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Kirkham Motorsports

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-28-2017, 01:41 PM
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Default New alloy 427 FE build.. call me crazy

I have been reading on here a lot about the alloy block problems from some very experienced builders.
I am however committed to going that direction. So for those of you pondering such a decision, here goes.

Some back story. When i built my Superformance I installed a 428 FE. Mild cam, intake made to run on pump gas. Iron block and heads. Dyno @ 388 HP @ 4900 and 499 TQ @ 3300. I had a performance shop build it, but they missed a lot. The engine was troublesome from the start with heating and blowing head gasket. A cracked piston. It had the 3rd blown head gasket at the track (never the same cylinder or side). So I hit the point that i pulled it to find out what the heck. Turned out it was a 40 over bore and it failed a sonic test as well as a problem with the deck. Moral of the story, get a good builder.

So now I find I need a block. I already made the choice to go to aluminum heads, mostly because of fuel made today.
We decided on a Pond 427 alloy block. I would have done iron but my new builder did not like the choices and availability. He knows that he is up against alloy issues.
As I understand it, most everyone has changed foundries so maybe my story will be of the newer 2017 batches. Who knows maybe some problems have been solved.

As many components I have from the 428 are a direct bolt on, I will not move away from an FE. (I will need some new T-Shirts...lol)

I am not going for stupid HP and I am not in it for the bling or bragging rights. I am in it for reliability. My understanding from here and my builder, is once past the building pains, it could be very reliable.

I will keep you posted.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:47 PM
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Good luck. I applaud your efforts to stick with an FE.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:49 PM
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You're Crazy.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:51 PM
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You're Crazy.
Many have said that about me, even before this undertaking.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:53 PM
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Good luck. I applaud your efforts to stick with an FE.
Thanks. A zillion years ago I was a mechanic and the big ford FE was my holly grail of engines.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:59 PM
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Thanks. A zillion years ago I was a mechanic and the big ford FE was my holly grail of engines.
Still is IMO when it comes to cars like these and other period Fords.
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:28 PM
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Me too. When I originally set out to get my Cobra I wanted to feel 1965. To see what all the fuss was about.
So the FE was the only choice and a minimum of a 428. I actually had the engine before the car.
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Old 06-28-2017, 05:02 PM
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GO nuts!
I think once you've got a few cycles in the build. she'll cause you no more problems than any other engine.

Any ideas on whose heads you're likely to opt for?
If your just after nice street-ability then I'd vote for a set of survivals felony heads from Barry R.

By the way, who have you commissioned to build the engine?

Good luck
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Old 06-28-2017, 05:22 PM
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GO nuts!
I think once you've got a few cycles in the build. she'll cause you no more problems than any other engine.

Any ideas on whose heads you're likely to opt for?
If your just after nice street-ability then I'd vote for a set of survivals felony heads from Barry R.

By the way, who have you commissioned to build the engine?

Good luck
I am using Bud at MACH Development Home Page

I am going with Edelbrock heads. It is from the builder recommendations. He will be doing some work to them.

As a back story, I did reach out to builders that are on here. Shipping the old engine east for diagnoses and then repair did not sound feasible. I had some recommendations for out west builders. I talked to a few. I also talked to Hillbanks and since I am in Arizona, they highly recommended a guy named Charlie at American Legends. He is very good with Superformance Cobras. They also build hot rods and do original Shelby restorations. He hooked me up with the machinist he uses. Bud seems to be fairly well versed with the FE. I guess time will tell.
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:48 PM
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An FE is a true joy to own in a Cobra, if you have it built right, and to the specs that really suit you and your driving. Of course, I'm a big solid flat tappet proponent. And I like the old profiles for both sound and gentle ramp rates.
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Old 07-01-2017, 12:28 PM
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Default Pond FE in mid build right now.

Hi 2 bars.

I'm I'm currently having a Pond Block 427 FE built right now. I wanted it vintage spec, but all aluminium, so have had a custom crank manufactured to O.E. specification. All I want is in the region of 500/500. I don't want the point of no return, to be every moment in every gear.

I'm in the same place as you, except I curently run an all iron 302 EFI in my Autokraft Mk IV. I'm hoping the weights will be within 10% and the distribution will be maintained. The decision to go all aluminium FE wasn't taken lightly and so far I've waited a painful 18 months while the saga of foundry issues has continued. Seemingly that's solved now. It's not been an easy wait as I'm in the UK and have relied on emails and faith....!

