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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-12-2006 02:33 AM
Originally Posted by sel2real

it's no wonder why the fe was never a horsepower monster!



The intake shown is an aluminum version of the 428 P.I. It is the best available for a street FE. The C6AZ 9424-M was the same version but with the carburetor pad set off to one side to equalize runner length (higher RPM useage).

Building a thumper is not going to power a heavy BIRD so as it to have it do what you want to do. You need to follow proven technology (street vs. race) to have a balanced performance street engine (IMO)
10-12-2006 12:53 AM
sel2real hey rick,

the old jba/esi group did a balls to the wall build-up of an fe motor once, for a guy who put it into an amc bodied car to run at the salt flats for an all out top speed run. i was there when they finished the build and were about to do a dyno run on it. i remember going over the specs for the motor too - the cylinder heads were TOTALLY done up! material added in some places; material removed in other places - all in the name of creating a straighter flow from the intake manifold to the cylinder chamber. i'm not sure what the ending angle was, but i believe the starting angle is in the neighborhood of 37deg! it's no wonder why the fe was never a horsepower monster! anyhow, the motor had a custom intake manifold, created because the ports on the cylinder heads werent in the proper places anymore... and it ran an impressive 676hp and some 600ft-lbs of torque at 7600rpm! at the time, it was the highest power ever recorded for a naturally aspirated fe - i dont know if there's one that beat it now. that series was never a motor to get the numbers out of. with today's technology, you can get pretty close to those numbers with a stroked small block (351 block) and still be hundreds of pounds lighter. that amc, however, did break the 200mph mark.... which in itself is an achievement for an old brick!
10-11-2006 09:51 PM
Rick WI Your going to gain about 50 cfm of flow on the intake and the exhaust on an aftermarket head versus a stock 390 FE. Granted even +50 on a head that flows 200I and 130E is still quite poor even compared to a stock small block chevy of the time.

My statement was take the stock heads off and bolt on a set of aftermarket heads. You'll make more power low mid and high. Much better than a stroker with a stock set of heads. Nothing was ever said about ported heads versus stock aftermarket heads. In stock form the FE head is as poor a flowing head as you can find.

I guess I can't even fathom a balls to the walls motor with stock casting Ford heads. If we build a balls to the walls BBF Ford motor it had BETTER spin out 900+ on the dyno for a motor that can be run on the street but mainly for track use. A track only balls to the walls BBF race motor better do 1200 to the wheels.

I'm not arguing or bashin but in our shop if a pair of cylinder heads for a BBF balls to the walls motor aint flowing 400 CFM range, it aint balls to the walls in our book.

Just my opinion.
10-11-2006 08:22 PM
Originally Posted by Rick WI
Your kidding right? I can't think of a worse head on the flow bench than a Ford FE. I can't think of a worse performing big block motor from the 60's and 1970 than a 390. I know, I drove one.

An aftermarket cylinder head will gain you more on the bottom, mid and top. About the best mod I can think of for a big block Ford.

How do I know? Had more than a few big block fords on the dyno.

nope, not kidding. I've had my share of bbf too, all of them built-to-the-hilt. On one particular motor that had the stock irons ported, the heads were eventually replaced with edelbrock aluminums and there was no real gain in power (after all was said and done). inbetween the ported irons and aluminum edelbrock rpm heads were a STOCK casting c7 head that ran the same numbers as the ported heads! like i said earlier, the BIGGEST problem with getting power out of an FE is the intake angle leading INTO the cylinder chamber. even the aluminum heads can only address that problem just so much, before requiring a totally new intake manifold design.... and yes, i've been there too with the original jba's machine shop, esi.

the best upgrade any fe owner could do to the motor is change the rockers to something adjustable (428cj are adjustable) and stick in better valves, valve springs, and lifters. as well as a good cam. new intake manifold, better carb, and better exhaust wouldnt hurt neither. just watch out for the venerable fe high pressure oil passage crack and tap in the largest holley jets into the oil feed hole between the head and block (the ones that feed the rocker shafts) and you're set. aftermarket heads, in my opinion, arent worth it for the fe.
10-11-2006 07:45 PM
66 T-Bird think i figured out how to post pics
10-11-2006 07:20 PM
Rick WI
Originally Posted by sel2real
other than a weight savings, there isnt much more that aluminum heads offer over the cast irons. the biggest problem with fe's is the angle at which the intake fuel/air mixture has to turn to get into the combustion chamber. without a total redesign of the intake and cylinder heads, there isnt much power to be seen with any aftermarket head. aluminum weighs less than iron though, and considering the "bling" factor.... taking measurements of the port sizes in the stock iron heads will probably also amaze you. you'll find out that the factory ports are already large - probably more than they need to be being stock.
Your kidding right? I can't think of a worse head on the flow bench than a Ford FE. I can't think of a worse performing big block motor from the 60's and 1970 than a 390. I know, I drove one.

An aftermarket cylinder head will gain you more on the bottom, mid and top. About the best mod I can think of for a big block Ford.

