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Crossfire Flathead

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Yestertech, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. Yestertech
    Joined: Jun 20, 2004
    Posts: 1


    A novice here. Would someone explain what a early '50s Crossfire Flathead is. I'm close to purchasing an early 50s Ford Midget racer with this engine. He wants a premium price because of this motor. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,232


    Does he mean a 180 degree crank? Changes the firing order and the balance. Was a trick used on sprinters back then, but fairly rare. Believe Norton made the cranks.
  3. nailheadroadster
    Joined: Jun 7, 2006
    Posts: 1,522


    I have never heard one personally, but my ol man swears they are the coolest sounding flatty you'll ever hear.

    If you end up buyin it, PLEASE do a youtube video and send me a link.
  4. flatjack
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 941


    There are two ways to do it. I have a 180* crank with a cam timed so 2 cylinders fire at the same time. Got another with a stock crank and a modified cam to fire 2 cylinders at the same time. Haven't done anything with them yet, so don't know what the firing order is. Also need the modified distibutor. My understanding was that they produced more low end torque and were strong coming out of the corners.

  5. banjorear
    Joined: Jul 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,885


    I've read that the premise is to avoid the delution of exhaust gas and incoming air from the shared exhaust port in the middle.

    I true 180 firing flathead actually sounds like a 4 cly. Ford. Still sounds cool, but not as radical sounding as you would think.
  6. Abomination
    Joined: Oct 5, 2006
    Posts: 6,702


  7. Digger_Dave
    Joined: Apr 10, 2001
    Posts: 2,517


    If it DOES have an 180 degree crank; then it will have a DIFFERENT CAM.
    As alchemy says, "It would have a different firing order, and been balanced differently."

    If the seller is agreeable, see if he would allow you to drop the pan, and remove a couple of rod caps to inspect rod journal condition. (would also remove the center main cap and inspect)

    If there is ANY signs of "scoring", you will need to know how much the crank has ALREADY been ground - journal dias. - or it MAY just be a big "paper weight."
    (taking journal dias. OVER .030 is considered MAX)
  8. j ripper
    Joined: Aug 2, 2006
    Posts: 723

    j ripper
    from napa ca.

    i bought a 46 48 dual coil dist from my parents neighbor some time ago. the fireing order has been changed, renumbered inside cap. could this be for this sort of application?
  9. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,232


    That dual coil distributor needed to be renumbered from stock Ford when it was made into dual coil. Probably not used for a 180 engine. Probably just for a normal flathead.

    When Harmon-Collins did theirs they used a special cap, but there were also other convertors who renumbered Ford caps.
  10. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,042

    from Wa.

    If it has the 180 degree crank, it is not a practical engine configuration to run..They shake and it can't be balanced not to..There were a few that ran fast but no faster than the normal configuration.
  11. I was on Flathead Jacks website the other night and I believe he was selling the 180 degree cranks for $2400. Big bucks.
  12. racemad55
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,149


    That's what the Rolling Bones blew up 2 yrs. ago at Bonniville, Keith said he never liked that motor, didn't even sound powerfill!
  13. Mercmad
    Joined: Mar 21, 2007
    Posts: 1,383

    from Brisvegas

    I posted up pics last week of one in Australian V8 60 midgets thread . It's a reverse flow engine .The exhaust flow is optimised by exiting the top of the block instead of running through it ,caddy style. I remember a Flat head dragster or two running the same set up on 24 stud blocks too.
  14. jetmek
    Joined: Jan 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,846


    i wouldnt let the fact it has a 180 crank be the determining factor for buying or a significant overvalue if it. they aint all theyre cracked up to be and in my opinion sound like shit...
  15. Straightpipes
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,084


    I had a flathead with the 180 crank long LONG ago. It was in a dirt track stock car. Sounded crappy like two bangers having a pissing contest. They are really good for acceleration but they suck at extended high RPM. They tend to eat themselves as proven on the salt flats. I would buy the engine if it seems to be in good condition and you get to check it out. Cranks and cams can be changed.
  16. Hyperborean
    Joined: May 31, 2010
    Posts: 1


    Gentlemen, Go to and click on L.O. Stanley who was a little known, but natural genius at high performance engines. He built many successful crossfire racing engines in the 1950's. First one I recall hearing of was driven by legendary Curtis Turner. He ground his cams, made his own distributors and modified the bottom end to stand the stress of firing two cylinders at once. His first attempt drove the crankshaft out the bottom of the engine! You dudes won't believe the intake manifold on this engine! On the outside, it appeared stock with a 1951 Mercury carburetor. He hid two more carbs UNDER the manifold that drew air through what appeared to be crankcase breathers! How he made the float bowls work, I'm still trying to figure. He also built 420 cu. in. flatheads, two of which are still running! NASCAR outlawed his engines from sanctioned races, Mickey Mouse then, Mickey Mouse now. He later worked for Holman-Moody and Ford engineering. Check the site. Anyone beginning to feel a little humble, now?
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
    1927graham likes this.
  17. trike84
    Joined: Feb 8, 2012
    Posts: 12

    from penna.

    Looking at the manifold ,it seems there are to 4 banger carbs graphed into it, SNEAKY, back when people still saw the shade of gray. found what I think is a crossfire cam in my pops pileOparts, cam lobes are in a completly different orientation, very thin, sharp ramps, and long duration. looks like it needs a much longer lifter. cleaned it up but can't find any name or number.
  18. rawhide427
    Joined: Apr 26, 2011
    Posts: 27


    the carbs that were under the intake were updraft Ford tractor units. I looked at that unit back in the early 70's when I was having Mr. Stanley work on a 427 for me. He was a really nice country gentleman. Never used harsh language unless Bill France's name came up.

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