Engine Autopsy! Tearing down our stuck Ford 351 Cleveland

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We tried to get this 1972 351 Cleveland running last time, but struck a wall when it wouldn't spin over. So, we pulled it from the barn discover Pantera it was in and this week we're going to discover why it would not budge.

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0:00 – Introduction
0:50 – Why will not it turn over
2:15 – Unboxing
3:15 – Teardown begins!
5:00 – Rocker arm expose
6:25 – Intake manifold removal
8:45 – What's under the heads?
11:45 – Will it rotate now?
13:04 – Advertisement Break
14:20 – On to the oil pan
17:00 – Rod evaluation
18:46 – Hammering out pistons
20:55 – We found our perpetrator
21:40 – Is the timing chain supposed to look like this?
22:40 – Crank and webcam removal
23:40 – How to get rid of a damaged bolt
25:20 – Head teardown
27:58 – Outro

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Engine Autopsy! Tearing down our stuck Ford 351 Cleveland

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About the Author: RareCars


  1. Guys, this is a great build, please please please keep us updated, would love to see the Pantera driving and back on the road!!

    1. ​@@HagertyYou could soaked the whole engine in white vinegar bath it can remove rust in a few hours as well it can break down oil and anything else. It would have been able to rotate the engine afterward

  2. I just renewed my policy while I was watching this. I am very happy with their coverage, and love these project videos!

    1. …It cost me so much more for basic insurance on my beater MPG car I am considering getting a second car I could put under my Hagerty policy , like a Miata, because it will almost pay for itself in insurance savings instead of paying way too much for minimal coverage on a car I hate.

  3. I have been salivating waiting for this episode. Interesting finds as to the cause. can’t wait for the inspection and conclusions on what actually caused the freeze-up.

  4. Holy cow, think they didn’t run the snot out of that engine, look at the slop in that timing chain and only 42000 mi. You can tell its a Cleveland by the size of those ports in the head. Can’t wait to see the parts cleaned and watch it being magnafluxed. It would be really awesome to see that it has survived the abuse and nothing cracked and the original core can be rebuilt. Fingers crossed!

    1. Unbelievable if you didn’t see it here,they ran it hard and neglected basic maintenance while they were at it.That sludge build up suggests few oil changes if any in 41k miles.

    2. Thats why i use double roller timing chain and steel gears on every motor plus chainge oil when it gets brown

  5. Excellent project, a 351C at last. It will be interesting to see what the wash and magnaflux reveals. It would be good to see some upgraded parts without losing the stock look.

  6. My dad retired from Cleveland engine plants in 82’. Was nice to have a main engine line mechanic around when rebuilding a 70’ 351C-4v and my 68’ 302-4v. Thanks for this series. Loved the looks of the Pantera. Local dealership had one in their showroom around 78’. Loved it.

    1. Never seen a new one. In 76 I was coming home on a 2 week leave from the Army, stopped in the town of 1500 just down the road from my hometown of 2000 for fuel and drink. Down the side street next to the station was a used dealer I’d never heard anything good about while growing up and living just down the road. But there sat something green I’d never seen, a ’72 Pantera. Walked over and spent some time looking it over. I’m a Ford guy, big and small block fan, but was in my 67 fastback with it’s 406 winsor.
      I was really liking the car, kinda thinking about pros and cons of taking it home, then I looked at the exhaust. Drivers side was rusty, and what wasn’t rusty was carboned bad. Before catalytic, exhaust could tell you a lot about an engine to a point. Went on home. Seen my fellow Ford fanatic and got around to telling him I’d seen the Pantera just down the road. He jumped in his 351 Boss and left. Came back and said did you look it over good and I said no. Said he had, drivers head was warped, stains on the block below the head. Didn’t sound like it had compression on that side when running. I could see the wheels turning in his head, he had a built 351C he was getting ready to drop in his pony to rebuild then save the original in it. Took me every day of that 2 weeks to keep him from going after that car. Figure if he got his pickup sold after I left I’d hear about him having it but it was gone when I passed through there.
      Often wonder if one of us should of got it.

  7. Honestly I don’t understand the mechanical part quite well but I love watching Davin work on a engine. It’s like ASMR to me

  8. I really really love these kinds of videos where you go through each step of the process and it’s a longer version which’s very enjoyable so please keep up the great work guys!
    Lee from Tennessee!

  9. This brings back great memories from the early 80’s. I built a Cleveland 4V originally from a early 70’s Mustang and installed it in a 79 F-100 backed with a top loader 4 speed, was a beast!

  10. A very good video to watch and I really enjoyed seeing a 351C engine finally!

    I actually have one similar to this one that’s been disassembled and awaiting a rebuild.

    It wasn’t mentioned in this video, but this engine in the video has a better bottom end with 4 bolt main caps which are easily seen in this video.

    Another bit of info on these 351C engines is that every block was cast with the 4 bolt main bosses. Even if it wasnt machined and equipped with 4 bolt main caps, it can be. I have one in a running car that I rebuilt over 20 years ago, and one disassembled. Both of them have these 4 bolt main bosses, but are just 2 bolt main cap equipped.

    To me it speaks volumes about the durability of this Ford block. There was no need the remove the ridge at the tops of the cylinders to in order get the pistons out. The one i rebuilt at over 150K miles had suffered from a damaged oil pan and oil pump sump which took it’s toll on a bearing. When I pulled it apart, the cylinders were in excellent shape and I pushed the pistons right out. No detectable cylinder ridge. Also, I could still see some factory hone marks in the standard bore the cylinders.

  11. Well that went better than expected. While it’s out the owner should definitely have the ZF transaxle inspected by removing the cover plate. (Keep a record of the shims.) They tend to rust from condensation on the inside. Once they get rusty the internals are junk. There are pictures on the internet of these transmissions perfect where submerged in gear oil and covered in rust above the oil line. Forty years of hot and cold allows condensation to get trapped in the case in humid regions. ZF’s are far more expensive than that iron lump being torn down and rebuilt. Safety mod: The ring bolts on the final have a habit of coming out and if they get caught in the gears it can crack the case like a walnut. Most owners have the ring gear bolts safety wired for peace of mind.

  12. That Cleveland was rode hard and put up wet! A lot of folks might not realize, but back in those days an engine with 100k was unusual and most wore out way before that. Oils, engine tolerances and machining have improved so much in the last fifty years. I have an 05 F150 with the dreaded 5.4 3v engine and it has 335,000 miles. I’m still towing my 19ft travel trailer with it. The engine has never been touched. 👍🏼
    Love this car, engine and the build!

  13. Love these two guys. Very interesting content and both these guys are terrific in their presentation and educational aspect.
    Big fan of both of these gentlemen. Thanks for sharing. Well done!

  14. I knew that it would a four bolt main when I saw those massive ports. It’s a pleasure to watch a talented mechanic working through the issues found in an old motor. Hats off to you.

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