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Gentlemen of the V12 Order,


I Follow the forum but have not had much to say until now...my son and I are preparing to pull the V12 on his '39 Zephyr while he is home on military leave for Christmas.  I have learned a lot from your shared V12 wisdom and experience.  Now it's our turn to jump into the deep end of the V12 pool and so we're hoping you guys can help guide us down the right road.  

The car is a 4 dr sedan with a fairly intact original "custom" interior...a running car with 43,000 miles but desperately needing rings and valves at a minimum judging from the wall of black smoke and total lack of power.  Will have a local old-time San Antonio machine shop do necessary machining etc.  Our job is to pull the engine, take it down, deliver to machine shop  and learn a thing or two in the process.  In getting ready for this project, we've gathered several KD tools (918 puller and 925 replacer), KR Wilson Valve Remover and Replacer 6510-H, and a bar-type lifter.  So, hopefully some of these tools will do the job.  All we need now is a really big hammer...Also will mount the engine on a KR Wilson stand for dismantling.  

Some questions...

1)  Is the green "Repair Manual, Lincoln V12 Engines H-Series 1936-1947" #3693 an adequate guide?  

2)  What is the best way to pull engine...from front or side? Which engine studs do we use to pull engine?  Use a chain? (Not pulling tranny)

3)  Assume hood comes off...does distributor have to come off before radiator?

4)  What is best way to thoroughly clean a V12 block? 

5)  Leave the inner water baffles installed in block alone or remove and leave out at reassembly?  (reinstalling properly seems to be a mystery??)

6)  Is it necessary to install the O-rings on valves that some use to reduce oil consumption?  We're replacing split valve guides/mushroom valves...is that enough?

7)  Can we just go with rope seal/original rear main setup with original flywheel and avoid machining for installing later flywheel setup and still get a good seal?  Any wisdom on how to do this right?

8)  Can we use exhaust manifold bolts to fasten block to KR Wilson stand?  (Fortunate to have George Trickett's V12 adaptor to fit V8 adaptor to hold engine in stand).

Hoping to stay with original steel pistons but who knows what we'll find...

9)  What's the process for cleaning out sludge traps in crank?  

10)  How does one install new plugs in the crank clean-out holes...so that they won't fall out?

11)  Recommendations on timing gear...fiber or metal?

Sounds as though Jake Fleming is the resident expert in checking out condition of lifters.

We had Skip Haney rebuild the coil and will have him do water pumps.

12)  Looks as though we may need a new gas line from tank to firewall...does anyone make a copper plated steel line?

13)  Can we go with regular fuel pump setup or do should we install an electric?


Apologize for the length of this post, but this is a new experience for us and we'll need all the help available on the planet...want to end up with a fairly reliable, quiet daily driver.  Delighted that our son loves this vintage iron and together wants to learn everything he can about this beautiful art deco ride.  Thanks in advance for sharing your wisdom, knowledge and expertise!


All the best and Merry Christmas from San Antonio!

Wayne and Christoper  


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Hi Wayne and Christopher, welcome to the wonderful world of V-12s. I highly suggest you get a copy of the book by Occe Rich, The Lincoln Continental.  ( there is one on eBay, or was recently)'There is a large portion in the rear pertaining to the V-12 along with suggestions of modifications  to enhance the reliability of some weak areas such as the rear main seal.  Now to your questions in order.


# 1 probably as good as any as far as I know.

#2 I pulled the intake manifold and used two long bolts in opposite corners to hook the chain. Intake manifold has to come off anyway. Use a two by four across the wishbones to support the transmission 

when pulling the engine. I removed mine from the front, but you can remove a front wheel and pull from the side as well.

#3 I would remove radiator first, it gives you additional room. If you choose to not remove it, at least remove the fan and place some cardboard in front of the radiator. Much easier to lift with hood off in my opinion.

#4 have the bare block boiled at the machine shop

#5 if there are copper baffles behind the water pumps, take a photo of each, then remove. That will  let you get them back in correctly.

#6 I replaced the intake valve guides with one piece guides and seals along with the straight valve stems. Easily available from vendors on this web site.

#7 I had the oil slinger on my engine machined off and used the later Ford oil seal. In the Ocee Rich book.  No rear main leak at all.

#8 using the exhaust manifold bolts is the best way to hang that heavy engine. I wish I had your stand. 

#9 your machine shop can do that for you.

#10 same as above

#11 Metal timing gear

#12 look in the sources section of this web site, I know there are at least two vendors that offer that line.

#13 the regular fuel pump will works just fine as long as it is rebuilt, kits are available if you wish to do that, simple to rebuilt. Many use the electric fuel pump as well,  this will assist in getting fuel to the fuel pump after sitting, and can be of great assistance in starting a hot motor at times.


I removed my lifters, keeping them in order so they go back in the same holes they were removed from, the are easy to disassemble, clean, then add a light coat of oil to the body and reassemble when you get the block back. 


