Date registered: May 2013
Vehicle: 1961 190SL
Location: Northern California, USA
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Manuals like Haynes are too generic to be of any value. Engine rebuilding is all about precision machining to factory tolerances (not "close" but dead nuts) and meticulous assembly. Obviously it's not feasible for you to buy a boring bar, torque plate, honing fixture and crankshaft grinding machine and learn to use them for one engine. But, no one but you will take the time to inspect every part before installation and check every clearance. The "professionals" just slam motors together and hope for the best.
I'm no professional mechanic and I've only assembled about 10 engines during my 50+ year participation in the car hobby. In that time I've carefully picked machine shops that will bore to factory tolerances, hone with a torque plate for the kind of rings that will be used and grind crankshafts to the middle of factory specified sizes. Many think I'm too anal about that stuff but there are machinists who take pride in doing highly accurate work, especially for a customer who knows the difference and expresses gratitude for a job well done.
Careful inspection of parts intended for use in engines I've assembled has identified rings with out of spec end gaps (too large), a main bearing insert with a droplet of babbit on the block side that would have bound the crankshaft and spun the bearing immediately, and other defective items.
Bearing clearances are easily checked with plastigage. Ring end gaps should be placed on the piston circumference according to factory specifications. Etc, etc.
It's all in the factory manuals. Those are available in public libraries. If your local library doesn't have your manual it is probably available through inter-library loan.
When you mash down on the accelerator pedal and feel the thrust of an engine that you've precisely assembled yourself you'll understand the enthusiasm of those of us who do it too.
If you want even better performance carburetor jetting and distributor initial timing, vacuum advance curve and centrufugal advance curve can be optimized for your altitude and driving style. The little things add up!