348 in a '33 Roadster

JED

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#1
I found this site looking for information on 348's as a possible alternative for my '33 Ford roadster build. As noted in some of the other forums, the information and people on this site have proved to be invaluable. I pulled the trigger on a '61 348 with the 8781147 heads and 3755011 block, purchased from Tom Kochtanek. After a marathon 17.5 hour drive last Tuesday (6/26/18) from west of San Antonio, TX to Tom's shop in Columbia, MO, I met with Tom, looked at his amazing collection of cars, engines and parts stashed in his "mancave" and loaded up the 348 for a more leisurely 2-day return trip to Boerne, TX. Everything went well and I arrived back at my shop on Thursday to unload the engine (photo enclosed).

I will provide more details on the build in upcoming posts if you-all are interested. I recognize that it is not a normal car build for this site, but I will need lots of help from all of you on the best way to build the 348 to meet my performance and budget goals. The car is a complete ground-up build of a '33 Ford full-fendered roadster with a Wescott fiberglass body and an aftermarket (TCI) chassis using a 9" Ford rear and a chrome straight axle. It will be a daily driver car with a traditional style (not a "rat-rod") and will be built for cruise and highway travel, not race. I am more interested in an engine with low end torque than high RPM horsepower. Currently, the car has a 9" Ford rear end with a 3.70:1 gear and a 29" tall 15" diameter rear tire. I also have a 700R4 transmission in the chassis which gives me a 3.06 1st gear and a 0.70 overdrive 4th gear. I am looking to finish out the car with a unique engine (the 348) that is reliable for daily duty (My '34 Plymouth coupe has a 350 SBC with a TH350 and a '57 Chevy rear end that I built in 1974. It has been driven across country twice and has about 75k miles on it. For a few years it was my only car.)

I am new to the W-engines, but have been building cars for many years. I hope to get assistance from the Forum members on how to build this 348 into a reliable cruiser. I have met two of the Forum members in person already and look forward to meeting and talking to more of you.

Thanks in advance for your help.
John Dewey, aka Texas John, aka "JED"
 

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Don Jacks

Well Seasoned Member
Supporting Member 3
#2
Congrats Jed.You have the makings for a fun,daily driver engine here.As we've discussed before,get a 409 crank,a set of rods and forged pistons.You can easily get around 400 hp that has really great low-mid range,and still gets decent mileage on the road.
 

JED

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#4
Don: I appreciate your input. I am hoping to keep the build a little more economical than building a stroker motor. Do you have any recommendations for a budget build? This is the engine that I believe you and Tom spoke about in an earlier post. The previous owner had put a high lift cam in it and kissed the pistons but didn't do serious damage. I have not yet taken it apart other than pulling the heads, but it looks like a solid block and heads. I was hoping to get away with replacing the pistons (cast if possible for cost reasons), valves, and put a new cam and matching springs in it. I am not looking for a high hp engine and it will probably never see 4000 rpm. I am hopeful of good low end torque and a 2000-2200 rpm at 70 mph cruise with the 700R4, a 3.70:1 gear and the 29"-30" tall tire. Also, I currently have a Rock Valley stainless gas tank for the '33 that has a factory-built, integral fuel injection pump and baffles. I was looking to use one of the FITech "4-bbl" style, self-learning fuel injection systems on the car in conjunction with this tank. It would give me the benefits of the FI but still keep the "old-style" carburetor appearance.
Do you have any suggestions for a budget build (e.g., pistons, cam, torque, cost, etc.) along this line or is it just wishful thinking on my part?

La Hot Rods: I don't know what the final weight will be but anticipate somewhere in the 2,500 - 2,700 lb range. The glass body uses a steel-reinforced structure and is pretty stout.
 

Don Jacks

Well Seasoned Member
Supporting Member 3
#5
OK,Fair enough.What are the casting numbers on the heads? I like the sound of your proposals.There are two cast piston choices from Show Cars,get the 10.5's,they cost the same.They also have a decently priced set of stainless valves in whatever size you'll need.A good little cam for what you want would be Show Cars part number 0950.I've never worked with FI Tech,but it will work with this little cam,and would be a good addition here.I do know that the torque curve on this package will be right down your alley.What are you planning for the exhaust?[PLEASE DON'T SAY MANIFOLDS:pray]
 

JED

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#6
Don:
I have been following your recommendations to others and appreciate you taking the time to help with my project. I have seen from other posts that you seem to prefer the "0950" ShowCars cam and I looked at it earlier. It looks good, but I was worried about the lift with the stock pistons. Because of that, I had wondered about the 10.5:1 cast pistons for the 348. They say they have pockets to provide valve/cam lift clearance that would support the "0950" cam. Are there any issues with going to the higher compression? I also see that you have also made comments about quench on some of the other builds, which is something I have never paid attention to with my SBC builds. If I go with the "0950" and the 10.5:1 cast pistons, do I need to do something special with the head gaskets?

