Register now to get rid of these ads!

Technical Flathead Help Plz... Should I Buy?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by nailheadroadster, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. nailheadroadster
    Joined: Jun 7, 2006
    Posts: 1,523

    nailheadroadster
    Member

    I have an opportunity to purchase this flatty and wondered what you guys thought.

    Here is the deal I was told.

    It was taken in on trade for labor and the guy doesnt want it so he is trying to sell it. He took it to his buddy ( a flathead builder ) and had him "check it out". Supposedly it is a 1948 Ford with a fresh, stock rebuild. I was told it runs great and has adjustable lifters, but the bore is unknown. It is still on the engine run stand and I was told he would have no problem firing it up for me. What you see in the pics, is what is for sale.

    So... what should I look for? What would be a good price? I have a project that I could use it for, but it is not a necessity right now. I do have the cash and dont wanna miss a good deal, but worried about buying a p.o.s. too.

    Opinions greatly apprecited. THANKS!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,462

    19Fordy
    Member

  3. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,155

    Saxon
    Member
    from MN

    As they say all engines buys should be considered a core. Hard to say how good the rebuild was, if it was rebuilt not just painted. You'd have to pull the heads and pan to really know if it's all good.

    Best of luck!
     
  4. kjvma131
    Joined: Jan 10, 2014
    Posts: 27

    kjvma131
    Member
    from New Jersey

    Check it for cracks and see if the guy will let you do a compression check. This will at least give you a decent idea of the general health. Not sure what it is worth but if it is running that's a good start.
     
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. Mudslinger
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,964

    Mudslinger
    Member

    Don't see the cooling system hooked up. If he runs it you cant see if theres coolant leaking into cylinders or exhaust.
     
  6. PINEAPPLE
    Joined: Aug 26, 2012
    Posts: 214

    PINEAPPLE
    Member

    Compression test, check for water in the oil, hear it run. Try to get it for 500 bucks, pay up to 800.00. Jmo.

    Matt.
     
  7. flatcat
    Joined: Nov 16, 2013
    Posts: 45

    flatcat
    Member

    If you want the engine and do not want to get burned, be prepared to spend time with the buyer and really check out the engine. Listen to it run, as the other guys suggested , compression test etc. Remove intake to see how clean the valley is. Pull the pan and check as well. Maybe pull a head if buyer will let you. A couple of years ago I did not do this. I took the word of the seller, a fellow whom I had dealt with before. My one day drive was 16 hours so we loaded the "lovely" engine and headed for home. Check out this link to see the results of our "trust" and haste. Bill

    http://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=75636
     
  8. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,407

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The lack of a cooling system on the "Test stand" raises a large red flag to me. You have no idea about the integrity of the block and head gaskets, plus you won't be able to run it long enough to get any idea of its overall condition. My test stand is fully equipped and I can run an engine for hours on it if I need too. As others have said, at this point, it's just a core. (Or a gamble.)
     
  9. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,233

    dirty old man
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Clicked on the link to Ford Barn and read that thread and have one comment on it: I see they have some of the numb nuts type people also that don't read , or maybe don't comprehend what they've read as we have here on HAMB.
    Several posted comments that "maybe you can at least rebuild it" or similar. Come on, rebuild an engine that has a freeze crack in the pan rail? You gotta be shitting me!!!!
    Flatheads are a MINIMUM of 60years old, no way I would pay more than a core price for one that I didn't at least see and hear run for at least long enough to warm it up in a car or on a test stand with coolant system, and oil pressure gauge, and then take a compression test.
    Otherwise, it's a core and of questionable value at that without the heads, intake, and pan off.
     
  10. flatcat
    Joined: Nov 16, 2013
    Posts: 45

    flatcat
    Member

    I agree Dirty Old Man, My big mistake was taking the guys word as I had dealt with him before. Learned an expensive lesson. If I cant check it is just a core.
     
  11. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,592

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    For what it's worth, at least the cylinder heads aren't '48.
     
  12. nailheadroadster
    Joined: Jun 7, 2006
    Posts: 1,523

    nailheadroadster
    Member

    All good thoughts. Thanks guys.

    He said he did have the radiator on it and checked for leaks and found none. He also said he would put the radiator back on it for me to hear it run.

