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Old 08-12-2018, 07:59 PM   #1
indyhac
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Default Y-Block 292

Who can tell me if there is any difference between a Ford or Mercury 292 c.i. engine. Maybe identical except for the I.D. number? And will the 292 bolt right in as a replacement for my '54 Mercury 256 c.i. motor? Reason for asking: my 256 motor developed a water leak somewhere in the back close to the firewall, dripping down between the flywheel and the block. Not enough room to detect the source of the leak above the flywheel without pulling the engine. A retired Ford dealer mechanic told me to put the original Bar's Leak in the radiator (the old stuff with the pellets in it.) I did and it stopped the leak; I'm just not sure how long it will hold up. The mechanic told me that they used Bar's Leak all the time in older engines, but not in modern engines as it will stop them up. I'm going to try to find a 292 Y-Block to replace my 256.

Thanks, Scott
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:27 PM   #2
dmsfrr
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

I believe the 292 block casting numbers for Ford & Merc are the same in a given year, if that engine was an available option. That said... original Y-block engines in a Mercury from '56 to '59 were 312's.
The engine block to bell-housing bolt pattern is the same.

My '55 Ford had a '54 Mercury 256 in it instead of the 292 it was born with.
I put a 292 back in with no mismatch problems except to shorten the flex-plate/crankshaft bolts about 1/8 inch.
Standard transmission input shafts need a pilot bushing in the crank, automatics do not.

'54 was the first year of Y-blocks and Ford made several production changes to the engines during the year. Some '54 engine parts are usually not interchangeable with the '55 and newer versions.
Distributor, carburetor, intake & exhaust manifolds, timing cover and water pump for example...

Get as many of the bolt-on parts with a replacement 292 as you can. Ford did more upgrades in '57 and one that might catch you off guard is the fitting for the water temp sensor. The '57+ versions are smaller and your '54 temp sensor won't fit in the threaded hole without modification.
Without a matching sensor the '54 Temp gauge will not work correctly. Keep the Temp sensor you have if it's working, to reuse in the replacement engine.

Here are a few links to block casting number charts and crankshaft dimensions.
http://www.ford-y-block.com/crankshaftid.htm

http://www.ford-y-block.com/Block%20identification.htm

I believe the "6010" digits in the three charts at this link are a typo, should have been 6015.
http://www.y-block.info/casting/blocks.html


.

Last edited by dmsfrr; Today at 03:59 PM.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:50 PM   #3
miker98038
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

The sites d gave above are the best ones to track down numbers. But a water leak, more commonly down the side, from a failing head gasket isn’t uncommon. I’ve had it happen on new builds, and cured it with retorquing the head gasket. If the motor runs well, I’d just drive it. If the head gasket goes into the chamber, that’s trouble.

For sure a 292 is easier to find parts for, especially performance parts. I don’t know about the parts difference on a 54 merc, but the steady rest and the exhaust manifolds on the 256 might be a problem on a 292. Someone here will know.
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

Quote:
Originally Posted by miker98038 View Post
. . . the exhaust manifolds on the 256 might be a problem on a 292. . .
In addition to the different style exhaust manifolds for single or dual exhaust, Ford upgraded/up-sized them in '57 for the larger displacement & higher performance engines.
Good to have if you're running a 4bbl carb and dual exhaust.

http://www.y-block.info/casting/exhaust.html
.
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File Type: jpg 57 & 55-56 exhaust size difference c.jpg (45.6 KB, 12 views)

Last edited by dmsfrr; 08-12-2018 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:40 PM   #5
slumlord44
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

Ford and Merc are the same. Heads may varry depending on the year. Best heads are ECK-G. Used on 292 in '57 & '58 and all 312's. Much better performance and parts avalilability than the 256.
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

Quote:
Originally Posted by indyhac View Post
. . . my 256 motor developed a water leak somewhere in the back close to the firewall . . .
'54 & '55 heads have these core plugs/freeze plugs at both ends of the heads. They could leak water/antifreeze.

There is a water passage at the rear of the head gaskets. (yellow circles)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg head core plugs.jpg (54.6 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg head gasket copy.jpg (41.6 KB, 5 views)

Last edited by dmsfrr; 08-12-2018 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

Quote:
Originally Posted by slumlord44 View Post
Ford and Merc are the same. Heads may varry depending on the year. Best heads are ECK-G. Used on 292 in '57 & '58 and all 312's. Much better performance and parts avalilability than the 256.
ECK is a '55 prefix. I think you meant ECZ-G, the big valve / small chamber heads from '57-'58.
They can be harder to find and expensive. Here's a head casting number chart...

http://www.ford-y-block.com/cylinderheadchart.htm

.