The (well known) builder says the new units from Robert are the best he's seen. He says the machining has been done, the assembly balanced and hopefully next week the heads will be on.
The big decision is the cam. I want to race idle but be able to drive the thing on street. I'm trying not to interfere, because Mr builder says he understands, I can't have it all ways and to leave it to him. However, it's hard to resist looking at cam specs, once you know the cam sound you like (Crower 16331/16257)!

I'm happy to share what I've learnt, but as I say it's mid build right now. However, I think it will be worth the wait and everyone here thinks I'm insane to cut up a complete car to make it fit.
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Old 07-01-2017, 03:12 PM
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I did a Pond based 482 myself, in my own basement. From a bare block. It's not that hard if you're careful. I did have various leaks and assorted problems, but that's part of the fun. I now have over 4000 miles on my Kirkham with that engine. Dyno'd at the rear wheels through a very restrictive undercar exhaust with 2" tailpipes at 460hp. I figure I'm losing a TON through that exhaust.

My advice to you is: don't listen to people that tell you it has to be done one way or that you can't do this or that. For instance, all the know it all, talking heads will say "don't Copper-Kote your felpro 1020's." Well guess what? It works fine. It don't leak. And I run the piss out of it. Do what works and do it well.

Oh and one more thing...test it on a run stand or an engine dyno. Trust me and that one.
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Old 07-01-2017, 04:20 PM
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If you have to copper coat head gaskets, there is an underlying issue that you are band-aiding.

Proper machine work takes care of things like that.

We can account for proper machine work. The things that we can't account for are manufacturing defects, porous spots, etc. Once you have a couple on the dyno that are pumping water throughout the engine or bleeding oil internally because of a drill-through, you really don't want to mess with them anymore.

Those kinds of things turn me against aftermarket fe blocks pretty quickly. I've had 2 aluminum blocks that were returned because they failed pressure tests, a cast iron block that needed a sleeve out of the box, and Barry has recently had 2 cast iron blocks that bled out internally, and one that had excessive lifter bore clearance out of the box.

The engine builder usually gets stuck with the repairs since none of us think the customer should have to be involved.
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Old 07-01-2017, 06:30 PM
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Good luck on the build. I have a Pond block based 482 FE from Lance over at Craft and have had no problems at all but I do feel there are 3 factors that affect your outcome. The first is the parts manufacturing quality and there is no question that sand castings, especially aluminum ones, can and do have defects, many of which cannot be detected until machined (porosity breakouts, etc) or tested, and I do feel for Brent and the other builders here. The second is the quality of work done to prepare the block, heads and reciprocating parts for assembly, and the quality of the assembly work itself. The third is how you have chosen to balance the performance vs driveability equation through your choice of compression ratio, camshaft profile, heads/porting etc. The last two factors are controllable but the first one not so much. Good luck and look forward to seeing it soon!

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Old 07-03-2017, 01:00 PM
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Thanks for the support guys. And reassurance with the alloy.
Parts on in transit as I type this. It will be a 482 stroker. Aiming for 9.5:1 compression. I live in Arizona and it gets hot. I do not want to deal with detonation on pump gas (like I did).
It is a Scat crank. I am sticking with the same cam and hydraulic lifters.
It will be run on a dyno.
Ceramic coating to combustion chamber, pistons
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:03 PM
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Good luck on the build. I have a Pond block based 482 FE from Lance over at Craft and have had no problems at all but I do feel there are 3 factors that affect your outcome. The first is the parts manufacturing quality and there is no question that sand castings, especially aluminum ones, can and do have defects, many of which cannot be detected until machined (porosity breakouts, etc) or tested, and I do feel for Brent and the other builders here. The second is the quality of work done to prepare the block, heads and reciprocating parts for assembly, and the quality of the assembly work itself. The third is how you have chosen to balance the performance vs driveability equation through your choice of compression ratio, camshaft profile, heads/porting etc. The last two factors are controllable but the first one not so much. Good luck and look forward to seeing it soon!

Mike
I will be very cautious of your number 1 point. I think I have read every thread here on alloy FE. So I understand the red flag. And Yes YOU could see it soon as we are in proximity.
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC Ventura View Post
Hi 2 bars.

