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How to Rebuild the Small Block Ford How to Rebuild the Small Block Ford
by George Reid
One of the best reference books available for rebuilding the
Ford 221, 260, 289, 302, Boss 302, 351W, 351C, 351M and 400
Over the years, the small-block Ford has remained one of the most
popular and widely used engines on the planet. From the earliest
Fairlanes and Mustangs to the latest Mustangs and light trucks, the
Ford small-block has powered them all. With the amount of aftermarket
support and rebuildable cores out there, you don’t have to worry about
spending an arm and a leg for a quality rebuild – especially if you do
the teardown and assembly yourself. This all-new color edition of How
to Rebuild the Small-Block Ford guides you step by step through a
rebuild, including: planning your rebuild, disassembly and inspection,
choosing the right parts, machine work, assembling your engine, and
first firing and break-in. The Workbench format also gives you helpful
hints and tips on performance upgrades, including cams, heads,
ignition, induction, and more. It also points out problem areas to watch
for, professional builder tips, jobs that need special care or special
tools, and more. Whether you're a first-time engine builder or a
seasoned professional, this is the essential guide to rebuilding your
small-block Ford.
Chap. 1 - Before You Begin
Chap. 2 - Engine Disassembly
Chap. 3 - Selecting Parts
Chap. 4 - Machine Shop
Chap. 5 - Engine Assembly
Chap. 6 - Break-In Tuning
Chap. 7 - Buyer's Guide
Chap. 8 - Engine Math
This is one of the best reference books available for rebuilding the small
block Ford and something that any enthusiast will love!
How to Rebuild
the Small Block Ford
by George Reid
Condition: NEW
8-1/2 x 11"
Softbound
144 pages
495 Color Photos

Item: SA102
Price: $22.95
Click here to buy now!

Before You Begin
Rebuilding an engine can be a very rewarding experience. It’s a golden opportunity to start anew,
with fresh components and perfectly machined surfaces married together in blissful harmony. When
you build an engine, you become familiar with what the engine is. There is no wondering here – you
know exactly what you have under the hood. You can start an educated performance tuning and
maintenance program that will allow your new engine to live for a long time. Contrary to the old
100,000-mile (or less) theory of engine life, well-built engines can live 200,000 to 300,000 miles
with regular preventative maintenance and a civilized driving technique.
Ford 302 engine assembly
Building an engine is a
golden opportunity to know
exactly what’s inside. Think
of your engine as a blank
canvass, ready for liberal
doses of oil, paint, and
creativity.
Why do engines live longer today than they did years ago? Much of the improvement is centered
around better lubrication technology, lead-free gasoline, electronic engine control, overdrive
transmissions, and a host of other elements that make life easier on the engine. Likely the single
greatest benefit for engines today is unleaded gasoline. In the 1980s, car buffs were very
concerned over the loss of lead in gasoline. There was fear that unleaded fuels would harm valve
seats and cause premature engine failure. The valve seat part is certainly true. If you drive a car
everyday using unleaded fuel and iron valve seats, it will wind up needing a valve job. Big deal.
That is the only sacrifice you’ll have to make using unleaded gasoline. The benefits are far more
numerous – a cleaner engine, cleaner air, longer exhaust system life, and certainly longer engine
life.

Engines also live longer because companies like Mobil have developed synthetic lubricants that
offer excellent staying power, longer service life, and cleaner operation. If you run Mobil 1 in your
small-block Ford, change it with great regularity every 5,000 miles, and use a Wix or Motorcraft oil
filter, you can achieve 200,000 to 300,000 miles on a rebuild. We offer no guarantees because
every engine, and every driver, is different. If you run your engine hard, it won’t live as long. If you
consistently forget to change the oil, it won’t live as long. If you let it get out of tune, it may not live
as long.
Engine on Stand
When an engine arrives at
the machine shop, there
are many unknowns that
become discoveries as we
knock the engine apart. We
would quickly learn we
needed a block, new valves
and guides, and more.
To build an engine that will serve you for thousands of miles, you have to know what you have to
begin with. All the best machining technique and highest-quality parts are worthless if you have a
flawed casting or forging that will fail when the engine is fired up. This is why the teardown is as
critical as the build up.

Before you can begin on your engine project, you have to be committed to what you want the
engine to do, and be willing to stick with that plan. What’s the most severe treatment you intend to
throw at this engine? How will you use this engine most of the time? And, the most important
question – how much do you have to spend? How you intend to use the engine is directly affected
by how much you have to spend. Tight budgets call for a whole lot of common sense, which means
knowing how to make the most of your money.

