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1940 Continental Cabriolet needs engine


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My Dads car has been sitting a few years. He had it in good running condition and even showed it Concours de Elegance events event  though he had changed the engine in the 50s to a V8. My husband thinks I need to get a new engine since it hasn’t been run in so long. Any advise? Where would I find a new engine?  What do I need to know?

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I hope you have the Engine. It needs to be taken apart and checked. It could be simple as Gaskets, Rings and Bearings. Check around for Good old timey mechanics. Now days, most anything can be rebuilt or made, I have substituted many parts for my 1928 Chevy engine,  Bill

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Is yoiur husband in the business of selling engines???

Seriously, a more precise definition of "a few years" and "so long" wou;fd be helpful as well as if the car sat outside, under a carport, in a building (heated??) and where you live...Alaska is harder on stored cars than Sunny Cal

Look on t e bright side...wth a little minor work it may well fire right up and be fine...:

OOPS--the above came on while I was typing (i type slow!!)

Edited by Bud Tierney
Addition (see edit history)
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It may not be all that bad. Pull the sparkplugs and see if the engine turns over, either on the starter with a fresh battery, or by hand at the flywheel or fan. If not, then add Marvel Mystery Oil to each cylinder and let it sit - maybe a day or longer, checking again from time to time if it turns. Once it turns, then do an oil change and check all normal tune-up items. Many times, an enginewill surprise you, and a great many Continentals V-12s were subject to an engine swap, sometimes for a Ford or Mercury V-8, and even for Cadillac or Oldsmobile V-8 engines. I recall comments from years gone by where there were claims of the original engine being such a poor choice that certain engine swaps were perfectly acceptable by some clubs.

 

Replacing would be my last choice.

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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I have revived cars that sat unused for up to 30 years, others have done the same for cars that sat even longer. If the car was stored indoors, or at least, with the hood closed and the air cleaner and spark plugs in place, 9 times out of 10 I could get it running again in a few hours. The first thing I would do, is check the oil, take out the spark plugs and squirt some oil down the cylinders and try to turn the engine by hand. If it was an especially rare engine, or had been out of commission a long time, or I wanted to be pernickety I would take off the valve covers and oil the valve mechanism too, and maybe take off the oil pan, clean out any sludge and check that the oil pickup screen is clear. You can check for stuck valves by tapping the valve end of the rocker arm with a hammer, if it bounces back the valve is free, if it goes thud the valve is stuck and not moving. A light tap with a small hammer is all it takes.

 

Once I had it turning over a few turns by hand I would spin it on the starter then check for sparks, clean the points and plugs and see if it will fire with a little gas down the carburetor. But first I would disconnect the fuel line in case the gas in the tank had gone bad. You can check the tank by blowing air down the gas filler pipe and smelling what comes out. If it smells like gas you are ok, if it smells like old stinky varnish you will have to clean the tank or more likely replace it.

 

Go over the ignition and carburetor carefully, do not change anything until you test and diagnose any faults, the worst thing you can do is start tearing things apart and replacing random parts for no reason, if you do that you are going to have to start from scratch and set up everything over again because you won't know what is working, what is out of adjustment or anything.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I wouldn’t jump to a conclusion that you need a new engine before checking out the one you have (as outlined by Marty Roth above).  I have two cars over 90 years old that each had sat in estates for ten years or more, both operating well today on their original engines.

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Don't consider changing engines until you know what you have.  If you decide you have to change out engines, drive the car with what engine you have and find out if there are other issues.  You may find that you like the car as it is.  Almost any engine can be rebuilt but some don't need to be.  Finding a good mechanic may be the hard part unless you are willing to take it on with help from this group.Nice car.

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Most independent "mechanics" or "repair shops" today would not be interested in your job.  The good ones that I know (and use) manage their shops by lift capacity.  They do not want to tie up a bay or a lift for more than a day or so on one job.  Thus a car with unknown issues, hard-to-find (for them) parts, and needing alot of research and head-scratching is not a very attractive job, and will tie up shop space that can be bringing in revenue with fast-turn oil changes and brake jobs, etc.  You may be better off looking for a "restoration shop" instead.  The restoration shops that I know (and use) have 'float' space for projects on hold while awaiting parts or outsourced work, and they have in-house expertise and networks to search for parts and knowledge.  The best of them manage their shops by scheduling their experts, not their workspace.  Just my experience, for what its worth.  Good luck.

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The Early Ford V-8 Club also has Lincoln cars from 1932 to 1953 cars covered. Here is the contact information for the Regional Group in Stockton. give them a cal to see if they can recommend someone to assess the mechanical condition of the engine and the rest of the car.

Big Valley (RG# 26)

PO Box 5649
Stockton, CA 95205

Contact: Dorothy Patscheck
PH: (209) 471-6704

 

You need someone to assess the mechanical condition of the car before any repairs are attempted. Get at least 2 different assessments before making any commitments.

 

If fuel has been left in the tankfor more than a year, it must be cleaned before trying to start it with new fuel in the tank. Use a can with fresh fuel connected to the fuel pump.

