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Old 05-10-2017, 08:02 PM   #81
Yoyodyne
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Default Re: New block

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Originally Posted by aonemarine View Post
So a guy looking to build a hot rod goes out and buys himself an 8ba core motor complete carb to pan for $800.00. Tears it down and sends it to the machine shop where it is cleaned and maged only to find out it is cracked. OK so at this point he is down about 1k.
What to do now? Buy another core and repeat process with fingers crossed? find a good used block if lucky enough for 700.00 and still have to invest into reconditioning it?? Or buy a new machined block and take the guessing out of the equation? Pretty simple answer. By offering a new fully machined block you take the guess work out of what it would cost to build one and remove the risk of getting buried in a pile of junk cracked blocks.
Here's a real world example, mine. I needed a block for my 36 PU when the one in it lost a babbit main bearing. I don't want to swap a later style engine in, I really want to keep the water pumps in the heads to keep it relatively stock looking. So I started searching for the holy grail of blocks, the 36LB 21 stud block which was the last year of pump in head blocks and the first of insert bearings, used in late 36 models. I bought 6 engines looking for good blocks and finally had to settle for a 37-38 block and use block off plates for the water pump holes in order to use my pump heads. Each engine cost a few hundred dollars, varying length trips to acquire, then each required a full day or more of hard messy work to get apart, some worse than others, then a trip out of town to get it cleaned and magnafluxed. some even require a torch to get apart, and usually it takes a half day to clean the shop up afterward. The bill for hot tanking and magnafluxing can be from $250 to $400 depending on the condition of the greasy POS that I drop off. And another trip to inspect and retrieve it afterward. All 6 were junk for one reason or another. I have WAY over $4K in scrap cast iron for 2 years of scrounging. I finally bought a good 37-38 block from a Ford Barner for $500 and added $200 to ship it to me. Then had it magnafluxed again here just to be sure. Then lots of time to pull the head studs out of the block, and remove the broken pieces of the studs that didn't come out in one piece. Now I go on to cleaning the waterjackets, digging out the foundry sand left from the Rouge plant, and removing the scale and rust from years of straight water and sitting empty in the winter with acid, all the while hoping I don't find a water leak that didn't show up in magnafluxing as a crack, so then go on to pressure testing. Now I'm ready to convert the oil passages to 95% filtering - After getting that %^^&* oil passage plug out of the rear of the main galley.

NOW I'm ready to bore, hone, grind seats, scrub, check head gasket surfaces for flatness, the mains for straightness, etc, etc,etc.
I'm relatively new to flatheads but I've been building restoring and racing since the late '60s. I own a machine shop that mfgs. driveline parts and does job shop work, so I'm able to do a lot of my own work. All that time spent on junk blocks was time I could have been charging customers or making product. $2500 for a block I could use with a bit of machine work would have been the biggest bargain I've had in years.


As the supply of old junk engines dwindles further and the cost of rebuilding them increases your block will only get more valuable and desirable.

On the subject of what to make, it seems to me the 59A blocks are more desired for rodders, because they fit better in pre-49 cars, including model A swaps.

When It seemed I'd never find a good 21 stud block I considered using a 59A style block and adapting the early heads somehow. Poking around in a 24 stud block revealed that the stud holes have a cast boss on the underside of the block deck to provide longer threads for the studs, so that meant I couldn't just redrill a block. If it did have the thickness where it was needed, it would have been doable, there were no water holes that conflicted IIRC. I considered building 24 stud heads that accepted water pumps, during that time I found that Willy Glass had in fact done that by modifying Edelbrock heads. About then I found the good block I have now so I didn't go any further.

