pressure on the head and you don’t want it to fall off on you Pull our last head bolt out here, now you might need a pry bar to remove your head, but this one is pretty loose already so we’re not going to need to do that. Well this doesn’t look good, hopefully all it is is a blown head gasket so lets clean this up and see if we can get the engine to turn over The coolant worked its way into the cylinder head bolt area and then worked its way into the cylinder from there. Now if you’re only taking the intake manifold off you can tell that there was water in the oil right here in the lifter valley. We’ll be right back after the break with more Motorz Hey welcome back to Motorz, now during our break we removed this cylinder head and everything looks fine over here, now before we get to the front of our engine we need to remove all of our lifters and then we’re going to take a closer look at this cylinder head to see if it is reusable because of the damage caused from this cylinder. Well there doesn’t seem to be any significant damage caused by the blown head gasket on this head so with some proper cleanup and some replacement parts it should be ready to go again To dissassemble the front end of our engine, we’ve got to remove this pulley the harmonic balancer and this timing chain cover. Now once we get those three off, we can get to our timing chain and the camshaft We’ll start with a 5/8″ socket on a breaker bar to remove this center bolt right here next using a 9/16″ socket and a short extension and your breaker bar, remove the three bolts that are holding the pulley onto the harmonic balancer Remove the harmonic balancer, you’re going to need to get a harmonic balancer puller Now with our harmonic balancer removed, we can remove our timing chain cover with a 7/16″ socket we’re going to use our speed wrench to speed things up Now use a 7/16″ socket to remove the fuel pump mounting plate Using a 1/2″ socket remove these three bolts holding the timing chain cam gear in place Now put these three bolts back into the end of the cam shaft so you can pull it out Now if you’re going to reuse your crank you’re going to need to remove your timing chain gear using a gear puller. Now we’ve got our engine turned back upside down so that we can remove out connecting rod bolts using a 9/16″ socket you’re going to have to turn your crank a little bit to get to some of these guys that are buried way down in there. With the nuts still loose, use a rubber mallet to separate the cap from the connecting rod, then you can remove the two nuts, the cap and then carefully remove the piston and the connecting rod without damaging the crank Now that our pistons are removed, and before we can remove out crank, we’ve got to remove our 5 main bearing caps using a 5/8″ socket and a breaker bar with those five main bearing caps removed we can remove the crank Well now that we’re done stripping our engine down to the block, we can take a closer look at our pistons and our bearings to determine what else was wrong with our engine besides the blown head gasket All 8 of our piston showed good signs of wear, but these two were in the worse shape, this one here has a broken compression ring, and if you look on the side you’ll see scratch marks indicating that this one was rubbing against the cylinder wall. Now this piston came from our cylinder with the blown head gasket and you can see that these rings are cemented in there due to all the rust and corrosion and just like this guy you’ll see those scratch marks on the side indicating that it too was rubbing up against the cylinder wall. Now the rod and main bearings show inconsistant, uneven wear as well as scratching and the plating is worn all the way down to the copper. Now that we’ve taken a look at all of these parts, lets grab our crank and take a closer look at it Like our bearings, our crank shows signs of uneven wear, scratches and some heat damage. Now you can take this to your machine shop and they can fix it up but you’re going to get new, thicker bearings, now that we know the condition of our bearings, our crank as well as our pistons, we can take a closer look at our cylinder. When checking out your block you want to do a visual inspect of each cylinder, checking for cracking or other damae. Now these cylinders are in the worst condiiton the one here on the right because of our blown head gasket which caused all that rust and corrosion on the inside and the one next to it due to the piston that was rubbing up against the cylinder wall. Now after doing our inspection we’ve determined that this block is reusable after some machine work. One of the things that we discovered upon closer inspection of our pistons is the .030 stamped right on the top. What that tells us is that our cylinders have been bored over .030 of an inch. Which means each of these cylinders has been machined .030 of an inch larger in diameter over stock. Partz is brought to you by the Sears Blue Tool Crew. If your tools are looking a bit ragged or you’re just starting out and you don’t have a huge budget you might want to get some of the essentials, like this Craftsman 56 piece universal mechanics tool set. Right away you can see how different these tools look from many other, they’re great looking matte black and brushed steel give these tools a really unique look. What’s more is the extra large size markings in black, show up against the brushed metal The big story here is the universal nature of this collection, instead of the usual 6 or 12 point design, each socket and box end wrench has a universal 12 tooth design that was grip 6 different fastener types and partially stripped, or rounded hex ones, too. The 56 piece set gives you a 3/8″ drive quick release ratchet with an extension, 18 sockets 14 combo wrenches, magnetic bit handle with 10 screwdriver bits, 11 hex keys, a storage case and of course this set comes with the famous Craftsman lifetime warranty For under $100 you’ve got your essentials thanks to the Sears Blue Tool Crew Our history with AMP Research goes all the way back to Motorz season 1, episode 8. That was 55 episodes ago and you know what we installed in that episode? It was the original BedStep from AMP Research. It was easy to install, sturdy as heck because it’s made right here in the USA, and it tucks up out of the way so you don’t have some big old eyesore of a step hanging off the back of your truck while you’re driving around town. Well they’ve done it again with the BedStep2. Whereas the original BedStep was designed for the rear of your truck, the new BedStep2 is designed for either side of your truck, just behind your cab. It allows you to