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ROD BEARING REPLACEMENT
See Figures 19, 20, 21 and 22
Fig. 19: A notch on the connecting rod bearing surface matches a groove on the insert
Fig. 20: Use the gauge supplied with the PlastigageŽ to check the bearing clearance
Fig. 21: Connecting rod bearing specifications-3.3L engine
Fig. 22: Connecting rod bearing specifications-3.5L engine
The engine crankshaft and connecting rod bearing clearances can be determined by the use of PlastigageŽ or a similar product. The following is the recommended procedure for the use of PlastigageŽ:
Rotate the crankshaft until the connecting rod boss to be checked is at the bottom of its stroke.
With the connecting rod and the connecting rod bearing cap removed from the crankshaft, remove the oil film from the surface to be checked. PlastigageŽ is soluble in oil.
Place a piece of PlastigageŽ across the entire width of the bearing shell in the bearing cap approximately 1/4 inch (6.35mm) off center and away from the oil hole. In addition, suspect areas can be checked by placing PlastigageŽ in the suspect area.
Before assembling the rod bearing cap with the PlastigageŽ in place, the crankshaft must be rotated until the connecting rod being checked starts moving toward the top of the engine. Only then should the cap be assembled and tightened to specifications.
Do not rotate the crankshaft while assembling the cap or the PlastigageŽ may be smeared, giving inaccurate results.
Remove the bearing cap and compare the width of the flattened PlastigageŽ with the metric scale provided on the package. Locate the band closest to the same width. This band shows the amount of clearance in thousandths of a millimeter. Differences in readings between the ends indicate the amount of taper present. Record all readings taken.
PlastigageŽ generally is accompanied by two scales. One scale is in inches, the other is a metric scale. PlastigageŽ is available in a variety of clearance ranges. The 0.001-0.003 inch (0.025-0.076mm) is usually the most appropriate for checking engine bearing proper specifications.
See Figures 23, 24, 25 and 26
Fig. 23: Cylinder bore and piston specifications-3.3L engine
Fig. 24: Piston measurements-3.3L engine
Fig. 25: Cylinder bore and piston specifications-3.5L engine
Fig. 26: Piston measurements-3.5L engine
Make sure the connecting rod and rod cap bearing saddles are clean and free of nicks or burrs. Use care to make sure the BACK of the bearing shells are clean. A speck of dirt on the back of the bearing shell cause a small high spot on the front of the bearing face. This high spot will become a hot spot and if bad enough, will fail the bearing, connecting rod and crankshaft journal. Install the bearing shells in the connecting rod, making sure the bearing shell tangs are seated in the notches.
Be careful when handling any plain bearings. Hands and working area should be clean. Dirt is easily embedded in the bearing surface and the bearings are easily scratched or damaged.
Make sure the cylinder walls and the crankshaft bearing journal are spotlessly clean.
Position the crankshaft journal at its furthest position away from the bottom of the cylinder.
Install the protective rubber hoses over the connecting rod bolts to protect the crankshaft during installation. Make sure the piston rings are properly installed and the ring end gaps are correctly positioned. Thoroughly coat the piston and rings with clean engine oil. Install a piston ring compressor over the piston and rings and compress the piston rings into their grooves. Follow the ring compressor manufacturer's instructions.
Verify that the crankshaft is positioned so that the connecting rod journal is on the center of the bore and at the bottom of its stroke. Place the piston and connecting rod assembly into the cylinder. Make sure the piston and connecting rod are facing in the proper direction. Most pistons have an arrow or notch on the top of the piston, indicating that this side should face the front of the engine.
Make sure the ring compressor is seated squarely on the block deck surface. If the compressor is not seated squarely, a ring could pop out from beneath the compressor and hang up on the deck surface as the piston is tapped into the cylinder, possibly breaking the ring.
Piston and connecting rod assemblies are NOT interchangeable between cylinder bores. Install each piston and connecting rod in its original cylinder bore unless replaced. Use care when installing the piston and connecting rod do NOT allow the rod journal to scratch or nick the crankshaft.
Make sure that the connecting rod is not hung up on the crankshaft counterweights and is in position to come straight on to the crankshaft. Tap the piston slowly into the cylinder, making sure the compressor remains squarely against the block deck. When the piston is completely in the cylinder, remove the ring compressor.
Seat the connecting rod upper bearing onto the crankshaft journal and then remove the protective guide hoses pieces. Install the connecting rod cap and bearing. If the connecting rod bearings were replaced, check the bearing clearance before proceeding further. The clearance can be checked with PlastigageŽ. Tighten the connecting rod nuts to 40 ft. lbs. (54 Nm) plus 1/4 turn.
After each piston and connecting rod assembly is installed, turn the crankshaft over several times and check for binding. If there is a problem and the crankshaft will not turn, or turns with great difficulty, it will be easier to find the problem (rod cap on backwards, broken ring, etc.) than if all the assemblies are installed.
Check the clearance between the sides of the connecting rods and the crankshaft using a feeler gauge. Spread the rods slightly with a screwdriver to insert the gauge. If the clearance is below the minimum specification, the connecting rod will have to be removed and machined to provide adequate clearance. If the clearance is excessive, substitute an unworn rod and recheck. If the clearance is still excessive, the crankshaft must be welded and reground, or replaced. The clearance should be 0.005-0.013 inch. (0.13-0.32 mm).
When satisfied that all reciprocating components are correctly installed, continue with the rest of the engine buildup.
Install the oil pickup tube assembly and the oil and pan.
Install the cylinder head and intake manifold assemblies.
Install the engine assembly into the vehicle.
Install the radiator and cooling fan assemblies.
Refill and bleed cooling system, install a new oil filter. Refill and check the oil using SAE 5W-30 or SAE 10W-30 engine oil only. Do not mix the 2 grades of oil.
Check to be sure that all hoses, wiring connectors, cables and fluid lines are all reconnected.
Reconnect the negative battery cable. Check the ignition timing.
Install the hood. Be sure that it is correctly positioned and tighten the mounting bolts.
Verify no oil leaks and road test.