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  #1  
Old 02-09-2014, 09:58 PM
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Default 352 FE Engine Woes

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
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2014, 10:09 PM
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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
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  #3  
Old 02-09-2014, 10:20 PM
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Thanks John! I may hold onto the 352 or sell it as is..it sure looks good lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by jopizz View Post
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
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:52 AM
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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
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:58 AM
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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.

Last edited by Larry : 02-10-2014 at 08:21 AM. Reason: Add info
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2014, 10:41 PM
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Default Update

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.
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Old 03-19-2015, 11:23 AM
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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 ....)
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Old 03-19-2015, 11:55 AM
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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.
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