quickly access your trucks toolbox, or just give you a leg up to easily access the front of your truck bed. Just kick it down with your foot and step on up It supports up to 300 lbs and features a high traction composite step pad so you’re not going to slip off, it’s made from die cast aluminum and it’s backed by a 3 year warranty. Now stay tuned for an upcoming episode of Motorz this season where we’re going to show you how to install all of AMP Research’s products on a Chevy Silverado, including the BedXtender, the incredible PowerStep, the original BedStep, and of course the BedStep2. Are you looking for more performance from your fuel system? Well FST Performance has what you need, whether its for automotive, or marine applications. Now what I’ve got right here is their RPM 300 high performance fuel filter and water seperator system that comes in red, just like this one, or a clear anodized finish, it’s small size – only four inches when you add on the filter and it’s dual inlet and outlet ports helps a great deal with it comes to installation the included 4 micron filter is designed for gasoline, ethanol and/or methanol fuels., So you can definitely take this bad boy racing with you since it supports up to 300 gallons per hour which can handle any engines up to 2000 horsepower. Now for more information visit the Partz page at our website, Letterz – brought to you by E3 Spark Plugs Born to Burn. Hey, are you on Facebook? Cause if you are you should check out our Motorz TV Facebook page at, every month we’re giving away free tools from the Sears Blue Tool Crew, so you don’t want to miss out on any important announcement plus we’re always uploading photos and videos from behind the scenes while we’re filming the show. And of course you don’t want to miss out on any important news updates. So head on over the Motorz TV facebook page and click that big ol’ like button at the top. Now our first letter comes from Nick who writes – Hello Chris, your show is one of the best, most in depth shows I have ever watched. I like it so much I watched all four seasons in two days. Next month i will be getting a 2006 trailblazer and I was wondering what would be some cheap but powerful upgrades? [Chris] Well Nick, of course you can do the intake and exhaust combination, you want to do both because you want to open up both ends now those are inexpensive, you can do it yourself and you will feel the difference the other upgrade you should do to give you a little bit of added performance and it’s really simple to do is upgrade your spark plugs to E3’s. Next up is Wayne Shaw who writes – Hey Chris, I’ve been all over the Motorz website looking to purchase one of those dapper shirts you wear on the show Do ya know where I coudl buy one? PS. I love the out-takes at the end of the shows. Keep it up! [Chris] Well Wayne, we don’t have them there now but we are going to have them soon. some shirts, so just click that store link at the top of our website, if it’s not there just keep checking back. Now as far as the outtakes, those are fun, man. We have so much fun on this show it’s great being able to share that, we’ve been doing that since episode 1. So if you guys out there haven’t seen the credits in any episode of Motorz, I beg you, check it out, they’re funny and I just make a fool out of myself. Now Leon Davis writes – Hi Chris, I’ve got a 2007 Mustang 4.0 and I would like to install a side exhaust kit and can’t find a kit anywhere. Also do I need to have my computer reconfigured if a cold air intake is added? [Chris] Leon, check out Cervini’s, they have one for the V8 as well as your V6. The other one to check out is one called Blowby Racing as far as the intake it depends on the manufacturer. Some do and soem don’t so I recommend that you give them a call or check out their website to see if you need a program to install their air intake. Now a viewer named Tom asked – Where did you buy the Hella lights on the 2005 Ford F-150? [Chris] Well Tom, if you head on over to and you scroll down to a linked called where to buy, click that and you’ll get a huge list of retailers that sell Hella Lights. Now if you or anyone else that is watching is interested in the installation episode where we featured Hella Lights, check out episode 5 from Season 2, episode 2 from season 3, and episode 2 from season 4. Anthony wrote – Hey Chris, First I just want to say that I Just found out about Motorz, I’m hooked! I finished all three and a half seasons in a little over a day. I’m currently considering buying an air compressor and some air tools and I was wondering what kind you guys might recommend? [Chris] Well Anthony, we’ve got a 27 gallon Craftsman air compressor right over here that we use for the show and we love that thing. Now what most people don’t realize is that air tools and air compressors aren’t really that expensive, especially if you get them on sale. Now theres a wide range of tanks you can get too, you don’t have to get a big ol’ hurkin thing either you can get one that fits your budget, what I recommend is that you head on over to the Sears Blue Tool Crew and have them show you what they’ve got. And finally John writes – I’ve got a Toyota Camry with a V6 I want to change the spark plugs, but the ones in the back are tough to reach are there any tools or tricks that will make the job easier? [Chris] Well John, if you rewind this episode a bunch back when we were removing the intake manifold off the top of our small block Chevy, we used this litlte swivel adapter, I recommend you get one of those as well as an extension to use with your sockets. WIth those two things you can pretty much get anything in weird situations inside your engine compartment with it. Finally, just take your time and remove any plastic covers or anything else that might be in the way. Now John you might also want to hold off on that, because you’re going to get new spark plugs for sending in your letter and everybody else who’s letter I read on the show today gets a new set of E3 Spark Plugs for your ride. Now to find out more information about E3’s technology or to see if they’re avaialble for your ride, just head on over to Tearing down an engine can be kind of messy, but with the right tools and the help of a buddy you can knock it out in just a few hours. now the next step for our small block is to take it to NuTech Engine Systems in Ramona, California we’re going to have our friend Britt walk us through the entire process of machining a block step-by-step now for more information on all the tools that we used from the Sears Blue Tool Crew just head on over to our website. We’ll catch you next week on Motorz!

