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Projects ‘What would you do’ opinions please

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by manitouguy, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. manitouguy
    Joined: Jul 28, 2019
    Posts: 57

    manitouguy

    Hi all - posted this question in my build thread - I appreciate that thread is currently very slow and boring compared to most of the cool stuff on here - so also asking this in its own post so more of you might see and respond?

    I am working on my ‘28 standard coupe and trying to stick with a 50s traditional hot rod build

    funds are very limited but I am lucky to have befriended a great guy locally who really has been a godsend in helping me along

    original plan was to use a very nice 21 stud ‘34 flat head with ‘35 transmission that I got when I got my car - after a bit more education and learning I was moving towards a 39 Toploader and closed tube drive shaft and traditional banjo rear end - and made some progress on getting some of those bits

    recently I have had the opportunity now to pick up a later flat head - not quite sure yet if it is a 49, or maybe a ‘51 and appears to be a merc 8cm with sideshift trans for open drive shaft

    I love the ‘less common’ and simpler look of the Early 21 stud - and it’s slow lope sound ... but I must admit, the idea of the increased hp and twenty more years flat head evolution is also appealing w the 8ba / 8cm and maybe it’s more in keeping w my 50s hot rod ?

    so, although I know the decision is ultimately mine to make ... What are some pros and cons to each approach and if it was your project what would you do and why?

    to get a better sense of my project if you wish -
    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/modern-greenhorn’s-‘28-coupe-build.1160818/

    looking forward to your opinions and thoughts please and thanks
    Regards, Ron

    78A5B0AE-E92F-4766-80F9-CB47A1B513F9.jpeg

    F4C6264B-3687-4889-A17C-02160007802E.jpeg
     
  2. Speed Gems
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
    Posts: 3,183

    Speed Gems
    Member

    Most guys would go with the '49-'51 but if you want to be different and can find aluminum heads and manifold for the 21 stud I'd go with that.
     
  3. Lil'Alb
    Joined: Sep 22, 2013
    Posts: 219

    Lil'Alb
    Member
    from brier, wa

    The 8ba has more common hi-po gear available, but it would suck to dump one and find out the other has problems a few miles down the road. In a nutshell, you might regret getting rid of a potentially decent flathead. And if one turned out to be cracked etc. You can always part it out for $$ to build the other one.

    It's nice the 21 stud has a trans hooked up which skips a step and more parts hunting. Now the 8ba with the right bell housing is easily mated to a 4 speed (although that steps outside the 1950s theme, but do you care?) Food for thought
     
  4. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,416

    adam401
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I love a 21 stud engine. I had one in ny model A coupe and it was awesome. Plenty of pep for that light car. My 34 coupe has an 8rt/ 8ba in it and I love that engine also.
    If your willing to run a pcv valve you can run a 59ab era intake on the 8cm which opens up some options. I also like the departure from the early distributor.
    Id probably run the 8ba but either choice will be cool if you ask me.
     
    continentaljohn likes this.

  5. manitouguy
    Joined: Jul 28, 2019
    Posts: 57

    manitouguy

    Hi guys thanks for the comments

    @Speed Gems - the 34 has an alum intake on it - cylinder heads are not alum - but truck heads and i’ve been told that’s ‘better’?

    @adam401 how well could your 21stud go down the highway for an extended period of time? I am trying to get a sense of the horsepower difference between the two engines and comfortable cruising speed variation too? And yes others have said that the later distributor is easier to work with as well

    @Lil'Alb yes that is wise advice - keeping them both until I know that they are runnable and in decent shape

    more to think about
     
  6. hotrodjack33
    Joined: Aug 19, 2019
    Posts: 2,230

    hotrodjack33
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I vote the later engine. I've always been leery of the 21 stud engines. (except the '36 LBs). Considering Flatmotors are a little "short" on main bearings...I don't want that few bearings depending on poured babbit. JMO
     
  7. In my opinion any complete used engine is just a core for machining and rebuilding, I have never had any luck with used engines.