    For the compression check... What would be good go see? What should make me run away?

    Oil pressure... same questions as above.

    If it sounds good, if it doesnt leak, if it has good oil pressure, if I pull the intake and it looks clean... lots of "ifs" there... Would you give $2000 for it? If not... find another core and drop near to twice that money on a rebuild or???
     
  13. PINEAPPLE
    Joined: Aug 26, 2012
    Posts: 214

    PINEAPPLE
    Member

    2000.00 is way too much for that engine and what you can determine about it.JMO

    Matt.
     
  14. flatcat
    Joined: Nov 16, 2013
    Posts: 45

    flatcat
    Member

    If everything checks out and you can run it for 20 minutes or so, no over heating or water leaks start with an offer of $750 and see what he says. Can always increase the offer but can't go down. Maybe he has only $500 into it and is willing to make and extra $250 Everything perfect I MIGHT go $1200. I build short blocks in Canada and they start at $3200 all fresh, never run.
     
  15. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,155

    Saxon
    Member
    from MN

    Ya, I'd have to be hard pressed to give 2k for a unknown engine.

    Do they have a build sheet or a receipt from the engine builder? Can you talk to the builder? It is spendy to build a flathead.

    For 2k: I would want to tear in to it. Check crank and piston rod clearances, inspect cylinders and pistons. Or a 1 yr warranty from the guy. (ya right...)

    For that the price:
    Compression should be 100+ with no more then 5 between cylinders.
    Oil 40++ cold, 15-20+ hot.

    Good luck!
     
  16. choppedtudor
    Joined: Nov 28, 2009
    Posts: 650

    choppedtudor
    Member

    not sure who would "rebuild" a bad block...that being said, this motor has clearly been rebuilt. If it runs WITH water in the block AND does NOT leak, I'd give it a go...a good running rebuilt flatty CAN be worth $2k, but only to someone who knows what they're getting into. I bought a rebuilt for more than that, but it was WAY more than just stock. FYI: avoid running flathead water pumps DRY, the seals don't like that.
     
  17. Jimmy2car
    Joined: Nov 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,707

    Jimmy2car
    Member
    from No. Cal

    Or, a money back guarantee if not good
     
  18. V8RPU
    Joined: Sep 23, 2010
    Posts: 203

    V8RPU
    Member
    from Nor Cal

    Just a FYI. The engine is a 59L. They are desirable. I have 4 running 59L's in cars. They are about my favorite block. I have not encountered a 59L with cracks. I know there will be someone saying different but I would go after this engine providing you have the opportunity to do normal checks.
     
  19. flatcat
    Joined: Nov 16, 2013
    Posts: 45

    flatcat
    Member

    good point, I missed the 59L Does raise the potential somewhat if all else checks out.
     
  20. fryguy
    Joined: Nov 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,233

    fryguy
    Member

    Are you looking to pick up the engine to put in a current project or are you looking at picking it up to hold on to IF you can get it for a good price. Believe it or not, it does make a lit bit of difference. I have paid more for an engine I "Needed" over one thats available if the price is right.

    First thing is go have a conversation with your buddy's Engine Builder. If he's worth his weight as a builder he'll be able to either put your mind at ease about the condition. If its a 59L, its a great engine, worth a bit more
    than your average "59"s

    With that being said, if you can get it between $1K-$1500 you would still make out ok. This is if the builder can give you all the pertinent info. Since no body actually saw it being built, theres still a bit of a crap shoot. But a good engine guy can give you almost what you need.



    Fryguy

     
  21. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,462

    19Fordy
    Member

    For that kind of money you must hear it run for a sustained period of time and also pull the heads to see what's inside. My thinking is that the seller would have taken photos of the insides of the engine so buyers could see it was "good to go" as is.
     
  22. nailheadroadster
    Joined: Jun 7, 2006
    Posts: 1,523

    nailheadroadster
    Member

    Great info fellas. THANK YOU!

    Pricing a flathead build for a current project and being offered this deal "out of the blue", has me wondering if this wouldn't be a decent deal. To rebuild the one I have will most likely be in the neighborhood of $4000 to $4500... so I am told... IF the block I have is good.

