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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-19-2007, 03:35 PM
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Default SBF Engine Choices

Hi,

Newbie asking dumb questions... please be gentle.

Recently purchased an 88 NAF 427 with what looks to be a .030 over 302, 4sp close-ratio Toploader, and coil-over 9" with (apparently) 4.56 gears (3300 @ 55 mph w/ 295/50/15s).

Little of what the previous owner said has turned out to be true (2 owner car, Ford crate motor, 3.55 rear gear, etc). Car had a little less than 9K on the odometer; he owned it approx 3 years and according to the title put about 3k miles on it. When asked (after cash changed hands no less) what maintenance the car needed, he replied "Nothing. Just get in it and go have a good time."

Well, car has an little overheating problem. When I pulled it off the trailer found the coolant 3/4 of a gallon low (w/ the fill point at the manifold). Then changed the oil. Mobil 1 (supposedly what was in the crankcase) ran out burned black and stinking, (yes it was checked before purchase and was "clean" amber in color, must have poured fresh oil in just before I looked at it) with 5 needle bearings attached to the drain plug magnet. Pulled the pan and found what looked to be two halves of a blown roller lifter tip and what appeared to be graphite coating the bottom of the pan.

Looked up and saw... aluminum connecting rods and a flat tappet cam. Piston scuffs on cylinder walls (but can still see hone marks elsewhere). Pulled the valve covers and found die-cast aluminum roller rockers and J302 aluminum heads.

Called him up and told him what I found. Bland, non-committal, I didn't know, etc. Caught him in at least two outright lies. Decided to cancel my deposit check, but the cashier's check for the bulk of the purchase had already gone through. So far, he hasn't *****ed about the check cancellation (tho I expected him to, several weeks have passed).

So that's where I'm at. At this point the engine has been flushed twice with 20w-50 Shell oil. Will cut the oil filter can open this week to see what is coming out of the engine. First flush was pretty bad, but expected that. Engine holds 15 psi oil pressure hot idle and between 35 and 40 psi above 2500 rpm. Real low, very marginal. But...

Adjusted the valves and carb. Runs OK. Starts easily cold or hot. Cam sounds stock and lifters are a little noisy, but hey, it does run. Makes maybe 250-275 crank hp? I'd really be surprised if it were any more.

What I'd like to do, at this point, is keep the engine alive a while, resolve the cooling issues, install a remote oil filter/cooler, and regear the rear-end (how about a 3.55?).

But, before I spend a bunch of money on SBF specific stuff, I'd like to consider all the other options. BBF, Boss 302/351, SBF. Power, streetability, resale value are all valid considerations.

At this point, money is reasonably tight, but I do believe you get what you pay for. A local engine builder, well thought of and equipped with a dyno (he does most of the race motors in our area), wants me to consider a 347 SBF with 3.125 bore and 3.25 stroke. A little different than the norm to be sure. He's quoted me $2800 for a Dart block, forged crank, rods, pistons, bearings, and etc, with another $2K for machine work, assembly, dyno, etc. Seems frank and honest, and comes well-recommended.

Have thought a Boss 302 type motor (Aussie 2v heads w/ closed chambers) with above short block 3.00 bore and 3.250 stroke (331 cid) would be an interesting combination.

Or maybe a 390 FE or stroked 351W?

In any case, would like an honest 375 rwhp and 350-380 ftlbs torque. Street driven with a 4 speed.

The floor is open. Any suggestions?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03-19-2007, 04:05 PM
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Engine choice is one of those things that is very subjective. I only have 2 suggestions. IF you go with a stroked 302, I would personally stay at a 331, for many reasons. Besides to get a 4.125 bore you'd have to have an aftermarket block bored to the max to begin with, and then you be all used up if something should fail.Finally, I'd get rid of those aluminum rods, wou are asking for some serious damage using them in a street engine you don't intend to regularly teardown and inspect.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 03-19-2007, 04:42 PM
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Get a Ford Motorsports Crate Windsor. It's terrific bang for the buck.

www.fordracingparts.com

Bob
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:09 PM
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Default Investment parts

il double that on those rods,whats the overall money in hand,NoCAST crank or rods please do yourself a favor. if its just a street engine go inexpensive if your going to track it and you want to make it last better buy investment parts or she,ll comeapart in no time you get what you pay for ,for shure.
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:19 PM
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There is something magical about a healthy 331 in these cars. I'd stick to a 302 based motor to eliminate any potential headaches with headers/sidepipes etc. that changing block foundations could bring about.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 03-19-2007, 05:53 PM
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Why a 331 stroker over a 347 stroker? Torque/HP should be higher on the 347. The pins are close to the rings and may cause some oil bleed on the 347, but I haven't seen that deter anyone from going 347...
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Old 03-19-2007, 06:44 PM
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Smile welcome to the used Cobra world

