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Don't know of any good shops up here in the Denver area, but when I had my 351m rebuilt I took it down to Colo. Springs to a place called Rod's Machine.
Before taking it in, I did all kinds of research on the 351m, about "oil reducers" and all of that, as well as wanting to put in a high performance oil pump. He talked me out of the "oil reducers”, and said that he had rebuilt several 351m's, and did some of his own work on fixing the oil flow problem with 351m. He even gave me some tips on rebuilding it.
Sorry this will be kind of long, but really worth mentioning. When I went to pick up my parts, he mentioned one detail about the 351m. How the distributor fit into the block had to be just right, before putting anything together, test fit the dist to make sure no binding occurred. Well after picking up all the parts and taking it back over to my buddy’s house, (he lives in the springs), we found that the new dist that I had just bought was fine, until you bolted the sucker in, then you couldn't even turn the SOB.
Called Rod back and he said bring the block back and the Dist. back in! He looked at the dist, tried bolting it in himself, he even took the dist gear off the distributor, set it up on his lathe and tried taking a little metal off the width of the gear so that it would fit put it back together, still wouldn't fit once we bolted it in, so he tried this 2 more times!!! Still wouldn't work, told me to go up and return the new one I just got and buy another.
What do you know! It worked!!! The new NEW one I bought, fit in the there perfectly once we bolted it in it spun easily!! He said if we had left that other one in there, I would have got about 1500 miles on the motor and the cam would have peeled the dist gear off and ran through my motor causing all kinds of problems!!
Great shop and a great guy to do business with! I recommend him to anyone, and would use him again!! Very clean shop! His price was a little higher then a few other places, not by much, but I haven't had a lick of trouble with my 351 and feel confident that it will last a long time!
He even helped me pick out a high performance cam for it that has a nice little lope sound to the motor that when I lay into her, you know there's not stock under the hood! As well as fixing the retard on the timing chain! (had to buy a new chain and gear set, but I was planning on that anyway!) He didn't charge me extra for the dist situation either!
Just my 2 cents!!
78' F-150 4x4 351 m (machined at Rod's Machine!)
'11 Ford F-150 XLT Supercrew 4x4
Thanks for the tips Mike...So what did you do to help with oiling problems? I found this thread on another tech page http://www.broncotech.com/ubb/Forum5/HTML/000054.html and am planning on doing this when I get my engine rebuilt. Did you assemble the short block yourself or did u have the machine shop do it for you?
I forget the exact details, its been almost 2 years since I had that done. Rod knew more about what he was doing and explained what he had done at the time to help improve the oil problem.
I had bought an oil restriction kit ($15), that I had read on a forum somewhere and bought it and sent it down to him, but he looked at it and didn't recommend it. So I went with his recomendations and it hasn't caused me any oil problems since then.
I had also mentioned about putting a high volume or high performance oil pump in there at the time. He thought it was funny at the time because one of his shop employees wanted/did the same thing, after Rod told him not to. Once the guy did that, it ran fine around town, but when he start hauling or climbing hills with it the oil light would come, due to the fact that all the oil was up in the heads, and wasn't draining fast enough back into the oil pan, so the guy ended up pulling it out and putting the standard one back in!!
He said unless you were really looking at putting a lot of high end, high performance parts and was drag racing with the motor not to do it. He was pretty good with the 351m's and w's. He kind of liked the notion that people said they were no good, so he kind of specialized in them proving or fixing the "problems" people said where problems with the motor.
As for him putting it back together, take in the parts as you want them back. If I remember right this is what I had done:
Told him I wanted a:
High performance cam. very nice and noticable in power, and a cool little lope sound to it now!
0 degree on the timing chain and gears to replace the m's factory defualt retard gears on them so they could pass emissions back then!
I took the heads off and gave those to him with all the spings and valves still bolted together. So he did a complete valve job on there, and now I don't have to worry about unleaded/leaded gas.
crank was pulled seperately but I unbolted the push rods from the crank, I don't think you would even get the pistons out if you didn't! and gave him the pistons and rods together, those you won't be able to get apart they are heat pressed on there! In fact I watched him do mine!
But all in all the motor was pretty well disasembled when I gave it to him and got it back the same way, only new parts and mods done to it! I had a buddy of mine that is a mechanic help me put it all back together and take it apart when we started.
Hope that answers some your questions, sorry I can't remember all the oil details, but Rod did agree that the motor did have a problem with keeping everything oiled, glad I took it to him! If you have any other questions let me know!
Well I made a mistake and took my heads to Havana Machine Shop. DON'T EVER GO THERE!!! I dropped of my heads for a valve job which they said started at $200 and went up depending on the kind of work they needed. 5 days later he told me the price would be $600.00 Yes I did need a few valves and guides but nowhere near $600.00 worth. These guys are shiesters and a ripoff. I told him I didnt want to go through with the work but he still would not give me my heads back until I gave him $50.00 checkout fee!
That sucks! Yeah I have hear things about havana machine shop, they're good for turning fly wheels, drums, rotors, pesky u-joints that don't seem to want to come out, but I have heard from a budy of mine that they bought a crate motor from them, and jack-a**es forgot to put in the freeze plugs! or didn't plug other coolent holes for accessories and stuff like that. I wouldn't trust them. You already know my stand. Good luck!
Hey Mike, let us know what happens there at Blue Oval. I talked to Rob a while back and I am thinking I would like to have them buildup a 390 for me also. It would be good to hear what sort of an impression you got and what sort of costs you are looking at. Be sure and give us details of what you are having him do. Thanks a lot.
I know of a good machine shop in Colorado Springs, Ehnes-Rink off of Academy, on 230 Delaware Drive. They machined a 302 block for me, they boiled it out, magnafluxed, aligned honed the mains, installed main studs, bored it .040 and honed it with torque plates, he squared the deck, and installed cam bearing for $480.
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