BUILD THREAD A Teenager and His Malibu Wagon.

airboatgreg

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 2, 2016
2,661
113
Been quite busy recently with work and then my mowing business (thanks rain) and helping parents out by staining their entire house in the hot NC weather. Its been past due for an update on the wagon but the goods news is I'm on the home stretch for the engine swap!
View attachment 199359 View attachment 199358

Motor Going In
Dropping the motor in was a piece of cake only took maybe 30 minutes. Everything went smoothly then I started to bolt things onto the motor to get it ready.
Tried to fit in both sets of headers I had on hand but sadly neither of them fit. The shorties were not even close, but the long tubes most likely would've fit if I did a little bit of modification on them but decided to go buy new ones that would bolt on to save a little time and effort (foreshadowing: It did not). Got the modified crossmember bolted back up.
Went on Hedman Headers website since I've heard about how they always fit quite easily. Input all the car information like having a 5.7, column shift, automatic, power steering, AC, angled spark plugs, etc. Had a selection of 6 different but only really had an option of 3 because I can only afford a set of steel ones instead of stainless. Decided on "Hedman Hedders 68620". They arrived and the passenger side fit perfectly, plenty of clearance on the HVAC box and starter (did add a bit of heat reflection stuff on the starter wires just in View attachment 199360 case). View attachment 199361 The driver side was another story. It was a pain in the you know what to get it down into position. Had to take a hammer to a tube to help clear the steering rag joint. Then once installed I noticed how one of the tubes was maybe a centimeter from the engine mount, so I took it back out and cut that tube off and rewelded it back further. Upon installing again noticed how close it was to the brake lines and proportioning valve and didn't want to risk any boiling brake fluid. Ontop of that the header flange was veryyy close to the transmission dust cover and to make matters worse the shift linkage hit the collector and prevented me from having 1st gear. Decided this would be fine just to do a test startup of the engine before taking the driver header out and completely redoing it.




First Start Up
With a splash of gas down the carb and one crank of the key the motor roared to life. It ran great except for a slight surging idle which a stuck carb float valve was found to be the culprit and possibly a small vacuum leak on a line that got a hose clamp put on.
Oil pressure was perfect but problems arose when the temp rose quickly up to 180, then 190, then 200. The 180 thermostat wasnt opening so I replaced it with a new one to no avail. So I then realized it was the temp sender being heat soaked by the headers (I placed it on the rear passenger side port). Pulled the sender out and put a plug in and when I started to remove the plug from the intake it stripped out. So I drained the coolant put a cloth in the intake through the water neck hole to catch metal shavings as I drilled it out. I drilled out with a 1/2" drill bit then started hitting the outer edge of the plug with a punch & hammer until it caved in on itself. Then ran a tap down the hole to make sure the threads were still okay. While I was at that point I also removed the heater hose fitting. It was a straight fitting so It kinked the hose a bit so I removed it and put a 45 degree fitting in its place. After putting everything back together with the temp sender now in the intake everything ran much better keeping around 175-180.
First Drive
Went to the gas station and filled er' up and on the way back the temp was still going up to around 190-195 which shouldn't be happening on this cool 70 degree day. Running too hot even for being a new motor running with tight clearances that need to break in. Stopped by a friends house to let it cool off before making it the rest of the way home.
The old radiator has a little bit of mineral build up in it so I wasn't to surprised at needed to get a new one. The clutch in the clutch fan also appears to be about worn out so to get rid of the problem I went ahead and ordered a 3 core aluminum radiator with dual electric fans.
Current & Next Tasks View attachment 199364 View attachment 199363
  • I pulled out the headers and have already cut them apart and completely rewelded them to be kind of like a block hugger. Eventually Ill probably get a nice set of stainless headers but for now it'll have to do. Need to spray the headers with header paint and then I've got header wrap coming tomorrow.
  • Swap out the radiator and install fans (got another water neck on order for the fan temp sender)
  • Finish up the cat delete down pipes, and then finish up the exhaust. I'm going with 2.5" pipe, with an x-pipe followed by "Spintech 3000 sportsman mufflers (they have awesome customer service!)" , and then sending the exhaust over the rear axle and exit behind the rear tires.
  • Also installed an cheap aftermarket electric inline windshield washer sprayer since I pulled apart my entire wiper system and couldn't find out why It wasn't working. The metal tube for the driver side sprayer nozzle was sheared off so I need to find another somewhere, so for now I just have the passenger side sprayer. Ill clean up the wiring and connections once I get both nozzles spraying. View attachment 199366 View attachment 199365
190 degrees is not overheating
 
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PBGBodyFan

G-Body Guru
Mar 3, 2009
732
93
Wisconsin
Nice build thread! Pretty well loaded wagon too, power stuff and rear security doors are even harder to find.

Keep up the good work
 

Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
11,667
113
Gainesville, Fl
Good to see you making positive progress. If you have any questions pertaining to bumper tucking, etc, give me a holler. ;)
 
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airboatgreg

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 2, 2016
2,661
113
I have a 180 degree thermostat and with spikes up to 200 in my opinion its just a bad idea waiting to happen with future overheating problems when getting stuck in traffic or on long road trips
A 180 degree thermostat starts to open at 180. Most electric cooling fans don't come on until about 220. Engines run hotter than most people think. Hence the need for anti-freeze and a good radiator cap
 
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melloelky

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 22, 2017
3,704
113
mass
Keep in mind all the thermostat does is set the minimum operating temperature. The car is gonna run where it wants to run given the radiator,fan size,amount of air traveling through it etc etc keep in mind 200 isn't a lot
 
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blairc_789

Apprentice
Thread starter
Jun 18, 2021
50
33
North Carolina
Keep in mind all the thermostat does is set the minimum operating temperature. The car is gonna run where it wants to run given the radiator,fan size,amount of air traveling through it etc etc keep in mind 200 isn't a lot
You guys are putting my mind at ease telling me this stuff, glad to know I’m it hurting anything with these temps. I’ve just been used to my small block fords fluctuating between 175-185 when the thermostat is opening.
 

64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
4,819
113
Upstate NY
175 is too cold for a cruiser imo. Your not going to hurt anything at 215-220. More of a concern is the accuracy of your sensor/gauge. An infrared heat gun is your friend for testing purposes.

Anything from 180-210 is fine.

Good luck kid, love the build - just read through it.
 
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airboatgreg

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 2, 2016
2,661
113
You want the engine to run hot enough to boil out condensation and exhaust gases that are put into the crankcase by going past the rings
 
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blairc_789

Apprentice
Thread starter
Jun 18, 2021
50
33
North Carolina
175 is too cold for a cruiser imo. Your not going to hurt anything at 215-220. More of a concern is the accuracy of your sensor/gauge. An infrared heat gun is your friend for testing purposes.

Anything from 180-210 is fine.

Good luck kid, love the build - just read through it.
Been borrowing my moms infrared temp gun out of the kitchen drawers 😂 Thank you
 
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