Few engines have ever gone through the wide range of oilingsystem design changes the Ford FE has. All of the critical information follows in this chapter, which also includes some hot rodders’ tricks for improved lubrication.
Ford’s FE-series big-blocks went through the most extensive oiling system changes of any Ford engine ever made. Most evident was the 427, which underwent significant changes throughout its service life, leading to the sideoiler design of 1965.
The 332/352/360/361/390/406/410/ 428 didn’t change much except for the distinct differences between mechanical lifter and hydraulic lifter blocks. Hydraulic lifter blocks have twin oil galleries drilled the length of the block to supply the lifters. Mechanical lifter blocks have the bosses at each end of the block, but without the oil galleries.
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The FE oiling system is simple in scope, with a sump-positioned oil pump and pickup centered at the front of the pan. The oil pump is driven by the camshaft via a driveshaft tied into the distributor shaft.
The FE oiling system took on a distinct change in the 427. The 427 block came two ways: Top Oiler and Side Oiler. Most 427s were top oilers. Beginning in 1965, Ford’s concern over oil starvation at the main and rod bearings led engineers to the conception of a whole new 427 block casting called the Side Oiler. The Side Oiler had an additional oil gallery that ran down the left-hand side of the block, feeding bountiful amounts of oil to the main and rod bearings.
Oiling-system modifications for the FE are traditional hot-rod steps. Chamfering the crankshaft journal oil holes improves oil flow. Using a high-volume oil pump increases flow. High pressure isn’t always the answer. If you are maintaining 10 pounds of oil pressure for every 1,000 rpm, your engine should remain healthy. If you expect 7,500 rpm, then ensure your oiling system maintains 80 psi at high revs.
The 429/460 engine oiling system is similar to both the small-block and the Cleveland engine families. Oil is picked up from a front-sump oil pan via a camshaft-driven oil pump, vectored through a side-mounted oil filter (exactly like the small-block and Cleveland engines), where it travels to the main and cam bearings. Dual oil galleries feed the hydraulic lifters from the main bearings below. The oil-pressure sender pickup port is at the rear of the block, just like a Cleveland. There is also a front oil pressure sender port above the fuel pump.
Oiling-system modifications aren’t much different than you find with other Ford V-8 powerplants. If oil starvation is a concern with the 429/460, an external oil line can be run from the front sendingunit port to the rear sending unit port for increased flow at number-4 and -5 main journals. Oil starvation isn’t the problem on 429/460 engines that it is with the Cleveland, since this problem was taken into consideration in the 385-series design to begin with. Ford designed the problem out.
Written by George Reid and Republished with Permission of CarTech Inc
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