7M assembly tips.


Supramania Contributor
I think this would be a good thread, and anyone who has good ideas, or has found out the hard way should share the knowlege with everyone.

First, clean your parts and then clean them a few more times. :) Can't assemble an engine too clean, but you sure can screw up a nice engine with some dirty parts. (Dirt just causes instant wear and tear, and can clog up vital oil passeges too.)

Do not hot tank engine blocks if you can avoid it. Sonic clean them, or use a large washing machine with hot water and soap. (Machine shops have these.) The hot tanks with acid in them eat up softer metals like the freeze plugs and your oil pump drive bearings. If you hot tank, you MUST replace all your freeze plugs and the oil pump drive bearings. These take a skilled hand and a special tool to install, and must be aligned right or the oil holes don't line up and you fry them in short order. This is an excellent place for dirt to hide, so make sure this area of the block is nice and clean.

Use gun bore cleaning brushes to clean all oil passeges. Remove all oil plugs in the block and the crank, and clean them after your machine work is done. You will be shocked at the metal chips hiding in these drilled out oil passeges, and keep in mind any dirt/metal here is going to be pushed right to your bearings when you start up the motor. (I learned this the hard way, a motor that was well built, and had correct tolerances lasted about 15 min due to sandblasting media trapped in these passeges AFTER they were pressurewashed 3 times.)

When you replace the plugs, use new ones if there was any damage to the old ones when you removed them. (I used easy outs on the crank plugs, and just put new ones in there with locktite to make sure they never come out again.) I also used the right stuff sealant on all block plugs to make sure they never leak.

Second, machine work needs to be done by a shop with the right tools, and attitude. If they do not have a tourqe plate for the 7M keep looking. If they tell you a rough surface is fine, and look like cows in a field when you ask about RA values and MHG's keep looking. If they argue with you, keep looking.

I have found that ROSS pistons slap if you use the 6k clearance they reccomend. I'm running 4k clearance right now, and it only makes noise when it's cold. I'd go with 3 or 3.5k clearance if I did it over again. OR I'd go with a piston design with longer skirts like the Weisco ones, and the 4k clearance.

The block deck should be cut only to clean it up for the MHG. And make sure the shop only cuts the deck with the front cover in place. If you don't your looking at problems later on. (Oil leaks, BHG's and warped heads come to mind.)

After your block is bored and honed for the pistons with the tourqe plate used, you want to de-burr the bottem of the bores. This is done by hand with some emory paper. Wear gloves as is area is tight, and you will get cut by the sharp edges without them. Wrap the emory paper around a deep 1/2" socket. Then carefully sand/deburr the sharp machined edge at the bottem of the piston bore. You can feel the sharp edge before you deburr it, and it's gone when your done. DO NOT sand the insides of the bore. You just want to smooth this edge so it does not cut into your piston skirts at the bottem of the stroke. (I found out the hard way on motor #3. What the hell are these scratches on the skirts? Then I felt the bores, and dang if there was not a sharp edge down there, and as the pistons rock at the bottem of the stroke, the skirts catch this edge. It might only be a problem on the stroker motors, but why not do this on ALL 7M's?)

Do nothing to the crank if the journals are not worn machine wise. Just pull the plugs, clean the passeges and replace the plugs. Make sure your thrust washer surface is nice and burr free. A few seconds here with some fine emory cloth to polish it up is not a bad idea. (By hand, not on a machine.) This surface just keeps the crank from being pushed forward or backwards, and it is only lubricated by oil splashing out from the main bearing. A crosshatch pattern on the surface will pull oil off the bearings, and could lead to early wear. A smooth surface will let the oil stay better and cause less wear. I champferd (Spelling) the oil holes on my crank. This takes a steady hand, and lots of electrical tape, a small round ball stone, and a die grinder. You will also want a sharp knife. First wrap all your crank journals with two or more layers of electrical tape. Then carefully cut out the tap at each oil hole. Then while being VERY careful, use the round ball grinding stone to smooth the edge of each oil hole. Make the tapers longer towards the middle of the bearing. This helps to ease the flow of oil feeding each bearing, and removes a sharp edge that is bad for fluid flow. Besides, it looks cool :) This is a good time to hand polish the thrust surfaces too. When your done, remove the tape, and clean up the crank. Remove the plugs and clean the passges with gun bore brushes. (Easy to do this if the crank is laying in a solvent tank. You can flush out the passges with the solvent.)

