amateur mechanic - 1984 base MC gets 5.3L/4L60e

MJScarangella

Master Mechanic
Thread starter
Sep 24, 2020
250
63
Pennsville, NJ
Moving along.

Cold air intake done. I destroyed a number of aftermarket 4" hose clamps that came with the Spectre Performance silicone couplers; I wound up re-purposing the factory GM worm-gear clamps which are of a MUCH higher quality. Either my wrist is hulk strong from years of jacking or Chinesium hose clamps are for one-time use.

Fuel system ready for startup... going to put two gallons of gas in it later in the week and put the ignition in run and see if it leaks... I'm tempted to use the gas can in the shed (for lawnmower), but I looked down in there and saw debris, and being cheap about things at this stage is dumb. I'm going to take the Schrader valve out of the fuel rail and bleed air/fuel to a soda bottle.... that appears to be the high point of the system... Earl's fuel hose (200 psi) cost an arm and a leg, but I figure it shifts the weak spots to the clamped connections. I put a fuel gage in-line just to see if the return-less Holley in-tank pump pulses or is stable - for troubleshooting.

Have to find my 1/4NPT center-tapped oil galley plug, which I bought months ago (and put somewhere so I wouldn't lose it) so I can pre-lube/prime the oil circuit.

Honestly, finding a lower radiator hose was very frustrating. I think I bought 6, returned 4... wound up with this hodgepodge. Not sure why all radiator hoses in the entire universe are not just 1.5"... I have different hose barbs on each end of the water pump and each end of the radiator - that is nonsense. Top hose took 5 minutes to splice from donor car & truck.

Figured out that my Dakota Digital VHX instrument cluster should provide me with transmission temperature if I page through the LCD "message center". I'll watch that closely when I'm breaking the motor in; I didn't plan on using aux trans cooler (although donor truck had one) - if the temp stays below 200F, then I'll call that victory for now.
 

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MJScarangella

Master Mechanic
Thread starter
Sep 24, 2020
250
63
Pennsville, NJ
Okay so I have fuel pressure but I did not expect that the ECM would shut off the fuel pump if ignition pulse not received... I figure that's why I had to iterate several times (key off, key on/run) to bleed air out through the Schrader valve on the fuel rail. I heard some sounds when that thing start up the first time.... squeal. No leaks is good.

Strangest thing: initially I wasn't getting the ECM relay to energize with the key on/run wire that formerly powered the old ECM... in the course of pulling and putting back fuses, I heard the relay click... WTF? How could I have a bad contact in the fuse block? Sheesh. Lucky I found it before I flipped out and let it ruin my day. There's ghosts in this machine.... hope I didn't fry the new ECM because I should have had the key off every time I pulled/put a fuse. Maybe the orientation of the relays, laying on the passenger side foot well, in whatever (not vertical) orientation was causing the relay not to flip.... who knows...

Confirmed drivers side rear brake drum cylinder leaking from boot; bought a new one, and brake pliers, and snap ring pliers... see if I can do that today before everybody wakes up and I become a jungle gym.
 

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MJScarangella

Master Mechanic
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Sep 24, 2020
250
63
Pennsville, NJ
Replaced the leaking wheel cylinder but I think I bent the wire thingy that actuates the adjuster. Adjuster not working properly now. ordered new hardware kit for spare
 

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MJScarangella

Master Mechanic
Thread starter
Sep 24, 2020
250
63
Pennsville, NJ
Finally got the reworked exhaust pipe (inlet to the x-pipe) - pics attached before/after. Had to pester local guy to rework this for me -$40. Holley has Sum DumGai in China making a new one, but it's been 6 weeks now, and the hack-up steel-to-stainless reworked pipe is going in the car tomorrow morning. Start-up imminent.
 

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MJScarangella

Master Mechanic
Thread starter
Sep 24, 2020
250
63
Pennsville, NJ
In my sophisticated opinion, this exhaust kit looks bitchin'. Installed with 3 hours of cussing. 2.5" dual exhaust without cats is a beautiful thing - suck my fumes greentards.

Thanks to the engineers at Holley/Hooker that made it fit nicely in development.

Thanks to John Rambo of Penns Grove New Jersey for reworking it and making it fit right in operations.

No thanks to the fools in China that made it wrong...

No thanks to Holly/Hooker customer 'service' and warranty claims - you FAIL.

I'm glad I won't be spending much time under the car anymore [for now] - my $24 Harbor Freight lay-down crawler broke a caster.
 

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Havasutom

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Dec 19, 2020
18
13
Lake Havasu City, AZ
Looking for advice for break-in oil.... Everything seems to be synthetic or synthetic blend. Trying to find old school conventional motor oil.

Please advise on your favored break-in oil.

Also, would love to hear your thoughts on break-in process. I've hear oil changes at 50, 100, 150, 300, 500 and 1,000 miles with conventional motor oil. One thing I've read is that I need to gun it several times right away...

Anyway, still a week or two away from start-up.

What about this advice: http://mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm
I used the oil recommendation from my engine builder BluePrint. They sell their own brand 30 weight mineral break in oil for use in the first 500 miles. I plan on using mineral oil till I reach 3000 miles then switch to a premium synthetic brand like Driven or Brad Penn.
 
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MJScarangella

Master Mechanic
Thread starter
Sep 24, 2020
250
63
Pennsville, NJ
I put 5 quarts of conventional 5W30 oil through the galley port at about 30 psi using a bug sprayer and a bicycle pump. I put the last of 6 quarts in through normal fill on valve cover. turned the engine by the crank bolt a dozen times or so while the oil went in over 2 hours. Spark plugs torqued to spec, wires installed with heat shields and fiberglass socks. Did some initial configuration on the Dakota Digital VHX cluster and I should see engine temp, oil pressure, RPM, vehicle speed on start up. battery charged. My friend is coming over and I'm going to let him start it because I got the Midas touch of shyt, while he does 9.8 second quarter mile in a turbo 6L LS-powered G-Body.
 

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Texas82GP

Just-a-worm
Supporting Member
Apr 3, 2015
7,043
113
Spring, Texas
I put 5 quarts of conventional oil through the galley port at about 30 psi using a bug sprayer and a bicycle pump. I put the last of 6 quarts in through normal fill on valve cover. turned the engine by the crank bolt a dozen times or so while the oil went in over 2 hours. Spark plugs torqued to spec, wires installed with heat shields and fiberglass socks. Did some initial configuration on the Dakota Digital VHX cluster and I should see engine temp, oil pressure, RPM, vehicle speed on start up. battery charged. My friend is coming over and I'm going to let him start it because I got the Midas touch of shyt, while he does 9.8 second quarter mile in a turbo 6L LS-powered G-Body.
I hope it goes smoothly for you. 🤞
 
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