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Building the 460 Big Block


It took us a long time to find a suitable engine block for this project. 1987 was the last year that Ford produced the big block motors (351/460) with carburetors. Ford switched to fuel injection for the 1998 model year and beyond. This created a big problem. First of all, finding a used Ford 460 truck motor in good condition is difficult enough without having the added issue of carburetion versus fuel injection. The 460 was readily available from older '70s cars and station wagons, but they do not seem to be as well built as truck motors and the oil pan has the sump in the wrong location along with the oil pump. Finding an '82 to '87 460 Ford motor from a truck or van proved quite a challenge. We finally found a motor in the northeast. It was out of a 1986 Ford van and was complete with all of the brackets and accessories. However, when the engine finally arrived, we were dismayed to find it had been left sitting outside for quite some time. Water had found its way down the intake and into two of the cylinders. We were afraid that the engine would suffer significant damage during the removal of the rusted and frozen pistons. We were very disappointed since the shipping was more than twice the cost of the motor.

460 ford motor before being rebuilt
The block was in sad shape. Two cylinders were completely rusted from water entering the intake.
460 big block motor being rebuilt
The 460 engine is nearly done with the internals.
460 ford motor block being rebuilt
Front view, nearly complete.
ford 460 engine nearly rebuilt
The intake is in place. Rods and rocker arms still to go.
ford 460 engine rocker arms installed
The rods and the roller rocker arms are now installed along with the carburator.
Ford 460 motor rebuilt
With the Ford Motorsport aluminum valve covers installed, it's just about ready to be set in place.

We were tremendously relieved when the pistons were extracted with minimal scaring of the cylinder walls. From this point, the engine was completely disassembled by a local shop near Pacific, MO for the rebuilding process. Brad, the mechanic who actually did the work, 'hot tanked' the block and had the crank turned. When Brad magnafluxed the heads, we were again disappointed to find that one of them was cracked. Fortunately Brad is well connected in the area and was able to find two more 460 heads in very good condition at a very reasonable price. Everything else with the disassembly went very smoothly and we were on to the next step of rebuilding the motor.

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