If you have the time, debur the block with a die grinder. This is a good time to remove any casting sand, flash or other crap that has been riding along with your engine for many years. It also removes possible stress risers and you get some time to look closely at every angle on the block. Stay away from any machined surface, but do spend some time on casting marks on the inside and out of the block. Clean the engine again :)

I coated my final engine inside and out with a thermal dispersant. I would not reccomend this unless your very good with a spray gun, and have an oven that the block can fit into. (400f for two hours.) If your going to paint the outside, I'd do it BEFORE you start to assemble the engine. Just use blue painters tape and mask off areas you don't want paint to go, and ONLY paint the outside of the motor. You will want the freeze plugs and other oil and coolant plugs installed. You don't want the front cover installed yet however.
I found a few light coats of self etching primer, then light coats of the final color you want are best. I like a glossy engine, so coating it with a final few coats of clear coat are excellent, and make for a very nice looking motor.

Before the paint cures/dries, you want to de-mask the block, and then wipe any overspray off with a cotton rag and a can of brake cleaner or carb cleaner. Just spray the cleaner onto the rag, and then carefully wipe off any areas you do not want paint on. If your careful, it leaves a nice sharp edge from the cast iron that is painted to the bare metal machined areas you don't want paint on like the deck surface or oil filter gasket mating area.

Second part is assembly of the motor. I like to have all the bearings arranged on clean rags next to the engine stand. I like to use assembly lube in a tube as it's easy to apply that way.
Start with your painted, machined motor. (Assuming your have checked the bearings for clearance at this point. Also you have gapped your rings, and have them installed on the pistons, and have them numbered for each cyc. (I gap rings to each cyc and piston. I number each rod/piston, and note that they HAVE to be facing the right direction when you assemble them. The smaller valve cutout goes to the exhaust side. The rods only fit one way, so make sure your pistons AND rods are facing the right way when you put them together AND when you slide them down onto the crank.)

With the crank side up. clean the bearing locations one more time. Then lay each main bearing into place, and dab some lube on the thrust washers and put them in too. A small squirt of lube in each bearing does the trick for the crank which is next. Carefully lay the crank onto the mains, be careful not to damage, or displace your thrust washers.
Make sure your main caps are clean. Put the main bearings in place on each cap, lube them, and then place the caps down. Remember some lube will hold the thurst bearings in place on the center main. If your using studs, install them AFTER you place the caps. A soft tap with a plastic dead blow hammer can be helpfull here, but DO NOT BEAT THEM DOWN. Lube the bolts/studs and tourqe to TSRM or ARP specs in the right pattern. Stop now and check to make sure your crank spins freely in the engine. There should be little drag, and you should be able to turn it by hand with NO wrench on the crank. Avoid the temptation to spin this crank for too long.. LOL

Next are the pistons and rods. Lay them out in order and direction. Inspect to make sure no rings are out of place. Use 30wt to lube the rings/pistons. I've heard that lucas oil treatment is a good idea here, but have never tried it myself. (Just put it straight from the bottle, no oil mixed in?)
Before you get lube happy, have two short pieces of hose ready if your using stock rods. Slip the hose over the ends of the rod bolts. My forged rods just have bolts that go through the caps into the rods, so no need for hoses here.) Be carefull you DO NOT SCRATCH the bores, or the crank journals with the rods/bolts. Install your rod bearing, and a lube it. Then lube the piston/ring lands. Then compress with your installing tool. (Did I forget to say you turned the engine over at this point? LOL) Be carefull and don't scratch the block deck while your putting the pistons in. Make sure you do not compress a ring out of the land, especially the oil rings and scrapers, they are very flimsy and will be ruined if you compress them out of place. Align and then check the alignment of the pistons again before you gently push/tap them into the bores. It should just go in with minimal force. If not, check to see that a ring has not escaped. Force here will ruin a ring or other expensive parts.

As you slip the piston/rod down into place, I found it was best to have the crank all the way down so you can put the rod caps on easy. Flip the motor back over, and put the rod caps in place with the bearings in them. Lube the bearings, then place the cap/bearing, and put the bolts/nuts finger tight. Snug them, but do not tourqe them yet. Your going to notice that the crank is going to get harder to turn at this point, so use a pully bolt in the end of the crank to hang a closed end wrench off of. I like a wrench better than a socket drive as you can move the crank either direction w/o flipping any levers. It makes aligning it for the next piston/rod easy.

Install each piston/rod combo the same way, and then tourqe them all to specs.

Rotate the crank, noting it should turn, but will have some drag due to the piston rings and other friciton parts your dealing with. (Again, I'm assuming you have checked out all beaings for clearance already, and have hung the pistons in the motor w/o rings to make sure everything fits right? I did this 3 or 4 times on each motor to make sure it all goes together w/o any problems.) Besides, you can't plasti gauge with lube in there, and you have to tourqe each journal to check the clearance, then take it appart and clean out the plasti gauge.)

