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Old 12-06-2020, 01:34 PM   #1
Mn1949ford
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Default Any advice for a newbie?

Hi guys- Here is my story with some questions. So about 8 yrs ago I bought a 49 ford 4 dr from an older gentleman down the street. It had been parked since'81. It ran rough, found 2 valves were stuck. Ended up freeing them,redid brake system and drove it for the next 2 summers. Had the time of my life! First old car at the age of 43. Anyways I started losing power, checked compression and discovered my rings were gone. Pulled engine,tore it down. Except the dang cam, can't seem to get it out. Anyways my question is- after getting my block cleaned and pressure tested. Can't I get new rings and valves, etc and put it together myself? I've never done this, but have bought a couple books. I've been reading threads about this and wonder what the outcome would be? How important is balancing? I appreciate any help or advice you can give me. Thanks, Eric.
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Old 12-06-2020, 01:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Welcome friend. Yes you can do this your self. You may need shop to do the valve job for you. These are just 8 x a Briggs & Stratton
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Old 12-06-2020, 01:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Yes you can - just take KiWin's advise and let the rebuilder install the valves. Do you have any of the reference books?

I did what you are considering. It did help immensely to have a brother available with many more mechanical smarts.
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Old 12-06-2020, 05:23 PM   #4
Mn1949ford
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Thanks for the advice fortyniner and kiwi. So with my limited knowledge, I assume all the builder would need to do the valves would be the block and cam. Correct? And can you recommend some must have flathead books? Thanks guys
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Old 12-06-2020, 09:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

The gotta have books would include:
Rebuilding the Famous Ford Flathead by Ron Bishop (he is active here as Ol' Ron
Ford Flathead Engines - How to Rebuild and Modify by Thacker and Herman

I would also suggest that you get a color-coded laminated wiring diagram - I used classiccarwiring.com. These are diagrams for stock 6 volt systems. The 12 volt systems have a few modifications depending on the power source.

If you don't have one, either get or get access to a decent torque wrench. It wil get a workout along with an engine lift.

In my case, I had the builder handle all the tough stuff - block cleaning, machining, and valve removal/installation. The builder also bought the new pistons, bearings, and seals. Unless you are daring, I would also have the builder install the main seals - this is the wrong item to mess up on a new build

Good luck and don't hesitate to ask any question.
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Last edited by FortyNiner; 12-08-2020 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 12-06-2020, 09:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

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The first must have book is the 49-51 Ford shop manual. The second is a Ford parts manual.
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Old 12-07-2020, 08:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Ford Flathead Engines, How to build and modify by Tony Thacker/Mike Herman--it does have some good info, you will be subjected to all what if's that can occur with a rebuild. It also follows the rebuilding of an 8ba. I amnot an "expert" by any means but I have assembled a few flatheads and I liked this book.
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Old 12-07-2020, 03:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

make sure to check the bore to make sure it does not need bored. It probably does, but if not you will still have to hone it. you will have to have a machine shop do the bore job and have them fit the new pistons that will be required if you bore it. also have the machine shop check the crank journals.
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Old 12-07-2020, 04:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Hello Eric I wrote a response yesterday but must have not sent it.

You can do as little or as much as you like. If you just want to get it running again you could just address the things known to be wrong and trust that everything that was working ok before will continue to work ok again.

Or you can decide up front to replace certain items and have some machining done, but minimising it to the bare necessities.

Or you can throw lots of money at it and replace absolutely everything and pay for all the best parts throughout.

It mostly depends on how much money you want to spend, how much work you are prepared to do yourself and your experience and skill level.

Your best bet would be to dismantle what you have, lay it all out and isolate the parts that need attention.

My advice would be to get down to the first thing you are unsure about and ask a specific question about that one item. We can often give advice freely but to to give non targeted advice would literally involve writing a book on the subject.

You have asked about balancing. Personally I have not balanced my engines but have not changed many components to upset the factory balance. Others will say it's money well spent. It depends to a degree on having somewhere nearby that can do it at reasonable cost.

For what it's worth I've fixed up (not rebuilt) a motor recently and am currently working on another one. I have been putting videos up on youtube under the user "Mart's Garage". You might want to check them out and may find them interesting. If not interesting at least amusing.

Let us know how you intend to proceed.

Mart.
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Old 12-07-2020, 05:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Mart is correct that if you re-use all of the original parts (crank, rods, pistons, etc.) you can probably get by without balancing, as the factory balances are pretty good. If you are mixing and matching parts from all over, a balance job may be a good idea. If you are going whole hog with expensive parts, it's probably necessary.

