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Old 09-16-2019, 04:09 PM   #1
frnkeore
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Default The "W" Block

I was highly interested in the Ford Flatheads, in the late 50's and early 60's and in those days, races where televised on the weekends at Ascot Raceway. I would watch them as much as my dad would let me

I remember a lot of talk about the truck blocks, that where designated "W" and those blocks where bored 1/4" over, to 3.437, they also ran a offset crank (4.125 stroke), giving 306 CI.

First, am I right about those blocks, being marked "W"?

Second, if so, what years were they made?

Third, has anyone built one, recently?

Frank
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:20 PM   #2
supereal
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Default Re: The "W" Block question:

I was a stock car racer way back in the 50's. I don't recognize the meaning of a "W" block. The rules we observed were that we could run anything non stock in the engine as long as it was not visible. That could include overbore, cams, etc. We ran on short track, usually quarter miles. Anything else, such as half or mile tracks, produced cooling problems. Most ran in second gear. Our car had a rear axle from an early truck that would allow the wide circle wheels. The main benefit was we could run in high gear, and the full floating axle prevented axle problems in the curves. We fixed them all week, and tore them up on the weekends!
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:49 PM   #3
frnkeore
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Default Re: The "W" Block

Did any of your guy bore their engines to 3.437?
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: The "W" Block question:

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Originally Posted by supereal View Post
We fixed them all week, and tore them up on the weekends!
Remember those days!
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: The "W" Block

W was Winsor which produced Y blocks, not sure about flatheads.


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Old 09-16-2019, 05:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: The "W" Block

Never heard of a "W" block but the "L" block in the 59 series was noted for having thicker cylinder walls, hence could take a larger overbore. Off set ground Mercury cranks were common and I have seen flatheads bored/stroked to 312 cubic inch's. These would run hot and as SuperReal notes, were good for short tracks.
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: The "W" Block

A "W" block is usually an early Chrysler hemi. It is cast into the side of the block. I have a picture of mine somewhere.
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: The "W" Block

"W" block is chevy 348 & 409.
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: The "W" Block

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Originally Posted by Stenny View Post
Never heard of a "W" block but the "L" block in the 59 series was noted for having thicker cylinder walls, hence could take a larger overbore. Off set ground Mercury cranks were common and I have seen flatheads bored/stroked to 312 cubic inch's. These would run hot and as SuperReal notes, were good for short tracks.
Maybe that is the one that I'm thinking of. What did it come in?

It seems like the block that I'm thinking of, was a truck block.

Was it marked, anywhere on the block?
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: The "W" Block

Just a 304" flathead story; I raced against one ; local drag strip ; and it stayed with a built 350hp 350 chev.. both 34 Fords. the Chev won by about a car length. Newc
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:38 PM   #11
Ol' Ron
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Default Re: The "W" Block

I've built several blocks this size, one was the "Paris" engine. 3 7/16x 4 was 296ci. One was built back in the 90's and is still running in a 40 coupe.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:49 AM   #12
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: The "W" Block

Was also into stock car racing as a crew member in the 50's.
The car owner was in charge of the engine rebuild facility at our local Ford dealership.
In his position he was able to cull out engines that came in for use in the stock car.
The engines he selected were 59 series blocks from the Windsor Ont. Canada plant.
These blocks would allow bigger bores and yes all our engines carried a 3.437 bore.
Don't recall if the blocks had a 'W' on them but they did come from Canada and thus the 'W' reference.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:06 AM   #13
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Default Re: The "W" Block

I don't know when the "L" block was released but I imagine it was after 1945. I have seen "L" blocks in both factory relieved and non relieved variants. Usually the relieved blocks were used in trucks. I also don't know if they were produced for truck application exclusively.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:58 AM   #14
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Default Re: The "W" Block

I seem to recall a lot of hype in the mid '50's about the "Y," (turkey track) blocks that were reputedly Canadian. It was claimed that the "Y" block, which was cast into the bell housing in lieu of 59, could be bored to 3-3/8" due to the thick cylinder walls.

I had a friend in Eastern Idaho during the mid '50's that had a "Y"(turkey track) block engine that he sold to a stock car racer. I never actually saw the engine, my friend had pulled it out of a '34 pickup that he bought from a farmer.
Living in Idaho in the '40/50's it was quite common to encounter vehicles that had came from Canada. My dad bought a '37 Pontiac in the early 50's for my mother to drive. It was an odd duck, had a Chevy 216 OHV in it. One of my uncles worked in the Pontiac dealership, he looked at the car and told us it was Canadian, Chevy body/chassis with Pontiac front sheet metal and trim.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:00 PM   #15
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Default Re: The "W" Block

I have L, Y upside down Y and X blocks...and they are all same core size...and as far as i can tell not much tougher in the material either.
When you get a later ford nickelblock in the boremill the cutter screems going down the bore.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:11 PM   #16
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Default Re: The "W" Block

If I remember correctly there was a thread couple of years back on sonic testing and they didn't find much of any difference in the cylinder wall thickness between these different blocks. It may have been on the HAMB.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:13 PM   #17
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Default Re: The "W" Block

Very interesting! So in those days "W" may have been a generic term for a thick walled block.

In my Ford V8 Cars and Trucks book, I found a reference for COE, Ford trucks using "W". They where called 81W, 91W and 01W for 1938-40. It doesn't list beyond '40 but, I would imagine it applied to all COE trucks. I wonder if it had anything to do with the engines that went in them?

Ol' Ron, how did you pick the blocks that you bored 1/4" over?
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Old 09-17-2019, 03:08 PM   #18
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Default Re: The "W" Block

Quote:
Originally Posted by frnkeore View Post
Did any of you guy's bore their engines to 3.437?
I have done quite a few over the years. In the early years without ultrasonic gauges, I had to stop on several blocks and sleeve a hole so I could go back to 3.375.
315 cubic inches was a very common size and still is. That's 4.250 stroke and 3.438 bore.

I have seen blocks with "X", "L" and "Z" but never one with "W" on the bell housing.
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Old 09-17-2019, 03:36 PM   #19
frnkeore
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Default Re: The "W" Block

Pete,
Did you bore just any block to that size or, did you look for a particular block or blocks?
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:36 PM   #20
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Default Re: The "W" Block

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Originally Posted by papanomad View Post
"W" block is chevy 348 & 409.

Like papanomad said above, the Chevy 348 and 409s were referred to as "W" blocks. I remember as teenagers in the early '60s, we referred to them as "dump truck" and "school bus" motors, especially the 348s. DD
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