With the bottem end rotating assembly now done, next is the oil pump and drive. Make sure your oil pump bearings are in right, and the oil holes are in place. If not, they don't get oil, and your engine will die.

Lube the pump drive bearings, and the pump drive journals, and then carefully slip it into place. It is held with just one bolt. Check the clearance/play per the TSRM. Excessive play here is a bad deal. Lube on the pump drive gear is a good idea.

Your oil pump should be shimmed, and cleaned at this point. You need to have packed it with some assembly lube. (I reccomend shimming the bypass while you have the cover off the pump. Also clean the pump, I was supprised to find some machine debris inside of my new pump, right out of the box.) Packing the pump with some lube helps to prime it as well.

Lube the bronze drive gear, and slip the pump down into the block. Secure with one bolt. Secure the crossover tube and other fittings. Now you can set the depth of the pickup if you want. Measure the depth of the pan with a straight edge and tape measure. (Pan rails to sump depth.) Then measure up from the block rails and see how "low" your sump sits. With a careful hand and a pry bar, you can gently bend the sump "down" up so it's sitting lower in the pan when everything is together. This might make the sump slightly crooked, but who cares, it's now lower into the oil that will keep the engine alive longer. If you go too low, it will starve the motor however, so about 1/2" or 1.5mm is a good call. Keep in mind the screen is not the bottem of the sump pickup, so if the screen is almost touching, it's about right.

You need to put the front and rear covers on before you place the oil pan. this can be a PITA on the rear cover due to the engine stand. Be patient and make sure you seal everything up well. Leaks at the rear seal retainer would be even worse than taking your time now. so do it right.

With the front and rear covers in place, you can put the oil pan on if you want. If you choose not to, it makes dropped nut/bolts easy to get. (They fall to the floor v/s falling to the inside of a freshly sealed up oil pan.) I personally like to wait to put the pan on untill I have the head in place at a minimum.

With the 7M, you want to put the pipe on before you place the head. Use new hoses and worm clamps. Use sealer where any metal to metal gasket would go. The paper gaskets from the kits are WORTHLESS.

Put your knock sensors in place. Put your oil pressure sensor in place, and lightly coat the threads with sealant. Put the oil pump drive sprocket on. (Easy to do as you can hold the drive shaft since you don't have an oil pan on yet...)

Put the cam belt drive in place. Lube all seal surfaces so you don't tear a seal.

BTW, before you put the front cover on, clean both surfaces and run beads of right stuff where the cheapo paper gaskets would have leaked. Then place the cover and tourqe it down per TSRM. There are a few studs, and bolts, and I used new everything here possible. No leaks is the goal. Care around the studs/bolts that go into the block cooling passges will result in NO leaks. No care and sealant here will result in the mystery leak of huge proportions and much swearing and cursing will not fix it. (Only tear down and use of sealant v/s the shitty paper gaskets will resolve this.) Same goes for the water pump. You can put the pump on while it's on the front cover. There are a few shared bolts/studs, but no need to take the pump loose if you do not need to. (Oh, like on engine #4 for example on the same pump inside of the same 18 month period of time...)

Now comes the head.
And I'll finish this later.


Supramania Contributor
I was just reading back through, and before you lube the rings, make sure you have them 180 out from each other. Also set the rings so the open parts are just about where the edge of the pin bore is. (So, about a 45 degree angle from the front or side of the engine block.)

Same goes for the oil rings. I put the top and bottem ones 180 out from each other, and don't worry too much about the oil wavey ring, but put it in a unused 45 degree quadrant of the piston ring lands. Make sure you follow the ring suppliers instructions. The wavy ring goes with the gap ends pointing down on the ROSS rings IIRC.

I gapped my top ring at 17 thousands and the second ring at 19 thousands. I filed each one for each cyc and piston. Then slipped them back into the bags till I was ready to do the final install. (The pistons were in and out a few times checking tolerances on the stroker crank, and to plasti gauge the rod bearings.) You just don't put the rings on untill your ready to put it all together for the final time.

Number the bearings with a sharpe pen, Number the rods and pistons too. Number everything that does not have a number. (The mains are numbered for you, so that's easy, but not the bearings, and you don't want to mix them up, so number your bearings on the backing plate.)

Here is what the lower end should look like when your done putting the crank and rods/pistons into the motor. It also has the oil pump in place. (My stuff is not stock anymore.)



