Once the engine has been safely lifted out of the car, it’s time to perform a methodical and professional disassembly of the engine. Once again, proper planning and preparation makes this task go much smoother. As always, safety is first. Securely bolt your engine to a good-quality engine stand in a clean, well-lit area of your workspace. This is of the utmost importance before disassembly begins. Remember, even a small-block V-8 engine weighs several hundred pounds, and members of the Y-block engine family tip the scales at more than 600 pounds.
This Tech Tip is From the Full Book, 4.6L & 5.4L FORD ENGINES: HOW TO REBUILD. For a comprehensive guide on this entire subject you can visit this link:
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Set up your work area to accommodate the numerous parts that make up your engine. Make sure that you have ample containers, bags, tags, etc., to store and keep track of the hardware for each component. Keeping your fasteners in order pays dividends in saving time when you put the engine back together. This is also a good time to replace any damaged, stripped, or overly rusted nuts and bolts, taking care to obtain fasteners with the exact thread pitch, dimensions, and hardness ratings. If your bolts are damaged or stretched, you are not achieving the proper clamping force and your entire rebuild is in jeopardy.
Companies such as AMK Products and the Gardner-Wescott Company are excellent sources of high-quality engine hardware that matches OEM nuts and bolts exactly.
Have your still or video camera handy to provide a record of how things come apart, and you will have a much easier time during reassembly. Note: If there are any indications that your engine has previously been apart (one of ours was, while the other was delivered from the factory), do not automatically assume that it was correctly reassembled. Someone who was unfamiliar with these engines may have previously worked on it. Carefully examine your engine and refer to the photos in this book that describe how to properly install certain components. This is vital to the success of your rebuild.
Step 1: Remove Carburetor
If you chose not to remove the carburetor and distributor before lifting the engine from the car, keep in mind that the carburetor likely contains some residual fuel. Take the carburetor to a ventilated area away from any source of ignition. Turn it upside down, and drain the fuel into a container. Dispose of, or store, the container properly. Once the carb has been removed, place a lint-free rag in the intake. Even though you’re going to rebuild the entire engine, avoid letting grit, grease, and debris fall into the engine. A simple clamp holds down the distributor but some prying force may be required to remove it from the block. Do not pry against the vacuum advance unit. Soak the area around the base of the distributor with a penetrant before attempting to remove it.
Step 2: Remove Intake Manifold
Removing the intake manifold from a Y-block is fairly straightforward. The bypass hose is the biggest impediment between the water outlet and water pump. In this case, the hose still has its OEM spring clamps. Replace the hose unless you are undertaking an exact restoration to OEM specifications and your existing hose is in good condition. It is easier to simply cut the hose rather than deal with the clamps.
Step 3: Remove Lifter Valley Cover
With the intake manifold out of the way, you have access to the lifter valley cover, which is secured by two bolts. Use a hammer handle or a piece of hardwood and insert it into the runner. Exert some prying force to remove the cover. Some find it easier to remove the cylinder heads before removing the lifter valley cover. Either way, care must be taken not to bend the cover during removal or oil leaks may occur later.
Step 4: Inspect for Sludge
When you remove the lifter valley cover, you will likely be confronted with sludge buildup on the underside of the cover and in the lifter gallery. The sludge buildup is evidence of years of using improper motor oils or lack of maintenance.
Step 5: Remove Valve Covers
Two studs hold the Y-block valve covers to the heads; they also anchor the rocker arm end stands. After removing the two nuts that hold the valve covers in place, some force may be required to remove the covers. Rather than using a prying tool, I prefer to strike the cover in several places with a rubber mallet to avoid damaging the cover.
Step 6: Remove Drain-Back Tubes (Documentation Required)
You now have access to the rocker arm assemblies and pushrods. Take note of the location of the oil drain-back tubes on the rocker assemblies. The passenger-side tube is located toward the front of the engine, while the driver-side tube is located toward the rear. The purpose of the location of the oil drain-back tubes is to provide lubrication for the distributor shaft and timing chain and gears. When it’s time for reassembly, you will have to refer back to your notes so you install the oil drain-back tubes in the correct locations.
