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RE: Engine Specs HELP

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  • RE: Engine Specs HELP

    Hey everyone, I just posted this on the VITCI site as well but I wanted to copy it to here as well. I hope this category is okay, I put it in General discussion because the engine parts vary by a few years and I figure it can use every ones expertise. Basically I need a new camshaft and the valve lifters between the two cars are different heights, but I'd like to start by giving you a bit of background. I apologize ahead of time for the long post but I'd just like to provide you with as much information as possible about the engines.

    I own a '62 Hardtop (I'll always refer to this as MY car), and last year I bought a parts car, '62 Hardtop as well. I was told it was running, but personally never saw it run, I only really cared about a few of the parts on it anyways so it never phased me.
    Just recently my dad and I pulled out the engine from my car to go through it and rebuild it. From what we can see it looks like someone had gone through it in the recent past already. It ran great when I bought it so I know everything works. We also pulled the engine from the parts car so I can sell it and swap parts if needed/compare.
    Well this is where we started noticing a lot of differences between the two and we're not sure what is right. Although my engine worked, we're wondering why certain things are different, and what I should be using in my engine.
    I'll list the specs and numbers below for both cars.
    *indicates the most significant differences

    MY car:

    VIN: 2Y83Z115564
    Date: 04L
    *Engine Block #: C1AE-6015C
    Heads #: C1AE-6090-A
    *Camshaft: Spring thrust type
    Camshaft lobe width: 1.530"
    Camshaft lobe width: 1.725-1.755" (measured a couple)
    *Valve Springs: Dual Springs
    Valve Spring Height: 2.09"
    Valve Diameter: Exhaust - 1.56"
    Intake - 2.25"
    *Hydraulic Valve Lifters Height: 1.85"
    Crankshaft #: C1AE-A
    Pushrods: Same length as parts car
    Valves: Same height as parts car
    Rockerarm Assembly #: B9AE (mounting holes are round, otherwise looks exactly the same as parts car)

    PARTS car:
    VIN: 2Y83Z50523
    Date: 14C
    *Engine Block #: C6ME-A
    Heads #: C1AE-A
    *Camshaft: Thrust plate type
    Camshaft lobe width: 1.495"
    Camshaft lobe width: 1.680-1.705" (measured a couple)
    *Valve Springs: Single Spring
    Valve Spring Height: 2.25"
    Valve Diameter: Exhaust - 1.56"
    Intake - 2.35"
    *Hydraulic Valve Lifters Height: 2.00"
    Crankshaft #: Cannot find number
    Pushrods: Same length as my car
    Valves: Same height as my car
    Rockerarm Assembly #: C2AE (mounting holes are slightly squared, otherwise looks exactly the same as parts car)

    1. WHY are the Hydraulic Valve Lifters in each car so different when everything else is so close to being the same? Which car has the right ones? Considering my car was running, I would guess mine are right but we are really perplexed as to how the parts car engine (supposedly) ran with such different specs. I know from the casting numbers that some are '61 and the parts car are '66 (?).
    2. How do I go about finding a new camshaft for my car? I've been told I should go with the thrust plate type, but otherwise is there are part # or type that's out there that will work with what I have?

    I'd just like to know what is right and what is wrong so that I can find the right camshaft and maintain/fix the engine with the proper knowledge in the future. If you require any more information please let me know and I'll try my best to provide it.
    Thank you for your patience!
    1962 Ford Thunderbird Hardtop

  • #2
    EDIT: Parts car Heads #: CC1AE-A (yes, two C's)
    1962 Ford Thunderbird Hardtop


    • #3
      I'll defer to the experts here on the "numbers matching" details, but since you are rebuilding your engine, what is your goal?

      I understand why some would want to keep everything as the factory intended, but that's not the way I chose to go with mine. Why keep a poorly designed oiling system when it's so easy to modify it and have a much more reliable engine that can go another 250K miles before you rebuild it again? I also chose to take advantage of the enormous potential of these FE engines and built it up a bit using modern internal parts, a little bit more cam and roller everything. It looks the same from the outside except it's better on the inside, and won't leak oil all over my driveway.


