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OK it has been asked for so here is a place to put all the tips and tricks, I imagine this will get pretty long after awhile so please try and keep this informative and easy to look through. Follow-up questions should be put in separate threads.
2003 F-150 RED
2008 Explorer Limited V-8
I would like this to be added to the tips, tricks sticky.
For pre EFI 300 engines:
About the easiest way to get a few more hp out of one of these engines is to replace your oem rocker arms with the those from a Chevy inline six. They cost about $50 from any auto parts store, and are a bolt in change.
What is the difference, you ask: They are 1.73 ratio, as opposed you to your 1.6, and will give your valves a bit more lift, thereby allowing more fuel/air mix into your engine, giving a bit more hp. Simply ask for a set of rockers from a 75 C-10 with a 250 (4.1) inline six.
It depends what you want. I now have an Isky 256 cam, and I am running big block chevy roller rockers with that cam, putting my v. lift at, IIRC, around .485", up from the .450" with oem rockers.
Whether or not you use oem rockers with a 264 or so cam would depend on what type of build you have or are building. You need some porting, IMO, to make a cam work correctly on a 300. Or, I should say, to maximize the engines potential. That cam would certainly help a 300 with a stock head, but still the engine would be screaming for fuel/air. The cam is a notch over oem. Porting the head, with a 30 degree back cut on the intake valves takes performance up another notch. The chevy lifters bumps performance up another notch.
Of course the head work is the foundation. Along with a good intake with a 4v carb, dual exhaust, a hot ignition system, and you suddenly have an engine with about 100 hp over stock, and getting about the same mpg.
You need the early 90's Taurus alt. See the grove I'm pointing at with the two holes in it? That is how you know it is 130 amp.
Instead of buying a new one for rather expensive price, I pulled two from the j/yard and took them both to the parts store and had them tested. I also took and extra v belt pulley and installed it on the spare alt. Now, for about $50, I have two, and carry one behind the seat for Ron, later on.
Here is part of mag. write up I did on the swap: After about 1,000 miles on my system, my new 70 amp alternator died, toasting its’ power wire. Since it was still under warranty I got a refund, but did not feel comfortable using that supplier again. So I started doing research, and found the 3G’s (from the early nineties) have the same mounts as my ’75. I thought this would be a good time to up-grade the wiring and alternator to a high output. For $65.51, I got all new wiring to the alternator, and a 130 amp alternator (80 amps at idle). I even spent an extra $23, and now have a spare 130 amp G3 behind my seat. Here is how I did it.
The swap is easy as pie. When you finish you’ll laugh at how simple it was. From your local junkyard pull the alternator from an early 90’s Taurus, with a 3.8 V6. It is easy to identify the 3G by three channels on the front and rear. In each channel are two holes. If there are four holes, don’t take it. The unit with four holes is an 80 amp 3G. When you find the one you want, measure the distance between the mounting holes. They should be 8.25” inches apart. Take the electrical plugs and about two feet of cable with the unit. The first stop you should make is at the local auto parts to have the 3G tested.
If you run a V belt, you need to swap pulleys. It is easiest to remove them with an air impact. Set your pulley on the 3G shaft, and check for clearance. If it rubs, put the washer from the front between the body and back of the pulley, and rotate it again.
On the back of the 3G you’ll see three thin wires, marked A, S, and I. The A wire is yellow, and loops to the battery post on the alternator. The S wire is white, and as you can see, plugs into the other terminal outlet on the 3G. The I wire is green with a red stripe, and connects to the same color wire in your existing harness. I will clarify this later. Your battery cable from the 3G gets run through a Mega fuse of 175 amps, and connects to your battery positive, or the positive side of the solenoid. Cut your cable accordingly, using crimp-on copper ends. Note the thickness of the factory cable to the 3G. Do not install thinner wire from battery to alternator post.
Great, now let's look at how it connects to the existing harness. Near your solenoid you’ll find three plugs, one with three wires, one with two, and the final plug has but one wire. A thick black and yellow wire is found on the largest plug. That is the main power wire for the ignition and cab. Install a 75 amp inline fuse, and connect it to the solenoid positive. On the same plug is a smaller red wire. It connects in the same place. The third wire on that plug is deleted. I left about 8” for future use, taped it up and left it. The plug with two wires has a green wire with a red stripe. It connects to the same color wire coming from the 3G. If you want your o.e charging gauge to work as it did, install a 560 ohm resister in this line. The remaining wire on that plug, and the single wire plug, are not used. Now you’re finished.
With my stereo amplifier, high speed fan, trailer lights, and all the rest of the bells and whistles going, I don’t notice a thing.
I did notice that the system benefited from having a ground wire installed from alt to frame--as it shows in the illustration, and of course I ignored!
The photo below shows why it is important to measure hole to hole length. Remember: 8.25". When you swap the pulleys, you may need to put a washer behind the pulley to keep from rubbing on the alt housing.
And here is the coveted wiring sch:
This is the configuration/length of mounting holes you want:
Here is the fuse you need, and when you take the alt from the donor vehicle, take enough of the wire to use for your install:
Tuning with a vac gauge
Many racers and engine tuners have opted for state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment but have forgotten one of the simplest, as well as one of the most accurate tuning tools...... the vacuum gauge.
