Need advice, and possibly an engine block for 302 Ford

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
An update on my GT40's engine: we now have the fresh 1968 302 block back from the machine shop, bored .030, all set up. The block and heads were pressure-tested and passed. Also, the heads had some corrosion in the block face (remember- no AF in the coolant!) and were TIG welded in those areas and resurfaced. Tomorrow evening we'll begin putting the engine back together- this is all the old parts into the new block. An inspection of all the internals verified that they appear new, which they ought to, having only 25-30 hours if that. Hope to have the engine assembled, painted (Ford Blue and whoever said orange, go stand in the corner until spring), reinstalled in the car and running and driving by the end of March, latest. Progress reports to follow.
 

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
Had a productive evening Monday- we got the short block assembled and the camshaft and timing gears and chain installed. I'm hoping to work on it more this coming weekend, get the oil pump, pickup and pan on. Then turn it over and put the cylinder heads on.

Since the old engine block is still around, I had an opportunity to compare the "Hecho en Mexico" main bearing caps to the standard Ford 302 ones. The machine shop did not want to use the Mexico main caps; they preferred to keep the original ones from the block we are now using. So the Mexico main caps are still around. It's easy to see how much more robust they are than the standard caps. Also, the block we still have. I'm thinking about selling the main caps- I have no idea what they're worth, but I don't want to throw them out. As to the block, it's got a crack from the water jacket out to the wide world. We elected not to repair it. Someone else may feel differently. I am located in Maryland, USA. If a fellow GT40 forum member thinks they can repair the block and put it into a car, I'll give it to them. And the main caps. If no takers, I'll put the main caps on eBay and try and make a few dollars back.
 

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
Engine reassembled in 'new' 1968 Ford 302 block after machining. Interestingly, the cylinder heads (AFR) required some minor repairs because the water-only coolant had caused some small areas of corrosion. Unless your car is a track car which you drain after use, run AF in your car, or at least run corrosion inhibitors if they are available. Because the heads on most of our cars are alloy, and the blocks are iron, the potential (no pun intended) for galvanic corrosion is always there.

Engine and ZF are back in the car, we are making decent progress on hooking it all back up. I need some Weber gaskets, which I hope are on the way, and a replacement fuel pressure gauge, also (I hope) on the way. (I'm also thinking about Webers for my small-block Cobra, but that can wait until we have the GT40 running and sorted out.
 

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
Made some progress on the GT40 last evening- got the exhaust system in and all snugged up. Whose idea was the bundle of snakes, anyway? What a headache! They are sure a pain to install, although they DO sound great when running. Look nice, too...Took two of us the better part of two hours.. anyway, that's done, carburetors are back on, coolant pipes, alternator, rear sway bar. It will be time to vacuum test the cooling system, fill it, put oil in the engine and light her off, sooner than later. Very excited to do this, and a bit nervous, too.

Mid-engine car cooling systems are complex and contain a lot of potential failure points. Some suggestions offered- not necessarily OEM stuff, but things I have found to work well:
-silicone hoses, which, if you can't get to them, hold up longer than anything else. GT40s have a lot of cooling hoses..
-AWAB hose clamps: these are all 316 stainless, they have a nonperforated band so they don't cut the hose material. I have used them for YEARS on my boat; they don't deteriorate in marine use, so they will last even longer in a car. I have yet to see one fail. On line or marine stores. They can also be tightened using a nut driver or a small socket rig.

More to follow...
 

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
More progress: newly rebuilt engine started and run today. One pesky problem is that the beautiful new valve covers leak oil onto the headers... very annoying as they were custom built for this engine. We're going to try different bolts and washers, possibly a thicker gasket set. HOWEVER, no leaks of water, engine runs strong. Needs some fiddling with timing and Webers, to be sorted out shortly. But I am much encouraged.
 

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
My old valve covers, which were cast alloy, also leaked. I replaced them with stamped steel ones, which look perfect (or will as soon as I get breather caps for them) but they leak. Suggestions gratefully accepted.
 

Brian Kissel

Lifetime Supporter
Congrats Jim. Just a thought here. If all valve covers leak, make sure you have some kind of PCV valve hooked up, or at least breathers installed. Just strange that they all leak. To me, it sounds like it needs some crankcase ventilation. I had a fellow bring in a Camaro to my shop once. Valve covers were leaking, as was the front seal. He didn't understand as he had a breather in each cover. Found out the breather grommet never had the bottom cut out. As I said, just a thought.

Regards Brian
 

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
Good thought- actually the breather tubes were open when we trialed the engine, because the push-on caps have not shown up yet. I think the gaskets are not compressed enough. The screws may be a bit too long, they may be bottoming out.
 

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
Question: on some Ford SB engines, with the steel valve covers, there are little steel plates that go under the valve cover bolts, to spread out the load and clamping force. We need those, twelve of them. I have not been able to find them. Anyone know where to buy them? Thanks!
 

Bill Kearley

Supporter
I just looked at Summit, there are several options. Look at valve cover washers. First make sure your cover surfaces are flat and on one plane, no twist. As for cast covers, they have tendency to crack above the bolt holes when over tightened, I have had mine tiged once or twice with perfect results. I also like the reusable gaskets that have a stop sleeve built into them.
 

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
I ordered those little steel plates that spread the clamping load out. Also a set of valve cover studs. AND thicker gaskets. These are stamped covers, not cast, but I know what you mean. I'm fairly sure the cover rails are flat. The heads are AFR 185s and I've never heard any complaints about AFRs products.
 
More progress: newly rebuilt engine started and run today. One pesky problem is that the beautiful new valve covers leak oil onto the headers... very annoying as they were custom built for this engine. We're going to try different bolts and washers, possibly a thicker gasket set. HOWEVER, no leaks of water, engine runs strong. Needs some fiddling with timing and Webers, to be sorted out shortly. But I am much encouraged.
Jim, What did you go for for the valve covers? Thinking of replacing mine for something more original looking.
 

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
Eric, we used a set of steel valve covers I found on eBay for about thirty bucks. One has two breather pipes; the other has none. Sal moved one pipe to the one that didn't have one, and then welded it all up nicely. A pair of appropriate style breather caps from Dennis Carpenter cost more than the valve covers. We sprayed them kind of a silver gray color. I'll put photos when we wrap it up. And it stops leaking.
 
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