Supramania Contributor
Once the short block is done, it's time to move on to the head.

Put the coolant pipe one first. It is easy now, and a PITA later with the head in place. Use right stuff where the crappy paper gaskets would have leaked. Use new 90 bend hoses and quality stainless worm gear clamps to secure them. A worm clamp is tight when the rubber just bulges but does not yet start to extrude out the worm clamp holes. (Too tight and the rubber sticks out like a cluster of flat worms.)

Make sure you use new hoses and a new plug here. (Why save 5.00 when a failure of this part strands your car?)

Put all the sensors, and other stuff on now. I hung the engine mounts, knock sensors and oil pressure sending unit. Use sealer on any bolts or fittings that might need it. (Like some go into coolant passeges, or are plugs for coolant or oil passeges. You should have done these already if your painting your block..)

Now it's time for the head.
Line up your studs, washers and nuts. (ARP stuff is the best.)
Have the head ready to go into place. Wipe down the gasket surface with brake cleane and a clean rag to make sure there is no oil/dirt/grease on there.
Wipe down the engine deck and front cover to make sure it's clean too.

Now wipe down your metal head gasket. I have a Greddy one, and like the design of it v/s others, but have no reason to not like any other metal head gasket as they all seem to work.
When the gasket is clean, break out the Permatex brake quiet spray. (or any other brake quiet spray.) This stuff comes out like blue contact cement. A few wet coats on BOTH sides of the gasket and you now have a nice BLUE MHG. (Adds a few rice horse power eh...) Let this gasket hang, or sit on an edge for about 10 min, or untill it's very tacky. (I like to hang them when I spray them, less loss of material when you go to place them on the engine.) You want the material to be as even as possible, and a thick coat is fine. Even runs and drip or two does not seem to be a problem.

When the coating is tacky, gently remove the gasket by touching ONLY the sides of the gasket. DO NOT TOUCH THE FACES THAT GO TO THE HEAD OR BLOCK. Carefully lay the gasket in place, do not slide it around, but align it on the pins if you still have them. This may cause a problem as some pins are very tight. So I forgot to tell you to have already used a die grinder to carefully open up the pin holes on the gasket so it lays down in place easy.

This also solves the issue of gasket cracking. There was a thread long ago about a cracked MHG, and it cracked at the pin hole. My only assumption was the pin expanded more than the gasket could allow, and it cracked the gasket?

So, the MHG is in place, and coated, and has no finger prints on it. Now useing a friend's help, carefully place the head onto the gasket. Again, don't slide this around, or just drop it on thinking it's done. Look where your putting this thing. It's critical you don't slide it and cause a place where leaks could start.

Now, with the head in place, on the tacky gasket, it's time to put the head studs in. Lucky for you, it's easy to do.

First, rip open the moly lube packet from ARP. Then lightly coat the threads going into the block. Then coat both sides of the washer and slide it onto the stud.
Then put the stud down to the head, and let the washer slide down the stud and drop into place on the head where you want it 100% of the time. (No fumbling with needle nose pliers and swear words needed here folks.)
Now just turn in the stud till it is finger tight. I used a T-handle allen wrench to snug each stud in place, but did not tighten it. (Snug is just slightly past finger tight here. Like 1/8 of a turn or so...)

When you have all 14 in place and snug, it's time for the nuts. Lube each nut threads and the face that contacts the washer. Then put them on finger tight.

I snugged them down, and then started the tourqe sequence at 30lbs. Follow the TSRM patter of X's from the middle out to the ends, and then set your tourqe wrench at 50lbs and do it again. I go up in 20lb jumps till 90lbs are done. Then I final tourqed to 103lbs. (Do not know why 103 is the final #, but we were argueing over 100lbs and 105, so I compromised and got a good laugh about the arguement in the shop.)

One note on using a tourqe wrench. It only is accurate when it's moving. IE: you have to be turning the nut/bolt when it clicks, or your just reading the friciton needed to move the nut, not the real amount of preload pressure being applied. SO, you should plan ahead, and learn to make a nice smooth movement pull till you feel the wrench click, and then stop moving. You don't need to go Click click, click and keep bouncing or something. (I see this click click stuff all the time, I even catch myself doing it.) Practice while your going from 30 to 90lbs and get a feel for the first click/click, and then stop. Also get a feel for when it's going to click/click, and plan your pull accordingly so your applying even pressure/movement when it reaches the right tourqe value. (That way, everyone of your 14 studs/bolts is at similar values.)

