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1946 Ford Sedan Delivery Engine Detail

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There’s a lot you can do with some masking tape and a little spray paint. With some new parts from Speedway you can do a whole lot more.

When I brought Elmer home he was pretty well-used. He’d seen a lot of miles and sparse maintenance. It appeared that when something broke, it was repaired but little more than that was ever done. 140,000 miles of that type of deferred maintenance adds up.

Not bad, just ugly.

The first stop for the Delivery the season after we brought it home in 2013 was our Omaha World of Wheels show. It was a special milestone for me personally to show the truck again on it’s 30th anniversary of winning the ISCA Class Championship in the Winter of 83-84. I put a lot of work in everywhere on it that winter, but the biggest improvement was by far in the engine bay. I also knew that this would be the year that we took Looney Tunes back to California for the 31st anniversary of my own “Griswold Vacation” in it when I was a kid. I wanted it done and done right.

I’ll admit, my projects get out of hand fast. That problem has been amplified since joining the Speedway team. It’s just so easy and affordable to find all new stuff to bolt back on. This project was no exception.

Out with the old, in with the shiny.

I started out by removing the front drive setup and water pump. I left the exhaust manifolds to keep water out. This still allowed me to degrease and pressure wash most of the exposed engine block and heads very well. It also allowed me to remove accumulated grime from the intake manifold edge to ensure no new grit got in the engine. I like Castrol Super clean for this job. It’s aggressive but is safe to wash down the drain. You get an added bonus if you happen to work over an existing oil spot on your driveway.

After the pressure washing was done, I dismantled the rest of the parts I planned on replacing. That included the valve covers, intake, carb and distributor. I picked up a set of Ansen Finned Small Block Chevy Valve Covers, a Speedway Motors Dual Plane Intake, Blueprinted HEI Distributor, and a Double Finned Oval Air Cleaner to install when it came time to put it all back together.

Open wide Elmer! Now rinse.

After taking off the exhaust manifolds, there was another once-over with lacquer thinner and a series of brushes and rags. The engine block and heads were clean, degreased and ready for paint.

I used my tried and true aluminum foil masking routine and painted the inner fenders, frame, engine and part of the firewall all in-turn. Working from the bottom up as gravity held down some old beach towels cover the finished areas. The frame got satin black, the engine got machine grey and the firewall got touched up in blue.

Here’s one of those things that can’t be over stressed. Paint your finned aluminum parts! It’s like those little valleys were just made to detail with paint. It drives people like me crazy to see it. It really is worth the time it takes to do it. Again, see the following for the general procedure and materials. You don’t have to do it at your dining room table but it’s a ton warmer than my garage in February.

Blue 3M Fineline and masking tape makes the job easy.

After all was said and done, I was very pleased with the way everything turned out and it served us very well through the show season and on into our California trip. I will say that all the polished, finned aluminum parts were given up in favor of simple chrome plated steel parts. I found, as my father must have 30 years ago, that a seriously louvered hood and polished aluminum can’t co-exist on a driver rod. The first hint of water, rain, dew that finds its way through the hood, sizzles itself into the aluminum.

I don’t like polishing aluminum that much.

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