Friday, December 30, 2011

Block Updates

When Ford cast the 351 Cleveland, they cast all of the blocks the same.  The Australian XE race blocks intended for drag and road race cars are the only exception.  Even the Austrailian blocks are essentially the same casting, and I was told that when stateside production halted, the molds were shipped to Australia.  All blocks have 4-bolt main provisions, even if they have 2-bolt mains.  This means if you have a set of 4-bolt main caps, you can drill the block and have a 4-bolt main block.  I think it's overkill to seek out a 4-bolt main capped block and many people would agree for a street-driven car, but I want to be able to really get on this engine.

My block has 2-bolt main caps.  I had 4-bolt main caps from the previous owner's engine, so I took them in to have them looked at when the block was being cleaned up.  Roger from the machine shop said that he put the torqued block and caps into his line hone today and confirmed that the 4-bolt main caps are usable with this block.  So, I can use the 4-bolt main caps I have, effectively making my block a 4-bolt main block.  I'm also going for ARP main studs.  I already have ARP head bolts.

After the align hone and rough bore, I'll probably stop everything on the engine and concentrate on body issues, of which I have several.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Machine Shop Blues

I took my 351 Cleveland block and 4V quench heads to the machinist two weeks ago this past Wednesday.  Roger at RB Machine will be looking at the block & heads.  The task at hand is to clean both block & heads up and then check them over.  Immediately upon seeing the block and heads, Roger said that it didn't look bad at all.  He checked the bores with his finger and said "it'll need 20 thousandths over".  He agreed to disassemble the heads and clean them at the same time as the block.

I got word on Wednesday about what I was in for.  It seems that the block is in excellent condition and should be a great foundation for the engine.

The 351 Cleveland 4V quench heads (casting D1AE-GA) are a different story.  Roger said that the heads have pitted valves and valve seats, need new valves, and doesn't trust the double springs with dampers.  What I thought were stainless steel exhaust valves are actually two-piece stock, burnt valves.  He said the keepers are in poor condition and will require replacement.  The bronze valve guides are actually cheap bronze guide inserts and Roger didn't recommend keeping them, even though the valves are tight in them.  So, in a nutshell, the good heads I thought I had aren't very good at all.

I called the guy who sold me the heads on Thursday.  I explained what we found and tried to be as understanding and calm as possible.  He said "send me the pictures and let me dig back into my emails to see what I said I was selling you".  Sure enough, he emailed me on Friday and offered new valves or a discount on another item I need for my project or even a refund if I shipped the heads back.  I haven't decided which to do, but I'm leaning toward the discount on the other item.  I really appreciate his acceptance that the heads weren't what I thought they were.  I am also glad that he didn't say "I can't help you since I didn't know about that".  +1 for him in my opinion.  I never thought he tried to pull a fast one and this confirmed it.  He told me that he would stand behind what he did, even if it was painful or costly for him, and he has done just that in my opinion.

Obligatory pictures: