The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

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Steve Simmons
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

Not sure I'd call it progress. The last time I gave up it was because I mushroomed the puller. :roll:

Haven't touched it since, but you're welcome to try. :)
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Re: Looking Good !

Post by VWNate1 »

Steve Simmons wrote:A little more progress I forgot to report from last week. I found a replacement grill for far less than it would cost to salvage what I had. Plus, I now have the stainless steel surround piece. I still need the center strip but that will come later.

The lower panels are a bit tweaked as are the left inner and outer fenders, so I can't quite get it all to line up. I'll probably leave that to a professional because I don't want to screw up those pieces. I can see them cracking because of all the compound curves.
It's coming right along there .

I'd be right at home behonmd the wheel in it now :thumbs: .
-Nate
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

This week's progress...

Finally got some "us time" with the engine, and the short block is basically done! :D

I hot tanked the block, had the bores honed and a valve job done, then brought the block home. Cleaned up the pistons, installed new rings. I reused the bearings because they look so good, and are so expensive to replace, except for the cam bearings which had to be replaced because of the hot tank process.

This morning, the wife helped me install the valve retaining clips as I was finishing installing the valve assemblies, and that was pretty much the end of it. Now I need to clean up the heads a little better, rebuild the carburetor, distributor and fuel pump, install the front cover and get a new clutch disc. Oh, and I've decided to buy remanufactured water pumps as well, because that's really important on these flatheads.

Yeah I know, the crank pulley is all rusty. :hammer:
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Flathead Short Block
Flathead Short Block
shortblock1.jpg (76.95 KiB) Viewed 21375 times
Flathead Short Block
Flathead Short Block
shortblock2.jpg (69.45 KiB) Viewed 21375 times
Flathead Short Block
Flathead Short Block
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by HealeyBN7 »

Steve,

It is looking really good. In the second picture, what is the purpose of the rod or tube that runs the length of the block?

Dean
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Larry Kluss »

Steve Simmons wrote:Yeah I know, the crank pulley is all rusty. :hammer:
Gives it character! :P
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

The rod uh... connects the front to the back. :wtf:

They call it the oil manifold, don't ask me why. Those little metal pieces are baffles to control the oil flow back to the sump.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by HealeyBN7 »

Steve Simmons wrote:The rod uh... connects the front to the back. :wtf:

They call it the oil manifold, don't ask me why. Those little metal pieces are baffles to control the oil flow back to the sump.
Thanks Steve. That really is an interesting engine and makes for a compact powerplant.

While one can see the efficiency of the gear driven cam, the routing of the combustion exhaust as it exits the valve, past the side of the cylinder and then finally out to the manifold I am gathering is one of the reasons we don't see these anymore.

Thanks for sharing. Dean
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

From what I gather there are several reasons why the design was finally abandoned. The intake and exhaust gasses have to make a severe bend to get from the valves into the piston bore which makes it inefficient. The engine is also very heavy for the power produced, something around 550-650 pounds complete for an engine which at its best (early 1950's) produced about 125 HP. The earliest models (late 1930's) put out 65. The exhaust routing as you noted is another problem because the hot gasses go through the block, around the cylinders and along the cooling passages before exiting into the manifold. It's no wonder why these things are prone to overheat!

On the bright side, the flathead block is one of the most durable and high quality engines of the period. Note the lack of flashing along the edges, and the quality machining work. Plus they are very easy to work on and in general parts are not that expensive. Lots and lots of go-fast goodies available as well.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Jimmy »

Seems a simple blower could overcome those intake and exhaust deficiencies.
In baseball, running into someone is apparently a "collision".
But doing the same thing in a car somehow makes it an "accident".
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

It does help, but at great monetary cost.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Jimmy »

We only live once.
Might as well do it fast, while we still can.
In baseball, running into someone is apparently a "collision".
But doing the same thing in a car somehow makes it an "accident".
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

