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Old 05-10-2021, 11:04 AM   #1
OldGold360
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Default PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Hello... As some of you know, I am in the middle of restoring my '36 Pickup. I now have two choices on engines for my pickup, the 8BA that it came with when I bought it, and a '41 59A thanks to a fellow Barn member. I am leaning towards using the 59A and am looking for recommendations on experienced flathead engine rebuilders or machinist in the PNW. I am in halfway between Seattle and Portland, but would be willing to travel up to 5 hours, possibly more, for the right person. I am not opposed to doing some of the disassembly and reassembly, but I have no way to do any of the machine work, and would be more comfortable having someone with experience rebuild at least the short block for me. Any recommendations on shops or things that I should consider are appreciated.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-10-2021, 11:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

I think the first thing you should do is determine exactly which early engine you have. There is no such thing as a 1941 59A. The "5" designates the year of introduction, in this case 1945. If it is a '41 engine, here is a good chance that it is a 221 ci rather than a 239. If it really is a 59n (there are a bunch of varieties), it would probably the best choice if both engines are in the same shape. You should also be aware the the pre-'49 engines have full-floating rod bearings, which can be hard to find, expensive, and difficult to fit. Unless you already know the condition of both blocks, the first thing you have to do is disassemble them and do some preliminary crack checking. You decision may have already been made for you.

The way things currently work out, you will be lucky if even one of the blocks is good.
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Old 05-10-2021, 11:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Quote:
Originally Posted by tubman View Post
I think the first thing you should do is determine exactly which early engine you have. There is no such thing as a 1941 59A. The "5" designates the year of introduction, in this case 1945. If it is a '41 engine, here is a good chance that it is a 221 ci rather than a 239.

Not so fast.....! As so eloquently explained by our illustrious friend Bruce Lancaster (RIP), see below.

"I believe the 41A was of course given the "1" designation in the parts book to indicate that it was in the 221 family, but was made with a full set of 59 cores except for the actual barrels and so retained the 59 designation. 3 1/16 59 blocks are around, but I don't know of anyone who has seen a 41 casting...hence my belief that these oddities ARE the 41A block. The "1" designation generally survived here with the 51, indicating Ford as distinguished from Merc models and parts...then in '47-8 and on into the early '50's the parts prfixes went nuts for a while."


In other words, a "factory" REPLACEMENT block for '38-'42 24-stud, 221 cu. in. engines. DD
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Last edited by V8COOPMAN; 05-10-2021 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 05-10-2021, 01:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

I heard Dave Tatum in Mount Vernon used to be very good at rebuilding and machine work. No personal experience just word of mouth from reliable friends.
Try calling 360-770-3760 Tatum Custom Engines
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Old 05-10-2021, 02:37 PM   #5
tubman
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Quote:
Originally Posted by V8COOPMAN View Post
Not so fast.....! As so eloquently explained by our illustrious friend Bruce Lancaster (RIP), see below.

"I believe the 41A was of course given the "1" designation in the parts book to indicate that it was in the 221 family, but was made with a full set of 59 cores except for the actual barrels and so retained the 59 designation. 3 1/16 59 blocks are around, but I don't know of anyone who has seen a 41 casting...hence my belief that these oddities ARE the 41A block. The "1" designation generally survived here with the 51, indicating Ford as distinguished from Merc models and parts...then in '47-8 and on into the early '50's the parts prfixes went nuts for a while."


In other words, a "factory" REPLACEMENT block for '38-'42 24-stud, 221 cu. in. engines. DD
I'll win the lottery tonight, too.
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Old 05-10-2021, 03:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

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I used to sell Dave T5 kits and it's been a few years but at that time he was contemplating retirement, whether he did or didn't I have no idea.
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Old 05-10-2021, 04:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Thanks guys. I appreciate the info. I know my 8BA block is good and was running when I got it. I have performed a visual inspection for cracks but nothing more. I will contact Dave Tatum to see if he is still doing this work. I’d like to speak with whoever I plan to do the rebuild to ask whether I should perform the tear down or if I should let the rebuilder do it. I’ve never rebuilt a Flathead so I just want to make sure I avoid any possible mistakes. Thanks for the replies.
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Old 05-10-2021, 04:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

I had my 8ba rebuilt by Cope Bros. in Parkland (Tacoma) 253-531-1776 with good results.
Over the years I've had them do a few SBC's, and a BBC also, all with good results.
Call Darrel he's straight shooter, and a good guy.
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Old 05-10-2021, 05:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

.

