VINTAGE CHAMP CAR REPLICA BUILD

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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On to the cam installation.

I degreed the cam in. I will be starting with the stock cam. It has 110 LSA. I installed it at 112 degrees. I will be using a set of prototype steel adjustable cam drive gears. They have straight-cut teeth so they will be very strong. But they will be noisy. And that's what I want - a whine coming from the engine to evoke the sound of the early supercharged race engines. They also have the advantage of eliminating fore-aft cam walk as with helical gears.

The good news about this gear set is that it is infinitely adjustable.
The bad news about this gear set is that it is infinitely adjustable.

When I received it there were no timing marks on the gears. I thought it was an oversight. So I thought - no problem, I'll just overlay a stock gear, align the keyways, and mark where the timing mark should be.

After locating true TDC I had a heck of a time trying to get the timing to come in correctly by changing the various holes in the cam hub. It was way off in one direction, then would be way off in the other direction.
Until I had that "AHAA!" moment and realized why there were no timing marks. The cam gear can be clocked to any tooth that will bring the timing in to where you want it. So I set the cam on the .050" lift point and left it there. I removed the outer ring of the cam gear (without disturbing the dial indicator) and clocked it around until I found a tooth that exactly aligned with the tooth in the crank gear, which I had rotated into the proper degree setting on the degree wheel. Since the gears are straight cut it just slipped back on the cam hub without moving either the cam or crank. Then I double checked using the exhaust lobe figures.
Clever design
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Its probably a good time to point out a couple helpful tools I made to make this job easier - lifter movement rod and an adjustable TDC stop. The rod is just a piece of 3/8 pushrod that has a flat plug on top to give the dial indicator a nice surface to contact. You could make a longer one for checking events with the head on. A regular 5/16" pushrod tapped for a flat head screw could work in a pinch. The blue pipe plug has a precise hole in the center to hold the rod steady in the center of the block clearance hole.
The adjustable TDC stop is self explanatory, except be sure to locate it inside of the ring lands so there is no risk of damaging the ring lands if you rotate it with too much enthusiasm. Find a flat surface - not on the side of a dome or dish.

Astute Ford six aficionados have by now noticed the 1/4" stainless steel tubing running down from the deck surface through the lifter gallery and into the oil passage below. That is where Ford engineers tapped into to get oil to the head. Since the valves are actuated by shaft mounted rocker arms (a blessing) they needed a way to oil both the rocker arms AND the shaft. Two of these oil supply tubes are used. One would have been sufficient but echoes of the old Y-block oiling issues with plugged oil passages dictated that redundancy be built into the system. Pressure-fed rockers give me the warm fuzzies.

[On my XFLO drag car I have severely restricted these passages to keep more oil in the bottom end.]

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bubba22349

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Looking good FTF! Who is making those timing sets? And thank you for showing the detail differences of the 300 cross flow engines, it seems like these would have been a great evolution of the 300 engine for use in the Ford trucks. California had labeled the 300's U flows as gross polluters, did the emissions improve Suggnificatly with the cross flow head design? (y) :nod:
 

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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I misplaced the contact info for the gear sets. I'll hunt it up. The block pictured was modified by me to mimic the Ford design. To insure it stayed in place I only counterbored part way into the oil gallery so there was no chance the tube could migrate down into the oil passage and leak.

Truth be told, yes, there were some daunting challenges in trying to emissionize the 300. Because of its relatively large four inch bore size it had an unfavorable surface-to-volume ratio and a large crevice volume around the ring lands. Both these things contribute to high hydrocarbon numbers. And with a relatively low compression ratio it did not lend itself to good fuel economy targets on the horizon. Raising the CR would increase NOX emissions. Add to that the block would have required stiffening (e.g., cross-bolted mains and other expensive mods) for improved knock detection. It had the lowest BMEPs (brake mean effective pressure) in the Ford family of engines, which partially explains why it was so darned reliable - it didn't make enough power to hurt anything. Yes, I sure hate to speak ill of our beloved inline six, but its time had come. A more modern base engine was needed. If I had been King-of-the-World I'd have probably tried to update it, a la the GMC twin overhead cam, four valve, powdered metal technology, variable cam timed 4.2 I-6 and spent a ton of money on the base truck engine that otherwise could have been spent on more progressive projects.

Just enjoy it for what it is - a rugged old workhorse that served the industry for decades. And try to personalize yours and make it better for you.
 

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER":2ed1oa6u said:
I misplaced the contact info for the gear sets. i'll hunt it up.