Recent progress... The biggest hurdle has been the bunged up head stud hole. I made myself a template from 1/2" steel plate which I used to drill out the hole larger.
Flathead V8
Flathead V8
IMG_1171.jpg (60.97 KiB) Viewed 21339 times
I ran into a tough spot and found that there was still a piece of head bolt in there. So I played dentist and wrapped the area to protect from metal debris, then went to town with a die grinder. With the offending piece removed I was free to finish the hole, then tap it and install an insert.
Flathead V8
Flathead V8
IMG_1177.jpg (63.9 KiB) Viewed 21339 times
Flathead V8
Flathead V8
IMG_1180.jpg (46.98 KiB) Viewed 21339 times
Flathead V8
Flathead V8
IMG_1185.jpg (64.74 KiB) Viewed 21339 times
The only problem is that I don't think the insert has enough bite because the hole was a bit larger than I thought. While one side of the hole has decent thread, the other side barely got any bite. The next step will be to drill even larger and use a bigger insert, and hope that I don't break through into the water jacket!
Flathead V8
Flathead V8
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Jimmy »

I think somebody mentioned that these motors were quite stout and dependable.
Well, if that's indeed the case, just weld the head on - it should never have to come off again.

Edited by administrator: Following comments split to THIS thread.
In baseball, running into someone is apparently a "collision".
But doing the same thing in a car somehow makes it an "accident".
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

Well, two months and little progress made. I managed to get a bit of work done recently and discovered a few more treasures in the truck. :)

First I found this note pad. Most of the front pages were eaten by mice so I tore them off. Remember when "secretary" was a job title? Now they are called administrative assistants and secretary is considered an insulting term. :roll: Remember how you needed a secretary to write down the names and numbers of people who called? That's right kids, answering machines and voice mail weren't always around.
Note Pad
Note Pad
Note-Pad-1.jpg (58.71 KiB) Viewed 21293 times
Looking at the back of the note pad we can see that the previous owner had a few things going on. He was involved with some kind of town house in Reno, and was perhaps going to visit his friends the Masons on Saturday night, possibly in Eugene or maybe Eugene was going with him. We will never know!
Note Pad
Note Pad
Note-Pad-2.jpg (62.74 KiB) Viewed 21293 times
A while later I found this old Goodyear Tire service tag. There are four different tires on the truck (all US-made, how cool is that?) but none of them appear to be Goodyear Brand.
Goodyear Tire Tag
Goodyear Tire Tag
Godoyear-Tire-Tag.jpg (53.16 KiB) Viewed 21293 times
And just today this penny fell from somewhere. It's from 1958! No telling when it was dropped into wherever it was, but it's safe to say it was sometime between 1958 and 1968.
1958 Penny
1958 Penny
Penny.jpg (55.35 KiB) Viewed 21293 times
In other news, the long block is 98% done. I'm considering taking it in for paint soon, depending on how much the estimate is. Then I will finally be able to put in the new glass and seals. I did finally get the windscreen frame removed but all of the screws are rusted solidly in place so progress is moving very slowly.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by gorms68 »

I think I see the image of Henry Ford on the back of that notepad! :bow:
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by VWNate1 »

Pretty cool ! .

I still had one of those message pads at my old shop when I transferred out in March....

I kept it arouind as I was the only person who'd take 'phone messages when the boss was out .
-Nate
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

Great progress has been made on the engine, but I'll save that for the next update when I've buttoned a couple of things up I'm in the middle of.

Today I came across another little treasure. There was a pile of spark plugs in the engine bay when I found it, and I didn't give them much thought. Today I was wondering what type of plugs would go into this thing when it's done so I went out and got them from the battery shelf where they have sat for the past 40+ years. To my surprise, I now have a set of 8 AC porcelain plugs! I cleaned them up, all except for one to show the difference. They look so good that I've considered reinstalling them. :)
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AC Spark Plugs
AC Spark Plugs
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AC Spark Plugs
AC Spark Plugs
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Re: AC Spark Plugs

Post by VWNate1 »

Cool ! .