The newer 347 stroker have better pistons. I think the "oil use" problem is a thing of the past. Maybe the guys that run 347s can chime in and share their experience. The different in HP between the 331 and 347 ( in a street car ) is not much. But I like the 347!
I see you live in Flordia. Drain the water / anti freeze out of your Cobra and fill it with distilled water. See if it runs cooler. More Cobras over heat because they have to much anti freeze in the cooling system than any other problem. You should not run more than 50/50. I recomend 25% antifreeze 75% distilled water because we don't drive them in real cold weather and they stay in a garage during cold weather. Buy a pyrometer and check to see if the temperature gauge is correct. I've seen them 15 degrees off. A high volume water pump would be the next thing.
best of luck and see ya in Ohio in June!!
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Old 03-19-2007, 06:48 PM
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Hi,

Woodz428: Agreed about the 4.125 overbore. Wife and were discussing this on our way to dinner. Would like to keep the block awhile (i.e. rebuild it) if anything sould go wrong in the future (or the mood simply strikes). Ditto the AL rods. That was a real, eye-opening surprise. At this point, a Dart block is on the table (builder prefers them), altho I am impressed with the World blocks as well. Don't know much about the new Ford "Boss" block, but do like the name. <wicked laugh> BTW, what are the other reasons to stay w/ the 331?

WildBill3: Prefer forged rotating assembly (crank, rods, pistons). And builder won't even consider cast. Mumbled something about damned fools and money parting ways... This motor will be 99% street, but, I have been known to "light 'em" up in my earlier days. Just love to run the ponies ocassionally. Roadraced Superbikes back in the late 80s to early 90s (before they got so terribly expensive).

Cashburn: Sure hope I don't. Header and intake compatability is one of the areas where I believe I can save a few dollars safely. Thus the 8.2" block seems a logical choice. Moreover, perhaps I can use the old Mallory 37 series distributor (seems to be doing fine). And, hopefully, the Holley 650 DP will be adequate. Does anyone know anything about Fort Motorsport J302 heads? The only specs I've got state 1.94" intake and 1.60" exhaust valves. Build doesn't care for them, but money is an object...

Dangerous Doug: No particular reason at all. More cubes usually equates with more HP as far as I know. But I also don't feel particularly comfortable taking the stroke just as far as it'll go because I can either. Builder seems to favor large bore/short stroke combinations. At this point, the 3.25" stroke seems adequate for my needs (375 rwhp). One of the more important aspects of this project, to me, is longevity. Would prefer an engine that reliably make a little less HP/TQ for 10 years as to a powerhouse that I'm always planning the next rebuild (perhaps that is a *little* overstated, but you get my drift).

Bob in Ct: Have considered it. May even do it. However, in my price/performance range I didn't notice any forged cranks. Nor is the Boss block out yet for the crate motors. Don't care for the 2 bolt main blocks. Hopefully, by the time I'm ready to rebuild/purchase, the Boss crate engines will be out and a forged crank and rods with live at the base of a 302/345 HP. Hopefully, but I'm not holding my breath.

Thanks for all the replies. Any thoughts on the Clevor combination using the Aussie heads (either 4v or 2v)? Seems a bit expensive (intake, headers, etc), but interesting. Maybe I'll sell the daughter.
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Old 03-19-2007, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanna2be
Hi,

Woodz428: Agreed about the 4.125 overbore. Wife and were discussing this on our way to dinner. Would like to keep the block awhile (i.e. rebuild it) if anything sould go wrong in the future (or the mood simply strikes)...

4.125 is not an overbore, the Dart block starts at 4.125 and will go to 4.185. If going with the Dart you also can take advantage of the 8.7 deck height option and build it at 375 cid. I don't believe the World block has the 8.7 deck option. There are many reasons why your builder, and everyone else racing Fords, prefers the Dart.

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Old 03-19-2007, 07:13 PM
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Hi Dwight,

Builder suggested using distilled water too. I sort of dismissed it, but I've been known to screw up... Any corrosion problems using the 25% mix? What about the "Water Wetter" type speed shop products?

