where the flat top pistons?

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where the flat top pistons?

Post  rancheronut on February 4th 2016, 12:26 am

my story is ?
this is my on & off over 15 year project. back in 2003, I built a guy 460 into stroker engine for him with his kit . i installed his custom cut crank stroke 4.100 with 455HD PONTIAC rods with his $800  .80 over pistons for his snowbird special 1987 F350 WITH 30K MILES . from day one that truck only towed his 45ft 5 wheel camper to FL and back.  part of my work included his  old crank/pistons. i figure  with only 30k miles there good back up for my 1995 f250 or for my street strip car. back in 2006 my racing days came to end, so sold the 429CJ with 460 crank  in the car it was currently in and my 1995 still only had 72k miles ,so I put the 1987 crank/rods/pistons extra parts in the loft of my therapy room for later date.
in  oct of last year, my son traded his empty 1987 mustang GT 5.0 shell & his 87 F1504x4 for my 1982 coupe I was selling from my collection. thinking I still had the body parts and interior from my old unsafe rusted 86 drag car I could install on his black  rust free shell. after I got every thing swap over, I figure I needed the right engine for  the 86/87 drag car replacement. this time it would have to be 385 series engine with C6 that I can drive on the street or the highway  for the cruze night fun because it has 8.8 with 2.75 gears with 244/50/16 and our highway speed limit is 80 mph .. well I still had 460 crank/rods/piston  but no block. the hunt began for block. last Sunday I came across a 1973 429  that was still all factory ford installed never  torn down or had the heads off or timing chain change for $300.00. figure cool when I take the 429 block into the machine shop I will take the 15 yr old stash of 460 crank/CJ rods also.
WELL HERE the facts I'm in!
1) the  429 block was so low mileage that it don't need any machine work. the block still with in spec's on main's & deck surface's  there only .005 taper in one cylinder and the rest is less.
2) the 1987 460 crank still standard on the mains& rods. they don't need turned and the rods still zero out (still round)so they don't need any machine work.
3) two of the eight pistons top ring gland  look very little out of shape so two pistons should be replace.
4) not finding standard 4.360 forged flat top TRW pistons like I could 15 yrs ago for reasonable price.

this 429 engine  currently only needs standard rods/main bearings& rings to go back together and make my mustang be nice Sunday driver but I'm going with 460 crank/CJ rods knowing that 2 pistons can be replace with 87 style pistons and still complete my plan of nice cruiser but my right foot still has issue's with pushing too hard on that right pedal to the floor.50+ yrs old and that habit still bad. this car will never be just straight race car it might see track some point but more street for now.
I'm going back to my old school way by installing Weiand  dual plan Intake Manifold with my ported 73 429  heads . I'm installing Lunati Bracket Master Camshafts 10340497 with Rhoads Original Hydraulic Super Lube Flat Tappet Lifters 9008L just like I had 30yrs ago.
my only problem is coming to what pistons to use! I know they make a Hypereutectic  flat top piston now days but if I'm buying 8 NEW pistons and spend $$$.$$, then there must be forged. if I can't get the forge flattop? then I will just get two replacement pistons because 6 of my factory pistons are still in great shape and there  very close to a flat top, not  dish like the older 460 pistons.

so my question is! who has reasonable price forged standard bore flat top? affraid


Last edited by rancheronut on February 4th 2016, 1:42 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : missed a year by that much)
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  Mike R on February 4th 2016, 12:35 am

Buy these, go .030 over, have the dome milled flat and be money ahead. http://www.429-460.com/t23965-rods-and-pistons Or leave the dome and go E85

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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  rancheronut on February 4th 2016, 12:38 am

why bore block when it not needed? waste of machine work, waste of money in my book.
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  supervel45 on February 4th 2016, 1:03 am

I am pretty sure you are going to have a hard time getting cheap forged flat top pistons in standard bore. Your plan of replacing the two bad stock pistons sounds a lot better. It's funny I was thinking of milling those popups when I first saw them in the parts section also. Cool

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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  rancheronut on February 4th 2016, 1:23 am

I was thinking spending around $400 for set of piston wasn't cheep but so far i only found them in the $600+ range. Shocked
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  BBFTorino on February 4th 2016, 2:31 am

You should just spring for a stroker kit, all balanced and ready to go. Yes, its more expensive, but less monkey motion!! LOL
Your 1987 crank is a funky external balance crank, and so you'll need to spend money on balancing anyways.
And as its been said, you may have a hard time finding stock size forged pistons. If you cant find them, you'll need to bore & hone the block for new oversized ones.

