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Old 07-21-2014, 04:25 PM
'57 Ford F100 Nut's Avatar
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Need '57 Ford 272 Y-Block Rebuild Advice

Hey Guys,

I am wanting to rebuild the stock 272 Y-Block in my '57 F100 (I have another thread going for the truck) this fall/winter and am trying to come up with a good rebuild plan for it and need advice on a couple of things.

Not sure who to go with for an engine rebuild kit. Who do you guys recommend?

I was going to go with a header set from someone like Sanderson, but I read that the Ram Horn manifolds give a little better performance and will fit in the truck better. Is this true? I am planning to go with a flowmaster dual exhaust system.

As far as a cam goes, I was thinking of going with a mild performance Isky 270 duration cam. Does anyone have any opinions on these cams?

I am also going to replace the stock 2 barrel carb with a 4 Barrel ECZ 9425 B intake manifold and Edelbrock 500 cfm carb.

Also, I would like to modify the heads to increase compression and I read something about drilling 2 matching holes in the head and block deck helps with cooling.

I would also like to convert it to electronic ignition well.

My end goal is to have a nice, dependable engine that does good on the street, but also has some "get up and go" as they say. This will be my first engine rebuild (My dad is going to help me), so I would appreciate any advice you guys have to offer about the above topics or anything else concerning rebuilding a Y-Block.

Thanks,
Taylor
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'57 Ford F100 Custom Cab Big Window with 272 Y Block and 3 on the Tree
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:41 PM
dnaglepdx dnaglepdx is offline
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Y-block

See John Mummert's web site, Ford-Y-Blocks.com. I recently bought the ram horn exhaust manifolds from him. His is the best price. A lot of good info.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dnaglepdx View Post
See John Mummert's web site, Ford-Y-Blocks.com. I recently bought the ram horn exhaust manifolds from him. His is the best price. A lot of good info.
Thanks for the link!
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:35 PM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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The first bit has been answered, so I'll start at the exhaust.

Headers are better than any cast manifold but the rams horns are very good. Header fitment should not be an issue.

The 270 degree isky is the RPM-300. It should be a good street performance cam. However, if you plan to use your truck as a truck fairly regularly, you may not be happy with it. You sill sacrifice low end torque for higher end power. Use something a bit smaller if you will haul or pull anything or better yet, have a custom cam ground. Call Isky or whichever company is your favorite, answer all their questions honestly and take what they give you. This will get the most for your money.

The B intake is a good upgrade.

Increasing compression is worthwhile and absolutely necessary, if you ask me, but it is fairly expensive. At the bare minimum you should zero the deck on the block and just do a clean up cut on the heads. You will probably have to mil the intake or intake flange on the heads at this point, as well.
Any further increase should be acquired through domed pistons. Milling the heads and block will not get a 272 anywhere near 9:1 so there is no sense in risking the integrity of the heads by cutting too much. For that 270 cam you will want it just above 9:1 at least and possibly higher.

You haven't mentioned which heads you have. Since it is a '57, they are probably ECZ G, if original and those are nearly the best. If you have them and they are in good shape, I wouldn't waste time trying to find any other head. Don't drill those holes. They don't do anything for cooling. If they are already there, don't worry about it, but don't waste time with that if they are not.

Electronic ignition. I've used Pertronix Ignitor II with the matching flamethrower II coil and pertronix wires. I've used Performance Distributors (DUI) Dyna Module, Inferno II coil and matching wires with a duraspark distributor for the trigger.
When compared to a rebuilt, perfectly functioning points distributor, the Pertronix was a complete waste of money. I noticed no difference at all. Not easier to start, no noticeable power increase, no increased mileage. But it didn't get any worse, either. And, I fried it when I left the key on even though it is suppose to have the protection against that.
The Performance Distributors setup did provide a noticeable difference off idle, it was less cold natured, and provided a 2mpg increase.
So, if you're going to do it, my advice is to spend the money and get something that uses an external box.
For reliability and good performance economically, it's hard to beat a good points distributor.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by charliemccraney View Post
The first bit has been answered, so I'll start at the exhaust.

