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Questions on 302 maintenance when removed

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Old 12-06-2017, 04:21 PM
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Questions on 302 maintenance when removed

Hi Folks,

I'm pulling my 302 and transmission out soon to fix a few things, and modify a few things, and I have just about everything figured out and planned OK, but I do have a few things I'm curious about:

Should I be replacing the head gaskets while the engine is out and easy to access? The engine has low miles at 35k, and compression is great, but it is also 33 years old, and every other gasket in the engine is leaking. My brother in law says this is a stupid question...he says if they're not leaking, then don't touch them. Any comments good or bad from the guys that have lots of experience with this stuff?

Is buying a complete engine gasket kit the best way to go? And if so, are there any brands or specific kits that are recommended?

What is the best way to clean up a rusty block/heads to prepare for paint? Any recommendations here?

Any other small block Ford tips or tricks I should know about, or recommended parts I should have on hand? I will be removing all of the smog equipment, so I know I need plugs for the Thermactor holes in the back of the cyl heads. Anything else I need to pay close attention to, or parts, bolts, etc that I should have on hand.

Any and all advice would be appreciated.

 
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Old 12-06-2017, 04:56 PM
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I would leave the heads alone also. If they are sealed good, don't mess with them.

A complete gasket kit is usually cheaper if you plan on replacing a lot of gaskets. Of course you will not be using the head gaskets, but it can be cheaper, just check and compare prices.

When you first get it out and on a stand, I would pull the pan before you turn it upside down, and get all the gunk out of it. I would pull the front of the engine down and see what the timing chain looks like. If it has a upper plastic coated gear, I would go ahead and replace that. And replace the other gaskets, and you might want to replace the rear main seal.

While you are buying stuff, I would buy this book. It will tell you everything you need to know.

Amazon Amazon
 
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Old 12-06-2017, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Franklin2 View Post

While you are buying stuff, I would buy this book. It will tell you everything you need to know.

https://www.amazon.com/How-Rebuild-S.../dp/0912656891
Thanks for the reply Franklin,

I actually did buy that book, and the other one that is almost the same. They were both great reads. I liked the fact that they are older books, specifically referring to the pre-roller engines...that made them worthwhile if nothing else.

Good point on pulling the oil pan first, I'll do that. I'll be replacing it anyway. Thanks for the heads up on the plastic coated gear, I'll check that too. I do plan on replacing the rear main seal...and every other seal. This thing isn't leaving puddles on the floor or anything, but they're all weeping.

I'm just trying to gather as much info as possible so I don't miss anything. I don't want to find out after the fact that I should have replaced something while I was already in there.
 
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:05 PM
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Check the "freeze-out" plugs for integrity.
 
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Rembrant View Post
I actually did buy that book, and the other one that is almost the same. They were both great reads.
I can also recommend this Haynes rebuild guide. I have the 1991 version, with what appears to be a pre-Senate Al Franken on the cover:


 
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Old 12-09-2017, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Franklin2 View Post
...and you might want to replace the rear main seal.
This thing being an '84 will have a 2 piece rear main seal correct? From reading on here, I won't necessarily have to completely remove the crank, but I will likely have to lift it up? (Engine upside down on engine stand).

Edit: I did some more reading on here, and I'm probably more confused than I was earlier...lol. Seems like my '84 is more likely to have a 1 piece rear main seal. I've read on here that the 1pc rear main seals started in 1982, late 1983, and 1986. One of the SBF books I have here says they started in 1985. I guess I'll find out when I take it apart. Bugger.
 
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Old 12-09-2017, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by kr98664 View Post
...with what appears to be a pre-Senate Al Franken on the cover:
Poor Al...lol. That does kinda look like him though.
 
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Old 12-09-2017, 03:24 PM
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Great time for a cam upgrade since you are stripping it all apart.
 
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Old 12-09-2017, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Conanski View Post
Great time for a cam upgrade since you are stripping it all apart.
Hey Conanski!

Yes sir, a cam is on the wish list, although I'm not sure which one yet. I've never changed a V8 cam before, but I have done lots of others, including my diesel VW earlier this year, and dozens of times on motorcycles for valve shim swaps. Surely I can handle this old 302 OK.

Will I need a degree wheel to dial it in properly? That is something I do not have but will get one if need be. I know the lifters will need to be swapped with the cam, but will I have to do the timing chain and sprockets too?

Everything else is pretty straight forward I think, especially if I have a 1pc rear main seal. All new gaskets and seals, and a few improvement parts, and this old girl should feel much better.
 
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:08 AM
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Will I need a degree wheel to dial it in properly?
I think if you want every last bit out of the cam you should but to tell the truth I don't have one or used one on any of the motor builds (2) or cam swap (1) I have done and they all ran fine.
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:28 AM
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Any other performance modifications planned during this other then maybe a cam? Pictures throughout the process would be great! I'm pretty much in the same boat and not sure which direction I want to go. It is still running great which is the main thing haha.
 
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:37 AM
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I am not too hip on a cam change. If the rest of the engine is stock, I have never seen much seat of the pants difference in a aftermarket cam. When you ask for advice on what to buy, when they find out your engine is stock, they sell you such a mild one that it doesn't make much difference.

