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  #1  
Old 09-17-2011, 07:04 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Default Possible 390 for my 59, but?

Hey fellow birdmen (and ladies). I found a 69 F-250 dually flat bed with a 390. It has a holley carb, headers, a T-18 tranny, and a Dana 60 rearend. The motor looks pretty clean, obviously has been re-built at sometime. Actually, the entire truck is very clean for a 69. Anyway, it's been parked for a couple of years - I checked the antifreeze and it's green, but when I stuck my finger in and touch the inside of the radiator it was black, like oil had stuck to the inside, or was maybe floating on top. Pulled the dipstick and the oil looks normal. It has an electric/hydraulic crane on the bed. The owner used to use it for hauling 55 gallon drums for his work.
Anyway, from what I found "googleing", oil in the antifreeze probably means a blown head gasket. The guy told me the engine is strong, but he wasn't there to start it when I came by. Actually, I don't know if he's even started it in the past few years.
My question is, is a blown head gasket the most common cause of oil in the radiator, or could it just be dirty?
thx, Dave
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2011, 08:23 PM
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Dakota Boy Dakota Boy is offline
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Like most of the old stuff I've bought lately.... nobody knows for sure.... until you tear it apart and find out for yourself!

EVERYTHING is an adventure. No doubt about it....
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  #3  
Old 09-18-2011, 09:29 AM
ncbird ncbird is offline
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Default cost

I probably wouldn't worry about it that much. Oil and water make a creamy tan mess when mixed. If the antifeeze is clean and the oil is clean I would move on to common engine cks such as does it miss and do a compression test. This of course is based on asking price. Is he tring to sell the truck complete or just the engine? I would also ck the stroke to make sure a 360 hadn't been swapped in. To me it is about cost and risk at a hundred my risk is lower then about a thousand. I have a 360 out of a small bus van 100 bucks (may build a big stroker) as well as a clean 390 from a mid 60's pu $500 both included c6's.
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  #4  
Old 09-18-2011, 10:28 AM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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That's exactly what I was thinking Grant. He's selling it whole for $1500, he was asking $1800 but the truck is way out in the sticks at his moms house and not too many people want to go out there to see it.
I priced out the crane on the bed, it runs about $3500 new (he told me it cost them $4000). He said it alone is worth the $1500 he's asking. I want to buy headers eventually so they are worth a couple hundred to me - as well as the bell housing and clutch. The T-18 tranny should be easy to sell also. The dually Dana 60 rear end is worth a couple hundred. The cab is flawless other than faded paint. The VIN numbers all match up. The tires are dry and old, but hold air. Plus my 352 should be good to sell for a couple hundred. If I can get it for around $1200 it might be a good deal.
He's out hunting for the next week, but I'm going to ask him if I can pull the plugs, measure the stroke, and oil the cylinders before we try to start it.
Here's another one I found (just a motor). It say's it's a 6.4 liter 400ci. I believe they went to the 400 some time around 1978 when they quit making the 390. Does anyone know if it will drop in to the 59 t-bird?
regards, Dave
http://albuquerque.craigslist.org/pts/2585063956.html
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2011, 11:33 AM
63-4drpost 63-4drpost is offline
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the 400 is way different, bellhousing, etc. Stay sith the FE.
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2011, 04:05 PM
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When you get the 390 started, check for bubbles in the radiator. Blown head gaskets can manifest themselves in many ways, but they're all bad.

Antifreeze in the crankcase will wipe out bearings. Coolant usually shows up on the dipstick as described.

This 'black' substance you mentioned, what consistancy is it? Could it be anything BUT oil? Usually, oil floats on top. My neighbor mixed orange coolant with green and it turned to muck, too thick for the water pump, and eventually the engine overheated (even though he swears it didn't). He thought he was doing his Blazer a favor by 'giving it the more expensive, better stuff'. Turns out, this is very common with folks who just don't know what to buy and are afraid to ask.

An overheated engine usually warps the castings. A machine shop can straighten them out by milling (commonly done as part of a 'major overhaul').

I don't buy old engines to save money, but with the idea that I will overhaul them to modern standards. Remember, pre-1980 engines were made for different gasoline and flat tappet oil. The castings may be worn and inexpensive, but Magnaflux proves them to be solid (or we aren't going further). Any good parts I find in the process, are considered a bonus.

