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Pretend Mustang Guru
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys i'm in the process of rebuilding my 302 5.0 HO. I bought the book How to Rebuild the Small-Block Ford. The only problem is its not detailed at all for someone with no experience. It will say something like remove this and inspect for wear or now put this together. Well how would I know what proper wear looks like or how that would be put together. For something that requires such precision this book is almost useless unless you get the shortblock assembled by a professional. Does anyone know of a really detailed source that explains how to do almost everything (except the actual machine work). I'm sure I can find all the information on the internet but I want one source so I don't have to find a separate article for every little thing. Also I don't want to have it done. I want the joy of building my own engine. I'm fine with any type whether it be a book or internet site.

Thanks
Alex
 

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If I were you,I'd go to your local auto parts store and pick up a Haynes Manuel,I have a 4.6 and that book has helped me alot so far,does not hurt to give it a try.
 

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And I'm most sure that if you go on muscle mustangs & fast fords site you will more than likely run across a wright up on rebuilding or building a 302,it'll be the same basic thing just different parts they use but won't be that far off from what you want to find out
 

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Pm mike in Kentucky or look through his build thread. He had a lot of books that he bought and they seem to be quite helpful


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He of Long Wind
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How much are you planning to do? Are you just doing bearings, rings, chain, gaskets, etc.? Or are you upgrading to aftermarket crank, pistons, cam, valvetrain, etc.? And why are you doing the rebuild? Performance? High mileage/burns oil/knocks/seized, etc.?

I've been through hell and back on my rebuild, I may be able to offer some navigation help through the minefield.
 

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Pretend Mustang Guru
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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry for the late reply! I put a perfectly running 5.0 from one of my cars into a roller i bought. Two weeks after the swap the engine had a terrible knock and about 3 mm of crankshaft play (in and out so i suspect main bearing is toast). The roller had a previously rebuilt engine (couldn't get a straight answer from the owner for what was all done) but had terrible blow by from undersized rings. I decided to take apart the engine that came in the roller. The bearings were toast from all the gas in the oil. I took a picture of the #5 main bearing as it was the worst. It appears to have mostly original parts other than some apr hardware and hyper flat tops. It was my daily driver so i just need a balance between cost and daily driver reliability. I was hoping to stay below 1500$ I would like to use as many original parts as possible. It also has an unknown cam that i can't match the numbers to anywhere. I have a high definition camera and can show you anything to get your opinion on. Right now the engine is completely disassembled and labeled and organized from its respective cylinder.
 

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He of Long Wind
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2,172 Posts
Sorry for the late reply! I put a perfectly running 5.0 from one of my cars into a roller i bought. Two weeks after the swap the engine had a terrible knock and about 3 mm of crankshaft play (in and out so i suspect main bearing is toast). The roller had a previously rebuilt engine (couldn't get a straight answer from the owner for what was all done) but had terrible blow by from undersized rings. I decided to take apart the engine that came in the roller. The bearings were toast from all the gas in the oil. I took a picture of the #5 main bearing as it was the worst. It appears to have mostly original parts other than some apr hardware and hyper flat tops. It was my daily driver so i just need a balance between cost and daily driver reliability. I was hoping to stay below 1500$ I would like to use as many original parts as possible. It also has an unknown cam that i can't match the numbers to anywhere. I have a high definition camera and can show you anything to get your opinion on. Right now the engine is completely disassembled and labeled and organized from its respective cylinder.
Well ... maybe you've already done this, but I'd suggest you begin by getting a good mic and checking the crank journals to see if the crank can be reused. Then do the same with the cylinder bores. I hate to say this, but it sounds like a there may be a trip to the machine shop in your future. If the crank and block both need work (and I'd suspect they do), then you're talking about new pistons and crankshaft reconditioning at least ... and that's assuming that the block doesn't have other problems (warping, cracking, etc.).

The cost of rebuilding from the ground up can quickly get out of hand (trust me on this one). All things considered, you might just want to invest in a new short-block. I see budget short-blocks in the mags all the time for under $1,000. You could finish that out within budget, if you're frugal.
 

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Pretend Mustang Guru
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Discussion Starter #9
Yes i was expecting machine work from day one. Main bearings were not oversized so crank can be ground and will need to be. Cylinder walls have visible scratches but i can't catch them with my nail so im unsure if hone will suffice. Summit seems to have good rebuild kits if i went that route. Buying a shortblock does seem like a good idea. Can you really go wrong with a brand and what do you recommend? I feel most of the top end can be reused except the rollers appear to have scoring but i can't catch my nail on those either. I can sen pics of the rollers to get your opinion.
 

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He of Long Wind
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Yes i was expecting machine work from day one. Main bearings were not oversized so crank can be ground and will need to be. Cylinder walls have visible scratches but i can't catch them with my nail so im unsure if hone will suffice. Summit seems to have good rebuild kits if i went that route. Buying a shortblock does seem like a good idea. Can you really go wrong with a brand and what do you recommend? I feel most of the top end can be reused except the rollers appear to have scoring but i can't catch my nail on those either. I can sen pics of the rollers to get your opinion.
It's not just the surface condition of the bores that matters. A worn block will often have cylinder taper and out-of-round bores. Re-ringing the pistons will not improve this condition. It will make the problem worse, as new rings will abrade more material away as they seat in. A quick check with a bore gauge can tell you if your cylinders are tapered or out-of-round.

The short-block I see all the time is this one (1979-95 Mustang 5.0L 302 Economy Short Block, Accepts Roller Cam at LRS - Free Shipping!). But you can find them even cheaper if you look around. This one is like $625 (Mabbco Motors Online Catalog > Auto > National Short Block Program - NO CORE REQUIRED > Ford > Ford 5.0 302 Short Block 1985-1991 Roller w/302 F.O. - NO CORE REQUIRED - 90 Day Limited Warranty). So it might not makes sense to rework the old block if you can replace it for nearly the same money.

As for your top end parts, I think you might want to post ALL your pictures for review. There are a bunch of good engine builders on this forum who could probably give you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on reusing those parts.
 
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