One last thing: The factory 7.5-inch-ring gear 10-bolt that came in your Malibu will not stand up to a transbrake and will probably die behind the aforementioned small-block. You'll need to upgrade to an 8.5-inch rearend from GM or Buick, or a Hurst Olds Cutlass. Or swap in the old standby 12-bolt Chevy rearend. Have fun with your bracket Malibu. This package should break ino the high 11s with some tuning and a good chassis. It's the perfect engine to run on pump gas and save you a few bucks. Start conservative on your tuning and you'll be surprised at how well it may run.
Water BabyQI have had an incident of hydraulic locking in my small-block engine. After the initial failure to rotate, I took out the plugs and expelled the water. The engine now runs, but unevenly and with a pronounced tick rather than a knock. I am reluctant to take the engine out as this is not an easy job. I am hoping this could be a valve gear-related problem, since the compression is OK on all cylinders. Not having had the engine out before, how can I tell if the lifters are hydraulic or mechanical? Any suggestions would be most welcome.Dick McCallVia e-mail
A Isn't it amazing how fast an engine will stop when it ingests water? Hopefully, the engine wasn't running and your poor Chevy wasn't caught in a flood of some type and filled up with water.
You say the engine runs unevenly but you have even compression in all eight cylinders. A hydraulic lock can do a great deal of damage before you know it. You can crack pistons, bend rods, crack cylinder walls or heads, blow head gaskets, or bend valves or pushrods. Maybe you got lucky and a valve was trying to open at the same time the piston was trying to compress the water in the cylinder. This would be unbelievable timing.
To check for hydraulic tappets I would remove the valve covers and see if all the cylinders have valve lash. Any mechanical camshaft requires valve lash to work properly. This lash could range from 0.012 inch all the way up to the 0.030-inch range. If you pull the covers and the valves have no lash, it is pretty safe to say it is a hydraulic camshaft. Another way to make sure is to bleed down a lifter. First, make sure you have the cylinder you're testing at top dead center. Then slowly turn the adjusting nut on one valve a quarter-turn at a time, letting the tappet rest for about a minute between each quarter-turn. After you have turned the adjusting nut around two turns down, back off the nut the two turns you have preloaded the lifter. You should pick up a good deal of lash from bleeding the oil out of the lifter. You must take your time to allow the oil to escape from the tappet. Good luck, and I hope you find a simple solution. CHP