Pulling the trigger on my 351C rebuild

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PeteG41

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2022
Messages
341
Reaction score
179
Location
Tempe, AZ
My Car
351c 2v, FMX Transmission. Ordered from Sanderson Ford in Phoenix, 99k original miles.
Looking for the opinions from you all who know way more than I do. I apologize for the long post so bear with me. A while back I was chasing what I thought were vacuum leaks/carb problems/ignition/fuel problems. You all were extremely helpful, but in the end it turns out I was attempting to fix the unfixable. 2 bent push rods on the passenger side, 1 non-existent one on the driver side, It will probably be found under the intake, and another on the driver side that was bent to the point I couldn't get it out. Assuming a timing chain grenade. The PO informed me the motor had already been rebuilt...maybe by Hellen Keller, who knows. He also said one of the cylinders is sleeved. In the next couple months I am going to do a full rebuild. I have read there are block inconsistencies so these 351C's can only be bored so much, and this is the original block.

I am not going to be tracking it or taking it to the strip, just want a nice streetable motor that can recycle the tires when I want it to. 1HP per CU is a good benchmark I think. I talked to local mustang shop in Mesa a few months ago that specializes up to '73. Rebuild includes a little more aggressive cam, holley 670, and an upgraded intake. As well as the head/valve work and all the other components that a full rebuild entails. My question is, if I am going to do the full rebuild, should I opt to squeeze some more power out of it with a more aggressive rebuild kit? I'm sure it will be sonic checked to make sure the block is good, although I don't feel the need to take it all the way to a 408. Assuming it was mildly bored on the first rebuild, would the next step probably be 383? Forgive my lack of knowledge on this, I taught myself my own mechanic skills in a carport working on a 300-6 F-150. I will also be doing 3.5 gears, as well as the FMX being rebuilt. Any and all opinions are much appreciated!
 
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Mine had never been rebuilt when I got it, so I was looking forward to a standard .020" bore and go from there... except that it had been seized and sitting so long that the #4 had so much corrosion that it went into the cylinder wall. The machine shop was able to get that 'scar' out by boring to .060", but asked if I wanted to sleeve it. I declined at the time, but I admit not knowing much about 'sleeving' engine cylinders at the time (hint: it's not necessarily a bad thing - pretty much all aluminum blocks are sleeved, after all). A lot of people say that Clevelands will not survive with that much overbore, but to that I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Why would they make .060" pistons and rings so plentifully if it was such an issue. As well, mine's not a race car either... just a cruiser... and it's doing just fine with the the .060" pistons and everything else I've done to it.

Here's my recipe, good for around 400hp (on paper, based on results from CompCams CamQuest application used when selecting the cam). Hope this helps.
  • Original 351 Cleveland
    - Balanced, Blueprinted, Magnafluxed
    - Bored .060"
    - 3-angle valve job, mild port & polish
  • Edelbrock Performer intake
  • Edelbrock 1406 Performer 600CFM carb
  • Holley Mighty Mite electric fuel pump
  • CompCams High-Energy 270/270 @ .566" roller cam
  • CompCams High-Energy roller lifters & pushrods
  • CompCams High-Energy 1.73 roller rockers
  • Crane Cams 7/16" screw-in rocker studs
  • Keith Black 9.5:1 hypereutectic flat-top pistons
  • Duraspark II ignition and distributor
  • Accel Super-Coil & 8mm wires
  • Hooker Competition ceramic-coated headers
  • Pypes Street Pro mufflers
  • Pypes 2.5" stainless exhaust with 'X' pipe
  • Pypes 2.5" chrome 'slash' tips
 
Mine had never been rebuilt when I got it, so I was looking forward to a standard .020" bore and go from there... except that it had been seized and sitting so long that the #4 had so much corrosion that it went into the cylinder wall. The machine shop was able to get that 'scar' out by boring to .060", but asked if I wanted to sleeve it. I declined at the time, but I admit not knowing much about 'sleeving' engine cylinders at the time (hint: it's not necessarily a bad thing - pretty much all aluminum blocks are sleeved, after all). A lot of people say that Clevelands will not survive with that much overbore, but to that I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Why would they make .060" pistons and rings so plentifully if it was such an issue. As well, mine's not a race car either... just a cruiser... and it's doing just fine with the the .060" pistons and everything else I've done to it.

