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Hot Rods A bunch of Ford flathead blocks

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rfanuke, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Since I don't know your background I thought you might find this information useful about flatheads. You can find more similar information on Post pictures for the 4 bangers and we can work on them. Especially look for fuel pumps (or provision for them) on the front right corner of the block and look for counterweighted cranks. I am also in California (Southern), can you narrow your location down a little? Good luck.

    Charlie Stephens

    Identification of the early flatheads is best approached in terms of the block. There is an unbelievable amount of interchangeability for the accessories over the years. Count the number of head studs.

    1) If there are 17 studs it is a V8 60 used in vehicles between 1937 and 1940. This engine was also used in the French built Simca in the sixties but I don’t know what occurred between these two periods. Look for casting numbers and stamped steel water jackets in the side of the block. Post what you find and someone can probably further identify the engine.

    2) If there are 21 studs the block was built 1932 to 1938. The transition to 24 studs was late in 1938. Check the water petcocks on the front of the block next to where the lower hose from the radiator enters either an inlet fitting (1936 and earlier) or the water pump (1937 and later). It the petcocks point straight down it is a 1932 block. If the block is not a 1932 next look for a vent from the crankcase area out through the front corner of the oil pan. If there is no vent the block is 1933-34. If there is a vent it is 1935 or later. As a matter of interest, the 1936 engines were the first to use insert bearings. Both insert and babbitt bearings were used throughout 1936. The insert bearing engines can be identified by LB cast at the top of the left front face of the block or by the letters LB stamped into the surface where the intake manifold attaches. Some engines were not stamped and in other cases people tried to inflate the price of their blocks by stamping LB into them when they were sold. Be careful. Now check for the location of the water pumps. If the water pumps mount on the block the engine is 1937 or later. All engines beginning in 1937 were inserts. Frequently you will encounter a 1937 block with factory block off plates held on by two bolts over the water pump passage at the front of the block as it was common for Ford dealers to install this engine as a replacement in the earlier cars. Of course there will be slight transition periods at model change over with the older blocks usually going into the commercial vehicles. There may be subtle differences between the 1933-34 and the 1935-36 engines but I am knowledgeable enough about these years to know what they are. The casting numbers on the flywheel housing will also help identify the exact year of the engine. Post what you find and someone can probably further identify the engine.

    3) If there are 24 studs the engine was produced between late 1938 and 1953 (1954 in Canada). If the distributor is mounted on the front of the block the engine is late 1938 through 1948 (1947 for trucks). If the distributor comes up at an angle and appears more like a modern distributor it is a 1949 (1948 for truck) through 1953 (1954 in Canada). The casting numbers on the flywheel housing will further identify the exact year of the engine. Post what you find and someone can probably further identify the engine.

    4) There are a lot of additional foreign and industrial applications of these engines but the preceding covers the domestic US automobile production.
  2. A load of pieces was common place at Shops up through the 70's. It came from the Vehicle owner saying let's Overhaul it. That ment Hone, Rings, Bearings (if needed) and Lap the valves. Once in pieces and inspected the price to put it back together with a Bore job, turn the Crank, Grind the Valves and install new guides along with a fresh Camshaft tipped the Owner past the Value point of the Car. The $150.oo Overhaul went out the window and a $500.oo fresh motor was more than the value of the car on the Lot. Wrecking Yards were in there Hay Day and for $100.oo you could take home a Runner and bolt it back in. Then of course you'd sell the car in a hurry.
    brad2v, Stogy and Boneyard51 like this.
  3. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,258

    Six Ball
    from Nevada

    Depending on the location there is no reason in the world why engine blocks stored inside a closed container would be less useable that when they were put there. If the coolant was drained and no water was getting in them no new cracks or serious rust would occur. If an old time mechanic familiar with the inherent issues of those engines checked them out and deemed them useable there is a very good chance they can be saved. We can even save blocks now that they could no back then. This could be a great find it just needs someone who will either take the chance or spend the time. It will be fun to see what becomes of this.
    Stogy, Pist-n-Broke and Boneyard51 like this.
  4. This is basically what I was thinking. Thanks for saying it. All the parts are neatly placed, not heaped in a pile, and many have a light dusting of rust. So I think they are in a pretty good state of preservation.

