Cars & Racing | 11 September 2015Finding an Engine Block for a Ford Flathead V-8 Engine Share article facebook twitter google pinterest 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. 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. 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. GOOD BLOCK VS. BAD BLOCK— A RATIO IN DECLINE 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. 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. In addition to an oil-filter update, this engine includes the starter and a clutch assembly—a very good find indeed. 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. Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.