1936 Ford Pickup Refresh

DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,869
113
Owyhee County
Since I expect this to be an ongoing ordeal, this is kind of a sub-thread from the "Projects From The Compound" for the sake of continuity.
Preface, First some history; In 1956 my grandfather bought a mildly customized 1935 Ford pickup. Hot flathead, juice brakes, chopped top, bobbed '40 rear fenders (that I still have :D ), heavily louvered custom hood, Olds flipper hubcaps, dual chrome exhaust stacks, etc. It was his driver until my dad and uncle graduated high school. My uncle got the '35 (still has it), my dad got a '62 Impala. A few years later in the early '70s, after getting married, buying a house and settling into a good job, my dad went on the hunt for a '35/'36 pickup of his own. My grandpa was actually the one who located it as a relative stocker with a bad flathead. Once he got it home, my dad replaced it with a 283 and ran it for a few years until an axle failure prompted him to do an upgrade. At that point it received a 350hp 327, TH350, 9" rearend and front disc brakes. This was taken in 1985:

It remained much the same for almost 20 years and was rotated in and out of daily driver status. In 1996 my brother received it as a graduation present. It's been driven occasionally during summer months but over the last 3 decades has just plain mechanically worn out and has become a bit untrustworthy. Through a semi-complicated three-way labor/cash/parts trade involving my brother, our dad and myself, I'll be performing a mechanical refresh. My brother will be doing the body and paint work on my '35 pickup. These were taken in 2005 but it looks exactly the same today -- just has a thick layer of dust from sitting in the garage.




Chapter 1, Teardown:
The engine is a '96 LT1 pulled from a Fleetwood that was wrecked in 1997 with 5000miles on the clock. I originally swapped the engine/trans into my dad's '64 El Camino in '98. A couple years later he added a Paxton supercharger. He quickly found out that boost+cheap gas+high compression+a shitty Street & Performance tune = piston failure. I swapped in dished pistons as insurance and got a better tune. Found out that S&P adds tons of timing but reverts to speed density. With no MAF, the pistons never stood a chance. He ran it for several more years and had no additional problems and racked up close to 50k miles. He got a deal on another low miler and decided to do a build in another direction so this engine was pulled. I tore it down yesterday with the intention of getting some stock flat tops put back in and maybe having the rotating assembly balanced. Found a few surprises along the way.

More chain stretch than I expected:

Dished pistons to be replaced:

Some suspicious discolorations around several exhaust valves. Looks like it'll probably need a touch-up grind:

Some ugliness in the bearings:

Here's the craziest thing. The cap had become deformed and pushed against the rotor so hard that they were rubbing. Usually an LT1 cap is pretty flat in the epoxied area. This thing was seriously dished. Surprisingly enough it made no noise and ran well. I wonder how much the timing was effected by that twisted rotor?



We're in decision mode right now. I'm leaning toward slapping new bearings in it, pistons and rings, new chain, cap and rotor, quick valve grind and run it. Since I'm just doing the labor they may decide to go deeper. More to come...
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,869
113
Owyhee County
Chapter 2, Reassembly:
Well, all my goodies showed up. Rockauto provided gaskets, timing parts, and bearings.



Mahle hypereutectic pistons (same as OE) and rings from ebay. Fresh from the machine shop along with the heads.



Ball hone in the cylinders and assemble the shortblock:


Replace the cap and rotor:

All buttoned up with sweet swapmeet chrome valve covers. The exhaust manifolds are just sitting there to keep dust out. It'll get the rams horns from the 327 when it goes in. Back in the corner until my brother can get a broken tractor out of the way of his pickup. Maybe by next weekend I'll have it at my shop.

 
Longroof79

Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
10,068
113
Gainesville, Fl
Man, no grass grows beneath your feet... :lol: You're one busy guy. Thanks for sharing your progress. That should be a sweet running LT1. I love the '36 pickup. That is a cool ride. You don't see many of that body style pickup at all.
Also, the fact that it's been in your family for decades. That's great.

