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Old 08-02-2013, 12:28 PM   #1
Jefscoupe
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Default Mercury Flatheads

Hi guys, I'm new here and starting to learn about flatheads.
Or more precisely, how to work on them.
I recently acquired a couple "late" V8s.
One a Ford and one Merc. According to the guy I got it from, his grandfather, uncle or whatever had a junkyard years ago. After the old man died they cleaned out the yard. But he saved this engine. It was in an old school bus.
Now the questions.
Would the bus have come with the Mercury engine or maybe replaced at some point. I know the school district garage would have done the cheapest thing to keep the busses running. Including getting a junkyard engine to replace a bad engine.
This engine is complete and original.
EAC on the heads. Big truck trans with a brake band around the output shaft or, I guess an E brake.
I know the Mercs had 4" stroke. (Referring to 49-53 engines only)
I read that all flathead rods are the same length.
Did the pistons have a different pin location?
Had to, right?
Would this be a truck engine? Or were they all the same?
It looks like "L1124:" cast on the back of the block.
Looks to be the same physical size as the Ford (C2002: on it)
I haven't tore into it yet. I'll do that this weekend.
A y info will be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:45 PM   #2
Walt Dupont--Me.
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

I think some big trucks used the Merc engine but it could have been replaced with a Merc engine. OR, It could be a Ford engine with the 3-3/4 crank and someone put Merc heads on it. The no. on the back don't mean anything. The rods are all the same, the wrist are in a different location. You'll never know until you get heads off and measure the stroke if it's got a merc crank. The merc heads are useless for us engine builders unless your using a big supercharger. They have big chambers. The best stock heads for the 8BA style engine is the EAB heads. Walt
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Thanks guys.
Walt, those numbers are not some kind of date code?
Think the flywheel can be used? Or would it be truck only?
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

8BA blocks are all pretty much the same. If you pull the pan & look at the crank, it might have EAC or 1M casting marks. Earlier Merc cranks weren't marked. Measure the cheeks of one of the crank counter weights. Merc 4-inch is wider than Ford 3 3/4". Near 6-inches if I remember correctly. The clean out plugs on the con rod sludge traps are 5/8" diameter on most Merc 4-inchers.

Some of he French Simca SUMB & other French army truck engines had 6 7/8" con rods so they could all use the same pistons but FoMoCo only used the 7-inch con rods for the 8BA era so the Mercs generally use a special piston with different pin location on the skirt.

If you are using the engine for a 49 thru 53 Merc, the 8CM, 1CM, or EAC heads are OK but only if your stuck with the OEM Holley Load-A-Matic distributor set up. EAB heads are the ones to use if you want front mounted coolant return ports.

Many 8BA blocks have a rudementary date code stamped into the rear right side of the intake deck surface but not all do.

Any 8BA 9.5", 10", or 11" flywheel can be drilled to fit any of the other clutches a person would want to use. Most machine shops could do this for you and surface it to boot.
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jefscoupe View Post
Thanks guys.
Walt, those numbers are not some kind of date code?
Think the flywheel can be used? Or would it be truck only?
Chances are the flywheel is probably an 11in. used in big trucks. if your going to use this engine in a car I'd recommend the 49-53 Ford car flywheel with the 9-1/2in. clutch. The 11in. one is way to heavy and robs HP. You can have the 11in. wheel redrilled for the 9in. pressure plate and have it balanced. Walt
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:42 PM   #6
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Car flywheel huh? Thought maybe I'd get lucky.
Thanks.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Just to clarify - the flywheels (car/truck) are the same. Difference is which clutch/pressure plate size they were drilled for.

As far as I know, all trucks up thru F6 rec'd the 239 ford. Lots of farmers swapped in Mercs when the original wore out. Big trucks during this time period (49-51) were fitted with 337 Lincoln variants.

