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Old 2006-06-15, 18:37   #1
ShuttleMav
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351, Big or Small Block?

OK, there's a hype in the fam about whether a 351 is a big or small block. Which is it? Is it both? I used to think that the cleveland and windsor engines were just different types. Was one maybe a big block and one a small block? I dunno, gimme some insite guys, cuz I wanna know... Thanks!
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Old 2006-06-15, 19:05   #2
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The accepted way of labeling a Ford is usually the bellhousing:
429 460 351m 400 all use bells with 11" between the top bolts. That bell is refered to as a big block bell.
The 289 302 351w 351c all use the small block bell, and all of the parts flywheel and back are interchangeable. So I suppose that makes them all small blocks. Really none of these is larger than a 350 SBC, so it is reasonable. Chevy made small blocks up to 400 cubes.

The FE is a totally unique bell, but is unmistakably a big block.

If you really want to mess with some minds:
Remind folks that there is no such engine as 351!
They are ALL 352s, no matter if they are small block, big block, or FE.
In the late sixties when they were developing Windsors, Modifieds, and Clevelands, remember Ford dealers were still doing warranty work on 352 FEs!
They called the newest 352 a '351' to avoid confusion. We now call it 'Windsor'.
Then they made it worse by adding the 352 that we now call a 'Cleveland'.
Shortly thereafter came a tall block 'Cleveland' 352 (and identical 400) that needed a name... They called it 'M', and it had a small block bellhousing for part of the first year. Before the end of the year it went to the Lima big block bell. Ford never made it clear what the 'M' stood for, but folks have made up things over the years... Midland, Modified, Michigan, etc...

Personally, I go against the bellhousing method and just call any 221-351w and all 335 series engines small blocks.
That just leaves FE and 385 series as big blocks.
The only gray area is the 351m/400. It is a very large engine physically, just not in cubes. The others are obvious.
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Last edited by ratio411; 2006-06-15 at 19:08.
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Old 2006-06-15, 20:35   #3
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The 221, 255, 260, 289, 302, 351w, 351c, 351M, 400 are ALL small blocks. They all share the same bore spacing. This according to Ford Motor Company. The 351c, 351M, and 400 are all the "335 series" small blocks. Interstingly enough, the 351M and 400 share almost the same block deck height as the 370, 429, and 460 engines...also shared with their big block cousins are the bellhousing bolt patterns as previously mentioned.

332, 352, 360, 361, 390, 391, 406, 410, 427, 427 SOHC, 428 are all Big blocks....of the FE engine family.

370, 429, and 460 engines are also big blocks, but part of the "385 series" engines.

Then there are the MEL engines...the sizes I'm not sure of all of them, but there was a 462 I believe, and possibly a 534. MEL=Mercury Edsel Lincoln. You probably won't see very many of those.

And...(are you confused yet?) there are the 4.6L (281"), 5.4L (330") and 6.8L engines that are all considered Modular engines. They're all based on the same bore spacing except the 6.8 is a V10 where the other 2 are V8's. All are overhead cam and there is a DOHC 32v version of the 4.6 and I believe also the 5.4. I don't believe any of them are considered small blocks but I don't think they're big blocks either...they're just "modulars"
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Old 2006-06-15, 20:47   #4
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Technically neither are - the "small block" and "big block" terminology was used to describe Chevrolet engines. Magazines (and many hot-rodders) are typically pro-GM, and they can't wrap their minds around the concept of "Windsor", "335", "FE", and "385" series nomenclature. Not to mention "Y-block" and "MEL". So they attached the Chevy terminology to Fords to try and understand it, and it stuck with the general hot rod world. This is one that has been debated for ages though. They both are small blocks, using that terminology. And as mentioned above, so is the 351M and 400. Same bore spacing, heads will interchange, etc.
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Old 2006-06-15, 20:49   #5
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Yeah. Gone are the days of big block/small block. I've always concidered the 351c to be a small block but have you seen a 4bbl head? Its comparable to a big block chevy with oval ports!
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Old 2006-06-15, 22:19   #6
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Holy Cripes, fellas, that is some INSITE!!! I really think I know more about engines than my DAD does, now... Thanks a WHOLE bunch!!!
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Old 2006-06-17, 10:50   #7
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Has anyone ever put a 351M in a Mav or Comet? I just happen to have a complete 351M with c6 trans and was thinking about my next project! (Really should finish the first I guess). Thanks
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Old 2006-06-17, 11:02   #8
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You would be wasting your time on building that Modified as the aftermarket isn't that great, and it's expensive. You'd be better ahead to either build a Windsor (351/302) or a 385 series motor.
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Old 2006-06-17, 11:18   #9
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You could always run the 400 crank and pistons....that would break some drivetrain parts for sure. Lots of torque, and no high revving. I've been wanting to build one for a while, but nothing to put it in. It shouldn't cost much more than a 351 to build, but your intake choices are limited unless you run adapter plates and run a Cleveland unit.
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Old 2006-06-17, 13:40   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerryfow2
Has anyone ever put a 351M in a Mav or Comet? I just happen to have a complete 351M with c6 trans and was thinking about my next project! (Really should finish the first I guess). Thanks
Jerryfow2
That is the largest physically and heaviest 351 cubic inches you can get.
It doesn't make sense to use it for anything other than a truck.
Leaving out these facts, and that other 351s are lighter and smaller, you still have to make the thing fit your car.
That is a nightmare in itself.
You would have to make all the mods needed to run a 460, but without the power benefits that could be reaped from that swap.
A lot of work for no real gain...
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