For sure, when you have the engine at the machine shop, have the main bearings line bored.  I did not to that on my block and when I installed the crank and new mains, lubricated and torqued, it would hardly turn.  Had it lined boring, reassembled and it spun freely.  I also had them balance the rods, pistons and crank. Maybe a bit of overkill, but I wanted it balanced.


 Have them grind the valve seats and lap the valves in awhile you're at it.


Have them the check the heads to make sure they are flat, the can resurface if needed.


 That's about all I can suggest for your questions, I'm am sure others will jump in with additional if I forgot something. 


Merry Christmas from Kent, Ohio





Edited by Tom_Overfield
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Hi Tom,

Thanks so much for your great response!  Christopher found the OCee Rich book and ordered it so we're off on this new adventure. Pretty sure there'll more questions to come!


Merry Christmas!


Wayne and Christopher 



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Hi Wayne and Christopher,


I re-read your first post and may I offer you a suggestion (or several)  before you pull that engine.  Black smoke is usually a combination of an overly rich gas supply or poor ignition. Oil consumption is usually indicated  by a light of heavy blue smoke.  Poor performance can be a combination of factors, usually related to ignition issues.


Here is what I would do first If you have not done so.


# 1 make sure you have fresh gasoline on board, if any doubt, drain tank and refresh. A note on gasoline, the current gasoline available does have a shelf life if you do not use a stabilizer. It absorbs water out of the atmosphere and Briggs and Stratton recommends fresh gasoline every thirty days. My youngest son is a Master Qualifyed  air cooled engine mechanic and makes a lot of money every spring and fall with non starting or poor running conditions, 99.9 % of the time due to old fuel. Pull the plug or plugs and then inspecting the insulator on the tip if the plug is totally sooty black,  that plug will not fire. Be sure the air cleaner is clean as well, a blocked air cleaner will cause a rich fuel supply.


#2  warm up engine,  disconnect the two wires going to the coil, pull All of the plugs, then while holding the throttle wide open do a compression test making note of the pressure in each cylinder. If the compression is low on all cylinders, squirt some oil in all of the cylinders and try again.  If the pressure rises on each cylinder but it is still low, then it most likely indicates a ring problem.  A valve issue might be a problem as well, but if 43,000 miles is actually accurate, I would look a bit further.  If two adjacent cylinders are low, then it is a head gasket issue or a valve issue.  Looking at the old plugs, if it is oil fouling they will probably be a shiny black with a lot of deposit on the bottom part of the plug, if they are a heavy black soot looking on the botttom insulator, that plug will most likely will not fire. That could be a fuel or weak ignition problem. If they are a light gray or white, then all is well. 


#3 Quite a few low power complaints can be traced back to ignition problems, points,and especially condensers can cause one bank to go completely off line. So I would be sure and check both.


#4 remove the oil sending unit and replace with a direct reading oil gauge, the only way to get an accurate accounting of the bearing conditions.


Based on these tests, then you will have a lot more i information to make an informed decision on the matter.



Edited by Tom_Overfield
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Hi Tom,


Interesting stuff you share here...more background on this '39.  Actually the smoke was more of a bluish color and engine showed low compression (don't remember numbers) when we fired it up 5 years ago (had changed oil/filter prior).  At the time, we thought maybe rings were stuck so we were advised to fill the cylinders with AT fluid and let it soak for a couple of weeks.  Drained the crankcase again, changed filter, filled with fresh oil.  Drained gas tank and  installed rebuilt coil/distributor, rebuilt correct '39 carb and new plugs.  When draining crankcase, noticed what looked to be an inch of sludge build-up in pan.  

Result after all this...still smoking and but a little bit more power.  Also, the oil level gauge is currently in-op for some reason so that wire/float has to be replaced.         



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  • 4 weeks later...

Update on the V12 removal operation:

Thanks to the wise advice and guidance of Ken and Kenny from Alabama, Tom O., Merv A., and Charlie B., Christopher and I managed to extract the V12 from his '39 over Christmas.   Just about everything you told us would happen...happened and most of it good!  The intake manifold shows a casting date of 1941 so we weren't able to verify it was a '39 until pulling a head (early cast iron replacement) which revealed a 2.75 standard piston.  The engine also as a 6-bladed fan, 4 spring/bolts on balancer, and oil sender unit mounted on t-fitting which is attached to a short pipe coming from block...all of which the late great George Trickett says are signs of a '39.  (The KR Wilson Engine Stand V12 adaptor came from George so he was part of this experience...)


We only had success using the KR Wilson valve guide remover on one assembly!  The rest were so frozen that we had to use the KD valve guide driver to pound them down far enough to remove the keeper.  We used a valve bar to remove valve spring tension to pull the valve keepers.  The KD Valve guide remover became the lifesaver in pulling those 23 guides out through the top.  Labeled everything and kept lifters/lifter bodies together...will send those to Jake Fleming for him to do his magic.  Four lifter bodies are scored...looks as though they never rotated??? so will have Ray Theriault machine those and check others.  Pistons are standard...oil rings stuck on all of them.  No wonder it burned as much oil as gas.    

