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Discussion Starter #1
A couple of days ago at lunchtime I was changing the oil in my T Bucket. This car has a 262 cubic inch Mercury Flathead V8 engine with an Isky Max #1 cam and two Holley carburetors. So far it's been a great engine in the T bucket, I've driven it over 10,000 miles without any problems and with Mobil 1 oil it won't use a quart in over 3000 miles of driving.

Anyway, the car made me do some thinking about the Flathead firing order and I still wonder exactly what factors made Henry choose to do it that way. 15486372. What it does is fire the outside 4 cylinders and then the inside 4 cylinders. The inside 4 are fired in an X pattern. Question is, why would you do this?



In the Flathead engine there are 3 main bearings and I just wonder if Henry wanted to avoid firing two cylinders that were across from one another consecutively when they were both on the same side of and ajacent to the center main....

In the picture it's tough to see but on the Flathead engine there are only 3 exhaust ports. The firing order places the exhaust pulses 180 degrees apart on these ports as would the regular big block firing order which is probably the most common V8 firing order of them all(same as Chevy, Mopar etc). I just wonder what he had in mind... Cooling? The two cylinders that fire next to one another in the same bank are in the front of the engine on the right bank instead of at the rear on the left bank using the common firing order...






Supposedly Henry Ford had in his workshop examples of other V8's that were on the market at the time, I wonder what order's they used?

Did you know that on a Flathead cylinder number 1 is NOT the front cylinder on the engine? It's numbered like a Ford but the cylinders are laid out like a Chevrolet with the left front cylinder in the front! Odd.....

http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e218/DaveMcLain/Ford Forum/?action=view&current=DSCN0194.flv
 

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Dave.....I'm guessing that Henry's aim was to address some quirky balancing issue in his head. My grandad used to tell me stories about Crazy Henry. Grampa Joe said that Henry was pretty much a genius, but he'd already "paddled his canoe halfway 'round the bend", so to speak. Gramps also told me (I don't know if this is true or not) that Henry would not allow his company to produce a V-6 engine, because in his mind, a V-6 could not be properly balanced. He insisted that his engines be built with cylinders in multiples of FOUR. Come to think of it....did Ford build a six while the old man had the reins? Any Ford historians out there? :?:
 

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By the way.......the car is cooler'n grits. 8) 8) Sometimes it takes an old fart to appreciate a nice flathead. It's easy to go faster, but you can't get cooler.
 

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Henry was off his rocker....wanted a X8...built dozens , both air and water cooled . Radial deals with four banks of two cylinders . The V8 was by default .
Ford started out with 60* experimental V8 , but it vibrated so badly that he soon went with the standard 90* configuration . The firing order ? I'm sure one of his engineers did that while he was not looking or it was just dumb luck . One sharp guy he was , that let his ego and age do him in....we all should be mindfull of this....I try to every day . After all , what's the matter with having people that work for you that know more that we do about certain things :)
 

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Yeah, that's like major modification of carburetors, some people ask me if I will build them. To that I tell them I can't be an expert in everything...little lone anything. I say my cup will only hold so much and it's almost full now, so I have to be carefull how much more I put in it. LOL!

Isn't the double firing order swap on the BBC that is often used as of late the same as the old flathead deal?

By the way Dave, I'm not quite old enough to really appreciate the flathead but, they are cool and yours is certainly right in there. I wouldn't quite call it cool as grits since I'm no fan of grits, unless of course they have milk and sugar on them.

Take care, Bret
 

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Maverick said:
Dave.....I'm guessing that Henry's aim was to address some quirky balancing issue in his head. My grandad used to tell me stories about Crazy Henry. Grampa Joe said that Henry was pretty much a genius, but he'd already "paddled his canoe halfway 'round the bend", so to speak. Gramps also told me (I don't know if this is true or not) that Henry would not allow his company to produce a V-6 engine, because in his mind, a V-6 could not be properly balanced. He insisted that his engines be built with cylinders in multiples of FOUR. Come to think of it....did Ford build a six while the old man had the reins? Any Ford historians out there? :?:
Henry would not allow a inline 6 to be built because of the problems associated with the Model K back in 1908 or 09. The K was a luxury automobile that his investors wanted and pressured Ford to build. It had an overhead exposed valve inline 6 that gave Henry alot of grief. Thats why there was no 6 cyl. engines built until after Henry lost control of the Co. or kicked the bucket in 47 and is the reason for the V8-60, it was Henry's answer to Chevrolet's economy inline 6 and Plymouth's 6....Interesting note: The flathead has the same cylinder order that the SBC has....another indication that FoMoCo designed the small block Chevy.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Other factors also must enter into the flathead mix mostly due to economics. First of all, making the engine a flat head instead of over head design would have been done mostly for simplicity, ease of manufacture and overall cost. 3 main bearings, why would you do that except for cost issues. Monoblock which Ford was the first to use for a V8, tough to cast at least at first but less expensive than a crankcase where cylinders bolt on separately.

Have you ever looked at a Flathead V8 or 8N tractor rod? They have no rod bolts, the "bolt" is actually a part of the rod forging it's just machined to form a bolt. Thus no bolts to buy... Only nut... Nuts? Hummm.. These rods are skinny for sure but they are made from some very high quality material and they don't cause many problems.





On a Flathead the oil pump is in the back and the distributor is in the front and either cam driven or driven with a gear like my engine(later style '49-'53)... Oil pump is in the back and it's driven off of a gear at the rear end of the cam through an idler gear which seems odd... Still it would be nearly impossible to build a V8 using fewer parts and that's amazing in itself.

Who came up with the strange valve guide setup used in the Flathead? Supposedly the very old engines used a setup where the lifter and valve were all one piece! Very strange I've heard they didn't use that due to patent issues. How did they cast those hollow lifters used in the Flathead?
 

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Dave, There are some really strange examples of engineering in the old man's history, for sure. Some of them were pretty amazing, considering the era in which they occurred. Others were disastrous flops.....but I don't think any of Henry's ideas were put into play without an enormous amount of deep thought.

Here's another one of Grandad's "Henry" stories. Again, I don't know if this one is true, but I'd like to think it is........

When Henry was readying his Model T assembly line, he put the project out for bids.......to manufacture the transmissions for his cars. All the bidders received a full set of extremely detailed drawings, up to, and including the specifications for the shipping crates. The type of lumber, the dimensions of every board, the type and size of screws to hold the crate together....all very specific.

Every bidder told Henry the same thing...."We can save you a bunch of money if we can just build you a cheaper crate." Henry's reply: "If you don't make the crate like the drawing, you won't build my transmissions."

The assembly line started. The ceremonial day came when all of Henry's suppliers would walk down the line, following a Model T as it was built, watching their own products being put to use.

When they reached the point where the transmission was installed, they watched the worker carefully dismantle each crate, backing out the screws, but leaving them sticking in the boards, laying them carefully aside. He bolted the transmission into place, then picked up each of the crate boards in order, laying them in the car and driving the screws into the holes that were already in the car. The transmission builder had made Henry's floorboards for him. :wink:

Truth or urban legend?
 
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