Old Car Engine Restoration

Starting an automotive engine that's been sitting for several years requires extra procedures and precautions. Care needs to be taken to ensure internal parts aren't needlessly damaged or broken. Before you pour gas in that old car and try to start the engine, read these tips and techniques on Getting An Old Car Running.

rebuild old car engine

read Does My Engine Need A Rebuild?

Once you decide you're going to rebuild you old car's engine, you'll need to make a plan and a budget. Chances are you'll be buying a some new tools. Supplies will include engine oil, new gaskets and seals, and several containers to hold parts.

Tools Needed For Engine Rebuild

  • 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"
  • Screwdriver set
Tools needed for engine disassembly

read Best Hand Tools

In addition to the above hand tools, there will be several specialty tools needed as well.

  • Harmonic balancer tool (not essential, but helpful)
  • A soft-blow hammer
  • Thread chasers
  • Digital camera (not required, but invaluable for reference during re-assembly)
Small-Block Chevy Build

Rebuild Cylinder Heads

Automotive cylinder heads with high-mileage usually need machine shop work. Tools needed for disassembling, cleaning, and measuring cylinder heads include a valve spring compressor, gasket scraper, and micrometer.

rebuilding 327 heads

Lapping valves does not take the place of a valve job, but it does confirm whether or not one is needed.

old car engine

Before computer-controlled engines, the 'brain' of the engine was the camshaft. Vehicle weight, engine compression, transmission type - these factors and others must be considered when choosing the right cam for your engine. Replacing the camshaft on any engine requires methodical disassembly, inspection, and careful reassembly of parts.

camshaft installation

Thoughtful selection and attention to detail are needed to build a reliable, strong-running engine. If valves open and close at the appropriate times, maximum engine efficiency and performance will be achieved.

read Camshaft Selection Guide

spray painting engine

read Small-Block Chevy Engine Build

Classic Car Engine Oil

The 10W-30 oil your car left the factory with is not the same 10W-30 that you buy today. There are more flat-tappet hydraulic cam failures than ever before, brought about by inferior foreign lifters as well as the removal of ZDDP additives from motor oils.

read Best Oil for Classic Cars

Project Car Help

My e-Book offers practical tips to help you get on track - and keep you on track with your project car. Topics include planning, ordering parts, overcoming obstacles, and staying motivated.

finish your project car

"Finish Your Project Car" E-book