Classic Inlines
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Q&A Guide for Beginners

In this article we'll cover the most frequently asked questions. However, if you don't find an answer to your question, please visit the Ford Six Forum. Our forum has a huge data base with loads of information, which is available to visitors, as well as registered members. While our members are great at helping newbie's, don't expect them to answer all of your questions without doing your homework first. Forum members get tired of answering the same questions over and over, just to satisfy the needs of someone who's to lazy to look for the information on their own. Use the "Search" function and try to find the information yourself, before posting questions. If you still can't find an answer, or if your confused, then go ahead and post your questions. Most forum members will do whatever they can to help you out, providing you've done your homework (trust me, we can tell). If you haven't, your less likely to get very many replies, if any.

Questions
Should I rebuild my inline six, or swap to a V8 like everyone else?
What is the primary reason most people build a six, instead of going to a V8?
How much will it cost to build a six, and where do I start?
Can I use a late model 200/250 head on my ‘65/66 200ci engine?
Can I install a 2V carb on my small six, or will it be to much carburetion?
How do I know what size carburetor to use, or which one to use?
How does the Load-O-Matic distributor work?
What modification should I do first, and which is the "best bang for the buck"?
What's the best ignition system for the small six?
What is a Duraspark distributor, and how do I install and wire it?
What is a DUI distributor, and how do I install and wire it?
Will headers make a difference on a six cylinder, if so, how much?
Is a Port divider really required when installing headers?
Can I install headers if I have air conditioning?
Are ceramic coated headers worth the extra money, and if so, why?
How do I know which camshaft to select for my motor?
What is meant by Degreeing the Camshaft, and is it really necessary?
How much valve spring pressure should be used, or which ones I should use?
What options do I have for rocker arms, and do high ratio rockers really help?
Can I install a T5 five speed transmission behind my inline six?

Answers

1)

Should I rebuild my 200/250ci six, or swap to a V8 like everyone else?

If your just looking for cheap power, a V8 swap is probably the best way to go. But if your tired of cookie cutter V8s and your looking for something different, a performance six may be just the ticket. If you like tinkering on engines and have plenty of patience, and you like a challenge, re-building an inline six can be a very rewarding experience. Especially when it's done properly.

By design, inline sixes produce more pavement pounding torque, pound for pound, than their V8 counterparts, and they usually get better gas mileage. They also offer improved handling and braking, due to the reduced nose weight. They're fun to drive, easy to work on, very reliable, and a performance six will usually attract more attention at car shows. Simply put, they're awesome motors.

However there are a few things you need to consider before making your decision. First, you need to understand that building a performance six cylinder engine is going to set you back a few bucks. A performance six can drain your pocketbook quickly if you haven't done your homework. Depending on your goals, your personal experience, and how much of the work you can do yourself, a performance six will generally cost twice a much to build, as compared to a small block V8. Especially if you have to rely on someone else to do all the work for you.

Selecting the right combination of parts is crucial, but selecting the right shop is just as important, if not more so. Even if they do great work on V8s, the results can be disappointing (or worse) if they've never built a six. I can't tell you how many times I've heard stories about shops and engine builders who don't bother to check the compression ratio or degree the cam. Bottom line, they simply don't think it's going to make a difference. After all, "it's only a six".

Make certain your shop is "concerned" with what they are doing, and whenever possible, that they have experience building inline sixes. If they don't seem interested in your project, do yourself a big favor and walk away. Be especially cautious of those who keep reminding you that they're "experts", or that they've built numerous Award Winning V8's, and that a six isn't any different. IT IS! Never hire a shop that doesn't care. Find one that likes the challenge of building a six, because it is different. Find a shop that's excited about doing the work, one that looks forward to seeing the end results. If they don't have experience, make sure they do their homework.

