AUSTIN VERTS ENGINE REBUILD FROM HELL

7173Vert

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
846
Reaction score
189
Location
Ontario
My Car
1971 Convertible, 1973 Hardtop
That’s a tough pill to swallow, for sure. We hope to find that one good shop who will build the engine we hope for. Harder to find good knowledge rebuilders today, throw away society and easier to just put something different and new in…. When I needed my original 429cj engine rebuilt, I was very lucky to find an old school factory racer who had started his own shop years ago. He is actually a hardcore GM guy but likes all old muscle cars. My engine was a mess as it had been rebuilt at least twice before, albeit poorly. It was already 40thou over and one cylinder had a deep scar… as I absolutely had to keep the original #’s matching block, heads, etc we decided to sleeve the entire block back to standard bore. All in all when all was said and done, easily $20k Cdn $$ in the engine rebuild. Of course, the best of parts were used and he balanced and blue printed the engine. Although I haven’t driven it much, the engine has been great the past five years. Hope you get yours sorted, you just need to find that one guy who really knows his stuff…
 

Spike Morelli

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2015
Messages
466
Reaction score
145
Location
Boise, Idaho
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1 ram air 351c H-code, fmx, ps,pb, medium yellow-gold, hubcaps and beauty rings.
Austin Vert, Hat's off to you in keeping your cool and continuing to work the problem. It's a learning curve, for sure. About modifications.....many, many years ago, I bought a '65 coupe. I was young, inexperienced, but wanted to own something Hot. The Mustang had a stock 289 2v, C4 trans, and an open 8" rear end as I got it. A friend found a 289 Hi-PO core engine for me and I re-built it like new, albeit I added some shadetree first-time porting to the heads, which may or may not have done any good. My newfound power led to leaning on the throttle a lot, next thing I knew, I blew out the trans. I had a shop that specialized in performance transmissions re-build, update, and re-program the C4 for battle. Sweet! That box really shifted hard, as well as taking all the Hi-Po could dish out. It wasn't long before the little 8" rear tore up. I searched for, and found an acceptable 9" housing and center section and after having it overhauled, replaced the rear with a stronger unit. At that point, the stock drum brakes were woefully inadequate, especially when wet. I found a complete factory Kelsey-Hays '65 Mustang disc brake set up for the front, and larger drums out back. This now required new suspension, springs, arms , shocks, the works. The new power required a heavier cooling system, complete exhaust updating, and a better wheel/tire combo to go with it.
Point is........the hard lesson learned is that performance is a package, and you're not alone. Once you start to go down that road, beyond minor "warming up" of your engine, expect other things to happen, it almost always follows, even with a good mechanic.
 
Last edited:

Mister 4x4

Too Big to Sneak
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Aug 12, 2010
Messages
8,032
Reaction score
241
Location
San Angelo, Texas
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1
Wow Greg, just... Wow. I hope they at least get it sorted without racking up even more expense.
 

Austin Vert

Benefactors
Joined
Jul 27, 2012
Messages
2,877
Reaction score
74
Location
Brisbane - Australia
My Car
1973 Mustang Convertible
G'day, In Adelaide there is a bloke named Phil Collier who knows a lot about Clevelands. He has one mean XY Fairmont wagon and knows his stuff. I can ask him if it's ok to pass on his number if you want. He used to own his own engine shop in Adelaide and is greatly respected here by road and race people.
Hi there Mike,

Thanks very much for the heads up with the Phil Collier contact. However, it's been my past experience that interstate help can end up being a problem, or only takes you so far, as verbal help and advice can only be taken up with. When you get down to it, i would need contacts in Brisbane where i live, to come and physically work on the car if and as needed. Verbally, he could possibly offer up good advice, but would need to have a good look at the motor as well. Thanks anyway mate.(y)

Hi Spike, Thanks for your feedback. I think what you have said is spot on, as i, like yourself, have gone through a similar experience with my '73. More (big) engine power leads to a stronger tranny, diff, brakes, suspension, cooling system, petrol delivery, new vaccume pump, ignition upgrades, etc. In my case i have had to upgrade all these with my car. Yes, the whole thing is a learning curve. I have ended up with a true performance car, that you could really call a muscle car, but that has proven to be a very expensive process. That's just the reality of the whole thing i guess. In that sense, relying on proper professional tradesmen and companies, be it mechanical, body shop, upholstery, electrical, to carry out good work, is crucial to the restorer of any classic car. It was a tragedy that American cars were dumbed down as they were back in the Seventies. It ruined it for the muscle car performance guys of the day. It's ironic looking at the new muscle car scene today where horse power figures drift around the 400 to 1000 horsepower mark. It makes you wonder if a similar situation could arise in relation to clamping down on big powered cars in the future. The future of the petrol driven engines is at stake as well, as what will new technologies usher in the future.

