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Old 10-03-2009, 03:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Side oiler?

I've seen numerous references to the 427 side oiler. Can some one please explain what the difference is between these and regular 427s? Where can they be found and why should I care? I know it sounds like a noob question, so I guess I'm still an FNG. Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

The 427 was the pinnacle or Ford's racing success throughout 60's from NASCAR to LeMans.

It all started with the 352 in 1958 (that's why most all FE's have a 352 cast in). The 352 High Perf came in 1960 at 360 hp. Then in 1961 it became the 390 with a high perf version of 401 hp and three 2V carbs. In 1962 the 406 debuted and was rated at 405 hp and increased torque over the 390. All of these were special blocks cast with beefed up main webbing and not drilled for hydraulic lifters. Mid 1963 brought the 427 rated at 410 hp with 1 4v carb and 425 hp with 2 4v carbs. This was it's own special casting with large 4.23 bores. There were several versions of it's reciprocating mass meant for different racing applications. Late 406's and all 427 have cross bolted main caps for racing durability. The center oiling galley used in all FE engines proved inadequate for racing endurance. So, in 1965 the 427 block was a new casting with the main bearing oil gallery on the side. This gave the mains priority in the oiling system and greatly increased the 427's ruggedness. There were several different head and intake designs.

It is this version of the 427 that clenched NASCAR championships and the 24 Hours du LeMans four years in a row 1966-1969. That is why you hear so much about this engine. Sadly, they were expensive to make and thus to buy. Limited quantities were made and many of them were consumed by racing. Which today makes them rare and very expensive.
The was one more version. The 427 Single Overhead Cam. This engine used a long chain to drive a cam in each head and produced over 600 hp. It was very rare and used mainly in drag racing as NASCAR banned them.

You don't see very many 427 Galaxies due to the engine's cost and the fact that it wasn't very streetable. That is it was built for all out top end performance which made it a poor daily driver. That's how the 428 came about. It too is very powerful, but designed to make low end torque. That made it the perfect street beast. 428's aren't as common as 390's but can be bought or even made out of some 390 blocks.

That's not every last detail but the main gist anyway.
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Last edited by Tex; 10-03-2009 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

Wow, great explanation Tex. I was going to answer the question until I saw your responds and I can't think of anything else to add to it.
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

I would only add to tex's explaination that unless your restoring a car that had a 427 side oiler from the factory (shelby cobra comes to mind) there is no real reason to bother trying to find one personally. IF your going all out racing go with an aftermarket block, otherwise just use what is available.
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

I agree wholeheartedly. It would be great to have a 427. But the fact is you could buy and build two or three 400+ hp 390's for what you'd pay for a decent 427 core. 390's were the bread and butter for Galaxie's then and hold a similar place today. It's very easy to get 350 hp/427 tq from a 390. Spend about $350 on a 410/428 crank and you've got a factory Mercury 410. Some 390's can even be bored .080 over to make a 428. You have to have the block sonic checked for integrity and core shift but it's commonly done. You can even have the skirt drilled and buy special main caps to cross bolt it like a 406/427.
They nice thing about using a 390 as a base engine is that almost any FE high perf parts bolt in/on, stock parts can be used to stroke/bore it, and they were used in hundreds of thousand or cars and trucks for 16 years. They also cross the 64-65 frame change making them easy to install in any full-size from 1957 to 1978.
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Old 10-03-2009, 09:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

Quote:
It is this version of the 427 that clenched NASCAR championships and the 24 Hours du LeMans four years in a row 1966-1969.
One very small note, the GT40 Mk II with a 427 won Le Mans in 1966 and 1967 (the Foyt/Gurney car in 1967 was measured at 499 horsepower after the race, four more HP than when it started!). A rule change for 1968 limited engine displacement to 5 liters. The Ford GT40 did indeed win Le Mans outright in 1968 and 1969, but used the 289 V8.

Otherwise I entirely agree with Tex's summation. I humbly contend that the 427 is the greatest American racing V8 of the 1960s: in every possible automotive racing application, the 427 won and won big. And it stayed competitive for a long time, from the stunning 1-2-3-4-5 sweep at Daytona 1963 (somehow no one remembers this after the Mopar Hemi took 1-2-3 in 1964), through 1969 (when NASCAR privateers who could not afford a new semi-hemi head 429 soldiered on with the 427). For about 30 years (1965 to the mid-90s, until late-model Corvettes and the Viper) it powered the car that held the title of Fastest American Car Ever, the 427 Cobra. And as Tex mentioned, with overhead cams (and hemi heads) it became the most powerful Detroit production engine ever, until the 2009 Corvette ZR-1.

