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Engine Build Ups
Perhaps this is echoing what we’ve said in the beginning of this book, but engine projects have to
follow a plan to be effective. Winging it as you go works — if you’re born lucky. For most of us who
build engines, having a plan and following it with discipline is where power and reliability come from.
When you’re on a budget like most of us are, compromises have to be made and common sense
must prevail.

Like we said earlier, your engine’s mission has to be established before you get started. Street
engines and racing engines have completely difference missions because power management is
very different. On the street, you need a broad power band that begins with good low-end torque all
the way up to high RPM freeway pursuit. You need a street engine that pulls well out of the hole
and will make torque when it’s time to pass. For most engines, this power band spans 2500 to 5500
For racing, your power band should be up high in the 4500 to 6500 rpm range in a budget racer.
We do this because racing engines make their power up high, which keeps the power in place and
ready. When we keep an engine in its power band, we keep it ready to meet and exceed the need.
In high RPM ranges, racing engines make more power than they do in the best street engines. This
is what an engine’s personality is all about. It is about making power and when.

Whenever you are planning an engine build-up, you want to know how much power your engine is
going to make. We have compiled ten low- and medium-budget Ford V-8s and put them on the
dyno to see how much bang can be achieved for the buck. None of these tests is a guarantee that
you will achieve the same results. However, given good common-sense building technique and
packaging, you can achieve similar success. Perhaps you can incorporate a few speed secrets of
your own.
429 Cobra Jet with Ram Air
The 429/460 takes its lead
from the Cleveland engine
design concept. This is a
powerhouse of a big-block
because it offers so much
performance potential.
5.0L EFI (273 hp)
Westech Performance shows us what can be done with a 5.0L EFI small block for under $3,500.
This is a medium-budget street small block with a stock bottom end. Aside from a .030-in. overbore
and dynamic balancing, the short block is relatively stock. We infused power by topping this engine
with Ford Racing GT-40 heads and induction. This is a modest fuel-injected street small block you
can build for approximately $3500. What yo can expect from this engine is a slightly lumpy idle with
crisp throttle response for good traffic light-to-traffic light performance.

Federal Mogul flattop forged-aluminum pistons give this engine 10.5:1 compression with 60cc
chambers. Reconditioned C8OE connecting rods prove to us the 5.0L High Output engine is a solid
mill from the factory. These rods can take extraordinary hammering again and again without failure.
The Ford Racing E-303 camshaft is an aggressive hydraulic roller that gives this engine a slight
lope to its idle. However, it remains a streetable mill for the daily commute. Cylinder heads and
induction system are stock GT-40 pieces.

We learned on the dyno that this is a snappy mill that doesn’t have a temperamental attitude. On
the open road with either a T-5 five-speed or Automatic Overdrive, you can expect 20-25 mpg in a
Mustang if you’re using 3.55:1 gears.
On the Dyno
RPM      Horsepower        Torque
2500         137.1                 288.1
3000         167.4                 293.1
3500         205.5                 308.4
4000         238.5                 
4500         259.7                 303.1
5000         269.6                 283.1
5500         266.1                 254.1
273.0                 245.7
5700         257.0                 236.8
5800         252.9                 229.0
Build Specs
  • Core: 1987-95 era 5.0L EFI Engine (Roller Tappets)
  • Block: Bored to 4.030", decked .005"
  • Pistons: Federal-Mogul .030" forged oversize flattops
  • Compression: 10.5:1
  • Crankshaft: Nodular iron, machined 010" undersize
  • Connecting Rods: Stock reconditioned "C8OE" pieces with new ARP bolts
  • Oil Pump: Stock, untouched
  • Oil Pan: Stock (FOX body, double sump)
  • Camshaft: E-303, (Ford Racing, hydraulic roller)
  • Lifters: Stock
  • Valvetrain: E-303 compatible springs, stock rollers, and push rods
  • Cylinder Heads: Ford Racing GT-40
  • Induction: GT-40 upper and lower with 70mm throttle body
  • Ignition: Stock
  • Headers: 1 5/8" Long Tube
  • Parts: $2500.00
  • Labor: $700.00
302-4V CARBURETED (450 hp)
Getting back to basics is this Westech 302-4V carbureted small block. Like the 5.0L EFI just tested
above, this 302 is a .030-in. over block with a stock crankshaft. It differs with components designed
to make and withstand 450 horsepower — which is the factor that drives up the price. Although this
can be used as a street engine, it is more a budget racing engine with an aggressive camshaft that
makes 398 lbs./ft. of torque at 5500 rpm. Peak horsepower comes in around 6000 rpm. The
message with this engine is torque.
450 horsepower Ford 302
What may surprise you about
this engine is its streetable
demeanor. The Comp Cams
Extreme Energy 282 hydraulic
roller gives us plenty of
camshaft without the lumpy idle
you’d expect from a flat-tappet
piece with the same specs.
Where it gets interesting is what
happens to this engine at wide
open throttle.
Air Flow Research aluminum heads feed those 4.030" bores via the magic of the Extreme Energy
282 roller camshaft. This is a twisty package that works well together.

The Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold isn’t really a street manifold but more a high-RPM racing
manifold. It is a single plane design that does its best work at high RPM. This 302 makes abundant
power for such a low displacement because we’re feeding this beast with a Victor Jr., Demon
carburetor and a healthy set of heads. For straight street use, this engine would perform better with
an Edelbrock Performer RPM manifold and 650cfm carburetor.
Believe it or not, we were able to achieve 450 horsepower with a stock nodular-iron crankshaft,
which should tell you something about durability in a stock small-block Ford bottom end. Forged
Probe pistons can withstand nearly anything we can throw at them including squeeze or
supercharging. Stock C8OE rods get the job done for less money here. If you’re nervous about
reliability from the stock rod, step up to Crower Sportsman rods for about $1000 more. However,
stock rods with ARP bolts can withstand a lot of punishment. A Melling high-volume oil pump keeps
moving parts amply supplied.
On The Dyno...
RPM     Horsepower         Torque
2500         N/A                     N/A
3000         186.5                 326.5
3500         228.1                 342.3
4000         275.9                 362.3
4500         320.9                 374.5
5000         368.7                 387.3
5500         417.1                
6000         448.9                 392.9
454.5                 391.4
Build Specs
  • Core: 1968-73 era 302-2V junk yard special
  • Block: Bored to 4.030", decked .005"
  • Pistons: Probe Industries .030" forged oversize flattops
  • Compression: 10.5:1
  • Crankshaft: Nodular Iron, machined 010" undersize
  • Connecting Rods: Stock C8OE rods reconditioned with ARP 3/8" bolts
  • Oil Pump: Melling High-Volume out of the box  
  • Oil Pan: Front Sump Street Pan
  • Camshaft: Comp Cams Extreme Energy 282 hydraulic roller  
  • Lifters: Hydraulic Rollers
  • Valvetrain: Comp Cams roller rockers
  • Cylinder Heads: Air Flow Research AFR-185 with 2.02/1.60" valves
  • Induction: Edelbrock Victor Jr. with Speed Demon 750cfm
  • Ignition: MSD  
  • Headers: 1 5/8" Long Tube
  • Parts: $6000.00
  • Labor: $800.00

This has been a sample page from

How to Build Max Performance Ford V-8s on a Budget How to Build Max Performance
Ford V-8s on a Budget
By George Reid
Low-cost formulas for building serious horsepower!
This book addresses high-performance V-8
engines such as the 289, 302, 351ci small-blocks
found in Mustangs, as well as the FE series of
big-blocks. Emphasis throughout is a budget
approach to building high performance powerplants
through the use of over-the-counter factory
components and selected aftermarket pieces.
Includes realistic, low-cost formulas for building
serious horsepower in Ford V-8 engines.
Read the
sample pages to learn more!

Out of Stock

Click below to view sample
pages from several chapters
1 - Engine Building Basics
2 - Making Power
3 - Engine Block
4 - Crankshaft, Rods & Pistons
5 - Cylinder Heads
6 - Camshaft & Valvetrain
7 - Headers and Exhaust
8 - Ford Ignition Systems
9 - Engine Build Ups
8-3/8 x 10-7/8
128 pages
300+ b/w photos
Item #SA69P
Price: $
Click here to buy now!

If you're serious about building a powerful
Ford V-8 you need this book!

Other items you might be interested in

How to Build Big-Inch Ford Small Blocks
By increasing the bore and stroke of your current
engine, you can add those cubic inches without the
hassle of switching to a big block. George Reid
thoroughly explains the building of a small block Ford
stroker, paying special attention to the effect that
increasing the bore and stroke have on the engine as a
whole. Also included is a complete guide to factory head
and block castings, as well as aftermarket block and
head guides, so you can choose exactly the right parts
for your project.
How to Build Big-Inch Ford Small Blocks
$ 22.95

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