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  #1  
Old 06-18-2014, 06:35 PM
chris58 chris58 is offline
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Default 58 tbird camshaft

Gday guys, I'm pretty new to the whole Tbird/Ford game. I'm in the process of restoring my 58 and am now looking at rebuilding the engine. Now being from Australia it's probably a little more tricky so I need to be spot on with what parts I purchase. First thing I'm stuck on is the camshaft, after looking through the web I've been unable to figure out what type I would have, ie solid or hydraulic. The car is a March 19 build with original 352 engine.
Thanks in advance.
Chris.
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2014, 07:31 PM
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simplyconnected simplyconnected is offline
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Aside from the heads, your camshaft sets the stage for the type of service an engine will deliver. To answer your question, I need to know what you are looking for.
  • How long do you plan on keeping this car?
  • Is this car a daily driver?
  • Are you looking for high performance?
  • Are you looking for longevity?
  • Do you care about how the exhaust 'speaks'?
  • Long trips, cruises or garage/trailer queen?
  • Do you want to keep the car pure stock, upgrade some features or retrofit so your family is safe among modern cars on fast highways?

Now let's talk about you...
  • Do you wrench, or pay a mechanic?
  • Do you belong to a car club?
  • Stereo or mono?

Owning a classic car can be a money pit. Squarebirds were designed and built to standards that are fifty years old. Everything has changed including:
  • Fuel
  • tires
  • seat belts
  • disk brakes
  • Motor oil formulation, and a host of optional accessories that didn't exist back then like electric radiator fans, 100-amp alternators, etc.

Before you start into this, you need to be sure you know what you want. Everyone is different and I cannot tell you what you like or don't like. I would sure hate to see you spend money for things you really didn't want, but sometimes that happens because you didn't 'know' about conditions or products before hand.

If you set your sights on a certain dream, see it to the end and enjoy your passion. - Dave
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  #3  
Old 06-18-2014, 07:54 PM
chris58 chris58 is offline
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Sorry I probably worded the question wrong. I understand all the above. Basically I'm really just looking for a basic cam which won't require a ton of compression or large stall and maybe a little bit of an aggressive idle. The car will be a keeper, just a cruiser basically. Ill leave my other car as the toy lol.
I've rebuilt a couple of stock engines over the years but usually leave the more modified stuff to the pro's
This being the 3rd car I've built I've got a reasonable grasp on the other stuff, but this is the first Ford I've touched so there are certain thing I need to come to grips with.
I've been looking on line at rebuild kits, cam kits etc but I'm actually really unsure on whether the engine is a hydraulic or solid canned engine.
The engine is still in car atm but will be out shortly.
Thanks Chris.
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  #4  
Old 06-18-2014, 08:33 PM
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simplyconnected simplyconnected is offline
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Ok Chris, I have somewhat of an idea. If this engine is coming out, I assume you want to overhaul it with new pistons, right?

If so, I suggest you leave the 352 the way it is and buy a 1963 (or newer) 390. 390s were put in just about every Ford car, truck, marine, construction equipment, etc. They are in very good supply over here. Because we have so many, the parts are actually cheaper than 352 parts. Looking at both from the outside, you really cannot tell the difference.

1958 was a very early FE engine. Since then, Ford made a lot of changes. Consequently, the early stuff isn't supported by the aftermarket because everyone went to the '62 and newer FEs.

If you are familiar with most of the speed shops (summitracing.com or jegs.com) look at their cams, for example, and see which ones are reasonably prices and available. Same for pistons. Now, check out true roller timing chains for a '58 and a '62. Remember, these are the same FE engines.

Being the same FEs, you can swap your water pump, fuel pump, all the 'final dress' parts, rocker shafts and covers, etc. Yes, intake and exhaust manifolds as well as heads, swap.

I strongly suggest you spend some serious money on aluminum heads and intake manifold, and get a hydraulic roller cam. Why? Because aluminum allows higher compression (if you want), it gets rid of heat faster, and it's worth a lot more if you sell it as used. BTW, it's lighter.

Edelbrock makes aluminum FE heads for the 390/427, but not for the 352. The performer RPM heads include hardened valve seats, stainless valves, bronze guides, Viton seals and helicoil-ed tapped holes. They are well worth the money, and will prevent your engine from overheating (a problem with cast iron heads). A roller cam will allow you to use regular oil with no ZDDP additive (like modern cars). I suggest you get a 260 grind and advance your distributor 36 degrees total at 2,500 rpm (and above).

If you like adjusting lifters, you could buy a solid lifter cam, but I don't suggest it. Hydraulic lifters do a great job and you can use your stock rocker arm assemblies.

Check out my (latest project) 390 build, below. This one is going to Perth. - Dave
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:46 PM
chris58 chris58 is offline
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How readily available are 390s in Australia. What sort of dollars is something like that worth.
Thanks.
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  #6  
Old 06-18-2014, 10:51 PM
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Well, since this is a used engine and you intend on rebuilding it, look for a tired but good short block. You want the crank, rods and block. Everything else can come off your 352 or you can buy new, like an oil pump, pistons, rings, bearings, timing set, etc.

We have Craig's List over here for folks who want to sell used but good stuff. In your situation, I would have a local machine shop check the casting before shipping it across the Pacific.

Old tired engines over here are worth a few hundred dollars. If you can find some guy who pulled it out of his truck and it still has the C6 trans bolted on, that's even a better deal. Remember, you're buying with the intention of rebuilding, not for saving money. When you're done, this should be a brand new engine that will last a very long time. - Dave
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CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

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  #7  
Old 06-19-2014, 05:34 AM
hunty hunty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris58 View Post
How readily available are 390s in Australia. What sort of dollars is something like that worth.
Thanks.
Hi mate this is exactly what I'm going though now, there's a place called easypower has a rebuildable 390 for $1200-$1400 and there's another guy called john who wrecks thunderbirds on eBay he's got a few ranging from $600-$2200 for a running one
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:10 AM
chris58 chris58 is offline
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Thanks mate, have you got any contact details for these people. What's a rough price for a good runner over here.
Thanks Chris.
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:17 AM
hunty hunty is offline
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Yep the eBay guy is John 0438 008 390 and easy power are at 19 Capital Link Dr, Campbellfield VIC 3061
(03) 9357 7344
I'm not sure if John had a runner but easypower had 5-6 engines, one was a runner(didn't say if it was good lol) said he wanted $2200 for the running one and $1200-$1400 for a complete one, that was rebuildable
Thats just two out of about 5 or 6 people I rang, apparently these engines are "too old and nobody wants them" so not a lot of guys buy them from the states anymore. which means the ones that are here are big $$$$$
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  #10  
Old 06-19-2014, 12:17 PM
Yadkin Yadkin is offline
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Chris, I suggest that you buy a book written by Barry Rabotnik called "How to build max performance Ford FE engines" and pay attention to the chapter on oiling. Some of the early FEs had low oil pressure issues that can be easily solved.

On my 390 build I purchased a mild hydraulic roller cam for pretty much he same goal as you stated. I get a smooth idle with just a little bit of rump-de-bump. The roller assemblies allows me to run modern oil without worrying about the zinc issue. Since the lifters are taller than stock I also used adjustable roller tipped rocker arms and custom length pushrods.

The pushrod length has to be measured after head assembly and then ordered. There are companies that make them up and ship them out to you the same day for about $130 so it's not a huge issue.
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