Building a small-block Ford costs anywhere from $1,200 to $15,000, depending on your
expectations. A mild-mannered, easy-to-live-with small-block Ford you’re going to use everyday can
be achieved for $1,200 if you do most of the work yourself. And, if you take good care of it,
including the use of Mobil 1 synthetic engine oil, you can easily achieve between 100,000 and
200,000 miles. If you expect to spin it to 9,000 rpm on a road-race course, circle track, or drag strip,
you can expect to spend $15,000 in parts and labor. How much do you have in the checking
account? More importantly, how much engine do you actually need?
We are all guilty of bench-racing ego, and many of us build way more engine than we actually
need. It sounds so good during a boast fest with your buddies. We all like to talk up our engine
build plans. But why spend more money on an engine than you have to, especially if you’re going to
build it for the daily commute or weekend cruising? Pleasure cruisers don’t need H-beam
connecting rods, steel cranks, and forged pistons. And they don’t really need aftermarket cylinder
heads with expensive port work, either. They need the very basics of what Ford provided in the
beginning, plus improvements that will make them peppy, reliable engines they can count on for
years to come.
Engine Disassembly Engine building projects begin all
sorts of ways. Sometimes, we
stumble upon an engine like this
one, with no idea of its condition
internally. The problem here is
whether or not we have found an
engine that has already been
rebuilt. Rebuilt engines that are
worn out typically have 4.030-inch
bores. Small-block Fords can be
bored out to 4.040 inches, but we
discourage a 4.060-inch bore
size. It’s always a gamble until you
remove the cylinder head and
measure the bores.
Daily drivers and weekend cruisers need only have the small-block they had to begin with, plus
reliability improvements like hardened exhaust valve seats, high-volume oil pumps, roller camshafts,
high-performance valve seals, bronze valveguides (or replacement of the valveguides entirely),
new valves, high-tech gaskets and seals, hypereutectic pistons, electronic ignition, and more. Your
goal with a mild street engine is to make it as reliable as you can make it while pumping up the
power a bit.

If you intend to do some weekend drag racing, you need to decide how fast you want the vehicle to
be and what you can afford. The quarter-mile times you are seeking are directly proportional to
what you have to spend. Racing engines take a lot of effective planning and a realistic approach. In
the racing world, there is no such thing as compromise. You have to be prepared to spend wisely
and go after the best bang for the buck. Cutting corners with a racing engine is foolish. If you try to
save a few bucks, you could wind up spending a fortune later when the darned thing blows up. You
have to think of a racing engine like you would an aircraft engine. There’s no compromising with an
aircraft engine – because airplanes can’t just pull over and call a tow truck. When racing engines
fail, like aircraft engines, they typically fail catastrophically. So let’s dive right in with realistic
expectations about budget and limitations.
Cylinder Head Castings
Engine building projects are best
started with hand-picked
castings and forgings. Look to
mass engine builders and parts
houses for castings. Always opt
for a matched set of heads and
block, meaning the same casting
numbers and similar date codes.
Next


This has been a sample page from

How to Rebuild the Small Block Ford How to Rebuild the Small Block Ford
by George Reid
One of the best reference books available for rebuilding the
Ford 221, 260, 289, 302, Boss 302, 351W, 351C, 351M and 400
Over the years, the small-block Ford has remained one of the most
popular and widely used engines on the planet. From the earliest
Fairlanes and Mustangs to the latest Mustangs and light trucks, the
Ford small-block has powered them all. With the amount of aftermarket
support and rebuildable cores out there, you don’t have to worry about
spending an arm and a leg for a quality rebuild – especially if you do
the teardown and assembly yourself. This all-new color edition of How
to Rebuild the Small-Block Ford guides you step by step through a
rebuild, including: planning your rebuild, disassembly and inspection,
choosing the right parts, machine work, assembling your engine, and
first firing and break-in. The Workbench format also gives you helpful
hints and tips on performance upgrades, including cams, heads,
ignition, induction, and more. It also points out problem areas to watch
for, professional builder tips, jobs that need special care or special
tools, and more. Whether you're a first-time engine builder or a
seasoned professional, this is the essential guide to rebuilding your
small-block Ford.
Chap. 1 - Before You Begin
Chap. 2 - Engine Disassembly
Chap. 3 - Selecting Parts
Chap. 4 - Machine Shop
Chap. 5 - Engine Assembly
Chap. 6 - Break-In Tuning
Chap. 7 - Buyer's Guide
Chap. 8 - Engine Math
This is one of the best reference books available for rebuilding the small
block Ford and something that any enthusiast will love!
How to Rebuild
the Small Block Ford
by George Reid
Condition: NEW
8-1/2 x 11"
Softbound
144 pages
495 Color Photos

Item: SA102
Price: $22.95
Click here to buy now!

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