      • #4
        I'm not too concerned with numbers matching and everything, I was a little bummed to find out that things weren't matching but the engine is otherwise in great shape, as I said, it was running great, we just noticed there was some wear on the camshaft so I figured lets just replace it now since we're here already. I just want to make sure that for whatever engine this is that the parts on it are right. We were using the parts car engine to compare to but more and more I'm thinking the parts car is further from being right then mine is (that's where your expertise comes in!). I don't want to do any damage to my engine so I want to make sure I get the right camshaft and that the valve lifters and everything else is right. Of course if anyone has any suggestions for new/updated parts while I'm in there, please do share but my primary concern is getting a new camshaft and making sure everything that's in my engine is going to work.
        1962 Ford Thunderbird Hardtop


        • #5
          Chris, we need to put things in perspective. Ford FE engines from back then were engineered to run on leaded gas and good engine oil of the day. We don't have gas or oil that meets those spec's, today. So, lead was just fine in cast iron engines and oil included zinc and phosphorous (ZDDP) for flat tappets.

          FE engines were Ford's second attempt at an overhead valve engine. The first (Y-blocks) had oiling issues. FEs were only somewhat better, so they went through changes. Early FEs had solid lifters, like Y-blocks. Then Ford went to hydraulic lifters (which is what you have).

          Your 390 was popular but Ford made improvements in 1964. One of those improvements included a new style cam. It has a thrust plate instead of a button spring. This newer cam setup is easily changed with the addition of two bolts in the block, a new thrust plate, and a longer cam bolt.

          PRE-1964 FE engines are not popular and as such, most of the big boys do not carry parts for them. Look at cams and timing sets on or or eBay. The only 'true roller timing chain set' I can find is for a '64-'74 FE.

          Today's engines need to be built for today's fuel and oil. Our materials are much better and so is our longevity and gas mileage.

          Modern engines have aluminum heads and intake manifolds. They also use stainless valves & seats and bronze guides with Viton seals. Edelbrock makes a nice set for FEs for around $1,500. Sound expensive? It's really not when you consider resale value, there are no machining costs, all the parts are new and assembled. Aluminum stops all that pre-ignition and run-on by transferring heat far better than iron.

          Modern engines have roller cams. Comp Cams makes real nice roller cams for '64 or later FE's. The lifters are a bit high but they are coming down.

          Modern engines use hypereutectic alloy pistons with moly rings. Sealed Power offers a full line of these pistons and Hastings makes moly rings to suit.

          Modern engines are fuel injected. You can do this too, or wait a bit. Fuel injection wakes up any engine. It constantly monitors and adjusts for 14.7:1 air to fuel ratio. EFI requires a computer, injectors, a high pressure fuel pump and a few feedback sensors.

          Want better gas mileage? Modern engines use electric radiator fans that only run when needed.

          I encourage you to build your 390 using new components. 352s and older blocks are far more expensive to build IF you can find parts. In fact, Edelbrock FE heads will only fit 390 and 427 engines. The bore size is too small for Edelbrock intake valves on 352s.

          So, keep your short block and upgrade the cam mount, pistons, rings, con rod bushings, cam & lifters, oil pump and timing set. Then add a pair of Edelbrock heads and intake manifold. You can reuse your carb, exhaust manifolds, and final dress parts.

          If you reuse your old heads and intake, the car will be a dog because of poor heat transfer. Your timing will be too retarded (to cool the engine) and your fuel mixture will run rich (to cool the engine). - Dave
          My latest project:
          CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

          "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
          --Lee Iacocca


          • #6
            Thanks so much everyone for the ton of info, still a bit fuzzy on some details but I think we're gonna get through it. We're not going to go crazy on the engine right now since I'm paying for everything myself but it's definitely good info to keep in mind when searching for parts/upgrades.
            I'm going to look into a new cam which should come with new lifters so that will be one problem solved. I'm still unsure why the lifters were such a different size than the other car but as long as she runs I'm happy haha.
            Once again, if anyone has any other input, send it along and I will also keep you guys posted on the progress and share any further questions I have.
            1962 Ford Thunderbird Hardtop