But they can't be very practical for powering a garden-variety Galaxie. Not only could you buy a wicked 390 for a lot less, but if you're in the money, perhaps for a little more (OK, more like $10K more) than a vintage side-oiler, you could buy a modern aluminum block and fit it out with reproduction SOHC parts from Bill Coon and others.
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Old 10-04-2009, 06:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

The cost of the 427 is only in the block, granted a new one will cost you 3500+, but if you overcome that by finding a used one, the parts to make it or any FE run hard, are the same, and arguably the same price for a street motor.

I love my 427, even more so now that it has the big crank in it, but I have also done stroker 390s and 428s and they all run good.

For that matter, well chosen parts in a stock stroke 390 and some head work make a great street performer too
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Old 10-04-2009, 06:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

The side oiler was preferred but the center oiler worked fine if one was not pushing the revs past 6500. The 427 was tougher on parts near 7000 and above and the side oiler was a change that came about with the advent of the series IIA medium riser and the lightweight valves of the then known "7000 kit". Originally the lightweight valves and 7000 kit were for the highriser 427 of 1964 but the 1965 change to the medium riser heads brought the side oiler block and forged steel crankshaft to deal with the higher rpm.
So for a street motor or even a race motor the center oiler block works fine for an engine not pushed past 6500 all the time. The main bottle neck in the oil system for an FE was the restriction in the center oiler used for hydraulic lifters. Solid lifter motors did not have or need this. We always ran a solid lifter cam and had few problems and good life as long as we kept the peak revs at 6500.
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

I owned a (circa 1968) 427 side oiler and a (circa 1964-5) normal oiler. [If you ever saw the movie Red Line 7000 then I had the engine out of AJ Foyt's car that did the end-do in January 1965 at Riverside raceway] Surprising thing was in obtaining them, and getting the oil pans off there were essentially zero surprizes. Nothing got modified. No grinding onna web (like Hot Rod magazine reccomended) and all basic Ford labeled parts underneath. They built it that way.

Each engine was very easy to rev up to 7000 RPM and stayed there easily too.

Wm.
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Old 10-04-2009, 06:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

I've read where another reason for the side-oiler was to accommodate the SOHC motor. It seems plain old top oilers where reasonably solid up to 6500+, and the side oiler extended this margin of error. But the Cammer was destined to live a life of 7500-8000 or very likely more and truly would need the extra lubrication.
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Old 10-04-2009, 06:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

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You don't see very many 427 Galaxies due to the engine's cost and the fact that it wasn't very streetable. That is it was built for all out top end performance which made it a poor daily driver.
I can comment on the relative streetability of a 427 Galaxie. I don't think it's quite as unreasonable as Tex suggests here; furthermore, the un-streetable aspect comes about as much through the lack of factory comforts like power steering and brakes and automatic transmissions. Our 427 8V motor is quite reasonable to drive around town. If you don't put your foot in it, the secondaries never open and you're passengers will never complain. (In one legendary midnight run, my uncle drove his then-four-month-old R-code in August 1963 over 100 miles of I-29 at about 110 mph, and never woke the old ladies asleep in the back seat because with a 3:1 rear end he could manage 100+ mph without engaging all eight barrels of carburetion.) So at least with the dual quads, the low-riser 427 engine in my opinion is quite acceptable on the street. I don't know about a high-riser, and I suspect a Q-code would be more of a handful due to all four barrels dumping at once.

The hairiest aspect of the car is the overall driving experience. I'm told my mother drove this car once, and hated it. No power steering, takes a toll on your rotator cuff in the parking lot. No power brakes, which actually do a good job stopping the car but are pretty scary if you're used to easy-glide power assist. No A/C, so the car is hot in the summer (and the heat coming through the firewall doesn't help matters.) The shifter and four-speed in 1963 require, shall we say, conviction on the part of the driver. The clutch...is like a freaking Nautilus machine! I think a good picture of the relative liveability of a 427 racing engine can be seen in the Ford 7-Litre of 1966-67. The vast majority of those cars were ordered with 428s over the more expensive and more demanding 427.

