June 2015 – Engine Rebuild by JGM
I caught some flack from some of my buddies at the ADM for not tackling the rebuild of my engine myself, but my general feeling is that since I’m deviating from stock, it’s best to leave this in the hands of the experts. I could, and probably will at some point, rebuild a 289 motor to stock configuration. But since I want to make more power on a budget without sacrificing drive-ability or longevity, I’ll spring for an engine rebuild by JGM in Santa Clarita.
I found a set of 302 rods and a crankshaft to go with the 302 standard-bore block I bought on Craigslist, so between those internals, the two sets of heads I have, and the 302 crank from the Craigslist motor I bought several months ago, I’m hoping we can get the best out of this build. I threw everything in a box and brought it all out there, leaving it in the capable hands of Jim Grubbs himself.
Along with the block and rotating assembly, I brought out the new flywheel, the clutch cover, a new oil pan, a new high-flow water pump, and pretty much everything else I thought might be salvageable off the old engines.
Upon my arrival, we unloaded everything and then I sat down with Jim for 20 minutes to discuss my build. He asked lots of questions, but his first was the most important: “what do you want this engine to do?” I said I wanted to have a nice driver ’66 Mustang. I’m not drag racing this thing, I plan to drive it, but I don’t want it to be pokey either. He asked me how I wanted it to sound, what transmission I was planning to use, what carburetor I had in mind, if I had an intake manifold picked out, whether I wanted him to reuse the old valves, etc. In some ways I think he was feeling me out to see what kind of a customer I’d be…but I kept reiterating that I wanted to do this build right, and I think he appreciated that. I don’t want to reuse anything that’s less than ideal when I can get perfection for a few dollars more. I gave the go-ahead for a 1-piece rear main seal conversion to hopefully keep the oil leaks down. I even asked about a roller-cam conversion which seems like a no-brainer to me.
He’ll get back to me with final prices once they finish the initial inspection, but I’m already expecting to spend in the $5,000 range. It won’t be cheap, but it’ll be done right!