Put your cams on if you have not already done so. (Mine were in place, it's easy to put the head on with the cams on there. Just turn them slightly so the socket fits.)

Time to start sealing things. up. If you have the front cam cap on, remove it. You need to put the cam seal on, and you need to seal up the front cam cap.
A short bead of right stuff on the cam cap will stop any leaks from that point. Note that your cams are pressure oiled at this point, and any leaks here will be pretty nasty, and impossible to fix w/o pulling this all apart again.
Tourqe the cam cap back in place with the sealer applied, and then push the cam seals in the right way. (Backwards you can still see the springs. The springs go on the INSIDE of all these types of seals.)
Now comes the cam covers. With the stock rubber gaskets in place, run a small bead of right stuff around the entire bead on the inside of the cover. Make sure the head is clean and free of any oil and debris. (There will be oil on your hands while your tourqing the head right? Time to wash your hands etc.)
Now, with the bead of sealant around the gaskets that are suppose to seal, place your cam covers down with minimal sliding to line them up with the screw/bolt holes. I use stainless allen head bolts with stainless lock washers and stainless washers lined with neoprene. They do not back out, and the cam covers never, ever leak. They are a PITA to remove however, and you have to clean up sealant if you remove them, but why remove them again? I like not having leaks here quite a bit. :)

Now comes the cam sprokets. (Opps, acutally I put them on before I did the covers as there is no way to hold the cams with the covers in place...) My sprokets are thermal coated, but make sure you place them on with the pins, and in the right place. Tourqe to TSRM guidelines. Then place the match marks straight up. My engine is a PITA to do this on since I don't run the rear cover plate. (Or the front one for that matter.)

I used the center rib of the cam covers to match up the marks.

Place your timing belt on, and line everything up. Opps again. We had to install the front/front cover, and the bell crank to get this far. I used a paint pen to make everything easy to read.

Set the engine at the 0 mark on the bell crank, and your cam sprockets at the tops, and slide the belt in place. I've found moving the idler pully over to full loose, and then a quick turn on the bolt holds it back out of the way. Go from the intake sproket to the exhaust, and it's easy to slip the belt in place. A few tries are needed sometimes to get the match marks lined up right. You want both of them to be exactly straight up, or if they are off, both off exactly the same amount and direction.
Now loosen the idler bolt, and the belt goes tight. Slowly turn the engine over one or two times, and stop at TDC 0 mark on the bell crank. You will see that every other revolution it is at 0, the cams are either straight up, or down. Stop when they are straight up, and check your marks again. If they are all good, I like to put a few extra lbs of tension on the belt. (Had one fail by using just the spring pressure like the TSRM reccomends, and this was on a new spring, measured to be perfect.) I use a pry bar, and push the pully/idler over to tighten the belt, and then tighten up the bolt to hold it in place for the life of the belt. My timing belt has very little play in it. No problems so far. :)

Later I'll talk about intake and exhaust manifolds etc. but for now, that's the head in a nutshell. (Timing the CPS is next.)


Supramania Contributor
Plasti gauge is a thin strip, almost like hair that you place between the bearing and the journal surface. Then without turning the bearing or journal, you tourqe the cap down to the final tourqe spec. This crushes the plasti gauge.

Then carefully remove the cap, and pull it off without destroying the plasti gauge. (A few taps with a plastic dead blow hammer here really helps out.)

Next, read/measure how wide the crushed plasti gauge stripe is against the stripes printed on the plasti gauge wrapper. It will give you the assembled clearance of that bearing. IIRC, the Supra is .5 to 1.5 thousands reccomended. Mine is between .7 to 1.2 on this current engine. (I did not like the 1.2 bearings, so I coated them, and brought them all down to nearly .5 :) )

You do not use lube when useing the plasti gauge. Be sure to remove all the material as it can be a source of debris when the engine is running later.


2jzget comingsoon!
Mar 30, 2005
I've always installed my piston rings dry....with a light coat of wd40 or other spray lube on the cylinder walls....


Because when you coat your rings in oil, on startup, the oil turns to carbon behind the rings. I could be wrong, but a guy told me this a long time ago that owned a bunch of very fast cars he built himself.


Supramania Contributor
I guess I must have had bad gaskets, but the water pump leaked like a sive, and there were various oil and coolant leaks where the paper gaskets were not doing the job. (Only found out about them when I tore the engine down, and noticed that the paper gasket was soaked through, and appeared to be leaking coolant internally down the between the front cover and the block.)

The sealant is only a mess if you use too much. Small beads are easy to apply with the cheese whiz type can used by "The Right Stuff" and it's OEM on many engines. (Would not cause any problems, and is un-affected by oil, gas and other solvents etc.)

