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Ford C-850 information needed

Andrew Mackey

Moderator
Last Subscription Date
05/14/2017
OK, I have been handed a new project by a local fire department. it is a Haahn fire truck, based on a ford super duty C-850 chassis. It was built in 1962. First and foremost problem id that the inverted master cylinders (clutch and brake) are MT. How do I fill them - and bleed? i dont see the clutch slave cylinder either - anyone know where it is? Weirdest set up I have ever seen! i am also looking for tune specs. Ford made 3 super duty engines, a SD401, a SD477 and a SD534 (CIDs). How so I tell what I have (all v-8s) it has not been on the road for 10 years, but has ben indoors and the engine run occasionally to keep it turning. They must have just let idle with the choke on, because the oil is loaded with gs (NFG). Oil plug seems seized, any ideas on how to get it out? cant use heat - gas in oil may go BOOM! Thanks for the help if you can. Anyone have a ford manual I can peruse? Not much on the 'net, even on a few ford forums, not much available on the C-850. Strange bird!
Andrew
 

Wayne 440

Registered
It has been years, but I think you remove the pushrod boot and use a large syringe (looks like a turkey baster)
 

I like oldstuff

Registered
Last Subscription Date
11/09/2015
Besides a leaking carb putting gas into the oil I'd first replace the fuel pump. A leaking diaphragm will pump more fuel into the crankcase than a carb can. Glad you caught it before it destroyed the engine. A typical oil pan drain plug I assume.. Hell, go neanderthal on it.

They're called MEL engines. Mercury Edsel, Lincoln. They are as smooth as glass and make globs of torquey grunt. Also known as a wedge block.
Start here : https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/forum137/
 

cornbinder89

Registered
Besides a leaking carb putting gas into the oil I'd first replace the fuel pump. A leaking diaphragm will pump more fuel into the crankcase than a carb can. Glad you caught it before it destroyed the engine. A typical oil pan drain plug I assume.. Hell, go neanderthal on it.

They're called MEL engines. Mercury Edsel, Lincoln. They are as smooth as glass and make globs of torquey grunt. Also known as a wedge block.
Start here : https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/forum137/
Superduty's are not a MEL, different block. They also use a Tolkheim Electric in tank fuel pump, not an engine driven pump, or at least the one covered by my manual do. (1978). Electrics were used to counteract vapor locking on a heavy gas truck.
 

PFT

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
02/07/2020
Wayne 440 is correct on the master cylinder fill, there should be a tab on the boot to pull it up off of the cylinder. The SD series engines are all based on the same basic block, just different bore/stroke combinations, so they all look alike on the outside. These were true truck motors, never used in any cars, known to go many miles before rebuilds.
 

Andrew Mackey

Moderator
Last Subscription Date
05/14/2017
Thanks for the replies. Confirmed - no fuel pump on engine block. I will be taking out plugs to see if any are fouled. We got the oil drain plug out with a breaker bar and a 3 foot extension on the arm, with a 250 pound man standing on it. man was that thing stuck! We are going to go thru this soup to nuts, and i will keep you informed of progress. i managed to find a MOTORS truck manual on evilbay, hopefully it will cover the C-850.. First item on the itenary is brakes and clutch. Then engine and tuning. If i cant get parts for the brakes and clutch, it doesnt make sense to go further. The brake and clutch masters seem to be externally ruted pretty bad. i dont know condition of internals yet. Are replacement cylinders available? TTYL Andrew
 

Birken Vogt

Email NOT Working
I liked those old C-series, smooth and quiet for a truck of that era. Made all the way to the early 1990s.

Everything on there was made to be worked on by Gomer Pyle. Back then people rebuilt parts in their own shops. You can too but sometimes they need to be sleeved. There are still specialty shops out there that can do the work I am sure.

https://brakeboosterrebuild.com/about/
https://www.cardone.com/catalog/brakes/power-brake-booster

Although these are sites devoted to Hyrdo-vac boosters, the master cylinders (and wheel cylinders) are similar and simpler so I'm sure they could work on them too.
 

Heins

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
01/02/2020
OK, I have been handed a new project by a local fire department. it is a Haahn fire truck, based on a ford super duty C-850 chassis. It was built in 1962. First and foremost problem id that the inverted master cylinders (clutch and brake) are MT. How do I fill them - and bleed? i dont see the clutch slave cylinder either - anyone know where it is? Weirdest set up I have ever seen! i am also looking for tune specs. Ford made 3 super duty engines, a SD401, a SD477 and a SD534 (CIDs). How so I tell what I have (all v-8s) it has not been on the road for 10 years, but has ben indoors and the engine run occasionally to keep it turning. They must have just let idle with the choke on, because the oil is loaded with gs (NFG). Oil plug seems seized, any ideas on how to get it out? cant use heat - gas in oil may go BOOM! Thanks for the help if you can. Anyone have a ford manual I can peruse? Not much on the 'net, even on a few ford forums, not much available on the C-850. Strange bird!
Andrew
My book says on the Rating plate on the truck, on the warranty # the 4th digit from left will tell you which engine you will have. G 401 with 2 barrel, P 401 with 4 barrel, H 477 2 barrel, O 477 4 barrel, and R 534. What else do you need?
 

Andrew Mackey

Moderator
Last Subscription Date
05/14/2017
OK, went to work on the C-850 yesterday. All plugs carbon fouled, points fried, cap burnt, and conflicting data in the MOTORS Manual we got. Engine listed for the C-850 super duty is the 401. HOWEVER, the VIN says the engine is the 534! Tuning specs all say the same BUT for 1962 the manual says transistor ignition on the 534??? Didnt think they had them back then. Again conflicting data - point gap is supposed to be .017" but another section sys .020 with the transister ignition. ALSO, in distributer specs it says "the distributerhas a condenser mounted but the wire is supposed to be clipped and disconnected". On the engine in the truck, the condenser is connected. SOOO- how do you tell if this beast has transister ignition? Did someone in the past screw up, or is this thing basterdised?

Next problem - plug spec calls for autolite BRF 31, which looks to be a 124 modern number. This plug is at the bottom of the heat chart, Anyone have a cross referance so I can get a hotter plug? A call to NAPA has met with a dead end - the dope at the other end of the phone says Ford didnt make a 534, and they dont have any parts. They made that engine into the 1970s, so why no tuning parts? There are signs of heavy backfiring into the 4 BBL carb (lotsof carbon). I think due to partially fouled plugs and heavy corrosion on the cap.

We filled both master cylinders and pumped the pedals. Both came up and seem to be holding OK. Oil was changed out with ROTELLA T 15W-40. Book says 9 quarts with filter, the truck took 3 gallons. We have to get the engine running to check clutch and brake function.

TTYL Andrew
 
Last edited:

Andrew Mackey

Moderator
Last Subscription Date
05/14/2017
A bit of an update - NAPA of neton NJ has all tune up parts in stock! Ill pick them upp tomorrow. he Autolite 124 is a SPECIAL 18mm spark plug. Apparrently the reach and taper of the seat is specific to the SD series engines. There is no replacement in the autolite plug charts, and the counter guy contacted Autolite tech suport and they told him that that plug is specific to the engine type. it fits the 401, 477 and 534 Ford SD engines.

Some data: Point gap is .017". NO transister IGN. Plug gap .030" Timing 6 degrees BTDC This engine has mechanical lifters, setting .020 intake and exhaust. Top governed RPM - 3200
 

Wayne 440

Registered
IF memory serves (it has been a long time, proceed at your own risk) an Autolite 45 is the same thread and taper as a 124 and is one heat range hotter.
 
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