Do you think the knock could be the torque converter bolts being slightly loose? Very very common & it sounds like a rod knockOk, an update. Besides what I'm talking about here, I'm making progress on the rear bumper but don't have any photos yet. I've been lucky finding some great bumper steel in the scrapyards around here for dirt cheap. I have less than $15 invested in the rear bumper so far...and I have nearly all the pieces I need including the store-bought 2" hitch receiver.
So the cam looks good, the lifters look good, compression is very good, and today I dropped the oil pan to get a look inside and try to eliminate that knock. I checked side clearance on all the rods and checked each rod bearing for clearance using plastigage and the factory manual for the specs. All the bearings were within the "preferred" spec in the book and well within allowable limits. They were all at .002" clearance which is fairly perfect (range .001-.003" with .015-.002 ideal on stock journal dia). The only issue I found, and it won't cause a knock, was the #1 rod bearing had a weird pitting going on. It wasn't deep at all, didn't even deform the plastigage less, but there are spots where the outer layer is gone and copper is showing. They're just spots though, not grooves or scrapes, 1mm across or less. Looks like that would cause premature wear so I'm going to replace that one, but that's the only problem. The oil pan showed only very minimal metal shavings which I'd consider normal for a freshly broken-in engine. Doesn't look like anything came apart. But there's still a knock in it from somewhere and I'm running out of things to check.
The bores looked great and I saw that the pistons still had their anti-wear coatings (on the skirts anyway). The remote oil filter hoses were dripping oil on my while I worked. They're new (from Trans-Dapt), only used once and the engine hasn't even run in a couple weeks, yet they were dripping from the swivel end. I ordered some AN fittings and hose to hopefully get rid of that whole issue. Anyone know if there's a good place in the block to drill for an oil pressure sending unit? I really don't like that the factory one only tells you if the oil pump is working, not if the engine is actually getting any oil pressure. Major weak spot, IMHO. My '60s Dodge V8 gets its oil pressure reading from the cam gallery which is much more useful.
BTW I had to drop the shocks, sway bar, spring retainers, and the lower control arms at the axle to get enough clearance to remove that oil pan. I also had to jack the axle away from the frame as far as the brake hose would allow, while turning the wheels all the way to the left so the front of the pan could clear the steering damper. Wasn't an easy job and I scratched up that fancy orange oil pan quite a bit :-/