So - if you build a 59a block and leave material in the deck to allow drilling for the 21 stud pattern, that would expand your potential market to the earlier car folks who want to drive their early cars. it would give them a block that could be bored much larger than the 3.188" that the 37 is limited to, and would accept a longer 4"+ stroke crank all in new insert bearings instead of scrounging for NOS bearing shells for the early cranks.
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Old 05-11-2017, 11:14 AM   #82
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Default Re: New block

There may be some slight differences on location for the two bolts on each end of the deck but the bottom of the deck is where the real difference lies between 21 and 24 stud motors. If the deck were made thicker down there all the way along the bottom it might be doable to make some interchangeability between the two types. The 21 has five holes down there and the 24 has 8 so maybe...? It might make the deck a bit stonger too.

If a half bell casting was made for the back that could simulate the early style blocks better and use the early type oil pan, an 8BA type could possibly be adapted killing two birds with one stone. Just about everything else could be worked around one way or another.

All are just thoughts but maybe worth kicking it around.
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Old 05-11-2017, 11:55 AM   #83
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Default Re: New block

The last two posters make interesting points. There seem to be three major groups of flatheads; 21 studs, early 24 studs, and late 24 studs (8BA). By making one specific type of block, you would be eliminating about half the potential market. "rotorwrench" expressed some potential ways that all three groups MAY be able to be accommodated. (I am not familiar enough with the engineering aspects of the three basic types of blocks to even venture a guess as to whether it would even be technically possible to do this.) The drawback of a block like this is that it would not be legal in most racing associations, although I suspect that may change with the passage of time. I am also one of those who have no need for one, but it is fun to sit back and watch. I have really appreciated "Tod"'s thread on the H.A.M.B. about the 4 cylinder block and heads, and I hope to be seeing a similar one about V8's. Keep up the good work!
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Old 05-11-2017, 12:41 PM   #84
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Default Re: New block

There is also info out there about the 351 Cleveland blocks too. Not so much about the FE blocks. I think he is getting to know his way around foundries & machines OK.
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Old 05-11-2017, 01:44 PM   #85
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Default Re: New block

I CMMed a pair of new Victor head gaskets as a rough way to get the bolt patterns for 21 and 24 stud heads. The red circles are 24 stud and the blue circles are 21 stud. It looks like there are 12 holes that are the same, the row across the top and the holes between the cylinders.
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Old 05-11-2017, 02:10 PM   #86
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Default Re: New block

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The last two posters make interesting points. There seem to be three major groups of flatheads; 21 studs, early 24 studs, and late 24 studs (8BA). By making one specific type of block, you would be eliminating about half the potential market. "rotorwrench" expressed some potential ways that all three groups MAY be able to be accommodated. (I am not familiar enough with the engineering aspects of the three basic types of blocks to even venture a guess as to whether it would even be technically possible to do this.) The drawback of a block like this is that it would not be legal in most racing associations, although I suspect that may change with the passage of time. I am also one of those who have no need for one, but it is fun to sit back and watch. I have really appreciated "Tod"'s thread on the H.A.M.B. about the 4 cylinder block and heads, and I hope to be seeing a similar one about V8's. Keep up the good work!
I can always make 2 blocks. 21 stud and 24 stud. It really isn't that hard.

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Old 05-11-2017, 02:12 PM   #87
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Default Re: New block

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There is also info out there about the 351 Cleveland blocks too. Not so much about the FE blocks. I think he is getting to know his way around foundries & machines OK.
My FE blocks were the original Genesis effort and the current "Pond" block. Pond and I were partners for a while until I sold out my half. I've been doing this kind of stuff for 40 years. Just in the last 15-18 in a more public view.

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Old 05-11-2017, 02:37 PM   #88
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Default Re: New block

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I can always make 2 blocks. 21 stud and 24 stud. It really isn't that hard.

Tod
I will take a 21 stud block, 36 LB type,
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Old 05-11-2017, 03:33 PM   #89
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Default Re: New block

In the 21 stud range there were the 32 thru part of 35 that were all very similar with only minor machining & casting changes. Then the late 35/36 with replaceable bearing shells and the 37/38 block with the first block mounted pumps.

