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Small Block restoration finishing tips

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  • simplyconnected
    Administrator
    • May 26 2009
    • 8772

    #16
    This is why it's important to use a GOOD and experienced FE engine builder. I know that Ford quit making these engines many decades ago and that most of the 'FE guys' are long retired, so finding 'the right guy' is not easy, especially in Europe.

    Ford parts catalogs refer to these bolts in two part numbers as follows:
    C1AZ 6A527-A (qty. 2) 3/8"-16 x 3.29
    C1DZ 6A527-C (qty. 6) 3/8"-16 x 2 31/32

    Notice that only TWO are required for the oiling stands and both part numbers are called out as the same diameter. But... look at the difference in shank diameter and thread length. ARP will not have what you need because they are not FE guys but they will have standard bolts:

    FE_StandBolts.jpg

    StandBolts-a.jpg

    You can use grade-8, 3/8"-16 x 3-1/4" bolts that are turned down in a lathe. How far? I would take off 1/8" (.125" diameter) OR you can simply grind a flat into the side of a standard bolt (as I previously mentioned). Make sure you use hardened flat washers because the bolts are carbon steel and the stands are aluminum.

    Experienced builders restrict oil flow to the heads because FE engines notoriously retain about a quart of oil 'on top', on long interstate trips where 65-MPH is sustained for hours. My point is, the shank diameter may be a little larger than the small-shank OEM bolts, just to restrict oil flow. Rocker arms do not need much oil flow.​

    A common mistake that Chevy builders make is to install the rocker shafts upside down. Rocker arm oiling holes are on the BOTTOM of the shaft. - Dave
    Attached Files
    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

    Comment

    • Eric S
      Super-Experienced

      • Jun 10 2018
      • 1054

      #17
      As a rule how do you determine the thickness of the head gasket on an engine?
      FelPro offers one stamped steel .015" and their Perma Torque at .042".
      Is there any reason to use a thin one over a thick one?
      I am not sure to understand the advantages of their Perma Torque.

      Comment

      • simplyconnected
        Administrator
        • May 26 2009
        • 8772

        #18
        Some builders like to control the compression ratio by using different thicknesses of head gaskets. Measure your old head gasket with a micrometer. It should be around .030" thick.
        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

        Comment

        • Eric S
          Super-Experienced

          • Jun 10 2018
          • 1054

          #19
          Yes old gasket is .040" so I will get a FelPro perma Torque that is .042"...

          Comment

          • Eric S
            Super-Experienced

            • Jun 10 2018
            • 1054

            #20
            Originally posted by simplyconnected
            For core plugs (with no threads), simply clean the machined hole to get all grease and dirt out, spread a thin layer of Permatex Ultra RTV in the hole then pound the plugs in. I use brass plugs and I buy them in a kit at Amazon.
            Dave,
            looking at the freeze plugs in the engine, they are in real good condition, rather thick from what I can see and engine is overall in good condition. It's not a 60 years old dirty original engine.
            Now my question is, does it make sense to remove them and replace with brass plugs of maybe a lesser quality (chinese). I originally thought I might be able to check, clean behind plugs but am wondering if this makes sense at all, disturbing something that is not broken...

            Comment

            • simplyconnected
              Administrator
              • May 26 2009
              • 8772

              #21
              The engine build and all new components are up to you. Freeze plugs are easier to remove and install with the engine out of the car. Unless you have first-hand experience with the history of the last rebuild, taking chances on low-cost parts makes no sense to me. Yes, I listen to the previous owner's 'stories' but they go in one ear and out the other. Then, I check for myself.

              Freeze plugs corrode from the inside, not the outside. Galvanized steel plugs suffer from 'galvanic corrosion' whereas brass plugs do not. I urge you to look at this engine... CLICK HERE

              I spoke directly with the previous owner who told me, 'the engine ran when it was removed from his F100.' After tearing into it, I don't know how that was possible. - 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

              Comment

              • Eric S
                Super-Experienced

                • Jun 10 2018
                • 1054

                #22
                Dave From what you see on pictures below, would you remove and replace the plugs?

                Attached Files

                Comment

                • simplyconnected
                  Administrator
                  • May 26 2009
                  • 8772

                  #23
                  Like trying to judge a book by its cover, this plug looked ok from the front. They corrode from the inside out.
                  I automatically install brass plugs in all my engines whether they need it or not (today).

                  image.png

                  If you happen to knock the plug into the water jacket, simply grab it with pliers and pull it back out. I never leave them in there. - 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

                  Comment

                  • Eric S
                    Super-Experienced

                    • Jun 10 2018
                    • 1054

                    #24
                    Still on this engine. I removed the freeze plugs. They were nice but quite dirty inside as Dave said.

                    Now I was looking at the heads and noticed the springs were not all the same and on some valves I can see a guide gasket (that's it?) and other not.
                    So as the heads were removed, I pulled some springs and valves.
                    Some were quite difficult to remove and valve locks were stuck in the spring retainer. Tool compressed the spring but I had to hammer (with a wood hammer handle used on contact with valves) quite a bit to remove some.
                    I have shorter springs on intake valves. Never saw different springs on different valves!?

                    Also the gaskets that slide on the guides were going up and down with the valve. Are they supposed to clip and stay on the guides?
                    And on the exhaust valves, I had not a cupped gasket but a square section kind of O-ring. At first I thought it was the remains of a cupped gasket but those are the same on all the exhaust valves.
                    I don't think this is all normal and I may order new springs, gaskets, ...
                    What do you think?

                    Comment

                    • simplyconnected
                      Administrator
                      • May 26 2009
                      • 8772

                      #25
                      We have come a long way from 'Squarebird days' in materials and methods used. Those 'umbrella seals' are useless. They are made of neoprene which hardens, loses its 'grip' on the valve tower, then it rides up on the valve.

                      The idea of a valve seal is to wipe oil on the valve stem and to prevent intake vacuum from sucking oil down the tower and to help prevent exhaust gasses from blowing oil up the exhaust valve stem.

                      Modern Ford engines use Viton seals that have a spring that girdles the seal around the tower so the seal never moves. Aftermarket heads, like Edelbrock, use Viton seals as well. If I must reuse cast iron heads, I have the machine shop cut the valve stem towers to accept Viton seals. They really are an advancement in engine engineering because the engine uses less oil and you don't get that 'puff of smoke' upon starting.

                      Here are pictures of my Y-block heads with Viton seals:
                      DSCN3564.jpg

                      DSCN3582.jpg

                      These valve guides have not been changed.

                      Here is an Edelbrock FE head with Viton seals:
                      DSCN1075.jpg

                      Valve springs are inexpensive. Like all coil springs, they get stiff and don't work as well. I suggest you change ALL of your valve springs as part of a head overhaul. Remember, heads are the heart of every engine. Don't ever cut corners on your heads. - 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

                      Comment

                      • Eric S
                        Super-Experienced

                        • Jun 10 2018
                        • 1054

                        #26
                        Still working on this small block engine.
                        I am painting the block. Removed the coolant flush plugs on the bottom of the block.
                        How do you re-install them. They seem to be conical and self locking/sealing. Do we need any product on the threads?
                        Last edited by Eric S; March 21, 2023, 12:58 PM.

                        Comment

                        • simplyconnected
                          Administrator
                          • May 26 2009
                          • 8772

                          #27
                          'Conical' flush plugs with threads? Show us a picture of what you mean.
                          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

                          Comment

                          • Eric S
                            Super-Experienced

                            • Jun 10 2018
                            • 1054

                            #28
                            Will try to get a picture but I have been told it's a 3/8 NPT.

                            Comment

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