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Bits & Pieces

Sept/Oct 1998

Once upon a time, when the world was young, there were LOTS of cars in addition to our old Fords. Now, when Hollywood wants old cars for the movies, they are almost all old Fords.

How come?

Our old Fords are still running. Far more of the "others" have long ago been scrapped. Our old Fords are running because they had the best inexpensive engine of their day -- so advanced as to be revolutionary when first made.

They are still running because the hot rod kids prized them over most others -- the engines could easily be made to put out double their original horsepower, and with more work, triple.

They were easier to keep running because engine parts, interchanged well over the 22 year production life. They may not have been the most beautiful cars of their day, but to me, some of the were.

They may not have stopped or handled the best, but the engine made our cars survivors.

The Readers Write:

I am pleased with the response from members to this column. Although it's "new" to the V-8 Times, I've received comments which expand on my original articles. These are presented here to enhance your knowledge of our flathead fords.

As always, I welcome your responses -- good or bad. The more we know about the flathead engine, the better we can keep it "on the road" -- Red Hamilton

Bob Schauer of Lodi, California has run his garage for over 60 years and he still builds flathead engines. He noted that he puts non-silicone gasket sealer between the rear main rope seal mating ends as well as on the rear main cap parting face to help minimize oil leakage.

I haven't tried sealer on the rope ends but do use sealer on the main cap to block parting line and should have mentioned that in the gaskets and sealers article.

Phil Howard of Bellevue, Washington supplied a list of check items for labyrinth rear main seal leaks: excessive blowby, higher volume oil pump, removing or modifying windage tray or baffles, oil viscosity at operation temperature, crankcase venting or ventilation, confusing transmission oil mixed with clutch dust for (dirty) engine oil, and maybe length and type of rear main cap oil drain tube.

Miles Schofield of Woodland Hills, California also mentions the different rear main cap drain tube lengths, asking is later (shorter), better? He notes that Ford seems to have done it both ways, in different years and in different engines.

Regarding the overheating article, he notes that it is not correct to suggest that if all is right with an engine it will never overheat.

He notes that the bottom end should probably not be lower than the surface of the oil in the pan.

If you work it hard enough, in a hot enough environment, the engine may overheat even if there is nothing mechanically wrong.

Nothing mechanical will work forever without restoration or repair, but with our flathead Fords we can make the repair time minimal and maximize our drive time if we take care of our engines and other mechanical parts.

Change your oil, and filter if you have one, regularly. Even if your engine uses oil, that doesn't get rid of the contaminants.

Use an air cleaner that cleans air. Some of the early units only keep our small children and large rocks. Put a modern K&N or equivalent on for touring and change to the original for show.

Keep your fuel clean and dry. Check the screen at the top of the sediment bowl and the sediment bowl, if so equipped.

Use coolant with anti-corrosive additives. Check the torque on fasteners, especially head bolts on aluminum heads. Once a year is not too often -- Red.

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