I'm I'm currently having a Pond Block 427 FE built right now. I wanted it vintage spec, but all aluminium, so have had a custom crank manufactured to O.E. specification. All I want is in the region of 500/500. I don't want the point of no return, to be every moment in every gear.

I'm in the same place as you, except I curently run an all iron 302 EFI in my Autokraft Mk IV. I'm hoping the weights will be within 10% and the distribution will be maintained. The decision to go all aluminium FE wasn't taken lightly and so far I've waited a painful 18 months while the saga of foundry issues has continued. Seemingly that's solved now. It's not been an easy wait as I'm in the UK and have relied on emails and faith....!

The (well known) builder says the new units from Robert are the best he's seen. He says the machining has been done, the assembly balanced and hopefully next week the heads will be on.
The big decision is the cam. I want to race idle but be able to drive the thing on street. I'm trying not to interfere, because Mr builder says he understands, I can't have it all ways and to leave it to him. However, it's hard to resist looking at cam specs, once you know the cam sound you like (Crower 16331/16257)!

I'm happy to share what I've learnt, but as I say it's mid build right now. However, I think it will be worth the wait and everyone here thinks I'm insane to cut up a complete car to make it fit.
Thanks a bunch for sharing. My last engine, the 428 FE, was built relatively mild. My thinking was A, to feel 1966 and B, reliability. The reliability went out the window with a poor build. But I must say that a mild 428 was a powerhouse in the Cobra. And that was one in the 400 HP range.
You are going to love going from a SB to BB. It will be well worth it> I guess I am still holding back some on HP, but 500 is still a 100 HP bump!
Keep me posted on how your progresses.
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 2bars View Post
Thanks for the support guys. And reassurance with the alloy.
Parts on in transit as I type this. It will be a 482 stroker. Aiming for 9.5:1 compression. I live in Arizona and it gets hot. I do not want to deal with detonation on pump gas (like I did).
It is a Scat crank. I am sticking with the same cam and hydraulic lifters.
It will be run on a dyno.
Ceramic coating to combustion chamber, pistons
I think you are making a good call on the compression ratio. Mine is at about 10:1. I am running a Comp Cams custom grind with 242/248 intake and exhaust durations (@0.050") and lift at 0.642/0.631 respectively and 112 degree LSA. Edelbrock heads with stage 3 porting and the big valves (2.25/1.75). No pinging on 91 octane but it does diesel when I shut it down (timing at 12 degrees at 800 rpm idle and about 38 degrees fully advanced at 2750 or so). If I run a little 95 octane in it the dieseling goes away...it really likes octane level at or above 92-93. With a similar setup and 9.5 to 1 you should be just right I think.
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Old 07-03-2017, 02:06 PM
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I think you are making a good call on the compression ratio. Mine is at about 10:1. I am running a Comp Cams custom grind with 242/248 intake and exhaust durations (@0.050") and lift at 0.642/0.631 respectively and 112 degree LSA. Edelbrock heads with stage 3 porting and the big valves (2.25/1.75). No pinging on 91 octane but it does diesel when I shut it down (timing at 12 degrees at 800 rpm idle and about 38 degrees fully advanced at 2750 or so). If I run a little 95 octane in it the dieseling goes away...it really likes octane level at or above 92-93. With a similar setup and 9.5 to 1 you should be just right I think.
Yes, my 428 had the dieseling problem too.
Good to hear feed back, because my builder is wanting to go that way and being old school I always think higher compression is a good thing. He is educating me on today's fuel and the effect on these older engines.

Cam is a Elgin Pro stock # E 963 P. Cam lift .292, Duration 300 and valve lift .505. It Same numbers int and exh
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Old 07-03-2017, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
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Yes, my 428 had the dieseling problem too.
Good to hear feed back, because my builder is wanting to go that way and being old school I always think higher compression is a good thing. He is educating me on today's fuel and the effect on these older engines.

Cam is a Elgin Pro stock # E 963 P. Cam lift .292, Duration 300 and valve lift .505. It Same numbers int and exh
Duration @ 0.050" is 224 degrees on that cam, so a pretty mild build. Should be a nice car to cruise around in.

Good luck with your build.
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