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Ford Engine Firing

Modifying Small Block Ford Cylinder Heads
Modifying Small
Block Ford Cylinder

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4.6L Cooling Systems
The cooling system of the 4.6 has proven to be marginal in some situations. The 4-valve engine
has used a reverse cooling system in both the Mark 8 and the Cobra. The thermostat on these
systems is located on the inlet to the engine, in the lower radiator hose, rather than the more
traditional location on the outlet of the engine, in the upper radiator hose. When filling from empty,
purging the air from this system can be a troublesome. The procedure we use is to fill the cooling
system through the water crossover between the cylinder heads with the cap removed from the
header tank. When the header tank fills, we tighten the cap and continue filling the crossover tube.
Once the tube is full, the engine is started. The technician monitors the engine while it warms up,
feeling the thermostat housing periodically, to feel when the thermostat has opened. Once the
thermostat has opened, we continue monitoring, until the cooling fan has turned on, cooled the
radiator, then shut off. Once this has occurred, the engine is allowed to cool, and then topped off
through the header tank. If the thermostat fails to open, as it occasionally does, shut the engine off
and let it cool, then restart the warm-up procedure.
4.6 Liter Ford Thermostat with bleed hole drilled in it
This photo shows the location
of the bleed hole that should
be drilled in the 4-valve
thermostat to avoid air locks
in the cooling system.
One thing we do which helps considerably is to drill a small air bleed hole in the edge of the
thermostat. I notice the factory caught on to this idea in 2003 with the new Cobra. The thermostat
can also be exchanged for a cooler one. There is certainly some power to be gained in running the
engine at 185 degrees instead of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Try not to run too cold however; the
engine requires some heat to make power. John Mihovetz has a ritual that serves him well in his
drag car, entering the water box at 140 degrees. He tries to stage at 170 degrees, which translates
to 210 degrees going through the traps. If the engine fails to achieve this temperature by more than
20 degrees, or runs over 230 degrees through the traps, a tenth of a second will be lost. Try to
learn what your engine package likes for temperature and work to maintain it. Every engine is not
exactly the same, so this will differ somewhat from car to car. For road racing, try and keep the
water temperature operating at 190-200 degrees.
Water Pumps
The water pump was upgraded in 1999 with a change in the impeller design that helps to reduce
cavitations at high RPM. This pump, part number pw-402 is a useful upgrade on earlier model
engines. Slowing the water pump speed through the use of underdrive pulleys gains a bit of power,
in addition to improving the performance of the pump at higher RPM. The factory sizes all the drive
ratios for the water pump, alternator, power steering, etc. for the required output while idling in
traffic in the heat of summer, so usually, we can afford to slow the pump down without impacting the
cooling performance negatively.
Early Ford 4.6 Water Pump Compared to the 1999 Cobra Water Pump
On the left, the early 4.6-
liter water pump is shown.
The pump on the right is
the ’99-up Cobra pump,
which has a closed-in pump
vane. This reduces
cavitation and takes less
power to rotate.
Electric water pumps are an excellent solution on race cars, since they reduce power loss and
provide improved flow capability. Drag racers have long been using electric water pumps, which in
addition to consuming virtually no engine power, can also be switched on between rounds to assist
in rapid cool down. There are many electric pumps on the market, and some provide less flow than
the stock pump, so shop wisely. Most are simply an electric motor with an impeller coupled to the
motor shaft. This is not the most efficient type of design available, and the pump may have difficulty
priming itself depending on the inlet and outlet locations on the pump housing. My personal choice
is the Davies Craig pump from Australia. It features a lightweight (800 grams) plastic construction,
and the scroll and impeller design allow flow rates of up to 25 gallons per minute. The kit comes
complete with adapters to accept radiator hoses from 1 1/4 to 2 inches in size. This water pump is
dependable enough to be used in endurance races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so it can also be
used on street cars and road-race applications, in addition to drag-race cars.
Davies Craig Electric Water Pump
The Davies Craig water pump
weighs under 2 pounds and
flows 25-gallons of water per
minute. The inlet may be
rotated 360 degrees in
position. This is a perfect
electric pump for race cars
and street rods.
Controlling an electric water pump can be done a couple of ways. A simple on/off switch or wiring it
into the ignition will suffice for most applications, but if a constant temperature is desired, Davies
Craig offer a controller which cycles the pump according to a predetermined temperature. The
temperature desired can be easily adjusted on the controller. In this way, the water pump acts as
both thermostat and water pump together. Alternately, if aftermarket EFI is used, the output from
the EFI can be used to operate the water pump and maintain an optimum temperature. This is
exactly the sort of cooling technology that the car manufacturers will introduce in the next few years.
Head gaskets with built-in temperature sensors will provide information to the engine management
computer, which will in turn control electric water pumps.
The ‘96 Ford Mustang had a very marginal cooling system from the factory, and there was an
upgrade available to those who complained to their service department. The radiator was replaced
as part of the upgrade, along with a low-restriction A/C condenser, a larger fan assembly, and an
upgraded wiring harness to supply the fan. Any ‘96 Mustang owners who experience cooling issues
would do well to upgrade these items first, if they have not already done so. Beyond the factory
upgrades, higher-output cars may well require a larger radiator. A heavy-duty aluminum radiator will
dissipate more heat than the factory unit will. One third of the total power produced by the engine
must be rejected through the cooling system, so an increase of 100-200 horsepower is going to
require more cooling system resources than the original.
There are several bolt-in replacement radiators for the Mustang, which will offer additional heat
dissipation. Other applications such as the Panther platform (Crown Victoria, Mercury Marquis) and
the Mark 8 may require some sourcing, but even a custom radiator is not difficult to obtain these
days. The radiator on a road-race car needs a 1/4-inch mesh steel screen placed a minimum of 1
inch in front of the radiator. This will stop small rocks and track debris from putting holes in the
radiator. If no screen is installed, eventually you will lose the radiator.
This is probably a good time to talk about coolant. I recommend that street and road-race cars use
a 50/50 mixture of Motorcraft antifreeze and water. The Ford brand antifreeze is compatible with the
aluminum alloys used in their blocks and cylinder heads. Some aftermarket antifreeze does not
contain the correct corrosion inhibiters, and the aluminum components could end up corroding
excessively. I have seen some blocks come through our shop that looked like some creature was
eating away at the metal, all because the correct coolant was not being used. On drag-race cars,
some do not wish to use antifreeze. In this case, distilled water, which has most of the impurities
removed, along with water-soluble oil, should be used. The water-soluble oil will lubricate the water
pump seals, preventing early seal failure. Do not forget to drain the system prior to winter if water is
used. With the outside temperature below freezing, even a trip in a trailer will freeze the water,
causing damage to the engine.
Fluidyne High Performance Ford Mustang Radiator
Fluidyne makes drop in
aluminum radiators for
Mustangs and Ford
trucks. They also have
universal radiators that
can be adapted for
special projects.
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This has been a sample page from

