With the engine out of the car, the time for disassembly has finally arrived. Once again, proper planning and preparation will make the task go much smoother. SAFETY FIRST! Getting your engine securely bolted to a good quality engine stand in a clean, well-lit area of your workspace is of the utmost importance. Remember, even a small-block V-8 engine weighs several hundred pounds, and the 429/460 weighs more than 700 lbs.
Set up your work area to accommodate the numerous parts that make up your engine and make sure you have ample containers, tags, etc. to store and keep track of the hardware for each component. Keeping your fasteners in order now will pay dividends in the form of time savings when it comes time to put the engine back together.
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Step-1: Remove Flywheel/Flexplate (Professional Mechanic Tip, Important!)
With the engine out of the car and apart from the transmission, the first step before bolting it to the engine stand is to remove the flywheel/flex plate. Since the bolt pattern at the back of the crankshaft on Ford engines is asymmetrical, I use a punch to mark the flywheel, its retaining ring, and the flange of the crankshaft to avoid the painstaking process of attempting to line up the bolt holes during reassembly. This is the time to closely examine the teeth on the flywheel, which are engaged by the starter drive, for damage or wear. It is much easier and far less expensive to replace that damaged flywheel now than after the engine is back in the car.
Note: If for any reason the crankshaft is to be replaced, it should be noted that 385 series Ford engines use two different-size pilot bearings. Early production crankshafts feature the large pilot, as found in the FE series engines, while the later versions match the small-block series engines. In the case of cars equipped with automatic transmissions, replacing an early crankshaft with a later version, and vice versa, could create a mismatch with the torque converter.
A good, sturdy engine stand is a must for safety’s sake (remember the Lima series Ford engines weigh in excess of 700 lbs). Using an engine stand such as the one pictured will allow you to rotate the engine as needed and make the tasks of disassembly and assembly much easier. Note that I have spread a plastic tarp to catch any residual fluids draining from the block in order to keep my work area clean.
Step-2: Remove Distributor
It is important to note the routing of all vacuum hoses that remain connected prior to disassembling the engine. I personally prefer to rely on a clear, concise photograph as well as a hand-drawn diagram for reference during reassembly. Once routing has been mapped, the hoses should be removed and carefully examined for damage and defects caused by age, wear, and exposure to under-hood heat. To remove the distributor, unbolt the hold-down clamp at the base and rotate the distributor back and forth several times before attempting to lift it from the block. A good soaking with penetrating oil may be required along with some leverage. If leverage is required to break the distributor free, take care not to pry against the vacuum advance mechanism. With the distributor out of the way, the thermostat housing and thermostat can be removed. Unless you have recently installed a new thermostat, the one being removed should be discarded to avoid any potential problems.
Step-3: Remove Bypass Hose
The intake manifold and water pump are connected via a short bypass hose. After you remove the clamps, if the hose is stuck in place, a cut from a razor knife will aid greatly in its removal. In this particular application, the screw-type hose clamps will be replaced with the correct tower clamps on reassembly.
Step-4: Examine Mounts (Critical Inspection)
It’s time to remove the engine mount insulators. Take the time to carefully examine the condition of the rubber insulators and attaching hardware, particularly the left (driverside) mount, which takes most of the torque during acceleration.
Step-5: Detach Engine Mount Brackets
The engine mount brackets are attached to the block via three bolts, one of which cannot be accessed until the insulator has been removed. Engine mount brackets are marked right and left.
Step-6: Remove Exhaust Manifold (Critical Inspection)
The 429 Cobra Jet exhaust manifolds are rare and valuable. Great care needs to be taken when removing the exhaust manifold bolts from the cylinder heads. A generous application of penetrating oil and at times the heat from a small torch may be required to extract these bolts. The areas surrounding the bolt holes should be carefully examined for cracks. If small cracks are found, a competent welder may be able to repair them and save you some money.
The exhaust manifolds will be treated to a cleaning in the blasting cabinet and then coated with a commercial ceramic product that will keep them looking new for years.
