The Rollmaster true roller timing sets have been available for a number of years now for the Ford Y-Block family of engines. These have been a big plus for those engine builders that go to the extra effort of degreeing in the camshafts as the lower crankshaft gear is keyed for nine different camshaft positions. Before these Rollmaster timing sets came to market, degreeing in the camshafts on the Y involved offset keys or broaching new keyway slots in the crankshaft or camshaft timing gears. The offset keys were always questionable strength wise regardless if the valve spring pressures were increased or not. The practice of broaching new keyway slots in the gears is not an exact science when it comes to getting the new keyway in the exact ‘right’ location. The Rollmaster timing sets eliminates those prior difficulties.
When David Church acquired a 1955 Ford Customline two door sedan, it was found that it was originally ordered as a law enforcement car with the P code 292 and a three speed standard transmission. A little back tracking finds that the car was purchased new in North Carolina and when found by David, still had the 1967 North Carolina license plates on it but was now sitting in a South Carolina field. It had been well over 40 years since the car had been last registered and state inspected. Although that car had been sitting in a field for a number of years, a bit of fuel poured into the ‘Teapot’ 4V carburetor and a battery boost gets it started. It drives itself up and onto a trailer for the trip back to Mississippi. The odometer is showing 60K miles but when looking at suspension, pedal wear, and general oil and grease build up at various parts of the car, the assumption is the car has 160K miles instead. More time elapses and now the car is undergoing a complete restoration including an engine rebuild. The engine rebuild is where I come into the picture.
This is the article recently published in The Y-Block Magazine issue #146 (May-June 2018) authored by Joe Craine.
Part of the blueprinting process during any engine buildup will include degreeing in the camshaft. This operation is performed to insure the camshaft is phased or installed at the desired position in relation to the piston sitting at TDC. While degreeing in the camshaft during its installation may seem to be an activity reserved just for the race engines, the fact remains that it’s just as important on the daily driver applications as it is for high performance engines.
Part I of this article went into detail as how to find exact TDC. With that now behind us, the actual process of checking the camshaft and how it is currently phased within the engine can begin. For this, a 1.000” travel dial indicator will be required that can measure the up and down motion of the lifters. While the number one cylinder is customarily the cylinder of choice in which to check the camshaft, any cylinder can be used to degree in the camshaft once TDC has been found for that cylinder. In fact, later in this operation another cylinder will be checked in which to both verify the results obtained off of the first cylinder check and also insure that the camshaft is at least consistent in values on two different cylinders. For now, the number one cylinder will be used as a reference.
Most camshaft timing sets for the Ford Y family of engines (239/256/272/292/312) requires that there be twelve pins between the timing marks on the sprockets and for those marks to be on the oil filter side of the engine when doing the initial chain installation. The exception here is that this only applies to Y engines that actually use a timing chain and does not apply to right hand or reverse rotation marine engines that use a gear to gear setup. While the Y is not the only engine to use the pin or link count between gear marks to time the camshaft, most V8 engine families simply align the timing marks on the cam gear and crank gear with the centerline of the engine. Due to the infrequency of engine manufacturers using the pin or link count for camshaft timing, it does leave the door open for mishaps by those not familiar with this.
Although there were a multitude of Ford 272 Y-Block engines used in both cars and trucks, they are pretty much disregarded as the basis for a high performance build and for that matter, as a replacement engine when a 292 or 312 is available instead. While building a high performance 272 Y has been on the ‘like to do’ list for awhile, it has been a hard sell when the larger Y engines simply make those higher power numbers much easier to come by. That all changed recently when a customer wanted to use the original 272 block from their 1956 Ford pickup as the basis for a new engine in that same truck. In this instance, they wanted modern performance upgrades applied to it including a pair of Mummert aluminum heads.
By using just the right combination of parts, exceeding that magic 1HP to cubic inch ratio is indeed possible while still doing it with a pair of unported iron Ford Y-Block heads. The key here is in using a modern piston ring design and maximizing the compression ratio while still being able to have an engine that will run on available pump gasoline. Not to be left out are the intake, carburetor, camshaft, and cylinder head choices which are also just as important.
I was recently given the opportunity to rebuild a pair of Ford 292 Y-Block engines with each going into 1963 F100 pickups. While both engines started life out as 1963 two barrel pickup engines, one was a restoration project while the other was to be a mildly hopped up version. The engine for the restoration pickup was to be built as close to stock as possible while the other engine was to use the normal performance upgrades such as four barrel intake and carburetor, larger valved heads, and a better than stock camshaft.