Finding an Engine Block for a Ford Flathead V-8 Engine

How to Rebuild & Modify Ford Flathead V-8 Engines is a must-have for those of us with a passion for the rebuilding and modification of these magnificent engines. The following is an excerpt from the chapter entitled “Finding and Prepping a Good Engine Block,” filled with essential tips for rebuilding a V-8 engine.

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Near perfect, this low-time correctly rebuilt 1939-1940 engine could be run with confidence as-is, needing no more than a cosmetic freshening and a carburetor.
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Not so perfect. This old fellow has that “boat-anchor” look of an engine that has spent a lot of time outdoors. Still, it’s not necessarily a write-off.

A good block—the heart of a flathead V-8 build—is increasingly more difficult to find. A really good block, one needing only careful and thorough cleaning and inspection, plus basic machine-shop work, shows up in about one in five to one in ten candidates. For us old farts who recall a time when we could buy complete running used motors from a local wrecking yard for $50 to $75 (and that was for one that didn’t smoke or make funny noises), the present situation is sad, tragic even. It was also a time when we could order a new block through a Ford-Mercury dealer for about $50 to $60. And if we had a bit more money than wrenching skill or time we could opt for a fresh, professional long-block rebuild from Meyer-Welch, delivered to the dealer’s parts department for well under three Benjamins, including shipping and installation in your driver.

When we factor in inflation rates, however, the prices for Ford hardware back in the day were hardly chump change. The major difference between then and now is availability.

Time and the elements have taken their toll on many of the castings, most often parked outdoors and forgotten, usually after one or both heads and the intake manifold were removed to look for problems. Rarely were the heads or manifold reinstalled to prevent water and dirt from entering the engine’s nether regions, almost ensuring the demise of many blocks that may well have been in excellent condition when abandoned.

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We pulled the spark plugs and discovered that it wasn’t as bad as it first appeared. It did prove a bit marginal, however, as you’ll see in Chapters 4 and 5.

Blocks from motors that remained in service for decades are often no better than the neglected ones. With tap water as the odds-on favorite coolant years ago, cylinder walls today are often rusted away from the waterjacketing side to the extent that there is no longer enough material for the cylinders to accept a safe overbore.

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In addition to an oil-filter update, this engine includes the starter and a clutch assembly—a very good find indeed.

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How to Rebuild & Modify Ford Flathead V-8 Engines
by authors Mike Bishop and Vern Tardel

Tardel, two of the most highly-regarded experts in hot rodding, give you the detailed and accurate information you need to build, restore, or just daydream about the engine that gave birth to hot rodding.

Every aspect of buying, building, and owning a flathead V-8 engine is extensively covered. Go through the basics of selecting the right engine for the right project, building and rehabilitating engines, and final tuning. Diagrams and color photos bring these legendary engines to life for the hands-on hobbyist, collector, and aficionado.

Keep it mild or build it wild, but either way, How to Rebuild & Modify Ford Flathead V-8 Engines will help ensure your flathead is delivering the power you need.

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  • donald ohlinger

    I would love to get this book on the legendary ford v-8 engine that has powered so many ford motor company milestones such as the 1940 ford coupe and the 1932 ford and more plus pickup trucks like the 1940 ford pickup and the 1932 ford pickup plus the 1948 ford f-1 and the 1953 ford f-100 however the ford flathead was at the time like the Chrysler hemi is today it was considered the most powerful and rugged engine and also was considered the fastest engine ever to be engineered and developed ford was given appraises for the design and dependability and reliability a lot of gangsters wrote to ford motor company henry ford in particular appraising him for the flathead v-8 for its quick acceleration response and motivation however ford had a good handle on v-8 engines and most of there cars and trucks were built around quality however as the hotrod age began on SO-CAL and eventually around the world the flathead was the top powerplant for hotrodders when it came to making modifications and producing more horsepower and torque this engine was well known in the aftermarket were companys would produce superchargers and blowers plus custom valve covers from ardun and other companys go involved with the flathead v-8 engine and made more modifications for the exhaust system and intake and fuel management system as years went on and engineering became more sophisticated and technologically advanced companys started producing electronic fuel management systems and new engine parts to make a ford flathead run better and more efficient producing a lot of power there is all kinds of upgrades for the hotrodder who wants a powerful and fast flathead powered ford car or truck the engine has come along way and it is apart of the history at ford motor company there are displays at the ford muesem in detriot they have a lot of historic ford v-8 engines wich include the Y-block v-8 and the 272 plus the 352 and 390 and more I would like to get Mike Bishop – Vern Tardel : How To Build & Modify Ford Flathead V-8 Engines : Quarto Drives I would also like to mention that something needs to be put in place of Joesph Cabadas : 40 Ford : Quarto Drives like a book by Joepsh Cabadas on the 1933-1934 ford or the 1949-1950 ford coupes or even on the 1932 ford coupes or plan to do another book in the next 4 years on the 1940 ford.