A few days ago my friend Dwayne helped me lift the engine up onto the engine stand I purchased. This made it much easier to start working on the engine disassembly. Today I disassembled the engine down to the short block. I found a few surprises in the process. First off, the push rod tubes on the aftermarket cylinder head were bent and leaky. Secondly, one of the push rods was unseated in the aftermarket cylinder head. Third, the port sizes are larger on the aftermarket cylinder head than the on the stock cylinder head. Fourth, there was a leak in the intake manifold going to the aftermarket cylinder head! I keep finding stuff that makes me more surprised that this engine ran properly at all.
On another note, it appears that the problem that was keeping the engine from turning over wasn’t related to the distributor drive gear. I tried to turn the engine over after removing the rocker arm assemblies and then again after removing the push rods to no avail. Once the cylinder heads, cylinders, and pistons were removed the engine would turn over no problem though (meaning it isn’t anything with the crankshaft.)
The next step is to split the case and remove the crankshaft and camshaft, but that will wait for another day.