The gear maker has not responded to my queries. Does anybody have Mikes current contact info?
 

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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A couple more details for the engine test stand.

The water pump needed an idler for the belt. I built this so I can eliminate the alternator / charging system. The dyno stand is self powered. If you would like to build a similar idler try using a '73 Ford idler assembly part # D3AH-8S617-BA. It will allow you to adjust the belt tension.

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Another item that was needed was a male outlet sleeve off the end of the header. That will mate up to the tail pipe or in this case a shop exhaust system.

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THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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A 240 Load-a-matic distributor fits under the twin SU intake manifold. The wires will be routed around the rear of engine, up under the headers. I have two of these - one with an iron gear for flat tappet cams and one with a bronze gear for roller cams.

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On the other side I found some vintage right angle phenolic plug terminals that will allow me to route the wires under the headers. Note the high placement of the exhaust ports off the deck surface.

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I have this thing for casting flash. It bothers me and I grind it off where I can, like this t-stat housing. Also, I like to resurface the sealing surfaces and note the STO temp on the housing.

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J.R.

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THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER said:
"... I have this thing for casting flash. It bothers me and I grind it off where I can, like this t-stat housing."

Good call. This may seem minor, but I've noticed that many (not just Ford's!) water pump castings have noticeable casting flash in their inlet & outlet tracts, sufficient to cause turbulence & restriction-compromised coolant flow. Improving the flow by cleaning up the flash has helped to eliminate the overheating problems in certain vehicles and engine builds.

J.R.
SoCal
 

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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Right JR, and I've even gotten some seepage around the flash where the hose doesn't conform to the outlet surface.
Plus, flash collects dirt, created stress risers, cuts flesh, and generally looks cheap.
 

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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More progress today. Header on. Exhaust pipe will clear console.

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I'm waiting for Brown Santa to bring me spark plug wire. But until then I fitted up the intake to check for fit. It looks like it will all work. Need to run fuel lines, make gaskets, and a rudimentary throttle linkage.

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BOY, THAT IS ONE HEINOUSLY UGLY VALVE COVER. ITS GOT TO GO.
 

broncr

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I imagine I'm not alone in saying I'd suffer through the oil pan to have what's under it! Nice work. I really like that engine stand, too.

Big Brown is stopping by here, too :) .
 

curts56

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Very nice!! Thanks for posting photos of your fabrication work. They are very educational.
 

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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Today I made spark plug wires. I used just a little less than a quarter mile of wire. Maybe I'll advance the timing a few more degrees because the spark has such a long way to travel.

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Oil pressure light switch is installed. Dip stick needs calibrating.

One bad thing about this arrangement - I'll have to remove the intake manifold if I need to change distributors. That sounds like as big a pain as having to remove the EFI intake to remove the valve cover.

Getting close to fire-up.
 

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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I want to share a tip I discovered. Probably out of a long ago Sunday-nite-stores-closed need to fix plug wires. Ninety nine percent of the defective plug wires I've fixed had failed at the terminal juncture. Especially true with supression core wires. I came up with this method to fix them.

Use a strand of a wire brush. Break it off with needle nose pliers.

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bend it into a "U" shape with one leg about 3/8" long and one leg about 1/4" long with the middle section about 1/8".
Carefully insert the long end into the conductor core until the U bottoms out .

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Crimp the terminal end over the shorter end.

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That wire will never fail at the terminal end again.
 

broncr

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We used to make custom plug wires for every engine rebuild. My mentor bought braided copper core RF shielded plug wire by the spool. We'd strip back ~1/2", and solder the wire to the connectors, & fold it over in a similar fashion - to make them pretty much "bomb proof". It's the same idea - taken a step further.

The man overbuilt everything , and it usually paid off in the long run. I'm still pulling around a little utility trailer he built in the 70's. I could probably haul a car on it, if it would fit. I can't seem to shake that "overbuild" mentality, even after 50 years.
 

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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FIRST FIRE - We start the engine.
Video:

[edit - I'm having trouble loading the video file.]



It started and ran. The side draft carbs need rebuilding. The exhaust sounds real mellow - LOUD, but mellow.
I only ran it at 10 DEG base timing. We will add advance next time.
Post running leakdown checks showed all cylinders leaked between 11% and 13% - except #4 where a leaking intake valve (???) showed considerably more. I think 11 - 13% is not bad considering this is a first fire up and using a standard (non file-fit) ring pack. Before I remove the head I'll make a collapsed tappet gap checker to see if the valve is hanging open, and maybe change that lifter too, just because.
 
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