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  #11  
Old 08-01-2017, 01:49 AM
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All these opinions are healthy to examine and compare. If money is no object then certainly, an overhauled 430 would be a real treat. Just about anything can be made for a price, but hang on to your hat IF you can find someone to make proper parts.

Pistons top the list of rare parts and we have lots of posts regarding that. Here's a post from 11-10-2010 about a 'marine 430'. He mentions Photobucket pictures that have been removed long ago:

Quote:
Originally Posted by P Jardine View Post
There has been a lot of discussion on pistons on the MEL engine forum, I have been part of that discussion. Although a number of manufacturers did make stepped pistons for the MEL series engines, most of them stopped based on demand. The pistons available from Kanter, Egge, and a few others are flat tops. This reduces the effective compression ratio from roughly 10:1 to about 7:1 and destroys the swirl in the combustion chamber further reducing performance. The 430 in particular was a VERY high performance engine with a short, yet fabled history. Ford paid particular attention to combustion chamber design, and piston style was big part of it.

In my particular build, which is a marine one, I ordered WISECO forged aluminum pistons with a 9.6 to 1 compression ratio. $1400 dollars. It was a fairly big investment, but overall in the big scheme of things.... not so much. My engine has been renewed completely with a 3 angle valve job, seats, new guides, crank was turned, Wiseco pistons, An original Mercury marauder intake with the 3 holley 2300's, Edelbrock M4 water cooled exhaust manifolds, Moon valve covers, etc etc. While cosmetics are important, a fresh engine costs for things you don't see, but they are the heart of the car/boat etc. I am looking forward to having an engine with a long life ahead of it, and no surprises or downsides.

If you visit the MEL engine forum, you will see a LONNNG thread on piston design etc.

Here are my Wiseco's and a couple of other pics of front and rear cover and polished manifold. Hours, I tell ya Hours.

The 430 MEL also used a special oil pump with a vacuum pump integrated on the bottom of the casting. Curiously, it was made by Delco-Remy.

The 430 never used an exhaust heat riser valve to warm the engine but they did have two thermostats, mounted into the block. I haven't seen these thermostats in many years at any price.

Soooo much discussion regarding heads... While it's true that heads are the heart of any engine, aluminum heads are far superior for transferring heat and shedding weight. I've never seen even a picture of an aluminum head for a 430.

Squarebirds came with two engine choices, the FE and MEL. Since FE engine sizes can not be readily identified from the outside, a 390 looks the same as a 352. Edelbrock offers aluminum heads and intake manifold for the 390 at a reasonable price. Edelbrock heads include bronze guides, Viton seals, Stainless valves, hardened seats, new springs and tapped holes with Helicoil inserts. They bolt-on right out the box.

I'm coming from a practical standpoint, in moderation. The 390 FE w/aluminum heads will solve heat problems whereas the finest cast iron heads lag far behind with a heat transfer factor of FOUR. Want high compression? Edelbrock added 5/8" of aluminum to the bottom of their heads so they can be shaved clear down to the valve seats (or not, your choice).

By contrast, the 430's combustion chamber is IN THE BLOCK. Sorry for yelling but nothing can be done about that. Any metal removed to clean up the heads or block will only make combustion chamber swirl and compression ratio matters worse.

The FE can easily produce more HP and torque than the MEL because of modern aftermarket choices, at reasonable cost. To top it off, savings in weight is well over 100 lbs. Swapping an FE in your SB for that MEL still keeps it 'Ford' and is a believable move, in keeping with the traditions of 'stock' parts. - Dave
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  #12  
Old 08-01-2017, 01:32 PM
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For the price of alum heads for a 390, I can get a 514 stroker kit for a 460. If I'm going to kill the uniqueness of the 430 for anything else, it might as well be something with some killer torque.
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  #13  
Old 08-01-2017, 02:03 PM
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O.K........O.K., stop yelling at me! Just kidding .

Yes, rebuilding the 430 MEL will cost more than the FE, but not significantly.