Headers are better than any cast manifold but the rams horns are very good. Header fitment should not be an issue.

The 270 degree isky is the RPM-300. It should be a good street performance cam. However, if you plan to use your truck as a truck fairly regularly, you may not be happy with it. You sill sacrifice low end torque for higher end power. Use something a bit smaller if you will haul or pull anything or better yet, have a custom cam ground. Call Isky or whichever company is your favorite, answer all their questions honestly and take what they give you. This will get the most for your money.

The B intake is a good upgrade.

Increasing compression is worthwhile and absolutely necessary, if you ask me, but it is fairly expensive. At the bare minimum you should zero the deck on the block and just do a clean up cut on the heads. You will probably have to mil the intake or intake flange on the heads at this point, as well.
Any further increase should be acquired through domed pistons. Milling the heads and block will not get a 272 anywhere near 9:1 so there is no sense in risking the integrity of the heads by cutting too much. For that 270 cam you will want it just above 9:1 at least and possibly higher.

You haven't mentioned which heads you have. Since it is a '57, they are probably ECZ G, if original and those are nearly the best. If you have them and they are in good shape, I wouldn't waste time trying to find any other head. Don't drill those holes. They don't do anything for cooling. If they are already there, don't worry about it, but don't waste time with that if they are not.

Electronic ignition. I've used Pertronix Ignitor II with the matching flamethrower II coil and pertronix wires. I've used Performance Distributors (DUI) Dyna Module, Inferno II coil and matching wires with a duraspark distributor for the trigger.
When compared to a rebuilt, perfectly functioning points distributor, the Pertronix was a complete waste of money. I noticed no difference at all. Not easier to start, no noticeable power increase, no increased mileage. But it didn't get any worse, either. And, I fried it when I left the key on even though it is suppose to have the protection against that.
The Performance Distributors setup did provide a noticeable difference off idle, it was less cold natured, and provided a 2mpg increase.
So, if you're going to do it, my advice is to spend the money and get something that uses an external box.
For reliability and good performance economically, it's hard to beat a good points distributor.
Thank You for the awesome response! That really helped shed some light on some questions I had. I really appreciate the thought out answers. I am glad I did not spend the money on the electronic ignition kit and also I am sure there will be times when I may want to use the truck as a truck (although it is mostly going to be a weekend driver), so I am thinking I will go with a bit smaller cam.

I do have a couple more questions though if you don't mind:

First, yes I do have the ECZ G heads. Since they have higher compression, should I still do all the things you recommended above or just certain things?

Also, is there any other mods that you recommend I make to my engine when I rebuild it that I may have forgotten? Again, like I said before, my goal is to have a nice street driver that sounds good and has some power.

Thanks,
Taylor
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:37 PM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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I think you can get away with the 270 cam. I have a similar spec cam in mine and I've hauled about 1000lbs in the bed on several occasions. It will do it but it is noticeably lacking at the low end. Just be realistic. If you might haul something once or twice a year, shorter distances go for the bigger cam. If you might do it more like once a month, or longer distance go with something smaller.

At least the milling to get the compression up should be done, regardless of the heads used. Even with the High compression G heads, you will not exceed 9:1 on a 272 without domed pistons. Compression is the only thing that helps from idle, all the way to red line.

Some quick math for compression ratios using G heads on 272ci.
Only cleanup cuts, about 7:1
Zero deck on the block, cleanup on heads 8:1
Zero deck on block, cleanup on heads, 10cc domes 9:1
If money allows, you want domed pistons

I could list all kinds of additional mods. How much of your money am I spending

A typical rebuild of a Y is about $2500. If you do the additional milling and domed pistons, you'll probably be around $3000. Exhaust isn't usually figured into that cost so that's another $300 - $500.
If money allows, you could sonic check the cylinder wall thickness and bore to 292, or build a stroker, port heads or get a set of aluminum heads, port the intake or get an aluminum intake, get some higher ratio roller rockers, upgrade to an adjustable timing set, supercharge or turbocharge it, add efi, etc.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliemccraney View Post
I think you can get away with the 270 cam. I have a similar spec cam in mine and I've hauled about 1000lbs in the bed on several occasions. It will do it but it is noticeably lacking at the low end. Just be realistic. If you might haul something once or twice a year, shorter distances go for the bigger cam. If you might do it more like once a month, or longer distance go with something smaller.