Step-7: Remove Intake Manifold Bolts
Once the thermostat housing/upper water outlet has been removed, you will have access to the bolt and nut located at the right front corner of the intake manifold. These, along with the remaining intake manifold bolts, may now be replaced and set aside for inspection, cleaning, or replacement as necessary.
Step-8: Remove Stubborn Bolts (Special Tool)
Years of moist debris being allowed to collect on this intake manifold has caused several of the vertical bolts to deteriorate to a point where a conventional wrench or socket will no longer grip their heads. Here, after a thorough soaking with a penetrating product, we utilize a Craftsman Bolt Out socket to remove the rounded off bolts. These bolts will obviously need replacement before the engine is reassembled. Care must be taken to utilize the correct length and strength-rated fasteners during replacement. Once the bolts have been removed, some persuasion with a small pry bar will help break the intake loose from the gaskets that seal it to the cylinder heads and block.
Step-9: Store Manifold Bolts
An old coffee container now serves as temporary residence for the intake manifold bolts. Properly labeling and storing your engine hardware will ease the assembly process later.
Step-10: Handle Rare Parts with Care
Engines equipped with the Rochester carburetor have this manifold-mounted thermostatic choke stove. These parts are extremely rare and need to be removed from the intake and cleaned very carefully. Automatic and 4-speed equipped 429 Cobra Jet engines use different part number choke stoves, adding to the rarity of these parts.
Step-11: Note Casting Number
The D0OE casting number and date code on our 429 Cobra Jet intake manifold are a bit hard to read after years of neglect, but a future date with the media blasting cabinet will correct that.
This close-up shows the spread-bore design used on the 429 Cobra Jet intake manifold to accommodate the Rochester 4-barrel carburetor. Some Ford engines also mounted an Autolite carburetor that required a similar layout. With the intake manifold removed from the engine you can work at removing external accessories such as the choke stove, water temperature sender, and vacuum ports prior to cleaning.
Step-12: Rebuild Carburetor
The 429 Cobra Jet-specific carburetor will now go off to a professional for rebuilding. Never reinstall a carburetor that is in any way not up to par on a newly rebuilt engine.
Step-13: Note Location of Oil Pressure Switch
Since this engine came from a specially modified 1970 Torino NASCAR pace car, it features a unique fitting at the back of the block for both a mechanical oil pressure gauge and the standard instrument cluster warning light. On standard production versions of the Lima series, the oil pressure switch is threaded directly into the block.
Step-14: Remove Oil Pressure Switch (Special Tool)
Use a socket designed specifically for removing the fragile pressure switch when loosening it from the brass fitting.
Step-15: Remove Fuel Pump
The fuel pump is attached to the timing case cover via two bolts. Once you have removed the pump, check the arm that contacts the camshaft-driven eccentric for signs of excessive wear and the body of the pump for any signs of leakage.
Step-16: Remove Water Pump
The water pump on Lima series engines is mounted with 11 bolts (be sure to check them carefully for corrosion and replace as necessary) and has a plate that separates it from the timing cover. Due to its age and high mileage, this pump will be sent out to be rebuilt before the engine is reassembled.
Step-17: Loosen Damper Bolt
To access the timing cover, you will first have to remove the accessory drive pulley and vibration damper. Four bolts retain the pulley, and the large bolt with washer in the center holds the damper to the crankshaft. A breaker bar and some muscle will be required to break the damper bolt loose.
Step-18: Tap Accessory Drive Pulley From Damper
Once all the bolts have been removed, you will be able to tap the accessory drive pulley from the damper. Use a soft mallet to avoid damaging the belt grooves in the pulley.
Step-19: Use Puller (Special Tool)
You’ll need a puller to remove the damper from the crankshaft. These universal tools come with various thread bolts and an adapter fitting that fits into the bolt hole at the front of the crankshaft without ausing damage. Do not try to beat the damper off with a hammer!
