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Hi all,

My name is Axel and I've previously been hanging out at other forums discussing by corvette c3 ls1 and kawasaki tripple builds. The other day I walked into a american cars parts store here in Sweden during my lunch to get a new harmonic balacer bolt (those damn torque to yield bolts) for the Corvette when a fanatastic looking glaxie 68 with a 390 engine that had just arrived from SC was just standing there in front of the shop. 15 minuters later I came out of the shop with a new bolt and an old galaxie that I had conviced myself that I really needed :grin2:

Took a few weeks to get it titled but picked it up last thursdag, gave it an oil change and after more than 200 miles in a weekend I couldn't be happier! Contrary to my other rides I haven't got any plans on chaning much at this point but hope to simply enjoy the car during the summers to come. I would however like some better gas mileage (gas is 8$/gal here) and figuered I will dial timing in and connect a wideband to it to see if I can lean it out a little during cruise conditions. Hopefully that could get me in the mid-high teens MPG (gas has a little better quality here than in the US)? On another note: has anyone installed a holley sniper EFI on your FE? What kind of gains did you see?

Would also love to install some modern stereo in the car (only has AM stock) however I would like it as hidden as possible and don't really care to cut holes in the car. Does any of you have some nice installations to share as suggestions perhaps?

Enough talking, here are some pictures to start
 

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Hi all,

My name is Axel and I've previously been hanging out at other forums discussing by corvette c3 ls1 and kawasaki tripple builds. The other day I walked into a american cars parts store here in Sweden during my lunch to get a new harmonic balacer bolt (those damn torque to yield bolts) for the Corvette when a fanatastic looking glaxie 68 with a 390 engine that had just arrived from SC was just standing there in front of the shop. 15 minuters later I came out of the shop with a new bolt and an old galaxie that I had conviced myself that I really needed :grin2:

Took a few weeks to get it titled but picked it up last thursdag, gave it an oil change and after more than 200 miles in a weekend I couldn't be happier! Contrary to my other rides I haven't got any plans on chaning much at this point but hope to simply enjoy the car during the summers to come. I would however like some better gas mileage (gas is 8$/gal here) and figuered I will dial timing in and connect a wideband to it to see if I can lean it out a little during cruise conditions. Hopefully that could get me in the mid-high teens MPG (gas has a little better quality here than in the US)? On another note: has anyone installed a holley sniper EFI on your FE? What kind of gains did you see?

Would also love to install some modern stereo in the car (only has AM stock) however I would like it as hidden as possible and don't really care to cut holes in the car. Does any of you have some nice installations to share as suggestions perhaps?

Enough talking, here are some pictures to start
Hello axelg89,

Very nice 1968 convertible. About fuel mileage, unless you drive in vastly differing altitudes you should be able to dial the carburetor to an optimal air fuel ratio for cruising using available kits and some ingenuity depending on what carb is on the engine.

Fuel injection is a nice bragging right but really won't do much more than a properly tuned carb as far as fuel mileage. The problem most resides in the fact that the 390 probably has the stock exhaust system and manifolds in place and you have a stock C6 with a Ford 9 inch rear axle. The stock C6 is one of the worst parasitic energy vampires of American old automatics. The long contact sliding teeth of a Ford 9 inch isn't much better in terms of frictional loses and creating heat in the process.

You can work over a C6 to make it more efficient but it's still a 3 speed with no overdrive and no lock up. Money would probably be better spent in your situation to buy a transmission adapter and put a 4R70W transmission on the car. It's a wide ratio over drive automatic. The only caveat is that it's electronically controlled, so you need a controller and a few sensors like TPS and a MAP.

You could use an AODE transmission. It's a 4 speed overdrive automatic with lockup and uses a cable to the carburetor for control. The only disadvantage is it's not a wide ratio transmission and more narrow like your C6.

You can help the rear axle buy changing the oil and putting in a higher quality lower friction oil. Every little bit helps. As for the engine, headers with dual exhaust if not already equipped and an electronic ignition assuming it still bears the factory points with a recalibrated mechanical advance curve to a more aggressive ignition timing curve, especially since you have a higher octane fuel available. You could also put a 160 degree thermostat in the engine as well and run it cooler than stock allowing a more aggressive timing curve and boosting engine efficiency. It will raise hydrocarbon emissions but if the car doesn't have to be tested I'd take advantage of it.

Is the 390 in your 68 a Y code or Z code (located in the VIN)?

