Ford 390 FE Engine Overhaul


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The Ford FE is unique in its engine engineering.  1/3 of the intake manifold enters into the heads.  To remove the intake manifold, first the Valve Covers and Pushrods must be removed because Pushrods pass through intake manifold holes.

This engine shows signs that detergent oil was used.  Some crust appears on the underside of the covers but that should be expected from an engine this old.  I am amazed to see yellow paint on the valve springs.

I will disassemble the Rocker Shafts later, but they must be removed first, to access the Head bolts.


A 9/16" wrench removes these rocker shaft stands.


These Rocker Arms look like they were well oiled and the tips aren't dimpled from the valve stems.

Rocker Arm Shafts and Oil Baffles are removed to access Head Bolts.

Remove Intake Manifold bolts with 9/16" wrench.

Remove the Distributor Fork bolt, and with a twisting motion, pull the whole Distributor out.


The Intake Manifold is extremely heavy.  I use my cherry picker to stabilize it while I crack it open.


Amazing how heavy this piece is.

Good riddance, to this monstrosity.  My eyes get a hernia just looking at all that iron.

This baffle plate just lays there, unbolted.  Set it aside and let's pull heads.

The moment of truth.  See how shiny the cylinder walls are?  That's a telltale sign of an oil burner.  Just like driving with slicks on wet road, if oil has nowhere to go, rings will hydroplane over it.  If the rings are old, two things happen; the end gaps are wide and the 'spring' in the ring goes away because the diameters are eroded away.  The rings become 'tired', they hydroplane, and they no longer have the ability to seal high compression.  45° hone crosshatch relieves your rings from hydroplaning because the crosshatch gives the oil somewhere to go (like grooves in the road).

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