The main issue at the moment is two (count 'em two) coolant overflow point in the system. One is on the Modine radiator and the other just in front of the thermostat housing (Moroso unit). Blocked the radiator outlet with a an emissions "bung" and clamp and it now overflows only from the Moroso unit. So far that's kept the system full. Believe I'll have the radiator fill neck removed and use a "Harrison" surge tank system. May even have the raditor inlet and outlets switched (the inlet is on the driver's side and vice versa).
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Old 03-19-2007, 07:22 PM
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Hi Scott,

I didn't realize... but that's why I'm here. Builder would get awful tired of me awful quick with all the dumb questions. Thanks to all of you for your help in my education.

OK, that make a couple of his other, off the cuff, statements mean something a bit different. Scott, would I be able to use my reproduction Cobra (Blue Thunder I believe) intake manifold on the 8.7" deck block w/ the J302 heads?
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 03-20-2007, 06:01 PM
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Default Money in hand...

Right now we can afford to spend between $5500 and $6500 on an engine. Given that we need to regear the rearend to 3.55 ($725), install an oil cooler/remote filter ($250 - $300), upgrade the cooling system ($350 - $500) and install a fuel cell ($800 - $1000) a number of things seem logical. First, stay with an 8.2" deck block. Second, use everything possible off the old motor (heads, intake, headers, distributor, carb, starter, etc). Third, buy good components (Dart block, forged crank, rods and pistons ~$2800) and use a respected, local builder to machine and put it all together (~$2000 for the short block). Fourth, don't go horsepower loco (shooting for 375 rwhp).

Following this logic, the only real questions at this point are:

1) how much money will it take to rebuild the heads (parts and labor -- and already know they'll need a new set of roller rockers);

2) will the head/intake/carb combination support 375-400 streetable hp (Ford Motorsport J302 aluminum heads -- does anyone know anything about them?);

3) will we have to rebuild or replace the distributor?

However, if the heads become expensive (ie: require extensive machining for warpage, and/or porting to hit the horsepower target ) I'll need some other options. Builder wants to use Victor or Victor Jr. heads and intake...

For myself, I've always admired the Boss 302 motors. Have found myself looking enviously at the Boss 302 Exchange. Wife says that if I sell the Ducati (she dislikes it because it's a solo seat bike) I can get any engine I want...

How much value does an FE build in one of these things?

Options? Recommendations?
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Old 03-20-2007, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottj
4.125 is not an overbore, the Dart block starts at 4.125 and will go to 4.185. If going with the Dart you also can take advantage of the 8.7 deck height option and build it at 375 cid. I don't believe the World block has the 8.7 deck option. There are many reasons why your builder, and everyone else racing Fords, prefers the Dart.

Scott
Just to clarify some facts: We no longer offer the 8.7 block. There was absolutely no demand and castings are expensive.
Our iron block goes to 4.200 and the new aluminum goes to 4.155 allowing a 460 inch, 9.5 deck aluminum engine.

Wanna:Our 8.2 deck ranges from 302 to 371 inches. Although more expensive than your stated budget, here are the facts about our "World Class" line which offers 349 ci at 415HP or our 371 at 455HP. Study the "Build Sheet" to see that the cost comes from a bulletproof casting and very high quality components.
http://www.theengineshop.com/prods_pages/102035.htm

Of course if you want to dream about the "C", word we have the Cleveland Limited Edition which will annihilate your competition and your stated budget. See it in my gallery or on our sites.

Good luck.
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:54 PM
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Default Drool...

Hi Manowar,

Thanks for the link and information. If I mispell somethig it's because I'm drooling all over the keyboard. Do you have a link to the "C" word limited edition? I can't afford it right now (insert exhaustive list of domestic excuses and budgetary constraints), but a man's gotta have dreams.

Perhaps, if I sell the Duck (calling the Trader tommorrow), you would consider cash and trade? Say the first born? She's a freshman in college -- tuition's a killer. <extremely wicked laugh>

Dave
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Old 03-20-2007, 09:25 PM
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Default Don't even consider a FE if.......

Money is an issue. You will be selling the Ducati for sure and you don't want to do that. If I sold my FJR I know I would not have a another for a long time and I would miss it. FE's are expensive to do it right. Stay with the 302 block and go 331 stroked. Ask the builder to give you a price on rebuilding your current heads, if they cost more than $1000 to rebuild then go with the Edlebrock or maybe a set of World or AFR heads. Install 3.25 or 3.31 gears in the rearend and you should be good to go. All the other parts should fit up in the rebuild.

On the Cooling issue: Check the radiator out while you are building the motor. Install a electric fan if you don't have one and run a oil cooler. Might be able to get in under 5000.00
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