1968 289 H2O

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by gregski, Apr 1, 2011.


  1. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    I'm sure you all heard of the Hi Po engine of the 60's and the HO of the 80's well this is a story of neither of them, this is my H2O. That's right come along for a ride with me as I try to bring this tired stallion back to life.

    I'm just an average guy trying to turn a wrench one Saturday at a time. Got a wife and kids and just recently got into cars. This is my $800 dollar Mustang coupe that I bought after it was sitting for god only knows how long out in a field somewhere without a hood, but I love it.

    We will have no artificial deadlines and maybe a hundred bucks a month if I'm lucky to get these eight pistons poppin' again. I hope to provide the pictures and the laughs at my expense and I would appreciate it if you could provide the answers to the questions that will come up along the way.

    GOALS

    1. Put the engine back to stock salvaging as many components as possible and get it running as a daily driver.

    2. Learn about engines and how to do the work yourself, hone cylinders, lap valves, torque down bolts, torque sequences, set timing, tune a carb, etc.

    What this is not:
    • This is not a how to rebuild a complete engine thread.
    • This is not a thread on how to build a 300 horse power engine with this and that "performance" doodads.
    • This is not a thread on how to cover the engine in chrome using every possible bolt on "billet".
    • This is not a concourse restoration, nor a restoration at all, just a honest to goodness no thrills reconditioning.
    This is what we're working with:


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  2. 69SlowResto

    69SlowResto New Member

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    I'm looking forward to following your thread as your past adventures have been very informative, well written and hilarious at the same time. I will also be "reconditioning" my 302 for my 69 coupe this spring/summer.
  3. Pony66

    Pony66 New Member

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    Good project. I did much the same last year. I couldnt help adding a few performance parts. I figured I was replacing the cam and pistons anyway. Its amazing what a few cans of spray paint can do. I spent two years scouring craigslist for free 302-5.0 engines. After 3 I found a 1970 302 that had not been touched. I had the machine shop clean it and put all my 66 289 stuff on it. It runs great and I learned a LOT. I took all summer and read a lot of posts here on the VMF. Good luck with your H20 and I look foward to more pics.
  4. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    Keep talking!
    Did you happen to see my website on the topic: Small Block Ford 302 V8
  5. 69SlowResto

    69SlowResto New Member

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    Awesome...thanks for the link. I've bookmarked it for future use.
  6. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    Let's get up to speed

    So let me catch you up a bit. I removed some parts out of the engine bay. Not all of these had to come out to troubleshoot this situation, but I had my reasons.

    I removed the radiator, because it was not bolted in, it was just sitting there, and more importantly it is not a Mustang radiator. I will be buying a brand new radiator.

    I also removed the AC condenser as I will not be running AC for the time being. For one I am missing the compressor, so that bracket will come off too.

    I removed the heater hoses because initially I will not run them to the heater core and they were in the way when it came to getting the heads off.


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  7. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    What I should have done first.

    What I should have done first, and what anyone buying a car or who has just bought a car should do first, is check the spark plugs. It is simple and easy.

    But I did not, instead I decided to eventually (pronounced: months later) check what heads I had on my car. You see when I bough the car the engine looked stock, but later my buddy pointed out that it had a mid 70's intake manifold. That led me to wonder how many other parts are authentic if any.

    So instead of checking the spark plugs like any reasonable person would do I removed the valve covers and prayed to see, a big 289 stamped into the heads somewhere in the valve train area.

    Though it's difficult to see in these photos it is there, these are 289 heads, and they don't look too bad from the top. What do you think?


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  8. Edster

    Edster Founding Member

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    Looks like ther is no sludge in the heads, thats a really good sign. Seems like someone may have been trying to gain some compression w/ the heads, or juust used what they had to get the car runnin. I wonder if the headers are salvagable. I do like your approach to your reconditioning. Its like how I'm doin My 66 my dad left me. I just wanna get it smoothed out , and reliable. I've decided to leave the paint alone for now and refer to the cars finish as a "patina"LOL Good luck!!
  9. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    Amen to that bro, but I get the feeling the three of us are in the minority, a lot of people seem to think you have to cherry pick every engine out, have it hot tanked $, magnafluxed $$, bored $$$, decked $$$$, honed $$$$$, drilled $$$$$$, tapped $$$$$$$, squared $$$$$$$$, re surfaced $$$$$$$$$, deburred $$$$$$$$$$, sleeved $$$$$$$$$$$, etc. etc.

    $ = roughly $100 bucks guestimate for machining labor costs, no new parts included yet
  10. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    Old Carb and Intake Manifold

    Not the cap, carb or the intake manifold will find their way back on to the car. The manifold is a SMOG EGR valve port equipped wonder of the 70's, (note the aluminum block off plate where the EGR valve would mount up to) it could work but I don't like the EGR port sticking up like that, just not aesthetically pleasing. I do own a 4 barrel 60's intake manifold and two choices of four barrel carbs, an Autolite and a Holley so one of those will find their way on to the car.