    This is NOT a "gotta have it right now" thing... I am always shopping for deals as money hasn't seemed to fall out of the sky lately. So... comparing the cost of this engine versus rebuilding the one I have, has me wondering if this wouldn't be a better "deal".

    Which leads me to this... Some of you have posted that this engine is overpriced... Does anyone KNOW of a flathead rebuilder around the Houston area that they have used and been satisfied with the work and price? I say "area" because I am not afraid to drive some distance to get the right build for the right price.

    Granted, I do understand that building a flatty will be more than an SBC, but if the engine I have listed here is a "bad" deal... Where can I find a good deal?

    Thoughts gentleman?
     
  23. fryguy
    Joined: Nov 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,233

    fryguy
    Member

    I
    Not sure how that can be, since you never really said what the guy wants for it. I did see you toss around the $2k figure as a possible offer. That I wouldn't do at this point.

    If you are looking to find a good deal on a running flatty, I think you are looking at it honestly. I see guys on here trying to sell incomplete core engines for 2-3 hundred.

    Nobody on here is going to be selling a guaranteed rebuilt complete, new built engine for under $1000.

    Any engine that guys are selling are usually stockers pulled out of projects, mileage is usually unknown. Those motors can last a couple of years or a couple of days. Its still a crap shoot.

    I think its worth checking this motor out, get a good idea from the engine builder friend and get his thoughts.

    I got about $7k into a flatty I'm building. Its a little more of a hot rod flatty, but I started with a good block, all new parts, and know the condition of every part in it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  24. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,155

    Saxon
    Member
    from MN

    So... Did ya buy it?
     
  25. nailheadroadster
    Joined: Jun 7, 2006
    Posts: 1,523

    nailheadroadster
    Member

    Haven't called him yet. Been workin too much and it's too chilly here to hang out in the garage. I know, I know... all you northerns are now laughing uncontrollably. But damn... it's only 31° right now!!!! And this whole "workin for a livin" really cuts into my fun time.
     
  26. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    Flatheads are prone to cracks. I think its reasonable to assume that it is cracked unless proven otherwise. Assume the worst and being pleasantly surprised is much better than doing all the work and having to do it all over again. Any other engine I'd say go for it but I'd be overly cautious with a flathead. I got lucky and it only took me one replacement block. I've read about guys going through several blocks before finding a good one. How lucky are you?

    We used to buy used engines from a junk yard with replacement warranty but that's no fun when you have to pull and replace a bad engine twice and only get paid to do it once. Be careful of digging a big whole that you can't get out of.
     
  27. banjorear
    Joined: Jul 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,772

    banjorear
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    No way would I spend $2,000 for that. Where are you coming up with a $4,000 price tag on a rebuild with a good core.

    If you are handy and can do some of the work yourself, should be no where near that.

    I'm a flathead guy and flatheads are cool, but if I had a $1.00 for every "freshly rebuilt" flathead I've looked at on a garage floor, I'd be a thousand-aire.
     
  28. banjorear
    Joined: Jul 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,772

    banjorear
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    To this point, I'll have right around a total of $3000 into my engine

    Good 59 AB block, bored to +.125"
    Navarro heads
    Merc crank .010/.010
    Ross pistons
    NOS 8BA French rods
    1.5 hi flow Chevy valves
    Potvin 3/8ths cam
    Weber flywheel & clutch
    Johnson adjustables
    Numerous intakes and Stromberg 97's & 48's

    Now, granted looking at the parts list alone would seem like it was a lot of money (it wasn't cheap), but I bought them right. Took my time, scoured sites like the HAMB and Fordbarn and got great prices on the intakes, valves, carbs, and flywheel.

    Machine work was a lot more than I expected, but you can put together a healthy flathead for "around" the same price as the "rebuilt" stocker you are looking at.
     
  29. nailheadroadster
    Joined: Jun 7, 2006
    Posts: 1,523

    nailheadroadster
    Member

    Both very good points gentlemen! I have been second guessing this since before I posted the question on here... hence the reason I asked.

    So... Does anyone know of a good flathead builder around the Houston Texas area?

    I would definitely feel better KNOWING exactly how the engine was built and what was done to it... even though it would cost more. I just dont know of a reputable shop that would do the work. To get that, I have no problem with driving a distance to get it done either. Suggestions?
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.