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59A vs. 8BA pros and cons?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by FoMoCo_MoFo, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. FoMoCo_MoFo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 1,666

    FoMoCo_MoFo
    Member

    I currently have a `46 59A motor waiting to be rebuilt, but I just picked up a complete `53 8BA with tranny and was wondering the pros and cons of each ingine and which one I should use in my AV8 Sedan.
     
  2. oldchevyseller
    Joined: May 30, 2004
    Posts: 1,851

    oldchevyseller
    Member
    from mankato mn

    all depends on your hop up stuff ,you have anything for either engine? the older motor has the fron dizzy, and gets a little tight in a a frame, the 59 wil give you a better lasting engine, the bearings and oiling were improved over the years, no rear breather is another firewall consideration,other wise choose your engine based on what look you want, check out this link , http://www.vanpeltsales.com/FH_web/flathead_drawings_engines.htm
     
  3. FoMoCo_MoFo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 1,666

    FoMoCo_MoFo
    Member

    luckily I havent started collecting speed parts for either motor yet. thanks for the link.
     
  4. All technical cosiderations aside and from an asthetic standpoint the 8BA doesn't even touch the 59A. The centered coolant spigots and the front mounted distributor make it pure flathead...
     

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  5. 29SX276
    Joined: Oct 19, 2003
    Posts: 469

    29SX276
    Member

    The 59 will take a tad more space in the engine bay due to the front dist.,but space really depends on where the engine mounts are placed.The 8BA is a cheaper engine to build mainly because the 59 has the rod bearings that are full floaters;way more expensive to buy than the standard shells for the 8BA.The late 8BA mills '52-53 didn't have removable exhaust valve seats,same goes for intakes,but there could be the odd exception to the rule.Supposedly the 8BA's had improved cooling holes in the rear of the block as oppossed to the 59's.Apart from the con rod bearings and minor valve train differences it doesn't make any difference to what engine you use.What you have on hand and what fits your wallet will determine your engine choice.
     
  6. kustomkoupe
    Joined: Mar 28, 2004
    Posts: 996

    kustomkoupe
    Member

    in my opinion...i think the 59 motor is nicer looking...front distributor lets you have nice symetry of the spark plug wires...the water outlets in the middle of the heads looks alot nicer and gives more clearance for an offset generator.....the downfalls are the floating rod bearings on the 59 and the cast in bellhousing as opposed to the locked insert bearings on the 8ba/cm and the detachable bell housing...the bellhousing just limits your choices of adapters for running other transmissons and the bearing problem can be solved with using the newer rods...

    i currently am going to use a full race 51 merc 8CM motor that i picked up as a basket case...

    but im collecting parts to build a 59AB block with a 49-53 merc 4 inch crank stroked to 4-1/8 with the old (21A?) rods..and an 1/8 overbore...im still learning alot about what fits what for an over the top race motor so its gona be a while till i get that one done...if i dont get hung up on 4 bangers [​IMG]

    so id say its really give-or-take to what you think you want

    check them both out very well for cracks...you can always use the 59AB heads on the 8BA motor without much effort so use whichever one looks best conditon and go from there maybe?

    hope this helps somewhat...or atleast makes some sence

    zach
     
  7. 29SX276
    Joined: Oct 19, 2003
    Posts: 469

    29SX276
    Member

    Just a shot of my engine in a mock up stage,but I'm using early heads on a '51 block.Also using the '32-48 intake.The chassis is Model A.
     
  8. IMHO, the early motor just plain looks better. Centered water outlets on the heads, water pump pulleys closer to the block and a better ignition than the POC on the 8BA. Again, just my opinion.

    Also, what you run may depend upon which block isn't cracked. [​IMG]

    My latest one is an 8RT block with late crank and rods, using the early cam, ignition, intake and heads. The bottom end's a whole lot cheaper and easier to assemble than the early full-floaters but it'll look like an early motor once it's in the car.
     