Before you start ordering parts and/or turning wrenches, take time to visit our tech section and read the recommended magazine and tech articles. Spend time searching through forum topics, and purchase the Falcon Six Handbook. The more prepared you are, the more successful you'll be. Once you have a good idea of your goals (keep it realistic), make a plan and establish a budget. While you need to be flexible, you also need to stick to your plan, and your budget, as much as possible. Then, as one of our forum members puts it, "Enjoy the Journey".

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2)

What is the primary reason most people build a six, instead of swapping to a V8?

We ran a poll on the FordSix forum, asking members why they rebuilt their inline six, rather than swapping to a V8. As you can clearly see, the primary reason was to be different. Most of us are tired of seeing the same hopped up small block V8's (what we call "Cookie Cutter V8's") when we go to car shows. Most of us prefer to do something different, something unusual, something out of the norm. And a hopped up six is exactly that. However there are those who simply want the best mileage they can get, or those who just want to increase the power of their existing motors, without going through the hassles of swapping to a V8, and that's fine too. Either way, no matter the reason, Classic Inlines and FordSix are here to help.

To be different
 59% 
Economy and/or mileage
 13%
Increase performance
 9% 
Maintain a stock appearance
 2% 
Other reasons
 17% 

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3)

How much will it cost to build a six, and where do I start?

This is a question I hear everyday, sometimes several times a day, over the phone and by e-mail. It has also been posted in the fordsix forum (and answered) many times over. To answer such a vague question, is time consuming and difficult. There are simply to many questions that need to be answered first, at least before anyone can reply with a educated answer. For us old timers, seeing the same question posted over and over can be annoying, so you may get a short answer, or what seems to be a rude reply. If so, please try to understand why. When you ask a vague or generic question, you'll usually get a vague or generic answer in return. You'd be much better off doing some homework first, before you start asking questions. Try to establish a basic plan, and a budget, and when you do ask a question, try to be specific.

1)
  First, what is the overall budget for the project?
2)
  Will the block need a full rebuild, or is it a fairly fresh motor?
3)
  After the machine work, will you have money left over for performance parts?
4)
  How much of the work are you willing (or capable) of doing yourself?
5)
  Do you have the space and time to work on it, or need a shop do the work?
6)
  What is the planned usage - daily driver, weekend cruiser, street/strip, etc?
7)
  In order, which is more important - mileage, performance, or appearance?
8)
  Do you want to run regular pump gas, or is high octane fuel acceptable?
9)
  Can you live with a rough idle, or do you want it to run smooth and quiet?
10)
  Does the engine need to look original (OEM), or is a modified appearance OK?
11)
  Have you added any performance modifications, or are you starting from stock?
12)
  Do you have a manual or auto tranny? If auto, is a high stall converter OK?
13)
  Do you prefer carburetion or fuel injection? if carbs, single or multiple?
14)
  Do you want it to be natural aspirated, or boosted (turbo/super charged)?
15)
  And so on.......

Here's a few good resources to get you started.

Purchase the Falcon Six Performance Handbook.
http://fordsix.com/proddetail.asp?prod=FSP%2D200%2DFSH
Read through the various tech articles on this website.
http://fordsix.com/tech.asp
Search the forum. There are hundreds of topics covering this subject.
http://ciarchive.fordsix.com
Look for website's hosted by forum members. Here's a good example:
http://www.geocities.com/mustang_man_1966/index.html

You don't need a lot of money to get started, but in general you'll find it cost considerably more to build a performance six, vrs a V8. Much of the cost depends on your experience level, or how much of the work you can do yourself. If you have to pay a shop to do everything, you can easily wind up spending more of your hard earned dollars for labor, rather than parts. Look for a shop that has experience building sixes, preferably with customer referrals. The worst situation is to wind up paying a shop to experiment with your engine, only to end up with a motor that doesn't run properly. And this happens more often than you might think, even when the shop comes highly recommended by your buddy with the V8. Be especially weary of the so called "Award Winning" shops, or the "Experts". Most don't have a clue when it comes to building a six. Looks for shops that are eager to work with you, and those that like the challenge of building a six, because it is different.

