Just wondering, not going to do this soon I hope but what is the most bang for the buck for work to send out when overhauling an engine? Cleaning, baking and boring out the block, valve re-surfacing, pouring Babbit seems like obvious things that I would rather someone else do. So my thinking is pull the engine, disassemble, send out for baking, boring and Babbit pouring. I would then re-assemble using new parts. Is that what many do? Or is it better just to send the thing to get completely re-built and it just isn't worth it do parts of it yourself?
I've done what you mentioned (cleaning, magnaflux and machining), plus having the deck and manifold surfaces checked for true and having the valve and lifter guides machined oversized. On some blocks I've had hardened seats but in on all ports, some I just did the exhaust, you need to decide what if anything you'll do on that. If you're not equipped to cut valve seats have it done with everything else.
You'll either need a good crank (magnafluxed and ground as little as possible, done by someone that knows model T cranks) or a new crank. You will need to send your crank with your block when you have the babbit work done. You should get it back with the crank installed and properly set.
If you have that done the rest is a pretty fun project and your kids can learn a lot working on it with you.
Also be sure to have your pan straightened!
Check out these videos, you'll learn a lot and can decide what you want to do.
When you have
I think the ideal thing is to work with an experienced rebuilder who will assign some of the easy work to you and do the stuff requiring specialized expertise himself. I'm on my second engine that way, and I may be ready to do one mostly on my own. I'm not ready for pouring and boring Babbitt bearings, but I think I can do a lot of the work with the help of the Bender videos.
My engine builder preferred to return the entire rotating assembly short block to me with every thing adjusted and set. He told me his partner "Wayne" is a master at setting the valves, and goes over them 3 additional times to insure they are perfect.
The fresh engine might have cranked over 6 times on the starter before it first started. I have been driving the car for 2 weeks now, and it is the quietest, smoothest running T engine I have ever encountered (Scat crank). It pulls the hills in high gear very well. I'm probably approaching 200 miles on it, and it already has a very good idle. I have an understanding of how the engine is to be put together, but not the expertise and the touch. Unless you have the experience and tools, this is a good way to go.
There is plenty to do assembling the transmission, and all of the other parts, before putting the engine back in.
I had a local guy do it, he is a retired Western Electric machinist with an amazing shop in his back yard. He cleaned, Magnifluxed, and pressure tested the water jacket first. Bored it .030 over. Installed hardened vale seats, and bored the guides for Chevy valves. Poured the main bearings twice, he was not happy with the first pour. Line bored it, set the Scat crank. Ran in the crank on his line boring machine. Rabbited rods he supplied, as he did not like mine. Supplied the pistons and rings. Assembled the short block, with the cam clocked, and the valves ground and set. Painted the block. Cleaned magnifluxed and installed the bushings on the transmission drums. Bored the bushings true, not reamed. The engine I picked up was mounted on a 1" tubing stand, stretch wrapped up like mummy, and had a pick up loop screwed into the top of the block. All for $1550, I supplied valves, valve inserts, springs, keepers, timing gears, cam, bearings, and bushings, took about 3 months to get it back.
You need to get in touch with Pat Linderman in Fredericksburg. He does good work and will be your least expensive source.
Right in your backyard is Mr. Model T ....
Ross is honest - qualified - reasonable
I like to do everything myself. I don't recommend this for anyone else, because I know it's stupid. If I were paying myself at minimum wage, it would be cheaper to send it out to someone who knows what he or she's doing. I'm just weird this way. So I intentionally bought a T that needed everything, and when I'm done with it, I'll know exactly what's in it. When I pulled the pan off the motor, about 50 pounds of mud fell out. I spent hours centering up the worst throw of the crank in my lathe to regrind it, but after getting it 50 under, it was still too badly pitted, so I bought a Scat crank. After I bored the cylinders about 60 over, they were still too pitted, so I sleeved them and bored the sleeves to standard. I ran the motor on a test stand for about an hour, and I am really pleased with the way it runs. Then I cut down a 100 year old shagbark hickory, dried it, and made 48 new spokes. I've rebuilt the rear axle and now I'm working on the front axle. I sometimes wonder if the folks at Lang's take bets on what I'll order next. After I finish the front axle, I'll start on the body (19 touring) which needs all new wood. I'm loving every minute of this process.
I send my block, crank and rods out for babbitt, boring, and valve guides and seats (if needed). I don't have the equipment to handle those tasks or a need to invest the time and effort to learn the skills. I do like to do my own final fit and assembly though. I've been through the process on several T motors and it's part of my enjoyment by doing the work and driving the car afterwords. How much you tackle all kind of depends on your skill level, time and $$$.
Ignacio, it depends on how much of the work you can do yourself if you want to save some money.
The way I looked at it with my 24 Coupe I could everything to the engine except replacing the Babbitt and the machine work. Same goes for the transmission.
I had Ross in College Station do the babbitt and machine work on the block and assemble with new aluminum pistons and a set of good rods I had out of another engine. In other words a complete short block assembly.
I then put the engine completely together myself and installed it. I saved over half the cost of a complete rebuild by doing the engine that way.
After thinking about it, I believe I have some good advice: If you're not having fun, don't do it. I think it's that simple.
If you want any kind of warranty, I would suggest having one person/company do the whole thing, including reassembly. That being said, I'm not sure which rebuilders actually do offer a warranty of any kind, but you're much more likely to get some assistance from a rebuilder, in the event of any problems, if they know that nobody else's hands have been in the mix.
know your limitations and know your safety nets.
know what you are willing to pay for a cost of education and if you pay, make sure you get the education. don't be left with frustration.
many here have machinist, millwright, fabrication or engineering background. they get working with metal and tolerances. Hugh advantage.
having access to someone to check hold points is nice as you can learn and stop to correct something before you turn it into yard art or paper weights. this allows learning usually.
Be realistic about what you want as trying to save a nickel can cost a dime and gain little knowledge.
many race shops outsource because it makes economic sense even though talent is in house but tooling is not.
as someone posted do what you enjoy and farm out what you don't enjoy if the means are there.
never a one size fits all answer.
If I did another engine I would send it all out to be built top to bottom. Jmho
I'm right there with you Ignacio.
I'll be sending my engine to Ross Lilleker and am also wondering how much to do myself.
Before anyone does anything in advance, with thoughts of "helping" the process, be sure to ask the rebuilder their advice on what you plan to do and how you plan to do it, just to be certain that it really is helping your cause. That's not a commentary on any one individual here, just something I've learned by doing...