As for the radio, you could always try to hunt down the AM-FM radio for the '68, the dash black bezel and clear lens. The AM-FM radio for 1968 is stereo. Unfortunately the only radio that fits in a 1968 galaxie/LTD/XL is a 1968 Ford radio for the full size which can be tricky to hunt down. I found 2 of them so far and working on the bezels and lenses. And yes 1968 is a pisser radio wise because the black dash bezel and clear lens is different between the AM and AM-FM stereo radios. Unlike the '65/'66 models that you just need to find the AM-FM radio and it retrofits in a very similar looking dash with AM only. Otherwise I've seen people hide radios in their 65-68 galaxies in glove boxes in the boot/trunk or under the seat.

Good luck with yours.
 

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Hello again,

Forgot to add one more thing. Tyres. Typically this more true on heavier cars but since yours in the convertible it will help. You can also decrease the rolling friction of the car with a good set of usually wider tyres with a shorter sidewall (less flexing). Often that means going to a larger rim as well, say 15 to 16 inch or 15 to 17 inch.

I have an early 70's full size convertible bigger and heavier than the 3rd generation galaxies. I also have a 454 cid engine and nearly fully loaded with options. The curb weight is around 5000 lbs. The car sported its P235/70 R15 tyres on it for the longest time and even with different brands the car only averaged 8 miles to the gallon, didn't matter if it was city or highway. Just 8. We moved across the USA (1400 miles) and drove the car since no one rented a trailer big enough for it and I put some temporary P255/50 17's on it from another car.

Granted it was mostly highway driving, but the car averaged 15 miles to the gallon. The wide tyres inflated to their maximum (51 psi) really lowered the rolling resistance of that heavy car. Well it did in fact get a custom set of rims made to fit it specifically after that sporting those same size tyres.

Just something else to keep in mind.

Cheers
 

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Hi!

Such great advice. Thank you, and by the way the car is a Y car with the 2bbl carb still in place. Will make sure to fill the tires good at the next fill-up as I tbh haven't checked them yet

Will take it bit by bit with the changes that you propose. They all sound great! Yesterday I ordered a modern head unit stereo and four box speakers to put under the bench. Also got a Petronix ignition module and a Grant weel for it so now I'm just waiting for shipping now.

Regarding the headers as you say the car still has the orignial cast-iron ones in place. I'm slightly reluctant to change them as I find that the headers are such a pain in the ass to get to not leak. Is it such an efficiency upgrade that I is worth the hassle?
 

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Hi!

Such great advice. Thank you, and by the way the car is a Y car with the 2bbl carb still in place. Will make sure to fill the tires good at the next fill-up as I tbh haven't checked them yet

Will take it bit by bit with the changes that you propose. They all sound great! Yesterday I ordered a modern head unit stereo and four box speakers to put under the bench. Also got a Petronix ignition module and a Grant weel for it so now I'm just waiting for shipping now.

Regarding the headers as you say the car still has the orignial cast-iron ones in place. I'm slightly reluctant to change them as I find that the headers are such a pain in the ass to get to not leak. Is it such an efficiency upgrade that I is worth the hassle?
Hello axelg89,

You're welcome for the advice. You asked if headers were worth it. Well that's a two part question I can see; quality and what gains does it give you. To address the quality there is a place called FPA that makes a really great set of headers for the 65-68 Ford fullsize with FE. I have bought 2 of his headers and will be buying the last set I need shortly here for our 3rd Ford, a 68 XL. He guaranteed me they will not leak. I have one installed on our first ground up build and so far they are fantastic. Working on our second ground up build. Now these are called shorty to medium length headers but are probably heavier than the cast iron manifolds with a thick sealing flange.

They are pricey but worth it in my opinion quality wise. The last set of ceramic coated headers that arrived a couple months ago were $1030 shipped to the good ol USA.

Now the question is are they worth it for performance/economy gains. All I will say is this; a system is only as good as its weakest link. With that the headers will help some. They alone are not the answer since most of the parts on the car are hindering performance and or economy. All our '66's and '68 Ford galaxie 500 XL, LTD and XL are FE's C6, big bearing 9 inch cars and were all originally Y code 390's. I do have a 352 and a Z code 390. The Z code 390 when it was running properly wasn't impressive either.

Please do not get me wrong I am not trying to discourage you, simply stating trying to get a newer car economy and or power levels out of technology designed in the late 50's and early 60's isn't going to come easy or cheap. Far from it, but it can be done.

There's no doubt it will be mentally and financially daunting to retrofit a drive train all at once. But if you do little things like headers, distributor recurve, carburetor tune, better tyres, etc you'll slowly increase the efficiency and performance.

The other thing to keep in mind is price point and resale value. Those 3rd gen full size Fords (65-68) unless they are the 7 litre model or equipped with an R code 427 do not hold much value. Any improvements you make to your 68 you most likely will not be able to get back out of it again. But if you're like us and love your old cars, then price doesn't matter. We drive all our old cars as daily drivers except in the crappiest of weather. We don't intend to sell them but use them.