Step-20: Remove Damper
With the puller secured to the damper, turn the threaded rod clockwise and the damper will slide off its keyway in the crankshaft. Be sure to examine the key that fits in the groove and keep it in a safe place.
Step-21: Remove Timing Cover
You can now unbolt the timing case cover from the front of the block allowing access to the timing chain and gears. The cover is cast from aluminum and care should be exercised to avoid damage when breaking it free from the block. If you have already done so, the oil dipstick needs to be removed before you attempt to dislodge the cover. Don’t forget to remove the bolts in the front of the oil pan that seal it to the bottom of the timing cover before you begin prying, as the arrows in the next photo indicate.
Step-22: Remove Oil Slinger and Bottom Timing Gear
The oil slinger (flat plate on the snout of the crankshaft) can now slide off over the key. The bottom timing gear is also keyed to the crankshaft and will slide off once you remove the bolt at the center of the fuel pump eccentric. This, along with a roll pin, holds the top gear to the camshaft.
Step-23: Remove Timing Chain
The presence of an OE-type plastic-toothed top gear and the amount of free play in this timing chain indicate that this engine has survived many years with original parts. Chain and gears will be replaced with a matched set, while the fuel pump eccentric and oil slinger will be cleaned and reused.
Step-24: Remove Rocker Arms
The 429 Cobra Jet utilizes fulcrum-style rocker arms that are retained on individual studs in the cylinder heads via locking nuts. Other Lima series engines have a rail-style rocker arm assembly that bolts directly to the head. If these parts are to be reused, they need to be kept in correct order.
Step-25: Store Rocker Arms (Professional Mechanic Tip)
A simple method I use to keep the rocker arms and fulcrums in order is to string them on a wire coat hanger. Be sure to note the engine bank (right or left) and front to back when stringing.
Step-26: Note Guide Plates
The 429 Cobra Jet uses pushrod guide plates fitted to the cylinder heads via the screw-in studs that mount the rocker arms.
Step-27: Store Pushrods (Professional Mechanic Tip)
Keep track of the pushrods using a piece of cardboard with 16 holes punched in it to help you. Rolling the pushrods on a flat, even surface is a simple and proven method for checking straightness.
Step-28: Remove Lifters
Accumulated sludge may make it difficult to remove some hydraulic lifters from their bores, but penetrating oil will help loosen them. The large round casting holes in the block will allow you to get a finger on them. I have also found that a pair of duckbill pliers to be helpful in removing stubborn lifters.
Step-29: Store Lifters
I have retained an old lifter box as a handy way to keep lifters that may be reused in their correct order. As with the rocker arms and pushrods, be sure to mark the bank and front/back order on the box for future reference. As a general rule, lifters should only be reused in cases where they are removed from an engine with relatively low mileage and when they, and the camshaft lobes, show no signs of wear. You should never reuse lifters that have become mixed up and can no longer be matched to their previously mated camshaft lobe they were removed from.
Step-30: Remove Cylinder Heads (Professional Mechanic Tip)
Once the intake manifold and valvetrain are out of the way, you can remove the cylinder heads. A fair amount of muscle and a good 1/2-inch breaker bar with extension will be required to loosen the head bolts. Leave one of the lower bolts partially threaded into the block while prying the head from its dowels to avoid having it jump off suddenly. Lima series cylinder heads are heavy!
Step-31: Inspect Head Gaskets and Cylinders
In many cases, once the cylinder heads are removed, you are able to examine the head gaskets for signs of leakage. However, in this instance, the original head gaskets came off in pieces after being on the engine for 38 years. This is also the time to check the top of the cylinders for a ridge created by wear or built carbon deposits. If your block does have a ridge, use a ridge reaming tool (available through many good auto parts stores) to break it down before you attempt to remove the pistons.
Step-32: Remove Camshaft
To remove the camshaft from the block, pry it forward slightly through one of the lifter bores and then grasp the front bearing journal and slide it out carefully, feeding each journal through the successive cam bearing in the block.