  9. Evilfordcoupe™
    Joined: May 22, 2001
    Posts: 1,818

    Evilfordcoupe™
    Member

    run 'em both......

    I like the 59A over the 8BA for looks.

    -Jason
     
  10. bedllm
    Joined: May 27, 2004
    Posts: 117

    bedllm
    Member

    Damn. Didn't know there was a such a divide in opinion in the Flathead camp over looks of 59A vs 8BA.

    I think they all look cool. But from a purist nostalgia standpoint, I'd say the 59A is more correct in anything but a postwar Ford.

    My reasoning for that is the fact that the 8BA didn't come out until 1948. So that means that for anyone building a hot rod in the 1950s, they probably wouldn't have found a cheap used 8BA until at least '52 or so.

    By that time, they could just as easily get a used Caddy or Oldsmobile that made more power. I don't seem to recall many 8BAs in 1930s cars in old magazines from the 50s -- seemed to really be the exception back then.

    Now, maybe you don't give a rat's ass about such extreme nitpicking over that point. And that's fine too.

    As for me, I have an 8BA in my F1 pickup. I like it fine.


    Dave
     
  11. lakes modified
    Joined: Dec 2, 2001
    Posts: 1,283

    lakes modified
    Member Emeritus

    Put the 8ba guts in the 59a, as it all fits and getting bearings for the 8ba may be easier and cheaper than the 59a insides.So don't pass on the 8ba, as it may come in handy.
     
  12. FoMoCo_MoFo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 1,666

    FoMoCo_MoFo
    Member

    yeah I'll use both! I am gonna put one in the back and one in the front.

    By the way Jay I saw the Flyrite Taboo Tiki chopper at SEMA... WHAO!

    the 8BA is a runner and the other one needs a rebuild... I may just put the runner in and build the 59A slowly with lots of $$$$$
     
  13. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    willowbilly3
    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    I have a 49 8ba laying in wait for my rod. I would trade it in a heartbeat for an olds or caddy in similisar condition. Nostalgia is fine but I just want more punch than a flatty can dependably make. I don't think the earlier ones actually take up more room due to the fan mounted to the genny.
     
  14. Well heres y fresh 8BA

    Rat [​IMG]
     

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  15. FoMoCo_MoFo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 1,666

    FoMoCo_MoFo
    Member

    there are things I like about both. I like the Crab Dist, but I also like the front mounted water necks on the 8BA. it allows better veiwing of the carbs.

    but, I was wondering from a structual standpoint more than looks.
     
  16. Flatdog
    Joined: Jan 31, 2003
    Posts: 1,285

    Flatdog
    Member Emeritus

    I HATE early oil pans.
     
  17. delaware george
    Joined: Dec 5, 2002
    Posts: 1,246

    delaware george
    Member
    from camden, de

    i'm building a fresh 8ba now(because that's what i had)...but other than astetics,i'd go with the 8ba,especially if yours is a runner...you can put 59a heads on them for an older look if it really bugs you.the 8ba detachable bellhousing seems to make it a little easier to use more tranny combos and you don't have to worry about it cracking on an engine stand like the 59a...bearings are cheaper and water jackets are a little better.i've heard that since they were a made more years away from the war,that the castings were better quality.i think the 8bas's had the highest factory horsepower rating as well..find an aluminum front timing cover for the 8ba and it'll look just fine [​IMG]
     
  18. Evilfordcoupe™
    Joined: May 22, 2001
    Posts: 1,818

    Evilfordcoupe™
    Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    yeah I'll use both! I am gonna put one in the back and one in the front.

    By the way Jay I saw the Flyrite Taboo Tiki chopper at SEMA... WHAO!

    the 8BA is a runner and the other one needs a rebuild... I may just put the runner in and build the 59A slowly with lots of $$$$$

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I totally wanted to go to SEMA.....

    I would love to see you build a twin engine car.....