Step 1: Remove Rocker Arm Stands
A stud/nut combination and a bolt hold the rocker arm end stands in place. Use an open-end or box wrench to remove the nut from the stud. Secure the remaining rocker arm stands with two bolts each.
Step 2: Remove Pushrods
Remove all the pushrods and examine them. You may discover that your engine is equipped with the less-thandesirable one-piece pushrods (top). Replace them with tubular pushrods of the same length (bottom) as part of your rebuild.
Step 3: Inspect for Sludge
With the rocker arm assemblies removed, you can see any sludge that has accumulated on the top of the cylinder heads over the engine’s lifetime.
Step 4: Remove Accessories
I recommend removing as many accessories as possible from the front of the engine before lifting the engine from the car. It’s easier to attach the lifting chain and clear the core support and other components in the engine compartment during the lift with accessories out of the way. Working from front to rear, remove the generator and attach brackets, water pump, and accessory drive pulley. Removing these parts provides access to the crankshaft dampener and timing cover. If the fuel pump has been left in place, remember that it may also contain some residual fuel (when you do remove it).
Step 5: Remove Timing Pointer
The ignition-timing pointer is bolted to the front of the timing cover. During removal be careful not to bend it because that could make it difficult to tune the engine at a later date.
Step 6: Remove Motor Mounts
Before removing the motor mounts, note their orientation on the block so they align properly to the frame when the engine is reinstalled. It’s a good idea to carefully examine the condition of the rubber portion of the motor mounts and replace them if their condition is suspect in any way. If the motor mounts are original, or very old, they should be replaced. Anchor-Doan is an inexpensive source for quality motor mounts for early vehicles.
Step 7: Remove Canister
Removal of the canister that holds the road crankcase breather filter on the engine may reveal even more sludge buildup. This adds to the evidence that this engine was not properly maintained and could not have run very well. The canister is held in place by a bolt through its center.
Cylinder Head Disassembly
Step 1: Remove Crankcase Breather (Professional Mechanical Tip)
Two large Phillips-head screws attach the crankcase breather to the side of the block. It can be difficult to remove these screws, so be careful not to strip the heads. Be sure to choose the proper Phillips-head screwdriver, and before attempting to loosen the screws, give the screwdriver handle a good tap with a hammer. I have found that an impact driver is too large to access these screws. I use a Craftsman professional-grade screwdriver, which has a hexagonal shaft. I insert it onto the head and attach an adjustable wrench or Vise-Grips to the screwdriver shaft so it provides extra turning power on the screws.
Step 2: Remove Heads
Use a breaker bar to remove the head bolts from the engine. Be sure to note that there are differences between the length of the upper and lower head bolts. The bolts used on the upper end of each cylinder head are also slightly longer than the others. With the cylinder head bolts removed, place the wooden handle of a hammer or a crowbar (shown) in the intake ports of the cylinder heads. Pry the heads away from the block and off the head dowels in the block. Take care when removing the cylinder heads from the block. They are heavy!
Step 3: Inspect Cylinder Heads
These cylinder heads show the signs of many years on the road. No visible problems, such as indications of blown head gaskets, cracks, or other damage are apparent at first glance. The heads will be thoroughly cleaned, disassembled, and inspected to determine any problems before machining.
Step 4: Inspect for Damage
This is also a good time to do a visual inspection of the cylinder bores and piston tops for signs of obvious damage caused by excessive wear or component failure. Are the cylinder walls gouged because of a broken piston ring? Is there a ridge at the top of the cylinder bore? Does pitting appear on the tops of the pistons?
