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304 Engine Rebuild - Part #13
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This page will be dedicated to keeping a running list of items that you will need to have in order to ensure that you get your engine back exactly the way you want and make sure that it comes back in a timely fashion.

When I started this project, I had never had an engine "redone" before, so I was naive in what to expect. Through the experience, I have learned a few things and I wanted to keep a running list of what to expect and what to ask for up front, so no time is wasted in the process.

Keep in mind that this will take time to do, so don't expect this to get done overnight. Keep a list of things that you want done and try to adhere to your timeline and it should turn out the way you expect. I started this process on (12/09/05) and was completed on (02/10/06), so it is about a 2-month process. You can cut this down if you do some simple things up front.
Lessons Learned the Hard Way
1)  Get an invoice.

Make sure that when they take the engine apart, you know exactly what will be done and how much it is going to cost. If you don't have this, you don't have ground to stand on if the end cost is more then you thought it will be. Make sure you get the estimate so you know around how much it will cost. The cost varies, but it will probably be in the $1500.00 to $3500.00 range depending on if they are going to upgrade and run dyno tests in the end of the process.

2)  Does the shop do all their own work?

If the shop sends out the parts to be machined, then it will take longer. If they don't bake the block, align-hone the mains, do head work, etc. it will take longer. They have to bring the parts elsewhere and they are at the mercy of the shop doing the work for getting it done fast. Each step can take a week or less depending on what has to be done. Also the shop you are dealing with has to pick up the parts and they might not make a special trip to get it, so be prepared to wait for parts to return

3)  Engine paint color.

If you want the engine to be painted, make sure you know the color code and what each part on the engine should be in terms of color. If you don't plan this step in advance, you will end up waiting for the paint to be ordered and to come in to use in the painting process. Paint has to be done before you can put the engine back together, if you don't plan this out in advance, time will be wasted during a critical time during the rebuild.

If you are using an off the shelf color, like Ford Blue, or Chrysler Blue, then you won't have an issue. I however have opted for the original AMC blue and that is not an off the shelf color. Who knew that it would take so long to locate and get a few cans of 30-year-old paint? Plan on at least a week for this to come in as you can't overnight aerosol paint cans.

4)  Old engine parts going on new engine.

If you want to use parts from an old engine, make sure they are off the old engine and you have an exact list of what you want to go on there and make sure you can provide the parts to the engine shop when they need them. If you have to remove them, it will take time and they will end up waiting on you.

5)  Get a list of parts needed for the rebuild and dyno testing.

If you want the shop to dyno your engine, you will need to get a list of parts that they will need to put the engine back together and get it on the dyno to test it. I had to make a couple extra trips to get them these parts, but so far the list is: intake manifold, distributor, headers, crank pulley, water pump, water pump pulley, oil sending unit, and finally the oil pan.

They don't need the alternator or starter, which surprised me a bit, but they said that they just needed to connect up the 2 pulleys with a smaller belt for testing. They will also need the flywheel as they will need this for testing as well as surfacing it and getting it to be the correct weight for external balancing. Mine was 100 grams off from where it was supposed to be.

6)  Do any block modifications prior to baking and machining.

If you plan on doing any modifications to the engine, make sure it is done prior to having the block cleaned and machined for reassembly. Every engine can benefit from upgrades, especially the AMC engines. They are notorious for lower engine oil pressure and oiling problems.

If I had to do it over again, I would have done the rear main oiling upgrade detailed on the website. They have a lot of neat upgrades, but they need to be done prior to the engine being done. I was out of luck on this one, but it is something to keep in mind when doing an engine rebuild.
Number one, don't be like me. It took longer then I expected and I didn't have the room to have a Jeep pulled apart for the time that it was going to take. Make sure you have the room and you aren't under any outside pressures.

I can't stress this enough, make sure you have the right tools for the job and plenty of room to work. Make sure you have an engine hoist, engine stand, and a full bay to work with. As you pull parts off the Jeep, they take up room and you have to put them somewhere. Also, make sure you have the room for the entire time so you don't rush. You are dropping a lot of money to get all the parts and have this done, so make sure when it goes back together, it all goes the way you are expecting.

Time as it turns out is the enemy of a rebuild. It always takes longer then you will think and you can't get any of it back, so plan ahead and be prepared for it to take longer and cost more then you think it is going to.
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