blue 66

All the parts hoarding I've done over the years is paying off!!:

Like most car guys I collect (hoard) parts.  The collection gets bigger every time I part something out under the concept of "I might have a use for that later.”  There have been at least a half dozen times I have scrapped something that was complete junk and then though of a use or repurpose for it or part of it.  A perfect example is an old gas tank I had from my 62 Galaxie. The tank was rusting on the inside, dented, and not a good candidate for restoration so off to the scrap yard it went.  Then about a year later I was thinking of making a custom remote power steering reservoir for my Galaxie and realized the tip of filler neck from the tank would have made a perfect top for said reservoir but the tank was gone.

Fortunately that doesn't happen very often because I keep almost everything and now I am glad I have because I was able to use those old parts to build an engine run stand. When I was making plans the only thing I figured I would need to buy was a battery. 

The reason I started this project was to do a compression test on a used 351W I picked up and plan on putting in my 62 Galaxie. 

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The concept of an engine run stand is simple, a self contained place to bolt up an engine, that also has all the parts and pieces needed to run that engine, break it in, test new parts, and/or for tuning.  The biggest advantage of an engine run stand is it's a lot easier to put an engine in the stand than it would be to install the engine in the car.

I built my stand based on the Ford small block because that’s almost all I ever mess with BUT I also made everything adjustable so I could throw on other engines simply by changing out the mounts and adjusting the bellhousing mounting plate.

IThe first thig I did was spend some time digging through my steel pile to find enough to build most of the stand.

I always tend to buy a little extra steel for what ever project I am working on as I would rather have to much and be able to finish the project rather than not enough and have the project stalled out weighting for materials.  There have been a lot of projects over the years so there were lots of scraps to pick from.  I also hate to wast so anytime there was anything made of metal, that was no longer being used for what it was designed for, I would remove the metal and add it to the scrap pile. 
Lots of scrap to work with

With lots of steel to choose from, I cut the pieces for the base.  In the picture below, nothing is welded up.  At that point I still had to drill some mounting holes in the pieces before they were welded together.  This was a really wise decision to drill all the holes prior to welding it up.  It made the initial fab work take a long time but the final result was a quality setup where all the holes lined up and were exactly where they needed to be.

The above mentioned holes included ones needed for the wheels and the holes mid stand for adjustability.  From there it was time to fire up the welder.  I bolted on the cut and drilled wheel plates to the frame pieces and then used fencing wire crisscrosses from one corner to the other to help make it square.

The squaring technique I used is simple but very effective; you twist the wire and tighten it up on its self.  Once all the slack is out of both sections of wire you measure from corer to corner.  You then tighten the wire between the longer corners, then repeat the measuring and tightening until both corner measurements are the same and you have it square.  As the wires get tight they hold everything in place so there is no issue with things moving out of square as you are welding.

Once I had the base built I turned my attention to the uprights They pivot where they attaches to the bottom mount and they pivots at the engine mounts so everything is adjustable depending on what engine/mount combo I might want to run. 

The lock nuts are tight enough that the uprights are freestanding but still totally adjustable.   On the other end I made a bar that bolts to the bellhousing and than has a piece of all-thread on either end.  This will allow me to adjust the height of the bellhousing and also level it up from side to side.

If I run a different engine I will probably need to make an adapter or some minor adjustment to this end, but I won’t do that until I need to... if I ever need to.  As I said before all I ever mess with is SBF. 
The mounts for the uprights to frame are only adjustable in 1.5" increments so I needed the bellhousing end to be completely adjustable and I came up with a "clamping" method to attach it

Putting an engine on was really easy with the mounts pivoting at two spots.  Once the engine was on I could easily move it from side to side to level it up but not so easily that it felt unstable.  Once I hooked up the bellhousing mount it was rock solid and I could only move the engine by adjusting my leveling screws.

In preparation for the exhaust I had two options.  In the above picture I have a new never used set of shorty headers.  I really didn't want to use them being that they have never been run.  I also have a set of headers I got from a 72 F-100.  I will probably use them but unfortunately they don't clear the bellhousing mount so if I run them I will have to reverse them and go "gangsta style"

With the stand able to mount an engine, I got  to work on fabricating the radiator support/push handle.  This part was built from steel I had to purchase.  The bellhousing mount and the engine uprights were made from 1” square tubing with 1/8” walls but I didn’t want this cart to be to heavy so I made the raditor support/push handle out of 1” square tubing with 1/16” walls

The radiator support/push handle is bolted on using the wheel bolts and the end most adjustable mount holes in the center of the frame.  I wanted to make sure the radiator support/push handle could be removed so that the run stand takes up less space when not in use.

With the majority of the structure fabricated up it was time to start dealing with a lot of the smaller details.  The most important detail was the gauges and engine controls.   From left to right: Battery kill switch, Manual choke cable, Electric fan switch, High/low fan switch, Idiot light for oil if the engine I am running is set up that way, Oil pressure gauge, Amp gauge, Temp gauge, Vacuum gauge, O2 gauge, and Ignition switch.

The expanded metal at the base of the gauge cluster is a tray for tools and parts when tuning an engine.

I then added a radiator from an 84 Mercury Grand Marquis and an electric fan from a Mark VII.  This fan and has two speeds.  I will be wiring it with three options: off, low and high.  In the spirit of reusing parts I used a Hurst shifter as my throttle. 

blue 66

At this point It’s basically done.  I will leave it alone until the 351 is ready to be fired up and then finish wiring in the electrical and such for the test fire and after said test fire I will take the stand apart one last time and have it powder coated.  I figure there will be some minor adjustments that will need to be made to run it so I won't cote it until I have had the opportunity to make those adjustments.

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