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Convince me to stay with an FE

August 11 2017 at 8:29 AM

Cory  (Login cabloom390)
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Ok I have a 76 f250 highboy sled pulling truck and while the truck has been pretty fun the last 3 years I'm think about a change. It has a 60 over 390 right now. Somewhere around 10.5 comp, fully ported heads with cj valves, mild comp cam, holley performer port matched intake and headers. The truck is hardly ever driven on the street but it runs a street legal class. On certain tracks I can turn 6k rpm and it does really well, however I'm searching for more mid range torque that can help leaving the line but can also turn 6k consistently. Having a fe is fun and guys like to talk about it and no one runs them. So my question is I know building a 460 based motor will probably be cheaper and easier but how much more would it take to do a 445? I'm probably only looking for 450hp maybe 500 torque but a motor that has great mid range but can also scream on the top end (6000rpm+). If I went with barrys kit and ran higher compression (11+ I would like to mix racing fuel at the very least) would I be able to untilze my heads and bump to a bigher cam and be able to run this power I'm looking for? If I need to go go edelbrock heads I don't see how staying with an FE makes financial sense. Any ones input would be appreciated. Thanks

 
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john vermeersch
(Select Login johnvermeersch501)
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Going with an FE dollar wise

August 11 2017, 9:02 AM 

would be cheaper than a 385 series....If you got a 385 for free, youll spend $1000 +- on the support parts, (trans / headers /wiring / mounts / etc.)

 
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Cory
(Login cabloom390)
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Good point

August 11 2017, 9:31 AM 

On headers and supporting parts that I already have. It would also be nice to use the same ford distributor that's been recurved by Faron. Well you may have made up my mind already lol

 
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Mike U.
(Login mtrain)
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For what you are planning to do, I vote for the 460, here is why..........

August 11 2017, 3:04 PM 

Yes, you will have to change transmissions, and motor mounts, and a few other odd/ends, but if you can get the 460 engine at a reasonable price, you should be able to build a pretty stout engine without breaking the bank.

I love the FE in certain applications like say a vintage Mustang, or Ford that originally came with an FE engine.

But, for making as much HP as I can for a reasonable amount of money, the FE is lower on my list. In fact my 540FE is the most expensive engine I've ever built.

If I didn't have a 67 Mustang fastback I could have made the same HP as the 540fe for far less money with a 351w based stroker engine.

Of course that is just my opinion.

 
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Chris McAlpine
(Login chris401)
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Isky

August 11 2017, 9:09 AM 

I bought a couple of cams in the 90's from Isky. I got a lot of low-mid range pulling power with my 366 and a 390. Nowdays they should be able to map one out for a 445 to get your desired power level.


In high school I drug a tree to the bonfire with my 366. Does that qualify me to advise for sled pulling?

 
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Brent Lykins
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I'd look at the big dogs in your class and see what they run...

August 11 2017, 9:47 AM 

If you only need 450-500 hp, that's easy, but I'd be surprised if you didn't need more.

Pulling truck engines are all about the camshaft. There are no off-the-shelfers for a pulling application and it can sometimes take something WAY out of the box to make them work. Building a 555 inch BBF pulling truck engine right now and the LSA is 119.

If you have a cubic inch limit, I'd take that into account, but I'd run as much compression as you can and find the right camshaft.

To answer your question, you're always gonna spend more money on an FE, especially when you compare it to something like a 385 series engine.

If you're able to use your block and heads/intake, you'll be ahead that way, but again, it's all depending on realistic goals.

 
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Cory
(Login cabloom390)
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Big dogs in the class

August 11 2017, 10:58 AM 

Quite honestly Brent most of the guys at the top aren't running much power. There are select few trucks that are pushing 450+hp but not many at all. Also of tpu have to much power they will bump you out of the class. Really when we put down a solid run most places we can be in the top 3 and we even win with what we have. This isn't a built up class that run 1000hp machines and front hanging weights. Again I'm not looking for tons of power. So realistic goals would be stay with an FE. Use as much of the stuff I have on the current motor to keep the cost down. But build this motor to my specific needs(which the current one we have now was not) by adding some power to compete at the top.

 
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Brent Lykins
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If you're doing that well....

August 11 2017, 11:05 AM 

....sounds like you don't need much. You could prob do a cam swap and make a tremendous difference.

 
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Cory
(Login cabloom390)
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Cam

August 11 2017, 11:38 AM 

I believe right now I have the xe274 cam in it. My problem is that I think I need some more torque in the 3000-400 range when letting the clutch out because it really dies down in rpm to 2000 or less even when trying to keep the rpms up but speed is a big factor hence trying to run up to 6000+ so I'm not sure that just a cam switch would really benefit.

