Well, I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to get some odds and ends wrapped up with the motor before installing it in the chassis. On the top of the list was fixing that oil leak that showed up when the motor was on the engine dyno. Well, as it turned out it was a misaligned rear main seal. I had to tear apart half the bottom end to replace the seal, but it did give me the opportunity to check everything out, and besides the seal, it all looked good. I also took the opportunity to retorque my cylinder heads as recommended by Air Flow Research. I didn’t retighten all the valve springs though, I left them loose for now since the engine will be stored for a long period of time. This will prevent any of the springs from becoming ‘fatigued’ from being compressed for long periods of time.
So, with the engine to-do list completed I set about installing the engine back in the chassis. The install went pretty quick. I simply bolted on some new motor mounts and lowered it into place. Because the transmission is not yet installed, I used a floor jack to support the back of the motor to lessen the load on the motor mounts.
With a the new motor pushing over 500 Hp an aftermarket safety bellhousing (otherwise known as a scatter shield) is a must. In the case of a catastrophic flywheel or pressure plate failure the old aluminum unit really doesn’t provide much protection. The new bellhousing, manufactured by McLeod, is 1/4″ thick solid steel and is much stronger. It also comes with a block protector plate and is SFI approved. I’ll certainly feel much safer driving around with this installed instead of the stock bellhousing.
The first step to installing the new scatter shield was to get the new block protector plate in place. The purpose of the plate is to protect the engine block from damage if the flywheel or pressure plate comes apart. The install was pretty straightforward. Here I’ve temporarily added a few bolts to keep the block plate in place while I install the flywheel, clutch and pressure plate.
I swear it feels like I’ve taken the flywheel on and off about a hundred times, but thankfully this should be the last time I have to do it for a long time…
If you recall from a while back, this is the new Centerforce Dual Friction clutch disk and pressure plate I purchased. Also pictured is a clutch alignment tool I purchased. For the $5 it cost, the clutch alignment tool was well worth it and made the transmission installation a lot simpler.
With the clutch disk located on the splines of the alignment tool I installed the clutch disk so that the tip of the alignment tool dropped into the center of the pilot bearing. The purpose of the clutch alignment tool is to keep the clutch disk in properly positioned relative to the pilot bearing while the pressure plate is aligned. The transmission input shaft needs to be passed through the clutch disk and into the pilot bearing so any misalignment can cause a headache. Because the pressure plate exerts so much pressure on the clutch disk once it’s bolted into place, trying to fix any alignment issues after it’s installation is nearly impossible. Long story short, buy an alignment tool!
With the clutch disk in place I installed the pressure plate and torqued the bolts to the manufacturers specs by tightening each bolt one turn at a time working in a star pattern. This ensures that the pressure plate housing won’t be warped during installation. Once the pressure plate is installed the clutch alignment tool can be removed.
Prior to installing the new scatter shield it was necessary to take a few measurements with the stock pivot ball and the new scatter shield. Based on the installation instructions that came with the new clutch, it was evident that I needed to get an adjustable pivot ball to maintain proper clutch linkage geometry.
Below is a photo of the new adjustable pivot ball I purchased. Right away I noticed that the tip of the new pivot ball was much more “square” than the stock pivot ball. A quick trip to the grinder allowed me to match the profile of the original piece pretty closely.
Here’s the new pivot ball (left) after I modified it compared to the original. It looked pretty good so I went ahead and installed it in the bellhousing. I made sure to double check the adjustment, and re-read the instructions that came with the new clutch, several times to ensure the final adjustment was correct.
Finally, before installing the scatter shield, a new throw out bearing was installed on the throw out bearing arm and the assembly was installed in the scatter shield. With the arm in place the scatter shield was simply bolted into place on the motor.
Ok, so here’s a view looking into the back of the scatter shield. The proper alignment of the components (clutch disk, pressure plate and throw out bearing) will help ensure that the transmission installation goes smoothly.
Well, that’s all for now! The next update will include the installation of the transmission and the shifter linkage. Stay tuned, the updates should be coming soon!