 

Good luck.

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Even one lousy picture would help. Those look like part numbers which mean nothing. If we had one decent picture and the serial number we could identify it exactly. If we had a picture we could tell you where to find the serial number. It is stamped in the block somewhere, not a raised casting number.

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12 hours ago, Lynn Aungst Kiedrowski said:

I had a guy look at my engine in my 40 Continental. The engine is a V-8 and on the block is EBU6015F and 48K:3 on Exhaust manifold.  Any idea what engine it is ? I know it’s a Ford.

I ran a Duckgo search on the block number you listed and found one good lead on a Ford Truck Forum:

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/55021-diff-between-a-239-and-292-help-help-help-thx.html

 

If your friend copied the engine casting number correctly, apparently your car has a 1954 Ford Car engine which is a 239 cubic inch overhead valve.  Also called a "Y block engine" in Ford lingo. 

 

If your engine really needs replacing for some reason, Ford made more versions of their Y blocks in the following years which will fit the same, such as 272, 292 and I think 312.  So, these should not be too difficult to find. 

 

Not to start a web cat fight, but try to avoid getting talked into finding and rebuilding an original V12 engine for that car.  You will spend way more than the car will ever be worth.

 

Edit:  Another huge reason not to go back to the V12 is that your Dad may have swapped in the later transmission, rear end, radiator,etc.   Finding/buying all of the original pieces would be a disaster both in time and money wasted.

Edited by F&J (see edit history)
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15 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Even one lousy picture would help. Those look like part numbers which mean nothing. If we had one decent picture and the serial number we could identify it exactly. If we had a picture we could tell you where to find the serial number. It is stamped in the block somewhere, not a raised casting number.

How do I add a picture off my phone?

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2 hours ago, Lynn Aungst Kiedrowski said:

a picture off my phone

It is definitely a Ford Y block, so we should trust the website that said the engine casting number is a 1954 Ford Car engine.  The only V8 in 1954 Ford Car was a 239 Y block.  In 1955, Ford increased internal sizes to 272, and also came out with 2 more versions with more power in the mid 50s, which were 292 and 312.  The 272 and 292 will fit everything you have there.    The 312 might also, but I am not positive, however a good used 312 would cost more anyways.

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Hopefully you could find a local hobbyist that would take a side job to test the engine to see if it is not stuck frozen from rust, then go from there.  Maybe if you knew somebody that goes to cruise-in car shows, they could ask owners of mid 1950s Ford cars to find a guy who can help?

 

Looking at the picture, the steel gas line was disconnected from the front of the carburetor. Perhaps the car had a fuel problem and then was parked when they could not figure it out?    The other thing that could cause a fuel fire is that the rubber fuel line going to the pump, is almost laying on the exhaust manifold.

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The 239 CID Y-Block was a good replacement for the V-12 in the sense that the power output was similar meaning that the other systems in the car such as suspension and steering shouldn't be overtaxed. That's the good news. Here is the bad news. The 239 was a one year only engine for Ford and it might be difficult to find parts for it. Most likely if the engine will turn over it will have sticking valves that will need to be fixed. This is a known problem with all Y-Block that aren't run regularly. It probably makes sense to swap out this engine for a 272 or 292 Y-Block. In my opinion a 1957 272 with the two barrel would be a good option. It is set up for a two barrel carburetor such as a Holley, Carter, or Ford. The carburetor on the car that you have is a teapot carburetor based on its construction. It is a carburetor that works well when it is rebuilt properly. It it can be leaky if not rebuilt properly.

The 272 would be a like for like swap 239, which should make things easier. 

Best regards,

Lew Bachman

1957 Ford Thunderbird

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If it was mine I would try to get the present engine running. As I said before, clean out the oil pan if possible, oil the rocker arms, check the valves are not stuck, oil the pistons and see if it will turn over. Then check for spark, if no spark it probably just needs the points cleaned. Disconnect the fuel line before  the fuel pump inlet and gravity feed the carburetor from a small container. If the engine is not stuck I could have it running in a few hours, 9 times out of 10.

 

If the engine is shot I would not put in another Y block Ford. They are long obsolete and not a very good engine to begin with. Best would be an original V12. But, I would not even think about changing engines until I tried to revive the one that is in there. Chances are a good mechanic can have it running in a short time for a few dollars. You may have to seek out an old time mechanic or old car collector who is familiar with that type engine.  A young mechanic who has never worked on a car with points ignition and carburetor might be lost on something like that. There isn't even any place to plug in a diagnostic computer lol.

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Here is some tuneup info that may be useful to anyone reviving that engine

 

1954 Ford V8 tuneup specs

 

Spark Plug Make: Champion H10
Spark Plug Gap, Inch: .035
Firing Order: 15486372 (from front to rear: Right 1-2-3-4; left 5-6-7-8
Ignition Timing: Groove on Pulley; wide mark is TDC and each smaller mark is 2,4,6,8,10° d before TDC Set timing at 3° BTDC on cars with manual trans. and 6 d BTDC on Fordomatic cars.
Engine Idle Speed, RPM: Manual shift trans. 475; automatic shift trans. 450
Compression Pressure & Cranking Speed: 130 Min.