Last edited by dmsfrr; 08-12-2018 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 08-13-2018, 03:16 AM   #8
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Post Re: Y-Block 292

Quote:
...my 256 motor developed a water leak somewhere in the back close to the firewall, dripping down between the flywheel and the block. Not enough room to detect the source of the leak above the flywheel without pulling the engine

It seems to me that it would be much easier (and cheaper) to find and repair the actual leakage(s), unless of course you are looking for a reason to re-power ...
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Old 08-13-2018, 05:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

you will find what has already been said the core plug is rusted out at the back of the head.theres not enough room to replace it without removing the head.i had one that leaked for years not enough to bother with.
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Old 08-13-2018, 06:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

best option IMHO for a rebuild/replacement is a 292 with either C or G heads, B intake if 4 bbl, later B9 or C0 intake for 2 bbl. Do all the modifications to the oiling system, pressurize the rocker assemblies, and follow other best practices for rebuild. If you're stuck on having a 312, I'd build one off a 292 block.
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:04 AM   #11
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

another thing i didnt add if you didnt want to take the head of pull the motor and replace all the core plugs.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

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Originally Posted by KULTULZ View Post
It seems to me that it would be much easier (and cheaper) to find and repair the actual leakage(s), unless of course you are looking for a reason to re-power ...
Rational thoughts aren't allowed here when we're talking about adding cubic inches & horsepower.

But there is a good point to be made... Ford made several One-Year-Only changes to the external bolt-on engine parts from '54 to '57, and a few more until the Y-block was discontinued in '64.

Replacing the original engine in a '54 with a newer y-block can quickly feel like a DIY jigsaw puzzle, with no clear picture to follow. It's because you're usually trying to use the upgraded parts while avoiding the less desirable ones (pre '57 distributors) and still have it all bolt in with everything working right.

If you want a newer Y-block in the future do lots of homework first to know where you're headed.
http://www.ford-y-block.com/technical.htm
Trying to figure out what the parts and labor will cost may have you looking for a crying towel (or considering an even newer drivetrain).

Fixing what you've got and driving it as long as you can is still a good option.
.

Last edited by dmsfrr; 08-13-2018 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 08-13-2018, 03:50 PM   #13
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Question Re: Y-Block 292

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Originally Posted by dmsfrr View Post


Rational thoughts aren't allowed here when we're talking about adding cubic inches & horsepower.
... hmmpf ...

Don't think I have ever been accused of that before ...
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Old 08-13-2018, 03:59 PM   #14
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Post Re: Y-Block 292

Quote:
Reason for asking: my 256 motor developed a water leak somewhere in the back...

Here's what concerns me about a situation such as this ...

It all depends on whether the car is a driver or resto/close to original. Upgrading will lessen the value and most likely parts needed by a restorer will get canned.

Now a 239 (there are two variations (not counting truck) short can be trimmed with later components to make it appear as OEM and with the additional performance or you can go full blast with a 56/57 version.

Better to stay away from an actual 312 but if wanted build on 292 block (IMO) (and as suggested earlier).
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:06 PM   #15
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

As far as a water leak down the back, it may not originate there. Could be the by-pass hose, the heater control valve or even the water passage at he intake manifold. The front leak usually goes to the back via the space between the valley cover and the head or via the valley cover itself.


As far as a swap with a later YBlock, it's pretty much a bolt in. You can use your present trans, it will bolt up to the later engine. You want to use a 57 or later distributor and a 57 or later carb. The 54 front steady rest will not work with the later engine, you will need a 55/56 unit if you want to use one. If your not 12 volts already, do a switch. You will find some minor glitches doing the swap as is noted above.
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:18 PM   #16
indyhac
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Default Re: Y-Block 292

Wow, lots of good information here! I think that I will go the easy route first. i.e. Checking & retorquing the head bolts. Then if the water leak comes back later, I will pull the heads and check & replace the head gaskets. I'll stay with the original 256 if I can. I'm not looking for more power, just reliability. I'm not a car show person but go on lots of tours with my car club. I've already retro-fitted power front disc brakes, Borgeson power steering conversion, 4-barrel carb, 12-volt electrical, dual exhaust, and air-conditioning. It also has what I assume is the optional 3.90 differential instead of the standard 4.10. (Gets 24 MPG and slow take-off in 1st gear) I plan on my wife disposing of the Mercury in my estate sale so I'm not concerned about lessening the value of the car; '54 Mercury convertibles are rare enough anyway and I've saved the original parts. I agree about parts being changed mid-year also. Mercury convertibles came standard with power windows and seat. Unfortunately, mine had the early window motors with the integrated gearbox and motor as one unit. I never could find anyone to re-build these early style units which forced me to replace them with '56 style units. Thanks for all the info so far, Scott
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