Classic Thunderbird Club International
Gil's Garage
Gil Baumgartner
CTCI Authenticity Chairman
Rebuilding your 312/292 Y Block Engine

CTCI recommends that T’Bird owners not attempt to rebuild their engines without qualified help. Qualified engine rebuilders are scattered throughout the country. Knowledgeable Ford Y block rebuilders are becoming fewer each year as they move into retirement. Two current engine rebuilders that stand out when it comes to rebuilding Ford Y block engines are Ted Eaton, Lorano Texas www.eatonbalancing.com and John Mummert, El Cajon, California www.ford-y-block.com.

When scouting for a local engine rebuilder, it is best to consult with local T-Bird owners for possible recommendations. There are many differences between a Y Block and today’s modern V8’s. A local shop may not have the specs for rebuilding a Y block.

Always have the block, crank and heads checked for cracks. Cracks are the main reason for most rejects of potentially rebuildable engines. Y Blocks are susceptible to cracks around the main bearing webs. The heads crack around the valve seats and the crank can break at any point of stress.

All components can wear beyond acceptable limits for rebuild. Most 312/292 parts are available new as after market parts. New Blocks and 312 crankshafts are not available at this time. The cylinder bore must not exceed .065” otherwise that cylinder must be sleeved.

Once you have a certified rebuildable block, the next step is to clean out the rust deposits in the water jacket. This step cannot be overemphasized! Occasionally these deposits are so solid that they must be chiseled out (Especially around the #4 and #8 cylinders). In some cases the rust affects the cylinder wall thickness and causes mysterious overheating problems. Rust deposits are the major cause of overheating problems in an otherwise good engine. So be very sure there are no residual rust deposits in the block after cleaning.

. Always use new or certified good used parts. A worn or flawed part can ruin your whole investment.

Check out all the “Engine” tips in Gil’s Garage for more engine related information. Finally review the “Rear Main seal” article in Gil’s Garage. This final step is just as important as the “Rust” comments. Your newly rebuilt engine will leak oil if the seal is not installed “exactly as described”.

All throughout the rebuild process, be sure to use plenty of “Assembly prelube” with lots of ZDDP. If not, your cam and lifters could wear out prematurely.

Gil

Last modified: April 08 2011