How do I know? Had more than a few big block fords on the dyno.
10-11-2006 07:04 PM
66 T-Bird what's your email it is easier for me to send the pix in email
10-11-2006 07:02 PM
66 T-Bird if you go with a 428 crank buy used and buy the whole rotating assembally not just the crank unless you want to pay to have it all ballanced.

the streetmaster is made by edelbrock, they don't make them anymore but if you can find a used one that is not port matched yet you would pay up to 200 bucks for it

not quite sure what FPA stands for it's ford performance something or other...

yeah all you need is all of the goodies on top to make 400hp but getting past 450 is tricky 400 is easy

i have the stock leaf springs with reversed shackles and competition engineering 3 way adjustable shocks all the way around set to 90/10 weight transfer i am running no sway bar and i am running summit racing chrome traction bars

i'll try and post a pic of my shifter i just took a pic of it
10-11-2006 06:51 PM
390 stroker

Cool, that is greatly appreciated and I will definitely take you up on that. (Probably immediately!) By the way, clarify a few terms for me... Steetmaster- is the company name?
FPA?... Ford Performance?

So it sounds like if I go with the 428 crank, I might as well go with the kit right?

And if I add the other goodies on top I'll be in more than I need shape?

BTW what kind of suspension do you have on your bird?

Just got over the fear of cutting the bird up.

Oh, Edelbrock streetmaster...
10-11-2006 06:41 PM
66 T-Bird yes my shifter is in my center consol i can send you a pic if you want, it's not really finished yet but it's getting there, don't try this untill you buy a new center consol (cost me 10bucks) and if you are going to make a nice car you have to get over the fear of cutting the car up
10-11-2006 06:36 PM
66 T-Bird nope i don't have a build journal or anything on here i stopped visiting here last year just by chance i decided to peek in and see if anything FE was happening and saw your thread i can walk you through some steps if you need help though my email is if you need help down the road
10-11-2006 06:30 PM
390 stroker

Hey 66 tbird. See my edit in the previous post.
10-11-2006 06:23 PM
66 T-Bird put a comp xe274 bump stick in it with the right springs and all the crap

then do the intake swap to a streetmaster (proven best on mild motors) get the intake port matched to the heads (you can do it your self with a dremel tool)

stick a 750 holley on that thing and tune it good

get a new distributor, the stock ones are crap, i like the mechanical advance i have in my msd one but it cost 300 bucks

get some spark plug wires and coil

if you have 500 bucks laying around get some FPA headers for a 66 thunderbird that will really really really help your horsepower that mod is better than getting heads IMHO

you can leave the bottom end stock to make just like 400 horsepower

you will have to do some oil restrictions in your heads (talk to the forum about that as i have no clue how to do this)

and get a new tranny if you are going to be making this power
10-11-2006 06:16 PM
390 stroker

So is it possible to get 400 hp and about 460ft/lbs of torque out of a pretty much stock motor with a .030" over bore? If so, how? Give me some steps please! Thanks for the link by the way. The info is much appreciated.

Oh! I didn't see 66 T-bird chime in! Wow! Thanks. do you have a build journal on here somewhere? I'm new here you'll have to excuse me. I have been checking out ford.fe... definitely a good place to learn for a beginner like me. So your shifter is on the center console? How much does all of this cost? I have way more determination than knowledge but would love to learn as much as possible. I'm currently in the process of taking the engine out but need to decide what im doin with it when i get it out.
10-11-2006 05:58 PM
66 T-Bird you should head over to, not trying to defer you from this forum as it is a great forum but the people at fordfe know a little more about the FE engine, it is a great motor to get torque out of, you could get a 428 crank and stroke it to 406? or 416? and put a comp cams xe274 cam in it, streetmaster intake and adjustable rockers with a holley 750 on top and make around 420hp with that bad boy for around a grand depending on what heads you have on there look for me on the forum my user name is 1966Tbird

edit: a 428 is externally ballanced so you have to swap the whole rotating assembally into the 390 with the exception of pistons which you would want to get some good forged ones

i have a 1966 Tbird too, its got a 390 with a xe274 cam, offenhouser 360* duel port intake 1in 4hole riser, 750 holley vac. secondary, msd pro billit dissy with mechanical advance, msd 6al box, msd coil all that stuff, glass packs

the trans is a rebuilt c6 with tci clutches and a tci valvebody, it has a 2800 stall converter that i love and a B&M megashifter

if you get a bunch of power in your 390 your trans will explode, it happened to me the 1966 c6 trans has a cruize-O-matic shift pattern in the valvebody and the whole trans is unique to that year basically because of this nobody makes parts for it and nobody knows how to work on them. when mine exploded i got a c6 out of a 67 ltd, the original shifter in my t-bird would not work with the new shift pattern so i had to put a b&M megashifter in it, to do this i had to cut the collum and trim the boot that the shifter comes with to make it look decent, also i had to mount my power windows in my glovebox and get rid of the power locks (no big deal they didnt' work Ne way) then i had to remove the shifter from the steering collum, that wasn't too hard but i have a little nub where the chrome thing would go

another thing is you have to do something about that 28 spline 3:1 open rear, i just put a spool with 3.82 gears in it and it's fine till i break my axles........... i also had to mount a tach in the car to the right of the o-dometer and gauges on the chrome peice above your legs because the stock gauges are crap and don't even have numbers on them
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