Here's my recipe, good for around 400hp (on paper, based on results from CompCams CamQuest application used when selecting the cam). Hope this helps.
  • Original 351 Cleveland
    - Balanced, Blueprinted, Magnafluxed
    - Bored .060"
    - 3-angle valve job, mild port & polish
  • Edelbrock Performer intake
  • Edelbrock 1406 Performer 600CFM carb
  • Holley Mighty Mite electric fuel pump
  • CompCams High-Energy 270/270 @ .566" roller cam
  • CompCams High-Energy roller lifters & pushrods
  • CompCams High-Energy 1.73 roller rockers
  • Crane Cams 7/16" screw-in rocker studs
  • Keith Black 9.5:1 hypereutectic flat-top pistons
  • Duraspark II ignition and distributor
  • Accel Super-Coil & 8mm wires
  • Hooker Competition ceramic-coated headers
  • Pypes Street Pro mufflers
  • Pypes 2.5" stainless exhaust with 'X' pipe
  • Pypes 2.5" chrome 'slash' tips
That is extremely helpful, I really appreciate it!! Honestly it has me inclined to copy your build and start accumulating those parts. 400hp is more than satisfactory for me. I read up on sleeves because when I heard that I thought it was bad, or a "band-aid" to fix a motor but doesn't seem like a huge deal. That .060 overbore is also what threw me for a loop! Read a lot of negatives about it but people aren't just going to gamble thousands on a motor kit just hoping it will work, especially seeing that its very easy to find the components. Did you have any clearance issues with the headers? I still have the original single outlet exhaust, and somehow the only rusty part is where the tip would have been. I'll be dropping it off at the muffler shop shortly after she's running. Any chance you have a video of it running?? I want to hear the beast. I was tempted to have turndowns after the rear axle, but I think I might angle them to the side. I would probably have my feet jumping off the floorboards if I went that route
 
Last edited:
You're very welcome! I'm happy to share info - especially, since everybody was so good about sharing when I first got here in 2010.

The headers are definitely in there, and don't leave a lot of room, but there aren't any major clearance issues. I complicated things a bit by swapping in an AOD from an '89 5.0 (wider valve body, so less clearance for the headers than the original FMX). The Pypes dual exhaust w/X-pipe went in without any problems whatsoever.

Here's a webpage about my car, with a blog that has it all from the start (newest entries first, though), with tons of pics and even a couple of videos (since I can't simply cut-n-paste those things from here at work anymore).

http://www.mister4x4.net/cars/Mach_1.htm
Hope that helps!
 
Do not worry about a sleeve. I've owned 3 engines with sleeves and the holes with the sleeves always leak tested better than the non-sleeved holes. There are a LOT of details that must be considered to avoid disappointment with the final product. A lot of problems are caused by assumptions such as, pistons are pistons, bearings are bearings, rings are rings, a timing set is timing set, pushrods are pushrods, a valve job is a valve job, a rod bolt is a rod bolt, and the list is very long. Find a VERY competent machine shop that does race engines (yes, you will pay a bit more) AND is familiar with 351C engines. Tell them what your goals are, your budget, and time frames and let them help you select, and fit, parts. Engine building is like almost everything else, accurate information rules. I hope all goes well for you and the rebuild. Chuck
 
