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Discussion Starter #1
Need some help. I just recently purchased a 64 500xl 4dr. For some odd reason, there is no harmonic balancer on the original 390. I can't obviously check the timing with no marks at all. Engine runs fine, but with no balancer, I'm thinking it's a ticking bomb. Any suggestions on replacement balancers, whether I should strip down the block, or anything else I should look for? When I say the engine runs fine, no smoke out the pipes, no misfires, no taps or knocks. I'm going to dig into it a little (change cam, and the obvious that comes with it), but I really don't want to mess with the bottom end if I don't have to. Any info would be great, I'm fresh meat in the big block world, and even more with early 60's fords. This is what I know of what I got: 390FE single 4bbl Ford carb, cruisematic trans, 3.00 gears in a 8.8? or 9"? rearend. Everything with the car is original, including the large rust holes. I'd like to swap heads, intake manifold, cam, trans, and gears. Yet, again, to start, maybe a balancer would do me some good.
 

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Welcome to the forum! Can you be a little more specific when you say there is no balancer? The balancer on this year 390 has a pulley pressed onto it. If you have a belt around your water pump, you have a balancer.
 

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It has a dual belt crankshaft pulley. Behind that normally a balancer would be pressed on.yet, there isn't one. There is some sort of spacer. I've never heard of someone just taking it off. If I can, i'll try to post a pic.
 

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The inner pulley and balancer are one piece. There is no large balancer until later years on the 390 engines the outer pulley should bolt on to the first one. Since you have 2 grooves I am assuming your car has power steering. This is a common setup for these cars.
 

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i bet it looks just like this one....



and in this picture you see the crank spacer..
this normal to early FE's...
also 352,390 and a few others are neutral balanced...

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Very similar, yet behind the pulley on your pics there is a plate behind the pulley. On my engine there is no plate behind the crank pulley. I do not see any sort of timing marks anywhere near the crank. I will post a pic.
 

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then maybe it looks like this one....
and the bump is the the timing mark..
and you have one more pully bolted to front of it...??

 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm hoping this picture posts. If not I may need the sizing dimensions to post. The pulley is most definitely one piece. I didn't see a bump on the pulley, yet, I haven't looked there either. It's a good running engine, yet, something as simple as timing marks makes me scared stiff once I plan on changing cams. Is there any specific engine that is relatively easy to find, cheap, and self installable that I should look for if I do swap? My engine might be timed right now to run, but once I start modifying, I'm a little skeptical.
 

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Here is what I am working with:

The body for right now I'm not worried about. You can have the best looking car in the world, but if it runs like crap, or not at all, it does no good.
 

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There we go. There is this view, and here is another.

yep..that looks correct....;)
take piece of fine sand paper and sand off surface rust /crudd on inner pully edge...
you will find the timing marks....
i cant remember but i think there is an X marking at TDC...
hope you got good eyes because you gonna need it.....:D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good, I'll check it out tomorrow. I really like the 390, and if I got timing marks, I won't hesitate taking everything apart. Thank you so much for the help, and I know this is just the beginning.
 

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good luck....
looks like your 64 has very good potential .
very nice interior and good body..
i bet it will be a real looker when all done...:tup:
 

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Welcome to the forums and congrats on the new ride! I was going to say the same on finding the timing marks. Mine were invisible also til i wire brushed it. Years of crud filled in the marks.
 

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Nice XL! The 390 is a good engine, many parts are available for it. How do you keep your white interior so clean? :)

It is impossible to only have a pulley and no balancer on the crank. It can't be done.

If somehow you managed to run the car with no balancer, it would just be a matter of time before the crankshaft pounded itself to pieces, or worse, snapped in half.

Harmonics can be very destructive. That's why soldiers are not marched in cadence across a bridge. They have in the past set up harmonics that actually collapsed bridges. Instead, they march out of cadence at their own pace.

Harmonics produced by "whirl-mode" actually ripped the wings off of 4 brand new Lockheed Electras while flying in stable cruise mode. It only took 15 seconds from the time propellor oscillation occurred until the wing root snapped and separated from the fuselage.

