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Old 10-28-2019, 09:08 PM   #1
SteveR.
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Default What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

Aquired my '30 Tudor about 3 years ago. Drove it mostly around town every weekend. One day, sitting at a light something came apart on the crank...still haven't pulled that pan but there are big parts rolling around in the bottom of the pan.

Bought a 2nd engine from a guy locally about 3 months ago for $1,000. Ran good, but lots of blowby and a significant oil leak at the rear of the engine. Decided to go for a 90 mile drive last weekend, only made it about 25 miles. The first 15-20 or so were around town...then on a two-lane highway at about 50mph the "new" engine let go. Knocking at certain RPM and a significant vibration.

90% of my driving is around town, but I'd like to be able to do the occasional 100 mile trip at 50mph or so without leaving engine guts behind me. What do I need to do to get a reliable engine that will go at least 50,000 miles? That'd last me many years. It seems that people have trouble putting together a reliable "A" engine, or at least a few hobbyists do.

I think I want bearing inserts. Pressure oiling seems nice too. What else should I look for in a shop-built "A" engine? Are there any reputable shops near DFW, TX that build "A" engines?
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Old 10-28-2019, 09:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

Need some help with this, Grace and Faith are bugging me to go driving!

2019-05-30 20.32.25 by Steve Ruse, on Flickr

2019-05-30 20.24.54 by Steve Ruse, on Flickr

2019-08-17 13.57.03 by Steve Ruse, on Flickr

2019-08-18 15.33.10 by Steve Ruse, on Flickr
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Old 10-28-2019, 10:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=271743
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Old 10-28-2019, 10:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

A model a engine built back to factory standards and tolerances will last a lot of miles. I think careful machining layout and precise balancing will make your engine last the way you want to use it. I think you should look into a Mitchell Overdrive to maintain higher speeds.

Last edited by J Franklin; 10-28-2019 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 10-28-2019, 10:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

How much do you want to spend?


Stock engine
engine with inserts
oil filter partial or full flow
different cam
counterbalanced crank
lightened flywheel
v8 clutch
center main pressurized
all mains pressurized
connecting rods pressurized
point ignition
electronic ignition


How about the rear end, different gears
overdrive?


and so on, and so on, and so on.
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Old 10-28-2019, 11:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

Check out Piranios Antique Automotive. They're close to you and they're great people that specialize in Model A engine rebuilds. Located at 6195 Fishtrap Denton, TX 76208. Call Dennis and Beth Piranio at (940) 382-2742 and discuss what you need.

http://www.modelaparts.net/

Last edited by DJ S; 10-28-2019 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Added Link
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Old 10-28-2019, 11:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

Call Steve at Berts. Good People to work with.
Good Luck.
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Old 10-29-2019, 12:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR. View Post
Aquired my '30 Tudor about 3 years ago. Drove it mostly around town every weekend. One day, sitting at a light something came apart on the crank...still haven't pulled that pan but there are big parts rolling around in the bottom of the pan.

Bought a 2nd engine from a guy locally about 3 months ago for $1,000. Ran good, but lots of blowby and a significant oil leak at the rear of the engine. Decided to go for a 90 mile drive last weekend, only made it about 25 miles. The first 15-20 or so were around town...then on a two-lane highway at about 50mph the "new" engine let go. Knocking at certain RPM and a significant vibration.

90% of my driving is around town, but I'd like to be able to do the occasional 100 mile trip at 50mph or so without leaving engine guts behind me. What do I need to do to get a reliable engine that will go at least 50,000 miles? That'd last me many years. It seems that people have trouble putting together a reliable "A" engine, or at least a few hobbyists do.

I think I want bearing inserts. Pressure oiling seems nice too. What else should I look for in a shop-built "A" engine? Are there any reputable shops near DFW, TX that build "A" engines?
Ron Kelley is in Royce City. I have one of his engines in my pickup. I have no qualms about taking off on a trip of a thousand miles or more.
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

Looks to me like you need to hire a couple of mechanics that have a few more years experience! LOL
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR. View Post
Aquired my '30 Tudor about 3 years ago. Drove it mostly around town every weekend. One day, sitting at a light something came apart on the crank...still haven't pulled that pan but there are big parts rolling around in the bottom of the pan.

Bought a 2nd engine from a guy locally about 3 months ago for $1,000. Ran good, but lots of blowby and a significant oil leak at the rear of the engine. Decided to go for a 90 mile drive last weekend, only made it about 25 miles. The first 15-20 or so were around town...then on a two-lane highway at about 50mph the "new" engine let go. Knocking at certain RPM and a significant vibration.

90% of my driving is around town, but I'd like to be able to do the occasional 100 mile trip at 50mph or so without leaving engine guts behind me. What do I need to do to get a reliable engine that will go at least 50,000 miles? That'd last me many years. It seems that people have trouble putting together a reliable "A" engine, or at least a few hobbyists do.

