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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
ok lets look at a few things, first , if you look closely at your connecting rods you'll see that one side has considerably more bevel ground on the inner edge of the connecting rod around the bearing than the other side does, to side with that bevel ground on it is to provide clearance for the radius ground onto the crankshaft where the crank throw meets the counterweights like you mentioned, that side of course goes out away from the other rod, to side with far less pronounced bevel is the side where the two connecting rods meet, and ride against each other during normal engine operation normal clearance there is in the area of six to 15 thousands of an inch. When the two connecting rods are correctly torque in place and a feeler gauge is fitted between them to check the maximum clearance.
Now a small block Chevrolet the valve placement or valve layout is in this order on a normal head, E I I E E I I E , the letter (E) of course representing exhaust and the letter (I) of course representing intake your Pistons will have to be inserted into the cylinders matching that layout, this will mean there will be two left and two right Pistons on each cylinder bank, if there is a dome on the Pistons it will go towards the outside of the block, when the machine shop installed the Pistons on the connecting rods, they should have been set up with four of the Pistons set up with the exhaust valve notch on the Pistons facing towards the bevel on the connecting rods and four of the Pistons set out live the intake valve side of the Pistons facing that bevel, lets look at the first two cylinders, cylinder number one is the front left forward facing forward look at the diagram per cylinder layout any

on that Piston both the bevel for the Crank Journal that provides bearing clearance and the exhaust valve notch would be towards the front of the engine, but on the next cylinder number two, on the opposite side of the engine. That Piston would have the bevel on the connecting rod facing the rear of the engine, but the exhaust valve notch would be facing the front of the engine, now let's look at cylinders three and four, cylinder number three, would have the bevel on the rod of course facing forward but the exhaust valve notch facing the rear of the engine, on cylinder number four you would have the bevel on the connecting rod facing towards the rear of the engine, and the exhaust valve notch facing towards the rear of the engine, now let's look at cylinders 5 and 6 cylinder number five, bevel forward exhaust forward, cylinder number six exhaust forward but bevel towards the rear for cylinders number 7 & 8 on cylinder number seven, exhaust out notch towards the rear, bearing bevel towards the front of the engine on cylinder number eight bearing bevel towards the rear of the engine and exhaust out towards the rear of the engine
keep in mind that some non- standard head / port layouts can potentially change the piston notch layout
you’ll also need to make sure you’re piston ring end gap is correct, that the piston rings have the correct side facing upwards that the bearings are installed with the correct clearance, and coated with assembly lubricant, that the piston to cylinder block deck clearance is correct ,that your quench distances are correct, and that after you degree in the cam that the piston to valve Clearance is correct. Youll also need to be careful that you don,t hit the connecting rod or rod bolts to the crank journals potentially causing any damage during the installaion, and its normal to oil the rings and piston with a lite machine oil during the installation.
Ive personally found that the piston ring compressors that work best are this type,

this type is far easiers to line up to the block surface at a slight angle that allows the rings to partly pop out from under its lower edge just as the rings leave the lower edge of the compressor and enter the cylinders bore, now Im not saying you can,t do it, just that its far easier to do it correctly with this type of ring compressor.
 
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