Step-33: Inspect Camshaft
If you intend to reuse the camshaft, you should first determine it to be a viable candidate. Bearing surfaces and lobes need to be examined for signs of wear or damage. It is obvious from the scoring on the lobes that this cam has seen better days and will need to be replaced.
Step-34: Remove Oil Pan
It’s time to get the oil pan off the engine and it’s not a bad idea to use a speed wrench and extension to hasten the process. A peek inside this pan reveals the standard Cobra Jet baffle and not too much foreign material. The round holes at the bottom and side of the pan allow oil into the special “wings” welded onto this special NASCAR pace car pan.
Step-35: Remove Oil Pump
The oil pump is held to the block by two bolts that are best accessed with a boxwrench. With the bolts out, drop the pump straight down, as the drive rod will remain in place and needs to clear the lower end of the block. Also be aware that some residual oil will remain in the pump and needs to be drained off.
Step-36: Inspect Oil Passage/Pump Mating Surface
Looking at the oil passage and oil pump mating surface of the block reveals the small size and sharp edges of the opening. This passage will be enlarged and chamfered to aid lubrication.
Step-37: Prepare to Remove Rods and Pistons (Special Tool)
Once the oil pan and pump are off the engine, it’s time to remove the connecting rods and pistons from the block. First check to make sure that each connecting rod and cap were stamped with numbers at the factory. You will find the numbers on the “outside” of the connecting rod and cap (facing away from the crankshaft throw toward the oil pan rail on each side of the block). The number on the rod and cap should correspond with the number of the cylinder in which they are installed. Then you’ll need to properly position the short block on the engine stand in order to remove the rods and pistons. I prefer rotating the engine to 45 degrees and then aligning the crankshaft to remove the first rod and piston assembly. You can use a specialized crank rotator socket such as the one pictured here to rotate the crankshaft. These are available from many performance parts outlets.
Step-38: Rotate the Crank
The tried and proven method for rotating the crank without special tools is to thread two old flywheel bolts into the flange at the back of the crank as shown and use a suitable prying tool as a lever.
Step-39: Remove Pistons
In order to remove the piston and rod from its cylinder, you’ll first need to remove the two nuts from the rod bolts and tap the cap slightly to loosen it. With the cap removed, slide bolt protectors such as those in this photo (two cut lengths of fuel hose will suffice) onto the exposed connecting rod bolts to protect the crankshaft from damage as you remove the rod and piston.
The pistons removed from this engine leave little doubt as to which application they were intended for. Note that they are also marked according to which bank they were to be installed. These high-mileage pistons will be replaced with new pistons to take advantage of the technological advances made over the decades since this 429-ci was first assembled.
Step-40: Remove Connecting Rods
I prefer to use the time-honored wooden hammer handle method to push the connecting rod and piston up out of the bore. Pushing against the pin boss (flat, thick surface) of this piston will provide the most leverage, and the wooden handle of the hammer will not damage the exposed crankshaft journal. Don’t be concerned if the top half of the connecting rod bearing falls free from the rod as you push the assembly out of the bore.
Step-41: Continue Removal
When pushing the connecting rod assemblies from their bores in the block, be sure to have a free hand available to keep them from falling to the floor. Proper positioning of the shortblock on the engine stand will aid you here.
Step-42: Store Parts Properly
One down and seven more to go—but don’t get ahead of yourself here. Be sure to mate the previously removed connecting rod and cap. A good method for arranging your rods and pistons is to use a plastic 2-liter soda bottle carrier. See if you can pick up a free carrier at your local convenience store or supermarket. Check the crankshaft alignment before attempting to remove the next rod and piston.
Step-43: Inspect Pistons
There is very little doubt as to the application this piston was designed for and also which engine bank it fit into. Lima series engines, with the exception of the 429 Super Cobra Jet, came equipped with cast aluminum pistons.