And you also need to make sure the camshaft you buy is a drop in for a Ford with the stock valvetrain. Many of them need an adjustable valvetrain which Fords do not have stock. I would get them to plainly state this before I bought a cam for a Ford.
 
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:22 AM
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A couple things I like to do when removing an engine
-sleeve harmonic balancer and new front seal
-sleeve rear crankshaft flange and new rear seal. If not sleeve put rear main seal so it's not riding on the wear groove
- manual trans change throw out bearing
-auto trans change front pump seal and don't let the torque converter hang

-when reinstalling engine the bellhousing must easily touch the rear of the engine. If not the torque converter is not all the way on. Do not use the bellhousing bolts to pull them together
 
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Chevra View Post
Any other performance modifications planned during this other then maybe a cam? Pictures throughout the process would be great! I'm pretty much in the same boat and not sure which direction I want to go.
The basic plan is 4bbl carb and intake, cam, shorty headers and new exhaust. That and all new seals and gaskets, and remove all smog equipment. Modifications beyond that would require new cylinder heads, and I think they'd be a waste of money for what I'll be doing with this old truck. I'll take some pics of the progress along the way. I should be yanking it all out in the next couple weeks sometime.

Originally Posted by Franklin2 View Post
I am not too hip on a cam change. If the rest of the engine is stock, I have never seen much seat of the pants difference in a aftermarket cam. When you ask for advice on what to buy, when they find out your engine is stock, they sell you such a mild one that it doesn't make much difference.
All good points Franklin. I'm not sure about the cam yet, but I figured it would benefit the new carb and exhaust. I'll see once I get in there. I'm not shooting for the stars here, I just want a little more oomph out of the old thing and make it sound a little better.

Originally Posted by 82_F100_300Six View Post
A couple things I like to do when removing an engine
-sleeve harmonic balancer and new front seal
-sleeve rear crankshaft flange and new rear seal. If not sleeve put rear main seal so it's not riding on the wear groove
- manual trans change throw out bearing
-auto trans change front pump seal and don't let the torque converter hang

-when reinstalling engine the bellhousing must easily touch the rear of the engine. If not the torque converter is not all the way on. Do not use the bellhousing bolts to pull them together
It was my plan to replace the harmonic balancer anyway, and since this thing has such low miles, I'm hoping I don't have to sleeve the crank for the rear main. If I do, it's no big deal, it's just that I don't want to be all the way in there and not replace all the seals. Again, we'll see what it looks like when I get in there.

I am changing the trans, swapping a 5spd in place of the 3spd, so I was planning on new everything between the engine and trans. I also bought one of those adjustable low profile transmission lifts this past summer when it was on sale, so I'm hoping that will allow me to get the new trans aligned properly during install. I guess we'll see.

Thanks for all the replies guys. Much appreciated.
 
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Old 12-10-2017, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Rembrant View Post
Hi Folks,

I'm pulling my 302 and transmission out soon to fix a few things, and modify a few things, and I have just about everything figured out and planned OK, but I do have a few things I'm curious about:

Should I be replacing the head gaskets while the engine is out and easy to access? The engine has low miles at 35k, and compression is great, but it is also 33 years old, and every other gasket in the engine is leaking. My brother in law says this is a stupid question...he says if they're not leaking, then don't touch them. Any comments good or bad from the guys that have lots of experience with this stuff?

Is buying a complete engine gasket kit the best way to go? And if so, are there any brands or specific kits that are recommended?

What is the best way to clean up a rusty block/heads to prepare for paint? Any recommendations here?

Any other small block Ford tips or tricks I should know about, or recommended parts I should have on hand? I will be removing all of the smog equipment, so I know I need plugs for the Thermactor holes in the back of the cyl heads. Anything else I need to pay close attention to, or parts, bolts, etc that I should have on hand.

Any and all advice would be appreciated.

Do the head gaskets the will be partially perished any way I have seen to many older engines have the gaskets fail once put back in to regular service.
It is stupid not to do them when the eingine is out. If they were solid copper gaskets I would say leave em and retorque. But they are composite so replace them.

As for a cam an RV grind would be the ticket. It will yield some more power but more importantly you will see a jump in fuel economy. The factory cams in there were very very mild and since you are pulling all the smog upgrade the cam. Since you are exempt form testing you can also maximize the ignition timing/curve for yet more power and economy.

Also do the timing set and dump the nylon cam gear as it too will be at end of life in terms of age. Get a good true double roller set. I'm partially to the Ford Motorsports unit myself.

The balancer should be fine as long as the rubber is not cracked. For what ever reason we tend to get better life out of balancers up here in the north. I have never come across one that has failed on a Ford engine. GM yes Ford no. I think heat is the killer of them and with our cooler climes we seem to get much better service life outta them.


With the low miles on the engine there should no need to speedy sleeve any of the seal surfaces.

Replace the valve stem seals/ umbrellas they will be done for. Again another reason to pull the heads.


As for gaskets you can not go wrong with Felpro usually. And you can just get an Engine Set it will have every thing you need including valve seals.

Once addition to add would be an intake baffle pan it will be in addition to the engine set ( not included in it) and will keep the hot oil off the underside of the intake.
 
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