Pistons yes, but they are readily available from the custom piston manufactures, with some delay (3-4 weeks) for production.
We're not dealers for Wiseco, (who make a fine product), and costs for pistons will vary from each supplier and options selected (one can run the costs up here), but this price consistently bantered about in this specific example is not typical of the cost one would anticipate incurring, just for pistons.

Yes, the original oil pump application in the MEL is unique, but, since often the windshield wipers are, or will be, converted to electric (or in some cases, the vehicles will just not be operated in the rain), the standard FE oil pump is substituted, and the vacuum wipers will still operate, just not as reliably under varying throttle application, when sourcing only manifold vacuum, accompanied by storage devises.

As far as thermostats: note that the water flow routing in the MEL is a little different from your other Ford products, and the two thermostats mounted in the block was an excellent engineering endeavour, for a more equal control of the temperatures of the opposing cylinder banks, particularly during warm-up, which was also added; but, proved to be somewhat excessive, and therefor discontinued, both in later production units and typically at rebuilding.

I have already commented on the aluminum vs. iron cylinder heads previously, so we won't go there again. But, I would like to clarify that the major lost value (other than compression ratio) within the cylinder when the "flat-top" pistons vs. properly designed dome configuration units are utilized would be described as "quench" vs. "swirl".

The quench area within the cylinder produces an effect that is often described as high velocity turbulence within the atmospheric environment on the compression stroke, particularly as the piston nears the cylinder head and during initial ignition, vs. swirl a generally lower velocity motion in which values are exhibited particularly during the inlet stroke and earlier in the pistons upward movement process before area is lost and things become more violent (atmospherically).

As far as to the better(?) engine(s) available for "hop-up", well, let's leave that for another thread.

Scott.
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  #14  
Old 08-01-2017, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbf777 View Post
...Yes, rebuilding the 430 MEL will cost more than the FE, but not significantly...
Scott, we have many Bulldozer owners who would like to know how much a major overhaul will cost. They are looking for standard machining services, using OEM-type parts including domed pistons.

In short, what is a fair price to bring a 430 MEL back to its original glory, and where can our members go to get it? This information should include the name and number of a reputable engine builder who is familiar with MEL 430 engines.

Thanks in advance, because 'theory' is wonderful but we are looking for tangible help. - Dave
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  #15  
Old 08-01-2017, 05:35 PM
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If and when I need 430 machine work, I would look for a guy who specializes in Chevy 409's. At least they should know how to machine the block.
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  #16  
Old 08-01-2017, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyconnected
In short, what is a fair price to bring a 430 MEL back to its original glory, and where can our members go to get it? This information should include the name and number of a reputable engine builder who is familiar with MEL 430 engines. - Dave
A "fair price" would be that in which both the buyer & seller were both satisfied with. Unfortunately, this would not consist of a specific number/monetary value across the board for any and all components and labor operations in every instance. Varying condition of the necessary items involved, & sum of the desired items to be addressed or replaced must be addressed on an individual basis. This question as you pose it, is not so simply answered.

Different vehicle owners (buyers) and different shops/rebuilding facilities (seller) often have different ideas/intentions of what is required to rebuild or even what the definition of such truly is. This requires a "meeting of the minds" or else dissatisfaction looms in the relationship. And if not in agreement, part company amiably, before one even begins.

The MEL engines are not so different from others (all have some sort of quirks), that any capable rebuilder/automotive machine shop shouldn't be able to provide such services. If the shop response is "we never worked on one of those before", this wouldn't be so surprising; but if also adding "I not sure if we know how", now, I suppose then I would move on.

Scott.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbf777 View Post
...This question as you pose it, is not so simply answered.

...part company amiably, before one even begins.

...I suppose then I would move on...
Are you serious? Not one name of an engine builder or a phone number? Again, lots of theory but I'm looking for tangible help.

I use a reputable engine builder who offers a free 2-year warranty on engines he builds. He extends that warranty for a fee.

I spoke with Mike, hours ago. He employs a dozen guys, each disciplined in different aspects of engine machining and assembly. He said his cost for a 430 set of heads is $600. That includes cleaning, truing all mating surfaces, new bronze guides, new exhaust seats and replacing any valves that are bad. Other options will be extra cost like, Viton seals, new springs, stainless valves, etc. So ok, I asked for standard fare, not rocket science. This is a good ball park start.