Why not just stick with a factory cam? As far as the balancer, I do believe that the 64s may have the timing marks on the balancer, and a pointer on the timing case. 62 and earlier have a timing bump on the balancer and a set of timing marks on the timing case.

Mike
 

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I was under the impression that it's not a balancer per se as it is a shoot forgot the word for it. But thought i was told years ago that the 390, being internally balanced a person could go without one only it's not really recommended. Dampner is the word but guess another fancy name or old name for balancer. I don't intend on removing mine though. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the help guys. I did look yesterday, didn't find any marks on the edge per se, but did find a notch on the back where my only guess would be that there is a timing mark in that location. @astrojet-the seat covers were replaced about 15 years and two owners ago, yet they didn't replace the seat foam. After 47 years, that foam is just falling apart. The last owner had covered the seats with large black trash bags that melted to the seats under Vegas heat. When I brought it home a few months ago, I had used a vinyl cleaner with an edge to scrape the trash bag marks off the seats. The cleaner did some real good getting the white to come out. PermaPlate is the name of the company that makes it. @ShortRod-I know alot of newer engines (mostly I4's and I6's) are internally balanced with dampers that are chained around the crank. People actually remove them to get an extra 15-25 hp. Not worth it if you ask me. Back to astrojet-with the cam, from what I've read in the forums, 390's are common to have the cams eventually flatten, and with your cam being the central nervous system of the engine, changing to a bigger cam gets you the biggest power change. Short of forced induction, that is. The plan is to gut the 390, go with forged internals, get compression down to a 8.5 to 9 range, and go forced induction. I would really like to switch to a newer engine (4.6 or 5.4), yet, that's a whole lot of wiring that I don't want to deal with. In the end, it comes down to what I can do (or what my wife will let me do), and what my budget allots for (or what my wife will let me spend). It's not going to be a 9-10 second car, but I will be the coolest guy on the block.:cool:
 

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Why do you need a harmonic balancer?

Torsional vibration occurs in the crankshaft of any conventional piston engine as a result of the combustion process. A sudden, massive load on the piston, connecting rod and crankshaft is created by the ignition or firing of the compressed fuel and air in the combustion chamber. This load causes the crankshaft to flex or deflect slightly in the direction of rotation. For an instant, this individual crank-throw is “ahead” of where it should be. Almost immediately, the load disappears as the piston moves down in the cylinder. This individual crank-throw will now “spring back” against the direction of rotation. Like a spring, the crank will “unwind” and flex a little back past its original start position. For an instant, this individual crank-throw is “behind” of where it should be. This oscillating vibration will continue until dissipated by internal friction or damping. At certain rpm ranges these oscillations can fall into phase with one other, creating potentially damaging torsional peaks. Unless the amplitude of these torsional vibrations is controlled, engine components will be damaged. This can include rapid wear of the timing sprockets, stretching or breakage of the timing chain, pitting or cupping of the camshaft and lifters, broken valve springs and valve train failure, and reduced service life of crankshaft bearings. In extreme situations uncontrolled torsional vibrations can lead to a loose flywheel or a broken crankshaft. These problems are more likely with long stroke engines and with higher horsepower output. Aside from the financial cost, which can be considerable, there are safety issues as well.

hope this helps,

Mike

 

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They sure don't make those marks obvious on there for sure! The needle/pointer is on the timing cover as mentioned. Even after cleaning mine it was hard to see til i brushed a damp finger over it lightly so the indents didn't get damp also. At one time i had painted all mine but that is long gone i'm sure now.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
@astrojet-I think you might be mistaking something-I know what the balancer does and why you need one. I wouldn't remove one for any reason other than to tear into the engine. I was under the impression that the previous owner might have, not seeing a usual large balancer. Come to find out, there isn't a large balancer on these 390's. @shortrod-the timing marker is there, right where it should be. The tab is in pretty good condition (able to see the BTDC markings, even read them!). Now that I've found a good forum for discussions, I've also found people that have been through the hell and back with everything (trial and error) so I don't make the same mistakes.
 
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