Hi Chuck,
This is true . I used to race these and I found it was needed 35 years ago.The solid lifters had to be restricted as well and they caused too much oiling problems without mods . I have an engine with the external line to the rear of block with 3/4 grooved bearings, ( T type 7.5 quart pan) and HV pump it always has 75lbs cold and 33-40lbs hot. Its been that way for 27years but thats only 10k miles ( only driven now and then). It was not in need of a rebuild other than a bad timing chain at the time. This is not the run of mill gauge but Holleys EFI pressure transducer with Holley TBI efi.
Steve
 
Looking for the opinions from you all who know way more than I do. I apologize for the long post so bear with me. A while back I was chasing what I thought were vacuum leaks/carb problems/ignition/fuel problems. You all were extremely helpful, but in the end it turns out I was attempting to fix the unfixable. 2 bent push rods on the passenger side, 1 non-existent one on the driver side, It will probably be found under the intake, and another on the driver side that was bent to the point I couldn't get it out. Assuming a timing chain grenade. The PO informed me the motor had already been rebuilt...maybe by Hellen Keller, who knows. He also said one of the cylinders is sleeved. In the next couple months I am going to do a full rebuild. I have read there are block inconsistencies so these 351C's can only be bored so much, and this is the original block.

I am not going to be tracking it or taking it to the strip, just want a nice streetable motor that can recycle the tires when I want it to. 1HP per CU is a good benchmark I think. I talked to local mustang shop in Mesa a few months ago that specializes up to '73. Rebuild includes a little more aggressive cam, holley 670, and an upgraded intake. As well as the head/valve work and all the other components that a full rebuild entails. My question is, if I am going to do the full rebuild, should I opt to squeeze some more power out of it with a more aggressive rebuild kit? I'm sure it will be sonic checked to make sure the block is good, although I don't feel the need to take it all the way to a 408. Assuming it was mildly bored on the first rebuild, would the next step probably be 383? Forgive my lack of knowledge on this, I taught myself my own mechanic skills in a carport working on a 300-6 F-150. I will also be doing 3.5 gears, as well as the FMX being rebuilt. Any and all opinions are much appreciated!
Pete,
I’m no expert as others are on here but I will say this after my recent experience. I have a droptop and is sub-framed connected but not as rigid as a hard top so 400hp and as much torque as I could achieve was in my goal. That was all accomplished with a flat tappet cam valve-train until a failure. (explained in other threads).
Personally doing it all over I would just ensure your foundation, the block, is solid and all holes are honed and true (lifters etc, and oil journals are as well. I didn’t restrict my oil as 6500-7 rpm was my redline goal anyway for short spurts. The bolt on’s are going to be your preference but the Cleveland will handle all these 3500lb’rs need as well as having “limited” fun with being able to drive it like a “safe a-hole” as I do find myself entering that category.
In closing, to me a roller cam will always be mandatory on any engine builds I have in my future.

Best of luck on your decisions!
 
Mine had never been rebuilt when I got it, so I was looking forward to a standard .020" bore and go from there... except that it had been seized and sitting so long that the #4 had so much corrosion that it went into the cylinder wall. The machine shop was able to get that 'scar' out by boring to .060", but asked if I wanted to sleeve it. I declined at the time, but I admit not knowing much about 'sleeving' engine cylinders at the time (hint: it's not necessarily a bad thing - pretty much all aluminum blocks are sleeved, after all). A lot of people say that Clevelands will not survive with that much overbore, but to that I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Why would they make .060" pistons and rings so plentifully if it was such an issue. As well, mine's not a race car either... just a cruiser... and it's doing just fine with the the .060" pistons and everything else I've done to it.

