Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

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1Bad55Chevy
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Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

Post by 1Bad55Chevy »

I am a newbie when it comes to the land of the MEL engines so this might be old information for all the pros out there.

I saw some race shop out there that specializes in big cubic inch (over 520ci) big HP MEL engines and I was really wondering how they were pulling it off with no aftermarket support. I found this MEL forum online with a really interesting post about how to fit the 460 crank and big block chevy rods into the MEL to build some really crazy stuff.

http://ford-mel-engine.com/viewtopic.php?t=1490

Not sure if anyone really cares about performance builds here but I thought it was interesting!
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Re: Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

Post by LithiumCobalt »

Normally I do stock, but I am interested in any upgrades that are not easily seen. Inside the engine would be one of those. Haven't really gotten in heavy with the MEL mods, myself. I have heard of a tri two-barrel carb setup. I want to say MoonEyes made them? The MELs are often maligned by many because aftermarket support is not great. Back in the day, these were race engines.
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Re: Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

Post by Dan Szwarc »

That MEL forum is great.
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Re: Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

Post by 1Bad55Chevy »

That MEL site looks to be completely dead.

Here is the link to that motor shop building performance MEL engines.
https://barnetthighperformance.com/430- ... ebuilding/

I could see at that time it being a performance engine since it was one of the biggest v8 engines at the time. The Big block chevy dosen't debut until 64 and the bigger FE engines were also about the same time. I can see the biggest downside of the design is the 2 bolt main caps which would severely limit the overall power potential since it dosen't have a solid base.
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Re: Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

Post by TonyC »

Being a strong advocate of the antiquated Ford MEL Y-blocks, I too have interest in any souping techniques that have been developed since they fell out of favor when the 385-series came on the scene. The most "souping" I've done to Frankenstein's engine was 30-over pistons for a total 6-cid increase, a high-volume oil pump, all-metal timing components, and adjustable valve pushrods. That was it, because I haven't really learned any other performance upgrades. Not that it matters, because any speed over 120 mph will tear the speedometer drum up. :lol: Not sure how much of a risk a two-bolt main bearing cap is, but I know these caps are big and heavy, and the torque applied to those bolts is enough to strain my heart. I do know that the interference configuration is a risk in itself, meaning that physical timing is absolutely critical.

But I'm always willing to learn anything new. I'm not sure, but that site may have been the one stood up by one of our former original veterans of this Forum. I hope it isn't completely dead, because anything offered there could still prove relevant to this day; otherwise we'd have to try to rediscover everything that was there and lost. Same thing happened with Ron Baker's tech tips which he learned over the years: When he retired from Baker's Auto, his expertise went with him. Anything out there relevant to MELs is valuable to me.

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Re: Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

Post by Dan Szwarc »

1Bad55Chevy wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 10:48 pm That MEL site looks to be completely dead.
Running a forum is hard in today’s world of social media and “ask before you search” mentality. Theo has been running MEL nearly as long as I have been running TLF.

I’m addition, the last MEL was made in 1968 AFAIK. 55 years is a long time.
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Re: Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

Post by 1Bad55Chevy »

TonyC wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 4:13 am Being a strong advocate of the antiquated Ford MEL Y-blocks, I too have interest in any souping techniques that have been developed since they fell out of favor when the 385-series came on the scene. The most "souping" I've done to Frankenstein's engine was 30-over pistons for a total 6-cid increase, a high-volume oil pump, all-metal timing components, and adjustable valve pushrods. That was it, because I haven't really learned any other performance upgrades. Not that it matters, because any speed over 120 mph will tear the speedometer drum up. :lol: Not sure how much of a risk a two-bolt main bearing cap is, but I know these caps are big and heavy, and the torque applied to those bolts is enough to strain my heart. I do know that the interference configuration is a risk in itself, meaning that physical timing is absolutely critical.

But I'm always willing to learn anything new. I'm not sure, but that site may have been the one stood up by one of our former original veterans of this Forum. I hope it isn't completely dead, because anything offered there could still prove relevant to this day; otherwise we'd have to try to rediscover everything that was there and lost. Same thing happened with Ron Baker's tech tips which he learned over the years: When he retired from Baker's Auto, his expertise went with him. Anything out there relevant to MELs is valuable to me.

---Tony
The MEL has an identical looking bottom end as the FE engines which are also 2 bolt main designs. With the 427 FE Ford added cross bolt mains to the middle 3 main caps which dramatically increased the strength of the bottom end. This design worked so well that it's still incorporated into the LS and the 5.0 coyote 6 bolt main designs. These 2 engines both have factory bottom ends that will support over 1000HP... Its crazy where 100 years of engineering will land you!
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Re: Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

Post by rick »

Reading all this............ For starters my first and probably main contribution is "Yowsers."
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Re: Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

Post by TonyC »

Yes, there were even more parallels between those two series of Y-blocks, like the reversible heads and the consequent upper-lube issues. There are so many similarities in the way they were made, but yet almost nothing will swap between the two groups. Funny how the MELs came out shortly after the FEs, yet vanished completely before the last FEs did.

It also bugs me how "professional" auto historians will not even call these engines Y-blocks, leaving the name solely for the engines made between '52 and '57. The term is not a patented labeling, like "Hemi" became. The FEs and MELs are Y-blocks, an irrefutable fact. They aren't directly related to the 317/341/368 engines, but they are still Y-blocks and thus part of Ford's first generation of OHV engines.

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Re: Interesting things I learned about MEL engines

Post by Goldstar »

The tri-carb set up was a factory Lincoln and Mercury option in 1958.
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