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Cracked 8BA Flathead Block

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Race City Rodz, May 10, 2012.

  1. Race City Rodz
    Joined: Nov 29, 2010
    Posts: 466

    Race City Rodz

    I wanted to throw this out to ya'll.
    I just picked up my 8BA flathead block from my machine shop, and after magnafluxing it, they found one crack between the cylinder and valve.
    I attached a couple of pictures with an arrow pointing to where the crack is, you still can't really see it, but it is cracked.

    Anyways, my question is: Can this be fixed/welded, or should I scrap it and use it for a doorstop?

    Any suggestions are appreciated, and if anybody knows of a shop that can do the work that would be great also. I am in Mooresville NC, so somewhere close is a plus, but all suggestions and or contacts would be great.


    Attached Files:

  2. outlaw256
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,023


    aint trying to be a smartass but didnt you just say you picked it from your machine shop? they couldnt tell you anything, if not i think i might find me some where else to get my work done.wish i could help you but im not familar with the flathead. better get that way tho as i got one also.
  3. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    In years past, blocks like that were scrapped-without debate. Sadly that contibuted to the current shortage of them. Almost anything can be repaired. If you can find the right guy (one who understands Flatheads) the block can be sleeved, a new valve seat installed and be good to go. Worst case it might require some pinning. About the only "fatal" cracks are in the center main web or internal along the pan rail.
  4. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,900

    dirty old man

    X2. You ask around the area, there's bound to be a guy around Mooresville area still alive with the knowledge and skill to fix that one crack. Hell, Mooresville was right in the center of stock car racing when the Flathead was king!
    And he might also be the one you entrust that block and components to for the rebuild machine work.
    Don't shop price for flathead work, Been almost 60 years since they were installed iin a new car in USA and people who have the knowledge to do the job right and are still able physically. I'm 74 and all I did then was watch and ask questions back thenas far as the actual machine work. Turned my share of bolts and nuts on them, but the people who actually did the machine work are few and far between!

  5. Race City Rodz
    Joined: Nov 29, 2010
    Posts: 466

    Race City Rodz

    Yes, you are correct. I did pick it up from a very reputable machine shop in the area, but they do not work on flatheads. A lot of these guys have blinders on, if they don't work on what you brought them, they don't know who can. Kind of weird, but I find it all the time, even in my business.
    Thanks though!
  6. Race City Rodz
    Joined: Nov 29, 2010
    Posts: 466

    Race City Rodz

    Thanks guys, you would be surprised out here. Hard to find the right people unless you dig around. I'll find someone.
    I have a Merc block being magnafluxed right now, so hopefully it will be ok?!?!?
    I wanted to keep the 8ba and get it fixed just so I have another block I can build in the future, and not donate it to scrap.
    Thank you for the reply's!
  7. Race City Rodz
    Joined: Nov 29, 2010
    Posts: 466

    Race City Rodz

    Just got word back from the shop on my Merc block....CRACKED, AND MORE THAN ONE!
    I am 0-2 with these blocks so far. Guess I will try to find a block that has been checked first?
    Back to the drawing board.
    Any local NC guys have a good block?
  8. Bearing Burner
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 916

    Bearing Burner
    from W. MA

    The last Flathead I did took four blocks to find a good one.
  9. I got lucky on the last engine I picked up - came from a '52 COE. Not running but the block checked out. Recent issues of R&C have some articles on these engines and the folks who specialize in them. I would probably go the sleeve route - if I could find someone local to do it....
  10. Gwinn2932
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
    Posts: 54


    Dont give up on those blocks, just find another machine shop that does more than small block chevy's. Valve seats and a sleeve in the cracked cylinder and you'll be fine. Very common repair on these engines.
  11. PackardV8
    Joined: Jun 7, 2007
    Posts: 891


    Can't remember the last flathead block WITHOUT a crack. If it is just one or two, you're lucky. There's nothing magic about the repair, just a sleeve, a seat and pins and money.

    jack vines
  12. 32Gnu
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 538


    Call this guy he's in kings mountain..
    He's a flathead guy with a lot of knowledge..
    He's a curmudgeon but he knows his shit..
    Gary's auto machine
    (704) 739-9001
    NC, USA
  13. jack orchard
    Joined: Aug 20, 2011
    Posts: 238

    jack orchard

    please don't junk either one of those blocks. if you decide you don't want them, post them on the swap meet. maybe someone else will give them a loving home....jack
  14. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,636


    Over the years, I've had better luck with blocks out of trucks and Mercuries than plain old Ford cars. Maybe they are better taken care of and not run absolutely into the ground like the old beater cars. The last two blocks I got out of trucks were crack-free. I also think the trucks and Mercs had bigger radiators as well and weren't overheated so often. Just something to think about.
  15. Straightpipes
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,084


    Race City, Make sure that any machining is done by someone familiar with ford flatheads. More that one flathead block has been ruined in the machine shop. In the meantime read up on them here in the archives.....
    BTW I usually get one for every three.
  16. Race City Rodz
    Joined: Nov 29, 2010
    Posts: 466

    Race City Rodz

    Thank you everybody, i appreciate all the help! I will take all the advice and roll with it. I definately will keep the blocks and have them fixed.

  17. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    What did you do with the other three?

  18. Bluetick
    Joined: Jul 16, 2010
    Posts: 17

    from USA

    Check out Lock-n-Stitch for crack repairs. I have used Detroit Diesel heads with cracks between the valves that were repair with this method. May work for you.
  19. av8
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,716


    If the crack is on the deck and hasn't migrated down into the valve bowl it could be corrected with a simple pin repair.

