The 396ci big block engine for the 1965 American Modern Malibu SS has been through quite the process in the last couple of months, but lucky for the crew of The Build, and classic car enthusiasts everywhere, the engine is now nearing its completion. Now all it needs is a bit of assembly. Check out how the assembly of the 396’s cylinder heads went in the video above.
With the heads all cleaned, primped and primed, it’s time for their final assembly to take place. Wanting the best of the best, American Modern opted to purchase all new components for their cylinder assembly, including new valve springs, ARP rocker arm studs, intake and exhaust valves, retainers and locks, and even new valve seals. And with Tony from Smyth Automotive on the case, the engine is in mighty good shape!
The first thing to do when assembling cylinder heads is to check the install height of the valve springs using a valve spring gauge. On this engine, Tony only checks the install height on the exhaust valve side because that was the only side with rotators when the engine was taken apart.
Once the install height has been determined, you can use shims to get precisely the height you need for each valve. The shims go in under the rotators and then the new valve seals are installed.
After lubing up both the intake and exhaust valves, they can be installed through the seals, lubing them as you go. Once the valves are in place, it’s time to put the valve springs on using a valve spring compressor, top them with retainers and then secure them in place with locks. This will keep the springs in place.
Once the springs are installed, you can install the rocker arm studs. You’ll place a pushrod guide under the studs if you desire and then screw the studs in place after lubing them up. Once you torque the studs down, you’re ready to put the heads on to the rest of the engine.
The 396ci big block set to power the 1965 Malibu SS from The Build has certainly seen some major work done to it in the past few episodes, but we’re nearing that time when it can be put back into the Malibu and turned over for the first time in its rebuilt form. Be sure to stay tuned as we continue to watch The Build inch forward on their project!