That being said, I do have a few paper gaskets. On the intake I used them. But I did put some around the coolant fitting on the lower intake manifold, just to be sure. (Both sides of the paper, just a skim coat of sealant, and then installed the manifold.)

This brings up another good tip you can do. I bypassed both the ISC and TB coolant lines. The small metal pipe that comes around the backside of the block does a few things. It is connected at the larger fitting to your heater core. And the smaller fitting/pipe goes to the TB and ISC. I just used a short hose to route that coolant back to the return fitting on the lower intake manifold to complete the loop. So far, no problems. (The intake manifold does run cooler this way. However, short of sub zero weather and extended running, I can't imagine the TB or ISC ever freezing up, but if your worried, the hoses are not hard to install.)

The motor is not hard to install with the manifolds in place so let's do that next.

I started with the exhaust manifold and turbo. My engine does not have standard oil fittings anymore. Here is a pic of the setup. Be advised if you go with this, to use only BSP type fittings. These are non compression and use an O ring to seal. If you use compression fittings, you run the risk of cracking the block. I got to tear down an assembled short block because I cracked the oil fitting where the pump output goes over to the other side of the block. Note that my fitting is now about 1" lower down into the web material, and is a BSP20 to AN10 like the fitting that screws directly onto the oil return at the main galley. (Where the NA oil filter bung would thread.)

The "supply" hole that normally would feed that filter area has been drilled and tapped and pluged. There is access to do this right down the feed hole, but your going to need a custom tap with a longer shaft. (Welded a shaft to a standard taper tap for the plug.) This plug then allows you to use the NA oil cooler location to mount another fitting to pass the oil out of the motor to your remote mount filter/cooler or whatever. If I was going to do this again, I'd use another BSP20 to AN10 here v/s the 1/2" compression fitting I have in this photo. I have had NO problems with it at this time, but I was worried about cracking the block even with the extra material around those threads. I almost added the stock block off plate drilled and tapped to make it extra strong, but in the end, decided not to. You could use a custom plate with a AN male fitting if you wanted to.

There are some feed lines for the turbo on there, and a feed line for my bypass filter that then dumps the super clean oil back in via the old oil cooler pan fitting. (Modified of course to adapt AN 4 line to it.)

While we are on that subject, a good set of dies and taps are your friend when your building a custom engine. Many fittings are not available. However, there are many fittings with threads slightly larger than what you want, and close in size. This makes them easy to re-thread to the size you want.
For example, the oil pan fitting for the stock banjo type bolt and line that returns the oil cooler to the pan. There was nothing available to adapt AN4 to this. So, I bought the next larger size, and then tapped the pan to a metric thread that was easy to cut in the pan hole, and it was easy to re-cut the fitting. Just cut new threads to match what you tapped the pan, and your done. Even the O ring was easy to remove and then put back in place after the new threads were cut. No leaks, and the parts fit great. (I think I paid like 50.00 for the full set at Harbor Freight.)

I have tapped and plugged the EGR holes in the intake and head. I used a longer bolt in the exhaust EGR hole, and then blended the end of the bolt so the #6 runner is smooth now with no EGR port. The upper intake was totally simple. Just tap the existing hole for a plug that will then close it up with no need for any plates hanging off in either location. Figure about 5.00 for the bolt, and .75 cents for the plug.

One more thing about the head. Don't forget to put the coolant fitting back on the head BEFORE you put it back on the engine. This is very important when the engine is in the car.... Seen it done, and did it myself, but lucky for me, the engine was on a stand v/s in the car. Use some sealer, and don't over tighten this as the large banjo bolt can get weak from corrosion.

Ok, so back to the manifolds. I found it easy to lay the engine slightly at an angle when putting on these parts. It makes them simple to line things up. I used anti-sieze on all the exhaust studs, and the head is fully heli-coiled to prevent further thread issues on the exhaust studs. I tried to find some stainless studs, but really nobody makes them. (It would be nice if we could think ahead, and just use the Helicoil kit for studs used by GM or FORD engines. There are tons of cool header studs and ideas for SAE threaded setups.) Hint-hint to the next builder... Next time around, that is the plan. Stainless studs with locking devices to keep those nuts tight on the manifold is going to be very nice indeed.

I tourqed down the manifold, put on the heat shields, the lower support bracket, and the turbo and upper bracket. My bolt on T4 has some cooling fittings that are interesting to install, but once it's in place, works very well. I need to get a stainless line built up for the oil drain, but what I'm using now works fine. The big thing is to get this all in place while the engine is OUT of the car. It's easy now, and a big PITA later if you forget something.

