PDA

View Full Version : 352 FE Engine Woes


T-Bird Lover
02-09-2014, 09:58 PM
My normal mechanic said he could take my 352 FE which was in pieces (the way I bought it) and put it together and get it running.

A week later, I get a call in broken english saying engine does not hold oil pressure in top..he says it needs to be vatted and cleaned out and wants to charge an additional 12 hundred.

I had been told by previous owner that the 'engine was cleaned and remachined yada yada ya..but I guess thats not the case. My point to this sad story is A) Don't you guys think my mechanic should have looked or blown out the shortblock before assembling and B) reccomendations on where I can take the engine in N Texas to get it working.

I have a deal on a 390 moon eyes built engine and transmission for 15 hundred I am thinking about installing.

Thoughts? Thanks

jopizz
02-09-2014, 10:09 PM
As you've found out there's a big difference between a "mechanic" and an engine builder. A professional engine builder would've been able to tell you what condition your short block was in and how much it would cost to rebuild. I doubt you'll be able to get your 352 done for less than $1500 so the rebuilt 390 and trans sounds like a good deal.

John

T-Bird Lover
02-09-2014, 10:20 PM
Thanks John! I may hold onto the 352 or sell it as is..it sure looks good lol

As you've found out there's a big difference between a "mechanic" and an engine builder. A professional engine builder would've been able to tell you what condition your short block was in and how much it would cost to rebuild. I doubt you'll be able to get your 352 done for less than $1500 so the rebuilt 390 and trans sounds like a good deal.

John

simplyconnected
02-10-2014, 12:52 AM
Adding to what John said...
Chevy engine builders are normally baffled when they build an FE engine. They typically leave out an oil plug which causes 'no oil pressure'.

It's not that FE engines are so special, but they are different. That's why you need a mechanic who is VERY familiar with FE engines.

The 390 is identical to your 352 by looks. After careful inspection, you'll find the 390 has a larger bore and a stroke nearly 1/4" longer. 390s and 427s shared the same crankshaft.

Before installing ANY engine, take a few core plugs out and look inside. Then replace the core plugs with brass. - Dave

Larry
02-10-2014, 07:58 AM
To add to what simplyconnected said, if the vein plug was left out, and I am specifically talking about the one behind the timing gear, the top end will be starved for oil while the bottom end is getting oil. The bottom end would get oil pressure, but it would be compromised because of the open vein. It could be a very simple fix if that is the case. Cost= timing cover and water pump gasket and a pipe plug.
EDIT:
There is also a soft plug on the left side of the camshaft that could also be missing.
A lot of rebuilders pull those plugs to run a brush down those vein's to clean them, and sometimes they get over looked during assembly because they are so small and easy to miss.

T-Bird Lover
02-11-2014, 10:41 PM
Well, bought the 'moon-eyes' built 390 FE and Transmission, only problem is despite what the seller said..the tranny is not a 2 speed. It's a 3 speed.

If I leave the stock tranny in there, I'm worried this 390 may blow it out.

Otherwise I'm looking at more money to fabricate for the 3 speed transmission to fit.

Ugh.

simplyconnected
02-12-2014, 06:17 AM
Tell us more about this 'moon eyes' 390. What is different about it? What year is it? What modifications have been made to it?

Thunderbirds never came with two-speed automatics, and I don't know why you would want one.

Why would you need to fabricate a three-speed to fit? Is it a stick? (I must be missing something here.)

I don't see a problem using your stock cruise-o-matic trans with a 390. It is certainly strong enough to handle the torque and it bolts on with no modification. You can go with a C6 if you want, but I see no reason for it. The C6 is a heavier trans but it uses more power to run. Do you plan on racing this car? - Dave

tbird430
02-13-2014, 04:42 PM
I agree with Dave. The 3-spd cruise-o-matic would be my choice here too... :cool:

-Jon in TX.

T-Bird Lover
03-20-2014, 03:43 PM
Thanks. Looks like I have a spare 352 engine sitting around now with transmission. Looking for a radiator now.

Thanks
delattig@cbs.com

YellowRose
03-20-2014, 08:51 PM
Derek, for a discussion regarding fuel tanks look up in the Bulletbird Forum and the Fuel leak, please help! post. There is information there about fuel tanks. Check out Rock Auto, which is probably the cheapest price. Their tanks are made by the Canadian company. In fact that company makes the gas tanks for all our old Tbirds.

HD1960
03-19-2015, 10:18 AM
Starting it? My understanding is that foul lead to that issue as well as damaging the crank. Not sure if all engines do that or not, since I am really only starting to learn these FE beasts....guy I bought my 390 from had built over 100 of them, mostly for truck applications. Very knowledgable though.

roger59tb
03-19-2015, 11:23 AM
Once upon a time, I put a remanufactured 390 with a C6 into a59 Ranchero. All kinds of power, extremely reliable, and a blast to drive. Should never have let it go. (Woulda, coulda, shoulda ....)

simplyconnected
03-19-2015, 11:55 AM
Yeah... I have to agree. There's a lot of truth in the old saying, "There's no replacement for displacement."

The 390 can be tuned down or up. All the things you can do to boost a small engine can also be done with a large engine.

I don't mean to bust on any engine but I have my favorites:

351W - because it is a modern EFI engine, popularized by Mustang Cobras and F-150 SVT Lightning trucks which also means a huge stash of parts are out there and all the vendors support it. The 351W shares the same pistons with Mustang 5.0HO engines.


390 FE because it is an 'old school' straight forward, nuts and bolts build, and it's big. Ford put this engine in everything so there is a good supply of them out there. An overhaul with +.030" pistons brings it to ~400 cubic inches. Several companies make EFI setups for this engine. EFI pays for itself in gas savings and it adds about 20% more HP. I like the "FAST" EFI system. It replaces your 4100 carb.