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Thread: way fast flattie

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  1. #1
    66t-bird's Avatar
    66t-bird is offline Registered User Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Aug 2004
    Car Year, Make, Model: Looking for 29-32 ford roadster

    way fast flattie


    Hello everyone, I have loved flatheads since that day I learned what they were. I am starting driving lessons this summer and I am interested in building a flathead for a soon to be purchased Ford from the flathead era. I know what I want to do and I don't want to say money is no oblect, but I am 95 percent sure I can pay for everything. Here are my plans: get 239 Merc. with 100hp, bore and stroke to 302, fill with high quality rods and pistons, pretty wild cam one that is just bearable ony becuase you know it makes gobs of power, alluminum heads modified for around 10:1 compression, offenhauser 3x2 manifold and holley 94's or 97's, some headers not sure yet, and thats about it. Now here are some questions what should i do about raising compression on the offy or edelbrock heads, and can methanol run through those carbs. I am going to make a race trim with 12:1 heads and methanol, what kind of mixture is optimal. also i heard peopel using merc. cranks to stroke the flatheads how can i do this. also how much overbore should i do for 302 i ws thinking 60 thousandths over. i have used the estimated power equation and came up with an average of about 300 hp in street trim and 340 in race trim. well i need lots of info but i am very enthusiastic and cant wait to start

  2. #2
    hambiskit is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Jun 2003

    NOW THAT sounds like a neat project. Try to see if Don Shillady here will respond to your post as he said before that he has some of those parts yer looking for.
    Post some pic.'s as you go- we'd be intrested in helping you with what sounds like a "worthy" project!

  3. #3
    suedeplymouth's Avatar
    suedeplymouth is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Dec 2003
    Car Year, Make, Model: '64 ranchero

    O.K, first of all the only way to stroke a flathead with a merc crank is to install it in the ford block, but that only brings you up to the mercs displacement. If you start with a merc block already then youre far better off. If youre convinced you need to stroke it even more, there are trick stroker cranks available through flathead jacks, made by norton for around 1500.

    Secondly, I know this sounds bad to other flathead guys, but unless cooling is a problem, youll probably have better luck without the finned aluminum heads and just running the stock cast iron ones that have been milled for higher compression. BTW, 12:1 comp?, you better be using stainless steel head studs.

    Thirdly, as much as I love the look of multiple carburetion, its just not as good as a large four barel intake, and that pales in comparisson with a well balanced fuel injection setup. Dont tell me that four barrel intakes werent used in the flathead era, 'cause they were, they just werent all that popular for street use. They mainly saw use on drag boats and salt flats cars.
    Last edited by suedeplymouth; 08-29-2004 at 02:44 PM.
    "its better to rule in hell, than serve in heaven."

  4. #4
    Don Shillady's Avatar
    Don Shillady is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    May 2004
    Car Year, Make, Model: 29 fendered roadster

    Well hold your horses a bit! You can get plenty of low rpm torque with a 4" crank, but(!) unless you can find someone who will relieve the block for you (cut about 1/8" down into the block around the valves using the head gasket outline, the higher compression heads over about 8 1/2:1 will actually choke off breathing because the space between the valves and the bore will act like a dam to the flow. Also do you have a block? I bought three and gave up when they all had some kind of crack in one place or another. There are two problems with boring, the first is that the engine may overheat due to thin cylinder walls and then crack from uneven heating or worse maybe one or more of the cores shifted in the original mold and one side of the cylinder will be much thinner than the other. There is a great article in the July 2004 Street Rodder mag. on page 182 showing how to relieve the block. However in the September 2004 issue of Street Rodder there is a picture on page 216 showing the effect of core shift in that the rightmost cylinder is offset so that boring will make one side much thinner than the other. There is a way to use ultrasonic testing for this, but my humble opinion is that you should STROKE the engine and bore it only the least amount to cleanup the cylinders. I can recall reading Hot Rod in the 1950s when it seemed all the flatheads were bored out to 3 3/8" and stroked with an offset Merc crank to 4 1/8", but I do not know how long those engines lasted. First you need to find a good block and if/when you do that is great but you may have to hunt or buy one of those blocks from French military surplus (not cheap). You can buy a stroker crank from Speedway but I have been trying to sell one to someone with a good block for some time. I have a 4" Merc crank that needs a 0.010 cleanup grind with rebuildable rods which I will sell to you for $225 plus shipping. First get back to me and tell me you have a good block. From my memories of a stock 256 cu. in. Merc, even with low compression heads and about 3.78:1 gearing you will really have an excellent low rpm torque motor. I will take some flak for saying this but it seems to me that up to about 2000 rpm a 4" stroke flathead has more torque than a stock SBC 350, but of course above 2000 rpm there is no comparison and the flathead runs out of torque around 4500 rpm. On another topic there used to be thousands of cams available for the flathead but after many tests the Iskederian cams won the shakeout and probably with the Isky 3/4 cam and a 4" stroker crank with relieving and multiple carbs you can get about 250 H.P., maybe even 280 H.P. with a carefully constructed engine, but likely with a stroker crank, Isky cam and dual carbs you will get about 150 H.P. with plenty of low rpm torque. Well I am coasting along on memories and book reading except for the part about how hard it is to find a good flathead block. If you do find one try not to bore it too much and stroke it instead. Let me know if you want the crank and rods. Note the engine displacement increases with the SQUARE of the bore due to the pi-r-squared effect and only linearly with the stroke, BUT (!) the probablility of cracking the block also goes up dramatically with excessive boring! Still if I could have found a good block that is what I would have built, but now I am in kindergarten learning about the SBC 350.

    Postscript: Suedeplymouth mentioned the Ford/Merc block. There were several. I am rusty on my restorer facts but in the early '39-'41 blocks the Fords had only 3 1/16" bore compared to the Merc 3 3/16" bore but after WWII both Merc and Ford had 3 3/16" bore and 3 3/4" stroke. Then the '49-'52 Fords stayed at 3 3/16" x 3 3/4" with a lighter sheet metal bell housing while the '49-'52 Mercs stayed at 3 3/16" bore but increased the stroke to 4"; it is these cranks that can be used in Ford or Merc blocks back to '39, ie any 24 head stud engine. The earlier flatheads only had 21 head studs and the very early ones did not have insert bearings but I do not know the first year for insert bearings. Only a restorer would try to rebuild a '32-'34 flathead anyway (at great cost) so you are more likely to find one of the '49-'53 Ford "8BA" blocks or the '46-'48 "59AB" engines. If you find a block, count the head studs, I would only try to rod a 24 stud block and leave the 21 stud engines for purist restorers.
    (24 studs on each side) I would agree with suedeplymouth about the 4-barrel intake, it is tricky to balance the dual or trip setups, although if you don't mind relocating the alternator, a triple carb setup with progressive linkage using the center carb mainly and the other two for pedal-to-the-metal could look great AND give better economy. However, four barrel carbs were supposedly easier to tune and manifolds for them should still be available.

    Don Shillady
    Retired Scientist/teen rodder
    Last edited by Don Shillady; 08-29-2004 at 01:09 PM.

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