Or, you could just put the 429 back together with new rings & bearings, and enjoy it for a while and in the meantime, build a killer larger cube motor for a weekend swap!!

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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  supervel45 on February 4th 2016, 3:13 am

Well Old School you may remember this trick? Find a set of 429 SCJ forged std. size pistons used somewhere cheap. Machine the top down for the longer stroke and re-cut the valve notches. Not ideal by any means but, that's how it was done back in the day before forged 460 flat tops were available. I see sets for sale now and then for cheap.

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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  dfree383 on February 4th 2016, 3:32 am

Probe makes a reasonably priced flat top, but if I was spending money on new Pistons I'd bore it to clean up that cylinder that's bad.

Or just use a hyper set if those are too expensive, but I'd still bore it. .005 is a lot of wear especialy after you give it a hone it.
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  dfree383 on February 4th 2016, 3:35 am

supervel45 wrote:Well Old School you may remember this trick? Find a set of 429 SCJ forged std. size pistons used somewhere cheap. Machine the top down for the longer stroke and re-cut the valve notches. Not ideal by any means but, that's how it was done back in the day before forged 460 flat tops were available. I see sets for sale now and then for cheap.

You have a mill and a piston vise figured in that budget? Or the cost to have someone else do it?

I'm all for having fun and making things work.... But at some point you just got to let go and do things right
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  supervel45 on February 4th 2016, 3:44 am

dfree383 wrote:
supervel45 wrote:Well Old School you may remember this trick? Find a set of 429 SCJ forged std. size pistons used somewhere cheap. Machine the top down for the longer stroke and re-cut the valve notches. Not ideal by any means but, that's how it was done back in the day before forged 460 flat tops were available. I see sets for sale now and then for cheap.

You have a mill and a piston vise figured in that budget? Or the cost to have someone else do it?

I'm all for having fun and making things work.... But at some point you just got to let go and do things right
No, that's assuming he buddy's with a machinist and someone just about gives him a set of takeout pistons. He asked for idea's, I gave him one.

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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  supervel45 on February 4th 2016, 3:45 am


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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  supervel45 on February 4th 2016, 3:57 am

Before I git clipped again, I would not recommended using Hypers on a loose honed out bore either.

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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  cool40 on February 4th 2016, 9:27 am

I'd just ring the 429 and run it,you'll never know its not a 460 when you hit the gas! Cool
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  1982GT on February 4th 2016, 12:16 pm

My engine has standard bore Keith Black hypereutectic flat top pistons, and I file fit all of my rings.
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  supervel45 on February 4th 2016, 12:36 pm

1982GT wrote:My engine has standard bore Keith Black hypereutectic flat top pistons, and I file fit all of my rings.
So how much piston to cylinder wall clearance are you running?

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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  rancheronut on February 4th 2016, 1:01 pm

BBFTorino wrote:You should just spring for a stroker kit, all balanced and ready to go. Yes, its more expensive, but less monkey motion!! LOL
Your 1987 crank is a funky external balance crank, and so you'll need to spend money on balancing anyways.
And as its been said, you may have a hard time finding stock size forged pistons. If you cant find them, you'll need to bore & hone the block for new oversized ones.

Or, you could just put the 429 back together with new rings & bearings, and enjoy it for a while and in the meantime, build a killer larger cube motor for a weekend swap!!


not sure why you think external balance 385 series crank is funky. when I use to race, my 429CJ with 460 external balance crank  would turn 7200 rpms through the lights with no problem for 10 yrs I had it.
this project been going on for 15 yrs so I have time to find what I need. it just how much am I wanting to pay is problem.
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  1982GT on February 4th 2016, 1:31 pm

supervel45 wrote:
1982GT wrote:My engine has standard bore Keith Black hypereutectic flat top pistons, and I file fit all of my rings.
                                    So how much piston to cylinder wall clearance are you running?

