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Projects 1953 Ford What motor to run in it.

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by scrap_metal, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. scrap_metal
    Joined: Sep 26, 2017
    Posts: 17

    scrap_metal
    Member
    from OC, CA

    So I just picked up this 53 for 1500, . I got the original flathead with it but its taken apart I can have it rebuild or what would be good to run in it, 289, 302, 351, I have no clue what will work best. I got a great deal. the interior is like new. bumpers are newly chromed, the only rust is in the passenger door from a old repair, car was restored about 10 years ago for shows then sat in a garage. anyway I'm trying to figure out what the best motor to put in with the lease hassle. Any suggestions would be great thanks 20171011_180754.jpg 20171011_180634.jpg
     
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  2. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 338

    Los_Control
    Member

    Since the flathead will bolt right in, it would be the least hassle.
    It would be worth checking out the condition and price of rebuilding the flathead.
    It may be cost prohibitive, or it may be in real nice shape and just need freshened up.
    Any other motor from a small block chevy to a big block FE would be great, but will require a new transmission, motor and tranny mount mods, possibly a new rear end ... etc Will add up cost wise.
     
  3. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 12,557

    Squablow
    Member

    Good deal for that price, for sure. I have a Chevy 348 in my '53 and a 400 Chev in a '52. The rear sump Chevy engine mounts in place of a flathead really easily and clears the steering. If you plan to run a 289/302 you need a specific oil pan and oil pump pickup to do it without hacking up the crossmember (I want to say it's an early Bronco pan but not positive on that). But they will fit in there.

    If your flathead block checks out crack-free, and if you can afford the rebuild on it, that'd be my first choice, but they're pricey to build. The disassembled motor would probably bring enough $ to buy you a running OHV Ford or Chevy engine (at least around here it would). That's also an option if you're going for a budget.
     
    OahuEli likes this.
  4. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 9,727

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    A Ford would be my first choice, vintage FE or up to a 289 OHV if ya want anything a tad newer. A popular swap back in the day was with a Caddy. Do a web search for Fordillac. There is a lot out there on them, from how to's, to who and why built them, and who owned them. Your car is a little later than the first Fordillacs, but the history is there. There were all kinds of OHV swaps done back then, especially by drag racers (even Big Daddy had some). That was all before the OHV SBC arrived. Gary
     
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  5. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 4,307

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Depends where your priorities lie: cost, power, reliability, ease of installation, nostalgia, economy, repair parts...list those in order.
     
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  6. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,618

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Chevy 265 or early 283 would be easiest and cheapest to install and get running. Nice power upgrade over the flathead too. And plenty of traditonal speed parts available. More traditional than SBF too. If you want to keep it all Ford, I'd be sticking with the flathead or going with a Y-block, but the flathead is going to cost more to rebuild and will be down on power.
     
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  7. scrap_metal
    Joined: Sep 26, 2017
    Posts: 17

    scrap_metal
    Member
    from OC, CA

    I guess it would go
    reliability
    cost
    ease of installation
    Nostalgia
    I also can get a sbc 350/350 combo for a 1000. That is balanced, dyno and blue printed that has about 10,000 miles on it. its from a friends nova that was t-boned he put about ten grand into it. It just doesn't seem right putting a chevy motor into a ford. I wouldn't mine changing rear end to make it freeway friendly. Just want to make a fun cruiser that I can take any were with the family.
     
  8. scrap_metal
    Joined: Sep 26, 2017
    Posts: 17

    scrap_metal
    Member
    from OC, CA

    Also the flathead is in pretty descent shape but what is the costly. whats the mid to high range of having it rebuilt?
     
  9. I hate to admit it, but a SBC would be the easiest swap. If you want to stay all Ford, then a SBF would be the next easiest choice. A Y-block will require tracking down some hard-to-find parts, and will be as expensive to rebuild as the flathead. Early Olds and Caddy V8s were a popular swap 'back in the day' also, but you're back to expensive vintage motors again.

    And unless yours was originally equipped with a Fordomatic trans, you'll find the rear axle ratio will be pretty low; likely 3.7-3.9. Great around town as a stoplight bandit, but you'll be buzzing on the freeway. If you go over about 350 c.i. or 300HP, a new rear axle should be seriously thought about.
     
  10. Rocky
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 13,580

    Rocky
    Classified Editor

    Last one I built, I used a 350/350 chevy...raised it up to clear the steering linkage [boxed the square tubing mount extensions later] and used a big GM cross flow radiator. rockyboxmotor.jpg
     
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  11. j-jock
    Joined: May 12, 2007
    Posts: 664

    j-jock
    Member

    It really depends on your goal. An inexpensive cruiser? Take the available Chevy 350. Want something more esoteric? A Y block would work, but you will have a difficult time finding a truck pan and the oil pump pickup. The same applies for the FE engines, although there are more truck pans around because they were so common. Any big OHV is going to require a stronger transmission than you presently have.
    If all the parts for the flattie are there, why not install that for now and collect the parts for the other swap, if you decide that is what you want to do. Then, when you go to sell the flattie, it will fetch more money.
    I am not a purest, in the sense that I prefer to do swaps that I know aren't going to be nightmares just to keep brand purity. Look in your wallet, it helped me make a lot of my decisions.
    Just my $0.02
    Bob
     
  12. Schwanke Engines
    Joined: Jun 12, 2014
    Posts: 651

    Schwanke Engines
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    droppedstepside and JeffB2 like this.
  13. rbohm
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 28

    rbohm
    Member
    from tucson,az

    i would love to build a 53 ford. my thoughts on a power plant would be;

    1: the original flat head. with the right combination of parts you can build it to make decent power, and have it reliable. it fits nicely, and you can adapt a nice C4 to it for easy driveability.

