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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
1968 289 h2o

I'm sure you all heard of the Hi Po engine of the 60's and the HO of the 80's well this is a story of neither of them, this is my H2O. That's right come along for a ride with me as I try to bring this tired stallion back to life.

I'm just an average guy trying to turn a wrench one Saturday at a time. Got a wife and kids and just recently got into cars. This is my $800 dollar Mustang coupe that I bought after it was sitting for god only knows how long out in a field somewhere without a hood, but I love it.

We will have no artificial deadlines and maybe a hundred bucks a month if I'm lucky to get these eight pistons poppin' again. I hope to provide the pictures and the laughs at my expense and I would appreciate it if you could provide the answers to the questions that will come up along the way.

GOALS

1. Put the engine back to stock salvaging as many components as possible and get it running as a daily driver.

2. Learn about engines and how to do the work yourself, hone cylinders, lap valves, torque down bolts, torque sequences, set timing, tune a carb, etc.

What this is not:
  • This is not a how to rebuild a complete engine thread.
  • This is not a thread on how to build a 300 horse power engine with this and that "performance" doodads.
  • This is not a thread on how to cover the engine in chrome using every possible bolt on "billet".
  • This is not a concourse restoration, nor a restoration at all, just a honest to goodness no thrills reconditioning.
This is what we're working with:


 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Let's get up to speed

So let me catch you up a bit. I removed some parts out of the engine bay. Not all of these had to come out to troubleshoot this situation, but I had my reasons.

I removed the radiator, because it was not bolted in, it was just sitting there, and more importantly it is not a Mustang radiator. I will be buying a brand new radiator.

I also removed the AC condenser as I will not be running AC for the time being. For one I am missing the compressor, so that bracket will come off too.

I removed the heater hoses because initially I will not run them to the heater core and they were in the way when it came to getting the heads off.









 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
What I should have done first.

What I should have done first, and what anyone buying a car or who has just bought a car should do first, is check the spark plugs. It is simple and easy.

But I did not, instead I decided to eventually (pronounced: months later) check what heads I had on my car. You see when I bough the car the engine looked stock, but later my buddy pointed out that it had a mid 70's intake manifold. That led me to wonder how many other parts are authentic if any.

So instead of checking the spark plugs like any reasonable person would do I removed the valve covers and prayed to see, a big 289 stamped into the heads somewhere in the valve train area.

Though it's difficult to see in these photos it is there, these are 289 heads, and they don't look too bad from the top. What do you think?







 

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No they look pretty clean. I would change the oil and plugs and see if you can turn it over. I might be a running engine that just needs some TLC. I bought a 67 in similar condition and the guy I bought it from said it hasn't run in at least 5 years. So before I yanked it I changed oil and plugs and ran gas from a can under the hood and what do you know.... it runs, like ****, but it runs. One more thing, they didn't make many 68s with 289s, that was the transition year to the 302. I would pay $20 and get a Marti report to see what your car was born with.
 

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68's did indeed have 289's, but many wound up with 302's as they switched to them part way through the year (supposedly from having a shortage of 289 engines available).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The Valley Pan

Removing the intake manifold revealed a pretty clean valley pan in my opinion aside from the white powdery crud that fell out of the intake manifold as I was removing it. Nothing a shop vac can't suck up.

Now we can see the surface rust on the push rods (the pencil looking vertical sticks, eight on each side of the valley).

This is where our plan of attack may go our separate ways, I am planning on just cleaning off the rust off of the push rods, but something tells me you all will tell me to get new push rods. Think what the fellers of the late 60's early 70's would do. Would they run to their local corner auto parts store, or reach for a gentle wire brush?

Lets plan on arguing over this when I actually take them out and see how straight they are, and if I can blow through them, cause as you know they are hollow on the inside (newbies take notes - I didn't know that either), ok, promise?



 

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Removing the intake manifold revealed a pretty clean valley pan in my opinion aside from the white powdery crud that fell out of the intake manifold as I was removing it. Nothing a shop vac can't suck up.

Now we can see the surface rust on the push rods (the pencil looking vertical sticks, eight on each side of the valley).

This is where our plan of attack may go our separate ways, I am planning on just cleaning off the rust off of the push rods, but something tells me you all will tell me to get new push rods. Think what the fellers of the late 60's early 70's would do. Would they run to their local corner auto parts store, or reach for a gentle wire brush?

Lets plan on arguing over this when I actually take them out and see how straight they are, and if I can blow through them, cause as you know they are hollow on the inside (newbies take notes - I didn't know that either), ok, promise?



IMO New Push Rods...They may look straight to you but if you had the measured ( which is a waste of money IMO since they're cheap ) you may find different. I just replaced the 289 in my 66 so I know what you're looking at lol...IMO I'd tear the entire motor down to bare block find a good machine shop, tank the block, mag it and have them look at the rods, pistons, heads, valves, mains etc...You can't see what they can measure, and with the rebuild you're doing I wouldn't chance anything.And unless you own a machine shop I also wouldn't hone it myself either.
 

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It looks like the head will need some real work on the valves. The intake runners have a lot of rust. Looks like they had water in them. If that is the case I am sure you will not be able to just hone cylinder walls to clean them up.

I am sure that the 5th digit in the vin number is a letter C witch will mean 289 2V. Will not need a Marti report to let you know that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
IMO New Push Rods...They may look straight to you but if you had them measured ( which is a waste of money IMO since they're cheap ) you may find different.
Thank you for replying I totally get what you are saying, no argument there, that replacing them is a sure way to go. However I remember when I rebuilt my '83 Harley, Bill an old big block engine builder helped me, and he had me roll the push rods on our glass coffee table (shhh, don't tell the wife) and you could totally see one of them whobble and the other three were straight as an arrow. Any shade tree mechanics out there that can vouch for my good ol' friend Bill, LOL? So if even one of my rods wobbles I think I will replace them all, otherwise, probably not.
 