Cam Angle, degrees: 28
Breaker Gap, Inch: .014-.016
Condenser Capacity: .21-.25 Mfds.
Breaker Arm Spring Tension: 17-20 Oz.

Distributor Vacuum Advance Data:
Centrifugal Advance:

Part No. FAE-12127A:
Degrees advance at 500 RPM: 3-3/4 - 4-3/4, Inches vacuum: .72
Degrees advance at 1000 RPM: 10 - 11, Inches vacuum: 2.2
Degrees advance at 1500 RPM: 12-1/2 - 13-1/2, Inches vacuum: 3.46
Degrees advance at 2000 RPM: 14 - 15-1/4, Inches vacuum: 4.4

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Rusty,

We will agree to disagree on the quality of the Ford Y-Block. Many of the problems that the engine had when new were a function of the quality of the oils available in the day. Their high ash content led sludge building up and to overhead oiling problems. This is not a problem with more modern oils. The Y-Block is an inherently balanced engine that has a good amount of low end torque and decent fuel economy. 

Rusty, I'll agree that trying to get the current engine going makes sense. If it was my engine, I would pull the intake manifold and valley pan to see if it has a lot of sludge there. The overall look of the engine is not one that is in great shape. Hope I am wrong on that.

Lynn, 272 blocks and engines are available on Ebay and other sites. I only offered the information if you decided not to go back to the V-12.

Lew Bachman

1957 Thunderbird with 312 CID Y-Block

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Birdman, if you had a 1940 Lincoln Continental with no engine would you look for a Y block to put in?

 

I wouldn't change the engine if I could get the present engine to run well, but if I had to change the engine would look for an original V12 or failing that something more modern.

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That is a complex question that I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I am a purist at heart and would rather see the car put back to original condition. If doing that is cost prohibitive than I would look for a replacement engine that retained the character of the car. In other words, Chevy 350s would not be on my list. I would look for engine/transmission combinations that have a similar weight and relatively the same power and gearing. Since I think Ford cars should have Ford power I would look at the early fifties Lincoln flat head eight, the Lincoln 317/368 OHV engines, the Y-Blocks, and the FE big blocks 332/352/390. I would pick the one that came closest to performing in a similar fashion to the original without adding undue "road hugging" weight. 

If they can get the current engine running that's great. If not than try to source an appropriate V-12 and bring it back to original. If neither of these approaches work then look at some of the options mentioned above.

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In the forties and fifties a lot of Continentals were repowered with different engines when the original gave out. Flathead Mercury V8 bolts right in on the transmission. Later, Cadillac and Oldsmobile V8s were favorites. It is possible some got Lincoln V8s both flathead and OHV. This is the first one I heard of with a Y block Ford.

Does the Y block bolt up to the same trans as flathead Ford, Mercury or Lincoln Zephyr? Because they do share a common trans bolt pattern.

I saw a 48 Continental with a Cadillac engine and other mods, formerly owned by pro wrestler Gorgeous George.

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Lynn, What everyone is dancing around here is the big question.  

"What are your goals and how much money do you want to spend?"

 

This was Dad's car. I will assume that you want to keep it for sentimental reasons. You are asking about the engine because I suspect that you want it to move under its own power. . . . (?)

 

But how much driving do you intend to do? Go to local shows and maybe parade or two? then follow Rusty's advice and get someowe knowledgeable about old, long parked, cars to look at it and help you. Assuming no surprises (really stuck, or blown or damaged things) you can probably make it safely driveable LOCALLY, for about maybe $2000. You have only mentioned the engine but we collectors all know it also needs fuel system, brakes, tires, belts and hoses.

 

If you are expecting to drive it any long distance then more work will be needed (radiator recore, wiring, axle bearings, gauges, radio? heater? new top?) This then adds maybe another $4000 to $5000 to the above.

 

I have a 1941 Lincoln Continental that I bought in 1989 as a decent running car. It has the correct (tired) V-12. It has been sitting now for 28 years. I do my own work. I would expect to spend (mostly parts - I do my own labor) about $10,000 to make it able to drive to a distant meet.  I am having a difficult time justifying that because the value on these 1940s Continentals is not high. There have been recent sales of beautiful restored examples (nearly perfect) that have had $100,000 or more spent on restoration barely making $75,000 at time of sale. Yours is a 1940 that is good. A post war convertible (1947-8) nice car everything worked, correct V-12 recently struggled to bring $25,000. 

Sorry to disappoint but old cars do not bring as much as they show on TV. 

 

We dont know your plans and we dont know your budget. If your plans are to keep it as an heirloom AND ENJOY IT AS A HOBBY CAR, then spend the money.

 

IF you have plans to sell it (now? later?) or maybe you are trying to settle an estate? Then your biggest issue is NOT becoming upside down in it financially. 

 

Also, do post more pictures of the body and interior. There are plenty of very experienced people here who can read the photos and tell you more about the whole car than you might see standing next to it. 

Edited by m-mman (see edit history)
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