    2: if i wasnt going to use the flat head, i would use a 289/302 ford motor, probably with an AOD behind it.

    3: if i were going to use a more modern power plant, i would probably go with an LSx chevy motor and some kind of overdrive trans.

    these engines are easy enough to set up a decent budget that wont break the bank, and parts are available for them all over the place.
     
  14. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 5,704

    JeffB2
    Member
    from Phoenix,AZ

    Click on this and join up: https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/social-forums/1952-59-ford-social-group.282/ We are a very active Social Group we have a HUGE information file available that covers almost any upgrade you may want to do to your Ford,Hope to see you there.
     
  15. evintho
    Joined: May 28, 2007
    Posts: 778

    evintho
    Member

  16. T&A Flathead
    Joined: Apr 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,403

    T&A Flathead
    Member

    I put a 289 in my 49. With the right oil pan, it's as easy as a SBC swap and you won't be embarrassed to open your hood.

    I used an early 289 and kept the original trans 3spd w/ OD. Simple and cheap swap.
     
  17. NewGuyOldFord
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 295

    NewGuyOldFord
    Member

    Put a chevy in it. It's what they all do. I'd do a roller 302 SBF for troublefree driving. It's not really that hard of a swap.
     
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  18. Flathead..
     
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  19. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 1,370

    southcross2631
    Member
    from Florida

    I have a fresh 5.0 small block Ford short block with forged pistons and Scat rods that I will make you a great deal on. I also have some aluminum heads. PM me if interested. Have a Fastenal store here in town to ship from.
    Small block Ford 5 speed would be my choice even if you are not interested on my stuff.
     
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  20. Truckdoctor Andy
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 68

    Truckdoctor Andy
    Member

    You mean there are other engines to swap in than a sbc? I’d put a small block Chevrolet and a 700R4 in it! But I also put small blocks in every thing I own!


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
    belair likes this.
  21. MIKE STEWART
    Joined: Aug 23, 2016
    Posts: 108

    MIKE STEWART

    When I was a teenager - in the 1970's my best friend's Dad had a 1953 Ford Vicky - original 3 speed overdrive manual with a early 289 Ford 4V stock engine. It really ran strong - Robin egg blue and white 2-tone and had 65 Mustang GT 14 inch wheels - looked great also. I really admired this car. It was sold in 1984. It was his daily transportation for 15 years.
     
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  22. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 4,307

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    When I see a non-Chevy, with room for anything, with a SBC in it, sometimes I think he took the easy way out, especially now that you don't have to scrounge one out of another car. Then they usually drive off while I'm waiting for a tow truck.
     
    belair likes this.
  23. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 18,207

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    what you are looking for as the end product is what most want - everything mentioned here has a up & down side - don't like Chevy in Ford, then don't use one - with the info/links provided here, plus going to look at car shows, etc narrow down more as to what will fit your criteria - then just do it
     
  24. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 1,178

    sloppy jalopies
    Member

    Ford guy,
    but 302's are everywhere, the 260, 289 0r 351 all fit in about the same size hole...
    careful different bellhousing bolt patterns ...
    if I were to cross the line I would be after a small nail head buick... they are purdy !
     
    belair likes this.
  25. 350/350 and keep the hood closed if what other people may think bothers you. You could always put some Y block rocker covers on it; probably fool 99% on the first glance.
     
  26. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 950

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Gee, no one suggested a crate Coyote or LS and all the computer stuff that goes with them? All kidding aside, since this is a "traditional" hot rod site, back in the late '50s to early '60s in my town that car would have gotten a Cad or Olds maybe even a Pontiac. In the later '60s it would have been a 390 FE and a C6. (which, by the way is an easy 12 second sleeper)
    But hey, your car, your tastes, your budget. Congrats, it looks like a nice car and you can't beat the price......
     
  27. NewGuyOldFord
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 295

    NewGuyOldFord
    Member

    I think JEFFB or something like that even has step by step instructions with part numbers on here for putting a small block ford in a shoebox.
     
  28. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 12,557

    Squablow
    Member

    My 52 has a maverick rearend in it, fits nice and keeps the bolt pattern. My 53 has a 9" from a 70 mach 1, fits but its tight. Ive heard of guys using newer explorer axles too but i never looked into it deeper, i don't like stuff that new.

    My 52 uses the original Fordomatic column on a th350, works surprisingly well.

    That 350 combo for a grand seems like a good deal, they fit nice, could keep the flathead for a future open hood project or sell it, wouldn't be a bad way to go.

    Not the most traditional but they can be dressed out nice and its a custom with a hood that should be shown closed anyway. If this was a hoodless early rod project I'd have a different opinion.

    Sent from my LG-M153 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  29. paleot
    Joined: Aug 29, 2011
    Posts: 188

    paleot
    Member
    from louisiana

    I have a stock 239 flathead in mine, c4 behind it. d
    Doesn't like traffic even with a 4 core aluminum and flex fan. Wish I had gone with a fmx for overdrive.
     
  30. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,618

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Way to keep it traditional guys....... great advice.

    I had to check to see if this was still The HAMB or if I was on a different forum....
     

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