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Ron Pilger 03-06-2019 10:33 AM

302 in a 33/34 pickup

I sold a very nice 33 pickup to a longtime friend. Though it stings a fair bit, this fellow has no flathead experience and has decided he wants to stuff a 302 into the original chassis. Jack does not own or operate a computer so i agreed to posting/posing this question on his behalf: What will the most serious fitting obstacles be in this transformation? Any advice, based on personal experience, (other than please don't do it)? Thx. in advance.

TJ 03-06-2019 10:52 AM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

Frankly if he wants to put a later motor in that pickup the small block Chevrolet is easier to fit and cheaper to rebuild. The Chevy has a rear sump pan like the flathead and is shorter in length than the Ford. The Ford has a front sump pan that can interfere with the front crossmember. JMHO

blucar 03-06-2019 12:35 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup


Originally Posted by TJ (Post 1733567)
Frankly if he wants to put a later motor in that pickup the small block Chevrolet is easier to fit and cheaper to rebuild. The Chevy has a rear sump pan like the flathead and is shorter in length than the Ford. The Ford has a front sump pan that can interfere with the front crossmember. JMHO

Unfortunately I have to agree with TJ's comment about the SBC engine into an early Ford, About the only problem is clearance for the fuel pump which can be solved with an electric pump.
The '54 and later Ford engines are not an easy swap into an early Ford, yes they can be done, they just take longer and cost a bunch of money.
A SBC with decoy valve covers will not be that noticeable to the average person.

rotorwrench 03-06-2019 01:46 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

Most 302 small blocks are front sump and even the rear sump version still has a relatively deep front. The water pump protrudes forward a good bit with the timing chain cover as do a lot of Ford engines. They are not an easy fit.

An SBC with a short pump and an adapter on the back can even use the old transmission. There are a lot more advantages than the SBF offers for sure. Most want to keep a Ford in a Ford but it's a lot more work.

Charlie Stephens 03-06-2019 02:17 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

I would have the flathead rebuilt if it was me. If you go for an all out high performance flathead it won't be reliable. A stock one will be reliable. What is wrong with the engine in the truck now?

I am sure you can buy adapters to use the original trans (or better yet a rebuilt '39 trans) but I am not sure about the length. If he wants an automatic or later transmission you need to cut up or remove the X member. Then you have to build mounts for the brake and clutch. Of course it will need to be converted to open drive if the transmission is updated.

Remember new engine mounts and a reworked radiator.

How big is your friends pocketbook and how does he intend to use the truck?

Be sure to post your question on HAMB, that is where the experts are for this type of change.

Charlie Stephens

Seth Swoboda 03-06-2019 02:37 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

I don't mean to be a smart ass, but what is so hard about a flathead V8 engine? I think they are fairly simple and straight forward.

revkev6 03-06-2019 03:06 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

as stated above, chevy is much easier... there's a reason they are popular.

when I was a kid we put a 302 in my mothers model A sedan. required a cutout in the firewall, bronco oil pan. ran a c4 so we put a tube trans mount in it... this meant going to a 4 bar or hairpins or splitting wishbones...

it really depends on what he wants to do and how stock the truck is currently. a couple flathead books in the bathroom is a hell of a lot less time and money than an engine swap!!!

JSeery 03-06-2019 03:20 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

As others have posted, a SBC is just about a bolt-in and can easily be reversed in the future if anyone wants to install the flathead again. There are a lot of 302 Fords in early cars (I have one) but it is not an easy install, normally requires cutting the firewall, tie-rod clearance issues, etc.

jimTN 03-06-2019 05:03 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

A 85hp 221 will run as fast as the brakes (even hyd), steering and shocks will handle and plenty fast enough to keep up with traffic (with a 3:78 rear) and fast enough to kill you. If you want to butcher something, cut an stovebolt PU up, they are cheaper than good Ford tin.

mfirth 03-06-2019 05:03 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

Here is another vote to keep the flathead.