    I port flathead blocks for money and generally work only on blocks that are either sound to begin with or have been professionally repaired (usually welded). Some months ago I ported a block for a pal, at a friend price, on a near-perfect block that had only one problem crack. It was a short crack that ran from a head-bolt hole about halfway toward an adjacent valve bowl. It looked like a good candidate for a pin repair, so I called Irontite -- which is owned by Kwik-Way -- told them what I was dealing with and asked for their help. In a matter of minutes the Irontite rep had described the repair procedure, set me up with all the bits and pieces that are needed, including detailed instructions, and had everything headed my direction for about seventy-five bucks -- with enough pins to handle several dozen repairs like this one or worse.

    I've photographed and described the procedure in detail in a book on flathead porting that I've been writing for a year-plus; the book will go to the printer in a few months and should be available in the Fall. For now, I'm including a few essential pics that, along with the excellent instructions from Irontite, will allow you to do a satisfactory block-crack repair.

    First, here's a block that was not a good candidate for pin repair. This late 8BA (no insert valve seats) lit up like a '60s blacklight poster when it was mag tested.

    Here's the crack we were dealing with, not quite 1/2 inch long.

    The bits and pieces needed -- drill, tapered reamer, tapered tap, and Irontite cast-iron pins.

    Two pins are almost invisible in the finished repair.

    Here is their contact info . . .

    Irontite By Kwik-Way
    Address: 9860 Baldwin Pl
    El Monte, CA,
    Phone: 626-442-2445
    Fax: 626-575-6238

  20. Race City Rodz
    Joined: Nov 29, 2010
    Posts: 466

    Race City Rodz

    awesome mike!
    look forward to purchasing your book, keep us all updated on it!
  21. George Miller
    Joined: Dec 26, 2008
    Posts: 413

    George Miller
    from NC usa

    Yes it can be fixed. I fixed my share back in the day. Always used the cast tapered screws. Start on one end of crack drill and tap, then put in screw. Drill and tap on the edge of the thread, keep doing this until you go from cylinder to the valve seat. Now install a cylinder sleeve and valve seat. By doing it this way all the screws are over lapped and will not come loose.
  22. Tom S. in Tn.
    Joined: Jan 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,108

    Tom S. in Tn.

    Anyone sees a hair-line crack today and the damn car gets junked.

    I can't recall the days out of my life I've spent stitching old Fords and in-line Chev exh seats. They all were always cracked and it was just part of the process. I recall tapered cast screws were later replaced with copper clad screws that the head would break off when they got tight enough. I still have some.

    Some cracks covered by the head gasket just got stop drilled and not stitched at all.

    Some cracks were fixed as far as possible, and the motor put back in service and no body bitched about a tiny bit of water out the pipe, because the radiator was always checked the same time as the oil whenever the car, truck, or tractor was fueled. (who has time for that anymore)

    I disagree about old dogs and new tricks. It's the new dogs that are having all the problems.
    Tom S. in Tn.
  23. You got a picture of a cast tapered screw? I'm having a hard time mentally picturing one this morning.
  24. Shaggy
    Joined: Mar 6, 2003
    Posts: 5,208

    from Sultan, WA

    YUP!! ive seen that same crack on motors that have run many miles no problem after fixing, i have a motor with the same crack that is a worn out .160 over 221, who knows how many rebuilds it lasted.....
  25. If you are in need of a good block, call a friend of mine, Bill Clatterbaugh just east of Richmond, VA - he may have a block. I know he has a rebuilt 8BA motor for sale.

    Just tell him Tom from Williamsburg told you to call:


    Good luck ....
  26. scrubba
    Joined: Jul 20, 2010
    Posts: 938


    Wait a minute , I thought Dennis Carpenter was running a machine sho with in that complex of his outside of Charlotte several years ago. I know the last time I was there personaly, ( 1888) he had one . Then too, I recall a couple of plases I could send work to here in The Richmond Virginia area. I havent spoken to Bill in years so I dunno what he's up to.............. scrubba
  27. Tom S. in Tn.
    Joined: Jan 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,108

    Tom S. in Tn.

    #22 addendum;

    Fred Jones Motor Co was recognized as Fords only authorized engine remanufacturer since the 30's. They and others in the industry have published standards, and any exhaust heat crack (not crank or rod stress cracks or something outside a block) that could be repaired from end to end was returned back into service without question, and never junked.

    I'm surprised you guys are finding virgin blocks that don't already have more stitches than Joe Frazier.
    Tom S. in Tn.
  28. Ole don
    Joined: Dec 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,915

    Ole don

    Quote "I disagree about old dogs and new tricks. It's the new dogs that are having all the problems.
    Tom S. in Tn"
    The best thing to happen to rodding is the small block Chev. The worst thing to happen to rodding is the small block Chev because people have forgotten how to repair old motors other than small block Chevs. My 8BA was almost as bad as the one pictured above, Mac Weld of Carbondale Illinois fixed it as good as new for the sum of $65.00 Pocket change to the whole rebuild hot rod process.
  29. tig master
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 416

    tig master
    from up north

    Pin it I have done many with great results. Have been doing it for 25 years.

    "Iron tite"

    "Silver seal" seal lace

    "loc n stitch" all have a program that will work for you.

    There is nothing special about crack repair if the shop can't help you find another shop.A crack is a crack not special to flatheads. Don't weld that is a very poor choice to repair a crack with.All the above mentioned have web sites.

  30. Race City Rodz
    Joined: Nov 29, 2010
    Posts: 466

    Race City Rodz

    Awesome suggestions everybody. I knew I could count on ya'll!
    Thank you.

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