My very first car back in high school as a junior was a '68 Ford galaxie 500 2 door fastback with just a tiny 302 and zero options. My last old Ford ground up build will be a '68 XL 2 door FE fastback fully loaded as a tribute to my old galaxie 500. I have a certain affinity for a 1968 Ford full size fastback.

Good luck with your 68!

p.s. on the Grant steering wheel you bought does it come with the Ford dual slip ring provisions for the horn, verses the more common single slip ring like GM uses? If not are you doing away with the horn? May I ask any particular reason why you are changing the steering wheel out? They do remake the '68 Ford steering wheel at a reasonable price.
 

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I think I might hold off on the headders for a while. 1kUSD in the US is around 1,5k here in Sweden before shipping and customs are payed. This week has been very productive and got a few things fixed however also have some things that came on the to-do list. First of all I put the new Grant wheel on (changed it as I like the wallnut look, will keep the original with the car)

I also managed to fit the stereo neatly under the dash using existing holes. It is bearly seen and has all the features of a modern car with handsfree etc. Really like both the look and feel. I mounted two box speakers under the dash and two more under the bench seat making for some really good sound. Will eventuelly put a subwoofer in the trunk but for now this feels great

Also put an Pertronix ignitor on the car and here is where the not so good news starts. The distributor is stuch rock solid to the block. Treating it regularly with penetrating oil hoping it will come loose. When checking the timing i have 10 degrees @idle which feels ok but only ~25 at high RPM which feels too low. The vacuum advance does not seem to work either. I have ordered a new vacuum advance, cap, rotor, plugs, cables and springs and will rebuild the distributor when I manage to get it loose.

Also got a small hole in my otherwise nice convertible top which is really bothering me :crying:. Guess it has been sitting for long and now when used almost every day it takes its toll. I do however have four pressure points when the top is down that you can see in the picture (one side so two pressure points in there but the same on the other side). One is where the hole is and one is ~half way down the glass on the top. Do you have the same and have you done anything to resolve it?

Finally yesterday I drove the car up to the farm where I'm from in the middle of Sweden. Filled her up before leaving and when arriving and over the 220 mile trip she averedged 18 mpg. Don't know if I had the wind with me or something but that was so much more than I expected out of her.
 

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Also put an Pertronix ignitor on the car and here is where the not so good news starts. The distributor is stuch rock solid to the block. Treating it regularly with penetrating oil hoping it will come loose. When checking the timing i have 10 degrees @idle which feels ok but only ~25 at high RPM which feels too low. The vacuum advance does not seem to work either. I have ordered a new vacuum advance, cap, rotor, plugs, cables and springs and will rebuild the distributor when I manage to get it loose.
Got a ton of parts delivered and still awaiting a new pertronix flame thrower coil to replace the original. Got a new 160degree thermostat and a complete carb rebuild kit while I was at it. Thinking i'll do it right the first time around.

After a week of daily penetrating oil, a stong beer, a good hammer and a sturdy oil filter removal tool i finally managed to get the distributor loose. I find it to be exceptionally dirty and it's almost like grawel on there but I think its actually chared/dried out oil. Don't know if I should try clean down in the engine through the tiny hole as it may just bring more of it loose and my abilities to reach it is limited...
 

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So I have cleaned up the distributor, removed a home made bit of plastic limiting mechanical advance and installed a cleaned and nicely set up distributor into the engine. By mounting a hose on my vacuum cleaner I mangaged to suck all the carbonized oil around the distributor shaft out of the engine as well. Also measured TDC to verify the harmonic balancer (it was perfect) and set timing to 10 degrees initial plug 26 degrees mechanical in adition to factory vacuum timing.

Also changed the spark plug wires and spark plugs and now clearly see why the engine run badly and why it was consuming oil. While other plugs looked perfect number 5 looked like the picture below. Took a compression test and got nice figueres around 160 psi on all cylinders. Any ideas on what this might be? I removed the valve cover but couldn't see anything evidently wrong with the valve seals however it's hard to see properly with the springs in place...
 

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So I have cleaned up the distributor, removed a home made bit of plastic limiting mechanical advance and installed a cleaned and nicely set up distributor into the engine. By mounting a hose on my vacuum cleaner I mangaged to suck all the carbonized oil around the distributor shaft out of the engine as well. Also measured TDC to verify the harmonic balancer (it was perfect) and set timing to 10 degrees initial plug 26 degrees mechanical in adition to factory vacuum timing.

Also changed the spark plug wires and spark plugs and now clearly see why the engine run badly and why it was consuming oil. While other plugs looked perfect number 5 looked like the picture below. Took a compression test and got nice figueres around 160 psi on all cylinders. Any ideas on what this might be? I removed the valve cover but couldn't see anything evidently wrong with the valve seals however it's hard to see properly with the springs in place...
Hi axelg89,

I hate to say it but it looks like molten aluminum nodules, most likely from a cast piston under detonation. I would suggest sticking a bore scope down the spark plug hole and having a look see at the top of the piston. We had one 390 FE with so much lead and carbon on the exhaust valves it would detonate like mad after a few minutes of run time as the build up acted like a glow plug.

