Posts Tagged ‘Small Block 400’

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. On behalf of myself and the crew, we’d like to welcome you to flight 5504, nonstop from Phoenix to Ft Lauderdale. Normally, I blackout at around 10,000 feet or so, but I will try not to let that happen…

Haha, I am joking. My captain never said that, but there is truth to the fact that I am currently on a flight to Florida so I may get more training to properly do my job. That has nothing to do with the little flat rod, but I figured while I have some time (3 hours and 40 minutes, to be exact), I thought I would give you an update on what we did yesterday (Sunday, 29May16).

It has been quite some time that I have been talking about bringing home this small block Chevy 400. Well, you should all be pleased to know that I finally did it. YAY! I called up Ziggy and asked would he mind if I came over to get my engine. He had no objections, so Tony and I made our way to get a heart for the little flat rod.

One might think that after all of the simple-gone-catastrophic projects we have taken on over the years, we would know this not to be a quick snatch and grab. Let us just say that is a hard lesson Tony and I have to learn every time we get together. Let me tell you what…

I will start off by setting the scene:

Ziggy lives on just over an acre and a quarter of land. The place has vastly cleaned up over time, but there is still plenty of other things going on around there. The Pirate Ship, some CUCVs here and there, a few military trailers scattered about, a couple of parts trucks… and two boats.

Now these are just bass fishing/water skiing style boats (I really don’t know. I could not tell you the difference; because where I come from, there are only two kinds of boats – submarines and targets), but the whole point is that one of these boats was being used as a storage facility for my engine.

When I say I had to get my Chevy 400 out of a boat, do not get excited and think that I am getting some wham-o-dyne engine. I simply mean that, quite literally, my engine was being stored inside of a boat (that might I add, had two other motors [not including the mounted one {making four motors, for those of you keeping count} for the boat] as well) and I had to get it out of there.

When you are two not so very big guys, a feat like pulling an engine out of a motor boat is actually quite daunting, especially when all you have is a couple of pickup trucks and a cherry picker. Tony and I hauled the cherry picker into the truck, backed the truck up to the boat, and found ourselves some plywood to put between the boat side and the motor.

We commenced a heaving, and hoeing. Readjust the picker. Raise the engine. Lower the engine. Move the chains on the engine. Heave. Hoe. Heave some more. We moved the wood. Moved the engine another two inches…

After two and a half hours in the hot Arizona sun, without food and/or water (remember, this was supposed to be a simple snatch and grab), we finally got the engine out of the boat and into the truck.

Nice one man! But that is not your truck… Yep, now we have to put this engine into my truck. At least that part was not as difficult.

We were able to back the trucks up, tailgate to tailgate; and seeing as mine folds down all the way, vertically, we could just drop the engine into my truck. Well, sort of. We ended up setting the engine down in the bed of the first truck and re-booming the picker. We had it on ¼ ton (all the way out) and we boomed it in to a one ton pick (all the way in). We moved the picker out toward the engine, which was sitting on the tailgate, and then boomed back out, to ¼ ton where we commenced a pickin’. We brought the engine high enough to clear the tire we were setting it on and then swung it over and laid it down onto its temporary final resting place.

For those of you that have never had to spend two and a half hours in the Arizona sun, during an early summer after noon, battling a hot long block Chevy out of a motor boat, trying to put it into one pickup so you could turn around and move it into another…

Wow, when I put it like that, THERE HAS TO BE ANOTHER WAY!!

No forklift. No A-frame. No crane. Just two guys, a cherry picker, some trucks and more determination than brains. That was us.

We finally got it. Nothing got damaged. No one got hurt. By the time all was said and done, both of us vowed to never do that again; and originally, we had plans to go back to the house, clean up ourselves and the garage, put the 400 onto the engine stand and start stripping it down for inspection and rebuild.

Haha! Not so fast. Even though there was nothing else to do with the engine (barring the above), and we ran into no further problems, we were so wiped out from the previous experience that we did not have it in us to do anything other than wash up, get ourselves each a super tall 32oz iced tea, head back to the house with some hoagies and… do absolutely nothing. We spent the first 30 minutes in silence, just recuperating, before we did anything more.

After we each had well over 50oz of iced tea (I made some Jasmine/green tea at the house) and ate our sandwiches, we chose to spend the rest of the day inside watching movies, in the dark and comfortable 77°F that was my house. We decided to get a few movies from the Redbox and wanted one of those to be Deadpool.

Remember that “no simple task, left uncomplicated” I often speak of? I promise; it is not me! That is just the way things often work (or more precisely don’t work) out for me.

Well, we went to the nearby grocery store to get the Redbox movies, and I figured we could get it there. Nope. Not on Redbox. Okay, I know the store sells it. Nada. They just sold out yesterday. Oh well, there is another store just up the street, they should have it. Try again guys!

We ended up driving the seven miles to Walmart, braving the twelve street lights and all of the Sunday drivers (remember, two guys with more determination than brains), just in order to spend $20.00 of our hard earned money on a piece of plastic that was to give us direct entertainment only two hours at a time.


I got back home in February and went to pick up my tools.  I made Jaiden come with me, as I had a surprise for him. We managed to get all of my tools picked up, with the exception of one package – Jaiden’s toolbox. I had bought him a roll away toolbox to have for himself, and it was the last package to be received. We finally got his tools figured out and we set for home. I spent the next few days cataloging and organizing my tools.

Shortly after all of this, I picked up the 12 bolt rear end for the hot rod, and also got a Chevy small block 400.

Wait, let me clarify – I paid for my axle and engine. That is right, I will be rocking a 400/400 in this thing!

I also made a few calls to some cam shaft companies:

Me: “Hi, I have a bit of a project, and I need a cam…”

XXX Cam Company: “Great! What do you have, and what are you looking to do with it?”

Me: “Well, that is just the thing. I really do not need a bunch of horsepower here; I just need it to sound the part.”

Them: (disappointedly) “Yeah. Okay, well…”

Me: “Look, I am the last person to think I would ever hear those words come out of my mouth, but I have a very light project and a Chevy 400… Do you have the interweb at your fingertips?”

Them: “Yeah. Why?”

Me: “Good. Look up ‘flat rod jeep’.”

I hear typing… “Oh! I see. That thing is bad ass! Now I get it! Yeah, we can help you with that!”

I have yet to purchase anything for the Chevy 400, or the 12 bolt rear end, but I did buy them. I will be working with all of that very soon here. I also found another welder that is excited about doing a project that you do not see every day – the Dana 44 drop axle. I cannot weld it at my house because I do not trust 110v MIG welding on a front axle; so, I have been looking for someone to weld me up with an arc welder. I have found a few shops that are willing to do it, but I am getting quotes in the thousand dollar range, and well, that sort of contradicts the meaning of “budget build”. If it really comes down to it, I will take it to one of them, but I am trying really hard on keeping this thing on the cheap.

The hot rod lay stagnant due to needing some key parts for it, mainly axles. The Drop Dana had not been built, and we still had much to do with the Chevy 400. So, I turned my attention to other things – piratey things. We continued to build on the Pirate Ship because there was a deadline. We had to get it done before the first weekend of April, and there was still so much to get done.

In the midst of my tools frenzy and such, I made time to pick up a new (to me) truck! I got myself a 1980 J10.

80 J 10 [2] 006-20141216-14354723_180 J 10 [2] 004-20141216-143540652

Now, I do not really believe in a Jeep with square headlights, and that was my next task to tackle. I had to see what it would take to convert this guy over to a proper set of eyes. Unfortunately, that meant that the hot rod was going to be put onto the back burner… temporarily. So I told myself.