Gettin’ Started on my Ford Falcon

1960 Ford Falcon Project

Ford falcon engine, straight six, intake valves

I recently pulled my Ford Falcon into the garage with plans of figuring out what’s going on with it. This weekend I dug in and really enjoyed myself! For years, most wrenching days have had a deadline. When Studie was my only car I had to get things fixed right away, which meant some stressful times in the garage. This weekend’s job was nice and relaxing (albeit dirty!) Here’s what I did…

greasy hands, girl in the garage, ford falcon

I began with a good solid de-greasing of the engine. Boy was this a messy job! Every inch of the engine and oil pan was covered in oil and grime. One can of engine gunk, one can of brake clean, a good amount of Purple Power, some wire brushes, a scraper, and a roll of shop towels later… The engine was clean but boy was I greasy!

how to read spark plugs, fouled plug, ford falcon

Once the engine was clean, I figured a good place to start was the plugs. Not knowing the history of this engine, I have no idea what’s been done to it! As I pulled the plugs things didn’t look too bad until I got to spark plug #4.  Have you ever seen such an ugly looking plug?! It was handy that we’d just covered reading plugs at the last Gasoline Girls meeting – although it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that this plug is seriously messed up!

Ford Falcon compression specs, compression for a 1960 ford falcon

After all the plugs were out, I proceeded to do a compression test on the Ford straight six engine. For those of you out there who are wrenching beginners – compression tests are great, learn about them! They’re a simple way to take a “pulse” of your engine and will give you a picture of what’s going on in each cylinder.

Unfortunately, my Falcon’s compression test didn’t look so good. The 1960 Ford Falcon manual states that the compression of each valve should be 170 +/- 10 psi. As you can see from my notes, my Falcon is WAY off! Cylinder 1 being the worst with a mere 50 psi – not even a third of what it should be. The amazing thing is… this engine still ran! I drove it into my garage!

straight six engine, ford straight six, ford falcon engine

Now that I’ve got some solid information, I need to decide what to do next. I could just remove the head and investigate further. Or I could pull the entire engine out – anticipating that it isn’t only the head but the bottom-end too that needs work. Another option is my boyfriend’s favorite… pulling the engine and dropping in a Mustang 5.0 engine and transmission he has ready to go.

What do YOU think? Leave a comment and let us know!


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