When using any vacuum gauge keep in mind that they are all calibrated at sea level and read-outs in the instructions are in reference to that level. When above sea level all readings will drop one division per each 1,000 feet of altitude above sea level. Thus a reading of 20 inches of vacuum at sea level would drop to 19 inches at 1,000 feet, 18 inches at 2,000 feet, etc. All readings are taken at idle except as noted. If your engine is barely able to sustain 2"Hg vacuum at idle, it will be hard to tune using this method, but it is still useful. In most cases if you use a quality large faced Vacuum gauge, with some experience you can effectively tune your car's fuel and timing systems. Tuning with the engine running compensates for wear in the timing gear and valve train, and therefore providing better results than with the manufacturers recommended settings.
Note:All adjustments are made with the transmission in PARK or NEUTRAL, with the exception of Idle Speed, which is set in DRIVE. Vacuum Gage ConnectionConnect the gauge to a "manifold" vacuum source, NOT "ported" vacuum, that rises as RPM increases. In most cases this will be a direct manifold source or possibly the PCV port (larger port) on the carb.
Start by first warming the engine and note the idle vacuum reading. Normal vacuum at idle should be 19-21 inches for a six cylinder, or 15-18 inches on a low compression engine. Pre-set the ignition timing so that it is close to the manufactures recommended setting, before making any carb adjustments.
Carb AdjustmentsTo adjust the carb, start by leaning out one of the mixture screws (turn in) until the gauge as well as the engine begins to shudder. Next bring the screw back towards rich (turn out), while watching the gauge.Stop adjusting when the gauge reaches it's highest reading. Then do the same process for the other mixture screw. After each adjustment is made, reset your idle speed.
Small adjustments are best, and in fact "optimum" carb settings on the vacuum gauge (highest reading) is usually richer than it needs to be. In other words, once the highest reading is reached, back-off (or lean) the adjustment approximately 1/4 turn in. You may have to repeat the process a few times to get optimum results, but it's worth the time and effort.
Note: With a properly jetted carburetor, turning either of the mixture screws all the way lean, should kill the engine. If not, you're too rich! This may require re-jetting, or drilling the primary butterflies to add more idle air. Many of the newer "race" carbs allow you to change Idle air bleeds to fix this.
For carbs with 4-corner mixture screws, you have to take a bit more time. You can also run the engine at a "steady-state" RPM of say, 2500 RPM to double-check your secondary mixture screw settings. Do this with temperament! It takes time to get used to what you are seeing as well as if it is actually helping. Each engine will behave differently.
Remember to rev the engine to clear the spark plugs before taking your final reading and readjust if necessary. When you blip the throttle, the needle should drop to as low as 2, pop back up to as high as 26, and quickly level off in the normal zone.
Ignition Timing After the carb mixture is set, you can proceed with the ignition timing. Slacken the distributor clamp bolt, and with the engine still at idle, advance or retard the ignition until the highest steady vacuum reading is obtained. Then retard the timing until the vacuum gauge reading drops slightly, approximately one half to one inch. In some cases, you may need to retard the timing up to two inches to prevent pre-ignition (pinging).
Note: If you can't get the reading into the "normal" zone by adjusting the distributor then valve timing is the problem.Timing with a vacuum gauge will normally result in timing that is more advanced than what specifications call for, so you need to be alert for any pre-ignition (pinging) in the engine and adjust accordingly (retard the timing if needed).
Ignition Timing Then retard the timing until the vacuum gauge reading drops slightly, approximately one half to one inch. In some cases, you may need to retard the timing up to two inches to prevent pre-ignition (pinging).
Two inches, really?? Do you mean degrees? If an engine is more than 10 degrees out of time it won't even start. If you mean to move the dizzy two inches, then something is way wrong somewhere. Before anything is moved, you should mark a reference mark from dizzy shaft to block, and move in tiny, 1/4" increments.
The article is referring to a one half to one inch reading on the vacuum gauge only. This would be a very slight movement in the distributor. I found a few article online for this method, and all are very similar. I personally, only use a vacuum gauge to help with carburetor adjustments, and only as a supplement to a timing light.
I've found that the best way to pull a cam gear off of your cam without breaking the thrust plate, is with the cam removed from the engine. Instead of a gear puller, use a bolt style puller, like a steering wheel puller. I pulled steel gears off of two cams with this method with success, but I am not sure if a fiber gear would hold up or break apart.
Simply slip the two puller bolts through the gear holes.
Behind the gear, use thick washers or bushings slightly larger than the holes in the gear, (I used sockets).
Add a nut too each bolt, and simply pull the gear off. Make sure you protect the threads in the cam.
It is also helpful to heat up the gear area just around the cam with a propane torch prior to pulling.
Be sure and check too make sure the washers, bushings or sockets are not against the thrust plate.
All you need is a remotestarter switch. You don't need to find tdc. Just disconnect the coil wire, remove valve cover, and choose a cylinder. Use short clicks on the switch and watch the exh. valve. When it is 1/4 of the way down, adjust the intake. Now watch the same int. When it goes all the way down, and then 3/4 of the way up, adj the exhaust. Go to the next cylinder.
It is a way to get each valve to the cam's base circle.
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