Ford 390 FE Engine Overhaulh1>


This engine is a custom-build all the way with no shortcuts, starting with finding a good seasoned core.  New parts include; aluminum heads, aluminum intake, hydraulic roller cam & lifters, roller timing chain, high volume oil pump & intermediate shaft, oil modifications and all name-brand components.  Meticulous care was taken in machining, balancing and hand fitting each component.  The distributor is recurved and spark is produced by Pertronics. 

Finally, the engine was proved on an engine test stand.  It does not leak, show blowby or have any bad habits as shown in the following videos:

Movies... 2014-05-30 



I believe in saving as much money as practical.  Yes, cheaper components will work but they do not have nearly the quality or longevity.  I expect my builds to last 250,000 miles, produce maximum horsepower and output good gas mileage without leaking or overheating. 
All rust must be removed and exposed parts must be painted.  This is a huge part of the job and one that most mechanics will not do because it takes a lot of time.  I also restore the starter motor.
The most economical assembly is done in proper order and done once.  That way only one gasket set must be purchased.  I prove the engine by running at least five gallons of gasoline through it, spread over many heat/cool cycles, before stuffing it in an engine bay.  I take lots of pictures and videos.  I cannot tune distributor timing on the stand because that must be done under load.
If by remote chance something is not right, it will usually show up early while the engine is running on the test stand.  Re-mounting on an engine stand from the test stand is easier than pulling it from a car body.  Engines from the factory are tested in much the same manor, before they get to the assembly plant.

Disassembly Assembly
Find a Good Core (this page)
Engine Identification
Machining:   Block Machined

Mike, owner of D&S Engine Specialists baked, shot peened, Magnafluxed, align bored crank journals, and decked block for 9:1 compression ratio. The crankshaft rod and main pins were ground .010", Rod gudgen holes were re-bushed and honed to original size.

Extensive oil modifications were done to improve lubrication:
Oil Modifications

All the new parts were ordered: Goodies arrived

FE Starter Motor Rebuild:  Teardown and rebuild a 1973 Starter Motor

Early Starter Motor Rebuild:  Teardown and rebuild a 1956-61 T-Bird Starter Motor.

  Bring it all together on the Engine Test Stand.

Teardown Intake & Heads

Heads:  Rocker Arms & Shafts, Checking Piston-to-Valve clearances.

Intake Manifold: Assemble & install Intake Manifold & Distributor:

Distributor: Assemble, Recurve Advance & add Pertronix II.

Teardown Lower End 1
  Freeze Plug, Oil Pump, Motor Mount, Dipstick Tube Removal
Teardown Lower End 2   ID: Main Journal caps, Rods & Caps
Teardown Lower End 3  Piston, Crankshaft, & Pipe Plugs Removal, measurements
Balance Procedure:  Rods, Pistons, Crankshaft
Measuring Main Bearing and Rod Clearances, measuring Piston Ring end gaps, and stuffing pistons.
Remove Water Pump & Timing Set

Cam Removal
Block Assembly:
Install the Camshaft, Main Bearings, Crankshaft. Gap Piston Rings, Rod Bearings, Stuff Pistons.
Installing the Cam and a True Roller Timing Set.
Degreeing and advancing the Cam.
Remove Transmission
Assembly:  Install Spacer Plate and Flex Plate

Randy Carron at RC Trans & Gear - Overhaul and Retrofit C-6 Transmission to include 1st & 2nd gears from a Ford E4OD trans.

I enjoy meeting fellow restorers and old school hot-rodders.  Bob Crain (left) advertised a complete 1973 390/C6 in Flint, Michigan's Craig's List.  Bob is an amazing character with a long history of collecting and building Fords.   I am here (on the right) to pick up his engine with my cousin and assistant, John Lambert.  It was freezing inside Bob's barn.

Ol' Bob had his propane heater blazing, but it was still cold inside his man-cave.

This is Bob's 1967 Galaxie 500 (yes, that's Michigan ice on the ground).

Bob bought this car from the original owner.


Absolutely gorgeous and not a dot of rust, anywhere.

The engine was ready to go when we got there.

Just to verify it's really a 390, Bob rotated the crank to TDC.  Then, I  pulled #1 & #4 plugs and marked the piston depths with a welding rod down the plug holes.  (When #1 is up, #4 is down.)  Sure enough, there was 3.75" between my marks.  That proved the crank has a 390/427 stroke.  352 stroke is 3.5".

Bob and John are setting up the engine and trailer for a trip down Interstate-75.






Ok, we're ready for the hour trip back to my house in Royal Oak, Michigan.  

Now, I have my work cut out for me...  Teardown is next.

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