Originally Posted by mike whitworth
what do i need to do to get more horsepower from a 1973 ford 429 v8 engine.
Hey Mike. Any motor out there is just an air pump. If you can get more air into the motor on the intake side and more air out of the motor on the exhaust side, you can make more power. You can also squeeze the air that is coming into the motor a little tighter with a higher static compression ratio and make more power.
You should know though, that it isn't a one-way street. For instance, any cam that you bolt into the motor will only be good for a range of about 3,500 rpm's. In other words, a stock-type cam might make power in the motor from idle to 4,000. A slightly hotter cam might make power from 1,500 to 5,000. At that level of power, you could still use your stock torque converter. Hotter yet might make power from 2,500 to 6,000 and would require an aftermarket, looser converter that would allow the motor to rev up higher with the transmission in gear. You need some way to get past the mushy part of the rpm range from idle to 2,500 with this cam, so you use a looser converter and a shorter gear (3.73, 3.90, 4.10, 4.56, or whatever). As the numbers get larger, the gear is called "shorter". As the numbers get smaller, the gear is called "taller".
You can also make more power by force-feeding the motor with more air than it would normally suck in, by using a supercharger or turbocharger or other means of pressurizing the intake side of the motor.
Another way is to bolt on a Nitrous Oxide system. This increases the amount of fuel going into the motor and provides additional oxygen to burn the additional fuel.
So, as you see, there are many ways to "skin a cat". In the end, it all depends on the amount of power you want, where you want it (low rpm's, high rpm's, whatever) and how much money you have to spend.
If you'll share with us what kind of vehicle you want to put the motor in, what kind of transmission you want to use, what the purpose of the vehicle will be and the type of fuel that is available to run on in your area, we'll try to be a little more specific as to the mods necessary to get where you want to go.