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The dreaded "While I'm at it" Engine pull?
I have the dash about ready to go back in so the car will be running again soon but I am thinking about pulling the engine to do some freshening up and detailing of engine bay and under carriage.  I already know I have to pull the passenger side head and replace the head gasket as well as put a new water pump on it.  The previous owner said it had a rebuild about 3 years ago before he sold it to me a year ago.  The car sat more than it was driven.  So here is what I am thinking.  Tell me what you all think.

  • pull motor
  • Pull heads and do some exhaust side gasket matching and overall smoothing of the chambers.
  • take heads to machine shop for cleaning and valve job 
  • Machine for adjustable valve train?
  • Pull pan and replace oil pump with high volume pump since I don't know what is in there now or if it really was rebuilt
  • Install oil restriction kit?
  • Replace cam, lifters, timing chain.  Was planning on doing this anyway per my earlier post
  • Paint engine with Eastwood  ceramic ford blue
  • Clean and paint engine bay.
  • Change gear oil in 4 speed.

Engine does not knock and appears strong. With the exception of what appears to be a bad head gasket I think the overall health of the motor is good.  I dont see any reason to tear down the short block for new bearings and rings.  If I start to go that far I might as well do the head gasket in the car and wait till I can afford to build the 460 I have into a stroker.



1972 Mach 1 351 cj 4speed
"We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it."--Thomas Jefferson

It really doesn't take long to pull the engine, and it is so much easier to work on, especially when removing and installing the intake manifold and heads. If you don't have a couple of helpers use your engine hoist to help you remove the hood. It's easier to pull the engine and transmission together than removing/installing the transmission from under the car. You can change the camshaft with the engine in the car, but not the cam bearings. One problem with an engine sitting for long periods of time is condensation and pitting of bearings.

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”
--Albert Einstein
As for your engine work, do only what is necessary. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Avoid the "while I'm at it" mentality until you HAVE to do the repairs.

Let me check your shorts!

[Image: Flamicon2.jpg]

[Image: oldfart.png]
Yeah, I fall into that "while I am at it" rut all the time...

Went back to working on Mustang while waiting for Explorer 5.0 roller cam short block to come back from machine shop for installation in an MG along with the T5 I bought long ago for the Mustang. 

Explorer motor looked so good inside, I kind of regret taking it apart.. But, the while I am at it thing took control and it will end up being a new motor with aluminum heads and will sell the GT40p heads that were on it. Want the lower weight to suit MG suspension.. But, being motor is apart anyway, might as well put new pistons, cam, rings, bearings, etc, etc, etc..

Got my 73 Mustang sports roof in trade more than 10 years ago as a running 351c 2v with a broken C6. Initial plan was to just fix leaking rear main and stick in a T5 and drive it. 

Pretty solid southern (GA?) car, but had some trunk water intrusion causing rust on tail light panel below taillights and a few spots on the trunk floor and some small amount of rust inside trunk lid lower edge. All from bad trunk gasket, I believe..

I've fixed a lot worse trunk floors and deck lids, but repro parts are cheap so why not just install full new trunk floor while I am at it, instead of multiple small patches?   Hmm.. One piece floor install requires tail light panel removal, so if doing that might as well just replace tail panel too... 

And repop trunk lids are relatively cheap too, so why not make a clean sweep of all rusted panels at the same time (floor is in, tail panel tacked in place not fully welded pending new rear bumper test fit, new trunk lid still in the box...).

While reading forums years ago, I learned about the cowl rust problem and so while motor is out better check that out, right? Wasn't actually very rusty compared to most, but a real labor intensive job to deal with. But it had a small rusted area at the bottom, so still required fixing.

And I also had an already rebuilt 460 with forged pistons and Dove heads, Weiand Stealth intake sitting on an engine stand. Once I pulled the 351c to do the rear seal, it just kind of snowballed from there. Had a CJ big spline Toploader too, though it needed a rebuild at the time.