Here's my recipe, good for around 400hp (on paper, based on results from CompCams CamQuest application used when selecting the cam). Hope this helps.
  • Original 351 Cleveland
    - Balanced, Blueprinted, Magnafluxed
    - Bored .060"
    - 3-angle valve job, mild port & polish
  • Edelbrock Performer intake
  • Edelbrock 1406 Performer 600CFM carb
  • Holley Mighty Mite electric fuel pump
  • CompCams High-Energy 270/270 @ .566" roller cam
  • CompCams High-Energy roller lifters & pushrods
  • CompCams High-Energy 1.73 roller rockers
  • Crane Cams 7/16" screw-in rocker studs
  • Keith Black 9.5:1 hypereutectic flat-top pistons
  • Duraspark II ignition and distributor
  • Accel Super-Coil & 8mm wires
  • Hooker Competition ceramic-coated headers
  • Pypes Street Pro mufflers
  • Pypes 2.5" stainless exhaust with 'X' pipe
  • Pypes 2.5" chrome 'slash' tips
I used many of these parts as well and that exact roller cam but went with massflo efi, edelbrock aluminum heads and a 4r70w with 3.70 gears Smooth idle and lots of power. If I did it again today I would stroke it to 393 and use Atomic efi to save money on the massflo kit.
The 4r70w is a game changer and a bolt in deal..
 
Do not worry about a sleeve. I've owned 3 engines with sleeves and the holes with the sleeves always leak tested better than the non-sleeved holes. There are a LOT of details that must be considered to avoid disappointment with the final product. A lot of problems are caused by assumptions such as, pistons are pistons, bearings are bearings, rings are rings, a timing set is timing set, pushrods are pushrods, a valve job is a valve job, a rod bolt is a rod bolt, and the list is very long. Find a VERY competent machine shop that does race engines (yes, you will pay a bit more) AND is familiar with 351C engines. Tell them what your goals are, your budget, and time frames and let them help you select, and fit, parts. Engine building is like almost everything else, accurate information rules. I hope all goes well for you and the rebuild. Chuck
I am a firm believer in the mantra of having 2 of the 3. Cheap, fast, and reliable. Cheap and fast isn't reliable, fast and reliable isn't cheap! Being as I would prefer to only have to do this once, I am not going to skimp on quality parts in order to save some dollars. My only hiccup is that I need to find said machine shop that knows what they are doing, while also being able to pull the motor for me. My current residence isn't conducive to being able to pull it myself. It is also above my paygrade, although with a manual and taking my time I am confident I could figure it out. Thanks Chuck! Also if anyone in the Phx area knows a shop that fits the description, please reach out! I was in contact with a place called "The Mustang Shop" in mesa. They were the ones that were going to do the rebuild with those mild upgrades that I listed. Also, what would you think is the typical budget for a build like this? I was quoted $4500-$5500, and that included removal and install.
 
Pete,
I’m no expert as others are on here but I will say this after my recent experience. I have a droptop and is sub-framed connected but not as rigid as a hard top so 400hp and as much torque as I could achieve was in my goal. That was all accomplished with a flat tappet cam valve-train until a failure. (explained in other threads).
Personally doing it all over I would just ensure your foundation, the block, is solid and all holes are honed and true (lifters etc, and oil journals are as well. I didn’t restrict my oil as 6500-7 rpm was my redline goal anyway for short spurts. The bolt on’s are going to be your preference but the Cleveland will handle all these 3500lb’rs need as well as having “limited” fun with being able to drive it like a “safe a-hole” as I do find myself entering that category.
In closing, to me a roller cam will always be mandatory on any engine builds I have in my future.

Best of luck on your decisions!
Yep I was definitely going to go roller as opposed to flat tappet. I will go back and find your thread on the failure. Priority #1 was definitely going to be making sure my block was solid. I would be sick to spend all that money to find out it was a waste because of a bad starting point.
 
You're very welcome! I'm happy to share info - especially, since everybody was so good about sharing when I first got here in 2010.

The headers are definitely in there, and don't leave a lot of room, but there aren't any major clearance issues. I complicated things a bit by swapping in an AOD from an '89 5.0 (wider valve body, so less clearance for the headers than the original FMX). The Pypes dual exhaust w/X-pipe went in without any problems whatsoever.