    I'm guessing I should have an inventory list posted some time next week.
    Stogy likes this.
  5. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,193


    I agree, looks it a pile of junk ready for the scrap yard..I'm thinking a person saving supposed good engines would stack them neatly...
    Desoto291Hemi and clem like this.
  6. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,456


    Maybe I am cynical:
    Why would a hot rod mechanic, knowing how her father saved all those magnafluxed blocks, just scrap those cranks ?
    Beanscoot, big duece and Ziggster like this.
  7. glrbird
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 563


    When you are dealing with the loss of a parent, there is the other family members that try to help but may have made bad decisions with out her knowledge. if you have not had to deal with this sort of situation, well hang on when It does.
  8. Reminds me of a local trader who was selling surplus army V8 flatheads about 25 years ago. He had them stored outside next to a creek under a tarp where they had been for donkeys ages. He swore they were new. The cast iron exhaust manifolds had completely rotted off. Yours are dry stored, hope they are better. How's your back ? btw, is the shipping container included in the deal ?
    Stogy likes this.
  9. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,258

    Six Ball
    from Nevada

    Two friends died in the last few months. One was my best friend the other his brother. When we were cleaning up the brother's place we gave truck loads of stuff away along with about a dozen cars. It was a big mess and no one wanted to help. A few months later my best friend died at Bonneville waiting for the salt to dry. Some of the family showed up for this one. I was able to get most of the things that were mine before they hauled all the good stuff away. His roommate and I are still dealing with the rest. Bad decisions were made during this but decisions must be made. I threw away hundreds if not thousands of dollars of old tools, hardware and car and motorcycle parts. A complete Iron Head Sportster was given to another friend who did help. No time, no space, no one interested enough to help. It happens every day.
    Some of you would not like to see some of the engines "stored" around here but Nevada us pretty forgiving.
    Jet96, Desoto291Hemi, egads and 2 others like this.
  10. flatjack
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 941


    Magnafluxing is fine, but I wouldn't pay good dollars for a block that had not been pressure tested.
    Hemi Joel likes this.
  11. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 2,109


    Are there any swap meets soon down near where the engines live? If so, could you load a pile of them on an open trailer and advertise that they will be at the swap meet?
    At a swap meet, you don't have to waste your time on no-shows or let others see the location of the stash.

    I would be tempted to go for the medium dollar and sell quickly rather than top dollar and slower, but it depends on your situation, sales ability, patience etc.

    Too bad about the crankshafts all junked.
  12. Nemosgarage
    Joined: Sep 21, 2009
    Posts: 134


    Nice find. If you are not going to build them sell for a reasonable core cost. Somebody want these for a build and these would be a good start.
  13. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,456


    Sorry, must have missed the bit about other family members........but yes, quite possible, I didn’t think of that aspect.

    Thanks for your advice, - absolutely not necessary - my father died 36 years ago when I was 21.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  14. Rain has made the site inaccessible for the past week, but I think I'll be getting in there beginning sun/mon. Stay tuned...
    stanlow69 likes this.
  15. fullhouse296
    Joined: Jan 30, 2009
    Posts: 396

    from Australia

    Piaggi got a dozen of mine ,then denied it .There ya go !
  16. Well the block load out has begun. She's told me that I can leave anything I don't want, and it will go to scrap. Hand trucking them one by one into my trailer.

    First to come out are a bunch of chevy blocks, so I've been trying to get educated on them. I've noted quite a few of the "high nickel" blocks and 4 bolt mains which seem to be more desirable. Lots of what appear to be "nothing special" blocks but some from as far back as the 60's. Most I have not dated yet however. I think there must be 40+ chevy blocks. I'd be interested in any input on what I should leave -- what's not worth taking?

    Today I started to get into the flatheads finally. Looks like there will be somewhere between 20 and 30 of them.

    A lot of nice old manual transmissions in there too, and the guy ID tagged just about every one of them.

    So far I've catalogued about 15 blocks from my first load. When the cataloging is done, I will post the list.
  17. Thanks for your effort,waiting to see more.
  18. I wouldn't focus on just the flathead V8 blocks.

    I'm pretty sure I see at least one 348/409 Chevy block in there (see circle in photo). Depending upon what it is for sure, it could be a $1000+ item. Some of the other non-flathead V8s might be worth decent money, too.

    Attached Files:

  19. Ok thanks for that. My inclination is to get them all. Moving them is the least time consuming aspect of this endeavor. Each block is getting a couple photos and ID info recorded.
  20. I'm going to start a new thread with a title more reflective of the true content of container of blocks.
  21. Please post back here so we can find it easier.

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