Thanks '71 '73, Sounds like you've been through your fair share of pain as well. A $20,000.00 rebuild is a pretty expensive figure. One would hope it proves to be a first class rebuild that stands the test of time. Getting top quality pro help is the key thing.

Also, thanks Eric. Yeah, i'm thinking the same thing! Hope you are keeping well, and the Mustang is running good.

Lastly, i thought it would be a good idea to include some up to date photos of the finished engine since the third rebuild. Sorry to all that i did not pop them in my initial post. I will keep the Forum up to date as the months roll on as to how my situation eventually plays out.

Many thanks,

Greg.:)
 

Attachments

  • 2022-01-10 15_21_31-Window.png
    2022-01-10 15_21_31-Window.png
    3 MB · Views: 11
  • 2022-01-10 15_21_17-Window.png
    2022-01-10 15_21_17-Window.png
    2.8 MB · Views: 10
  • 2022-01-10 15_21_03-Window.png
    2022-01-10 15_21_03-Window.png
    2.9 MB · Views: 11
  • 2022-01-10 15_20_45-Window.png
    2022-01-10 15_20_45-Window.png
    3 MB · Views: 11
  • 2022-01-10 15_20_29-Window.png
    2022-01-10 15_20_29-Window.png
    3 MB · Views: 11
  • 2022-01-10 15_20_06-Window.png
    2022-01-10 15_20_06-Window.png
    2.6 MB · Views: 11
Last edited:

droptop73

VIP Members
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
6,381
Reaction score
179
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
My Car
73 Convertible
I'm sorry this happened to you Greg. Thank you for sharing your story to help another member from going through the same financial and mental pain.
Not to add to your concerns but as an observation, one other issue I see is going to a 347" stroker. With the short deck 302 block and the long stroke needed to get to a 347 inch package, the rods and piston pin height need to be short. This causes more than normal side thrust on the piston and cylinder wall that may be OK for a race engine but could cause excess wear on a street engine. Sometimes bigger is not better.
I wouldn't be too concerned about the oil consumption you stated. Older engines did/do consume a bit more oil than their modern counterparts. We've made incredible strides in engine technology over the last 50 years.
Hang in there, some good top down therapy should ease the pain.
 

Austin Vert

Benefactors
Joined
Jul 27, 2012
Messages
2,877
Reaction score
74
Location
Brisbane - Australia
My Car
1973 Mustang Convertible
I'm sorry this happened to you Greg. Thank you for sharing your story to help another member from going through the same financial and mental pain.
Not to add to your concerns but as an observation, one other issue I see is going to a 347" stroker. With the short deck 302 block and the long stroke needed to get to a 347 inch package, the rods and piston pin height need to be short. This causes more than normal side thrust on the piston and cylinder wall that may be OK for a race engine but could cause excess wear on a street engine. Sometimes bigger is not better.
I wouldn't be too concerned about the oil consumption you stated. Older engines did/do consume a bit more oil than their modern counterparts. We've made incredible strides in engine technology over the last 50 years.
Hang in there, some good top down therapy should ease the pain.
Hi Droptop73,

Thanks for your reply. You said - the rods and piston pin height need to be short.

To be honest, i haven't heard of this before. Both my rebuilders never mentioned this in the past. Could be something to raise with a reliable engine guy in the future. Regards oil consumption - i will add you to the above list of guys above that have said a similar thing. I hope there is truth in this. If it is the case, i could be out of jail. I will keep an eye on the oil levels and spark plugs ongoing. The good news is, it's not blowing smoke at all. Fingers crossed.

Greg.:rolleyes:
 
Top