Mike mentioned that 10:1 compression ratio brings us to the top of our commonly found fuel octanes. I agree. He said 430 pistons may be available but suggested going down in compression ratio to about 9.3-9.5:1. I also agree. He asked for a few days to search around for pistons.

Mike is providing concrete answers, which is exactly what I would need to overhaul my 430. Before any work starts there will be a bottom line estimate and a detailed parts and labor list.

Thanks for your answer Scott, but I think I'm all set. - Dave
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  #18  
Old 08-01-2017, 11:02 PM
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I'm not in the position to be aware, on a daily basis, of which shops provide what level of competence, on any possibly required operation, on any and all possible products, anywhere anyone on this forum may reside. Sorry.

I am pleased with fact that you are satisfied with "your shop"; but as I read it, he hasn't stated a "how much a major overhaul will cost", some general numbers, but with the caveat that there are/will be additional charges for this or that, as required or deemed necessary. Doesn't really sound so different, does it? Some arbitrary "ball park" numbers to get started isn't what you asked; and I've been in the business long enough to see many projects fly right out of the "ball park" before it's over!

To often, supposed facts and concrete answers are boisterously presented in forums; and I only wish to advise that anyone contemplating such services communicate directly and accurately with those whom supply such services vs. following the opinion of the naive.

Now I'm sure I've stepped over the line (again), but I feel I have only responded in a format as presented by others.

Remember the purpose here (forum) is to provide possible aid to others, not one's self. And that is my goal.

Scott.
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  #19  
Old 08-02-2017, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbf777 View Post
...Yes, rebuilding the 430 MEL will cost more than the FE, but not significantly.

Pistons yes, but they are readily available from the custom piston manufactures, with some delay (3-4 weeks) for production...
Sorry if I misunderstood your meaning but based on your answer, you say 'they are readily available'. I am looking for domed 430 pistons and I'm asking if you could share your source with our community. Yes, I asked for your help in estimating a fair price for an overhaul because you're right, after pistons are sourced the rest of the build is much like any FE engine. Fair and ball park have synonymous connotations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbf777 View Post
...I am pleased with fact that you are satisfied with "your shop"; but as I read it, he hasn't stated a "how much a major overhaul will cost", some general numbers, but with the caveat that there are/will be additional charges for this or that, as required or deemed necessary. Doesn't really sound so different, does it? Some arbitrary "ball park" numbers to get started isn't what you asked; and I've been in the business long enough to see many projects fly right out of the "ball park" before it's over!..
That's right, no price is possible until we find out what piston sizes are available, when they are available and finally, how much will they cost. We cut bore size to the pistons, so pistons must be there first.

The 430 Bulldozer is very different because FE cast pistons cost about $110 per set, not $1,400. This 430 major overhaul may not happen at all if parts are out of reach. That is why Mike asked for a few days to check his extensive sources and suppliers.

Extra cost? Let's play the 'what if' game... After cutting bores larger, what if the only pistons that are available are heavier than stock, which throws the crankshaft balance off. As with any engine, Mallory metal may need to be welded into the crankshaft counterweights and certainly a crankshaft balance (with flex plate and damper pulley) will be necessary. I've been here before with Sealed Power (Federal-Mogul) pistons. Size matters but excessive weight can drive the cost of an overhaul up an extra hundred bucks.

Regardless, all these considerations are part of an estimate before any work starts.

I simply gave a ball park number on heads because they are 'standard fare' and consistent with most cast iron heads. It's a good basis to start the overhaul pricing until more information becomes realized. All help is welcome. - Dave
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  #20  
Old 08-02-2017, 01:39 PM
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The draft tube on the 430 is inside the block, you cannot see it from above when looking at the top side of the engine. The tube exits the left rear corner of the engine adjacent to the oil pan corner. The tube only extends about an inch outside the block and has a 45 degree bevel cut on the end. If you do not see the tube, look closer and you'll see the hole in the block facing the road.
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