I think I want bearing inserts. Pressure oiling seems nice too. What else should I look for in a shop-built "A" engine? Are there any reputable shops near DFW, TX that build "A" engines?

First of all, don't pay $1,000 for a $100 engine. At least, you now have two to choose from to rebuild one. Just don't be like the clueless guy on that Hagerty Youtube video! That video is a good tutorial on what not to do, for the most part.
Talk to owners who drive their A's on tours about the modifications one to their engines.
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:58 AM   #11
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

The main thing is to have somebody that knows what they are doing and is not a jerk. Also an important thing is that everything is balanced. It will always vibrate if things are out of whack. If you want to go 50, put a high compression head on.
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Old 10-29-2019, 04:33 PM   #12
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

Good afternoon...One suggestion is to check with the two national Model A clubs and see if there is a local club near you. The local clubs always know who the best engine builders are...there are also several on this site who answer questions now and again...Enjoy...Ernie in Arizona
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

I build Model A and B engines up in MINNESOTA but I know some of the good builders across the US. As mentioned in an earlier post, Ron Kelly builds a very good engine and he is near you. Ron will advise you as to what you need after you explain how fast and how far you want to go. A bit of advice; Careful work and good parts command a good price. Buy a good one and then enjoy it for years.
Good Day!
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

What you need for an engine to be reliable is 'Good foundations'.
So basically a crankshaft that is nicely ground & polished. A camshaft that doesn't have missing lobes ect.
And a clean oil pan.

In stock form they're a tough engine.

If you want pressure oiling, i can't help you there, but as long as it's done well you'll be fine.

I've modified a few things over the years, i often go back to something similar to stock. It's easier.

And now that you have 2 engines, you can have one set up with the pressure feed bearings, and any spare change/parts can build the other one as a "basic stock" engine as a spare (sounds like the one that broke at the lights is a good candidate for this)
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:33 PM   #15
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

I build my own engines for FAR less than what the workshops cost. For long distance (longest single trip I've done is 15,000 miles while towing), I go all the way for a little more get up and toughness. Whatever you do, don't drill the original Model A crank shaft for oiling the mains. You'll almost certainly have it break on you. Here's what I do
  • New counter balanced crank
  • New rods
  • Inserts all round
  • Pressure feed the middle main bearing only
  • Full flow oil filter.
  • Air filter
  • Down draught carb (Ex Holden Grey Motor Stromberg but weber is OK)
  • Opened up inlet manifold
  • 5.5:1 head
  • Improved cam (about the same timing as an IB 330 but only 0.290" lift).
  • Lightened flywheel
  • Very importantly, properly balanced
Those motors are backed up by a Mitchell O/D so when I'm travelling at 50mph, the motor is turning at the rate a standard transmission would have it at 40mph. It does that all day, every day for many thousands of miles
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Last edited by Synchro909; 12-03-2019 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 10-30-2019, 05:33 PM   #16
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrs1961815 View Post
The main thing is to have somebody that knows what they are doing and is not a jerk. Also an important thing is that everything is balanced. It will always vibrate if things are out of whack. If you want to go 50, put a high compression head on.
Why do you need a High Compression Head to do 50 MPH ?? It that case I should have blown my 1928 Coupe Engine a long time ago, including driving it from San Diego to Rhode Island in 1965 with a Original Engine with 68,000+ miles on it at speeds in the Desert up to 60..
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

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Why do you need a High Compression Head to do 50 MPH ?? It that case I should have blown my 1928 Coupe Engine a long time ago, including driving it from San Diego to Rhode Island in 1965 with a Original Engine with 68,000+ miles on it at speeds in the Desert up to 60..
Maybe I mistyped but if most of his driving is in around town maybe he doesn't need it. But if his car is a driver and he wants a little extra power he can throw one on there.

You can do 60 on a stock engine, but it is not helping anything in there. If you want to drive fast, build a touring engine.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

Thank you all for the helpful information! Does anyone have experience with Lilleker Antique Auto in College Station? The price is very good and I could get the engine to them pretty easy, but I’ll pay more if needed to get a reliable engine.
https://www.mrmodelt.com/complete-mo...ngine-rebuild/

Not looking for high performance, stock is fine. 60mph is too fast for the rest of the car in my opinion. Just want a reliable engine that I won’t have to remove again.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:45 AM   #19
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

One more vote for Ron Kelly.
You will never look back with his work.
Get re done.... and those pretty little ladies back in the A!

Gil. NoCal
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:07 AM   #20
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Default Re: What do I need to do to get a reliable engine?

When you are considering a rebuilder be sure to check them out in the archives. Go to the black bar at the top of the page and click "search". Remember that even the best shop will goof sometimes, the important thing is how they handle it afterwards. Look for patterns in comments that people post.

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