Engine Disassembly 327 Chevy

In addition to basic hand tools, 327 engine disassembly will require a few specialty tools.

engine disassembly 327

Tools Needed for Engine Disassembly

  • Sockets, ratchets, and extensions in 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2"
  • Shallow and deep sockets from 1/4" to 1"
  • Wrenches: open-end and combination, from 7/16" to 1"
  • A soft-blow hammer and screwdriver set
  • Harmonic balancer tool (not essential, but helpful)
  • Digital camera (cell phone camera works just as well, invaluable for reference during re-assembly)


Penetrant's such as WD40 will help loosen rusted-on exhaust manifold bolts and other stuck fasteners. No matter what brand you choose, they all work best when left to sit and soak.

All parts taken off the engine were cleaned, tagged, and put in boxes out of the way.


Distributor and Wires

Remove the distributor cap and the spark plug wires. The spark plugs can stay in until the heads are ready for removal.

The distributor is held down with a single bolt. If you haven't removed one before, grab it by the base and rock it side to side while pulling up.


Remove Intake Manifold

After removing the 12 bolts, prying the intake manifold loose from the engine block was done by lightly tapping with a hammer and flat-head screwdriver. After the manifold was off, the lifter valley was covered with an old towel before scraping the front and rear block rails clean.

Road Draft Tube 1966 Corvette 327

Note the road draft tube in the picture above. Chevy used these until the late sixties, soon after the oil filler tube was removed and PCV valves in valve covers appeared.

1966 Corvette with 327ci engine

Removing the valve covers accesses the valvetrain. A Valvetrain Organizer Tray will help keep the push-rods, rocker arms, ball seats, locknuts, and lifters in the order that they were removed.


Cylinder Head Removal

Small-block Chevy cylinder heads are attached with 17 head bolts. After all the bolts are removed (make sure you've removed all 17) the head has a tendency to stick to the block and head gasket. Again, a light tap with a hammer usually jars them free.

engine disassembly 327ci engine

A small-block Chevy has three different length bolts. To keep the head-bolts together and in order, I took two pieces of cardboard and punched 17 holes in each of them with a phillips screwdriver.

Upon cylinder-head removal, I poured some Marvel Mystery Oil into the open bores. As a precaution (this engine was not run for over 10 years), I let them soak for over a week before trying to hand-turn the crank.

Corvette 327 engine disassembly


Lifter Removal

If any of the lifters appear stuck, don't force them out. In most cases it's just varnish - pour some Marvel Mystery Oil (or other penetrating fluid) on them and let them soak for a day or two.

remove stuck lifters small block Chevy

Removing A Stuck Lifter

Once they've loosened, if they're still a little stubborn to remove, crank the engine (preferably by hand from the crank bolt) until they pop up a bit. Usually most stubborn lifters will come out without force.

Corvette engine rebuild

Lifter Removal Tool

If needed, there is a lifter removal tool that mechanically expands as you extend an internal thread section, forcing two hooked edges to expand outward, into the snap ring groove or retainer spring in the internal groove.


Harmonic Balancer Removal

There are three bolts holding the crank pulley to the damper - this engine also had a harmonic balancer bolt. A 327 crankshaft did not come from the factory pre-drilled for a harmonic balancer bolt, but it was, and still is, a popular upgrade. The crank needs to be held in place while this large bolt is removed. I used a flywheel holder while a helper loosened the crank bolt.

engine disassembly 327

The harmonic balancer was removed with a SBC balancer remover-installer. I bought this tool over 20 years ago - a good investment if you're planning other engine rebuilds.


Timing Chain Cover Removal

On most Gen-1 small blocks, the oil pan needs to be lowered or removed to take off the timing chain cover. If the engine's still in the car, having the car on four jack stands makes this possible.

This oil pan will be stripped and painted before re-assembly.

engine disassembly 327

The timing chain cover is held on by ten bolts with star washers. The cover is pretty thin, so if you pry too hard to remove it you may distort it.

timing chain cover removal on small block 327

If yours is stuck, make sure you have all 10 bolts removed and then try a putty knife or gasket scraper.

gasket scraper tool to remove old engine gaskets

A gasket scraper was used to remove the old gasket.


Camshaft Removal

With the timing-chain cover off the engine, the three cam-gear bolts are removed. Cam gear and timing chain are come off together. The crank gear was new and did not need to be removed.

removing timing chain from 327

On this 1966 Corvette, taking the camshaft out required removing both radiator and radiator support to gain clearance.

The cam gear was put back on temporarily with one bolt to use as a handle while removing the camshaft. Work the cam out of the engine block slowly by twisting back and forth. Be careful, you don't want to scratch the cam bearings.

engine disassembly 327 SBC

Excessive force is never needed to remove a camshaft. If it does not come out easily, STOP. Something is holding it in the block, either the fuel-pump rod or the distributor gear.

engine disassembly 327 camshaft

After sitting for years, the oil on this camshaft turned to hardened resin!


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