Step-44: Inspect Rods (Performance Tip)
The 429 Cobra Jet connecting rods feature 9/16-inch bolts with football-shaped heads and are known to be very strong. If you’re considering upgrading the performance of your standard Lima series engine, 460 truck rods, which utilize the same style of bolt, are a less expensive alternative to Cobra Jet rods and are beefy enough to get the job done.
Step-45: Properly Label Main Bearing Caps
Note that the main bearing caps are numbered and have a directional arrow cast in. The cap is to be installed with the arrow pointing toward the front of the block. If, for any reason, your main caps are not already marked, you should do so before you remove them.
Step-46: Remove Main Bearing Bolts
A socket, a 1/2-inch breaker bar, and some muscle are used to free the bolts holding the main bearing caps to the block. Once the bolts are broken free, they should almost thread out by hand.
Step-47: Remove Main Bearing Caps
The main bearing caps must fit snugly into their registers in the block (for good reason) and will probably need to be tapped from each side to loosen them for removal. I prefer a plastic mallet over other means to tap the caps loose.
Step-48: Remove Crankshaft
Once you’ve removed all the main bearing caps from the block, you can lift the crankshaft free of its saddles. Be aware that 385 engine series crankshaft forgings are by no means lightweight. Don’t store your crankshaft standing up, as you wouldn’t want it to fall and get damaged or damage your toes.
Step-49: Note Any Anomalies
With the crankshaft removed and the top portion of the main bearing inserts still in their saddles, you can see the mismatch between the oil passage in the block and the bearing. For this reason, simple modifications to the oiling system will go a long way toward improving the longevity of your engine. We’ll address the correction of this issue a little later on in our rebuild.
Step-50: Inspect Freeze Plugs
It looks like this freeze plug didn’t have a single season left when the car that our engine came from was finally parked. Remove the freeze plugs and all other core plugs from the block in order for it to be thoroughly cleaned.
Step-51: Remove Freeze Plugs
To remove the freeze plugs from the block, use a hammer and punch to strike one outside edge to rotate the plug in its bore and then grab it with a pair of water pump pliers to pull it out. Striking the plug in the center may merely punch a hole in it or force it into the water jacket, making it even harder to remove.
Step-52: Remove Threaded Core Plugs
It’s also important to remove all the threaded core plugs from the cylinder block prior to cleaning. Note that the Lima series engines utilize two distinctly different threaded plugs. A standard hex wrench will most likely not be sufficient to remove these plugs and in some cases you have to apply heat in order to loosen them. In this case, a hex socket, extension, and 3/8-inch ratchet get the job done. In worst-case scenarios, some threaded core plugs may have to drilled in order to get them out. I prefer to use drill bits in graduated sizes until the plug can be collapsed and removed easily.
Step-53: Remove Oil Passage Plug
Be sure to remove the threaded plug from the oil passage at the front of the block next to the camshaft gallery. This plug is easily overlooked but it can cause a problem if it’s not removed before block cleaning.
Step-54: Cylinder Head Disassembly
The cylinder heads are now ready for disassembly, cleaning, inspection, and machine work. At first glance, they don’t look too bad. There are no obvious burnt valves or other apparent issues.
Step-55: Compress Valvesprings
A pneumatic valvespring compressor compresses the valvespring to remove the keepers. This allows the valve to be removed from the head.
Step-56: Mechanical Valvespring Compressor (Save Money)
Here is an example of an economy mechanical valvespring compressor often found in the home shop. While this type of compressor is more time consuming than other types, particularly the pneumatic style, it gets the job done.
This is also a good time to replace any damaged, stripped, or overly rusted nuts and bolts, taking care to obtain fasteners with the exact thread pitch, dimensions, and hardness ratings (where applicable). Companies such as AMK Products in Winchester, Virginia, and the Gardner-Westcott Co. of Northville, Michigan, are excellent sources of high-quality engine hardware that matches OE nuts and bolts exactly. Have your still or video camera handy to provide a record of how things came apart and you will find them much easier to reassemble later on.
Written by Charles R. Morris and Republished with Permission of CarTech Inc
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