waterboychuck 03-06-2019 05:27 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

I'm not sure of this but are the frame rails boxed on 33/34 pickup? If not he would have to do that prior to installing a SBC

JSeery 03-06-2019 06:06 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

It would depend on how you intend to drive it and how big (Cubic Inches) an engine you use. A flathead has a lot of torque and the SBC wouldn't be much different if it is a smaller size and somewhat stock. Especially if you are running the stock transmission and rear axle. I wouldn't box it if it was me. Thousands and thousands of them were done in days gone by.

skidmarks 03-06-2019 06:49 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

You dont need to box the frame for the chevy motor, and if you adapt the Chevy to the ford transmission it will be the easiest way to change it back to stock . It can be done without butchering anything.

Early chevy trucks are harder to find in good shape then fords for a number of reasons.
I would love to find one of those cheap plentiful 37 or 38 chevy pickups

TJ 03-06-2019 07:48 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

I know I mentioned using the Chevy motor, but why not put a good used 8BA in the pickup. The 8BA is probably as simple to work on as the Chevy. Might even find a rebuilt one from an abandoned project.

paul2748 03-06-2019 08:09 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

1 Attachment(s)
There are a lot of builders that have put small block Fords in 33's. It might take a little more to do it, but it fits with the right combination of parts..

You know what Henry said

Ol' Ron 03-06-2019 09:06 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

The biggest problem you'll have with the chevy swap, is replacing all the transmissions ans axles he'll break. Then he can change the drive train as well. We learned that 50 years ago.

Ron Pilger 03-06-2019 09:17 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

Some great perspectives. Each and every comment will be printed out and forwarded. The depth of knowledge on this site never ceases to impress and even amaze.

Ford Freak 03-06-2019 11:29 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

I would find a good 49 - 53 Ford or Mercury flatty for it .

Flathead Fever 03-06-2019 11:39 PM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

Like Ron said a 302 will wipe the teeth right off an early Ford trans. My dad had a '32 3-window with a completely stock "265" Chevy coupled to a '39 trans. That 265 eliminated 2nd gear, never to be heard from again. It turned the trans into a wide-ratio 2-speed. A 302 Ford will have even more torque.

I don't understand the flathead fear? Its the same as any other engine except no pushrods and rocker arms. Plus, no valve cover gaskets to leak. There is nothing magic about working on a flathead. 16-year-old boys were doing it 80-year's ago.

If you were going to rip out the entire flathead drivetrain this was not the pickup to have bought. It is worth more right now than it will be after you pour all that money into putting a '302, new trans, driveshaft, rear end...…… You might as well have started with a frame and the sheet metal because you won't use any of the rest of it.

Small block Chevys and Fords break too! Its not the internals in an engine that leave you broke on the side of the rode. 98% of the time its the stuff on the outside of the engine that quits. The fuel system, ignition system and the parts that the belts rotate. That is not going to change with a 302 Ford. If you maintain those parts on a flathead it will be just as dependable as the 302. The flathead problems you here about are almost always from neglect to maintain these parts. It has nothing to do with it being a flathead. Change the oil, change the coolant, don't let the fuel get old. Do a scheduled tune-up just like you would with the 302. Don't be driving around with a 75-year-old coil and wiring, a 50-year-old fuel pump, a pound of rust in the gas tank and mud in your cooling system and your flathead should be just fine. Those are the problems most people are having with their flatheads.

I here people say all the time, "but I want something I can drive". I'm pretty sure people once drove billions and billions of miles with their flatheads. Then we these people got old they wanted to go back and drive flatheads all over again. If flathead V8s were such junk why would people have kept buying them from 1932 to 1953.

cas3 03-07-2019 12:18 AM

Re: 302 in a 33/34 pickup

if he's gonna strip out all the original stuff, he might want to put in a battery pack and prius drive train, because if not,...we only got 12 years left ya know:eek:

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