The engine has been together for about 5 years and running in the car for the past 3 years. I honestly don't remember what the piston to wall clearance is. There was minimal wear in the bores and decided on a quick hone and gapped the rings according to what was recommended for the hypereutectic pistons. I never expected this engine to perform as well as it has.
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  supervel45 on February 4th 2016, 1:40 pm

I was just wandering since they call for .0015" skirt clearance, how close you were. As for the OP I completely understand, My 429 skipped getting forged pistons back in 1995 when they were $400.00 dollars in the old money. Finding a used set of 460 std. bore flatops is going to be a tall order, and the way to get a new set cheap is if somebody has some laying around on the shelf they just want to get rid of I'm afraid.

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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  rancheronut on February 4th 2016, 1:41 pm

I'm not worried about having a machinist buddy because I am the old  fart machinist that will be doing the work, just so you all know. i still have some of my equipment from my racing days . i'm not building some high dollar racing engine that see dyno's to impress people. I'm not building a 100,000+ mile engine. if she make 10,000 mile in 10 yrs that would  be out of this world fantastic but .005 wear on one cylinder does not make it worn out. 95% of engine's  that are on street  driving/racing have more than that . if I ridge hone this block. it will make all the cylinders the same  to run forge piston to my spec's .which is ok because that how much clearance I run on 385 series forge pistons that drive  on the street. account this is street/strip project  I rather be a little on he loose side than run not enough and mess up the cylinder's wall by scoring.
on this 429 that is turning to be 460,I will not buy hypereutectic pistons when I seen them fail just a like regular cast piston's. so I would just buy two replacement pistons instead of 8 hypereutectic pistons.
what I was asking about? was with all the new and improved  up coming name brands out there now days that say they making pistons. if any of you know of some "reasonable price flat top standard bore" for 460. I can find reasonable price over size forge flat top pistons no problem. I can find reasonable price standard bore dish forge pistons no problem . the problem is" reasonable price standard bore flat TOP" are starting at $600.00 for set and go up. if none of you know that ok. I can wait. it not like this 15 yr project in hurry.


Last edited by rancheronut on February 4th 2016, 2:39 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : add words)
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  rancheronut on February 4th 2016, 2:38 pm

1982GT wrote:
supervel45 wrote:
1982GT wrote:My engine has standard bore Keith Black hypereutectic flat top pistons, and I file fit all of my rings.
                                    So how much piston to cylinder wall clearance are you running?
The engine has been together for about 5 years and running in the car for the past 3 years. I honestly don't remember what the piston to wall clearance is. There was minimal wear in the bores and decided on a quick hone and gapped the rings according to what was recommended for the hypereutectic pistons. I never expected this engine to perform as well as it has.

maybe it me  but every time I talk to people and they tell me how there hypereutectic brand has so much better Silicon in them over cast? all  that comes to mind is cool breast implants cyclops ?

hypereutectic pistons are good piston if I was going with fresh over size bore with a M-6303-A514 crank but my plan's do not. this car just going to be street/highway driver for cruise's & car shows that will be driven by old fart with very heavy right foot.


Last edited by rancheronut on February 4th 2016, 2:52 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : add words)
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  cool40 on February 4th 2016, 2:41 pm

With less demand for a standard bore piston or a standard valve layout flat top I wouldn't expect the price to go down in the future. I'd still ring the 429 and do 2 replacement Pistons for what you're doing. 460 with ft pistons may be hard to run pump gas in but that may not be a problem for you.
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  supervel45 on February 4th 2016, 2:48 pm

Well good luck on your quest but, I think you are going to have to shell out the bucks for custom pistons, modify some 429SCJ takeout pistons or punch the block. PS: I would not want hypers either in a 7,000 Rpm engine but, for the price I could keep them to 6,500 and go about my business, especially with stock rods.

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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  rancheronut on February 4th 2016, 3:04 pm

thanks, my hunt just begun so I can keep a look out.
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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  rmcomprandy on February 4th 2016, 9:10 pm

rancheronut wrote: I rather be a little on he loose side than run not enough and mess up the cylinder's wall by scoring.
on this 429 that is turning to be 460,I will not buy hypereutectic pistons when I seen them fail just a like regular cast piston's. so I would just buy two replacement pistons instead of 8 hypereutectic pistons.

Although they are not flat-tops, ALL the OEM factory "fuelly" truck engines have Hyper pistons from the Ford factory; (is that considered new and improved).
There are multiple metal recipes for a hyper piston ... some are better than others for many uses.

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Re: where the flat top pistons?

Post  rancheronut on February 18th 2016, 9:46 pm

found some standard bore flat tops for only $ 222.00. ups will be Tuesday.
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