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Technical Flathead Mechanic Help in SW Virginia

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Michael Savela, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. Michael Savela
    Joined: Apr 6, 2020
    Posts: 8

    Michael Savela

    I've got a '50 Ford sedan, 239 V8, 3speed with OD I picked up a back in Sept. Been a blast so far. A few drives ago I got back and noticed the oil was WAY too high on the dipstick. I check before and after each run. Smelled of gas and the sediment bowl was low after a few minutes of sitting. Sure enough diaphragm busted. Drained oil, got a new pump and lines, got it installed. Fired it up and now I'm not sure if it's gunk in the carb or rod/crank bearings going bad but she won't idle right and has a considerable knock from what I think is the passenger side. Any chance there's a flathead guru near Lynchburg who might be able to help me diagnose for gas money and a cold one? I've done air cooled VWs, MGs, and the occasional SBC, but I'm just learning the world of flatheads and I'd sure like some help before I do damage, or worst case, do MORE damage by tinkering in the wrong direction.
  2. choppedtudor
    Joined: Nov 28, 2009
    Posts: 684


    if your oil pan was filling up with gasoline, your oil pump pushed that gas to the's time for a rebuild buddy. sorry.
  3. Michael Savela
    Joined: Apr 6, 2020
    Posts: 8

    Michael Savela

    Building a house and workshop simultaneously that's just not in the budget. Might as well just sell her at that point. Any chance I can replace the rod and crank bearings by dropping the pan? She's been running like a top until this happened.
  4. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,917

    from Alabama

    Yes you can do a in chassis overhaul. It was quite common way back when, to break one down Friday afternoon and button up by the wee hours of Monday morning, ready for that trip to work.

    In this case it may be a good option for you.

    My advice though, is not to do that quite yet.
    Do some diagnostics first.
    Drain it....put some good 20wt oil in it. Valvoline 20W-50 VR1 comes to mind.
    Drain the oil...
    Spoon out and wipe out the oil filter canister. Replace the filter. Replace the oil.

    Pull the plugs and do a wet and dry compression test. It will not hurt to do the wet test first since gas has possibly washed out the cylinders. Let it sit Maybe overnight, and do the dry test.

    Hopefully the compression test has “primed” the engine.
    Go through all the tune up procedures and checks. The main thing is to confirm ignition timing with a light.
    Do these things to confirm you actually have a knock.

    Go through 10 quarts of oil....”2” changes..... you still have a knock...

    Now the attention needs to be focused on the bearings....maybe the rings depending on what the compression test showed.

    I can’t think of a greater pain in the ass as doing a in chassis overhaul in a Shoebox! Pull it!

    If you have to get some lumber from Lowes and build a A it. The engine and transmission can come out together.....

    Put it on a stand or you can roll it around on a short heavy table or bench. The old mechanics back in the day would roll the blocks around on a heavy table or bench.

    Zip the pan off and check the bearings visually and with with a plasti gauge. Likely you’ll need a caliper to measure the journals to figure out bearing size.

    If you are lucky the size will be marked on the bearings.
    Any scoring on the journals may clean up.....

    With gasoline washout....maybe just the bearings will need attention.

    Do not be intimidated by a Flathead. It’s just an engine....only more so.
    craig b blue and lothiandon1940 like this.

  5. Michael Savela
    Joined: Apr 6, 2020
    Posts: 8

    Michael Savela

    Ok, F-ONE, I'll see about going through things. I'm really hoping the diaphram letting go in the pump just sent trash downstream into the carb and a good cleaning and set of gaskets will get her back to running smooth. And the noise I'm hearing is just rattling because he's not firing on all 8 right now. I'll pull plugs this weekend if I get a chance.

    Still no Flathead guys in my part of VA?! Guess if she is toast I should rebuild just because being all stock she's a rarity here along the Blue Ridge.

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