Same goes for the intake side. I used some sealant at the coolant fitting as noted, and then put it all together. Make sure your injectors are in place, the cold start injector is right, and everything is tidy. The upper manifold can be installed now, or you can do it in the car. Either way it's going to work. (I found that putting it on after the motor is in the car makes hooking up the starter and other fittings easy v/s doing all this with the upper manifold taking up space your hands and arms really need.)

Here are a few shots of the engine with allmost all the stuff installed on it. (The chain lift points on my engine are candy apple red, but the photos have the spares bolted on so I did not screw up the powder coating on the ones finally on the engine.)



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Supramania Contributor
Oops, forgot about the CPS. If you look at the photo of the front of the engine, you can see that the cams are straight up, and the bell crank is at the 0 location. This is the time to put the CPS in place. Look at the CPS. It has the cover off. You want to put it in with the magnet at the pickup like the photo when the marks are all lined up. This makes it easy to get your engine tuned when you go to start it up. (Mine fired up on the first crank, and was easy to time.)

That does not mean the CPS was easy to get lined up. (It's easy now, but can be a PITA with a PS tank and wires etc blocking it later when your bending over the fender trying to get the car to start....)

One more tip is to leave the screw on your TPS that is blocked by the ISC valve slightly loose. Just enough so you can move the TPS around with some force. The top screw can be tight, and mine has not been a problem loose on the lower one. This will allow you to adjust the TPS w/o having to also take off the ISC valve to get at the lower screw...

My wire harness is now laying on top of the manifold v/s going through it. Another tip that will make life easy if you have to pull the motor again. I also don't pull the harness, I take it off and lay it gently up on the cowl and fender. These harnesses are getting old, and excessive bending will only make them short out that much sooner. Take some time while you have easy access to your harness and repalce any worn or missing wire loom, electrical tape and other damage that happened in the past 170k or so. (My setup now is custom over the cam covers, so the stock hard plastic part there has been replaced by wire loom and new electrial tape.) If I was going to do it again, I'd wrap the whole deal in silicone tape. The type with no adheasive, but that bonds to it's self is very neat stuff. It's water tight, flexible, and insulates the wires from heat/cold and electrical voltage while still allowing them to move around somewhat. (V/s tape that sticks everything together and over time gums up the wires while cracking due to heat and age.)

I'll see about some photos of the engine in the car later, and you can see the wire loom mods. I still need to send out the IC pipes for a new coat of powder, and a color change to the candy apple red :) Mmm possibly for Vegas this year?


Supramania Contributor
One more thing about wires, and your new motor. If you decide to paint or powder coat much of your motor, you might find that getting a good ground is difficult at best. The PC really insulates the metal parts, and I lost a perfectly good AC clutch as a result of a poor ground. (Allowed the clutch to slip, get hot and melt down the magnet assembly potting, and that toasted the clutch.)

I have since added a few extra grounds, and made sure they have good metal to metal contact. Use some dilectric grease at the metal to metal contacts to limit corrosion. For the AC, I have added two grounds. One wire goes to the common grounding point just behind the fuse box and battery to the ground on the AC magnet, and one that goes from the body of the compressor to one of the sway bar bolts on the chassis. (The eyelet terminal is between the metal hoop over the urethane bushing, and I scraped the chassis clean at that point, and greased it to prevent oxidation.) The AC now works great all the time. No clutch slippage. (And I'm using a used clutch since the new one was too expensive IMHO.) Besides, the used one has the right clearance per the TSRM.

The ground for the alternator is very important. I actually cleaned off powder coating to make a good contact from the bracket to the head. Also have all the stock grounding points, in good contact, and have added a 4 gauge wire from the battery terminal ground to the engine block/wire harness ground

My headlights are nice and bright, and everything works (Except for the wideband, and that's another issue.)

Keep the knowlege comming, I've never heard that WD40 would be good for the rings, but that makes sense. Carbon build up on the rings is a cause for failure, so why give it a head start I suppose. Too bad I did not know about this, I'd have used lucas on the skirts, and WD 40 on the rings. Best of both worlds?


