My Thunderbird experience
Final Assembly
Body Assembly
Dayton Convention
Restoration Problems
Panel Gaping
Engine Start up
Powder coating
Restoration Pictures
Helpful Tips and Information
Photo Gallary
Related Links
Friends Rides
Cars and Parts for sale
Restoration Web Sites

On this page we'll tear down the engine and completely rebuild it, documenting with pictures and text of our progress.

                                      "Click on any picture for a larger view"


We started by removing the hood and taking a number of pictures at various angles for a reference in the assembly phase.We are pulling the motor and trany together and after removing the radiator,linkage,wiring and mounting bolts,we lifted the motor out of the car.


The unit is now sitting on a cart and we'll seperate the transmission,clutch,and bell housing from the motor and put it on a engine stand.


The engine is getting it's first cleaning with a scraper,brush and diesel fuel.After we get most of the crud off we'll take the small parts off of the engine. They will be photographed,baged,marked and put in the computer after they has been assigned a storage bin number.The nice feature about having a photo on your computer is that you can zoom in on a particular bolt or part which will be very helpful in putting it back together.


Wayne is our nieghborhood mechanic and is very knowledgeable on y-block engines.He's removing the parts and finds its a lot nicer with a clean engine.


We're checking the journals on the crank.Both the rod and mains are standard size and look good.Maybe the engine overhaul might be easy on the pocket book.


   The parts have been cleaned and sandblasted and the block,crank and heads were sent to the machine shop to be hot tanked,checked for cracks and wear.

   BAD news from the machine shop.The crank has a hairline crack,one of the heads is cracked,as is one of the pistons,a bad lobe on the cam and the cylinder walls are egg shaped and have to be bored 60 thousands to clean up.I knew the engine wasn't running quite right but this engine was junk.    

Here's a description of this picture.


   My friend Bruce sold me an extra head he had that made a matched pair.One problem solved.The heads went back to the machine shop for a rework.


   While running down another head I ran across one that was cast at another foundry.They are both G heads.


   The top head has the small letters and the big G on the machine surface.These head were cast at the Detroit foundry and were not installed on the Thunderbird.This head was on a 57 wagon.The other head with the larger ECZ-G letters does not have a G on the machine surface and was cast at the Cleveland foundry.I believe both heads have the same specifications.


I purchased another crank and the journals were machined .10 to clean them up.I got excited when the heads had double springs and the cam was not stock hoping it might be one of the few 285 HP E engines.The cam was an Isky RPM 300,compatible to the F blower cam but not Ford original,(darn).The cam had one undersized lobe and dished lifter and were sent away to be reworked.I liked the way this cam sounded and performed.New pistons,cam bearings,rear main seal and rings were purchased from John Mummert.Carlton auto parts did the machine work.


The engine block and attaching parts have been powder coated.


The block casting numbers are located above the oil filter.The good thing was the block was still usable and had the right casting #'s for the 57 Thunderbird.


   Wayne is driving the cam bearings in using a driver we borrowed from T&M Truck Repair.


   We installed the cam,lifters,crank,timing gears and chain.We used the neoprene seals on the crank.

pic #14a
click on the picture to view the markings.

   A picture of the cam shaft end.This is a high end cam and if not orginal had to be installed before 1975.


   Notice the holes drilled in the pistons.These are the standard size pistons but probably not orginal.


   Wayne is removing the rods from the pistons and the rods are going to the machine shop for rebushing and straitening.


   When connecting the rods to the pistons it is important to have the indentation on the piston facing the front of the engine and the bearing lock slot on the rod facing the outside of the block.We're using a ring compressor to insert the pistons in the block.


   The pistons were dipped in oil before installing.Taping the last piston into the block.


   We're rebuilding the original water pump to keep the casting numbers and after sandblasting and powder coating we're pressing the seal in the housing.


      We're pressing the impeller on the shaft.The clearance should be between .30 - .40. Notice the balance holes drilled in the impeller.


   Everything went together well except the hub.This was an NOS kit from Ford but the tolerance on the shaft is undersized as the hub is too loose on the shaft.This creates a big problem and I'm grateful to Jerry for helping me through it.


   The easiest solution was to buy another pump kit.This kit didn't include the impeller so I used the original on the right side of the photo.Notice the difference in the configuration.We rebuilt the pump with another kit.


   Cleaning and rebuilding the rockers.I had another set  that I used for parts.The bushings were bad in some of the arms,but between the two sets a usable set was assembled.The shaftes also needed some filing.


   After cleaning inside the shafts and checking for wear, the rockers were assembled.I did one side at a time while using the other side for a reference.New plugs were put in the end of the shafts and the assembly was pretty easy. 


   Lets see what we can do with the carbs.The fuel lines are oversized and have to be changed.The plan is to disassemble,powder coat and rebuild.Look in the powder coating link for more information on the intake and carb finish.


   These are all the parts from one carb.After powder coating the carbs are rebuilt and assembled on the intake


   The filter on the left is an orginal type fuel filter installed on E and F engines. The filter on the right is a Ford replacement found on many of these engines because the base of the orginal filter is aluminum and would  not hold up to the abuse of a pipe wrench.
   For me part of the fun of restoring a car is getting the best possible restoration with the least amount of expence.Since this car had the Ford replacement and I knew they put an orginal type on some large 1956 trucks,I started looking in junk yards and behind farm buildings.After two years and raising many hoods I gave up.My brother was drilling a well at his house and the rig was on a Ford truck,so I looked one more time.The truck sat in a quarry most of it's life,had less than 10,000 miles on it and there was a nice E filter.My heart skipped a beat.I talked to the owner and he said if I replaced the filter I could have it.The cost was an hours labor and $25 at the parts store.


   The heads are installed with the right length bolts in the right holesThe corners of the valley pan are pre bent down slightley for a tighter seal and gasket sealer was used between the top of the gasket and the valey pan.The push rods and the rockers have been assembled.


   A picture of the polished intake and carbs sitting on top of the engine.


   Finally putting the external parts on the engine.After cleaning and coating this is the fun part.Installed are the oil pump,pan,timing chain,case and the damper pulley.We set the intake on to see how pretty it would look.


   When putting the timing chain on we counted 12 links instead of 12 pins and had to disassemble the pulley,water pump and case to change it because we couldn't pre adjust the valves.A stupid mistake but we caught it on the engine stand.


    A look at the final product.Everything is PC on this engine except the valve covers,damper pulley,coil,distributor cap and choke covers.I'm pretty happy with the final results.