85 Chevy P/U – engine rebuild

This post highlights the rebuild process of the old 305 in my 1985 Chevy Short-Box, Step-Side Restoration Project.

Well, I got the block and heads back, and picked up all the parts needed to rebuild my 305. Here are a couple of pics;

The block after machining.

The crank has been machined and installed, along with the main bearings — this was done for me by the machine shop as I feel this is the most important part of the rebuild process.

The heads, rebuilt and the various parts for rebuilding.

I left the heads wrapped for now as they have been rebuilt and are ready for installation (more on this later!). On the table, you can see (from top left to right) the push rods, piston rod bearings, the rocker nuts are directly under the rod bearings, the lifters, oil pump, piston rings, (working back to the left) timing gears and chain, and finally the rockers and pivots. The three little things you see next to the rocker nuts are actually block plugs… but they are being replaced in the frost plug kit not shown in this pic.

The pistons were cleaned up and the rods resized — ready for installation!


The first thing that I did was cleaned up all the threads within the block with a tap set to make it a) easier to install the bolts, and b) to make sure all bolts are allowed to travel far enough — you don’t want a bolt to stop, due to a rust ring, with the head, for example, not being tightened down. Even though your torque wrench says it’s good, it’s gonna leak.



Next to go in was the camshaft. Simply because there is room to work when the pistons have not yet been installed. Some don’t care, but I like the room to be able to guide the cam in place a little better — you DON’T want to be scrapping up the bearings when you’re putting the cam in! A little assembly lube and in it goes (make sure to lube ALL lobes and bearing points well!).

I’ve got to get the rest of the pics done, so I’ll update this when I can!

3 comments on “85 Chevy P/U – engine rebuild

  1. I Am 19 years of age and am currently in college, but my 1986 caprice classic is my heart, and I want to know how, and how much money I would have to put out to get my 305 rebuilt or for me just to bye a used 350 engine? It have gotten to the point were it knocks, and It don’t hold oil at all, it just leaks out as my car sit still for a while.

    Kyle’s reply;

    Hello Demetric;

    I do apologize for the delay in responding to your question as I missed it amongst the SPAM.

    Actually, I have answered most of your questions in the comment below this one.

    As for buying a used 350 — well, just like my comments below, that is going to depend on a lot of things. I’ve bought them in running condition for $100 to $500. But I also have paid $400 for non-running engines — depends on what it is, etc.

    IMO, the best places to watch are your local paper, or “For Sale” signs as you’re driving around. What I mean by this is that you’re not looking for an “engine” for sale, but rather a whole vehicle. I had the opportunity to buy a ’88 Caprice last year from a guy in an apartment building across from me for $400, with only 97,000KM on the 350 – I simply didn’t need it at the time, but I could have parted the car out for more money than that — AFTER I took the engine and tranny!

    The deals are out there — you just have to watch for them and be at the right place at the right time!

    Thanks for your questions/comments, they are appreciated!


  2. I have a 1985 Chevy with a 305 and I think my motor is locked up, no holes in the block or anywhere else that should not be, no loss of oil water, no mix of oil and water wither. About how much should I expect to pay someone to rebuild it, or how much would it be to do it myself, I know doing it myself will take longer, but it gives me something to do. I trust myself to rebuild it but if the coast is about the same then I might have someone else do it for me. Thanks for your time. Robert

    Kyle’s reply; Hi Robert;

    I, generally spend around $1,500 (CDN) to rebuild a 305, but you could probably do it cheaper if you’re frugal! If you had someone do it for you, you’re looking around $2,500 (CDN) — at least this is my experience, prices will probably vary greatly, depending on the shop you take it to and what they are going to do.

    Each one of my blocks are machined at an outside shop, but I purchase my own parts and do the rebuild myself. This way I save on labour and can spend those savings on better parts (ie. and upgraded camshaft, better lifters, etc.).

    Your question is really a little broad — I’ve spend over $5,000 on one (it was a 350 though), and as little as $600 — it really all depends on what you plan to do to it, and what it’s going to be used for. A lot of the time you can get away with honing the cylinder walls yourself — I choose to have them machined and oversize the pistons — this adds horsepower, but it costs more money.

    I send out the block and have it magnaflux inspected (just making sure the block is good — no cracks, etc.), then machined (they machine the cylinder walls and head mating surface). I send out the heads at the same time and have them machined as well (make sure to send the valves with them, unless you’re replacing them). Oh, one other thing I have done off-site is to have the machine shop remove and replace the camshaft bearings — they’re a little tricky, and you don’t want to gouge them when installing them. Having the right tools is a big plus and why I don’t do that myself. Once that is all done, it’s really a matter of buying the parts and assembling it.

    Well, it’s not the best information, but hopefully it gives you some idea of what you can expect to pay.

    Thanks for your question/comments!


  3. I have a 1985 Chevy Caprice with a 305 engine the car was over heating I found out that I needed a new radiator but by that time the car had over heated and cut off the car has been sitting now for 1 year and 8 months I have many new parts on the car. I tried to start the car it turns over but drags as if the battery is dead I wonder if you know what it might be THANKS

    Kyle’s reply

    The information you have provided is not enough to even think about trying to solve your problem, even if I was a mechanic.

    But yes, it does sound like a dead battery.


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