Next Steps with the Engine

Picking up from the last post, I managed to get the distributor out, but not in any reusable state. As a reminder, here is where I left off.

After a couple days of spraying penetrating oil, the distributor still wasn’t budging. Once I had the intake off, I could get a pipe wrench (yes, for plumbing) on the base lip with a little grip. I was able to get it turning a little and loosened up some. From there, my only other option was to hammer up on the upper part of the distributor to get it moving. That worked, and nothing left behind, including any scoring on the block.

On the front end, I was able to fairly easily pull the timing chain and gears off with a little screw driver leverage on the big sprocket. The smaller one moved freely.

Even with the heads off and everything but the pistons removed from the crank, it still won’t turn. So, my next step was to pull the crank and see what the deal is with the pistons. I started by pulling the piston arm caps, being careful to keep track of which goes where. I didn’t see a number stamping on them, but I may have missed it. The crank caps have numbers cast in, plus an arrow to the front, but I still kept them in order, including which bolt came from where. Once untethered, the crank came out easily.

With the crank out of the way, I was able to pull the cam shaft by removing the retaining plate and guiding it out from the inside. It was a little stuck at first, but a small bit of prying from the back end got it moving.

At this point, I started making some calls to see who could tank it and check it out locally. My normal shop was closed, so I found one not far away which looks a little bigger, and could get to my engine in just a few days. I was originally concerned with the ridge for taking the pistons out, but they said just push them out since we will not be reusing them. OK then, time to get to work.

1-7 pushed out without much effort at all. A little tapping from the handle of the hammer and they were free. #8 was the reason I couldn’t turn it over. I ended up having to take a socket extension and hammer on it from the back to get it moving. Not sure why it was stuck as I didn’t see anything, and the walls don’t appear to be scored. Either way, it’s now free of pistons and ready to get dropped off at the machine shop for cleaning and inspection.

Thinking ahead from here, I did some digging into this block and the heads. It seems in the era of fuel efficiency, the 79 mustang 302 capped out at 139 HP. Not anywhere on the range of awesome. Additionally, I am not sure the dimensions of the heads are exactly the same, and my goal is to bring this back to original dimensions and accessories. I also noticed the spark plugs on the 79 heads are a smaller diameter. Same deal with my 92 E7 heads. Not excited about that.

I called Randy to see if he had any heads sitting around the shop, and I am in luck. He has a 289 he pulled from a 66 years ago and the whole thing was torn down and left in the corner. What’s even better is that the date cast on the block says it came from a 67, roughly date correct for my 67 convertible. The heads have a similar date, indicating they are most likely originally from that block as well. For a small price, I was able to bring them home. He also let me dig through a box of parts where I was able to recover the piston rods, cam retainer plate, and head bolts. Glad to clear out some of the shop, he found the crank and sent that with me as well.

So now I have correct heads and a 289 block. When I hear back from the machine shop on the state of the 79, assuming its good, I will probably build that into a short block and set it aside, then focus on making the 289 into a long block and using the rest of the front end from the 79, which is really a 68 front dressing.

Speaking of which, along the way, I was able to clean up some more parts, and am pretty happy with the results. The steel parts have some pitting, but it should not affect operation and they are marginally visible once its all done. Paint does wonders.

The timing cover is a 79, but it clearly takes the early water pump pre 70 with the passenger side outlet, and it has the holes to bolt on the driver side timing mark. Seems odd, but it works. The pulleys took a lot of blasting to get them back to being rust free, then some semi-gloss black rattle can finished the job. That saves a couple hundred dollars in pulleys if I don’t have to replace them. Along with the trouble of finding just the right ones.

Next I cleaned up the original exhaust manifolds. I am assuming these came off the original 68 engine with the other front end parts since they have a C6OE part number cast in. Should be perfect for a 67 engine too. You can see they have some pitting, but cast iron and all, doesn’t matter. The before and after is dramatic. After blasting I used some high temperature cast iron paint to keep them clean and see how long they stay that way after they get hot. It will look good on final assembly anyhow.

Now for some more waiting. I need to hear back from the machine shop on what they recommend and how long it’s going to take to get it done before I can get back to the business of assembling. I should get this mess cleaned up and move the keeper parts to the shelf and the scrap to the pile so I can have this bay back in my shop. Not to mention doing away with a terrible mess.

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