And as was said, most cast numbers on the block don't mean anything except to the caster. They are probably something like shift or batch numbers.
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Old 08-03-2013, 03:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Thanks guys.
Today I've been taking off the junk (old belts, hoses, wires) and the bellhousing/clutch/flywheel to get it ready for the engine stand.
It does (did) have the 11 inch clutch.
I've seen stock flywheels turned on the backside to lighten them.
I'm a machinist by trade. Is this something I could do? Any tips on doing it?
I could drill/tap for the smaller clutch as well.
But the face is pretty rusty. Is there plenty of material that can be taken off the face? May need as much as .050" to clean up good.
And what is this Holley Load-A-Matic distributor? How do I identify it?
This engine looks to have been rolled over on to the dizzy side. The big 5 blade fan was bent, the cap was crushed and the coil was flattened (literally). Dizzy may be trash anyway.
But I have a couple others off Ford car engines.
Well, I have the plate on the back of the engine (finally) so I'm going back out to stick it on the stand. Then I'll start blowing the engine apart.
Let's see what the inside looks like. Fingers crossed.
Fun time!
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

The Load-A-Matic was vacuum operated only. The older pre-8BA V8s had the distributor down in front of the cam and had a vacuum brake with centrifugal advance. This was one of the best set ups made for the Ford flatheads but when the 8BA came out they switched to the Holley system that was vacuum only but looks like a conventional distributor. Do a search on Bubbas Ignition Chevy conversions. They are centrifugal but can be augmented with a properly set up vacuum can to work about as good as any ever would for the 8BA engines. Al lot of the new Mallory stuff is not worth the money but can be tweeked to work and MSD stuff is expensive as hell.
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Just remember one thing: the block is more important thamany other part of the engine. They don't make them any more.
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Well I got it on the stand


and pulled the heads. Yuck. Looks like it got moisture in the cylinders.


Lifter valley is gunky, but at least not rusted up.


I pulled the exhaust manifolds and found an untold ages mouse's hoard.


So, I flipped the engine over and removed the oil pan.
Oh geeeze!


But then the true horror. I flipped it back over (right side up) and gunk plopped out into my catch pan. Then something hard plunked down.
A couple pieces of metal. Oh dear, this can't be good.
So I flipped it over again.


I can just see the old school bus driver chugging along. Engine clattering, knocking and then WHUMP! And nothing.
I'm beginning to think I should have spent the 5-6 grand and got a built engine.

Last edited by Jefscoupe; 08-03-2013 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 08-03-2013, 06:24 PM   #12
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Remember what Ol Ron said.

Bruce

Works good
Lasts long time
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Old 08-03-2013, 07:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Well I only thought I saw a horror show. I went ahead and pulled the crank out.



Can you say "Major Malfunction"? Makes me wonder if the crank is bent too.
Stick a fork in 'er. She's done.
Anyone need a boat anchor?
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Take the block and crank to a machine shap and have them cleaned and magged. That will tell the story. Then bore it to 3 5/16, add L-100 cam and your in business.
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Old 08-03-2013, 10:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Uh...maybe it wasn't as easily seen as I thought it would be.
There's a huge crack and hole into the coolant passage in #2 cylinder.
#1 being the one with the trashed rod.

Last edited by Jefscoupe; 08-04-2013 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:48 AM   #16
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

A little JB Weld and you'll be good to go.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:09 AM   #17
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

With the kind of damage this engine shows, what are the odds of the crank being useable?
I've read that they can be turned a LOT. That might clean up the #1 throw.
But if it's bent, would it be worth fixing?
If it's really a 4" crank, that is. I haven't determined that yet either.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:26 AM   #18
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Look at the clean out plugs on the rod throws. 5/8 is Merc and 3/8 is Ford. It looks like Ford oil pan and oil pick up. I think you have a Ford.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:59 AM   #19
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

If these are the holes you're talking about,


then, yeah. It's a Ford crank. Man I've pretty much struck out all around on this one.
I did get a Holley 94 carb...if it's even useable...



Maybe I can still use the flywheel. With some machining.
I got a starter, but I will probably use a modern version.
Fuel pump, but it's probably not useable in current condition. The fuel bowl is intact though.
I could put it all back together as a "display" I guess.
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:24 PM   #20
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Default Re: Mercury Flatheads

Take it all apart and save the parts. Put them on the shelf. Anyone that has worked on engines has a collection. Or give then to your local V8 club and they can use them for a hard luck trophy for the next show! My self I would keep them, when you finish it will remind you how far you have come in your education of a flathead.
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