How to Install a Flathead V8 in a Model-A Fordby Don Kress
The beauty of the early Model A Ford car and truck was and is the ease with which the engines, frames and bodies could be interchanged. One of the design features of Henry Ford's assembly line meant that the same parts got manufactured over and over again. In fact, it wasn't until the early 1940s that Model A frames were changed at all. That means that early flat head V8 engines fit readily onto Model A frames, without even having to place new engine mounts on the frame.
Locate the engine mounts on the frame of the car, then align the flat head engine's mounting holes above them. Early flat head Ford V8 engines require no adaptation to the frame in order to mount the engine.
Release the pressure on the engine hoist to slowly lower the engine between the frame rails of the car. Insert the mounting bolts for the engine through the top of the mounting holes located on the engine block. When the engine is approximately in place, push the mounting bolts through the frame mounting holes.
Install the nuts which secure the bolts into position, then torque them down with the socket wrench. Use the socket wrench to bolt the drive shaft to the transmission.
Install the coolant hoses from the engine to the radiator. The upper radiator hose is mounted to the top of the engine, on the driver's side cylinder head. The lower radiator hose is routed from the bottom of the radiator to the base of the water pump, which is mounted on the front of the engine. The hoses install using compression bands.
Complete the installation of the engine by wiring the electrical components to the generator, then filling the engine with coolant and oil.
- Early flat head V8 engines fit into the Model A frame by design. Avoid attempting to use post-1940 flat head engines in Model A frames without utilizing replacement engine mounts.
Items you will need
- 1/2-inch drive socket set
- Engine hoist
- "How to Build Ford Flathead V-8 Horsepower"; George McNicholl; 2005
- "How to Build a Traditional Ford Hot Rod, Revised"; Mike Bishop; 2000
- "Old School Hot Rods"; Alan Mayes; 2006
- Jeff Gross/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images