If it is the piston you might also want to check that pistons connecting rod bearing as it most likely took a pounding and most of it is in the oil pan as well. (ask me how I know)

Wish I had better news for you.

Let us know what you find please.

Cheers
 

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Hi axelg89,

I hate to say it but it looks like molten aluminum nodules, most likely from a cast piston under detonation. I would suggest sticking a bore scope down the spark plug hole and having a look see at the top of the piston. We had one 390 FE with so much lead and carbon on the exhaust valves it would detonate like mad after a few minutes of run time as the build up acted like a glow plug.

If it is the piston you might also want to check that pistons connecting rod bearing as it most likely took a pounding and most of it is in the oil pan as well. (ask me how I know)

Wish I had better news for you.

Let us know what you find please.

Cheers
Thanks for the quick reply. The flash makes it look more metallic than it actually was and it was easy to wipe off.. After driving it home I could see a darker color on plug 5 than plug 1 on the new plugs after just 10 miles (at 30 mph) so still hoping its oil.

Above said I of course need to check the piston out now as you say. Will try to get a hold of a bore scope or buy one but something tells me I will end up lifting that head :surprise: (even if it would be just to remove burnt in oil acting as a glow plug as you suggest).
 

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Hi all! Hope you are doing fine this Thursday!


Finally got hold of a bore scope and put it to the test. As I see it piston an valves in cylinder #5 looks fine but are however soaked in oil :nerd:. What do you guys think? Took a couple of close ups and looked around it all looked about the same. Posting some pictures of #1 for reference in the next post.
 

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Anyone have some good advice on what this might be? After reading up online I think it might be an intake gasket but don't want to risk doing all the work just to find out that that wasn't it. Also pretty scared of lifting the intake after reading lots of horror stories on how difficult it is to get to seal back down again :nerd:
 

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thanks extech for the quick reply. Given that I didn't see any crankcase vacuum and thus couldn't be sure of the gas finding its way straight to the intake I did not want to fill the crankcase with ether or what ever oil detoriating chem carb clean is made of.


As I had already bought the gaskets for the top-end I decided to tear the intake off to see if I could see any evident signs of a leak. What I found was dirt, incredible amounts of dirt. The intake runner was oily but not less so on the intake side which leads me to believe that my problem was not the gasket or at least it hasn't been leaking for that long.


How would you guys on the forum proceed from here? Would you just clean everything as much as possible and put it all back? Take the left head off to take a good look at that piston, the valve seals and the cylinder wall? Take both heads off and bring them to the machine shop for a rebuild? Or would the dirtiness of this thing bring you to the conclusion that a full rebuild is due??


Really not looking to spend a fortune here and want to enjoy the car in the summer instead of wrenching on it :crying:
 

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someone didn't do much maintainance i would look between the valve springs to see if the valve seals are still there. if some are missing or broken its time for rebuild
 

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someone didn't do much maintainance i would look between the valve springs to see if the valve seals are still there. if some are missing or broken its time for rebuild
I couldn't really see any valve seals at all and decided to take the heads off to check the cylinders and heads properly while I was at it. What I found wasn't that rewarding, the cylinder walls were heavily scratched and the carbon buildup so thick that the front return passages had totally clogged which was likely my problem to start with.

I now have no choice but a full rebuild however I would to the furthest extent possible like to manage such quickly and within a budget. I have booked a slot with a machine shop in town the week after next and now looking at parts. What are your oppinions on these kits? Are they just junk or are they good for a more or less standard rebuild.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Enginetech-Master-Engine-Rebuild-Kit-for-1968-1973-Ford-FE-390-6-4L-V8-Truck-SUV/122360711415?epid=217966563&hash=item1c7d4448f7:g:hdkAAOSwTuJYppVZ

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Ford-V-8-390-6-4L-Master-Engine-Rebuild-Kit-1961-1976/253203791648?hash=item3af41f3f20:g:EfAAAOSwKM5Z3p3-

I would also like to get back to the mileage discussions, anything particular I should be thinking about now in terms of engine spec to get the best possible mileage? Should I look at going 4bbl or stay 2bbl?

Best regards,
Axel
 

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engine tech stuff is"ok", but the name brand kit is a pretty good deal. if you go with the cheaper one, pay attention to the head gaskets. i got a set that were labeled front on the back. if i put them on as the label said i would have had overheating problems.... you also need to get a piston to your machine shop so they can hone to it's size
 
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