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1964 Continental Engine Questions

Hi Bill –
I live in South Africa and have recently bought a 1964 Lincoln. The car was creating pressure in the cooling system. When I removed the cylinder heads to check if it had blown a head gasket, there were shims with the head gaskets.
Did they come like that? The engine had been overhauled as there are 030″ pistons in the block. The car would also detonate once she got hot and it was almost impossible to turn her off.
Would you by any chance have the recommended head thickness for the 430ci. When I removed the heads, there didn’t seem to be any evidence that they had blown.
Any advice would be a great help.
Brad –
As far as I know there were no head shims from the factory and Ford did not adjust compression ratio with the use of shims or different thickness of gasket. The compression ratio was fixed and adjusted in the design of the engine according to the quality and octane of the fuel of the day. Without knowing the history of your engine it seems that someone may have added something to your engine to lower the compression possibly because of the lack of high octane fuel availability or some undiagnosed and unrepaired overheating issue etc . These engines are really no different than most engines of that era and many so called mechanics tinkered with them in many ways for unknown reasons. Did you remove the heads before diagnosing the problem that you describe? Could your engine have been overheating and building up pressure because of a plugged radiator or seized thermostat/ Do you have a 1964 Lincoln Shop Manual?

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