Task now is to find a place to dip the block to remove the crud in the water jackets...really loaded.  Hard to find a Redi Strip-like place down here.  Sounds as though it's not a good idea to use muriatic acid on these old cast block because of "hydrogen brittleization???"  One internet source recommends RYDLYME (a marine use product).  Another, "Evaporust."  Any rust removal testimonials from the V12 world?  

Have got a local, old machine shop to do necessary machining, and then I guess we'll learn how to glue one of these V12s back together...will also eventually gas tank renu this tank, (her Houston), do brakes, rewire and hope we've got it back to some standard of reliability.


Included some pics below and a follow-on...


All we can say is "Thank you" from the bottom of our hearts!  You Guys were key to making this a really great, memorable father/son experience!  Will probably have more questions before we get this in the "done column."  Hope we can return the favor someday...


All the best,

Wayne and Christoper   













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Looks like you are well on your way for the rebuild.  Find a machine shop that can boil the block, I think most can do that for you and that will get rid of the rust inside. They can also replace those feeeze plugs, no big deal for them. Have them line bore the main bearings and might as well replace the cam bearings while your at it.  Look in the Ocee Rich book for the recommend way to reinstall the cam bearings, as I remember, one of them is installed upside down to provide better oil pressure.   Have them do the valve seats as well, you can lap the new valves in yourself, not difficult at all, and the lapping compound and the thing needed to twist the valve back and forth can be located at any parts store. Just be sure and wipe everything clean when finished.  Those piston ring grooves will need the carbon removed.  Just take an old ring for the groove needing cleaning, break it in half and use that to remove the carbon.  Do not use a wire wheel.  Or, your machine shop can clean them as well.  Keep us posted as your journey continues.



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I agree with Tom Overfield's advice and would add that you should build a carrier to support the crankshaft by the main bearing throws and never stand it on end leaning against a wall. The crankshaft is easy to bend and difficult to straighten is the reason behind supporting it by the main bearing throws.

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                    Great pictures!  Great fun , right?   I noticed in the picture with  the syro.  "carry out " boxes  used for small parts, the 

left console panel which has the shifter grommet. You will need a new one and I have these available-new  correct repro. See

the ad in "parts for sale"

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Give consideration to a Melling M15 high volume oil pump and pickup.  You can also get a one piece front seal.  I ended up busting most valves.  If I did again, I'd just cut the old valve springs.  The 8BA valves are much easier.  I got a small engine clamp on valve spring compressor, worked pretty good.  Some of us regrind cam for adjustable solid lifters.  I got a Honda metric tapered piston installer.  Worked great!  Other options are a full flow oil filter, new aluminum heads and multi-carb manifolds.  Hope you are faster than I am.


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Thanks Larry and Abe...will keep that shift grommet in mind, Larry.  And yes!  This has been fun...so far.  Will go with that pump, Abe.  Not sure about the aluminum heads...they would certainly dress up that engine.  Looking at the ones from Kearney Foundry.  Will also use 8BA valves but will try to stick with the hydraulic lifters.  We've heard that Jake F. is the go-to guy on the making sure the lifters are good with bleed off etc.  Broke off a few valves and then figured out how to use that KD Valve Guide Removal tool...really slick.  Once we broke the code, it worked pretty well.  

The block was full of crud...couldn't believe how much I got out by just repeatedly poking a wire through the freeze plug holes. Being able to rotate the block on that KR Wilson stand made all the difference.  Since the engine guy here says that they can only get so much of the rust out, I think I'll pour the block full of Rydlyme now, full strength and let it sit in there for several hours...rotating the block occasionally.  Want to get as much crud out of there as possible before hauling it to the machine shop.

Abe, where did you get that front seal?  Have you used that rear transmission mount, O-ring style seal (for connecting the trans to the torque tube...blue in color)?

Do you use cork for the rear seal or go with a different material?

How available are those multi-carb setups?

Had Jere J. time the distributor...should it be rebuilt like Jerry R does with new bushings etc.?  Recommend Jerry's rebuilt terminal plates?   Skip Haney did coil and will do water pumps .  

Seriously...we really have loved digging into this project together.  You V12 Guys have made all the difference!  Thank you!


Wayne and Christopher  

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  • 1 year later...

Excellent thread.  I pulled the V12 from my Continental last Oct. Had it rebuilt by H&H. Don't know the result of that yet. 


Curious why you say to attach the hoist to the exhaust manifold bolts and not the head bolts?


My helper and I are having a difficult time getting the engine back into the car.  Engine is in place, but the last four inches to do the transmission connection is not working. Welcome to any ideas?'




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Try two bolts 4 inches in length,   I think they are 9//16 , cut off the heads , slot both for a screw driver, then put a bevel on the other end.  Screw the bolts into the bottom two holes on the bell housing.  Guide your engine in using these guides to properly align  the engine and transmission.it will slide right in if the hoist is in the right position, if it stops short rotate the engine by hand and the the splins will match the clutch and it should slid all the way in. Put a couple of bolts in finger tight, then remove the guide pins with a screwdriver.



Edited by Tom_Overfield
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