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Chevy small block 283 ready to install in the 1964 Impala
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The Installation

Nothing ever seems to get done on schedule and this was no different. We (My daughter was helping; See Family affair under How to's) had planned to get the motor dropped in the hole at some time in the afternoon, but the valve cover episode set us back a while.

We (My daughter and I) never got it dropped in until about 5:30 PM on Sunday Sept 7th, 2003 leaving us Looking for 64 Impala engine parts in the grassjust under 3 hours of daylight. With no power tools and the conscientious compulsion to be sure the motor went in as clean and unmarred as possible I knew I was going to be working in the dark. And I did, until 2AM Monday morning using a floor lamp standing in front of the car.

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There were a few remaining parts to be cleaned like the distributor which I stripped and Parts storage in the trunk of the 64 Impalasoaked in carburetor cleaner to make sure there was no gunk behind the lubrication holes. I put the distributor back together around 1AM since it was the last piece to go in the engine. Being tired at 1AM and reassembling the distributor was going to bite me in the morning, but I didn't realize it at the time.

I finished everything except the underside which meant the torque converter bolts and the exhaust system, leaving those for morning. I had to go to work but I took a few hours of leave to get the job finished and went in late.

Morning always comes too quickly...

After putting the bottom end together in the morning, I put the battery back in, cleaned the terminals, Put fluids in the motor, got my keys and started the motor. It started and ran for about 30 seconds and it just quit unexpectedly. I checked for fuel and spark and all seemed well, though the spark seemed kind of weak. I kept cranking periodically, then gave it a rest for a while thinking I had flooded it. How-To DVD Rental

Each time I cranked it, the engine seemed to fire when I released the key, behaving like there was a voltage diversion in the starting circuit. I back tracked through the things I did last night which lead me to the distributor. I guess I forgot to tighten the condenser wire and when the motor started it popped off the screw clamp causing the motor to quit abruptly. I put it back, tightened the screw clamp and the motor started immediately after that.

I checked the coolant level after some of the air bubbled out of the cooling system, and topped it off with a quart or so of water. I adjusted the timing, carburetor, and dwell and the motor was now running like it was new (again).

Off to work I go...

Before After Before After
right side of the 64 Impala before the engine rebuild right side of 64 impala after the engine rebuild left side of 64 impala before the engine rebuild left side of 64 impala after the engine rebuild

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