Since the 460 was overkill for the project it had been built for anyway (57 Ford) and would fit right in the Mustang, why not just install that since it bolts right in and just get another (3rd) motor built for the other project. (I did build the 3rd motor for the other car, but that's another long story..).

Being the Mustang was now going to be a stick, had to hunt down all the clutch parts besides rebuilding the Toploader. And being it would have some serious power, it probably should really have a tach and full Mach gauges displays right.?

That was when I learned the wiring harness was different and spent more time hunting down wiring harness and gauges and still not sure I got all that done right. Should know soon..

Once Toploader was in, probably a console would be appropriate too, no? More hunting and fiddling around.  Of course, the automatic rear end was too high geared for the stick, so out comes the rear end for a lower ratio unit.

Wasn't sure how good the floors were (they were pretty good), so (while I am at it..) might as well put in some sound deadener since the interior had come out to really look over floors anyway, right?

And being I had to pull headliner to put sound deadener there too, decided to change interior color while at it... Getting way beyond the "put in a rear seal and T5 and drive it"..   

Oop.., also have to pull back glass to install headliner in these cars... New back glass gasket and a spare back glass (just in case..) salvaged from roached junkyard Mach that I took the dash wiring harness from..

Since it is a fastback but a plain-Jane, why not add the Mach front and rear spoilers?  Put them on temporarily and car looked so much better to me.  Bet a NASA hood would even make it better compared to the perfectly good flat hood that was on it.

Actually bought 3 hoods and the best one has the chrome front lock holes, but no locks.  Buy some more parts, of course.. New set of locks and brackets still in box waiting for hood alignment resolution.

But, what good is Ram Air really if it doesn't function?  Got repro parts to do that still in boxes also waiting resolution of hood alignment. Mailman, UPS, FedEx here almost every day the past couple of weeks. (I know it won't fit with high Stealth intake, but I have a plan...).

Door hinges were real bad and had to lift doors to shut them, so off come fenders and doors. Get those all fixed, doors and fenders cleaned inside and coated with Eastwood rust killer -while I was at it.

Spent a lot of time aligning doors and fenders, but both of NASA hoods fitted have a rise in the middle near fenders and don't line up good enough (still working on that..). Flat hood fit fine, so appears to be a thing with NASA hoods..

Had to clean up engine compartment to install fresh new motor of course, and if doing all that work anyway, might as well replace master cylinder and booster since engine is a tight fit and don't want to deal with booster issues after it is already running with tall SVO aluminum valve covers on it.

After motor is finally in, yep... Front of car sits too low with the 351c coils.  Bought some 429 springs ten years ago and finally put them in two days ago. 

But, if I am going to tear the front end apart for installing coils, better do all the ball joints and bushings right?  Opted to just replace all the A arms and since those were off, replaced the tie rod ends as well, though they weren't too bad.

Shocks looked fairly new, but really soft.  So decided I better replace those too... Sloppy idler arm already replaced when engine compartment was cleaned up and strut rod bushings come with A arm kit, so had to install those obviously. 

Fun getting the stock strut rod bushings out with the one piece inner steel sleeve, but nothing was rusty anyway, not one broken bolt anywhere and interior of shock towers looked great too..

Although brakes worked when I got the car, don't want to chance problems with brakes after sitting so long and being caliper rubber slider sleeves were obviously shot and probably sticking causing rotor and pad wear to be uneven side to side. 

New rotors now too... Can't just go with old wheel bearings, since all the other new front parts already and those old one's had to come out to replace rotors anyway.  And the original rubber brake lines did not look bad, but they are 44 years old.  Can't risk leaving those in..

Multi-part Calipers need new hardware kit, of course... And can't put on all these new parts without painting any raw metal so they don't rust up.. Rotor centers and perimeter should probably be painted, so they don't rust too.  

Sway bar already replaced with 429 unit and aftermarket bushings and end links, so didn't have to clean and paint that part now anyway.  But, many hours spent cleaning up parts like strut rods, masking, painting, etc.