How to Build Max Performance 4.6 Liter Ford Engines How To Build Max Performance 4.6 Liter
Ford Engines
by Sean Hyland
This revised edition features new and current
information throughout the text, an additional 16 pages,
and all black and white photography.
When the ’96 Mustang came out with the 4.6-liter V-8, some
performance enthusiasts were scared away by its technology. But
those days are long gone. Ford added horsepower and torque to
its 2- and 4-valve V-8s over the years, and the number and
quality of available aftermarket performance parts has exploded.
Ford took things to the next level with the new 3-valve Mustang
GT engine and the 5.4-liter GT and Shelby GT500, adding even
more high-performance options.

In this updated edition of How To Build Max-Performance 4.6-Liter
Ford Engines, Sean Hyland gives you a comprehensive guide to
building and modifying Ford’s 2-, 3-, and 4-valve 4.6- and 5.4-liter
engines. You will learn everything from block selection and
crankshaft prep, to cylinder head and intake manifold
modifications. He also outlines eight recommended power
packages and provides you with a step-by-step buildup of a
naturally aspirated 405-horsepower Cobra engine. This is the
definitive guide to getting the most from your 4.6- and 5.4-liter

Temporarily Out of Stock - More On their way!

Click below to view sample
pages from each chapter.
Chap. 1 - Engine Block
Chap. 2 - Crankshafts
Chap. 3 - Rods
Chap. 4 - 4.6 Pistons
Chap. 5 - Cylinder Heads
Chap. 6 - Int. Manifolds
Chap. 7 - Fuel Injection
Chap. 8 - 4.6 Camshafts
Chap. 9 - 4.6 Exhaust
Chap. 10 - Ignition
Chap. 11 - Lubrication
Chap. 12 - Cooling
Chap. 13 - Power Adders
Chap. 14 - Packages
Chap. 15 - 405HP Engine
8-1/2 x 11
44 pages
445 B/W Photos
Item #SA82P
Price: $22.95
Click here to buy now!
This is a great book that any modular engine owner or enthusiast will enjoy!

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