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Technical 8BA Rebuild Advice

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Pass The Torch, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. Pass The Torch
    Joined: May 18, 2018
    Posts: 730

    Pass The Torch
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    So I found myself elbow deep in a '50 8BA. Picked it up cheap, and complete - with the 3-speed w/ overdrive, which may or may not be staying. Will be going in a '29 closed cab truck. Already have planned a cam swap and all that goes along with making it fit (Dizzy and water pump changes). More than likely staying stock or close enough to it.

    All that being said, any recommendations on who offers what in regards to valves / guides / cam / lifters / gears? Any tips are welcomed; never owned a flattie before.
     
  2. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,634

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What do you have in mind? A full rebuild, or is this engine presently in good enough condition that you can use it as is? Even if it runs well, it may have fatal flaws. I know; back in the '60's I drove a '52 Ford back and forth to college for two years that had 7 (SEVEN) valve pocket to cylinder cracks. I kept if together with a diet of Barr's Leak and STP. It got me back and forth, but I certainly wouldn't have used it to build a car around.

    We need a little more information.
     
  3. Pass The Torch
    Joined: May 18, 2018
    Posts: 730

    Pass The Torch
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It wanted to run - had been sitting for an unknown length of time. It turned over pretty easily via a breaker bar, so I figured what the hell, and tried to fire it. Pulled the heads, and several stuck / frozen valves. Pulled out all the valves, guides, cam and lifters. Nothing super alarming, and haven't seen any cracks thus far. I'm pretty committed to a full rebuild at this point.
     
  4. King ford
    Joined: Mar 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,466

    King ford
    Member
    from 08302

    Greetings Pass the torch!....I believe VanPelt's will have everything you need to do a stock rebuild....
     
    flatford39 likes this.

  5. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,634

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Make sure that you have the block thoroughly checked for cracks (including a pressure test) and make sure it's squeaky clean so you don't have overheating problems down the road. Once you know you've got a good block, the build is only limited by your pocketbook. I know you said that you wanted "stock, or close to it". If this is the case, watch out for the dreaded "Project Creep".
     
  6. leon bee
    Joined: Mar 15, 2017
    Posts: 570

    leon bee
    Member
    from Arkansas!

    I might add that if you find the right machine shop guy, and do everything yourself that you don't need him for, it doesn't have to be as expensive as we are always hearing. I'm starting on my third one.
     
  7. Pass The Torch
    Joined: May 18, 2018
    Posts: 730

    Pass The Torch
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My last project - to be truthful, wasn’t really mine to start with - took over 45 years to see the road; two of them were mine. I don’t sit idle for long. I got started on the A almost as soon as I got it home. I have a pretty good plan going forward; trans and rear are still in the undecided column.

    I do have a good engine guy, but I’m not sure he knows all the nuances of flatheads; I have yet to contact him though. I can read and have the tools / implements of destruction to do a lot of the work myself, but I know my limits and am new to the flathead world. To quote myself “I’m Chevy’d out”. Figured I’d try something different.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    R A Wrench likes this.
  8. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,634

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    One thing you can (and should) do yourself on a flathead is manually clean the water jackets after you have a crack free block. Some times no amount of chemicals and boiling can get the crud out of the bottom of the water jackets. Use long screwdrivers, coat hangers, welding rods; anything to get in there and dig. A particularly effective tool is a speedometer cable with a frayed end chucked into a power drill. Most people get between a coffee cup to a coffee can full of crud out of them. A large piece of plywood on the floor to roll it around on helps, as well as a shop-vac with various smaller tubes that will suck the stuff out. Be creative.
     
  9. Aaron D.
    Joined: Oct 27, 2015
    Posts: 974

    Aaron D.
    Member

    I bought most of my internal parts from Reds Headers and H&H Flatheads. Rock auto sometimes has really cheap flathead parts too.
     
