Ford flathead V8

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by: Cobalt327
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Ford flathead.jpg


[edit] General information on the flathead Ford V8 (136/221/239/255/337)

This family includes all the Ford V8's produced from 1932 to 1953 (1954 in Canada).

[edit] 1932-1937

  • 21 studs holding on the heads.
  • 1932-'36: water pumps located at the front of each head, upper radiator hoses attach to water pumps.
  • 1937: water pumps moved to the front of the block, upper radiator attach at outlet in center of heads. 1937 engines may run the earlier water pump heads and use "block-off plates" in place of the pumps in the block.
  • 1932-'36: poured main bearings until October 1935 when an inserted main bearing engine was introduced. Both poured and inserted styles were available through 1936. Some inserted engines were stamped "LB" but many were not; there is no sure external way to identify them and many "stamped" engines are bogus. The oil pan must be removed and mains inspected.
  • 1937: blocks have insert main bearings.
  • Front-mounted distributor driven directly off the camshaft, coil mounted in distributor with 3 screws.
    • 1932-'36 early: three screws.
    • 1936 late: 2 screws at angle.
  • 221 cubic inch displacement.
  • 1932-'33: 1-barrel carburetor.
  • 1934-'37: 2-barrel carburetor.
  • Bell housing is cast in as part of the block.
  • Bore and stroke is 3.0625" x 3.750".

[edit] 1938-1942

1938-’48 Ford 59A

  • 24 studs hold on the heads.
  • Two water pumps on the front of the block.
  • Water necks on the heads located in the center.
  • Distributor is front-mounted and still driven off the cam, coil mounts on distributor with 2 screws side by side, 1937-'41, 42 coil mounts on bracket top of passenger side head, "crab"-style distributor cap and conventional rotor.
  • Marked 78, 77, 81A, 81T, 41T, 99T, or 21A on heads.
  • Full floating bearings.
  • Bell housing is cast in as part of the block.
  • Ford engines had 221 cubic inch displacement.
  • Mercury engines had 239 cubic inch displacement.
  • Ford engines retain the same bore and stroke.
  • Mercury engines receive a 3.1875" x 3.750" bore and stroke.

[edit] 1946-1948

  • 24 studs hold on the heads.
  • Water pumps and neck retain the same location as above.
  • Distributor mounts on front cover at camshaft, new 2 piece-distributor cap.
  • Heads are marked 59A, or 59AB.
  • Both Ford and Mercury engines have a 239 cubic inch displacement.
  • Bell housing is cast in as part of the block.
  • Ford and Mercury engines share bore and stroke 3.1875" x 3.750".

[edit] 1949-1953


New engine actually introduced in '48 when new truck line is introduced, car use starts in '49. Major changes are made to the flathead:

  • Water passages are enlarged for improved cooling.
  • Water necks are now thermostat housings and bolt onto front of the heads.
  • Water pumps remain in the same location.
  • Heads are held on with 24 bolts rather than studs and nuts.
  • New conventional style distributor is used.
  • Distributor is now driven by a gear off the cam.
  • Bell housing is now a bolt-on stamped steel piece for cars, cast iron for trucks.
  • Modern insert bearings are used.
  • Ford engines marked 8BA, EAB or 8RT on the heads.
  • Mercury engines are marked 8CM, or EAC, on the heads.
  • Ford engines remain 239 cubic inch displacement.
  • Mercury engines are increased to 255 cubic inch displacement.
  • Ford retains the 3.1875" x 3.750" bore and stroke.
  • Mercury receives a 3.1875" x 4.000" bore and stroke.
1950 Ford flathead engine
1953 Ford flathead engine

[edit] 1937-1940 V8 60 flathead

  • 17 bolts hold on the heads.
  • Much smaller than the normal flathead V8.
  • Has full floating bearings.
  • 2.60" x 3.20" bore and stroke.
  • 136 total cubic inch displacement.
  • 1937 engines have tin sided blocks, while '38-'40 are full cast blocks.
  • Distributor is the same as the '37-'41 full size flatheads.
  • Two water pumps screw into front engine cover.
  • Oil pump is built into front main bearing housing.

[edit] 1948-1953 125-150 hp flathead

  • 337 cubic inch displacement.
  • 3.50" x 4.375" bore and stroke.
  • 27 bolts hold down the heads.
  • Rear-mounted conventional style distributor.
  • Lincolns came only with hydraulic lifters, trucks had either solid or hydraulic lifters.
  • Big Ford trucks came in both solid and hydraulic lifters.
  • Significantly heavier (about 850 lbs. vs. 525-575 lbs.) than the more common 221 to 255 cubic inch flathead V8 used in Ford and Mercury cars and smaller trucks.
  • Marked as 8EL for Lincolns.
  • Marked as 8EQ for large Ford trucks (F-7 and F-8 series).
  • These engines are similar to the smaller 8BA/8RT and EAB/EAC engines.

[edit] Bore and stroke combinations

Bore and stroke combination displacements

[edit] Ford flathead reference/resources

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