     
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  8. manitouguy
    Joined: Jul 28, 2019
    Posts: 57

    manitouguy

    @hotrodjack33 yes Babbitts - anyway to gauge condition without a complete disassemble?

    @Robert J. Palmer thanks Robert - not sure that is financially viable - at least for me but yes I understand that would be the best approach for sure
     
  9. I have a 21 stud in my roadster and it has plenty of power. It also has been rebuilt with lots of speed equipment. 39 box behind it with zephyr gear set. 004.JPG
     
    continentaljohn, hfh, Packrat and 7 others like this.
  10. You can plastigauge the main bearings to check for wear.If the bearings are bad rebabbiting is not cheap,and you may not be near a shop who can still do it.
     
  11. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 2,437

    rusty valley
    Member

    21 studders have a lighter crank, and sometimes a forged crank-rev up fast. 34 would still be a Babbitt block though.
     
    manitouguy likes this.
  12. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 341

    hemihotrod66
    Member

     
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  13. rbohm
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 36

    rbohm
    Member
    from tucson,az

    i like the flathead engines, regardless of year of manufacture. each of them has their strengths and weaknesses. i do prefer the later engines though mostly because there are more parts available for them. as for the transmission, get the best one that fits the build you envision. the 39 top loader is probably going to work best for you in this case though.

    as for assessing the condition of an engine, if you can do a compression check, and run the engine on a stand to listen for noises that dont belong, a stethascope works nicely here by the way, you can make an educated guess at how good an engine is. the best way of course sot o do a complete tear down.
     
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  14. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,653

    sloppy jalopies
    Member

    the 8ba's ['49-'53] had an insert bearing for each cylinder not 2 rods on 1 bearing, earlier engines did not...
    i plug a water hole near the distributor hold down with a brass pin [1/4" or so] then i run 59ab heads for the earlier look but still have the better bearing set up...
    you can run the earlier intakes without the road draft tube... also you can run the earlier cam, a crab distributor and earlier water pumps...
    how about finding a portable dyno [sometimes they show up at some car shows / rod runs.].. contact them to see if you can bring your flattie to their shop...
    they could test for HP. and you could tell more about your engine's health... my $0.01 ...
     
  15. I had a 34 engine, alum intake and iron heads. It was a truck engine. I was going to rebuild it until I found out the cost. I was told the 34 engine does not have cam bearings and uses babbit crank bearings. That makes a rebuild more expensive. Also, you have that distributor hidden underneath the belts, which is a pita in my opinion. Because of the cost or rebuild vs output and ease of maintenance I would go with the later flathead. My 2¢..
     
  16. Model A Gomez
    Joined: Aug 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,447

    Model A Gomez
    Member

    I'm running an 8RT in my coupe I'm building and have finally got it somewhat drivable and am really happy with it but have a small fortune in it. There are a lot more parts out there for the 24 stud engine, you need a truck trans adapter to mount the early trans on the later flathead, other than that it's about the same to mount either engine. I'm running 49-52 truck water pumps, 12 volt generator with a 37 pulley and fan adapted which shortens the engine about 4 "; early style heads, 8BA intake with a PCV valve. Been driving a little bit , no glass or top but tagged and insured and really runs great. In the mock up picture you can see the trans adapter, later picture shows fan and generator and PCV valve. cs.jpg IMG_0495.jpg fh2.jpg running.jpg
     
  17. manitouguy
    Joined: Jul 28, 2019
    Posts: 57

    manitouguy

    Very nice!
     
    ct1932ford likes this.
  18. manitouguy
    Joined: Jul 28, 2019
    Posts: 57

    manitouguy

    Thanks Irish - I am in the Vancouver / lower mainland British Columbia Canada region and am not sure who if any in this area do this type of work - But a pretty good hot rod community so I’m sure I can find out
     
  19. manitouguy
    Joined: Jul 28, 2019
    Posts: 57

    manitouguy

    Thanks for all the tips - do you run the modifications you described mostly for the look of your engine – so it looks a bit earlier? Or are there functional benefits to switching up or using some of the older items as you describe?
     