Lucky I took calipers and rubber lines off, black and brownish brake fluid in lines, gotta flush those before installing new hoses, which is the point I am at finally after days of working on it (retired, so cars now full time hobby..)

Can't remember if I did rear brakes when I installed the lower ratio differential, so at minimum I probably have to pull rear drums and look and see how everything looks back there and since fluid looked sketchy in front lines when I cut them off, it may in the rear also..

But, "while I am at it",  maybe I should steal the 9" rebuilt posi from my Fairlane project since the Mustang rear end will be partially taken down and the car on stands in rear anyway...

Maybe shoulda stuck with the original plan, but spending so much time with the car my wife visits me in the garage to see if I am here.  And can't really slack off now, since it has come this far after so many "while I am at it's"..

But, probably will just drive the Mustang in the spring and worry about painting it next winter.. Gotta assemble the MG 5.0 motor soon, and while I am at it, maybe I should narrow and install Turbo Coupe posi rear sitting out in the axle pile..  Big Grin

Wow, that is a story that most of us can relate too. We all have been there !!!
Keep up the good work !!!
Thanks, Jay
i am with the "while i'm at it" thought process... u have or are doing a bunch of work on car and with engine out do it all... your not talking a lot of money to replace the bearings and rings.. what u WILL know is the engine is in good shape and NOT relaying on anyone else's opinion of ya i did this. if something happens to the motor because u didn't do something u WILL be kicking yourself.. u gotta pull the engine again... oh and replace the oil pump shaft too..
for me i just keep thinking back 5 yrs ago when i got the '66 fairlane off ebay and the seller said it was restored a few yrs ago... can u spell 'LIAR" .. and he owned a auto repair shop so i figured he knew what he was talking about... bottom line, it's your call...
In my pile of 'while it is out' engine parts I have a Canton extra capacity oil pan. You might do this. Tap it for an oil temp sender too, just in case you decide you want the extra gauge.
If it's a Cleveland you might want to replace the front engine cover too.
Also, motor mounts.

73 Convertible - 351C/4V CC heads/4bolt/forged flat tops/comp 270/rhodes/mallory unilite/tri-power/hookers/glasspacks/c6/3.50 limited slip/Gear Vendors/Global West sub frames, strut rods and shelby style traction bars/ Rear sway bar/tilt steering (not original)

Pics of modifications included in:
Thanks all!!!!

Mike all I can say is DAMN!!!!   rofl thumb


1972 Mach 1 351 cj 4speed
"We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it."--Thomas Jefferson

IMHO, BEWARE of the High Volume oil pump trap. It's not necessary on a stock engine. The addition of a high volume oil pump on my engine when it was rebuilt professionally caused the shop to do a warranty rebuild a couple of years later. Too much flow took out the first lobes of the cam as well as the main bearings. Basically it did a lot of damage to an engine that was NOT built for the higher volume. A stock pump will give plenty of pressure and flow in a stock engine without mods to the system. Again something that was not done and apparently needs to be done one any new pump, is to set the pressure spring. I am NOT sure of the facts here so get proper help on that subject.
Also, I took advantage of the "while I'm at it" situation and totally redid my engine bay utilizing a "Stock Appearing" theme. There are several posts on engine bay detailing for your information and help. Mine is pictured below.
Good luck with your engine and project. Seems like you have a pretty good plan going.
I also can vouch that a high volume pump is a bad thing is a stock rebuild. It caused me a ton of headaches with distributor gears and snapping the drive pin on more than one occasion. I installed a standard oil pump and all the problems went away and the oil pressure was darn near identical.

Black 1985 GT
Yellow 1973 Mustang Mach 1
Black 2012 5.0 GT, 6-speed, Brembo brakes, 3.73's
Wimbledon White 1966 F-100 Shortbed Styleside, 390ci, Tremec 3550, FiTech EFI
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