48 ford f1 with Flathead

My Feller has a saying:

“Nobody ever listens to old Brian!”

In this case? He was right.

I should have listened.

When I bought my ’48 Ford in 2006, the truck had a barely running mid-50s OHV6–not the coolest motor.

Bringing her home, July 2006

For Christmas that same year, Brian surprised me with a flathead, an early 50s Mercury block–that’s right, a stroker flathead!

The flathead!!

It took a few years to sort everything out, and then finally, in 2009, Bondorella became roadworthy.

Mooneyes Christmas Show

I had never driven a flathead, and had no idea what to expect, nor did Brian, but he knows engines, and knew enough to know this one never sounded right and ran too rough. He questioned me often about valve adjustments, but everything I read said valve adjusting with a flathead isn’t a regular maintenance thing like it is with other engines. You set it, and leave it alone.

FIRST show as Bondorella at Gene Winfield’s

And besides… I had a fresh engine! How could it not be right? So yeah… I didn’t listen to my feller.

Over the years, I checked around, trying to find a flathead tuner so I could maximize the performance. Seems many want to build them, but no one wants to tune them.

Fast forward to 2015.

Bondorella needed some TLC.

I called our friend Tim of Southland Marine, a great all around mechanic, and asked if he could give my truck a thorough check up, even though he wasn’t a “flathead guy.”

Well… turns out, ole Brian was right.

The valves were terribly out of adjustment, possibly mal-adjusted from the start which resulted in having to replace lifters and springs, some of which were bent.

Cam was okay, and so were the valves, but it wasn’t a cheap fix by any means.

But the engine is at last right.

Tim gave my flathead a smoothness and power she hasn’t had in the time I’ve owned her. Many thanks, Tim, for showing me every step along the way, keeping me involved, and for making my girl run so great.

I’ve been hesitant to write this, because my intention isn’t to point fingers, but part of the reason behind my blogging is to have a written account of my journey with my truck, and this is part of the journey–a significant part, because a lesson was learned, but more importantly, my truck runs like a dream for the first time since I’ve owned her. I got a bit misty when I drove away, knowing this was how the engine was supposed to be all along.

Guess in the future I should “listen to old Brian.”

Until next time…

Later Gators!

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