  10. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,746

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    X2 on Red's . I bought all the rebuild stuff for my 8ba but the valve train and I should have bought them from Red's as well. Fair prices, nice and knowledgeable guy, quality parts, and fair shipping. JMO
     
  11. From what little experience I have,,,I would have to say that Flatheads are 180 degrees off from a SBC .
    Like Denny ,(Tubman),,said,,,...clean the block water jackets really good after you get it cleaned and back .
    There will be a load of crap still in there,,,,,,those are some of the largest water jackets I have ever seen,,,,and they extend all the way down to the oil pan rails .
    I believe some of it had to been leftover sand from the casting that settled in the bottom,,,,,it’s almost like a powder,,,that is kind of rusty dirt .
    A lot of guys on here can help you,,,,,,hundreds of guys on the Barn as well .
    And a lot of guys on here are also on the Barn,,,,,I learn something new all the time .

    Tommy
     
  12. Basically my experience with the ones I bought over the years - with one or more valves stuck. Replacing the stuck ones with a complete new - valve - guide - spring and keeper has produced some good running little engines. Use to go over to Stacy's Antique Auto Supply and get some NOS of his shelf's. RIP Stacy man !
     
  13. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 4,019

    Fortunateson
    Member

    Yeah I got about a coffee can of crud when I cleaned ou my C8BA after a dip in the engine builders tank. After I got it back from its initial bore I got more. I've saved all the crud and plan on selling it as "engine patina"!
     
    Budget36 likes this.
  14. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 736

    Los_Control
    Member
    from TX

    Older thread ... same time it is a common one that is brought up often.
    I am the same boat and using search feature to find older flathead post.
    You have to be honest, what applies to a 239 flathead is not same as a 283 sbc.

    I am searching for flathead info. I just bought one, I need to tear it down and inspect everything.
    I suspect on the H.A.M.B. there may be over 1 million lines written about Ford Flatheads.

    specifically for me, I am looking for known gotchas when tearing it down.
    A procedure you must follow, a tool you must have.
    A step you should take.
    A common failure you need to look for, where and how to determine a crack ...

    How to check the bearings ... Just a full page of info to get a stock flathead on the road.
    Tips and tricks to make them perform.

    I say I am a idiot for asking this, I wonder with all the flathead users we have ...If putting a sticky or a new page and not for discussion but just technical?

    Just so much Flathead info available here, I wonder if it could be packaged up and marketed. Save the next generation.
     
    Desoto291Hemi likes this.
  15. Rodsports
    Joined: Sep 24, 2018
    Posts: 25

    Rodsports
    Member

    I know you said you will perform a stock rebuild but if you use adjustable lifters please please please drill a hole in the lifter bore so that you can insert an allan key to stop the lifter from spinning when adjusting them. I was given this advice from a great friend and while I heard the advice when he gave it I didnt listen :( or give it any thought and didnt do it (my first flathead). Ive adjusted my lifters since the initial rebuild (I tried with those fiddly plate style adjusting tools - complete rubbish) and ended up pulling the heads. The 'simple' adjustment cost me time and money (new head gaskets), gave me a sore back and cut hands and while the end result was worth it, the journey could have been a HOLE :D lot easier.
     
    Desoto291Hemi and rusty valley like this.
  16. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,634

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There was a discussion on valve lifters (adjustable vs. stock) on "The Ford Barn" a week or so ago, and it was surprising how many of the reputable engine builders reccommend using stock type non-adjustable lifters in a flathead. They are much lighter, will not go out of adjustement down the road, and according to some, just as easy (or easier) to set up as the adjustable type. Also, there have been problems with he metalurgy on a lot of offshore lifters lately. The last cam I installed was an Isky MAX-1, which came with a "kit" (adjustable lifters and 185G springs), which I used, but I have since ordered a set of NOS stock lifters from SouthSide Obsolete to have on hand just in case. There may be a problem with the reduced base circle on reground cams, but I believe that can be compensated for by using overlength Chevrolet valves.

    Food for thought.
     
    Desoto291Hemi likes this.

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