Was wondering if anybody has had any experience with the 1100 pound gorilla 534 Ford Engines,more to the point,has anyone had any success with "tweaking" these engines in the area of bigger valves and a better cam? Anythoughts on which carb to go with.The previous owner rebuilt it so has only 6000 miles on it but am looking to improve fuel economy and hope to boost the top end performance.Low end is no problem and will pull a mountain without question but top end is average.Also looking for some info on upgrading the ignition and distributer.What are the stock Hp ratings on a 69 534?Any ideas?
In my experience with building performance engines the only real way to gain in both performance and economy is to boost compression. I think your engine is probably around 7.5 to 1. You could have a shop put a different grind on your cam but with the low compression I think the results would come up mediocre and it might worsen the mileage. These engines were designed as such that they could run at wot for hours on end fully loaded and still stand up and last for a 100,000 miles or more. You might be able to improve on things a little with the exhaust system and the intake if there is any restriction there. Try advancing the timing a little more than factory spec and check to see that the vacuum and mechanical advances are functioning properly also check the see if the vacuum secondaries are opening if it has a 4bbl carb. These engines also have solid valve lifters with adjustments under the valve covers so it would be worthwhile to check to be sure none are running too tight.
Last edited by noshoesreqd; 01-25-2005 at 04:00 PM.
Reason: added info
I like FE's myself, but it shouldn't be THAT hard to wake up one of these beasts. The big word here is...
If you've got some time to tear it apart, that will help.
1. Custom pistons to up the compression to a reasonable level. I'd contact Ross pistons with your requirements. You'll want a flat spot on either side which will come close to the head. Since your heads dont have any combustion chambers to speak of, you need some kind of quench to be able to raise the compression without pinging. Having a big flat spot of the piston come within .040" of the cylinder head accomplishes this quite nicely. Make sure you have 'em make the valve pockets big enough though. You'll likely need a big dish in 'em. They'll be able to help you. http://www.rosspistons.com/
2. Custom cam. Crane should be able to help you out here. They will grind a cam to just about any spec you need, but it will cost you some extra money. It needs to be custom since nobody makes cams for the SD series engines AFAIK.
3. Porting. Port the heck out of your heads, intake, and exhaust manifold. A set of custom headers should not be out of the question. I know some places will make custom valves for you, so you should be able to get some bigger valves for it. I dont know if the SD's use the same valve stem size and length as any other engine, its something to look into.
All this costs money. I dont know what your budget looks like, but you may be ahead to go to another more popular series of engine. I'd look to the FE myself, you can get a Clark 5 speed transmission for your heavy duty truck, and we can provide you with a good solid 390 buildup in the FE forum, most likely for less money than you'd spend on the 534.
Good luck. If you have any questions dont hesitate to ask.