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Old 12-22-2006, 12:18 PM
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dwrestle dwrestle is offline
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Flat Head questions

I have the new issue of Hot Rod in front of me, and I am very intrigued about the Flat Head. I have this thing about being different, so I need to know how much power and reliabilty can you get out of a more modern Flat Head?
Please don't flame me, but I'm a 4x4 guy, I have an idea to take an underpowered Toyota, Izuzu, Nissan, or other boring Japanese truck or SUV with an underpowered 4 or 6 and put a more powerful motor in it. I don't want to go overkill or orverdone(SBC/Windsor). I think the flat head will give me the cool factor and a small boost in power with some newer goodies, and better sound(big bonus for me). I know there are crate motors, but I can't find them or their prices. What do you guys think??

P.S. I would consider a Ranger or Bronco 2

Last edited by dwrestle; 12-22-2006 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 12-22-2006, 06:17 PM
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If you have a running flathead laying around, then go for it and have a blast. If you have to locate one and have it rebuilt then I wouldn't bother.

Flatheads, even with some serious mods (cam, bored, headers, dual intake or 4bbl carb, dual exhaust, high compression heads, etc. )will hardly get to 200 hp. Go all out and you might see 300 (max bore, stroked, blower, nitrous, race cam and not very streetable) but that's pushing it and costs serious $$$$$

Cores have been going for $200-500 lately. You may buy 6 or 8 before you find a rebuildable block. Crate motors run $3500 - 4000 and up.

Machining is typical of any other engine IF you can find a guy who remembers how to do flatheads and valve-in-block work.

Now that I've shot holes in what you suggested, let me add that you won't find a more reliable motor than a flathead. They're tough and in spite of all the stories of overheating and cracked blocks the truth is: start with a super clean block and radiator and you won't have overheating problems. Also, I've been driving a flathead daily for the past 5 years and talking to guys online for 7yrs and I've never heard of anyone who has cracked a flathead recently by running it.

I believe most of the cracked blocks out there happened shortly after they left the factory as the iron casting was settling in.

I love flatheads and I'm intrigued by your quest, but I want you to know what you're getting into. Like I said, if you have one laying around you want to mess around with, by all means go for it and post pictures of the results!

Last edited by mtflat; 12-22-2006 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 12-22-2006, 11:21 PM
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Well I was thinking about buying a French Block. and the Ardun(or whatever) conversion. I don't want huge amouts of HP, I am replacing a gutless 6 or 4 cylinder, and I wouldn't want to overpower the tranny, 150 to 200 HP would be dandy, as long as it's got good torque output 200+. What kind of fuel economy are flat heads getting?

Last edited by dwrestle; 12-22-2006 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 12-23-2006, 01:41 PM
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You must have deep pockets. The french flatheads are going for about 4 grand and in stock form would be all you'd need. The ardun conversion which makes it an OHV engine is another 15-20 grand.

Combined you'd probably leave pieces of the stock tranny all over the place.
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Old 12-23-2006, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mtflat
You must have deep pockets. The french flatheads are going for about 4 grand and in stock form would be all you'd need. The ardun conversion which makes it an OHV engine is another 15-20 grand.

Combined you'd probably leave pieces of the stock tranny all over the place.
That was the reason the early rodders installed a Lincoln Zephyr 3 speed...just try finding one of those today!
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Old 12-24-2006, 12:45 AM
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If you are in Ohio, Story Motors in Massillon is who I would recommend. He and his brother have done many flatheads and are very knowledgable about them. They are rebuilding mine and two others right now. They give you a great warranty as well. Their number is in the book. I have grown close to these guys since starting the rebuild on my engine. The do business the old way. Great people and fair prices.
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Old 12-25-2006, 06:47 AM
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I didn't think it would be that expensive. I saw a block for $1750, I didn't think that was to bad. It will be really hard to find a Flat Head, much less a good one, I'll keep an eye out though, I have a lot more stuff to worry about now, I am still brain storming, trying to figure out the best vehicle for the swap for now.
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Old 12-25-2006, 06:50 AM
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In Los Angeles, CA in the 1950's a local dealer put V8 60's into MG TD's. Changed the whole car power wise.
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Old 12-25-2006, 06:50 AM
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