Here's a webpage about my car, with a blog that has it all from the start (newest entries first, though), with tons of pics and even a couple of videos (since I can't simply cut-n-paste those things from here at work anymore).

http://www.mister4x4.net/cars/Mach_1.htm
Hope that helps!
For now I am going to stay with the FMX that is in there. Although it is leaking, which seems common, I am going to pull the trigger on a rebuild for that as well. I am going to have it changed to a dual exhaust, and was trying to decide if I wanted to pull the trigger on some long tubes. My step dad had a 71 that he converted to a manual many many years ago, that car being the reason I got this one, so at some point I will be doing the same. That will be one of those things where I slowly accumulate parts and do it on down the road.
 
You're very welcome! I'm happy to share info - especially, since everybody was so good about sharing when I first got here in 2010.

The headers are definitely in there, and don't leave a lot of room, but there aren't any major clearance issues. I complicated things a bit by swapping in an AOD from an '89 5.0 (wider valve body, so less clearance for the headers than the original FMX). The Pypes dual exhaust w/X-pipe went in without any problems whatsoever.

Here's a webpage about my car, with a blog that has it all from the start (newest entries first, though), with tons of pics and even a couple of videos (since I can't simply cut-n-paste those things from here at work anymore).

http://www.mister4x4.net/cars/Mach_1.htm
Hope that helps!
Holy hell, your FB thread/build documentation is unreal!!! Luckily for me I don't have that kind of rust to deal with, which is great because I don't have the resources, skills, or garage in order to fix it. Besides my dash pad, seat upholstery, and sun baked brittle plastic components my interior all in all isn't that bad. The cardboard on my door cards is obviously shot, highlighted when I was fixing the passenger window that was laying in the door. At least the glass was good! Question on your hood. As you can see from the picture it is covered in surface rust. My plan was to sand it all off and hit it with primer/black to protect it until I addressed the paint, which is last on my list. Is that something I should tackle on my back patio, or just pull the trigger on a body shop doing it for me?
 
I am a firm believer in the mantra of only being able to have 2 of 3. Cheap, fast, and reliable. Cheap and fast isn't reliable, fast and reliable isn't cheap! Being as I would prefer to only have to do this once, I am not going to skimp on quality parts in order to save some dollars. My only hiccup is that I need to find said machine shop that knows what they are doing, while also being able to pull the motor for me. My current residence isn't conducive to being able to pull it myself. It is also above my paygrade, although with a manual and taking my time I am confident I could figure it out. Thanks Chuck! Also if anyone in the Phx area knows a shop that fits the description, please reach out! I was in contact with a place called "The Mustang Shop" in mesa. They were the ones that were going to do the rebuild with those mild upgrades that I listed. Also, what would you think is the typical budget for a build like this? I was quoted $4500-$5500, and that included removal and install.
 
Yep I was definitely going to go roller as opposed to flat tappet. I will go back and find your thread on the failure. Priority #1 was definitely going to be making sure my block was solid. I would be sick to spend all that money to find out it was a waste because of a bad starting point.
It was in a thread by Ron Tanzi - hyd lifter survey
 
I have a buddy in Mesa that just took the head from his '80 Jeep CJ-7's AMC 4.2/258 - I'll check-in with him to see what he thinks of their work and overall vibe. He did mention that the guy looked at the head first thing and said, "Wow - those valve guides are shot." Sounds like they have at least one fairly well experienced guy working there.

My machinist builds racing engines, and he admitted he'd never done a 351C - however, he did a stellar job and asked all the right questions (as far as I knew) when we talked about various things.
 
