As an introduction, I purchased my 68 Galaxie from my godfather this past November (2009). He's owned the car since new and decided it was time for a new owner. Its a well maintained 271K mile one owner car. The family and I flew up to DC, and we drove the old Gal around DC taking in the sights, visited my wife’s family and then started the long drive back to FL. The first exit in North Carolina on the trip south the engine started running rough and could barely run. With a wrench and a matchbook, I reset the points, but performance was not improved. At speed the old gal seemed OK, but it wasn't happy at all once you let up on the throttle. We limped home the rest of the way driving all night scared to death that if I turned it off I wouldn't get it started again. Once home, I did a full tune up, plugs, wires, found the distributor advance plate was sloppy, so replaced the distributor. Removed the valve covers and discovered one of the rockers wasn't making contact with the exhaust valve and the keeper had come off. Replaced the valve keeper, corrected the rocker and had a nice running car again.
That lasted for 2 weeks until catastrophic engine failure ensued. Pulling out of the neighborhood something let loose. Once back home I started tearing down the engine looking for a cause. My first hint came when I pulled #6's spark plug.
My best guess of what happened was, a head gasket blew, dumping coolant into the left side of the engine, where piston #6 attempted to compress coolant. This resulted in the breaking of intake and exhaust valves. With plenty of room for the coolant to go now, the piston continued its compression stroke several more times imbedding intake and exhaust valves into the top of the piston and chiseling away at the combustion chamber. The final outcome was a cracked piston with a large hole in the middle of it, seized into the block.
Disappointed with a dead vehicle and inspired by Dyno Dan's 67 (and a very limited budget) I set out to find a budget friendly motor. I wanted another 302 for good power and ease of installation. Also on the wish list was an overdrive transmission. With the original engine written off, my options are used motor or rebuild what I had. Figuring I would need nearly everything for the original motor to run again, a used motor became the preferred option. After seeing Dyno Dan's 67 on ford-forum.com with a Mountaineer engine, I set my sights on getting a late 90's Explorer/Mountaineer with a 5.0 motor. Craigslist connected me with such a vehicle and that is where I am right now. Dead Galaxie in the driveway, and what’s left of a running 99 Mountaineer.
Donor vehicle - 3/22/2010
Don't need a "painless" harness. Their harness would cost more than the car and the motor combined. The Ford one isn't that bad. Just a handful of inputs from the big harness. The rest is accessory crap. Don't need no stinking intermittent wipers.
As an update and to keep my thread alive,... I've pulled everything I would need off the donor and junked the shell. I now have gas tank, emissions crap, and everything I'll need to retrofit A/C. With steel prices up, I've made out pretty good on this project. I put some time in this weekend and bench tested the new engine. Proved I could get it running with what I've pulled from the donor. With proof of life, hopefully the install will go smoothly. Atleast I can work with the PATS system until I reflash the computer. Stay tuned. More to come.
Well, one step forward... two steps back..
Got a radiator this week,... hooked up everything and found steam out the tailpipe and water going to the oil. Got a full gasket set this weekend, and got the top of the motor disassembled. I'll work on piecing it back together this week.
Well, got the heads down to the machine shop. They're going to check them out, valve job and a mill, but they didn't really think it was the heads leaking the water on visual inspection. So the water has to be coming from somewhere... The intake itself looks ok, but the intake gaskets came off in pieces, so that makes them suspect, even though there wasn't rust. Since I'm this far in, I've pulled the water pump and I'll go ahead and pull the timing cover while I'm at it. In addition to letting me inspect, this will let me drill the front cover for a dipstick. Also a good time to paint and make things pretty! Hope its functional when I'm done... Put some oil on the pistons and cylinder walls. The oil isn't draining out, so it seems the rings are still good. Cylinder walls look good, no scratches. Time will tell.