Most backyard (or DIY) mechanics can handle headers, ignition upgrades, and carb swaps without any problems, however they may need help jetting the carb and tuning the engine for the best performance. One of the most beneficial modifications, is upgrading the cam. Therefore, if a valve job or cylinder head swap is planned, make the most of it by swapping out the cam while the head is off. Unlike a V8, the cylinder head must be removed to swap out the cam (to remove the lifters). While your at it, install larger valves, and have the head professionally ported for improved air flow. When you swap the cam, or even if you use a stock cam profile, make sure you upgrade the valve springs and pushrods. Don't even think about using stock springs, as they will float around 4500 rpm, and that's when they are new.
If your using a stock cam or a mild performance cam, 302 springs work great for the average street motor.

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4)
Can I use a late model 200/250 head on my ‘65/66 200ci engine?

Not only is the answer "yes", as long as you verify the compression ratio, it is actually one of the best ways to increase the performance of the 200ci six. While all 144,170, 200, & 250ci cylinder heads are interchangeable, the valve size, chamber size (cc's), and intake tract volume, changed over the years. And while all small six cylinder heads are interchangeable, and will physically bolt on and function, it is very important to verify the compression ratio and adjust the size of the combustion chambers based on the specific needs of your motor. Combustion chambers that are too large decrease the compression ratio, there-by reducing throttle response and over all performance. However this is easily corrected by milling the head and/or installing a thinner head gasket. On the other hand, a smaller combustion chamber increases the compression ratio, which in turn increases throttle response and overall performance. However, be carefully you don't go to far. To much compression causes detonation and/or pre-ignition, which leads to catastrophic engine failures in very short order. Ideally, the compression ratio should be around 9:1 to 9.5:1 with a cast iron cylinder head.

For more information please read our tech article "Small Six Cylinder Head Swaps".

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5)

Can I install a 2V carb on my small six, or will it be to much carburetion?

There are those that say an inline six will not run properly with a two barrel carb, however recent dyno test have shown not only will the 2V carb produce gains of 5-25 horsepower, that also run quite well. In fact, they usually run better than the one barrel carb that came stock from the factory.

Please read our tech article "Installing a 2V Carburetor" for more information.

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6)

How do I know what size of carburetor to use, and/or which one to use?

The only way to know what size carb to use for your specific motor, is to use a CFM calculator. Never guess. The most common mistake when swapping carbs, is to over-carb the motor (installing a carb that is too big for the motor). When in doubt use a smaller carb, bigger is not better. For stock or mild performance engines, we recommend the Vaporizer 1V, or the 32/36 Weber DGV, which is a progressive 2V carb. For performance motors, we recommend any of the Autolite 2V's, which range from 240cfm up to 356cfm, the Holley 350cfm or 500cfm, or the 38/38 Weber.

For more information check out our tech section, which has several articles on carb swaps, conversions, and carb selection. We also have a Dyno section, which shows several different engine builds and the dyno results from each.

 
7)

How does the Load-O-Matic distributor work?

The "Load-O-Matic" distributor was used on the Falcon Six due to it's "load sensing" design, which delivered good economy for the day. However the "Load-O-Matic" distributor was designed for simplicity and economy, which makes them a poor choice for the performance enthusiast. "Load-O-Matic" distributors have no provision for mechanical advance, instead they rely solely on a relatively weak vacuum signal to sense changes in load and speed (rpm), which was provided by the infamous Spark Control Valve. Not only is it important to know how the Spark Control Valve works, it is very important to know how it work in conjunction with the Load-O-Matic distributor, especially if your planning a carb swap.


Please read our tech article "Load-O-Matic Distributor" for more information.

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8)
What modification should I do first, and which is the "best bang for the buck"?

This has been debated numerous times in the FordSix forum, however it seems most members would agree that the best bang for the buck, or the first modification to do, would be up-grading the ignition system. Toss the old points style distributor in favor of a electronic or magnetic reluctor style distributor. Either will result in quicker starts, smoother idle, improved throttle response, and will usually eliminate flat spots when the system is properly tuned and timed. See Question #9 for more info.

