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Old 12-16-2010, 10:25 PM
Ian M Greer's Avatar
Ian M Greer Ian M Greer is offline
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Question FE Engine Blocks

Ok here we go,looking for input on my 390 block. On buying my M-Landau I had suspected from the start that the block in it was not the original one,first of all the six pack was long gone and a two barrel intake was sitting in it's place. Secondly their was a very definite bulge from the inside on the left chrome valve cover , indicating a major disaster had occurd at one point . On removing the engine and transmission my beliefs were comfirmed on decoding the block I found it was out of a 1964 thunderbird . Now here's my question on initially perchasing the M it came as a package deal along with a 1963 hardtop, at the time I wanted the M so I felt I couldn't go wrong with the two considering the both had the same interior code as well as a lot of the same option's . The hardtop is an early production 63 still showing the holes in the door pillar for the vin. plate but having the vin plate mounted on the door. This car is very original with one paint job . The engine in this car was complete though badly gumed up . My concern is it's timing arrow is a single point with the timing marks on the homonica balancer versa's other 1963 390's Ive seen with timing mark's on the pointer and single groove on the homonica balancer . It's date of production would be right in the correct time frame for my M but did Ford use different timing mark setups on the 390 engines. I see that Thunderbird Headquarters does list the different styles but they are the only one that does .Any input would help . Ian
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Old 12-17-2010, 04:12 AM
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Ian, I personally don't trust ANY timing marks until I find the real TDC.

Harmonic balancers are manufactured in two pieces, with urethane in between. With age, the outer ring can slip. Guess where Ford put the timing marks... right on the outer ring instead of notching the pulley. So regardless of which side has the hash marks, and it really doesn't matter, you need to verify where top dead center is.

Finding TDC is easy if you have the right tool. I removed the guts from a spark plug and welded a 1/2" rod to the shell. The rod sticks out about 1-1/4".

I just screw it into #1 spark plug hole, turn the crank by HAND in one direction until it stops (the piston comes up and hits the spark plug rod). Mark the damper pulley with the pointer, turn the crankshaft in the opposite direction until it stops, mark the damper pulley again, and true TDC is exactly between your damper marks.

I've seen flimsy sheet metal pointers that bent (and other causes of inaccurate timing). Once I find TDC, I file a notch in the edge of a pulley, and paint the notch yellow.

You have a good FE because true roller timing chain sets are available for it. Not so for years before 1961. I encourage you to get a good 'true roller' timing set and 'degree' your cam timing. It costs nothing more to degree your engine and you can download a degree wheel from the Internet. I've seen Ford engine cam timing off by as much as fifteen degrees retarded (on a 460).

If you advance your stock cam by four degrees, your engine will be much more responsive, with no gas pedal lag. - Dave
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