View Full Version : 62 tbird

07-26-2014, 05:04 PM
I just picked up a 62 tbird with 73k original miles. The car hasnt been run in 20 years. Should I even bother trying to get it running before having the engine rebuilt?

07-26-2014, 07:51 PM
The real reason for engine rebuilding is, so it can operate with modern fuels and engine oil. If you have ideas of rebuilding to original spec's, that is a move in the wrong direction. In other words, you're putting good money after bad.

Modern engines don't use flat tappets, so they can safely use regular name-brand oils. Yours needs ZDDP. Modern engines use roller cams with hydraulic roller lifters.

Modern engines have hardened exhaust valve seats and stainless valves. Original valves will recede into the head.

Modern engines use aluminum heads for a host of reasons:
They transfer heat far better than cast iron.
They allow higher compression ratios without the danger of run-on or pre-ignition. High compression ratio produces higher HP.

Aluminum heads allow higher coolant temperatures and pressures for higher boiling points. This produces longer engine life, more complete mixture burn, better mileage and more HP.

Engines from the late 60's thru the 70's used nylon cam gear teeth that tend to break off with devastating results. Modern cam sets are true double row roller sets that last three times longer than OEM sets and they have no nylon.

To take full advantage of these and more modern materials, you need a 390 FE engine because Edelbrock requires that bore size for valve clearance on their FE aluminum heads. Edelbrock aluminum heads are built with all the right materials. - Dave

07-27-2014, 02:37 AM
What is ZZDP ?

07-27-2014, 03:02 AM
Went on line and read some articles about ZDDP that leads me to ask, what oil brand and weight are you guys using, over here in Germany we are limited to brands and additives on post, just lookin to protect my engine.

07-27-2014, 03:42 AM
I see you read up a bit on the use of ZDDP in oil and these old engines of ours. You might want to read the Technical Resource Library regarding oil, ZDDP and filters. Royal Purple and other oil brands that have a ZDDP content are often used by us in these old engines of ours. Many modern oils have had ZDDP taken out of them due to possible damage to the catalytic converter and the newer, modern engines of today. Here is the link to the TRL.


Here is a link regarding the use of ZDDP in these classic engines that further explains it.


07-27-2014, 06:26 AM
John, classic car engines were designed for use with fuel and oil that was common back then. Over the years, they have reformulated the gasoline and motor oil many times. Now, our gasoline has 10% ethanol and NO lead. Our engines were not engineered for this giant change. They could have been but back then nobody ever considered no-lead or adding ethanol to the gasoline. Today we have 'modifiers' sold through auto parts stores for boosting gasoline octane and for adding ZDDP (zinc and phosphorous) to the oil.

The alternative is to build your engine using today's materials and methods. I commonly ask myself, "what do modern engines use?" Modern engines last 250,000 miles between overhauls. If we got 80,000 out of our original engines, that was a 'gift'. Modern cars deliver in excess of 30 MPG. Our classic engines could too, but that would be impossible with carburetion and no way to adjust the fuel mixture for 14.7:1 (air-to-fuel mixture) on the fly.

So, do we re-invent the FE engine or simply drop in a modern engine with a computer from a donor car or truck? If you plan on using your classic for everyday driving and long trips, a modern Mustang engine and transmission would be perfect, with the Electronic Engine Controller (computer).

If you simply use the car for shows and cruises, bite the bullet and spend the extra money this engine will need for gas. Appreciate it for what it is. There are some changes that would make the FE very good in today's traffic, using modern oil and gas, but without Electronic Fuel Injection and feedback sensors, all around performance cannot be great.

Oil with '40' in the numbers usually have enough zinc and phosphorous, like 15W-40. Most racing oils and diesel engine oils have 40 or above. I use Shell Rotella-T, 15W-40, diesel oil in my classic Ford engines.

Check the manufacturer's numbers. You are looking for 1,500 PPM (parts per million) ZDDP for a flat tappet engine. If you cannot find 1,500 PPM, an alternative would be 1,200 PPM with an oil additive.

ZDDP gets used up. Where high pressure metal-to-metal surfaces meet, ZDDP is a 'last ditch' effort to lubricate but it goes away with use. Cam lobes and flat lifters is a common area where this is critical. Without ZDDP, the metal will start wearing away passed the heat treat, then wear becomes accelerated. Eventually, the lobes will round- out and the valves won't open. This happened to one of my Mercury engines. The whole story reveals itself if you remove a valve cover and run the engine. - Dave

07-27-2014, 02:11 PM
Dave thanks for the post, my car will be used mostly on weekend cruises/shows, I will change the oil this week who knows whats in the engine now. The engine sounds real nice no knocks or pings hope to keep it that way.

07-27-2014, 04:23 PM
Interesting post

How would you suggest rebuilding my numbers matching 390 to take advantage of modern fuels and oils...I guess at 73k, i shouldn't even bother with trying to get it running

07-27-2014, 05:07 PM
When you say, 'numbers matching', Ford never matched vin numbers with engine numbers. The closest we come is to find casting numbers that are used in the same model year.

By looking at any FE engine, it's impossible to tell what displacement it really is. They look identical from the outside. That's why folks are replacing their 352 with a 390. Parts are less expensive and more available for the 390 because Ford put that engine in all their cars and trucks for many years.

So, we measure. Put the timing marks on TDC and pull #1 & #6 spark plugs. Then stick a welding rod down #1, mark it at the rocker cover flange, pull it out and stick it in #6, mark it the same way you did `#1. Measure between your marks for the stroke.

Most FE engines differ by about 1/4" in stroke, so it's easy to tell which engine you have.

I built a 390 and documented the build with lots of pictures. Click on the link under "My latest project". I'm not done posting all the pictures but there are hundreds. This is how you should build your FE for modern fuel and oil. - Dave

07-27-2014, 07:11 PM
Interesting post

How would you suggest rebuilding my numbers matching 390 to take advantage of modern fuels and oils...I guess at 73k, i shouldn't even bother with trying to get it running

If the engine was maintained 73K miles isn't very much. These engines were designed to last many more miles than that. As far using today's fuels rebuilding the heads with hardened valve seats is one way to do it. You can also buy new aluminum heads for a 390.


07-28-2014, 12:15 PM
After 20 years I would be willing to bet that gaskets and seals are dry rotten a.d shot my 63 has been sitting 16 years and personally im going to rebuild like simplyconnected did check our his rebuild that's the way I'm going. Jeff

08-10-2014, 11:12 AM
thanks Jeff
I agree, especially being in Tucson all its life