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Cheapo MEL Engine Refresh

Posted: Tue 8. Dec 2009, 04:46
by Theo
Hello forum and the rest of the world. Here we go with a few photos. This is not a step by step "how to" story. It is just a quick run down showing a few shots that I took during an engine fresh up process that I did for a guy about eight years ago. The project was dictated by the guy's ridiculously tight budget and started a few days before the MEL-Engine-Forum was found at Network54. Back then, I had no idea that the MEL community was going to grow and that a documentation would be of some importance. I often forgot to take photos as my hands were way to dirty to touch my camera. This post by no means claims to be complete or educative. I also forgot quite a few details. Sorry for being short; it might be of interest though.

This engine came out of a 58 Lincoln Premiere and had an incredible amount of dirt accumulated inside and outside the block. The rocker arm shafts' oil galleries were nearly blocked from mud and virtually all bolts were only finger tight.
The owner didn't give it much attention in the past few decades (?).
Fortunately I had access to a gigantic pressure steamer that was used to clean trucks. But it still didn't impress the MEL and in addition I had to excessively use a couple of rotor wire brushes.

Believe it or not, the photos below show the cleaned up engine after being pressure steamed for about more than an hour. Man, this was the dirtiest engine I've ever worked on.


Re: Cheapo MEL Engine Refresh

Posted: Tue 8. Dec 2009, 05:24
by Theo
Performing this particular engine fresh up was an extremely difficult decision for me. The job was dictated by the owner's tight budged and his refusal to invest in a few new vital parts. You can definitally call this a perfect example for a cheapo rebuilt.
With all water plugs and oil gallery plugs removed I meticulously cleaned up the whole engine and all the internal parts. I took measurements here and there, honed the cylinder bores with a hand held honing bar, installed new rings on the old pistons, installed new rod and main bearings, a new gasket set, and all new water and oil gallery plugs. The cylinder heads were in a surprisingly acceptable condition. They got my full treatment though but as required by the owner w/o the expense on machining. Although we didn't mashine one single part on the engine, all parts mated perfectly together. Even the non ajustable rocker arm assembly's geometrie was a snap.

The tricky part came when the pistons had to find their way into the bores. The Mel’s unique bores with those integrated cylinder chambers leave an oval entry at the deck which makes the usage of a common piston ring compressor impossible. Ford had a special tool to do the job. All I had was pure headache. With an old fashioned ring compressor upside down I was able to wiggle the pistons into the bores which was pretty scary and time consuming. I'm not very experienced w. rope seals so cutting it flush wasn't an easy job w/o Ford's special tool. Some photos show the replaced oil gallery plugs in the distributor hole area. Installing an oil gally. plug in this location is easier than it seems. Check out the oil plug in the back side right behind the crank case vent duct of the block. Don’t skip this one either.

This particular 430 is equipped w. a vacuum pump on top of the oil pump. It serves the vehicle's numerous vacuum operated devices like the the vac. wind shield wipers for instance. Note the tube that ducts from the oil/vacuum pump to the lower inner side of the Y skirt. There it attaches a fitting that goes through the block. A stainless line or a rubber hose can be connected to draw air from a filtered air source like the air filter base for instance.. The tube was missing on this car so I'm not sure how the original set up looks like. However the engine must have swallowed tons of dirt through this fitting while nobody was even realizing what this nipple was actually good for. I wouldn't have known myself if I hadn't opened up the engine.

I took measurements of the rocker arm assembly but can't compare it to the FE dimensions as I lost my notes. At least the rocker arm dimensions are the same as the FE rocker arms. Only thing is the length of the shafts that I don't recall, sorry.

Most photos are self explanatory I guess.

Re: Cheapo MEL Engine Refresh

Posted: Tue 8. Dec 2009, 05:49
by Theo

Re: Cheapo MEL Engine Refresh

Posted: Tue 8. Dec 2009, 05:50
by Theo

Re: Cheapo MEL Engine Refresh

Posted: Wed 9. Dec 2009, 01:23
by reijerlincoln
That poor old engine came out well.

Were the late-fifties MEL's equipped with the infamous aluminium/nylon cam timing gear?

Re: Cheapo MEL Engine Refresh

Posted: Wed 9. Dec 2009, 02:00
by Theo
I fear I can't answer your question. All I can say is that this particular engine was equipped with steel sprockets and with a stock style non roller chain.

Re: Cheapo MEL Engine Refresh

Posted: Fri 21. Apr 2017, 07:49
by Chris430
How has the engine ran sense?