You're always working on interesting projects. :wink:
 
bigtmoney

bigtmoney

Greasemonkey
Dec 11, 2011
218
16
Dallas, TX
Love engine builds, nice detailed photos. I just realized I've never seen LTI heads from the inside and now really believe they stole that design for the Vortecs.

Question, have you had good luck with sealed power bearings? I'm doing a build right now and trying to decide King or Sealed Power.
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,869
113
Owyhee County
Thanks guys. I was starting to wonder if anyone had even noticed this project. The engine is basically just a stock rebuild -- if you can really even call it a rebuild. All stock replacement parts with no upgrades at all. You'll notice I didn't even spring for a complete timing set. Cloyes sells a chain only ($12 on Rockauto) so I gave it a shot. I've never had any issues with Sealed Power bearings. I just checked all the clearances and found I was right in the middle of the spec range. The goal is to have a trouble free cruiser in the end. As far as the heads go, they appear very similar to Vortecs in port and chamber design and I've read that they are identical but I don't know for sure if that's true. They both were intended to make great torque rather than big hp numbers. The factory rating is only 260hp/330tq but it ran very strong in my dad's '64 El Camino and got a best of over 26mpg.
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,869
113
Owyhee County
Chapter 3, Engine removal:
Finally got it dug out to tow it to my house. So it begins...

The mega tired 327:

Some interior shots:


Mr. Horsepower approved!

Old Firestone heater:

Upskirt action:

Stripped down and ready to pull...


...but the transmission comes out first.

Out to pull the rest of the parts and do a compression test, Just for curiosity's sake. All over the board between 60-175psi. Found coolant on 2 plugs too. I think it's time to retire it.

All ready to put away in the corner:

Super grimey...

...so it gets some of this...

...to end up with this:

So next step is to set the LT1 in and get ready to notch out the frame for the transmission. The firewall is gonna get cleaned up too. Stay tuned.
 
drogg1

drogg1

G-Body Guru
Jan 25, 2009
892
28
Looks pretty sweet. Will be a good cruiser. I like the minimal rebuild of the LT1. Sounds like an economical way of putting together an engine for a project. I'm very interested in how it turns out.
 
Oldsmoletick

Oldsmoletick

Royal Smart Person
Sep 18, 2009
1,604
38
cny
Man that truck is in great shape, of course it was actually made with real steel :lol: .
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,869
113
Owyhee County
No fiberglass on this one. It's kind of rare to find one of these '35-'37 pickups with steel rear fenders now. The bed has some rust bubbles in the stake pockets and the front corners of the floor but pretty minor considering it's almost 80 years old. The paint is almost 40 years old now and definitely showing it's age. Good thing the owner is a body man. Maybe once it's reliable and fun again he'll get the spark to make it shiny and smooth.
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,869
113
Owyhee County
Chapter 4, Trial fit:
Made some time to fit the engine an transmission in today. Started by checking the fit of the freshly blasted and painted manifolds. Found that there are 4 nubs in the casting on the passenger side that need to be ground a bit to make room at the valve cover rail. No big deal:

Installed new motor mounts and set it in place:

Since the 4L60E that is replacing the old TH350 is a little bulkier, I needed to trim out the X rails in a couple spots.
-Raise the transmission.
-Mark the frame where it interferes.
-Drop transmission.
-Trim.
-Repeat, repeat, repeat.
It actually fit way easier than I expected. Most of the portions I trimmed out has been torch cut decades ago so I was really making it prettier at the same time. Win-win!

Finally got it fit in place. The shift linkage was even really close and required very little massaging.


Took some measurements for the alternator relocation to a spot low on the passenger side. Looks like there's more trimming and welding to do:

The next step is to pull the engine so my brother can fill some unnecessary holes and give it a fresh coat of shiny. In the meantime I'll order up some parts.
 
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