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Verne Has Bad Luck With Engines

This V-8 is junk…part 3 or 4.

I like horsepower, but it seems like in the past several years when HPs and torques have been the goal in my life, something has gone wrong. I've killed a few engines in my day, but I sure wish I hadn't. I've also had more than a few underpowered rigs with engines that I haven't been able to kill, despite trying. It's funny from the outside or in hindsight but kind of sad when you have to be me. All I want is an occasional excess of power. Is that too much to ask?

One month a few years ago I killed two 4.3l GM V-6s. For those of you who don't know, 4.3s are renowned, not for their huge horsepower numbers but rather because they are supposed to be nearly indestructible in stock form. These were both stock. The first died because I really screwed up, twice, and the second one was a junkyard replacement. I also killed a 505-cubic-inch Chrysler/Dodge RB big-block not too long after the 4.3 incidents. According to my engine guy, that engine has been fixed, but I wouldn't know it. It's been months since he told me the latest tale of what is happening with the engine, camshaft, freshly chromed crank, and one new rod, years since I've seen the parts.

The Junk 302 Ford

The latest engine-related bad luck isn't really my fault, but it does fit right in the box of what I apparently deserve when it comes to engines. I've had this Ford 302 that came out of a 1969 Bronco I can't seem to finish. It (the engine, at least) was sold to me as "tired," and honestly, I've known the Bronco and engine long enough to believe that, but it also reportedly ran before the Bronco became a never-ending project for me. So, I was optimistic and figured the engine just needed a rebuild. It was in storage for a while, and I finally (figuratively) blew the dust off only to find out that it's been junk the whole time it's been in my hoard (yes, I am a hoarder). As it turns out, while it was probably once a great block, it is now at the end of its life. I thought it was standard bore, maybe 0.010-0.030 over, but it turns out it's 0.040 over stock on the cylinders That's as much, if not more than a 302 can be overbored and be reliable. Despite this, I thought I'd blow it apart, give the cylinders a quick dingle ball hone, throw some new rings at it, a few new bearings in the mix ,and see what happened. It seemed like tossing $200-$300 at it was probably a reasonable idea, but I was wrong again.

With more disassembly I found the crankshaft scored (on at least the first rod bearing I removed) and already at 0.010 under, so it needs to be ground more. So, I find myself at a crossroads. Do I spend money on this crankshaft in hopes that the dingle ball hone will work, or do I move on? Honestly, I'm still not sure what I will do. Maybe I'll look for a 302-roller motor out of a later Ford product or hold out for a 351 Windsor. Either way, with my luck it will need work, be junk, or if everything is perfect, I'll probably hurt the engine when it's up and running. I guess I'll keep trying, and maybe my luck will change.