72 Q code engine build


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Well-known member
Jan 18, 2020
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My Car
1972 351CJ MACh1
So I recently pulled my 72 Q code (canadian car) engine out of my Mach1. Lucky.... vin numbers match. First sigh achieved. Engine is being professionally built. 

Its tired, burning oil and lacks performance. So time for the build. 

The Plan:

likely it will be bored somewhere in the neighbourhood(correct spelling ;)) of 30 over but maybe more :/ I know, I know, they don’t like to big of a bore out. Obviously new pistons rings and all the other rotating assembly will be refreshed balanced replaced or upgraded. Fingers crossed it’s a 4 bolt main block as I understand it should be? I read on here sometimes ford just picked the next available motor... so it could be a 2 bolt main, mysteries abound  :/

The engine is running the open chamber 4V cast iron heads, will be converted to a hydraulic cam shaft, likely a custom grind, adjustable roller rockers, with a proper valve job. Likely the heads will be left with stock deck heights and not ported.

it already has a edelbrock performer intake, a stand alone msd ignition, long tube headers, and a Holley 650.

looking to make some good street torque on pump gas. Car is a 4 speed and lives it’s life to and from the gym/work on nice summer days. 

plan is to give it some what of a blend between a factory looking q code and a 71 boss engine. I like the way the sandblast finished aluminum valve covers look, and since it’s mine, I’ll do what appeals. 

Engine is scheduled to be torn down on Wednesday so I should have some updates soon on how it looks. 

Plan over the winter is to get the engine bay detailed and cleaned up to as close to original as time, money, skill and desire allow.

(Bottom photo is what I’m going for, so basically just not polished valve covers and a red distributor, seems achievable :) )

follow me on Instagram I’m posting it there too 







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Ricard, No comments on the engine, but perhaps some tips on the engine bay. Your bay looks pretty good as is, so it will be easy to clean up and prep for a repaint. My suggestion is to use Eastwood under hood paints. I chose Eastwood 2K ceramic semi gloss black, but this stuff isn't cheap and you'll need 2-3 cans. Once mixed, you have to use it or chuck it. It does have a bit of texture, but I find it is easily cleaned and is standing up very well. Downside is it's not easy to touch up and the non 2K equivalent is not an exact match. I used Eastwood chassis black for all other frame parts etc. These paints are made for under hood hot environments. The the engine and all other Ford Blue parts, I chose Dupicolor Ford Dark Corporate Blue as it seems to be a bit closer to original than Plasticoat. Take your time and it will look awesome under there.

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Geoff, thanks the blue is exactly what I’m going for.

im on the fence about under the hood, it still needs one more good wash. It is dull but I am fairly confident it is original under the hood including a few of the stickers. But likely... I will end up painting it lol.

whats that Eastwood paint worth per can? 

Geoff, thanks the blue is exactly what I’m going for.

im on the fence about under the hood, it still needs one more good wash. It is dull but I am fairly confident it is original under the hood including a few of the stickers. But likely... I will end up painting it lol.

whats that Eastwood paint worth per can? 
When I did mine in 2016, the 2K was 25 (Cdn) bucks/can, but imo worth it. Like I said, once mixed, use it or lose it.

On mine, I too had some original stickers, but mine was in need of a repaint. Here's a couple of pics, before and after. Any tips, just ask, not that I'm an expert painter, far from it, but the results got me this. (ok, I'm bragging a bit now)




Wow looks great! 
That could well be yours too. Just a little, well a lot, of work and patience. It's all in the details. On the engine paint, I forget the paint code number for the Duplicolor, just make sure it High Heat Engine paint and buy and extra can of the SAME batch. I have found slight  variations between batches, no matter what brand. 

So tear down went well.

Worn cam, which was expected. Worn lifters, crank bearings... loose timing chain. 

but it still had the original ford bearings so if appears untouched.

some questions have arisen from my engine builder about whether a stoker kit may be more economical then some of the labour and replacement parts.

wondering about people’s thoughts on strokers? Likely it will only need .20 over. 

it’s a street car, 4 speed with 3.50 open gear. No intention to change the running gear whatsoever. I definitely do not want a street machine. A true to form Mach1 with a little extra grunt is enough for me. 






Ok, not an engine expert by a long shot, but the first thing I noticed is it's a 4 bolt main, nice!

As far as stroking it, well that's up to you. Back when I first had to redo my 351 4V M code in 2012, I had the chance to have Barry Poole rebuild it, but he wanted to stoke it to 393 (I think) and the price was a bit steep for my budget. As all his machining was done at the shop that I did have rebuild it, I went with the rebuild of original parts except for .030"over flat top pistons and a mild Melling cam.  Where I ran into trouble was the builder decided to add a high volume oil pump and that's a no-no without other oil system mods apparently. He also installed a Pertronix Ignitor III electronic ignition and that proved to be a bad choice as well, a story for another time. After a couple of years, the motor started using oil and smoking. I took it back to the shop where they found that the H/V oil pump had taken out the cam and main bearings. As it was technically out of warranty, they agreed to do the labor, but I supply the parts. I took the opportunity to drop the comp ratio to just below 10:1 using Keith Black 13cc dish top pistons. By the time I was done, I had paid as much, if not more than Barry wanted the first time. Hide sight, I wish I'd had Barry do it and stoke the motor. It would have been one-and-done. I would also make sure your builder is really familiar with Cleveland's, they sure ain't Chevy V8s!!

Good luck with the build.

Nothing wrong with a stroked cleveland but I can't imagine that a quality stroker kit is going to be cheaper than having the stock crank freshened, new pistons and rings, rod reconditioning and new hardware etc...if budget is the overriding concern.

So a little update.  Heads and block are all striped down. Just waiting for the custom grind cam from Howard’s. I guess there is a shortage of cam cores due to the pandemic. 

I had some thoughts on adding ram air (cool factor) while it’s apart. Maybe someone can answer for me. I have the CJ air cleaner. The air plenum kit seems easy enough to acquire as a reproduction. i think a few places like year one sell a kit.

3 big questions:

 1: do I need only the air cleaner lid or is the lower part different?

2: the MSD ignition has forced me to use a small spacer under the carb (though until the build is finished I won’t know the size) I think 1/2 inch. Is there enough crush space in the gasket to make that work? 

3: last one, I do not have a locking hood. Is that also an issue? 

Thanks in advance 





I can't answer all your questions, but if I were wanting to add ram air, for a start, I'd add the turn locks. It can be done I know, as a friend and fellow member here did it to his build. Next I would make sure all my stack up heights were the same. I'm sure someone can give a measurement from say, the fenders to the top of a stock ram air carb. Any more than that, and you're headed for issues. Easy way to check hood clearances is to use a pillar of plasticine on the carb and measure the height after the hood has been closed. If need be, loos that MSD distributor and go with a well curved DuraSpark set up. At least you'll not have to use a spacer more that a 1/4" insulator.

I'm sure others might be able to offer more details or a better solution, but this is where I'd start.