The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Mike Britton, Jul 16, 2012.
Good call! I'll be waiting to hear if you are successful. Keep us posted.
One of the most reliable engines ever devised is the small block Chevrolet...and I've overheated more than one and cracked the heads.
In 1963 I drove a 53 Merc from San Diego to St. Louis and back with no trouble. Six months later I started to St. Louis again. I broke a piston in Las Cruces, N. M. Pulled the head and picked off the broken ring from top of the piston, put on a new gascut and drove it the rest of the way to St.Louis with no trouble. I know the car was only 10 years old and had never had anything done to it but those trips were 1850 miles one way! You get a flathead in good shape and you can go any place you want.
I'll take my pickup anywhere. The only issue I've had was overheating. Installed Skip's pumps and an electric fan to help the crank mounted fan. Eventually found the major contributor for that was timing. A flathead likes the timing on the advanced side. On a 59 set the timing with a vacuum gauge. Set the timing for the highest vacuum reading then back of 1"Hg.
The engine core is very reliable. Just make sure the support components are set up correctly. As far as a repair kit goes, it's just a belt and a rebuild kit for the fuel pump. I don't carry point set since a Mallory breakerless dizzy was installed by the PO. This one will run at 180 deg F on 95 deg F day and give me 19 MPG.
Flatheads were in production for 21 years and carried millions of americans across the nation, beginning during the depression years. After production in 1953, hot rods and farmers used the flatheads for many years after... Take care of it, ref to fluids as needed . The major issue with the flathead through the years was and is the cooling problem. Not sure why ppl in this thread are talking about sbc and sbc, the subject is "Re: How dependable is a flathead?"...
Holy Crap! Who would have thought such an easy question would conger up such s**T storm. There is nothing wrong with a flatty. There is also nothing wrong with a button motor but they also had their share of problems in stock form and take it from a guy who has a bone stock '66 El Camino 283, there are limits to what good old Advance Auto stocks that will keep you going if you break down on the road. And if the have it, the crap's made in China.
Build 'em right, take care of them, don't twist them too tight and they'll do fine.
I think the problem with theflathead today is simply age! These are old engines so yea, you might have to work on em to get it right. I recomend running a single carb... I have 2 on mine but one is a dummy.. she starts right up and I can drive anywhere.. good luck! Flatheads forever!
Like any other motor, if it's built right and maintained correctly it'll run forever.
Responses range from, flatheads suck to flatheads are the greatest engines ever built. Like most internet discussions, there is an answer that fits pretty much anything you might hope to hear.
Ryan, I think we've beat this to death.
Can I close this? Or do I need a mod? Thanks, Mike
It will cost you three times as much to get half the performance of a sbc.
But ohhh, the sound of a flathead!
I dont blame you for wanting to close the thread,,so many young and close minded guys here on the board nowadays...I feel the HAMB is getting watered down by all the opinionated,uninformed
procede with your flathead and enjoy it...
Was that an opinion?
Having a flathead thread without a sbc comment would be insane. Most flatheads guys have never heard about sbc's. We should thank them for the education.......
Forgot the winkie/smilie face!
Back on topic, keep in mind hundreds of thousands of flatheads were used as industrial engines, generators, pump engines, heavy service trucks, and military. If they weren't reliable they wouldn't have been in those places.....
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I think this is what I'm going to go for. I like the idea of two 2bbls, with progressive linkage they can be made to act like a four bbl carb. I don't think I need to boost compression much, if at all. Stock is 71/2 -1, correct?
I would recommend a jump in compression, just work with a machinist that knows what they're doing so you don't hurt airflow by constricting the area between valves and cylinder....
Stock is around 6.2/1 up to 6.75/1 (merc)
7.5/1 or 8/1 seems to be the most common compression for aluminum aftermarket heads.
Cool! I'll carry a can of lead substitute in the trunk, and I'm good.
I found out last night it needs exhaust, I don't know if I want glass packs, or turbo style mufflers. I really don't want it too loud, but I don't want it to sound like a Toyota either.
Use red's headers if possible and Brockman Mellowtone steel packs. He has them in many lengths. There are a couple of youtube videos of guys running these mufflers. Please don't use Flowmasters or similar, as you won't get that great flatty sound we all love. Also most 2x2 setups can't be run progressively. Most run them as straight linked. You could use a 49-51 merc intake and a Rochester 2G carb for more power. The 2G has almost the same CFM as 2 94's without the tuning issues. If you are as concerned with the looks of finned heads,you can also use the heads from a 39-41 ford that just say A. These have about the same size chambers as EAB's do, but retain the center water outlets. You could just use EAB heads as well. EAB's have the smallest cumbustion chamber, giving the highest factory comp ratio. They are found on 52-53 ford cars. You want to have no more than .040-.050 over the pistons. This will give you a nice tight chamber, increase the turbulence and create more power. I'm running milled EAB's, a canadian mercury aluminum 4 bolt intake, rochester 2G carb with headers on my 8CM.
If you would like anymore help, feel free to contact me directly.
Great info 46fatford!
Headers will make it louder, but give it a better sound in my opinion. Case iron over steel headers. Straights all the way out to the back sound good too.
Ya really jumped from a builder right to a finished fh.
Look at the face of the white-haired man, who is hearing the sound of that flat head, if that's what I feel when listening to my flathead, I get up every morning with the same sound ...
Turbo mufflers ar for Camaros!
OK, I get it on the turbos.
I don't want a lot of interior resonance, that's the only reason I considered the turbos in the first place.
The glass pacs I was around in the 60's were loud, would bark back on deceleration,were just generally obnoxious.I want mellow.
And, flame on me, I'm going to end the exhaust turning out just behind the rear wheels under the sides of the rear fenders. I like that look best. Add to that the fact that I'm going to take off the front and rear bumpers and run nerfs.
But... I've hi-jacked this thread long enough. Thanks, Mike
Check out some of the other posts on mufflers, exhaust, glasspacks, Smithy's, Porters, and whatever. There are at least a ton of them. Mind they won't help much 'cause no one can agree on which one gives the "right sound" but it's fun reading.
Funny thing is that the people running the flatheads before the chev OHV did not worry about the engine breaking down. I ran my 33 with at Merc in it from San Diego to Oakland up the SJV with the heat in Bakersfield at 110 without any problems with the engine.Never even thought of the engine breaking, and it was the same engine I ran in Street Racing and Dry Lakes in 1947. 22 mpg. 7:50 rear tires and 3:54 rearend.
So drive it and if it breaks that is life, isn't it.
Very dependable when properly maintained and driven with care. When I was a small child my mother drove a stock 39 Ford from Socal to Austin, Tx every Christmas for ten years. In 49 she bought a new Ford and we took it everywhere on vacations. I don't recall ever having a problem on the road. Only problem we ever had on those Texas trips was in 59 when her Mercedes broke down and we were stranded more than a week. When I was first married we had two cars. A 33 coupe with a 5/16 x 1/4 59AB and a stock 40 sedan with headers. We were going to school in Provo Utah and we would drive one or both to Socal for holiday breaks and summer vacation. During cold mornings neither car ever failed to start or dependably render service. We drove back and forth to CA many times, never giving any thought to them not being dependable. Flatheads forever.
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