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Question from Tony (1958):
Finally got my '58 Crown pushed into the garage where I hope to be able to devote a little more time to her. In checking it over more closely with a good light, it looks like the 413 (someone has replace the original 392) has a crack in the block. The car had sat in a barn for 27 years before I got a hold of it last year, so I guess I'm not surprised but til now thought it was probably OK. The freeze plugs looks fine, of course, but it looks like there is a crack down close to them.
My question to the list is what are my options here if the block is cracked? How difficult would it be to just replace the cracked block? Or should I look into a different engine? If I go that route I would love to have a 392 like it had originally, or would I be better off to look for another 413? One more thing, if I try for a 392 - what's a good price and a good place to look for one? There is actually a 392 and transmission currently on e-bay sitting at $1,375 at the moment that the seller says came from a 58 Imperial. Of course, the sale ends in about 5 hours so I may not have time to do anything there if I wanted to.
What does everybody think?
Cracks in non-stressed areas can be 'stitched'. You can do this at home. Basically, you drill and tap a hole at the end of the crack, and thread in a metal plug that gets ground flush. You then drill and tap another hole, overlapping the plug you just installed. You continue until you get to the end of the crack. This technique has been around for years and is still common for industrial and marine applications where you can't just find a new block on e-Bay. :)
You can also have it welded, but welding cast iron properly requires a specific technique that is fairly labor and time intensive.
How difficult would it be to just replace the cracked block?
Hardest part is finding a replacement, then of course you gotta perform the necessary machine work since it is not likely you'll be finding a mint replacement.
Or should I look into a different engine? If I go that route I would love to have a 392 like it had originally, or would I be better off to look for another 413?
No reason to replace the 413. Either repair your extant 413 or get a 392.
One more thing, if I try for a 392 - what's a good price and a good place to look for one?
Hemmings would be a good start. Dunno on the price.
There is actually a 392 and transmission currently on e-bay sitting at $1,375 at the moment that the seller says came from a '58 Imperial. Of course, the sale ends in about 5 hours so I may not have time to do anything there if I wanted to.
I don't know if that is a good price. If you think it is and are comfortable with the condition, grab it. Of course, let the buyer beware.
Also depends on where the crack is. JB Weld can stop low pressure leaks in the water jacket. (16PSI isnt much).
Follow-up comment from Luke:
JB weld is only for a certain continuous temp 600oF as I remember, they have a Web Site with Specs. and it is no good around acid no matter what they say. There is a Company in Florida that has new epoxy, but it is sort of for industry....ecpensive and in gallons. Industrial Environmental Coatings Corp http://www.ieccepoxy.com
For information on repair of cast iron, try firstname.lastname@example.org in Turlock, Ca. Phone 1-800-736-8261. I have seen their repair on a cast iron exhaust manifold and was impressed with the finished product. They repair cast iron equipment world wide.
As far as I know cracked blocks are not repairable. Performance Automotive Warehouse sells 392 engines. The blocks and heads are original vintage mills. The innards are brand new parts. The price is $5995 plus freight. Their website is: www.pawengineparts.com. The engines also include a set of Fel-Pro gaskets and everything except intake/exhaust manifolds. I recommend the Weiand dual-quad intake to give your Imperial the performance of a 300D. Good luck.
As far as I know cracked blocks are not repairable.
Not true. Any crack can be fixed. First question is whether it is worth it. If it is an older engine, it damn well might be since replacements are harder to find or $$$$$$.
Second issue is by who. This is usually not something you'd bring to an automotive shop. Reason: this industry has the luxury of cheap replacements for the vast majority of the engines they service. You've got to search out an industrial or marine shop.
Think of it this way: If you develop a crack in the engine block of a tugboat or stationary engine, it's not likely that you're gonna be able to find a replacement. Or, replacement might not be feasible if the ship or building was built around the engine. So, they've gotta be able to repair them.
And repair them they do. They have all sorts of tricks and techniques (I mentioned two in a previous post) and, since they do these repairs all the time, they will be quite able to help you out.
There is one final upside. When you show up at their door with your little 392 or 413 or whatever in hand, you are a change of pace. Remember, these guys look at locomotive engines all day. Chances are you will leave with a zero or at most a nominal charge for their services. This is partly due to the novelty of it for them, and partly because the little engine parts we use are so easy for them to deal with compared to their normal work.
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