100 thoughts on “How-To Tear Down Chevy 350 Small Block Engine Motorz #63

  1. I want to rebuild my 1994 silverado 350 tbi engine but im not confident on doing so. I dont know what size pistons do i need and how to adjust the rockers and heard something about the engine being centered?

  2. Basically this block an engine should have just been scrapped and just buy a rebuild it would have been cheaper

  3. They didnt label the rod caps as to position in the block. Same withbthe rods that go into each position in the correct bore to match the cap.

  4. Oil filter wrench? I genuinely had no idea such a tool existed. I have the 350's baby brother in my S10. The 4.3 with a K&N CAI and a few other bolt on mods.

  5. My old step side box Chevy needs a rebuild that’s why I’m subscribed to your channel and your a good macanic 😃

  6. Milky oil in the pan but not in the filter? Did these people add coolant to the oil after they took the motor out or something? Seems peculiar.

  7. I've got a 307 in my 68 Chevy truck. Is this a similar process to a 350 that anyone is aware of?

  8. Going to Finally start pulling apart the 350 in my 70 Impala.
    I feel Super confident after watching these Vids. Thank you Chris and Motorz!

  9. My brother in law used to have a sweet 1970 Chevy Monte Carlo , always loved that sweet riding and very fast car.

  10. I have a 80 corvette. Which is better? To rebuild the engine or to buy a new turnkey crate engine?
    I need a valve job.

  11. Does anyone on here know of a good blog or chat I could ask people for help on? I'm new to the rebuild community and need help! 1971 Chevy C20 350 v8

  12. On the cylinder head what size thread chaser will i need to used to remove rust from hole's need to pull motor first too rusty for me to know without damaging threads novice

  13. My cousin has had a small block 350 for 30 years, he used to figure 8 race in our city and it was a built motor he like 10 grand in this motor, he quit racing but kept the motor and trans, that motor and trans has been in 5 different vehicles, from monte Carlos, Camaro, 2 different trucks, he just finds deals on vehicles he likes that need a motor for some reason and it throws the 350 in it and away he goes. He has crashed cars and just takes the motor and trans out and throws it in something else lol he was a good cousin to have in my younger days because I had a Camaro I ran the shit out of and he loved working on vehicles, so needles to say we made a great team, I tore them up he fixed them up.

  14. those small blocks are like iron my motor set for 5 yrs and i just put new gas and jump started it and it started right up like bran new

  15. I'm looking for an old v8 block to stroke. Cannot find any in the Dallas FTW area that is under $500! These should be worth about $50 bucks when they need milled, checked, tested, etc.. Should I check wrecking yards? They seem to cost more from there.

  16. Ha, I got to tear down a dozen of them, within a week, when someone at our marina neglected to winterize a bunch of boats before a big freeze. Replaced a dozen blocks on new boats. Gotta say yanking an engine from most boats is very easy.