Step 5: Remove Vibration Dampener (Special Tools)
Remove the vibration dampener from the crankshaft before you remove the timing cover; then you can access the timing chain and camshaft. A specialized puller, such as this one by Craftsman tools, is required. Do not attempt backyard methods for removing the dampener, such as beating it with a hammer or attempting to pry against it. You can damage both the dampener and the snout of the crankshaft and you may render them useless in the future. Remove the bolt securing the dampener to the snout of the crankshaft. You may have to hold the crankshaft to keep it from rotating while you remove the bolt. This can be accomplished by reinstalling two flywheel/flexplate bolts into the crank flange and using a pry bar or large screwdriver to hold the crankshaft in place. With the bolt out of the way, attach the puller to the dampener by threading the bolts supplied with the tool into the holes spaced around the dampener. Turn the threaded center of the tool in a clockwise direction, pulling the dampener from the crankshaft. Once the dampener is removed from the crankshaft, be sure to retain the woodruff key that secures it.
Step 6: Remove Timing Cover
Once the timing cover has been removed, the timing gears and chain are exposed for removal. A few bolts hold the timing cover to the block. Remove the bolt that retains the top gear and fuel pump eccentric to the camshaft using a ratchet and 9/16 socket. The lower timing gear and the oil slinger in front of it are keyed to the crankshaft and slide off by hand.
Step 7: Note Order of Cam Components
With the fuel pump eccentric out of the way, it’s imperative to carefully note the order in which the other components are attached to the front of the camshaft. In this case, you see a keyed counterweight, while in others a keyed spacer may be found. One may be replaced with the other, but one or the other must be used. It would be a good idea to take a photo of the arrangement of components here.
Step 8: Remove Top and Bottom Gears
After the camshaft retaining bolt, washers, fuel pump eccentric, and counterweight have been removed, use a pry bar or large flathead screwdriver to pry against the back of the top gear. The top gear separates from the cam, and the bottom gear slides off the keyway on the crankshaft.
Step 9: Remove Cam Retaining Plate
Two bolts attach the camshaft retaining plate to the cylinder block. Once it has been removed, check the back side of the camshaft for any signs of excessive wear. Wear is indicated by grooves worn into the retaining plate.
Step 10: Inspect Thrust Washer (Critical Inspection)
A thrust washer is behind the camshaft retaining plate. It is imperative to note that the beveled side of this washer faces the camshaft when it is reinstalled. Photograph the orientation of the camshaft hardware and, particularly, make a note regarding the thrust washer in order to facilitate correct reassembly.
Step 11: Remove Oil Feed Tube
In order to remove the oil pan and pump, you must first remove the feed tube that connects the pump to the pickup. A large threaded nut fastens the pickup to the oil pump. I find that a large adjustable wrench works well for removing this nut.
Step 1: Remove Oil Pump
Three bolts fasten the oil pump to the cylinder block. One of the three bolts extends from the top and through the block casting. Use a ratchet and socket or box wrench to remove these bolts. The oil pump drive should remain in place at this time unless it is stuck in the distributor. If it is stuck, drop the pump straight down during removal. All that’s left in this process is to remove the oil pan and pickup from the block.
Step 2: Inspect Piston Bores
With the external components out of the way, the final step is to remove the rotating assembly, camshaft, and lifters from the cylinder block. Before attempting to remove the pistons from their respective cylinders, check each bore to ensure that it hasn’t developed a ridge that interferes with the piston rings that could possibly damage the pistons as they are removed.
Step 3: Remove Ridge from Cylinder Bores (Special Tool)
The cylinder bores in your block may have a ridge near the top. During the engine’s service life, the piston wears down the cylinder sleeve, pushes the worn material to the top of the bore, and creates a ridge. It is composed of a combination of carbon, dirt, and oil that has accumulated because of poor tuning or excessive wear of components, such as piston rings, valveguides, etc. Use an old-school tool known as a ridge reamer to remove the ridge, which then makes it far easier to get the piston and rod assemblies out of the cylinder bores without causing damage.
The ridge reamer has a set of mildly abrasive stones that are mounted to the expandable tool. Once the tool has been placed in the cylinder bore and fitted to size, rotate it manually until the ridge has been removed from the top of the cylinder, which clears the path for piston and rod removal.
Step 4: Check Connecting Rod Bolts
Once the bores have been checked or any ridge removed, roll the engine over on the stand to gain access to the pistons, rods, and crankshaft. In doing so, you may note that the OEM connecting rod bolts are fitted with Pal or jam nuts over the standard nuts. These archaic pieces cannot be installed in a new engine build, and they should be discarded, even if using connecting rod bolts and nuts.
