View Full Version : Would you spend money to rebuild the unknown?

06-30-2014, 08:35 PM
Hey guys,

This engine I have that came with my car appeared to be in a midway point of either install, or removal. One valve cover was off, the oil pan/starter were off/out. Headers barely took a wrench to remove. The previous owner passed away, so I don't have anyone to ask what was done to the engine.

Fast forward: I pulled the engine out. Torque converter looks brand new, shiny blue with clean white stickers on it. When I split it from the engine, there was only one stud out of four that had a nut on it. The engine, for something being put back in, is not freshly painted, or even overly clean for that matter.

Tonight I pulled the lifters out. None of them really have any wear marks on them. The cylinder walls look like they could be honed just to clean up any dirty spots. No scuffs or scores, etc.

I pulled one piston out. The bearings seem like they got a little hot, or maybe not lubed well at build, but not terrible.

The piston I pulled out, little dirty.. but, stamped 030.

So with the 030 stamp. Do I bother with this engine? It had an old edelbrock torker on it. an old holley carb that needs a serious cleaning and rebuild. Old headers that are fairly beat up, couldn't even give them away here. lol. a 1967 289 block with the 302 stamped in the lifter well, date code suggesting 30jun67. Heads are 1966 289 heads.

So... suggestions?

I'm not working with a huge budget here, but I do have plenty of time to kill while I'm cutting floors and trunk for metal work. Do I put any money into this engine with taking the block and heads down to a machine shop? or just start looking for a 5.0 and start from there?

Thanks guys,

I've always liked the 5.0 from the mustang gt's. I like the concept of the newer engine and the appearance of it's intake.

06-30-2014, 10:55 PM
If you really want a roller cam, go 5.0.

If you just want a 302 verify what you have isnt a 302. Id used part numbers from rods.
if not a 302 find crank and rods and use them in your block. Sell the 289 stuff or see if a machine shop will trade.

But if keeping it cheap is the ultimate goal and you want the car drivable quicker, rebuild what you got.

I think you have someone that was adding hot rod parts to a fairly low mile rebuild when he passed. New cam, couldnt get it running right got it hot and started taking it apart..

Just a guess. We'll never know

07-01-2014, 10:58 AM
I'll echo what Nathan said. Who knows what was happening to it before. Best guess for me is that it was coming apart, but sounds like he was not very methodical about it.

The cheapest fix would be to clean up what you have and do what used to be called "an overhaul" - the bare minimum. Today they call it refreshing the motor. This starts by cleaning it all up - well - then determine exactly what it is you have. I'm pretty sure you can put a 289 crank in a 302 block, or vice verse, so just make sure you know it's not already a 302 with 289 heads. Lots can happen in 50 years.

Mic the crank and get some emery cloth and polish the journals - or send it out to be mic'd and polished. 90% of the time the shop will ignore this request and say "it needs a grind." And maybe it does. It might be cheaper than to buy a mic set if you don't already have them and won't ever use them again.

Once you start pulling things out you'll need to replace some things. You'd need to be ultra careful pulling those lifters out if they are to be used again, to get them into the exact same holes if there is a chance they've ever been run. Rings can't be reused again either once pulled out - unless it was never run, as well.

You should get a full set of bearings, gasket set, and rings, choose a cam grind of your choice - hone the cylinders - and reassemble it. It'll run and drive. Look on eBay and you'll find a hundred kits for sale for about $250 with all this stuff, or many engine parts warehouses will have bundled kits, as well, for a discount. Many will even include a new oil pump and timing chain set, which I'd do as well. Once you do everything it'll probably still add up to near a $1000 with machine shop and all the little while-I'm-at-it extras. Always does.

If you are wanting a roller motor, keep your eye out for a 80's/90's Mustang or Explorer with all the stuff you need (including the computer and wiring) and probably for less than $500-$1000 you can maybe get the stuff you need. It'll be of unknown condition, usually, so be aware this isn't always a sure thing.

In all, have fun, learn what you can from it.

07-01-2014, 11:10 AM
Gosh, said all that and forgot to mention the heads.

These will cost a pretty penny to regrind if you want hardened seats. Most shops do this by default. You should do this.

At the very least look at the valve seals. See if they are hard or soft. Hard means they've been in there a while. Soft may mean a recent regrind on them. Pull a spring or two (you can rent a spring compressor) and check the guides and see if they are sloppy. Cheack the seats and valves for wear or burning. The full gasket set for the motor will have new valve seals, so clean everything up and replace those at the very least.

There is a lot of things that go into reworking a motor. You start to think a crate motor is a good deal sometimes.

07-01-2014, 12:06 PM
Hardened seats are only needed on the exhaust side.
A machine shop should only charge around $10 per valve.

Restoring the heads should cost around $300 barring any major parts required.

Roger is right on with the cost of engine rebuild.

Sbf shouldn't cost more than $1000. Unless you start buying forged pistons and chrome moldy rings and aluminum heads and stainless Valves.

I'm rebuilding a 170 six.. the pistons alone are $35 a piece. At $200 for a set you could buy 2 SBf sets.

The master kit for my 170 is $500-$580. But includes everything..
Hopefully I don't need any valves or anything. Otherwise my budget is toasted.

On your engine I'm guessing the bearings are hot because someone didn't mic clearances, over torqued, lack of lube. Tried firing it and struck out. Which would explain the lack of run time

My suggestion is first identify what you have. Either its a 302 block with 289 internals or its a 302 block with 289 heads.

Best of luck and have fun