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Thread: 59A Ford flathead
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    johnboy is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    59A Ford flathead

     



    I've got a 59A flathead motor (cast in bell-housing, 24 stud,) and I have always been under the impression that the 24 stud was the Mercury motor. Then the other day some one who should kmow more than me (which isn't hard) told me; "No, yours is standard, the Mercury motor has a different crank."
    Is he right? Is the Mercury a 4 inch stoke? And is there an easy way to tell without whipping a head off?
    johnboy
    johnboy
    Mountain man. (Retired.)
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    '47 Ford sedan. 350 -- 350, Jaguar irs + ifs.
    '49 Morris Minor. Datsun 1500cc, 5sp manual, Marina front axle, Nissan rear axle.
    '51 Ford school bus. Chev 400 ci Vortec 5 sp manual + Gearvendors 2sp, 2000 Chev lwb dually chassis and axles.
    '64 A.C. Cobra replica. Ford 429, C6 auto, Torana ifs, Jaguar irs.

  2. #2
    johnboy is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Sorry - that should read "stroke."
    johnboy
    johnboy
    Mountain man. (Retired.)
    Some mistakes are too much fun to be made only once.
    I don't know everything about anything, and I don't know anything about lots of things.

    '47 Ford sedan. 350 -- 350, Jaguar irs + ifs.
    '49 Morris Minor. Datsun 1500cc, 5sp manual, Marina front axle, Nissan rear axle.
    '51 Ford school bus. Chev 400 ci Vortec 5 sp manual + Gearvendors 2sp, 2000 Chev lwb dually chassis and axles.
    '64 A.C. Cobra replica. Ford 429, C6 auto, Torana ifs, Jaguar irs.

  3. #3
    chevy 37's Avatar
    chevy 37 is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Johnyboy The 1932-38 had 21 studs. The 1938-48 had 24 studs as did the 49-53. The 53 merc stroke is 4" instead of 3 3/4". Yours is 24 studs.
    Keep smiling, it only hurts when you think it does!

  4. #4
    Don Shillady's Avatar
    Don Shillady is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    From my recollection the early Mercury flatheads in '39-'48 were the 239 cu. in. 3 3/4" stroke x 3 3/16" bore with 24 studs while the 24 stud Ford V8s of '40-'41 were 3 3/4" stroke but only 3 1/16" bore. After WWII the '46-'48 Ford V8 and the Mercury V8 were the same 3 3/4" stroke x 3 3/16" bore. In 1949 through 1953 the Ford V8 remained 3 3/4" stroke x 3 3/16" bore but the distributor was moved to the top front and the water inlets to the heads were moved to the front upper corners, BUT (!) the 1949-1953 Mercury V8s got stroked to 4" with the same 3 3/16" bore. The hot rod bonanza was that the Mercury 4" crank, rods and pistons can be retrofitted without any grinding into the earlier 24 stud blocks whether from Ford or Mercury. Further boring to 3 5/16" or even 3 3/8" was often done along with the usual chance of thin cylinder walls and overheating. Therefore if you have a block with "59A" on the bell housing, it was originally a 3 3/4" stroke with 3 1/16" bore but if you can find a 4" Merc crank (I have one for sale, contact me) and rods you can upgrade to a stroker just with replacement of the crank and rods along with the pistons which have the proper pin placement. A warning should be that you really ought not to bore the cylinders any more than is necessary for a cleanup to roundness since the cores at the factory were not overly straight and you could over bore and end up with a motor that overheats easily. Another problem is that if/when the overheating occurs there is a strong possibility that block cracks will develop between the cylinder wall and a valve pocket. Often the engine will still run with such a crack but the coolant will mysteriously disappear as vapor through the crack but when the crack gets large enough, water will fill a cylinder and then real hydraulic damage can result. Some people say they can repair such cracks and maybe in some cases that can be done but it may be a matter of luck if such repairs can be made. One way to look at this is to recall the additional torque from a SBC 383 due to a 3 3/4" stroke so the 4" stroke of the flathead is pretty good although it will take some expensive porting and relieving to get over 200 HP, maybe 250 H.P is realistic with a 4" x 3 5/16" flathead and other speed parts.
    One addendum is that the Merc 3 3/4" x 3 3/16" block probably goes back to 1939 but I am not sure whether the Ford 3 3/4" x 3 1/16" block goes back to 1938, but I am sure that is right for 1940-1941. Another consideration is that the block has only three bearing webs and that the two middle cylinders on each side share the same exhaust port through the block which tends to heat the middle of the block more than the ends and this can also lead to cracking. Still the engine was quite hardy in stock form and would really take a beating, but probably overboring ruined a lot of blocks over the years.

    Don Shillady
    Retired Scientist/teen rodder
    Last edited by Don Shillady; 08-04-2005 at 05:39 PM.

  5. #5
    johnboy is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Hey - thanks for that fellas, you don't know just how much you don't know until someone tells you that which you didn't know!
    That is much appreciated.

    johnboy
    johnboy
    Mountain man. (Retired.)
    Some mistakes are too much fun to be made only once.
    I don't know everything about anything, and I don't know anything about lots of things.

    '47 Ford sedan. 350 -- 350, Jaguar irs + ifs.
    '49 Morris Minor. Datsun 1500cc, 5sp manual, Marina front axle, Nissan rear axle.
    '51 Ford school bus. Chev 400 ci Vortec 5 sp manual + Gearvendors 2sp, 2000 Chev lwb dually chassis and axles.
    '64 A.C. Cobra replica. Ford 429, C6 auto, Torana ifs, Jaguar irs.

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