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Old 12-07-2008, 03:29 PM
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ford 390 V8

my 1964 ford thunderbird engine i recieved torn down to the block. there it sits in my garage looking at me! one heavy block and all of its insides in a few boxes. i want to take the block to a machine shop to clean it up, rebore and hone everything but that is where i get stuck. i hear of people saying they rebore it all bigger for speed purposes. that's not what i am concerned with. i just want to rebuild the 390 to a nice solid engine. what do i need to tell the shop without sounding like an idiot novice, that is what i am? what can i plan on paying for the work also, that is another concern. help me please.

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Old 12-07-2008, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6t4birdie
my 1964 ford thunderbird engine i recieved torn down to the block. there it sits in my garage looking at me! one heavy block and all of its insides in a few boxes. i want to take the block to a machine shop to clean it up, rebore and hone everything but that is where i get stuck. i hear of people saying they rebore it all bigger for speed purposes. that's not what i am concerned with. i just want to rebuild the 390 to a nice solid engine. what do i need to tell the shop without sounding like an idiot novice, that is what i am? what can i plan on paying for the work also, that is another concern. help me please.

Find a local mentor to help you with the assembly.

First find a shop you can trust. Ask around.
Be straight with them. It will only take them 10 seconds to know that you are a novice.
Consult your mentor, or bring him with you to the machine shop.


I'd just tell the machine shop,
"I just want to rebuild the 390 MYSELF to a nice solid engine-
not a hot rod.
I want to keep the bore as small as feesible,
use flat top pistons if possible with modern rings and a 9/1 compression for modern fuel.
The heads need to done and have hardened valve seats installed for modern fuel.
Check the valve springs to see if they will be compatible with the mild RV (recreational vehicle) type cam." (1 or 2 steps above stock) New springs should run around $50.

You might not need the crankshaft machined (turned, is the term)
nor the block align honed (machined for a perfect fit of the crankshaft bearings) probably not.

When you get it together consider a Pertronix electronic ignition conversion into a stock type distributor. Your dist might be worn out anyway.
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Old 12-07-2008, 04:01 PM
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390

You do just what you said.....tell them you are not building a performance engine and you just want this one cleaned up...it's not all that weird.
If the engine cylinders are in bad shape they may have to bore it out just a little to make the cylinders nice and rounds and smooth, then use some larger rings (they will tell you which ones) and then you or someone assembles the whole mess. You might need new bearings or something...it's hard to tell.
Don't worry about sounding like an idiot......there are a LOT of folks out there that CLAIM to know more than they know.....and those are the ones that REALLY sound like an idiot to the guys at the machine shop.
Becuase you are new to it all.....make sure and ask around to find a reputable Machine Shop that you can trust not to take advantage of your inexperience.
Most of them are just average folks trying to make a living and will do the best they can do.
Good luck, and remember......there are NO stupid questions....only stupid answers.
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Old 12-07-2008, 04:03 PM
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Boring a motor is not done only for speed purposes. On a high-mileage motor, the bores may be egg-shaped and not parallel from top to bottom. Boring and honing for the next oversize piston and rings restores the bores to like new, giving the motor the best chance to go another 100,000 miles or whatever. There is also a ridge that forms at the top of the bore where the rings don't reach. In some cases, if a guy is very limited on funds, he can cut the ridge off the cylinders with a ridge-ream tool, hone the cylinders to break the glaze which forms and provide a good cross-hatch for the break-in of new rings and re-use the pistons that were in the motor.

Don't worry about sounding goofy to the machine shop guy. You're not going to be able to talk intelligently with him on motor issues until you've spent as much time as he has doing this stuff. Take the block to the shop and have the guy help you determine the best avenue to take with the motor.
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Old 12-07-2008, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6t4birdie
my 1964 ford thunderbird engine i recieved torn down to the block. there it sits in my garage looking at me! one heavy block and all of its insides in a few boxes. i want to take the block to a machine shop to clean it up, rebore and hone everything but that is where i get stuck. i hear of people saying they rebore it all bigger for speed purposes. that's not what i am concerned with. i just want to rebuild the 390 to a nice solid engine. what do i need to tell the shop without sounding like an idiot novice, that is what i am? what can i plan on paying for the work also, that is another concern. help me please.
I think you'll find that most shops will be more than helpful. Most people like to use their knowledge to help others. Just lay out your story and what you want to do with the engine.

When they inspect the parts of the engine they will be able to tell you what it needs. You can expect to have to deal with wear and warpage issues. There's always the unplesant surprise of cracks which are found with either die-penetrate or magna-flux inspection. Certainly the cylinder bores will be worn and need a fresh surface which is obtained by boring. For what you're doing and for long life you want to ask for the minimum amount of bore increase to get to a fresh wall. This leaves the greatest amount of wall thickness thus strength.

Engines tend to warp in use, not always, but often enough to require checking. This comes from inadequate stress relief after casting but before machining such that the internal stresses work themselves out in service and cause the machined surfaces to warp. This depending on where they are could require align-boring of the main bearings, possibly the cam bores as well, and remaching the flat surfaces such as the head deck of the block and the heads. Warpage is also the result of in service overheating, which will often and also include cracking of the castings.

Bogie
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:07 PM
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These guys have given some good advice. A trusty machine shop is worth its weight in gold. They can check the cylinders for wear by inspection and measurement. If the block needs to be bored and honed, the norm for machine shops is to go .030 over, which requires you to purchase all new pistons as well. As a rule, the more you bore, the thinner the cylinder walls get, which equates to a hotter running motor as well and sometimes the need for a better cooling system (radiator, fan, etc.). As mentioned above, the least amount of bore is best for all around. As long as there is no major scaring or wear ridges, you might get away with simply honing the cylinders, a new set of rings and bearings and your good to go.

Last edited by kleen56; 12-07-2008 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:33 PM
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thanks so much everyone. these are the answers and advice i was hopeing for. i am so happy you took the time to post a reply. i am not a mechanic, this is a hobby for me and a dream to get this car going and looking slick. the previous owner gave up on this 64 bird and i won't let that car die. we will get her on the road. that is where she belongs. thanks again everyone.
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