By overhauling, I leave nothing to 'chance', and my engines last, well, like modern engine performance. I expect 150K without burning any oil. - Dave
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2011, 06:35 PM
Richard D. Hord Richard D. Hord is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyconnected View Post
When you get the 390 started, check for bubbles in the radiator. Blown head gaskets can manifest themselves in many ways, but they're all bad.

Antifreeze in the crankcase will wipe out bearings. Coolant usually shows up on the dipstick as described.

This 'black' substance you mentioned, what consistancy is it? Could it be anything BUT oil? Usually, oil floats on top. My neighbor mixed orange coolant with green and it turned to muck, too thick for the water pump, and eventually the engine overheated (even though he swears it didn't). He thought he was doing his Blazer a favor by 'giving it the more expensive, better stuff'. Turns out, this is very common with folks who just don't know what to buy and are afraid to ask.

An overheated engine usually warps the castings. A machine shop can straighten them out by milling (commonly done as part of a 'major overhaul').

I don't buy old engines to save money, but with the idea that I will overhaul them to modern standards. Remember, pre-1980 engines were made for different gasoline and flat tappet oil. The castings may be worn and inexpensive, but Magnaflux proves them to be solid (or we aren't going further). Any good parts I find in the process, are considered a bonus.

By overhauling, I leave nothing to 'chance', and my engines last, well, like modern engine performance. I expect 150K without burning any oil. - Dave
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:03 PM
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YellowRose YellowRose is offline
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Default Possible 390 for my 59, but?

Richard, we DO have a "Like" button on this Forum! It is the Rating button that you see in black above a thread. It allows you to rate the thread you are looking at. I just used it to give this thread a 5 Star rating.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:41 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Thx 63-4drpost - I kind of thought that was the case with the 400ci, but thought I would ask.

And thx Mr. Dare, I hadn't even thought about such things. I just figured a blown head gasket meant I replace the head gasket and I'm ready to go. Never even occurred to me that way more damage could have already been done.

I didn't get a great look at anything. It had just started to rain so I had to hurry. The radiator cap had good clean green antifreeze on it when I opened it. After dipping my finger in it there was black and antifreeze was on my finger - the black was like grease. After I wiped it on a rag my finger still had a black smudge. (hope that makes sense to you)
I think that if I CAN'T test drive it then I'll pass for now. Way too much $ for a truck that doesn't run. There will be more 390's around eventually. However if i can test drive it I'll check for bubbles and also check the oil after I drive it to see if it looks or feels wrong.
Once again, this is just a Rat Rod thing so if I can find a 390 that runs (even average) I'll be good for several years. I can either rebuild it, or bore and rebuild my 352 over many years. I'll also have to talk to the guy good and long about the history of the truck - after we talk I'll either have a good or bad feeling, and I'll go from there. Hopefully he'll be back from hunting this weekend.
Thanks to everyone, I'll keep you posted if I have more questions.
- Dave J
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  #10  
Old 09-21-2011, 03:34 AM
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Richard & Ray, stop (or my head won't fit through doors).
We run into RE-sale issues a lot. You know the drill, the seller wants to make it look as good as possible so he can get the most money for it... I'm not saying everyone does this (but they all do on eBay). 'Honesty' is a scarce commodity that quickly turns into, 'buyer beware' or Caveat emptor.

I would want to see coolant that's NOT new, and oil that's not freshly changed. Yes, oil changes come due, but then operation continues which usually makes oil look new-ish. Same goes for coolant. If it's fresh green and you're pulling scum off the bottom, you know the block and other parts are in the same boat. What's more, it probably didn't go through many heat cycles to break up the oil.

So I would be suspicious. You want it to last years. Start the engine and let it warm enough to open the thermostat. Try to run it under a good load and listen for any rod knock or piston slap. Look at the blowby and the exhaust color.

I wouldn't expect it to run 'tight' because it is older and worn. The timing chain is probably somewhat stretched, causing an acceleration lag from a stop, and irratic spark timing. If compression is low on all cylinders, it will still idle smoothly. But if compression is low on a few, it will never idle smoothly. Let your test drive tell the story on fresh gas. If the truck has old gas, don't attempt to start it. You can smell old, nasty, gas.

Hope this helps. - Dave
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