Today I had a welcome call at lunchtime that my block was ready for collection. I zoomed down round the M25 immediately and was back at 5pm with the block on the engine stand (for once the motorway was moving freely there and back).
I had time this evening to knock out the freeze plugs, gallery plugs and even get those threaded cores out of the ends of the lifter galleries. Last time I had great trouble removing these. This time I soaked them in Plus Gas for a while and then used a 3/8" spark plug spanner in reverse. This has a 3/8" square drive (the same as the plug's end) and importantly a hex flange around the drive hole. You can get a largish spanner on this hex flange and get some good purchase on the plug - anyway all three came out without much complaining. I still have to get out the drain plugs for the block water jacket - these wouldn't budge. I also drove out the camshaft bearings.
I have e-mailed Edelbrock to ask about the 'steam holes'. These are apparently not present on older blocks. Each cylinder has a hole of about 3/8" into the water jacket immediately above the cylinder (at 12 O'Clock in the above photo). The Edelbrock installation says to make a 1/8" hole to the top right (1 O'Clock) of No.1 and NO.5 cylinder. Now if you look at the photo above you can see a small hole above cylinder no. 7 (third from the left). This is in the right position for a steam hole so is a hole required for EACH cylinder or just 1 and 5?? The heads have a pocket above the intake valve to the right of the hole for the stud on each cylinder. My guess is that you need one for each cylinder, we'll see if I get the 24 hour response.
I spent the rest of the time getting the jig for drilling the block square.
I have located a steam cleaning company locally so I'll take the block there after tapping the holes and drilling the steam holes. I hope to be building the engine over the weekend and for the weather to get cooler I don't want to be running a tight engine in this heat :(