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9)

What's the best ignition system for the small six?

There are numerous advantages to swapping out your old stock points style distributor for an electronic ignition system. In our opinion, regardless if you have a stock motor or a high performance rebuild, it's the "Best Bang for the Buck". Basically you have three choices, a Petronics, a Duraspark, or the DUI. While the Petronics and DUI are pretty straight forward, the Duraspark has several options for an ignition source, which we explain in our tech article. Each system has a unique advantages over the other two. As such, it may be more desirable to install one system, as opposed to the other two, to better suit your needs. However, with so many choices available, it's difficult to know which system to choose. As such, we decided to compile the information in a tech article so you can make an informed decision when the time comes.

Please read our tech article "Petronics, Duraspark, or DUI" For more information.

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10)

How do I install and wire a Duraspark II Distributor?

While the wiring for the Duraspark distributor looks intimidating, it's not quite as difficult as it looks. Study the wiring diagrams that are provided in our tech article, and make sure you understand the connections before attempting the swap. The tech article also covers how to R&R the distributor, as well as re-curving the Duraspark for increase mileage and performance.

Please read our tech article "Duraspark II Distributor Swap" for more information.

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11)
How do I install and wire a DUI distributor?

Installing a DUI dizzy is extremely simple. Just follow the directions and you can't go wrong. While the DUI only requires one wire hookup to a 12V supply, we recommend using a relay to make sure you are getting a full 12V from the battery, directly to the distributor. Wiring diagrams and basic instructions are provided in our tech article.

For more information, please read our tech article "Installing the DUI Distributor" .

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12)

Will headers make a difference on a six cylinder, if so, how much?

One of the most popular modifications, and quite often the first modification to be done, is the addition of exhaust headers. It has been advertised that headers add 10-20% horsepower increase, however we believe these numbers are a bit on the high side, especially if the headers are being installed on a stock motor. We believe it's more like 5-10%. However we also believe 20% is possible, with the addition of a performance cam, increase carburetion, and head work (porting), which increases air flow. As such, a stock motor you propably realize a 5-10 horsepower increase, which is actually pretty good considering you don't have much to start with. To get the most out of your new headers, add a good free flowing exhaust system. Dual out pipes are nice, but a properly sized single exhaust system will work just as well.

Please see our tech article on Exhaust Kits for more information.

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13)
Is a Port divider really required when installing headers?

This question has been debated several times in the Ford Six forum. The general consensus among forum members is that port dividers are not needed and do little to assist performance. To our knowledge there are no dyno test to prove otherwise. The only thing known for sure, is that the make a horrendous rattle when they break loose, due to poor or improper installation. Several members have installed the port dividers, only to remove them to stop the rattling. Once removed, they can tell no difference in performance, based on seat of the pants testing. They may however assist in preventing blown head gaskets, but this too is unknown for sure. The only recommendation we will make, is to follow the directions to the letter when installing one. Don't take short cuts and make sure they are welded in place (no JB Weld).

Please see our Tech Article on "Port Dividers" for more information.

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14)
Can I install headers if I have Air Conditioning?

It has been stated by some suppliers, that headers can not be installed if you have air conditioning. However Classic Inlines has shown that headers can be installed, providing you modify the A/C bracketry to provide adequate clearance between the header pipe coming off the number one cylinder and the alternator or compressor.

Please see our Tech Article
"Installing Headers with A/C" for more information.

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15)
Are ceramic coated headers worth the extra money, and if so, why?

Classic Inlines strongly recommends the use of ceramic coatings for several reasons. First and foremost is lower under-hood temperatures, which increases performance and helps to keep the engine running cooler. Lower temps are also appreciated inside the car, especially under the floor boards. Ceramic coatings also prevent rust and will keep the headers looking like new for many years to come.

Please see our tech article "Jet-Hot Ceramic Coatings" for more information.

