Wednesday, January 23, 2013

sometimes you have to take a stand

It's great to be back at work on my '68. And with a pivotal bit of work to report too. Progress in terms of replacing the stock six cylinder motor with a much thirstier V8 has been slow to say the least (it's all in the preparation!) but finally I'm back in business. This will probably be the last time I'll mention the six cylinder engine, so I'm going to start off with my favorite picture of the engine compartment as it was when I took ownership of the car. This photo was taken after I detailed out the motor before Ponies and Snakes 2009. To date this remains the car's only show appearance.

Fast forward to May 2010, and I ripped down the six as much as I could, but without any hoisting equipment, I had to work round it for a bit longer.

February 2011 and with the help of my buddies Chuck and Phil the six was pulled out at last.

I donated the six and the 3 speed gearbox to my friend Wayne for use as a drive-train in his 67; I was delighted to get rid of it because I was in the process of moving house at the time.

the last photo before departure...

My first option for a replacement was a 1974 302 which was donated by my buddy Abe after he acquired a 351W. The story of this motor was documented here.

This is how the 302 looked for 99% of the time it was in my custody. The yellow polythene came with a mattress I bought from Ikea on the same day I acquired the motor. Later I passed it onto my friend Larry, who had it over-bored and rebuilt it before installing it in an Eleanor clone. I have no idea what he did with the polythene.

If you're wondering, the reason I let the 302 slide on by was this, my dream motor, my very own 351W. I acquired the 351W from the Koncord Kougar King, so naturally it came out of a Cougar, a 69 model to be precise. Here it is about to be loaded into Wayne's pick-up, one summer day in July 2011.

taking in San Leandro, on the way back to the Green Room
parked up and in line for some TLC...eventually...

Fast forward to November 2012, and I've got the day off work and just one thing on my mind: getting the 351W up on the engine stand. Now an engine stand is an odd thing: While it might be an expensive bit of kit, if you've got one you don't need it is an awful thing to store. I know the latter is true because when I floated my requirements for such an item among my car-friends I was inundated with proffered donations. My friend Larry got lucky because he lives closest to me. And, although the stand didn't come with any hardware, I managed to get what I needed from Home Depot for a few bucks. I started by bolting the stand face plate into the block; my 4.5 inch bolts were probably half an inch too long so I had to figure out some spacers.

So far so good, but the motor was still too heavy for me to lift it onto the stand, so I set about reducing the weight. Started by popping off the valve covers. The inside was very clean: no sludge, no filings, no broken springs etc; all very nice in fact.

Pulled out the stock manifold. I've already got a four barrel aluminum replacement stashed somewhere. The valley also looked in top notch condition with absolutely no sludge.

Off with the heads. This is when I began to really appreciate what a good set of tools can was just *so much* easier.

There was a bit of crud on the top of the cylinders, but the walls were hardly scored at all. Yabba-dadda-do!

OK, so the motor was a lot lighter without the heads, but still far too heavy to lift it onto the stand. The sensible thing to do at this point would be to buy or borrow a cherry picker, or failing that, round up a couple of strong friends...but neither of these options was on my agenda. Oh, no. I like to do stuff the hard way. Started by chocking up the base with some pieces of timber. I just wanted to raise the base enough to slide the engine stand underneath.

I used a combination of the floor jack and a long piece of timber to jack up the platform in my tiny work space. Altogether I needed the equivalent of five 2x4's in height (approx 9.5 inches) to clear the engine stand (as below). I then inserted a bunch more pieces of lumber between the platform and the motor to gain another 6-8 inches of height. Unfortunately I was still about eight inches away from where I needed to be, and the position of the motor was becoming precarious. I literally could not go an inch higher without the motor toppling over....

So it may surprise you to see the next couple of pictures:

Here's the secret: I took the front caster off the engine stand, which, when angled down was at the perfect height. Then after the engine was mounted on the stand I levered in some timber and replaced the caster.

With this result:

Overall the cylinders were very clean, with just some light rust right at the top, probably from sitting for so long.

Drained out the oil...

Tune in to the next installment to find out "what's inside the oil pan" ;)


  1. Just did this teardown on my own 351w. If you ignore the rust in the water passages, everything looks pretty good on my motor as well. Good luck with yours!

  2. Ian, you are one inventive dude! I loved the hoist mounted to the pickup truck. I may have to get one of those. You're going to have one torque monster with that 351W. Are you going to add a roller cam? I looking at gutting the 5.0L I have out of a 90 GT for the lifter guide and put it in my stock 302. Looking forward to the next engine installment.

    1. Thanks. I haven;t decided on a cam yet. The pickup belongs to my buddy; he got the hoist from HF but also added a bit of extra support. I can email you some better photos if you like?

  3. I love your engine-uity in getting that block up on the stand! Can't wait to see the rest of the rebuild!

    1. engine-uity...! Thanks, I'm going to use that ;)

  4. Yes, like Alex, looking forward to see the engine fully assembled in Ford blue, with a 4-Barrel Edelbrock (or Hollie?!), a nice 3" exhaust system and a couple of Borlas for music to our ears! What on your mind about suspension mods? This is going to be a mean mudder after that engine install.

  5. BTW...I don't know if you got my other comment, but if you still have the left quarter panel left over from your repair I would be interested in it, particularly the section from the door to the middle of the wheel well. Let me know if you have it and what you want for it. Thanks.

    1. Hello Dennis,

      I don't recall your other comment? Unfortunately I had to jettison the Qtr panel when I moved. Along with an awful lot of other stuff. Otherwise you would be welcome to it. And thx for all your encouragement :)