Step 5: Remove Piston and Rod Assemblies
Rotate the crankshaft so the throws line up with the cylinders or cylinders’ rod and piston, so you can properly remove the piston and connecting rod assemblies from the block. I use two old flywheel bolts threaded into the flange at the back of the crankshaft and a pry bar to rotate the crank into the desired position.
Step 6: Remove Piston and Rod Assemblies (continued)
This crankshaft has been rotated in the correct position so the piston and connecting rod assembly can slide straight out of the cylinder. Be sure that the connecting rod and cap are each stamped with a number that corresponds with the respective cylinder. The numerals should be stamped on the portion of the rod and cap that face outward, or toward the oil pan rail of the cylinder block. After ensuring that the connecting rods are numerically marked, remove the nuts that hold the cap in place.
Step 7: Number Connecting Rods
If you find that the connecting rods and caps in an engine are not numerically marked, most machine shops have number stamps, such as these, available. If your connecting rods are not numbered, it is best to stamp the numbers on them before they are removed from the block to avoid any mix-ups. When numbering the connecting rods in a Y-block, remember to consult the cylinder numbering chart on page 141 before proceeding.
Step 8: Remove Connecting Rod Cap
If you find it difficult to remove the connecting rod cap after taking off the nuts, a simple brass drift punch and hammer usually solves the problem. A brass drift is a softer metal, which helps to avoid any damage to the connecting rod cap. Use a drift punch to tap against the surface where the cap joins the connecting rod. This typically separates them so that the cap can be removed.
Step 9: Separate Rod Assembly from Crankshaft Throw (Professional Mechanic Tip)
Examine the crankshaft throws before separating the connecting rod assembly from the crankshaft throw. During the removal process be careful not to damage the polished area of the crankshaft when disconnecting rod bolts. These simple rubber boots, available in most auto parts stores, slide over the threads and protect the crankshaft as the rod is removed. You can also use a piece of vacuum line hose of the proper diameter and length. To remove the piston and rod assembly, push against the connecting rod with a hammer handle until the piston clears the cylinder bore. Once the piston and rod assembly have been removed from the bore, place the connecting rod cap back on the rod with the numbers in proper orientation. This way there is no confusion when your parts arrive at the machine shop.
Step 10: Check for Cap Identification
To ensure that they are replaced in the proper position during the reassembly phase of your engine rebuild, use a hammer and sharp punch to stamp dots in the main bearing caps for identification. The main bearing caps can also be stamped with numbers (shown).
Step 11: Remove Main Seal Retainer
You must first remove the retainer that holds the lower portion of the rear main seal so you can access the bolts holding the rear main bearing cap. Two bolts with 12-point heads hold this retainer in place. A 7/16 12-point deep-well socket works best here.
Step 12: Loosen Caps
After the bolts securing the main bearing caps have been removed, use a plastic mallet to tap the caps (as shown) to loosen them. Tap on them firmly enough to break them free, but be careful; you don’t need to take a full swing. Once the cap is loose, you should be able to “walk” it from its register by hand.
Step 13: Remove Camshaft and Lifters
The camshaft and lifters are the last components to be removed from the cylinder block. The unique mushroom-style valve lifters in a Y-block must be installed and removed from the bottom. Remove the camshaft from the cylinder block when it’s positioned upside down on the engine stand. To remove the camshaft, gently and carefully use a large screwdriver to pry against the side of one of the cam lobes. Clear the rear cam bearing extending from the front of the block. From this point, remove the cam by hand and feed each journal first through the cam bearings until it is out and then through each of the lifters. If, for any reason, you intend to reuse the valve lifters, they must be kept in the order in which they contacted the lobes of the camshaft. Keeping them in order can be easily accomplished by marking a piece of cardboard with numbers and an arrow for front to back orientation. Never put used valve lifters on a new camshaft.
Written by Charles Morris and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks