Author Topic: Industrial 427 Blocks  (Read 12057 times)

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jayb

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Industrial 427 Blocks
« on: January 22, 2017, 01:02:10 PM »
Just got back from a trip out west to look at a bunch of FE engine blocks.  I ended up buying a bunch of 428 blocks, some of which I may put up for sale in the classifieds soon, but what was really intriguing about my visit was the information on industrial 427 blocks that I found.  The gentleman I was dealing with had been collecting these FE blocks since the 1980s, and used to have a machine shop where he would rebuild them.  Apparently they were all from industrial irrigation systems, where they would pump water.  They ran on natural gas.  On the way to his place I saw several examples of these pumping stations; here's a picture of one that looks like it uses a big block Chevrolet for power:



Apparently FEs were used extensively in these applications back in the day, and I saw four 427 industrial pump engines at this gentleman's place.  One of them looked pretty standard, like a normal 427 you would find in a passenger car.  It had the screw in core plugs, was a sideoiler, was crossbolted, etc.  But the odd thing was that the center crossbolt cap was not actually crossbolted.  Picture below:



The holes were drilled in the block for the center crossbolts, but they were plugged.  It looked like one of the bosses in the block had been machined off for a spacer, but the other side was left as cast.  Kind of an odd deal, really, but I don't think it would take much to get that center cap crossbolted and you'd have a nice 427 sideoiler block, standard bore.

The other three 427 blocks were like nothing I had ever seen before, and I'm curious what you guys think of them.  He had one of the blocks cleaned up for me to look at.  Here's a picture of the deck of the block.  You can tell it is a 427 block by the round water jacket holes at the top of the deck; no other FE blocks have those.  This block was standard 4.23" bore, and I looked in the core plug holes and the bores were very close together, so by that and water jacket holes I was certain that this was not a bored 428 block:



The picture below shows the block from the passenger side.  No crossbolts, and press in frost plugs:



Here's a picture from the side.  The block is drilled as a center oiler, and part of the side oiler casting has been machined away, probably to make room for the engine mounts.  You can see the bosses for the side oiler plugs:



Finally a shot from the back, with an "H" scratched into the casting core.  I haven't seen that before either:



My guess on the background of this block is that it was a left over 427 casting, that Ford machined later for use in the industrial engine market.  Maybe they ran out of crossbolted caps, or just decided not to use them.  Anybody know more about these types of FEs?  From a value perspective, without the sideoiler oiling system and the crossbolted caps, I didn't think this block was worth that much more than a 428 block.  But it does have the 427 bore, so that's a plus.  What do you guys think?
Jay Brown
- 1969 Mach 1, Drag Week 2005 Winner NA/BB, 511" FE (10.60s @ 129); Drag Week 2007 Runner-Up PA/BB, 490" Supercharged FE (9.35 @ 151)
- 1964 Ford Galaxie, Drag Week 2009 Winner Modified NA (9.50s @ 143), 585" SOHC
- 1969 Shelby Clone, Drag Week 2015 Winner Modified NA (Average 8.98 @ 149), 585" SOHC

   

machoneman

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2017, 01:19:51 PM »
From what I read on the other forum Jay I do remember a lot of talk about these engines over the years. Perhaps you should post this over there for some more commentary. A search of that forum's archive under "industrial engines" or similar variations might reward you.

I do remember reading that Ford did kinda' slap together these engines after the demise of the 427 FE series, sadly just to be rid of them, as the Boss engines took over, both events occurring just before '73 oil crisis helped kill the muscle car era. Perhaps that's why you found some odd looking main caps and block machining.

Some of our posters here too like Rod C and others who actually worked for Ford can hopefully shed more light on this little known area of FE's hard at work as pumping stations! 
« Last Edit: January 22, 2017, 02:57:53 PM by machoneman »
Bob Maag

thatdarncat

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2017, 02:42:30 PM »
"Just got back from a trip out west to look at a bunch of FE engine blocks."

And you didn't take me with? lol

Looking at your pictures, it looks like 2 of those blocks have a small hole drilled and tapped on the #3 pan rail / cross bolt boss, and the one has a bolt there - maybe to hold an extended oil pickup tube ( or something similar )? That may be why Ford skipped the cross bolts on #3, the two bolts would have interfered?

Ford Industrial is mainly a separate division - different part books, different dealers, different distribution chain, and so on. Another division Ford can sell a franchise to! I'm guessing they have engineers and corporate sales people that put these packages together, decide what machining is needed, etc. I saw paperwork someone had once that had a breakdown of 427's in a certain time period - how many to production, how many to race teams, how many to industrial - corporate accountants have all this stuff tracked to the penny. And all that information is used too when new tooling is being developed, the more places you can use ( or sell something ) the better. 

I think even the industrial 427's will command a little more money than a 428, It's been my experience people just have 427 fever - they want to be able to tell their buddies or the gang at the coffee cruise they have a real 427, there is just a mystique.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2017, 02:44:18 PM by thatdarncat »
Kevin Rolph

1967 Cougar Drag Car ( under constuction )
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turbohunter

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2017, 02:59:58 PM »
Does this mean you're giving up on new blocks being available anytime soon?
Marc
'74 F100 4x short box 441FE
'61 F100 292Y
'67 Fairlane 427+ FE TBB (to be built yet)
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jayb

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2017, 04:37:27 PM »
I'm not giving up on new blocks, but the guy who was doing the design is moving pretty slowly.  I'm actually thinking about doing the design myself at this point...
Jay Brown
- 1969 Mach 1, Drag Week 2005 Winner NA/BB, 511" FE (10.60s @ 129); Drag Week 2007 Runner-Up PA/BB, 490" Supercharged FE (9.35 @ 151)
- 1964 Ford Galaxie, Drag Week 2009 Winner Modified NA (9.50s @ 143), 585" SOHC
- 1969 Shelby Clone, Drag Week 2015 Winner Modified NA (Average 8.98 @ 149), 585" SOHC

   

WConley

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2017, 05:00:39 PM »
Sounds like a cool trip Jay!  The above comments jibe well with what I have heard.  There were apparently quite a few leftover 427 blocks with casting and machining imperfections sitting around.  Your example with the center cap not cross-drilled is probably the result of a tool breaking during that operation, leaving the counterbored hole in the skirt out of spec.  At some point they repaired it with a plain cap and spec'd it for the lowest level industrial application.

I saw quite a bit of similar stuff happen during my time at Ford.  I once had the job to troubleshoot 40,000 1998 Escort engines built with improperly heat-treated pistons.  The engines would rattle when really cold, but then warm up and sound fine.  The fix?  Our chief engineer drew a line on a map of the continental U.S. and said, "ship all of those cars south of that line!".
A careful study of failure will yield the ingredients for success.

BruceS

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2017, 06:14:47 PM »
Jay, interesting stuff!  Great to learn about more FE applications.  My 427 Marine dated 6C11 (Originally built for LH rotation) has the side oiler casting but drilled for center oiling and the outer side oiling boss is machined away the same as yours.  However it has screw-in core plugs and is cross-bolted.  Agree with Kevin that it will always have the 427 mystique and be worth more than a 428 IMO.  Are the blocks drilled for hydraulic lifters?  Can you make out some of the date codes? 
66 Fairlane 500, 347-4V SB stroker, C4
63 Galaxie 500 fastback, 482 SO 4V, Cruise-O-Matic

cjshaker

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2017, 06:21:12 PM »
While I don't have personal experience working at Ford, my Dad worked at the Lima plant for 30 years, starting in '60. And while not an FE plant, they did have the MEL and 385 series, and similarities can be found throughout Ford concerning how they did things back then. I garnered a fairly good feel for how things were done "on the line" and in the offices.

I agree with Bill and Kevin. Ford Industrial is their own separate division, and from what I've gathered, they typically aren't on par with passenger car quality control. Things got mixed around a little more, more deviation from standard, and often used stuff that was deemed less-than-perfect. Of course we all know that quality control was less adhered to with the later castings and service blocks, where stuff was 'used up' to get rid of inventory, but that doesn't mean it's not good, or unusable.

Just my guess, but the lack of a center cross-bolt could have been because caps were running low (on the line or in inventory), or maybe a bad tooling incident, which they would not have shut the line down for unless it was fairly severe. Or maybe they just deemed it unnecessary at that point, depending on the date...or maybe a combination. Either way, it would have been a fairly certain 'non-issue', as far as Ford Ind. was concerned. I'm sure they would have felt that the engines would have performed fine. Judging by the pictures, mainly the lifter bores, the core shift doesn't look that bad, so unless a sonic check proved otherwise, they should be good usable blocks. Perhaps even correct for later hydraulic cammed 427's depending on dating. I assume those are standard cast cranks?
Doug Smith


'69 R-code Mach 1, '65 427 MR, 2x4, 4-spd, 4.30 Locker
2 1965 Galaxies with 390s
1970 F-350 390
1958 Ford Ranch Wagon 390

My427stang

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2017, 09:04:09 PM »
If I had one of those 428s, I had a 100, "super" pistons, crank snout cracked very common if big front drives, but as many as I have had I have never found a 427 block.

Very few around anywhere that has access to electricity now, electric motor is much easier, also saw a few twin turbo low RPM 385 series, and a zillion diesels.
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Ross

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- 71 F100 shortbed 4x4, 390 cid FE, headers, SM, 750 Holley, Crane HFT cam, 4 speed.  (461 EFI almost done!)

TorinoBP88

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2017, 02:44:24 PM »
Occasionally you will see 361 and 391's (and 385 series as you stated) used for emergency water pumps or generators power also, typically on natural gas fuel. Cool finds.  I have talked to a couple people here in Cali that have searched out several usable cores from those water pump applications. I know of one 361 mechanical lifter engine that is a back-up drive for a sewage pump station, still in service today.

BigBlockFE

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2017, 02:52:21 PM »
Our power stations in az use Cummins engines to run the generators.

AlanCasida

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2017, 07:15:52 PM »
I have one of those two bolt 427 blocks. Like yours, it came off an irrigation pump in Western Kansas. Same setup, has the bosses for the crossbolts but not drilled, press-in freeze plugs and mine has the cloverleaf looking cylinders. Mine also has "427" cast in the lifter valley. It is the basis of my 452 I am putting in my '65 Mustang. I had GessFord Machine do all the machine work and they sonic tested it and said that while it wasn't the thickest block they had ever seen it was far from the thinnest and was very usable with minimal core shift. I was going to have the crossbolt caps installed but George thought my money would be better spent with some nice rods since at the end of the day it will always be an industrial block so that's what I did. I think there might be a market for those with the F.A.S.T. guys. They could build a correct "looking" 482inch 390 for their  Mustang/Fairlane/Comet...etc.
 The guy I bought mine from had two at the time and I wish I had bought both of them.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 07:48:52 PM by AlanCasida »

Clark Coe

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2017, 07:28:34 PM »
Good advice from Ross, look out for bad cranks. Many irrigation motors were tasked with spinning a gearhead for a vertical shaft water pump from the flywheel AND generating 480 volt 3 phase electricity off the front of the automotive diameter crank snout.

Most center pivot irrigation machines operate on 3 phase power. This can be 10kw to 30kw generators driven with industrial grade multi-grooved v-belts. If the belts slip and the tension is overtightened, a severe side load is exerted on the front of the crank.

Most Midwest center pivots are operated 500 to 2000 hours per year depending on the area and the weather (season by season ). Estimate a twenty year life ( 1970-1990 ) times 1200 hours per year, that would equal spinning full throttle and delivering full power for 24,000 hours. 

Jay, did you have to purchase all of the FT truck heads that came on those irrigation 428/427 motors? Does anyone really have a use for FT truck heads, except to scrap iron.

Were did you go? Kansas or Nebraska? (maybe eastern Colorado?)

jayb

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2017, 11:58:24 PM »
No heads, I just bought the blocks themselves, they were already all disassembled. 
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 12:03:21 AM by jayb »
Jay Brown
- 1969 Mach 1, Drag Week 2005 Winner NA/BB, 511" FE (10.60s @ 129); Drag Week 2007 Runner-Up PA/BB, 490" Supercharged FE (9.35 @ 151)
- 1964 Ford Galaxie, Drag Week 2009 Winner Modified NA (9.50s @ 143), 585" SOHC
- 1969 Shelby Clone, Drag Week 2015 Winner Modified NA (Average 8.98 @ 149), 585" SOHC

   

chris401

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Re: Industrial 427 Blocks
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2017, 11:51:12 PM »
Kevin mentioned the bolt might interfere with the cross bolt. I have wondered how that pan's pickup would work out on a crossbolt Industrial 427. That tab is present in all FE/FT blocks from (unverified 64) 65 forward to accommodate the "Bread Pan" full sump FT/Industrial oil pan's pickup. Thanks for posting pictures.