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Modifying Small Block Ford Cylinder Heads
Modifying Small
Block Ford Cylinder
Heads

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4.6L / 5.4L Engine Build Ups
This first buildup was actually an extension of the very first modular motor I ran on the engine dyno.
The basis for this 407-hp mod motor started out as a high-mileage ’98 2-valve 4.6L. While the early
(1996-’98) GT motors don’t rank high on the desirability scale, it was perfect for our needs. The
early non-PI motors were rated at 215 to 225 hp depending on the year, but it was the short block
that makes these early motors so desirable, especially when upgrading to late-model PI cylinder
heads. The combination of the early non-PI short block and late-model PI heads has a positive
effect on the static compression, upping it by over a full point, from 9.2 to 10.6:1. The late-model PI
heads offer improved airflow over the early heads, but the increased compression ratio from the
head change can be worth an extra 6 to 8 percent in power. That equates to 18 to 20 hp
depending on the original power rating. Bolting on the PI components offers not only improved
head flow and compression, but also improved intake flow, as well as a change in effective
operating range, thanks to the mandatory use of the PI intake. Now toss in a set of CNC-ported
heads and wilder cams and you have the makings of a serious power upgrade.
1998 Ford 4.6L short block ready to have the heads installed
The 1998 short block was a
high-mileage unit, but performed
perfectly. When performing the head
swap, I upgraded the head gaskets to
Fel-Pros and added a set of ARP head
studs.
While our non-PI short block offered the promise of additional compression, we wanted to maximize
the airflow as well. Ultimately, power is based on airflow, so anything we can do to improve the
airflow through the motor will usually result in more power. To cure the airflow bottleneck in the
factory non-PI heads, we contacted the airflow experts at Total Engine Airflow (TEA). Known in
racing circles for their impressive CNC porting programs, we decided to try a set of their
CNC-ported PI heads on our early 4.6L. The early and late-model 4.6L heads differ primarily in the
size of their combustion chamber. The early heads featured a much larger chamber that was
designed to work with a near-flat-top piston. The later PI heads featured much smaller combustion
chambers (roughly 7 to 8 cc) to work with a dished piston, thus installing the PI heads on a non-PI
short block will result in a significant increase in compression ratio.
Stage 2 CNC ported PI heads 
from Total Engine Airflow being installed on the Ford 4.6L
The Stage 2 CNC-ported PI heads
from Total Engine Airflow were
installed on the awaiting 1998 short
block.
While the gain in compression was certainly welcomed, the real power came from the precision CNC
porting performed by Total Engine Airflow. The computer-controlled porting upped the flow figures
by as much as 50 cfm on the intake side. The TEA-ported heads flowed nearly 230 cfm on the
intake and over 200 cfm on the exhaust. Improving the airflow on a factory cylinder head at .500 or
.600 inches of lift is easy, but combining those high-lift gains with low- and mid-lift improvements is
the sign of a well-designed CNC program. The TEA-ported PI heads showed airflow improvements
across the lift range, from .050 through .550 lift (the maximum the valves will see with the available
cams).
1998 4.6L engine bolted onto the dyno and running
Run on the engine dyno, the modified
1998 4.6L 2-valve motor pumped out
407 hp and 394 ft-lbs of torque.
The motor was further upgraded with a set of Comp XE274H Xtreme Energy cams and PI intake
manifold. Though these cams were originally designed for a non-PI motor, they worked well on this
PI-headed combination. The XE274H cams offered 236 degrees of intake duration and 240
degrees of exhaust duration. The dual-pattern (more intake duration than exhaust) helped offset a
poor intake-to-exhaust flow relationship in the cylinder heads. Unfortunately, this flow imbalance
was a negative attribute shared by both of the mod motors and previous 5.0L heads. The XE274H
cams offered .500 inches of lift (intake and exhaust) on an idle-friendly 114-degree lobe separation
angle. Knowing we planned on revving the motor past 6,000 rpm, we elected to install the Comp
Cams valvespring upgrade. The right springs are critical for proper valve control and to eliminate
coil bind. The spring upgrade ensured that our mod motor could rev safely to take full advantage of
the extra power offered by the more aggressive Xtreme Energy profiles.
The Competition cams that were installed in the 4.6L engine
Part of the buildup
included a set of
Comp XE274H cams.
The PI intake was topped off with an Accufab 75-mm throttle body and matching plenum, while the
exhaust chores were handled by a set of Hooker Super Comp headers feeding 3-inch collector
extensions. The motor was equipped with an electric water pump and run with a F.A.S.T.
management system set to 26 degrees of total timing and 13.0:1 air/fuel ratio. So equipped, the
4.6L 2-valve motor produced peak power readings of 407 hp and 394 ft-lbs of torque. The
additional compression ratio provided an exceptional torque curve, allowing the 4.6L to exceed 375
ft-lbs from 4,100 rpm to 5,500 rpm and 350 ft-lbs of torque from 3,350 rpm to 6,100 rpm. In fact, the
4.6L never produced less than 320 ft-lbs of torque from 3,000 to 6,200 rpm. Testing has shown
that the factory PI intake was holding the motor back from reaching as much as 450 hp. We tried a
Reichard Racing intake on this combination, but it was worth only 10 extra horsepower, and it
sacrificed power to the PI manifold all the way up to 6,000 rpm. This test motor needed a custom
intake designed to optimize power up to 6,200 rpm, similar to the one used in the next test on the
stroker motor.
Test 1: 407-hp PI 2-Valve GT
Block
Stock 1998 2V Iron
Crank
Stock 1998 2V
Rods
Stock 1998 2V
Pistons
Stock 1998 2V
Compression
10.48 to 1
Cylinder Heads
TEA Stage 2 CNC-Ported PI
Cams
Comp XE274H (non-PI)
Intake Manifold
Stock PI
Throttle Body
Accufab 75 mm
Intake Elbow
Accufab 75 mm
Injectors
Stock 1998 19 lbs.
Management
F.A.S.T.
Headers
Hooker Super Comp 15⁄8 inch
Exhaust
3 x 18-inch Collector Extension (No Mufflers)
Fuel
91-Octane Pump Gas
Dyno Results
Dyno chart of the modified Ford 4.6L SOHC engine
Peak Power:
407 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Peak Torque:
394 ft-lbs @ 4,800 rpm
Previous