 
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paulie
(Login Paul_Lovett)
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Are solid flat tappet cams allowed?

August 11 2017, 11:51 AM 

I think you could make some gains, at low and high rpm, there.

JMO,

paulie

 
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Cory
(Login cabloom390)
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Cam options

August 11 2017, 1:07 PM 

Yes can run whatever you want. There really is no engine "rules per say unless you are blowing people away. Will a cam swap really help that much? Also I'm not sure who to talk to about switching cams and what to get. I guess the real choice is figuring out what I want to do first

 
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paulie
(Login Paul_Lovett)
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I think the right cam can make a big difference, especially......

August 12 2017, 5:19 AM 

.....since you're pulling. You mentioned needing low rpm power to get off the line, as low as 2000 rpm. You also mentioned you do well when you can keep the rpms are up in the 6000 rpm range.

An aggressive solid flat tappet can have a wider power range than a hydraulic flat tappet. You could have a cam with less seat duration, but more duration @ 0.050" and more at 0.200". More low end and more top end power.

I also think running as much compression as possible with whatever fuel you use is wise.

JMO,

paulie

 
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Brent Lykins
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An off the shelf cam just won't work...

August 11 2017, 12:16 PM 

You need to get away from the 110 LSA stuff. It would be easy to get you more torque in that range, but if you're thinking about swapping rotating assemblies, I certainly wouldn't say no to that. A combination of the two would be night/day difference.

 
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Cory
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Rotating assembly

August 11 2017, 1:11 PM 

Would it make any sense to redo the bottom end with some new pistons to up the compression but utilize my Same crank? Or just pay for the stroker kit for easier power?

 
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Brent Lykins
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Just remember....

August 11 2017, 1:16 PM 

A big, big man is better than a big, little man.

If you're willing to pay for the stroker kit, I'd go that route, bump up the compression, and get a cam to make it all work together. A 445 would have a broader hp/tq curve than the 390.


 
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Cory
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Question on cam selection.

August 11 2017, 3:58 PM 

Brent, would you be able to recommend me a custom cam? After talking to my brother we may try keeping things pretty simple and go with a custom cam and rpm intake to try and make some smaller strides especially with the money lol. Once this season winds down we are going to dig into it. Thanks

 
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Brent Lykins
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Yes sir, would be happy to....

August 11 2017, 4:24 PM 

Give me a yell.....

brent@lykinsmotorsports.com

 
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Thanks Brent
(Login cabloom390)
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Re: Yes sir, would be happy to....

August 11 2017, 6:05 PM 

I will be in touch if we do go this route

 
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Bill Ballinger
(Login 65billgal)
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I had my cam made custom, its based on the 270-282S

August 14 2017, 8:21 AM 

But I had them grind it to 231@.050 with my lash, 278 at lash on a 107LSA with .548 lift so at lash it maxes with my heads. In a 394 ci engine it has a fat powerband and revs really great. I used a circle track cam I used in a Pontiac 400, a street suitable cam. Comp didn't charge me an arm and a leg. ON the 107 LSA, 104 intake it seemed to really jive with the displacement and 10.25:1 CR. It would blow my old RAIV 400 I had in my 70 LeMans into the weeds, and it was a stout running car. But this cam is like magic, and thge adjujsters have not moved in over 15 years, I have checked them and i am running it at .018 intake and exhaust. It is a grumpy SOG! I wish Ford would have used a similar solid in the GT/428CJ.

What would you generally recommend?


    
This message has been edited by 65billgal on Aug 14, 2017 8:24 AM


 
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Cody Ladowski
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Call Ken at Oregon cam, he has a grind similar to the xe274 but it's a solid flat tappet,

August 15 2017, 4:55 AM 

We ran it in our stock truck class 418 FE and ran really well, the hydraulic comp cam is holding your combo back and you are probably losing control of the valve train after 5500 rpm or so with the hydraulic lifter, the 110 lobe separation isn't helping you for coming off the line either. if you are only going for 6000 rpm or so and wanting to come out of the hole down around 2000 rpm, I'd want an iron 428cj dual plane intake on there, not a single plane, it will still run up top very well, come out the hole easier, and having the extra weight on the front end is a good thing... assuming you can't run a weight bracket up front.... have fun! I can look up the grind number in my notes if you want it?
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1976 F-100 stepside 390/C6/9 inch
1.56 60' 7.38 @ 91.5 11.79 @ 111.5
3900+ lbs. of hillbilly pickup truck
Wife named my truck "The Mistress" 😂

 
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