OldGold ......Whoever you come-up with, just maybe run the name by some of us here BEFORE you commit or drop your engine off. There are a couple of INFAMOUS, so-called flathead rebuilders up that direction that have literally stolen multiple THOUSANDS and thousands of dollars from customers that trusted them with engine projects, that literally YEARS later, still can't get the "scums" to finish and return their engines. We're talking about 'lawyers and the Sheriff' type situations. BE CAREFUL!! IF you are careful, there ARE still some excellent flatty rebuilders doing honest business out there. DD
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Old 05-10-2021, 05:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Thanks! I’ll be sure to do that. I spoke with Dave Tatum on the phone today. He is still building flatheads but told me he’s taking some time off until Sept. due to back surgery. I’m in no hurry getting an engine ready for my pickup since I still have so much to do on just the body, but I am trying to get all my ducks in a row. Perhaps Dave is the guy I should use or maybe there is someone else in my area I should consider.
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Old 05-10-2021, 06:09 PM   #11
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Dave Tatum was said to build flatheads that would humble a small block Chevy, so you are in good hands.
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Old 05-10-2021, 06:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

If Dave is still doing motors he is the go to guy in your area. Dave will not stroke you. From my experience he does what he says and is as good a FH builder there is. He is worth the wait.
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Old 05-10-2021, 07:20 PM   #13
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Try Marshall Woolery at Thun Field Hot Rods in Tacoma. He farms some of the machine work out but the finished product is first cabin.
Tell him I sent you and he won't double the price.
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Dave Tatom is both a personal friend and my engine machinist. I have 3 flatheads he built plus a stroked brand X engine. One engine is highly modified, one is bone stock in my Dearborn car, and one slightly modified. The thing to remember about Dave is that he is north of 80 and has slowed down a lot, mostly due to back issues. As others have said, his work is VERY good, however his health has slowed him significantly. I hope his back issue is able to be fixed and he gets back to it soon. You need to have a good or fixable block, he doesn't scrounge like in the old days. You can look at davetatom.com for some information but any prices listed are obsolete. He also used to rebuild airplane engines so that should tell you something about the quality of his work.
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Dave is a good friend of mine also. We are in the same club and I have known him for many years. I have used his main caps on several of my engines. I knew of his medical problems is why I didn't mention him.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:53 AM   #16
'36 5W
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Portland Engine Rebuilders is also a good firm.
They did the hot little flatty in a 34 pickup, recently donated to
our museum (WAAAMuseum.org). Also did a 460 BBF for me
more recently. High quality work, reasonable prices!
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Old 05-12-2021, 10:04 AM   #17
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

I have heard that Earl Floyd is a good builder. Don't know if he still does it. 28915 N.E. 82nd Ave, Battle Ground WA, 98604. 360-687-2202
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:01 PM   #18
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

I spoke to a couple guys mentioned here. One wants to buy a new 8ba crank, cam, rods, etc to replace the factory installed 41 crank due to the rod bearings. I’ve heard about the bearings being hard to locate for the motors around 1941, but does a stock rebuild really warrant replacing the crank, assuming the original is still good? Thanks for the help here. I do not have much experience with flatheads and certainly never rebuilt one, so I appreciate all the help.
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:10 PM   #19
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

I'd second either Marshall Woolery or Dave Tatum...

As others have said Dave is getting up there; I haven't seen him since I retired from the aircraft gig a couple of years ago. Hope he can get his back fixed...
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:48 PM   #20
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Default Re: PNW Flathead Rebuilders

Bearings are not that hard to come by & floaters are a great bearings. Preserve.
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