    -Jason

     
  19. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Pro 59A--engine is SHORTER than 8BA, if it has 21A Crab distributor. 8BA pulleys are two inches out there to clear distrib! Some see top distributor as easier to work on, but it is actually pretty hard to build a really right distributor for the BA--I think MSD is likely only good one currently out there. 21A is good to go stock, but poses difficulties if you want electronic. You have to know your 21A technique--spin off two bolts and it drops out from behind its cap, set it up timing and all on the bench, bolt it back on without even looking. A spare can be kept in the trunk already dwelt&timed and can be installed in two minutes in total darkness. EZ. All this front end stuff can go on either block, by the way, and actual block dimensions are same, so no big.
    Rods: Early rods are best for hard use because they are essentially immune from main cause of rod tossing on race motors, theoretically have a tiny HP advantage because of about 30% less drag, but bearings are now costly. Fit late cranks fine. All stock rods fine on street, 8BA cheaper to run. All the racers now use aftermarket rods and have adapted to insert bearings.
    All (nearly) 59A have hardened seats. Many BA no.$$$ to fix.
    Bellhousing--BA easier for many swaps, 59A easier for flatomat. Probably not a great problem, as virtually anything can be adapted to either. Flatdog, getta truck pan with removable clutch section!
    8BA vent system probably easier to modify, but I will soon publish the definitive 59A vent system...
    59 main caps said to be stronger by many racers. Doesn't matter on street, racers now use special caps anyhow.
    59A: Looks good in hotrod
    8BA: Looks good in the family late model...
     
  20. delaware george
    Joined: Dec 5, 2002
    Posts: 1,246

    delaware george
    Member
    from camden, de

    i knew it wouldn't be long before bruce schooled us!! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    i'd still use the 8ba for now,since it runs [​IMG]
     
  21. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Runs=good.
    Also, in any comparison, not cracked=better than cracked.
    Most all the differences are swappable parts, remember, and most involve parts you'll be replacing or rebuilding unless you luck onto a good running engine in the first place.
     
  22. FoMoCo_MoFo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 1,666

    FoMoCo_MoFo
    Member

    thanks Bruce. I am glad you chimed in!
     
  23. MattStrube
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 1,073

    MattStrube
    Member

    Can you adapt an early crab dist to the 8ba? Why would you if you could?
     
  24. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    It can only be adapted by changing the cam and front cover too. Advantage would be more room, a functional advance, and a slightly better, though more annoying, point set.
    Early rodders immediately noticed the problems with full throttle advance on the 8BA--many cars would accelerate faster at about 3/4 throttle than wide open. The full throttle curve was marginal when operating at spec, and was often running way below that because the venturi drop used to operate it was such a weak pull on the diaphragm. Usual solution was a Mallory, the old type with proper flathead advance curve, even on stockers.
     
  25. FoMoCo_MoFo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 1,666

    FoMoCo_MoFo
    Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    Can you adapt an early crab dist to the 8ba? Why would you if you could?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I was thinking of this for clearance issues. I want to get it in with the least amount of stretching of the rails or cutting of the firewall. and I dont want to use Duece rails!
     
  26. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Tightest setup is going to be probably early pumps and crab.
     
  27. FoMoCo_MoFo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 1,666

    FoMoCo_MoFo
    Member

    Bruce, that sounds like a plan for sure!

    I have another question:
    What about the useage of an early intake manifold on a 49-53 engine. what needs to be done to get it to work properly?
     
  28. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    As a manifold, it just bolts on, but it eliminates the exit for the ventilation system. I think a pCV mounted in the gen bracket with a hose dropping down the stanpipe is possibly the best solutio, and could be done inconspicuously.
     
  29. FoMoCo_MoFo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 1,666

    FoMoCo_MoFo
    Member

    NICE!!!! great idea!

    thanks yet again bruce!
     
  30. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    And put on a fan before you build mounts--that's the joker here, I believe. What year are you building? 1928-9 doesn't have much fan room...
     

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