Mar 30, 2005
couple of things greg. i called arp and i was told to insert the studs dry into the block, only the moly lube goes on the top. also i find it easier(if the motor is out of the car) to install the studs first, then put the head on. that was you can get each one HAND tight and you can actually feel if it went all the way to the bottom..


i wasnt speeding officer
Jun 3, 2005
perth West Australia
Great info there Adjuster.Im definately visiting a gun/ammo store (if i can find one) for a gun bore rod cleaner.I did a search for "cleaning engine parts" and this thread popped up.Great read and love the pics.
Just a quik Q.
When you wash the parts (bearings,rods,caps,block) what cleaning agent do you use? Kerosine,petrol,diesel,methylated spirits,acetone?
I have got some JE's and read in a magazine doing a ej20 (wrx 2.0L turbo) rebuild they just rubbed the edges (piston crowns,bottom of skirt) of the AVO forged pistons with some very fine wet/dry paper to take the edge off.
Is this common as ive never heard of it except in that article.


Supramania Contributor
I used the shop sovlent tank :) and a few cans of carb or brake cleaner and rags to clean up anything that was dirty prior to assembly. (The engine was cleaned in a sonic tank, and also washing machine too. It was also hot tanked, and therefore had all freeze plugs and oil pump drive bearings replaced along the way.)

I don't like to slide the gasket into place, and then slide the head into place, and then try and get the washers into place... you'll find you have to pull some studs at that point to get the washers into place... so why put the studs in first?

All of the threaded stud holes should be chased out when you rebuild the motor. (Forgot to mention that I suppose, but use a chase if you have one, and be very careful if you use taps, but clean out every one after the machine work is done. This removes, or de-burrs all the sharp edges of the cut threads, so the bolts/studs go right in easy.)

I suppose putting them in dry is fine. Either way should result in good results.

On the subject of spraying metal head gaskets, I DO NOT reccomend spraying anything on a coated metal gasket. The solvents in the spray on coating will cause problems with the coating on the brand new metal head gasket, and that could cause a failure of that coating.

However, on a used, or cleaned up metal head gasket, the brake quiet is a proven coating to help it seal up with no issues of leaking coolant, or oil.

The combustion chamber seal is created by the beaded area on the gasket, and it's why a very fine RA is needed. Large scratches in the head or block will be places for high pressure gas to escape, causing a leak in compression, or worse, a point where coolant or oil could be drawn into the engine, or forced out by the pressure. (Blown head gasket.)

The brake quiet helps to seal up these very fine scratches, and keeps the coolant and oil where they belong.

Nick M

Black Rifles Matter
Sep 9, 2005
How good is sonic cleaning? The machine shop we used at work hot tanked. And for the record, they never put out a bad product as far as I know. In other words, I trust them very much, as did our shop foreman.


Supramania Contributor
Hot tank work is fine. It just destroys the soft metals in your block.

The sonic tank is hot too, but not as hot, and they don't use acids. It uses sound to vibrate the crap loose on your engine, and it's amazing how well it cleans up parts with minimal damage to anything.

Cleaning up heads and valve train parts with the sonic cleaner is awesome. :)


Slow Boost
Oct 29, 2007
Buffalo, NY
I just got my engine back from Napa, and I guess I should have read this thread first. I didn't have my engine decked with the plate bolted on. I also believe they hottanked the block, but I didn't replace the softplugs, or oil pump shaft bearings. I've got myself all worried now. The engine is still on the engine stand, apart and all. Where can I get the drive bearings? I'm assuming they are a Toyota only part. As for softplugs....I wasn't going to change them...but now I'm thinking maybe I should. Damn it.


Its pronounced Nu-clear..
Oct 9, 2005
Riverside, Ca.
Wear nitrile or rubber gloves during assembly to keep from putting fingerprints on bearing metal, and it also helps with keeping things clean, I cannot stress how improtant it is to keep things clean during assembly. Never trust your machine shop, always reclean everything. I have caught the machine shop not decking the block with the front plate on, I had to ask them to get a straight edge out before they would admit it. Don't be afraid to double check their work.


New Member
Jan 25, 2009
Texas For now
Hey Boys and Girls, just an FYI, plastigage, is well Crap....DONT use it if you dont have to. from my experience, its never accurate enough for what im building....if you have it on a bench Get your self a set of Outside mics, and do the math, of "phone a friend" who can show you how to read one, but ANYTHING can make plastigage read funny, its best not to use it IMHO.


new88sup4me;1239352 said:
Hey Boys and Girls, just an FYI, plastigage, is well Crap....DONT use it if you dont have to. from my experience, its never accurate enough for what im building....if you have it on a bench Get your self a set of Outside mics, and do the math, of "phone a friend" who can show you how to read one, but ANYTHING can make plastigage read funny, its best not to use it IMHO.

I personally don't like plastiguages either but...
if you're going to go that far use the right tool.
a dial bore guage.
Using an I.D. Mic is a joke.