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My Merc Has Ford!

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Post  JBtothez September 9th 2022, 1:20 pm

Hi all, (Warning this will be long for an intro, but thorough My Merc Has Ford! 1f62c )

Like most of the posts in this part of the forum, I am new to the 385 platform.  I've built 302 strokers for my Foxbody back in the '00's but never played with the big block family.  Everything was bolt-on ready for the Fox platform and I didn't realize how good I had it as a true newb to engine building at the time.  God bless the OLD Corral.  Got into the Tweecer and EEC Analyzer pretty hard and it was great for the time being.  Now I'm staring at a big block and a carb and scratching my head.  I've been reading here for a few months and the knowledge base is huge, despite the low quantity of posts.

So onto the car.  I've always wanted a chopped, slammed Merc.  The coupes are all but out of reach for a working man.  They want $10k for a rusted bare chassis.  I found a decent four door.  The suicide rear doors are cool to me and the car looked decent enough to cruise and work on.  I wanted to get something while my son is young, so we can work on it together and get him out in the garage.  It was out of tune and running poorly.  Lots of halfass work electrically.  They were running manifold vacuum on a Duraspark II curved for ported vacuum.  Once I figured out the basics of the Duraspark II, I was able to sort that out, add base timing and get the car running much better.  I've heard manifold vacuum is where I ultimately want to end up, but this is a stopgap until I get a properly curved distributor.  I got tired of the wiring and redid all of that.  All soldered connections, routed and organized.

Thought I was on the road to being able to cruise it a little this fall despite the oil leaks and other issues. Then came the heartbreak.  It started making a squealing noise.  At first I thought it was the power steering pump.  No luck.  Pulled the belts.  No change.  It wasn't a rod knock.  Pulled the plugs, turned it by hand watching the distributor.  The noise came twice per rotation of the distributor button, which tells me its on the bottom end.  Checked the converter bolts, which were the only thing left external.  All was good there.

So here I am.  I'm about to pull the engine.  I suspect an oil pump has giving up, but I'm about to do a build I can trust and cruise without worry.  I'd like to build a mild street stroker with aluminum heads and a hydraulic roller cam.  Something that will move that 4,000lb car down the road respectably, be fun to drive and reliable.  The big catch is that I don't see how I can use anything other than the stock exhaust manifolds with the clearance I have, so I'm not sure it's even worth doing.  You would think I'd have tons of clearance, but with the steering shaft, Mustang II suspension, combined with the low ride height, it's really tight.  Anyway, I'll post up some questions along the way.  Maybe the Mad one we bless me with his extensive knowledge!

I'll edit and add pics, once the links can be posted, or I learn how to do it here.


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Join date : 2022-09-09

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Post  supervel45 September 10th 2022, 3:43 am

Welcome Aboard.

You may want to research the Dura SparkII more. Look into ported water source vaccum switch on your timing questions.

Oh yea, good deal with your son. Cool

Made think about this Merc.


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Join date : 2013-09-04

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Post  JBtothez September 10th 2022, 7:15 pm

Thank you sir!

Got the engine and transmission pulled today. Oil filter was dry, so I think I've found the source of the problem. I'll get it on a stand tomorrow and check out the carnage. Then I'll start a build thread and get some advice on how to move forward from the experts here.


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Join date : 2022-09-09

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