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Brian Wheeler and his 351W

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  • simplyconnected
    • May 26 2009
    • 8727

    Brian Wheeler and his 351W

    A week ago, Brian Wheeler (Brians70XL) and his wife, Cherie, drove up from Fort Worth, Texas to visit Robin & I for two reasons; to experience the Woodward Dream Cruise and to pick up his 351Windsor engine that I built for his 1970 Ford XL (Brown Sugar).

    Brian arrived Thursday 8-24-17 and it was action packed the entire time until they left on Sunday, to see the eclipse. If ever there was a marathon, this was it. The Woodward Dream Cruise actually starts a week in advance so that everyone from Florida to Canada and from NY to California and all over, can get here and set up. 1,200,000 people attended this year with more than 40,000 classic and muscle cars. Time, for us, was short. We cruised Woodward and A&W Drive-in, in our '59 Galaxie, ate at good restaurants and we even hit an ice cream parlor. But much of our time was focused on preparing the engine for a test run and to complete the test stand.

    I built Brian's engine a year ago but he asked if I could hang on to it as his car body isn't quite ready for the engine. I have four engines in my garage but hey, what's another among friends, so I did. It remained on an engine stand until Brian arrived.

    The initial start for any engine is a bit rough because all the hydraulic lifters are dry (not pumped up) so the valves don't work right until they are run. Yes, I always prime the oil pump before starting but that only fills the oil galleries, rocker shafts and bearing passages. Until the crank and cam turn, lifters don't get filled.

    Click on Brian's picture to see this bad boy start up for the very first time:

    The video goes into saturation because we have open exhaust manifolds. We're using common 10W-30 Shell oil because he is running a roller cam from Comp Cams. Oil pressure is 60-PSI when cold and slightly lower after warm-up. Compression is 9.2:1, heads and intake are Edelbrock aluminum and his new carburetor is a 650-CFM Edelbrock. The stock rocker arms (1.5:1) and shafts are original 1970 Ford. The timing chain set is a true roller, advanced 2-degrees, from Summit Racing. There are no coolant or oil leaks. The ignition points are original but timing is not set up at all. In short, this engine is built for Texas heat and it runs beautifully on regular pump gas.

    I welded this test stand on wheels (two swivel and two stationary) for easy maneuverability. Most of it is 1" square 16-gauge tubing, to run the engine and to transport it in the bed of Brian's pickup truck. The engine is now safely back home in Fort Worth, Texas.

    For those who don't know, Brian is Leonard Wheeler's brother. Both brothers are truly great guys that I am proud to know. Hopefully, they will come to future Woodward Dream Cruises as my guest. - Dave
    Member, Sons of the American Revolution

    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

    From: Royal Oak, Michigan
  • Dan Leavens
    Moderator / Administrator

    • Oct 4 2006
    • 6320

    Dave I am sure that Brian will enjoy his 351 Windsor for many years to come. I especially liked in the video start up of " this bad boy " when Gracie came to the back door to check out the noise on the start up
    Dano Calgary,Alberta Canada
    Thunderbird Registry
    58HT #33317
    60 HT (Sold )


    • Brians70XL
      • Dec 10 2015
      • 5

      It was a pleasure meeting you and Robin and thank you again for the fine fine hospitality. Cherie and I look forward to seeing you again soon. My XL is literally a labor of love for me and to hear my 351 run for the firstime since 94' was incredible. Brown Sugar now has a fresh power plant that this Texan is very proud of. Thank you for being a part of this Ford labor of love.

      Brian Wheeler


      • YellowRose

        • Jan 21 2008
        • 17070

        Brian Wheeler and his 351W

        I just love it when Forum members on here get to meet and know each other and become good friends. Even though many of us are separated by thousands of miles and oceans, sometimes we have the opportunity to visit with each other and made new friends, face to face. I always look forward to that opportunity! Consider the friendship that has developed between Leonard & Debbie Wheeler ~ Yellowbird, of North Texas, and Tom Taylor ~ scumdog, from New Zealand, and his wife with their visits back and forth! They have shared time together they will always cherish. The same applies to others on here who have been able to meet and get to know others. And now Brian & Cherie, and Dave & Robin! Great Stuff!

        Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
        The Terminator..... VTCI #11178 ITC #6000 Yellow Mustang Registry (YMR) #12188
        Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411