The heads on this engine are the 8781147 castings, dated B1661. Regarding exhaust, I am afraid I will be somewhat restricted and can't run a long tube header. The frame rails and inner fenders on the '33 Roadster are only 25" wide which drives me to a Sanderson block hugger header to clear the frame rails and the driver's side steering box right below it (not shown).

Thanks again for your input and recommendations.
John
 

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Don Jacks

Well Seasoned Member
Supporting Member 3
#7
John,I sent you a pm.As to the lift figures that these folks talk about,lift figures by them selves are not the issue here as it pertains to piston/valve clearance.The thing to watch is duration at .050.A noted W engine builder,Curt Harvey noted that on a 9.5-1 348 the max.duration was 220.The 0950 is 218 in.224 exhaust,so with careful assembly there won't be any issues,but this is the biggest that will work without adding valve notches to the piston.The 10-5 with the intake valve notch would clear the bigger 0951 or 09952 cams,but they are too big for what you want.Those block huggers will work well with this little cam.Check out COMP CAMS website,look at their dyno sheet for the Extreme Energy 262 cam that they test in a generic small block.The curves in that engine will match pretty closely to what you can expect from a 348 with 10..5-1 pistons.The 0950 cam is an Exterme Energy 262 cam that's ground on a W engine cam blank.This cam makes excellent vacuum at an idle,will idle down to 650-700 rpm in drive,and works well with power brakes,steering and a/c.Yes I recommend it a lot because it works great in a small inch motor of around 350 inches.
 
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JED

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#8
Update:
I know it's not 348-engine related, but on Weds & Thursday (7/4-7/5) I put together the rear suspension on the roadster chassis so I can figure out the placement of the frame bracket for the rear panhard bar. The rear suspension is a Currie 9" Ford, 28-spline axle assembly (28-spline so I can swap center sections with my '66 Mustang if I want to do so), Viper rear coil-over shocks with 250 lb springs; a chrome 4-bar rear link suspension; a rear anti-roll bar (frame mounted torsion bar with links to the 4-bar axle brackets); and the rear panhard bar. Ran into a couple of problems that will be deferred until after I mount the body - specifically-is the axle in the right position or do I need to move it 1" forward. There are problems with both answers that will have to wait until I mount the body and rear fenders to confirm axle placement. Pictures enclosed.

Next up is to assemble the front axle (again). I had to take it apart earlier because the shipped parts were wrong. After that, I will hook up the 348 to the 700R4 and drop them into the chassis to work up exhaust, fuel, mounts, etc for the combo. More to come in the weeks ahead.

I also had a phone conversation with Don Jacks this morning. Wow! Don has incredible knowledge and insight into these engines. What's perhaps just as valuable is that he listens and make recommendations based upon how I will be using the engine and what my budget & performance desires are. Thank you, Don! I sincerely appreciate your input and will be working to put your suggestions to practical use as the build (and money) progresses.
 

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Don Jacks

Well Seasoned Member
Supporting Member 3
#9
This little engine,as you outlined it,should make a good,solid 350-360 hp by 54-5500,and 0ver 400 ft.lbs from 2500-4500 rpm.This thing will be a blast to drive with your planned trans.and rear gear package in a light roadster.
 

JED

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#10
Roadster Project Update:

Progress on the roadster continues. I have assembled the front suspension, but am working out some issues with interference between the brake rotors, caliper mounts and brake pads. I have figured out a couple of solutions and just need to talk to the manufacturers of the brake kit to see what is the best option. After I get that sorted out, I need to get the steering box mounted and connect the cross link bar.

Once I get the remaining front suspension issues sorted out, I will install the 348 I bought from Tom, along with the 700R4 trans, to sort out any fitment issues that may exist. I want to do that before I start working on building the 348.

I will probably not be working on the project for the next month. It has been over 100 degrees here (temperature - not heat index!) for the last few days (109 degrees yesterday!!!) and I also have some house tasks that are time sensitive and need to be taken care of before I get back to my "toys".
John
 

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Tom Kochtanek

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 9
#11
Texas John:

Good progress!

I get the notion of working on these types of projects when we have the time, seems those household tasks seem to queue up and then take priority :).

Cheers!
TomK
 

JED

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#13
Taking a break from the '33 Ford roadster, I decided I needed to get my '34 Plymouth coupe back on the street. It is a 350/TH350 car with a Mustang II front end and a '57 Chevy rear end that I originally built in 1974 (then with a Corvair front end). Although not technically a "barn find", it has been sitting in my garage and then my shop since 1997 (21 years!) after I broke the frame on a long road trip from San Antonio to Columbus, OH. I subsequently fixed the frame years ago, but never got around to getting the car running again. I have decided to put it back on the street and am going through the whole car to make certain everything is ok.