24 stud blocks started with the 38 through 40 221 CID with the 239 CID blocks starting in 1939. The 1939 99A block was supposed to be the one that had the thickest cylinder walls for boring of all the flathead blocks. In 1941, the castings changed in several ways but I'm not sure how far it went internally. They did away with the core sand holes in the pan rails and reduced the amount of iron around the intake deck. This was also done to the 239 CID blocks and these carried through to WWII. It's possible that the 19A (1941) 239 blocks had the same cylinder wall thickness as the post war blocks but I don't know that for sure.

The post war 59 series was a good solid 239 block but there was also the 41A type that was a replacement for prewar 221 blocks but had some characteristics of the 59A block as well. I'm sure they used some of the same cores between the two but not all since the 221 had thinner cylinder walls.

8BA blocks had three changes but they were mostly machining changes to valve pockets without hard seats and such. The basic block stayed the same all the way through the end of production.

I'd love it if you could get any block you wanted but obviously a person would have to draw a line there somewhere with that many changes during the flathead era. Where to draw it is up to the person doing the production on the project. I'd settle for 8BA myself but others might like the 59 type block. Make a 59 type casting that could be set up for machine capability for either 21 stud or 24 would give more choices for those folks and keep production casting to a minimum. Something else to think about anyway.
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Old 05-11-2017, 03:49 PM   #90
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Default Re: New block

All of the various flathead un-cracked blocks are hard to find. ESPECIALLY the 21 stud variety. I would wager that if you were to start looking for any good flathead block today, you would most likely find a 24 stud one. IF you found any at all.
Therefore, I would hope that 21 stud block will end up in the final casting process.
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Old 05-11-2017, 04:14 PM   #91
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Default Re: New block

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All of the various flathead un-cracked blocks are hard to find. ESPECIALLY the 21 stud variety. I would wager that if you were to start looking for any good flathead block today, you would most likely find a 24 stud one. IF you found any at all.
Therefore, I would hope that 21 stud block will end up in the final casting process.
I think a 21 stud block can be part of the mix.

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Old 05-11-2017, 04:25 PM   #92
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Default Re: New block

When did the cam position and the valve angles change? Would the later valve angles cause any issues in a 21 stud engine - valve to head clearance, etc?

I remember this being discussed here, with Ford drawings and etc, but didn't retain it because it didn't affect what I am doing (so far). Wish I had now.
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Old 05-11-2017, 04:36 PM   #93
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Default Re: New block

The valve angles changed in the post war production with the 59 series. It may have happened during the war but I'd bet it was with the tool up for the 59A in 1945. As far as changes are concerned, Ford made sure that tooling for relieving the chambers around the valves was available to the dealers. This way the prewar heads could be used on the post war blocks. The tooling was just a small jig with a cutter tool.
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:00 PM   #94
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Default Re: New block

Me (as a performance and race builder) would think about the following -- just to kick it around:
1) Thicker deck surface - like 1/2" - with the bosses for stud locations
2) Thicker or better engineered main webs - especially the middle one.
3) Ability to configure your core boxes for a 3 or a 5 main lower end.
4) Improve the oiling system a bit (galley design) - such that it is easy to put a full-flow filter on it and have 100% filtered oil to everything.
5) Provide the block in a non-relieved state - makes it possible for the Ardun guys to use it (or other OHV designs) . . . and plenty of guys don't use reliefs anyway.
6) Improve the intake port and bowl design for better flow. Think about press in bronze guides (like the flathead Cadillac) - instead of the guides we have today. They make a mess of the port floor and have a lot of slop in their fitment.
7) Improve the exhaust port - add a cast in divider in the middle, better flow for all, but same flange on the outside
8) Consider the ability to bore to 3.5" - I believe we can still seal the chambers at that diameter.
9) Consider an aluminum block with steel liners. I would love to be able to make a lighter weight flathead.
10) I think folks like the 59AB pan and water pump setup the best, but maybe there is a way to make the block such that you could bolt on a 59AB 1/2 bell - and run the 59AB style pan. The biggest area to figure out will be the rear main cap (so the pan can seal).

