Grandpa's Flathead

My grandfather died a number of years ago at the age of 94. One of the things he left behind was a '53 Ford pickup truck which I believe he purchased new. Some of my relatives drove the truck after his death, but they said it lost power to the point that it wouldn't start without towing and it wouldn't climb a hill. They pulled the engine and left it in a field on top of a hill which had become a repository for unused equipment. Every farm has one of these, you know.

I lost touch with that branch of the family until a few years ago. That's when I learned that grandpa's flathead was up on the hill at my uncle's place. It took me a couple of more years to actually retrieve it.

As you might imagine, time in the great outdoors had taken its toll. Even though a hubcap had been placed over the carburetor, at some time the hubcap disappeared. The draft tube had been knocked aside as well, so water could enter by two routes. By the time I got it, the crankcase had more water in it than oil and there was a freeze crack on one head. The freeze crack on the head struck me as odd because it would be unusual for enough water to accumulate clear up to the heads in a block whose water passages were open at the bottom. Maybe grandpa's flathead died from not enough antifreeze.

Undaunted, I decided to charge forward if for no other reason than to see what was inside and to document the tear down. Besides, several questions had recently come up on the Classic Car web site flathead forum which had turned the 8RT into something of a featured engine.

8RT is the designation Ford gave to 239 ci engines used in trucks from 1948 until 1953. It was essentially an 8BA or EAB in truck clothing. Every 8BA/EAB/8RT intake manifold I have ever seen is exactly the same as far as I can tell, and has the letters "8BA 8RT" cast into its top surface. It uses a standard Ford three bolt Holley 94 type carburetor.

Check back later. There is more to come.