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tone down a engine?????

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by meengrinch, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. meengrinch
    Joined: Jun 22, 2008
    Posts: 518

    from ipswich ma

    i have a 64 ford galaxy 500 with a 390 with 429 heads..4 brl carb. This is a customers car just purchased and delivered here from is beautiful and customer likes the car....problem i have is that the engine is a little on the lope side at idle...cant get it to smooth out at all. was told it had a new cam etc but they didnt know any specs to the cam. Im wondering if i could retard or advance timing of this cam at the cam gear with a bushing kit or should i just replace the cam? The new owner cares little about the speed or performance of the car just wants it to idle smoother etc. Any suggestions out there? thanks jim......:confused:
  2. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,660

    Larry T

    I'd make sure the tune up and carb are right and if they are go to a smaller cam. Anything else is would probably be patching around the problem. I hope it has an aluminum intake on it, pulling an iron FE intake is a back killer. :D

    BTW, heads are probably 427 or 428, 429 was a different series engine.
  3. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,297

    Rusty O'Toole

    You can try advancing the cam. Get the bushing or key kit and try different settings, do a compression test, whichever setting gives the highest compression will give the best low speed and idle performance.

    You might also do some research on Singh grooves. A guy in India named Singh discovered that if you grind a groove in the quench area of your head, pointed toward the spark plug, your engine will idle down in spite of a hot cam, high compression etc.

    A racing engine builder reported that he dropped the idle speed from 1100 to 500 on a hot drag racing engine after adding the grooves, no other changes. This was a built 355 Chev.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  4. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,271

    Dan Timberlake

    Was the cam info from your customer, or direct from the previous owner or better yet engine builder? Somebody might know. What if they chose a thumper cam?

    What carb and manifold? If Holley it is easy to check the float height to start.

    First I'd do a compression test, and a cylinder balance test, measure manifold vacuum at idle, and probably use propane or carb cleaner to search for intake leaks. It's hard to "tune out" a mechanical engine problem.

    Is the vac advance hooked to manifold or ported vacuum? I think ported vacuum would provide the smoothest idle, but I'd try both.

    I'd degree the cam in the car to get an idea of the specs, and if it is installed correctly.
    Intake closing is the event that really affects low rpm the most, which is why advancing the cam a few degrees can make a noticeable improvement in low end power, and probably idle quality too.

    It wouldn't by chance be using solid lifters? Playing with greater intake valve lash can advance intake closing a little bit.

  5. Mr T body
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 2,153

    Mr T body
    Alliance Vendor
    from SoCal

    You can try advancing the cam, but that may create it's own issue. FE's make huge torque down low, so advancing the cam may just make a tire fryer worse. I actually went to a single plane intake on my FE to kill some torque down low.
    If you get into it far enough to change cam timing, you might as well just swap out the cam. If that's not an option for whatever reason, put in a set of Rhoads lifters. Should kill some lope, but will be a tad noisier than other lifters. Other than a cam swap, it's all about compromise.
  6. Zerk
    Joined: May 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,418


    I remember reading about this tech, and must admit I'm skeptical. What do they attribute the improvement to, better swirl effect?
    Also, I'd expect such a texture to form carbon and create a hot spot, promoting detonation.

    Not trying to grill you, just curious and looking for insight.
  7. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,297

    Rusty O'Toole

    I only heard of it a couple of days ago. Research consists of some internet searches. Those who have tried it, usually find some improvement. Those who have never tried it, know it won't work.

    Engines with the grooves have less carbon buildup. The grooves do not fill up with carbon. You can set the mixture leaner. Less contamination of the oil.

    Incidentally it is not a new idea. Check out the original Ricardo heads from the early 20s. He is the guy who discovered the squish or quench effect. His original heads had a squish area around the edge of the piston and a channel in the middle pointed towards the spark plug. Waukesha bought the American rights. They made heads for Ford, Dodge and many other engines.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  8. Replace the cam. Look in the new hot rod for an explaination of lope at low RPM.
  9. Porknbeaner is probably right, however; you got no idea what engine combo it is, evidenced by them telling you it has 429 heads. The correct thing to do for the customer could be any number of things. A mild cam may create other problems if the compression ratio is high.
    I'd say the easiest thing would be to put some Rhoads lifters in it. These will bleed off at idle and smooth it out but still come on strong. Easier than changing cam anyway.
    I have read a bit about checking cranking compression, and understand that if it's still pretty high with the cam that's already in it, then changing cams or going to bleed down lifters is only going to compound the problem.
    In that case, the compression ratio would need to be lowered.
  10. Somender Singh wasn't the inventor...this was a trick used long ago on roundy-round cars (among others). Here's a photo of a vintage Model T head (we believe Ed Winfield may have had something to do with this design) showing a similar, albeit more primitive, layout when compared to the "Singh design".


    The principle was simple; direct a jet of compressed gas & air to the ignition source. Cleaner & more complete burning = less waste & more power.

