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427 Ford marine head (photo documentation)

July 15 2005 at 5:12 PM

Paul  (Premier Login FEfinaticP)

C7JE marine heads.

Edit comment, September of 2013: I am updating this post due to more information being learned since it was initially posted many years ago. It now appears the C7JE heads were used on 1966 427 marine motors and earlier. The C7JE has bigger intake ports than the C7AE-A, which came into play during 1967, and onward. In short, which is indicated in more detail later in this thread if you read it all, the C7AE-A with smaller ports had some advantages due to it being an "acceleration port" design. While the C7JE is a fine design, pretty well thought of in Ford circles, it is not a high performance head but can be ported to perform quite nicely. The C7AE-A was used on all Ford FE motors such as the 352, 390, 410, 427, and 428 (even the Shelby GT-500 and police interceptor motors). It is also not considered a "high performance head" either, but something one would expect to find if they ordered a 1967 Mustang 390 GT, or a 428 powered Shelby. Either one works on the Chris-Craft motors. I think they are entirely bolt-for-bolt interchangable. End of September 2013 edit.

the remainder of this thread is left as it was initially posted, so you can see the notation above has the benefit of some more recent discovery.

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The C7JE cylinder head used by Ford for Chris Craft marine motors, is a generic cylinder head that is very similar, if not identical, to the head that was used for the 352 and 390 cubic inch Ford automotive and truck motors. Naturally, if anyone is going to make a swap during a rebuild, the details will have to be closely verified, because there are many changes in the production run of these motors, and not all of it is well documented. The cylinder heads, however, appear to be generally low performance, but very fine in design, and quite durable. At a detuned 300-hp, this motor is still among the heavy-weight bruisers able to propell cruisers and speedboats at remarkable speeds.

Also, please see the MASTER INDEX file, for a lot more information on this engine.










The wedge (head) that kicks out 438 foot-pounds of torque at 2900 RPM.

This is a design that basically came out of the United States during the 50s and 1960s, with designs primarily from Ford and Chrysler. GM used the plank head design similar to Lincoln when GM took their 348 big block and pumped up to the 409 cubic inch displacement size. The plank head design (used very successfully in Lincoln automobiles and the 431 Chris Craft Lincoln-based V8 marine engine) basically is flat as a plank with valves inset into the plank. The cylinders are cut off at an angle and that pie-shaped volume at TDC is where combustion occurs in the Chevy 409 and Lincoln 430 and 431. These motors were able to produce big power readings but that plank head ran out of breathing capability at higher rpm, and it was not a successful racing design.

Below are two photos of the Lincoln cylinder head, now you see why they're called plank heads?
[linked image]

[linked image]

In 1958 along came FoMoCo with the wedge head design you see in the photos at the top of this post. Combustion occurs inside this wedge shaped chamber with great success, and this particular design won 101 NASCAR races in the three seasons of 1963, 1964, and 1965. This design forced Chrysler to develop their hemi head design in order to compete. Even then, this design was tweaked into the high riser and tunnel port designs, and remained competitive. The competitiveness of the FE motor against the hemi was not necessarily in brute ultimate power nose-to-nose, as the hemi design is a beautiful improvement that has a lot of merit. However, the Ford (427) has the fabulous light weight cross-bolted block many of us have in our boats, and this block is VERY strong and reliable. Its light weight (compared to the boat anchor hemi) made it a natural in racing machines like the Ford powered Cobra, and GT 40 cars that won LeMans every year they were allowed to compete. Yes, the 427 was NEVER defeated at LeMans.

One thing the Chrysler guys don't like to remember, is the fact that Richard Petty actually defected from Chrysler to Ford in 1968, and when Ford put him in a 427 powered Torino, he beat the best thing Chrysler could put on the track (which was powered by their hemi) happy.gif

Chrysler also had their own very fine wedge head motors, including the 318, 413, and 426B. These were great motors of the era, but the 427 Ford is the king of the big block wedge designs. In 1958 when the design began production, it was offered in the FE motors in 332 and 352 cubic inches. The initial series of heads all had machined combustion chambers in what must have been a vastly expensive CNC type machine process on what would now be considered antiquated equipment. The process was quickly shifted to cast combustion chambers, and those early machined heads are somewhat of a bragging point for collectors, racers and restorers of the early big block Fords.

As Ford began experimentation with this new big block design, they produced a very cool 360-hp solid lifter version of the 352, which showcased just what this cylinder head design was capable of doing. The development included a 401-hp solid lifter 390 cubic inch version, and a 405-hp solid lifter 406 cubic inch version, prior to the eventual zenith of the FE series being the bored out solid lifter 427 (actually 425 cubic inches of displacement) conservatively rated at 425-hp. Naturally the solid lifter tunnel port 427 is the top of the solid lifter food chain anywhere, and that motor is found ONLY in racing machinery. It features huge intake ports so large that the pushrod actually penetrates directly through the port on its way to the camshaft, in a fabulous high volume intake well suited to high-rpm racing.

The fine wedge head design was used in many work horse applications by Ford for 14 or so years, making quite a reputation for the company in reliability, and whenever Ford decided to back this engine design in competition. This is the cylinder head design Henry Ford II used to put wins on the board for his company. The basic heads from the 332 to the 427 are essentially able to bolt onto any of the FE motor series, but there is a caution about matching up intake ports. The later designs have larger ports than the early ones, and all of the high performance heads have larger intakes (and in some cases, larger valves too). As long as we stay away from the ultra expensive performance heads you see on ebay going for $1000 or more a pair, any 352 or 390 head will bolt onto the 427 marine motor, because that is exactly what the 427 marine head is. The 361 and 391 FT (Ford Truck) heads are somewhat different and care must be used to be sure the intakes match up. Attention must also be given to the number of exhaust manifold bolts, to assure they will bolt to the marine exhaust.

This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Sep 19, 2013 10:49 AM

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