What did you do , buff them ? they look great , not like the wire wheel .

This # 45L , is still used in Chevy 235 CID StoveBolt engines..... .

I occasionally find them on Flea-Bay or @ PO-mona Swap Meet , # 45C works too but runs a bit colder and can foul when used in town much .

I can't wait to hear this truck run again .
-Nate
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

OK, time for some long-overdue updates. Yesterday was a marathon session, and thanks to Chris (gorms68) we made a lot of progress.

But first lets back up a bit. Since my last update on the engine, I decided that I hated the color and repainted everything. I'm much happier now. Then I had a decision to make between standard head nuts or chrome acorn nuts. Ordinarily I would never go for the "bling" of chrome acorns, especially in a truck, but somehow these old flatheads just scream for them so I bit the bullet and splurged on this one item.

Here are a few photos of the engine assembly process from where I left off previously...

The re-repaired hole in the engine block
Threaded insert
Threaded insert
hole.jpg (34.55 KiB) Viewed 21225 times

Heads skimmed and ready to install
8CM Heads
8CM Heads
heads.jpg (25.56 KiB) Viewed 21225 times

Head studs and gaskets installed. I had to custom grind all 48 head studs. That took a while!
Head gaskets and studs installed
Head gaskets and studs installed
gasket.jpg (46.29 KiB) Viewed 21225 times

The block and heads re-painted and chrome acorn nuts installed
8CM Engine
8CM Engine
painted.jpg (49.4 KiB) Viewed 21225 times
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Steve Simmons
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

Now we catch up to yesterday as the finishing touches were made to the long block. I ditched the original rod cap nuts with sheet metal retainers in favor of ARP nuts with some red locktite. Here's the completed lower end...
8CM Lower End
8CM Lower End
lower-end.jpg (39.03 KiB) Viewed 21224 times

And the completed long block, with a few small thing still left to do (carb, fuel pump, etc)...
Mercury 8CM Flathead Engine
Mercury 8CM Flathead Engine
engine.jpg (35.78 KiB) Viewed 21224 times
Mercury 8CM Flathead Engine
Mercury 8CM Flathead Engine
engine2.jpg (37.27 KiB) Viewed 21224 times
The chrome acorn nuts and period AC spark plugs. Not yet sure if I'll run the plugs or not.
V8 spark plugs and nuts
V8 spark plugs and nuts
plugs.jpg (40.97 KiB) Viewed 21215 times

We lifted the engine off the stand, attached the re-lined clutch and battled to get the engine back in place, learning a lot of ways to NOT install a flathead. Finally, the engine was back where it belonged!
1939 Ford V8 Pickup
1939 Ford V8 Pickup
engine-installed.jpg (49.18 KiB) Viewed 21224 times

And a final parting shot, as we left the project...
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1939 Ford V8 Pickup
1939 Ford V8 Pickup
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Re: Very Nice !

Post by VWNate1 »

Especially that last photo , it looks calendar / magazine ready , that pic. does :thumbs:
-Nate
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by gorms68 »

One thing failed to mention was that the day before he cam eto my garage and helped me swap the transmission on my MGB and then re-install the engine and tranny back into the car. We had a marathon weekend and in the end made a lot of progress on our respective projects. It sure was fun working on two totally different projects in one weekend. And yes we did learn alot. Probably enough to fill a small book :drive

That last picture really did cap the night off. Great ending!
Chris Gorman
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Larry Kluss »

Yea!
Perhaps it's just me, but the truck looks happier with the pretty rebuilt engine back in place. :)
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by max71 »

Please tell me you took the time to repaint the engine bay before you put the engine back in ... ;)

Otherwise, congrats!
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by tannyo »

max71 wrote:Please tell me you took the time to repaint the engine bay before you put the engine back in ... ;)

Otherwise, congrats!
That would just take away from the patina. :)
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