  17. At 11:50 he uses a screwdriver to push the piston & connecting rod assembly out of the block. NEVER do that ! Use a small wooden dowel available at any hardware store, and tap it with a mallet. If that screwdriver slips you will scratch the inside wall of the cylinder and you do not want to do that. These cylinders are going to need honing, and scratching them will just add to that process. There is a limited amount you can hone off before the cylinder is too large for the piston. There needs to be a close fit, to prevent excessive wear as the piston moves through the cylinder. Every 3 hours at 70 mph, each piston traverses its cylinder 1,000,000 times ! That is a lot of times.

  18. My wife worked in the Oldsmobile engine plant, I worked in the attached next building. She operated the machine that honed the bolt holes (11:40) to a high tolerance. All of the force of the gasoline explosion which propels the automobile forward runs through those bolts, and there must be no slop, or the wriggling of the bolts within those holes will destroy the engine way before it should wear out.

  19. Wow maybe I can clean up the small block in my basement that my dad has, the old paint on it is green though so I hope it's a straight forward process like this one.

  20. NEVER use Steel anything to pound out Pistons. Cut 1.5 inch lengths of 3/8 Fuel line and slip over rod studs BEFORE using a Wooden Dowel to push Pistons out… Mark rods so you can put them back in "clocked" properly….

  21. Of i had a nickel for every small block, 4 bolt main, small journal crank engine i rebuilt , the good old days ,not this shit of today

  22. These guys can't make their minds on what is a short block and a long block…

    All I see there is a 350. . Is he tearing down the short block part of it? Or what

  23. "now that we have takin a closer look at the pistons, bearings, and crank"…. we can throw it into the dumpster and find a better motor…lets go! lolol jk cool video

  24. I know nothing about engines…but damn I want to.  I have a big block engine from a dodge ram.  im gonna tear it down to nothing just for the hell of it… amazing if I could get it back together. will be watching a lot of videos.    so are all American motors standard…not metric?

  25. This is my 1st video of yours I've seen and I'm already hooked and going to follow your Facebook page too. My buddy's dad passed away and he had a 93' Silverado with a 350 that his mom had to sell so she gave me the family discount of $500. It's rusted to beat hell but only has about 240,000 miles and runs perfect with the exception of leaking a little oil which is obviously very common in trucks that old. I have a 2000 Silverado for my primary vehicle so I want to use the 93' as more of a project truck and thought about rebuilding the engine so I thought I'd look up a video on how to do it since the only engine I've ever rebuilt was a lawnmower engine in 12th grade shop class. And I came across this video and like the way you put it together and explained everything. All I really need is the engine stand and a couple of those pullers. I can rent the hoist from this place down the block. I can't wait to dive deep into your other videos. Keep up the good work.

  26. Wow, this many years I went before seeing your content provided. I appreciate all you and your crew do, and look forward to watching the other videos in your lineups. I hope that there is a way for me to ask questions that I’m confronted with and hear what recommendations and pointers that can Be provided. Thanks

  27. y would u build a 2 bolt main when most 350 are 4 bolt main and that tells me it came out of a car and not a vet or pu they have 4 bolt mains i have 3 4 bolt mains and i thew them out side to season the block for one year bare block this is what the pro's do this is what every pro builder i know does for there own motors and these guy's build top fuel engines i trust them the most of any one out there and they would say that this is a big fail if u don't 4 bolt it sb are known to drop the crank with a 2 bolt main my 327 has a 4 bolt main in it now after bell built it. my 327 will hold 10,500 all day long been over 15,000 rpms i think they built me a good motor and it only cost me a wrecked 71 blazer that i got for 500

  28. Make sure you get a good Machinist and make sure your torque down everything get the torque specs from the manual Hayes manual they sell it in AutoZone I would go with everything new but if you can't afford it make sure you put everything back the same way pushrods Etc get an empty cardboard box and make holes in it as if it's next to the engine and put everything back the same way because it was wearing that way if you pick up the Haynes manual it shows you engine rebuild

  29. Can someone help me understand how you are able to reuse a block after machining it? How can the pistons operate correctly if the cylinders are bigger than before?


  30. Mark rod caps to rods and mark mains…. made that mistake when I was 15 and you can't pair them back up once mixed.

  31. Just discovered this video and the channel, I love it, can’t wait to watch them all.
    Joel, South Wales in the UK

  32. My car has green oil too , but it it blew my motor, I was told it was over heating so I replaced the oil with coolant instead like it said on the forums but it ruined it, I guess I used the wrong kind

  33. Could read that serial number that is stamped on the front of the block also if it didn't match the serial number on the truck that engine didn't come with the truck

  34. Where did you make this video at? I used to live in Ramona California, I don't remember that engine business existing there when I left!!

  35. The 5.7 liter 350 cu. inch small block Chevy is the best engine known to man.Gm quit installing them today at the factory due to they last/dependable..The last 300k plus miles.

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