At least the milling to get the compression up should be done, regardless of the heads used. Even with the High compression G heads, you will not exceed 9:1 on a 272 without domed pistons. Compression is the only thing that helps from idle, all the way to red line.

Some quick math for compression ratios using G heads on 272ci.
Only cleanup cuts, about 7:1
Zero deck on the block, cleanup on heads 8:1
Zero deck on block, cleanup on heads, 10cc domes 9:1
If money allows, you want domed pistons

I could list all kinds of additional mods. How much of your money am I spending

A typical rebuild of a Y is about $2500. If you do the additional milling and domed pistons, you'll probably be around $3000. Exhaust isn't usually figured into that cost so that's another $300 - $500.
If money allows, you could sonic check the cylinder wall thickness and bore to 292, or build a stroker, port heads or get a set of aluminum heads, port the intake or get an aluminum intake, get some higher ratio roller rockers, upgrade to an adjustable timing set, supercharge or turbocharge it, add efi, etc.
Thanks for all the additional advice! I really do appreciate it! I can tell you have dealt alot with Y-Blocks for sure!

Yah, I'm on a fairly limited budget for the truck (Who isn't at 18? LOL!), so I am thinking I need to keep the engine work in the 2-3K range as I still have to do brakes, tires, frame mounted gas tank and alot of other small stuff before I can start driving the truck. You just never know what is going to come up when you are trying to get a 60 year old truck that had been sitting for 37 years street worthy again...

Basically, I am either going to just keep the engine stock (expect for headers and dual exhaust so it has a little rumble and can breath better) or spend more $$$ and do all the mods we have talked about (Head/Engine deck work, domed pistons, carb and manifold, etc.). Really just depends on what my exact budget is going to be I guess. I am trying to keep that original, 60 year old work truck look, so maybe doing some performance stuff to the truck at this point would not fit my goal for it.

I guess I will just have to think it over some more....Whatever route I decide to go with it, I really appreciate all the advice and info you have given me!!!

Thanks,
Taylor
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:50 AM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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Does it run right now? If it runs, and is in generally good condition, there are a few ways you can approach it.

You can go ahead and get the dual exhaust, 4 barrel, and rebuild/replace and tune the distributor. All of those will provide a nice increase to a stock motor and they transfer to your new bottom end, when you have collected the funds for the complete build the way you want it.

You can take the above a step farther and do the heads so you have an entirely new top end on the old bottom end that you can later swap to the new bottom end.

You can go ahead and have the bottom end built the way you want and simply reuses the current heads, intake, etc, until you have the funds to address those. The only real issue here comes with bigger cams, the valve retainer to guide clearance can become a problem and the spring pressure may not be sufficient so depending on the cam, you may be forced to address the heads as well.

It's always cheaper to do it the way you want the first time so it is always good to find a way to stretch out the time-frame if the funds are not immediately available.

I just saw that you are in Goshen Indiana. You live pretty close to some big names in the Y-Block world. You also live pretty close to one of the biggest Anual meets of Y-Block vehicles. The Y-Block shootout takes place at Ford Expo at National Trail Raceway near Columbus, Oh on Labor Day Weekend. If you want some motivation, get to that event. You will see everything from stock cars and trucks, to hot rods, to dragsters racing, all with Y blocks. I'll be there but I don't think I'm taking my truck this year. You should also check out y-blocksforever.
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliemccraney View Post
Does it run right now? If it runs, and is in generally good condition, there are a few ways you can approach it.

You can go ahead and get the dual exhaust, 4 barrel, and rebuild/replace and tune the distributor. All of those will provide a nice increase to a stock motor and they transfer to your new bottom end, when you have collected the funds for the complete build the way you want it.

You can take the above a step farther and do the heads so you have an entirely new top end on the old bottom end that you can later swap to the new bottom end.