Okay - some off the hip thoughts!
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:25 PM   #95
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Default Re: New block

too bad no one can find the sand molds for the French blocks..
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:36 PM   #96
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Default Re: New block

The more I think about it, the more I like "Tod"'s original idea for an 8BA block. If you want the back end to be pre-49 style, there are lots of Merc and Ford truck bellhousings out there. The fronts are similar enough that guys have been "mixing and matching" cams, front covers, and distributors for years. The one thing mentioned that might be nice is the provisions for both 21 and 24 stud configurations. It will be a pretty small sacrifice for the guys wanting early 21 stud with head mounted water pumps to give up poured babbitt bearings and to run water pump block off plates, which could be configured to mimic the front of an early block. Basically a 21 stud 8BA.

Other than that, I'll defer to "Bored&Stroked"s list of improvements since he's been around the block (pun intended) a time or two. To go to all of this effort without incorporating some obvious improvements would be foolhardy.

I just realized that I have talked myself into precisely "Tod"'s original position. I guess he must be right!

Last edited by tubman; 05-11-2017 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:44 PM   #97
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Default Re: New block

Good for you Todd I love it when somebody tells me I can't do something or just drive me harder there's no doubt my mind that you can get the job done !
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Old 05-12-2017, 07:03 AM   #98
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Default Re: New block

Are the 21 stud and 24 stud blocks basically the same externally? If the stud holes are the only difference that matters I can easily make 2 configurations and make both.

It would be nice to get my hands on blue prints. I can start this any time. Actually, I can start without blue prints and probably will, but prints always help with accuracy.

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Old 05-12-2017, 07:05 AM   #99
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too bad no one can find the sand molds for the French blocks..
It takes a pattern to make sand molds. Those would do me no good since my plan is different.

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Old 05-12-2017, 07:14 AM   #100
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Default Re: New block

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Originally Posted by Bored&Stroked View Post
Me (as a performance and race builder) would think about the following -- just to kick it around:
1) Thicker deck surface - like 1/2" - with the bosses for stud locations
2) Thicker or better engineered main webs - especially the middle one.
3) Ability to configure your core boxes for a 3 or a 5 main lower end.
4) Improve the oiling system a bit (galley design) - such that it is easy to put a full-flow filter on it and have 100% filtered oil to everything.
5) Provide the block in a non-relieved state - makes it possible for the Ardun guys to use it (or other OHV designs) . . . and plenty of guys don't use reliefs anyway.
6) Improve the intake port and bowl design for better flow. Think about press in bronze guides (like the flathead Cadillac) - instead of the guides we have today. They make a mess of the port floor and have a lot of slop in their fitment.
7) Improve the exhaust port - add a cast in divider in the middle, better flow for all, but same flange on the outside
8) Consider the ability to bore to 3.5" - I believe we can still seal the chambers at that diameter.
9) Consider an aluminum block with steel liners. I would love to be able to make a lighter weight flathead.
10) I think folks like the 59AB pan and water pump setup the best, but maybe there is a way to make the block such that you could bolt on a 59AB 1/2 bell - and run the 59AB style pan. The biggest area to figure out will be the rear main cap (so the pan can seal).

Okay - some off the hip thoughts!
Good list. Bore is restricted/dictated by the exhaust-through-the-jacket original design. I am pondering how to design that area for greatest improvement. All steps required to get a casting need to be considered. It is in my head most of the time now, even as I work on other projects. It will happen, Lord willing.

I also thing increasing coolant capacity as much as possible by kicking out the jacket wall near the valve springs and on the outside wall, and under the deck area. The outside needs to consider the exhaust manifolds in the equation.

Tod
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