Second Verse Same as the First   Leave a comment

In my most recent previous post I told about the decision to go ahead and completely rebuild the rest of JP’s engine due to a noise apparently coming from one of the rods. That proved to be a pretty good decision when we got the motor torn down. From my viewpoint, there was nothing catastrophic in there and most of it could be expected from a 41 year old motor built in 1970. But it could have been disastrous if left in its current condition. The engine builder told us it would take him a couple of weeks to get it done and he was true to his word within I think a day or two. I’m going to reserve a public recommendation of him until we can put a few miles on the clock but at this point Dad and I are very happy with the job he did and the thorough way in which he did this job. One thing we liked about him is he is a straight shooter and didn’t seem to mind if he insulted your mechanical skills. He might think the customer is always right but he also apparently thought they are also dumb.

As part of the project, he also cleaned and rebuilt JP’s distributor and carburetor. We went ahead and put a Pertronix electronic ignition module in the distributor which is something I had planned on down the road. This allowed us to do away with the points and will give us more reliable fire and fewer troubleshooting headaches. The carb was pretty worn out with a couple of broken plastic pieces that he replaced along with the electric choke that wasn’t working when I bought JP. Even with the carb and distributor work the engine rebuild still came in well under the initial estimates we had gotten so I’m going to call this a win.

Dad got the engine home on a Friday morning and we (mostly him) put everything back on that we could before putting it back into the truck. If you read this post you know I twisted off a couple of bolts in the pressure plate. Well, Dad managed to twist one off this time so I was giving him the business until he hands me the torque wrench to finish up. That’s when I managed to twist off a third bolt. Now I’m gun-shy and scared I’m gonna break every bolt I touch.

I awoke Saturday morning at 8:00 to the sound of my garage door opening and knew Dad was ready to get started. It took me a couple of minutes to gain consciousness but I eventually became coherent enough to put some clothes on and get to work. We worked all day without eating and at 5:30 pm called it a day. But it was a good day. I honestly don’t know how Dad pulled that motor TWICE and put it back in once all by himself. But together I thought we made a pretty good team and it was a lot fun seeing the progress we were making. There were funny moments (I thought Dad was tightening a fuel line clamp and he thought I was as precious gas poured onto the driveway) and frustrating moments (having to put the fan on three times because I’m an idiot). At the end of the day, we took JP for a test drive and with the exception of adjusting the timing (which Dad did while I was at work a couple of days later) and a possible temperature issue we’re ready to call the motor done.

If you’re interested in what we did to the motor as part of the rebuild you can find it on this page. Below are some pictures taken since the last update.


So much for the nice paint job I did. Our builder wanted to take it down to the bare block so after a dip in the vat tank this is what our block looked like. The next two shots show the shape the heads, valves, and valve springs were in. You can see in the second shot on the second hole from the right that something had gotten loose and rolled around in there at some point. That was smoothed out as part of the rebuild. Check out the carbon build-up on those valves.


A few shots of the various components of the engine after it was torn down. In the first picture you can see the cleaning job he did on the carburetor. In the third shot you can see the camshaft I was so proud of helping install sitting against the wall. Sigh…

This is the distributor ready for rebuild and electronic ignition after a good cleaning and a little paint.


Before and after shots of the rebuilt carburetor, cleaned up brackets, and the electric choke (in the third picture).


Here are a couple of shots of the newly-painted motor. You may notice that it’s a different color than what I had used to paint it originally. The builder talked me into going with the lighter Ford blue and I’m glad he did. It’s brighter and will probably contrast better with the exterior color when we get there. You can see the rebuilt distributor and new vacuum advance in the second picture. You can also see Dad drilling out the bolt he broke off in the pressure plate. At least that one was his fault.


The first picture is after installation of the clutch, pressure plate, and bell housing. The second shot is after installation of the transmission and headers. Dad loves those headers. On more than one occasion he’s threatened to cut them up so I couldn’t use them anymore. I’m pretty sure he was kidding. Having the 390 FE with headers fills up the engine bay pretty well.


Speaking of the crowded engine bay, here’s a before and after shot of the motor. Try to ignore the wiring, plumbing, and master cylinder. Those are on the list to re-do as well. So far, I’m thinking it’s looking pretty good. I have to say I’m still digging the look of the flat black primer I used on the firewall and fender wells. I think all the cool kids are calling it suede these days instead of flat. It doesn’t really matter what it’s called because Hannah and Sheryl won’t hear of painting JP that color.

In my next post, I’ll update some miscellaneous things we’ve been working on while waiting for the motor to be rebuilt. If you’re interested in the general direction we’re going, you can look at our to-do list to see what’s coming up. I think the next major project for Dad may be rewiring the truck. The current wiring is pretty shot from age and the PO’s cuts and splices. It would be a shame to put this much effort into the restoration and then have it burn down. My next job, besides hopefully helping with the rewiring, is treating the rust on the bottom of the bed. That way I can get it out of my garage and back onto JP. Plus, since the brake lights and turn signals are built into the bed, we can’t drive on the road much until the bed is back on because it’s not street legal.

Thanks for reading.


Posted April 26, 2011 by jglee920 in Engine

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