    Here is the cap and my dime a dozen trusty old two barrel carb off the car, and the old intake manifold as well as a shot of what the intake looked liked when I took the carb off. Yes I know you don't have to take the carb off to take the manifold off, but I like to do things one step at a time to see what lurks beneath. I enjoy playing mechanical archeologist that way, the car has a way of speaking to you.


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  11. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    The Valley Pan

    Removing the intake manifold revealed a pretty clean valley pan in my opinion aside from the white powdery crud that fell out of the intake manifold as I was removing it. Nothing a shop vac can't suck up.

    Now we can see the surface rust on the push rods (the pencil looking vertical sticks, eight on each side of the valley).

    This is where our plan of attack may go our separate ways, I am planning on just cleaning off the rust off of the push rods, but something tells me you all will tell me to get new push rods. Think what the fellers of the late 60's early 70's would do. Would they run to their local corner auto parts store, or reach for a gentle wire brush?

    Lets plan on arguing over this when I actually take them out and see how straight they are, and if I can blow through them, cause as you know they are hollow on the inside (newbies take notes - I didn't know that either), ok, promise?


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  12. mustangmutt

    mustangmutt Member

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    A little surface rust on the Pushrods is not a problem. Just wire brush them off and flush out the inside with some brake clean and compressed air. After you make sure they are straight that is. I am more concerned with the rust inside the ports. I am interested to see what the cylinders look like. Did you turn the engine over by hand?
  13. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    That's what I wanted to hear, thanks.

    Good tip bro, I was looking for that type of information, so brake cleaner will do the trick.

    Will do, I plan on using the roll them on a glass coffee table trick.

    Me too, can I use brake cleaner in there, how should I clean them?

    Me too, lol, stay tunned.

    No can do sir, I tried but it is seized up hence the tear down, I should have made that clear in the opening statement but I forgot.
  14. mustangmutt

    mustangmutt Member

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    Yeah, you will be doing a complete tear down before that engine comes back to life.

    Disassemble the heads and use wire brushes and what ever you can to clean the crust off. Maybe a local Radiator shop will let you soak the heads in their tank overnight to get them clean. Or if you're not in a hurry, buy about 6 bottles of concentrated lemon juice (real lemon juice, not artificial) and mix it with some water and leave the heads in it for about a week. They will come out bare metal. Make sure to keep track of the valves, springs, rockers pushrods and lifters so they go back in the same holes they came out of.
  15. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    Nothing Like Doing Step 1... Third!!!

    OK, with the valve covers off, the 289 heads confirmed, and the intake off, it was finally time to remove the spark plugs. Like I said I should have done this first, but no worries, how bad could it be?

    Removing the plugs revealed that 5 are one kind and 3 are a different kind. More importantly when I removed the #2 spark plug, water pored out of the hole like it was a faucet. Ditto for #5, see people's Exhibit A and B below.

    HYSTERIA CONTROL:
    Before you tell me what sort of pin head I am for not checking this first even before buying this car, know this, I have a good to go 302 motor and a C4 transmission sitting in my garage. When I bought this car I was just looking for a roller, a chassy to drop my motor into, but since it came with one, why not toy with it a bit, know what I mean Vern?

    And yes I put my Sharpie to good use, I label everything...


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  16. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    The Old Headers

    This is what the headers looked like when I removed them. They looked good, they felt good, then I tapped them on the garage floor, and well you can see for yourself what lurked inside, and the gaping holes in each one. I want to thank the previous owner, aka P.O. for being a gentleman and not tightening the manifold bolts like a gorilla but actually doing it right, they came right off, so thank you sir.

    Fortunately I own a set of used stock intake manifolds, and two different sets of long tube headers. All these sets I purchased at a swap meet last year for $20 bucks a set, SCORE. I am thinking Cherry Bomb glass packs out the side, Ol' School baby, Ol' School.


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  17. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    Well that Explains the H2O in the Title!


    Day after day, day after day,
    We stuck, nor turn nor motion;
    As idle as a painted block
    Upon a painted ocean.

    Water, water, everywhere,
    what the hell did I think;
    Water, water, everywhere,
    Nor any drop to drink.


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  18. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    Just trying to get ahead

    get it, get ahead, lol, anyway with this type of mess you have to have a sense of humor, so here are some pics of the heads the way they looked when they were removed off the engine - what's to like?

    on a positive note, the head gasket came right off nicely off of the passenger side head, the same can't be said of the driver side

    Note the stuck exhaust valve (smaller one) in the number 3 cylinder cavity (orange) thingie

    Well at least they weigh exactly the same, crud, rust, and all - 49.4 lbs

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  19. mustangmutt

    mustangmutt Member

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    That'll buff right out for sure. ;-)
  20. gregski

    gregski Active Member

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    Starting on the heads

    15 minutes later after a wire wheel and an electric drill and look at the two heads side by side, 15 minutes later!

    then I went on to clean the other head

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