If you caught this September post, then you’ll understand why I’m a little frustrated. Originally, we intended to build a 351 Cleveland to power my brother in law’s ’54 Ford pickup we’re restoring. I checked out the block and determined that it needed to be milled .030″ over. I started ordering the parts, and when I got to the pistons, I hit a wall.
There are some VERY mild pistons available in the standard bore. But virtually anything more than .010″ over was not to be found. I could have milled .015″ over and used some custom rings, but for a high performance engine, that’s not a good idea. Besides, I couldn’t find any that would give me more than 9.5:1 compression ratio. I was thinking more of something like 11.5 to 12.0:1.
I did find two shops that custom forge pistons, and figured there was a chance they’d already have the tooling to build what I needed, to keep the cost down.
Both have gone out of business.
So, back to the drawing board! I decided to look at either a 302 cid Ford or a 350 cid Chevy. I didn’t like the options available to me with the 302, and I know the 350 has a boatload of options, so we did a little shopping and last week, we pulled a 4-bolt 350 out of a motorhome, along with a 400 automatic transmission and the drive train.
Wednesday, I tore the engine down and mic’d it, and found it was like new… less than .003 wear anywhere. We returned the 351 parts, and reordered new parts, which arrived yesterday. So here’s the plan:
- 11.88:1 domed pistons to match the 64cc heads
- stock crankshaft
- 280 degree, .480/.480 Comp camshaft
- conversion of timing to gear-drive versus chain
- Edelbrock Performer int. manifold #27013
- Edelbrock Thunder AVS 650 cfm carburetor, man. choke, # 18054, ball burnished
- Engine and heads to be canary yellow
- Int. manifold, valve covers, air cleaner and timing cover to be black powder coat with hi-polish alum. accents
- Custom billet pullies and mounts, converted to serpentine system
- Hi-volume oil pump
The truck is being painted flat black, and all chrome is being converted to black chrome. Haven’t decided on the rear end gearing yet. Shaving the doors, converting the hood to a front-tilt, and converted the front suspension to the front end off a Volare for power steering. I’m going to open up the transmission to see how it looks next week. I really hope it’s solid, because I HATE rebuilding auto trannies!
I figure that’ll keep us busy for a few weeks, at least.