That is extremely helpful, I really appreciate it!! Honestly it has me inclined to copy your build and start accumulating those parts. 400hp is more than satisfactory for me. I read up on sleeves because when I heard that I thought it was bad, or a "band-aid" to fix a motor but doesn't seem like a huge deal. That .060 overbore is also what threw me for a loop! Read a lot of negatives about it but people aren't just going to gamble thousands on a motor kit just hoping it will work, especially seeing that its very easy to find the components. Did you have any clearance issues with the headers? I still have the original single outlet exhaust, and somehow the only rusty part is where the tip would have been. I'll be dropping it off at the muffler shop shortly after she's running. Any chance you have a video of it running?? I want to hear the beast. I was tempted to have turndowns after the rear axle, but I think I might angle them to the side. I would probably have my feet jumping off the floorboards if I went that route
The only draw back of sleeves is that installing them is a very expensive operation because it is time consuming. compared to just boring the cylinders oversize. If it was my only option to save my original block, I would sleeve it no matter how much it cost. I am @ .30 over as of now. I am fortunate to have a good machine shop in town that I also worked for. I did not burn that bridge lol.

Ron
 
Mine had never been rebuilt when I got it, so I was looking forward to a standard .020" bore and go from there... except that it had been seized and sitting so long that the #4 had so much corrosion that it went into the cylinder wall. The machine shop was able to get that 'scar' out by boring to .060", but asked if I wanted to sleeve it. I declined at the time, but I admit not knowing much about 'sleeving' engine cylinders at the time (hint: it's not necessarily a bad thing - pretty much all aluminum blocks are sleeved, after all). A lot of people say that Clevelands will not survive with that much overbore, but to that I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Why would they make .060" pistons and rings so plentifully if it was such an issue. As well, mine's not a race car either... just a cruiser... and it's doing just fine with the the .060" pistons and everything else I've done to it.

Here's my recipe, good for around 400hp (on paper, based on results from CompCams CamQuest application used when selecting the cam). Hope this helps.
  • Original 351 Cleveland
    - Balanced, Blueprinted, Magnafluxed
    - Bored .060"
    - 3-angle valve job, mild port & polish
  • Edelbrock Performer intake
  • Edelbrock 1406 Performer 600CFM carb
  • Holley Mighty Mite electric fuel pump
  • CompCams High-Energy 270/270 @ .566" roller cam
  • CompCams High-Energy roller lifters & pushrods
  • CompCams High-Energy 1.73 roller rockers
  • Crane Cams 7/16" screw-in rocker studs
  • Keith Black 9.5:1 hypereutectic flat-top pistons
  • Duraspark II ignition and distributor
  • Accel Super-Coil & 8mm wires
  • Hooker Competition ceramic-coated headers
  • Pypes Street Pro mufflers
  • Pypes 2.5" stainless exhaust with 'X' pipe
  • Pypes 2.5" chrome 'slash' tips
Curious
You're very welcome! I'm happy to share info - especially, since everybody was so good about sharing when I first got here in 2010.

The headers are definitely in there, and don't leave a lot of room, but there aren't any major clearance issues. I complicated things a bit by swapping in an AOD from an '89 5.0 (wider valve body, so less clearance for the headers than the original FMX). The Pypes dual exhaust w/X-pipe went in without any problems whatsoever.

Here's a webpage about my car, with a blog that has it all from the start (newest entries first, though), with tons of pics and even a couple of videos (since I can't simply cut-n-paste those things from here at work anymore).

http://www.mister4x4.net/cars/Mach_1.htm
Hope that helps!
Does your Mustang have staggered shocks and if so how did the Pypes tail pipes fit?
Thanks
 
I have a buddy in Mesa that just took the head from his '80 Jeep CJ-7's AMC 4.2/258 - I'll check-in with him to see what he thinks of their work and overall vibe. He did mention that the guy looked at the head first thing and said, "Wow - those valve guides are shot." Sounds like they have at least one fairly well experienced guy working there.

My machinist builds racing engines, and he admitted he'd never done a 351C - however, he did a stellar job and asked all the right questions (as far as I knew) when we talked about various things.
I have no issue if a shop hasn't worked on a 351 and can be upfront on it. Me, like everyone else I'm sure, would have a problem being told oh yeah we do those all the time, and then its just a dumpster fire of a process afterwards.
 
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