Apparently one reason for the lack of power steering and things like A/C was the lack of pumps that could withstand 6500+ rpm. That's probably not an issue today, so a modernized 427 with all the creature comforts probably could be much friendlier.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:32 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

You're right. And I'm not knocking it. Heck, I'd use one as my daily driver in a heartbeat. But at the time, those that had enough money to buy a 427 either wanted a competition race car or a banker's muscle car. The 427 equipped cars didn't fit the bill much for the latter role. And that's why the 428 came to be and why the overwhelming majority of 7 Litres had 428s. Also since the 428 wasn't meant to run 7000+ it didn't require the refinements of a 427 and the added cost. And imagine stop and go traffic with that clutch.
That's what I meant by a poor daily driver. 427 were purpose built for speed only and most folks wanted speed but also wanted/needed accessories for comfort and so the Mrs. could run errands. The 428 wasn't as fast but still fast enough, could be had with all the goodies, and had a little better manners. I. E. banker's muscle.
In short, with a 427 you had to be tough and know what you were doing. Whereas anyone could jump in a 428 car and comfortably drive it.

What sad is given the prominence of today's 4 and 6 banger econoboxes, most folks could not jump in and handle the 428. When I sold my 91 Towncar this summer, everyone that test drove it commented on how powerful it was. REEEALlly?! Powerful? A 4.6, REALLY? And all this time I'd called it an anemic piece of $#&t. One lady was scared her son would get too many speeding tickets. The bar has been lowered. I think today even the sight of a large V8 would make most people cry.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

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Originally Posted by QueenCityRcode View Post
I can comment on the relative streetability of a 427 Galaxie. I don't think it's quite as unreasonable as Tex suggests here; furthermore, the un-streetable aspect comes about as much through the lack of factory comforts like power steering and brakes and automatic transmissions. Our 427 8V motor is quite reasonable to drive around town. If you don't put your foot in it, the secondaries never open and you're passengers will never complain. (In one legendary midnight run, my uncle drove his then-four-month-old R-code in August 1963 over 100 miles of I-29 at about 110 mph, and never woke the old ladies asleep in the back seat because with a 3:1 rear end he could manage 100+ mph without engaging all eight barrels of carburetion.) So at least with the dual quads, the low-riser 427 engine in my opinion is quite acceptable on the street. I don't know about a high-riser, and I suspect a Q-code would be more of a handful due to all four barrels dumping at once.

Odd that you should mention fuel mileage. Back when gasoline was less than $1 per gallon (retail) I put $5 into the tank. Then drove direct to freeway, and used up 1/4 tank full in going from First street underpass to 22nd, street overpass. About five miles.

The 427 in the Fairlane used to get better fuel mileage than the 390 GT did.

Wm.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

Wm.,
Um, I'm not sure where I mentioned mileage. But to finish the anecdote, the only reason my uncle didn't cover 100 miles in one hour is...he had to stop for gas. Still, it doesn't surprise me that the racing engine did better than the 390 in MPG.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Side oiler?

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And imagine stop and go traffic with that clutch.
Been there and done that, Tex, and lemme tell ya it is a bee-atch! My father looked at a 1962 406 Galaxie, but, getting married in 1963, wound up choosing a sweet 390 black-red convertible four-speed off the lot...with power brakes and steering and a mellow shifter that his bride could drive as well.

I couldn't agree more on the brilliance of the 428; that's got to be one of Ford's better ideas. A torque monster that feels like the 427 on the street, with all the luxury goodies. Hell, they dropped the 428 in lots of supposedly-427 Cobras and most folks never knew the difference.

I've driven the R-code on a few sort of daily driving errands, and it's...well, so out of place on a modern road that I bust out laughing by the end of it. Like, driving to the liquor store in the 427 is like shooting a squirrel with a howitzer. When I drive the Honda and get on the highway behind an idiot going 45 mph it is mildly irritating. Drive the 427 in the same situation and you can just feel the sheer outrage of the car at this insulting situation! The engine feels like it's simply apoplectic, foaming at the mouth, at having to follow this pitiful vehicle onto the highway. On a choked up 2009 freeway, full of morons yammering into their iPhones, a 427 Galaxie is an anachronism. At the end of the day, no, it is not all that streetable.
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