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Clean them up and use them, YOu have bigger fish to fry in those heads, the intake runners are not supposed to be filled with rust and crap. It means that any cylinder that had an intake valve open will also be filled with water. You may be getting in a lot deeper than you imagined.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nothing Like Doing Step 1... Third!!!

OK, with the valve covers off, the 289 heads confirmed, and the intake off, it was finally time to remove the spark plugs. Like I said I should have done this first, but no worries, how bad could it be?

Removing the plugs revealed that 5 are one kind and 3 are a different kind. More importantly when I removed the #2 spark plug, water pored out of the hole like it was a faucet. Ditto for #5, see people's Exhibit A and B below.

HYSTERIA CONTROL: Before you tell me what sort of pin head I am for not checking this first even before buying this car, know this, I have a good to go 302 motor and a C4 transmission sitting in my garage. When I bought this car I was just looking for a roller, a chassy to drop my motor into, but since it came with one, why not toy with it a bit, know what I mean Vern?

And yes I put my Sharpie to good use, I label everything...







 

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Discussion Starter #14
The Old Headers

This is what the headers looked like when I removed them. They looked good, they felt good, then I tapped them on the garage floor, and well you can see for yourself what lurked inside, and the gaping holes in each one. I want to thank the previous owner, aka P.O. for being a gentleman and not tightening the manifold bolts like a gorilla but actually doing it right, they came right off, so thank you sir.

Fortunately I own a set of used stock intake manifolds, and two different sets of long tube headers. All these sets I purchased at a swap meet last year for $20 bucks a set, SCORE. I am thinking Cherry Bomb glass packs out the side, Ol' School baby, Ol' School.





 

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This is what the headers looked like when I removed them. They looked good, they felt good, then I tapped them on the garage floor, and well you can see for yourself what lurked inside, and the gaping holes in each one. I want to thank the previous owner, aka P.O. for being a gentleman and not tightening the manifold bolts like a gorilla but actually doing it right, they came right off, so thank you sir.

Fortunately I own a set of used stock intake manifolds, and two different sets of long tube headers. All these sets I purchased at a swap meet last year for $20 bucks a set, SCORE. I am thinking Cherry Bomb glass packs out the side, Ol' School baby, Ol' School.





I'm interested in what your end result goal is?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm interested in what your end result goal is?
To learn how to work on an engine, any V8 engine, this just happens to be a 289. I don't want to send it off to a machine shop and pay more for a rebuild ie $3k than I want to pay to rebuild the entire car. If I put it back together and it runs that's a bonus. I will use it as my daily driver. I don't have a problem with putting it back together with old parts getting it starter and then testing compression, and if there is a problem then going back to replace things. I just need to confirm there is a problem before I go fixing it. Right now the problem is that it won't turn over, so we are doing what is necessary to get it to turn over. Of course if I see something that is bent, yes I will replace all the push rods if only one is bent. Yes I will replace all the rings if only one is broken in half. But if they are just dirty, they are just getting a bath.

A little surface rust on the engine parts does not scare me, this is not going to be a high performance engine. Yes I will remove the surface rust but that is not enough reason for me to get new push rods, or valves. Yes it's jut $50 bucks here and $50 bucks there, but that all adds up. One thing is certain she is getting all new gaskets, so right there is $100 bucks.

So if you guys have any ideas how to clean the rust out of the intake, exhaust, and water jacket cavities poor man, shade tree mechanic style, I'm all ears.

hope that helps where we are headed, if not PM me
 

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looks like #3 cylinder is going to be your problem child.

Funny how they only replace 3 spark plugs...



The Valves is everything to your motor, I would not take them Lightly.

Also it looks like you have a bad valve guild or ring on 4 & 5 also You can tell when they are juice.

Looks Like 1, 6 & 7 are good.

Heads and good sealing rings is what makes the motor work.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
looks like #3 cylinder is going to be your problem child...

The Valves is everything to your motor, I would not take them Lightly.

Also it looks like you have a bad valve guild or ring on 4 & 5 also You can tell when they are juice.

Looks Like 1, 6 & 7 are good.

Heads and good sealing rings is what makes the motor work.
Thank you M1 this is the type of advice I come here for... Johnny won't you tell him what he's won:

 

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Discussion Starter #19
Old Carb and Intake Manifold

Not the cap, carb or the intake manifold will find their way back on to the car. The manifold is a SMOG EGR valve port equipped wonder of the 70's, (note the aluminum block off plate where the EGR valve would mount up to) it could work but I don't like the EGR port sticking up like that, just not aesthetically pleasing. I do own a 4 barrel 60's intake manifold and two choices of four barrel carbs, an Autolite and a Holley so one of those will find their way on to the car.

Here is the cap and my dime a dozen trusty old two barrel carb off the car, and the old intake manifold as well as a shot of what the intake looked liked when I took the carb off. Yes I know you don't have to take the carb off to take the manifold off, but I like to do things one step at a time to see what lurks beneath. I enjoy playing mechanical archeologist that way, the car has a way of speaking to you.







 

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The best way to learn is to do it IMHO...And you're doing so trust me you'll learn a lot. My only advice would be not to skimp on replacing certain things or machining the block if you do a complete tear down. But it looks like you're off the a great start.

BTW I'll take a Corona with Lime.:D
 
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