If the FE has any faults, the first on the list is the oiling system – and bearing oiling is kind of important to engine life. Plus we’re trying to pull a few extra horses out of it, so we’re just adding fuel to the fire.
If you search the internet, you find info on the mod’s: from the vary basic to the extreme, doing things that will not benefit you one bit. Attached is a copy of the original article on the modifications. It outlines, step by step, the suggested changes. Pictures below show my progress
In the beginning,
When I removed the crank from my block, I immediately saw why everyone immediately goes to the oiling mod’s. The mis-alignment of the main bearings and oil passages is very apparent.
The first picture shows the bearing still in place, wear and gunk from xx,xxx miles. The second picture shows the stain from the mis-match.
If you’re curious, the mis-alignment is only on three main bearings, 1,2 and 4. Why? If you study the blueprints of a FE block, you see the oil hole runs from the main saddle to the cam bearing above it. It runs thru a web in the block and to be centered in that web, it has to be drilled off-center in the main saddle. A little trivia:
Sooo, to fix this part, grab your trusty die grinder and open the hole in the saddle, tapering it down into the block. Remember, only cut on the side in the direction you want to move the hole. You won’t gain anything by opening the hole to a larger diameter, if anything, you create an area unsupported under the bearing. When you’re done, it will look something like this:
Next to tackle is the oil passage from the pump. Not real sure what the original design engineer was thinking, you can only squeeze so much liquid thru a given hole size. To overcome this, the passage from the pump to the filter port is opened up to 7/16″ dia. The gasket for the pump is overlayed on the open and its port scribed to the block. Then tackle the port to match the size.
When you’re done, you end up with about a 5/8″ diameter hole that matches the diameter of the port coming from the pump and a nice bowl blend into the channel headed to the filter.
Careful when drilling the hole from the filter to the pump passage. If the drill grabs, it can get real exciting – all that torque has to go somewhere, and your wrist isn’t going to like where it chooses. Also if you get too agressive, you could drill thru the wall of the block. Oops, there goes a couple bucks. There have been reports of the oversize drill breaking thru the wall of the port. If this happens, it can be sleeved with a piece of brass tubing and epoxied into place. But if you break out the end, you’ve got major problems. Read the article and please be careful.
On the filter side of things, the next step is to open the port that runs from the filter base to the block front cross drill.
Depending on your block, this port may already be 7/16″ diameter. Some are considerably smaller. You want to drill this passage to get the maximum amount of oil up to the main galley run. This mod comes from the article by Jim Dove on the FE. If you study that, some have gone to the extreme of even enlarging the center valley passage. Not everyone agrees with this, saying it can weaken the block. I chose to drill the front passage to the first cam bearing and quit there.
Drilling this passage can be kind of tricky. Drilling cast iron isn’t the easiest thing. It cuts easy but it also grabs the bit if you’re not careful. I recommend changing the included angle on the drill. If it is flatter, it won’t be so aggressive and try to screw itself into the block. Kind of like cutting sheetmetal. Also go in small steps so you’re only taking a little bit of material. The last thing you want to do is stick or break a bit in the passage. It’s one sure way to ruin a block.
You can also learn more about all this on the FordFE forum. If you are unaware of this resource, I recommend you join the group
With these passage done, we still have other things to address.
Filter Adapter: I chose to use a remote filter and adapter. The TransDapt adapter is pretty good about matching the new high-flow ports you did earlier. A little touchup to match the ports and you’re good to go. Those using a stock filter want to find a later model 427/428 filter adapter. There is a significant difference in the porting. The TransDapt part is pretty close to optimal, just some minor touchup
This didn’t quite work out as planned. Seems the AN fittings from the lower hole won’t clear the frame of my car. See the post about how I had to make a different block.
A few other items
I am running Edelbrock heads, Erson Roller Rockers and a Melling 57HV pump. The upper end doesn’t need all the oil this pump can produce, you run the risk of filling the valve covers with oil if it can’t get back into the pan. I chose to tap the oil port in the heads and install a 1/4-20 set screw that has been pilot drilled to .070 diameter. This still provides plenty of oil for the upper end and directs the excess back at the lower end.
Oil Galley Plugs
The FE is full of little plugs. The one most overlook is near the forward part of the block, in the run leading up to the distributor. If you look into the hole in the front of the block , you’ll see one buried, just behind the area of the distributor gear. From the Webrodder.com site and Doc’s FE build, I also chose to add a .030 drilled port in this plug to oil the distributor gear. Some say no, Chrysler Hemi’s require it. I think it is probably one of those things that can’t hurt.
Another issue on the galley plugs is having them come out. I have acquaintances who have had to tear engines down to correct this. If I had it to do over, I would have tapped all the plugs. But too late schmart. I staked each plug as best I could then added some green LocTite to each edge. Hope they stay in place. This isn’t an area I want to revisit.
The Cobra presents some challenges. Drive-over clearance, extra oil capacity, extreme acceleration causing oil to be displaced from the pickup tube. I chose the Canton 15810 pan with 20-938 windage tray. I could have gone with the fancier pan with trap doors but I didn’t plan on road-racing so I kept the extra money for other toys.
Ford apparently received comments or complaints about the oil hole alignment on the main bearings. This is a copy of their interpretation. There are comments and beliefs the misaligned holes are used to generate equal flow amounts to each bearing. I think that is giving way too much credit to 1960’s engineering practices. I personally believe it is the result of the manner in which the block was designed and laid out – and it is easier to drill holes straight than on an angle.