1. Make sure it’s clean - most
importantly on the inside: - this includes the water jacket
which can only be cleaned by chemical immersion to remove the
40 years of rust and corrosion. I do not recommend "hot
tanking" or "shake & bake". Go to a
chemical rust stripper.
2. Make sure the head & deck surfaces are flat to insure good head gasket seeking. You don’t necessarily have to cut the surfaces, but you should definitely check them.
3. If you overbore the cylinders .060" or more, do not chamfer the top of the bores: many head gaskets will overhang the chamfer, seal poorly, and overheat.
4. Check and seal all possible air leaks on the inlet side of the oil pump - pick-up screen; pump by-pass system tube; threads; pump cover.
5. Use the name brand "SH" grade 5W30 oil and cam lube or G.M. engine or supplement (E.O.S.). Do not depend on white grease to protect the cam during brake-in.
6. Use molly top compression rings and modern three piece oil rings if available. If not available, use chrome top rings. Avoid usage of a plain cast iron top ring. Modern "SH" quality oils and honing procedures are all that are required to insure good operation from the upgraded rings.
7. Use name brand quality timing gears or timing chain set. If chain sprockets are not filehard and the links on the chain don’t have a stamp "Made in the USA" then you’ll probably be putting a new set in at 20,000 miles. A nylon/aluminum sprocket is superior many times over to a soft iron sprocket. Even some name brands are selling parts inferior to original quality.
8. Spend a little extra money to get a four angle valve job: -20 ° top, 45-46 ° seat, 65 ° throat, 80 ° bottom.
9. Go conservative on the camshaft: 265 ° max duration for street - probably less if you have an automatic trans.
10. Check the cam timing on one cylinder and make sure it’s to the manufacturer’s specifications or slightly "advanced".
11. Use an ignition with vacuum advance.
12. Make sure your inlet manifold has a heated floor (exhaust or water heat).