I am almost there (I hope), with only flushing the fuel system, replacing the battery, and then getting it inspected and re-licensed remaining to do. Friday, I decided to flush the cooling system and replace hoses, thermostat, etc. Again, the car has not run since 1997. I pulled the lower radiator hose and flushed from the radiator top. I first got green antifreeze and then clear water from the bottom radiator outlet but nothing from the water pump/engine side. When I pulled the thermostat housing and upper hose, I found this. The blockage consists of material that is like large grains of sand mixed with shiny bits of metal and it is all above the thermostat, into the housing and about 4" up the upper radiator hose. There was nothing below the thermostat in the intake manifold (the thermostat was closed). Flushing the engine was good with only clear water flowing well - and no material flowing. Apparently, there was a reaction between the antifreeze mix and the chromed aluminum thermostat housing. The photos show the blockage as well as the deterioration of the housing. I have never seen this condition before. I believe it all happened while the car was in "storage" as it never ran hot when I was driving it years ago. Any ideas on the cause/cure?

John

IMG_4080c.jpg IMG_5891c.jpg IMG_5892c.jpg IMG_5894c.jpg
 

Don Jacks

Well Seasoned Member
Supporting Member 3
#15
What James said as long as the heads and intake are cast iron.This is a chemical reaction that I've seen on numerous aluminum intakes.The cause is from not changing antifreeze often enough,and the anti corrision additives wear out,usually every 2-3 years depending on mileage driven.
 

JED

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#16
Thanks, guys.

The intake is also aluminum, but it appears that all of the coolant stayed above the closed thermostat and what was in the engine drained down into the block over time. When I pulled the thermostat, the intake area below it was dry. I guess that is what saved the intake. I have heard about putting a sacrificial anode in the cooling system. I guess the thermostat housing served that function.

Tomorrow, I move on to dropping the tank and seeing what 21-year old gasoline looks like. The good news is that I think the last gas put in the car (1997) was before the federal switch to ethanol blended gas.
 

JED

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#17
'33 Roadster Update:

After being diverted/distracted for a few months, I have been working on the '33 Roadster again for the last few weeks.

First on the list was to take the 348 apart and see what I have. Although I have not checked the engine for cracks, I have disassembled the block and taken measurements of everything. The crank is in really good shape, with little wear at all (on a '61 vintage crank). It will probably not require any work. The pistons are toast, but I expected that. Seven of them had serious intake valve impact damage. The connecting rod and main bearings are all standard sizing, so it looks like that will be okay. A couple of bearings have some wear, but nothing is spun and the crank mic'ed out ok. One of the pistons has a skirt that is seriously scored, but the cylinder walls look ok. I used a cylinder bore gage to check the cylinders, but I am not sure what the results of that effort revealed, because my readings are all over the place. If the block checks out (with no cracks), then it will probably need to be bored due to the inconsistent cylinder measurements, but I don't know how much. I will have to take it to a machine shop to get a good measurement reading before I order any new pistons (which was a known item when I purchased the engine). I have not done anything with the heads yet, but I know that the valves will have to be replaced due to their impact with the pistons plus the fact that they are the original valves (also known when I purchased the engine). I also plan to replace the valve springs, etc in the engine to match whatever cam is used (Don had given me good recommendations for this). I have no way to verify that the connecting rods are okay, so I will also have a machine shop check those when I get to that point.

Right now I am preserving the engine as it is with lots of oil coating and using the empty block, heads and intake to mock up the drivetrain in the Roadster. Today I installed the empty block into the '33 Roadster chassis and installed the heads, intake, valve covers & oil pan onto the block. I then installed the 700R4 trans onto the engine in the chassis. I need to mount the radiator (I purchased a new Walker radiator for the '33 over the Christmas holiday) to check clearances. Next on the list is to fabricate a transmission mount for the 700R4. I will also need to find some block-hugger headers that will clear the steering box mounted to the drivers side of the chassis (the one's I purchased from Tom dump directly into the steering box and will not work.) Once that is done, I can get the exhaust system built. I also will mount the fuel injection fuel tank (I already had one) in the next few weeks so I can run the fuel lines (feed & return) for the fuel injection system. After that is the task of dropping the body on the chassis to make certain I have firewall clearance and start running wiring. All of this have to be done before I blow the car apart and pull the engine and transmission to have them rebuilt.

Some progress photos are enclosed.
IMG 8823 is the engine rotating assembly; IMG 8820 is a view of the tops of the pistons & the cylinder head; IMG 8830 is the scored #3 piston; IMG 8831 is the view of the tops of pistons #2 thru 8); IMG's 8837 thru 8858 during the installation into the chassis.

IMG_8823.JPG IMG_8820.JPG IMG_8830.JPG IMG_8831.JPG IMG_8837.JPG IMG_8840.JPG IMG_8849.JPG IMG_8856.JPG IMG_8858.JPG
 
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