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16)

How do I know which camshaft to select for my motor?

Classic Inlines has written several tech articles to assist you in selecting the proper camshaft. First you'll need a good understanding of camshaft technology, which can be obtained by reading our article on "Selecting the Right Cam". Next you'll need to know the differences between "Static vrs Dynamic Compression Ratios". Once you have a firm understanding of both, you should be able to make an informed decision as to which camshaft profile best suits your specific engine build. However if you still have concerns, we'd be happy to suggest a camshaft for you. Just drop us an email with as much information as possible on your engine build (including the compression ratio, carburetion, head work, etc), the specifics of your vehicle (tranny type, rear gear ratio, tire size, weight, etc), and the planned usage (daily driver, weekends only, show car, street/strip, full race, etc).

Please see our tech article "Selecting the Right Cam" for more information.

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17)

What is meant by Degreeing the Camshaft, and is it really necessary?

The term "Degreeing In Your Camshaft" means you are making sure the camshaft's position in the engine coincides with that of the crankshaft, so that their rotation is synchronized. This is the only way you will know if the rise and fall of the pistons properly matches the opening and closing of the valves, so the engine will run properly. A few degrees of misalignment can affect the engine's operation dramatically.

If the circumstances were perfect, one would only need to line up the marks on the timing chain sprockets and the cam would be degreed. In reality, you are dealing with a group of components (the camshaft, crankshaft, timing chain, and sprockets), all with their own standards and tolerances. These tolerances stack up against you and can throw your camshaft out of adjustment. Without degreeing the cam you can never be sure that the parts are in correct position. If you have the tools, we always recommend that the camshaft's position in the engine be degreed in. If you don't have the tools, borrow or purchase them.

NOTE: It should be noted that all Clay Smith Cams are ground straight up, whereas most cam manufactures automatically grind their cams with four degrees of advance. As such, when installing and degreeing your Clay Smith Cam, we highly recommend adding four degrees of advance for optimum performance.

Please read our tech article "Degreeing your Camshaft" for more information.

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18)

How much valve spring pressure should be used, or which ones I should use?

Valve springs are one of the most critical components of your engine. It is very important to match the camshaft and potential RPM range with the correct spring rate. You may have heard that too much spring pressure is hard on valves. In truth, it's the speed of the valve as it contacts the valve seat when closing. What dictates how hard the valve hits the seat? It’s supposed to be the camshaft closing ramp, or the shape of the cam lobe. However when spring pressures are too low, the lifter will begin to float as rpm's are increased, causing the valve to slam into the seat. In some cases the valve will actually bounce once or twice, before fully closing. As such higher spring pressures aid the valve, by forcing the lifter to follow the shape of the cam lobe more closely. On the other hand, to much spring pressure adds to friction and valve train wear and tear. Therefore it is important to follow the manufacturers recommendations, matching the spring pressure to the cam profile and the desired rpm range.

Please read our tech article "Selecting the Proper Springs" for more information.

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19)

What options do I have for rocker arms, and do high ratio rockers really help?

For more information, please read our tech article "Rocker Arm Options".

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20)

Can I install a T5 five speed transmission behind my inline six?

A T5 swap is one of the best modifications you can do as it offers many advantages over the stock three speed transmission. First, the lower first gear transfers more bottom end power to the rear wheels to get your car moving easier and quicker. Next, the overdrive feature, or fifth gear, provides exceptional fuel savings and greatly reduces engine RPM's during highway use, which extends the life of the engine and it's accessories. Cruising will also be more pleasurable, as cabin noise is substantially reduced. Finally, you'll never have to watch the competition blow past you on the highway because you're out of RPM!

If your thinking about upgrading to a T5, contact Modern Driveline. They have a complete range of products and options for adding a five speed behind your inline six. Many different clutch configurations are available, depending on driving style and power level, as well as bell housings, transmissions, and driveshafts. 

Please read our tech article "Transmission Solutions" for more information.

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