This has been a sample page from

Building 4.6 / 5.4L Ford Horsepower on the Dyno Building 4.6/5.4L Ford
Horsepower on the Dyno
by Richard Holdener
The 4.6- and 5.4-liter modular Ford engines are finally
catching up with the legendary 5.0L in terms of aftermarket
support and performance parts availability. Having a lot of
parts to choose from is great for the enthusiast, but it can
also make it harder to figure out what parts and modifications
will work best. Building 4.6/5.4L Ford Horsepower on the
Dyno takes the guesswork out of modification and parts
selection by showing you the types of horsepower and torque
gains expected by each modification.

Author Richard Holdener uses over 340 photos and 185
back-to-back dyno graphs to show you which parts increase
horsepower and torque, and which parts don’t deliver on
their promises. Unlike sources that only give you peak
numbers and gains, Building 4.6/5.4L Ford Horsepower on
the Dyno includes complete before-and-after dyno graphs,
so you can see where in the RPM range these parts make
(or lose) the most horsepower and torque. Holdener covers
upgrades for 2-, 3-, and 4-valve modular engines, with
chapters on throttle bodies and inlet elbows, intake
manifolds, cylinder heads, camshafts, nitrous oxide,
supercharging, turbocharging, headers, exhaust systems,
and complete engine buildups.
Click below to view sample pages
Chap. 1 - Throttle Bodies
Chap. 2 - Intake Manifold
Chap. 3 - Cylinder Heads
Chap. 4 - Camshafts
Chap. 5 - Nitrous Oxide
Chap. 6 - SOHC Supercharging
Chap. 7 - DOHC Supercharging
Chap. 8 - Turbocharging
Chap. 9 - Engine Headers
Chap. 10 - 4.6 Engine Buildups
8-1/2 x 11"
Sftbd.
208 pgs.
340+ b/w photos
Item # SA115P
Price: $28.95
This is a great book and a
must have for anyone
considering modifying a 4.6 or
5.4 Ford for more power!
Click here to buy now!


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