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    Engine rebuild advice

    Chasing a water leak, via a weeping freeze plug, took the clutch off and discovered a leaking, badly welded 3" crack on the back of the block.

    Ouch.

    The block is a correct (for the car) 1965 289cui, virgin bores and otherwise seems in good condition. At some point the heads and intake have been replaced with 1966 4bb 289 parts (the car is a c-code) but otherwise stock.

    So... any thoughts on which direction to go? Repair the block (laser weld? Stitching?) and rebuild, or drop in a crate engine? Does anyone in the UK do good crate 289s?

    It's a long-term car so resale isn't a priority although I am increasingly returning the car to period-correct when opportunities arise.

    Many thanks!

    Chris
    1965 C-Code Fastback, 4 speed toploader. Arrived in 2010 with: Hurst shifter, non-power discs all round, some hideous mistakes which have since been reversed. Added since: Koni Classics, Flaming River steering box, Pertronix ignition/coil, Edelbrock 600cfm, ceramic headers & s/s pipes, aluminium radiator, headlight loom and 3-point front belts.

    #2
    Someone with more knowledge may come along, but for me I would not pump money into a cracked engine block, so find another and have it rebuilt of stick a 302 crate engine in.
    Current Mustang Red 1965 Coupe - Previous Mustangs 2008 S197, 1965 Coupe

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      #3
      The 289 is a rare engine to replace now. If you go for a crate engine it will likely be a 302. It depends on how much you value originality. There are a few people around the country who could repair the crack so I would investigate the likely costs of doing that. i would also measure the bores and check if the block has ever been bored. These engines don't really like being bored more than 40thou over. If the bores, crank and cam all look good then you can balance the cost of the crack repair against a crate engine. If there is obvious stuff that needs doing, then the balance point shifts in favour of a new engine. Back in the 90's the valve stems on my engine (289) had worn down so that the rocker rails were touching the spring keeper plates. I investigated the cost of new valves, hardened seats, new guide inserts and a bit of porting. I ended up buying new iron GT40 heads from the USA as it was cheaper.
      Allan

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        #4
        Thanks for the replies, very helpful. The bores are original but the bearings look like new - it must have been rebuilt at some point (I've had the car a decade). I haven't got to the crank and cam yet.
        ​​​​​
        I expect the repair and rebuild will come out more expensive than a crate stock 302. I have an irrational preference for a 289 over 302 in a 65 fastback but I am interested in whether others share this view.

        I have found good 289 blocks remarkably hard to find, I guess they are all sitting in kit cars and workshops!
        1965 C-Code Fastback, 4 speed toploader. Arrived in 2010 with: Hurst shifter, non-power discs all round, some hideous mistakes which have since been reversed. Added since: Koni Classics, Flaming River steering box, Pertronix ignition/coil, Edelbrock 600cfm, ceramic headers & s/s pipes, aluminium radiator, headlight loom and 3-point front belts.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Cjrw1981 View Post
          Thanks for the replies, very helpful. The bores are original but the bearings look like new - it must have been rebuilt at some point (I've had the car a decade). I haven't got to the crank and cam yet.
          ​​​​​
          I expect the repair and rebuild will come out more expensive than a crate stock 302. I have an irrational preference for a 289 over 302 in a 65 fastback but I am interested in whether others share this view.

          I have found good 289 blocks remarkably hard to find, I guess they are all sitting in kit cars and workshops!
          I tried to find another 289 back in the 90's but was not successful. I had plans to rebuild the engine whilst mine was still running in the car. The engine block in my car was cast in 1968 whilst the car is a 65, so it's been changed. This said when putting new heads on it I checked the stroke, and it is a 289 so I guess my engine is a bitser as I am sure in 1968 engines were 302.

          One thing I was told by an engine shop in the USA was that these small block Fords don't like to be bored out more than 40 thou and if bored to 60thou can tend to overheat so it is really important if you find an engine to check this. I guess a lot of them have had a rebuild by now so unless they have good bores, they are not a good prospect.

          As you also say the cost of machining and building engines is now getting very expensive. I guess also, if you turn up with a yank V8 there will be the sharp intake of breath and another few hundred stuck on the bill.
          Allan

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            #6
            My April '68 fastback was originally a 289 - the switch to 302 came later that year. 289s are getting very rare now. You can tell a 289 from a 302 by the land at the back of the inlet manifold. Unfortunately you missed my clear-out - I had 6 6-bolt blocks and 4 5-bolt blocks, but they all went in the summer.
            I'd investigate repair if the rest of the block is in good condition. Back in 1984 I had frost damage cracks welded in my Sunbeam Tiger's 260 block, which is still going strong as far as I know. There are more specialists these days who can do a good job of this. Some advertise in the classic mags, but if you ask your machine shop they'll know. Crate motors are probably not so cheap at the moment, with the dollar strong against the pound.

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