You can go ahead and have the bottom end built the way you want and simply reuses the current heads, intake, etc, until you have the funds to address those. The only real issue here comes with bigger cams, the valve retainer to guide clearance can become a problem and the spring pressure may not be sufficient so depending on the cam, you may be forced to address the heads as well.

It's always cheaper to do it the way you want the first time so it is always good to find a way to stretch out the time-frame if the funds are not immediately available.

I just saw that you are in Goshen Indiana. You live pretty close to some big names in the Y-Block world. You also live pretty close to one of the biggest Anual meets of Y-Block vehicles. The Y-Block shootout takes place at Ford Expo at National Trail Raceway near Columbus, Oh on Labor Day Weekend. If you want some motivation, get to that event. You will see everything from stock cars and trucks, to hot rods, to dragsters racing, all with Y blocks. I'll be there but I don't think I'm taking my truck this year. You should also check out y-blocksforever.
Unfortunately, the engine is stuck from sitting for almost 40 years, so it does not run. That is why I am rebuilding the engine. I think my Grandfather (who gave me the truck), said it ran when he put it in the barn, but was stuck after a few years from sitting. He put it in storage in '77 and by '80 or so, it was stuck. I have tried several different methods to break it loose and it moved a little bit, but we could only go so far and it would not turn anymore.

How is the 272 stock? Does it have quite a lack of power or does it perform ok? I realize it is not going to be a performance engine or speed demon by any means, but since I have never driven a Y Block before, I just don't really know how they are stock...It does have the 2 barrel Holley 94 carb as well (I think I read '57 was the last year for them). Just trying to decide whether I should put the additional money in it to do all the mods we talked about above or not...

If it's not going to have any power, I suppose that since I am taking it apart for a rebuild, I should do all the things you mentioned or at the least headers/dual exhaust, distributor, and a 4 barrel carb to help it a bit.

Sounds really cool about the Y-Block event! Thanks for telling me about it! I will also make sure to check out the website!
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:49 AM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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It should perform reasonably well. Y-blocks produce excellent torque for their size and can easily outperform "modern" small blocks of similar displacement although they do cost more.
I forgot that some '57s did seem to come with that small 2 barrel so an intake upgrade is absolutely necessary.
If you at least zero the deck and choose the cam carefully, add the dual exhaust, intake, and tune, you will have a better than stock '57 272. It won't set speed records but it will be enough power to get you in trouble if you're not careful. If anything more than that fits in the budget, then do it.

One of the guys that goes to that event has a 283 (bored and stroked 239) which is very similar to the engine you propose and it performs well. He's also a member here.
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Old 07-23-2014, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by charliemccraney View Post
It should perform reasonably well. Y-blocks produce excellent torque for their size and can easily outperform "modern" small blocks of similar displacement although they do cost more.
I forgot that some '57s did seem to come with that small 2 barrel so an intake upgrade is absolutely necessary.
If you at least zero the deck and choose the cam carefully, add the dual exhaust, intake, and tune, you will have a better than stock '57 272. It won't set speed records but it will be enough power to get you in trouble if you're not careful. If anything more than that fits in the budget, then do it.

One of the guys that goes to that event has a 283 (bored and stroked 239) which is very similar to the engine you propose and it performs well. He's also a member here.
Thanks for all the additional info! I think for now, I am just going to rebuild the engine to stock, put on the 4 barrel manifold and carb, add headers and dual exhaust, and tune the distributor and call it a day. Maybe down the road when I have more $$$ to spend, I will do the other mods, but I think for now, those things that I just mentioned should get me what I am wanting out of it.

Again, thanks for all the help! I really do not know much about these engines and you gave me alot of good, useful info about them! I want to make it to that Y Block event that you mentioned too...That sounds like alot of fun!

Have a Good Day,
Taylor
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:36 PM
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I arrive late on the discusion, but I'm very interested, I have a '57 F100 with a 6 cylinder engine that has only 6,000 miles on the odometer and I want to change it to 272 because I find it more powerful engine and he has a pretty face .... but first I must find myself a 272-292 a restore !!

I live in Montreal, so not too far from the borders would appreciate
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:36 PM
 
 
 
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