About 30 years ago, I was at a show with my original '51 Ford. A guy with a '50 parked next to me. He said he had had his engine completely rebuilt. He was amazed at how much smoother my engine ran. I went so far as to check that he had his plug wires on correctly, but everything looked OK, so I figured it had to be the balance. Who really knows?
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Old 12-07-2020, 07:29 PM   #11
Mn1949ford
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Alaska Jim,Mart,Tubman and everyone else- thank you for for everything. Here goes- My plans are to just get my flathead running again. I did save everything. But in my excitement of tearing down my first engine, I just put the pistons in a pile. Is that a problem? I mean is that a part of balancing? Piston #1 needs to be #1? I hope you understand what I'm trying to say. Anyways... I think I'll get the block cleaned, pressure tested and if good to go I might try and attempt it myself. Maybe. I do have some books. Shop manual,Ron Bishop book and Frank Oddo book. Mainly concerned about doing valves. Thanks for all the help. Eric
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Old 12-07-2020, 08:02 PM   #12
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Get your pistons out of the pile and try to determine what cylinders they came out of. The rod and rod caps are stamped with the cylinder number. The rod caps should be assembled on the rods with the numbers matching. My engine is a 21 stud 1937 engine. The rods were numbered: 1, 2, 3, 4 on the left side of the engine and:1R, 2R, 3R,4R on the right side. The rods were all installed with the numbers facing forward with the numbers toward the outside of the engine.

When tearing down an engine, the details matter. You need to look for markings on parts so that they can be reinstalled in the same orientation and location. Make notes of your observations so that you can get it back together correctly. You will need to know where all the parts, including the different length bolts went 1 to 3 months from now.

You can do this, take your time.

Last edited by Zeke3; 12-11-2020 at 10:31 AM. Reason: Correction and added info.
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Old 12-07-2020, 08:11 PM   #13
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

For the record, Ron Bishop is not Ol Ron. Those are two different and distinct heros.
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Old 12-07-2020, 08:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmo Rodge View Post
For the record, Ron Bishop is not Ol Ron. Those are two different and distinct heros.
Wayno
Thanks for the correction, Elmo. Good to know.
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Old 12-07-2020, 08:46 PM   #15
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Don’t feel bad,My first build I did the same thing.
What I think is more important is matching the caps to the pistons.
I took a magnifying glass and matched the caps to each pistons.
If they are numbered that’s great.
Took some time but it went well.
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Old 12-07-2020, 08:47 PM   #16
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FortyNiner View Post
The gotta have books would include:
Rebuilding the Famous Ford Flathead by Ron Bishop (he is active here as Ol' Ron
Ford Flathead Engines - How to Rebuild and Modify by Thacker and Herman

I would also suggest that you get a color-coded laminated wiring diagram - I used classiccarwiring.com. These are diagrams for stock 6 volt systems. The 12 volt systems have a few modifications depending on the power source.

If you don't have one, either get or get access to a decent torque wrench. It wil get a workout along with an engine lift.

In my case, I had the builder handle all the tough stuff - block cleaning, machining, and valve removal/installation. The builder also bought the new pistons, bearings, and seals. Unless you are daring, I would also have the builder install the main seals - this is the wrong item to mess up on a new build

Good luck and don't hesitate to ask any question.
Somehow I never realized that Ol' Ron was Ron Bishop.... I had rebuilt a few briggs and strattons and a 1 cyl BSA motorcycle, but until I got Ron's book (maybe I saw it in Hemmings motor News) I was deathly afraid to open up my ailing flathead. He lead me through it and it didn't seem so hard. As many of you will attest, it pretty much changed my life. I still have no ford flathead friends on my island, or in person. Before the internet, Ron's book was my link to this world. So, what I am saying to the poster tonight is pay close attention to Ron's book. You will be glad you did. And best of luck with your 'overhaul'.
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Old 12-07-2020, 08:51 PM   #17
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmo Rodge View Post
For the record, Ron Bishop is not Ol Ron. Those are two different and distinct heros.
Wayno
Oh great.... Ol' Ron here is still an expert in his field.
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Old 12-08-2020, 05:26 AM   #18
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

Ol' Ron is Ron Holleran.
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Old 12-08-2020, 09:58 AM   #19
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Default Re: Any advice for a newbie?

To elaborate on on who Ol Ron is, here is his book. I also added a couple of other books I like and the late one is by JWL, a Barn contributor that goes through modifications and expected results.

If your not familiar with it, VanPelt's site has a lot of useful information on it.
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