  20. manitouguy
    Joined: Jul 28, 2019
    Posts: 57

    manitouguy

    Very nice project and thanks for the comments and info – why do you also run the earlier heads ? again is that just personal preference on look and style?

    I believe that my later engine also came with the trans adapter

    is it an easy mod / swap to take the gear set out of the later trans and put in the 39 top load case - to work with larger fork etc?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2020
  21. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,575

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I had my choice as well at the time and went for the newer block. More base HP, could take more mods, more machining, more speed parts, less likely to grenade (I hope). Went 49 8BA. I am very glad I did. I like how things look but they gotta move!
     
  22. Model A Gomez
    Joined: Aug 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,447

    Model A Gomez
    Member

    The early heads are a personal choice, the center outlet works better since it doesn't come straight up a couple of inches back form the radiator. The early heads are a bolt on but you have to block three 1/4" water holes with flat plugs. You can see both plugs in the front of the block, those holes are in the head below the thermostat housing and don't cause any problems. On the trans adapter make sure you have the starter plate, they seem to be harder to find than the bell housing.
    You can put the later gear set right into the earlier case but the synchronizers are different and you have to use the later top. The 2nd - 3rd shift fork is different and even if you open up the earlier shift fork it won't work.
    Vanpelt Sales has a tremendous amount of flathead information, complete section on transmissions and engines, really good reference material.
    f4.jpg
     
  23. I would lean toward running the Merc engine because of the extra displacement. There is nothing like extra cubic inches for more torque and horsepower.
    Back in the 50s, I ran a 21 stud engine, and drove it hard with no issues. My only concern, would be the cost of rebuilding the engine if the babbit bearings had to be re-poured.
    With the later blocks, the cost of a rebuild would not be as much of an issue. If any flathead is apart, it is a wise thing to check the block for cracks.
    I had never seen it done where the earlier heads were adapted to the later block, but I sure like the look, and that is what I would do.
    What I have always done when I had a lot of options, was to pick easiest or most preferred choice, get it running, and then, if necessary, make the big change.
    Bob
     
  24. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,416

    adam401
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Regarding the 8cm, id swap those heads out if you had the opportunity at some point. The 8cm heads I believe have the lowest compression. I believe the order from high to low is EAB, 8ba, 8rt, 8cm. I drunk bought a set of 8cm heads one Saturday night on here so Yeah, that's how I found that out.
     
  25. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,575

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I chose the front outlets for different reasons.

    upload_2020-7-21_21-12-23.png
     
  26. trucker1
    Joined: Sep 6, 2011
    Posts: 76

    trucker1
    Member

    There are guys out there machining 21 stud blocks to accept the 8ba internals, so you could have the best of both worlds. Glynn.
     
  27. Cliff Ramsdell
    Joined: Dec 27, 2004
    Posts: 1,266

    Cliff Ramsdell
    Member

    My first motor and trans setup was a bone stock and slightly worn 59AB and a 35 top loaded transmission.

    while I now have a 39 “style” top loader along with a 276” motor I never had a single issue with early transmission and will be just fine as long as you don’t side step the clutch and power shift through the gears.

    Cliff Ramsdell
     
  28. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,653

    sloppy jalopies
    Member

    ditto adam…
    local greyhair told me the cheap way, [junkyard parts] was to run the merc block that has the stoker crank... and the ford heads [higher compression]…
    he says that stroking the crank to make a 3/8"x 3/8" was not common around here $$$.
     
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  29. Jason Mitchell
    Joined: Sep 4, 2020
    Posts: 40

    Jason Mitchell

    Beautiful, man.
     
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  30. Jason Mitchell
    Joined: Sep 4, 2020
    Posts: 40

    Jason Mitchell

    Im doing a 29 Tudor and going through the same motions. I have a 59AB that came with my car, but disassembled and missing all of the head nuts. At least the rotating assembly was in it and it turned. But before I got the car, I bought a couple of 8BAs to build up. I decided to just get the older one to run as-is, all rusty and stock...run it while I build the 8BA hot rod and then swap. I'm kind of documenting it on youtube. Link in my sig.
    Keep us posted on yours.
    Cheers.
     

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