    Singh took advantage of 'technology' that was 80+ years old IMHO.
  11. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,520


    I'd have to agree with Pn'B and Unclee in that the cam is probably just a lot wilder than the present owner of the car wants to deal with. One guy's killer rump rump cam is the next guy's pain in the ass cam all too many times and if the first guy is like a couple of my buddies the cam is about one step from not being streetable in many cars. While it sounds fantastic to the guys sitting on the curb on cruise night it may be a total pain in the butt for the guy behind the wheel who is trying to just cruise through the cruise.
  12. You probably want to try and get some more info before going much further, especially since you can't put 429 heads on a 390. If you are unable to get that info;

    If I were sure that the "Tune Up" were correct, I would either degree the cam to see what the specs are or if you are not able to do that, pull it out and see what it is. To me taking the heads off to groove them or adding Rhoads Lifters are band aids at best. If it has too much cam for your customer, the correct way to fix it is to change the cam.
  13. meengrinch
    Joined: Jun 22, 2008
    Posts: 518

    from ipswich ma

    My mistake on typing 429 when I meant 428...........kinda more into Chevy stuff.......more info about this project if your interested.......the owner now wants to yank the 390/428 whatever out and replace it with a stock 64 engine and tranny......that will stop the lope for sure......will give updates as we go along
  14. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,263

    Atwater Mike

    Ford used a few different engines in '64...One 'notable' was the 260 they used in Galaxies!
    (not a lot of them, but I've worked on a few...3750 lbs. of car divided by 260=...)

    Wait, they still had a Yblock option!

    Otherwise, 390 was standard fare...
  15. I'd really let a sleeping dog lie on this one if it runs down the road nice.
    Nobody should build a car around the idle, it's just plain stupid. But here we are. Usually it's someone who wants a rumpy idle and could give a shit how crapy it goes down the road or where the power band moves to.

    The Rhodes lifters wouldn't be a bandaid, at least I certainly wouldn't consider them that.
  16. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,297

    Rusty O'Toole

    Ha ha ha they even made 6 cylinder Galaxies. My brother had a 62 Galaxie convertible with a 6 and 2 speed auto. It floated down the road like a waterbed. Not very fast but it was restful.
  17. big duece
    Joined: Jul 28, 2008
    Posts: 6,019

    big duece
    from kansas

    Restrictor plate
  18. INTMD8
    Joined: May 13, 2011
    Posts: 82

    from Il.

    If you can, find out what kind of parts are in the engine, specifically, what is the static compression ratio.

    Advancing the cam may help slightly but as others have said, you will likely need to swap out to a milder cam altogether.

    Advancing the cam (or replacing with something smaller) will be increasing the dynamic compression and it may have trouble with pump fuel if it has high static compression.

    You could just run a cam with less overlap and keep the same intake valve closing point but really you need to know what's in the engine in order to make the best decision.
  19. 58custom
    Joined: Jan 1, 2009
    Posts: 398


    Ford FE heads have the identifying casting number between the center exhaust ports. Looks like the pix below. Get those and post and we can identify what heads you have. "428 heads" is not enough info cuz there is more than one 428 head type. Becaause the number is cast it may be hard to read so hopefully between the two you can come up with a complete set. It will look something like C4AE-6090-G.


  20. PackardV8
    Joined: Jun 7, 2007
    Posts: 889


    What intake is on the engine? If it's an aftermarket single plane, they exacerbate the lope at idle. Changing to an OEM dual plane intake and a smaller carb will take out a lot of the problem.

    Also, check the initial, centrifugal and vacuum advance of the distributor. If the distributor doesn't have vacuum advance, add it and use manifold vacuum. Running a lot of vacuum; 18 to 20 degrees at idle, will tame a lope. Just insure there's no more than 38 degrees total with the centrifugal.

    jack vines
  21. rbonazzoli
    Joined: Feb 16, 2012
    Posts: 141

    from Dallas, TX

    What RPM is it idling at now? Before you get into swapping the cam, are you sure it isn't running rich or having a vacuum leak?
  22. Just exactly how does one adjust the vacuum to tame a lope.
    Vacuum and lope are related but the cam determines the vacuum and the cam causes lope.
  23. fortynut
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 985


    Do not install Rhoads lifters unless you want to kill the camshaft. I have used them to no good result, and when I was working for a machine shop had the opportunity to ask one of the 'legendary' cam grinders in Los Angeles what he thought. Long story short, as the engine rpms increase, even though the lifters are designed to leak down, they don't. Instead they tend to increase the amount of pressure to the point where, because of how you have to adjust them for idle, they increase loading on the lobes until there is no lubrication between the lifter face and the cam lobe --- screech! I am not making this up. I had lobes on two cams go flat, before I realized it was not just a fluke, as many who can't quite pin what the problem is, think, when things go wrong with performance engines. And yes, I used Isky style pre-start cam lube, and carefully checked clearances, etc. I'm sure others will chime in with stories of how they ran them a million miles --- but it does not change the fact it can happen. Find a different solution.
  24. Rokkern
    Joined: Apr 9, 2012
    Posts: 70

    from Norway

    Where is idle timing at ?
    There´s a big difference with rough idle and lopey idle imo.
    A somewhat rich idle setting and a dialed in timing makes a whole difference.
    Is he complaining about the sound or unstable idle ?

    Replacing the cam sounds like a good idea, but only after it has been timed and tuned to the best effort possible. They all need a little different settings as you know, but the only way to find out what the engine likes is to try different settings. Sounds a whole lot easier than to replace the cam. I would first make sure there are no vacuum leaks, then make sure the vacuum advance is working properly, then measure what it has as far as timing, with and without vacuum. initial and total.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
  25. Mike,
    Not to hijack the thread but a quick question for ya. I know that the 292 was available in pickups but was the big lincoln Y block available in cars?
  26. I Drag
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 884

    I Drag

    Pull the cam. In the past, Ive wasted too much time trying to tune around an unknown (later found out to be too-big) cam a previous owner put in a customers car.
  27. So what did you do here ?

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