Yesterday after about a month of delays, I finally got my 400 on the dyno. I did a build up kind of following the Hot Rod 400 Build Up article. Used Silvolite pistons, Comp Cams 268 extreme special grind, an existing Edlebrock Performer intake, 2V heads,MSD 6A ignition, MSD distributer, external oil line, and some cheap $89.00 headers from Summit. The engine will be dropped into my 78 4x4 this weekend. For anyone building an engine, I would have to recomend putting your engine on a dyno. I learned just tons of stuff yesterday about engines, Fords, and specifically my engine.
The most important thing that I learned was that MSD distributers have to be modified to work on any Cleveland block. The OD of the housing bottom that drops into the block needs to be turned down from .510 to .500. My dyno guy said he lost two Cleveland cam gears last month because this OD is too large and seizes in the hole at the top of the oil pump shaft. Mine was a tight fit on install. We pulled it and turned it down .010 right then and there, and it installed smoothly. MSD says that there is no problem. Well, just measure a Ford distributer and an MSD....
The other cool thing for those who have never been to a dyno, is that you can see every little change affect your HP and torque immediately. You can also rev a new engine up to 5000rpm safely, because you are monitoring every little detail under a controlled environment.
What we ended up with was: 38deg total advance, 750 Holley double pumper with 72/80 jets and a 1.5 open spacer. Just like the Hot Rod article, power dropped off sharply at 5200rpm. Max HP was 377 @ 4900rpm. Max torque was 455 from 3800-4300rpm. The torque curve was just incredibly wide. Torque comes on strong (440) about 3000 and stays high all the way up to 4900rpm.
The only thing that I would probably do different is go with the Badger flat top pistons, and a Performer RPM intake. On paper, that change would have given me another 25-30HP. We tried a Holley 650 vacume secondary, but the air/fuel ratio just went too high. It couldn't pump enough fuel. Sorry this got long, I'm just excited about my new power. Gotta go find me some dead dump trucks, semi's and concrete trucks to hook up to and pull around now. Dan
When you take your engine in for a dyno, you are not really paying for just the dyno. You are paying for an "expert" to analyze the data that is coming from the computer after each run. He then makes recomendations to improve readings, and then make another run. In my case, he was a very competant mechanic, and did most of the work with me helping. We spent eight hours there yesterday. Fired it up, broke in the cam for 20 minutes, made 15 runs,and he turned my MSD distributer down also for $400. Normal rates are usually $50-75 per hour and well worth it.
Man your engine sounds great, u got alot of power out of it. and people say the 351m/400 is no good!!!! i think u just proved them wrong! i have a 400 myself that is soon going to the machine shop, i was wondering if maybe you can post or email me with all the details on stuff u had done to your engine. its kinda embarassing to ask, i dont wanna seem like im a copy cat....but the numbers your engine put out are amazing. i dont no too much on what i should have done to mine, so it would help me alot if i get an example from yours. what do u think it would take to get that much torque, but at lower rpm?
p.s.--if u dont mind would you tell me the total cost of rebuilding your engine?
That is just way too cool bigblue! I think you should forget the dumptrucks tho'. You should take that engine and make a few big block boys cry. (That statement should get me in trouble.)
I have a few questions for ya:
How much work did you do on the heads? Did you shave them ala the HR article to bump the compression? How about pocket porting, etc.?
I'm also curious about the carb choice. Did your dyno guy think that rejetting the 650 or changing the power valve would make any difference? It seems from your statement that the carb flowed enough air but the fuel was iffy.
Finally I'm pretty sure that Edelbrock doesn't make a Performer RPM for the M series. Are you talking about putting a C manifold with spacers on?
Yes, the heads had a little work on them. A buddy of mine took a die grinder to them. He cleaned up the pocket behind the exhaust valve, then ground out the bump and smoothed the exhaust side. Definitely port matched intake and head. Decked the block .050. Heads took off .015.
We broke in the cam with a 650 Holley as it came off of the engine originally, and we knew it was a good running carb for break in. We did one pull and saw the 650 A/F ratio hit 16.1 by 3800rpm. We even put a small bolt and nut on the secondary to make it act mechanical so that springs weren't an issue. We had a 750 dbl pumper that I had resurected along with us and wanted to try. Swapping carbs was easier than taking apart the 650, as the 650 hasn't been apart for years. The 750 had all new gaskets, so it came apart and back together easily.
I'll have to put my bills together and add up my totals. If it's not too embarrassing, I'll post how much it cost me. I do know that the biggest expense was the special size push rods. $178.00 Crane 9.035".
As for what was actually done to get the power, I really relied on the Hot Rod Buildup, and my machinest.
you did a first class job with your engine ----It would be extremely helpful to everybody if you would publish alist of part numbers-cost-manufacturer...I am getting ready to go thru the exact situation that you have just completed as soon as I can get my friend the mechanic to help me pull my engine out of my truck----did you use a roller cam setup---and what brand of headers are you going to install on your engine before you drop it into the truck?????fd
[updated:LAST EDITED ON 09-Dec-01 AT 03:56 PM (EST)]>I forgot to add, compression calculated out to 9.2.
I am intrigued by your build up and by the article. In 1980, I built up a 400, using a Carter 650 carb, Edelbrock Streetmaster dual-plane intake, headers, custom made 9.5:1 pistons, 'straight up' timing set, and a Crane Fireball cam. I never had a chance to dyno it and ended up selling it when I totalled the Ranchero it was in. I would like to build one similar to yours, but I was thinking of using massaged 'Aussie' heads. With the stock flat-top pistons, the CR should be about 10:1 and combined with the larger valves should get me up over 400 HP.
>Yes, the heads had a little work on them.
>Decked the block .050. Heads took off .015.
>I do know that the biggest expense was the special size
>push rods. $178.00 Crane 9.035".
Ok, I have another question. I did a build of a 78 400. The shop milled the heads and decked the block but he said it wasn't enough to matter.
The problem I am having is that it won't time. It back fires thru the carb. Nothing I do to change the timing helps.
I have desassembled it down to removing the cam and putting it back making sure everything is right. It still does it.
I used the stock push rods. How do I tell if I need special length rods? That may be what is holding the valve open and causing the backfire.
I have the exact same setup as yours minus the MSD. The only thing different is I have the flat tops and cam. One thing that I have found, and I'm glad you did too is that a 650 is not enough. I've got one on my 400 now, and it isn't enough. I have a Comp Cams 270H Magnum. It idles good. This will give me a little more HP, and less torque I'm thinking.
Good Job. It's nice to see someone who has dynoed a 400.
[updated:LAST EDITED ON 16-Dec-01 AT 00:47 AM (EST)]>I have the exact same setup as yours minus the MSD. The only
>thing different is I have the flat tops and cam. One thing
>that I have found, and I'm glad you did too is that a 650 is
>not enough. I've got one on my 400 now, and it isn't enough.
>I have a Comp Cams 270H Magnum. It idles good. This will
>give me a little more HP, and less torque I'm thinking.
The 650 is more than enough. Even at 100% VE a 400 C.I.D. engine only pulls +/- 590 CFM @ 5000 RPM. That engine is acheiving maybe 85% VE. The problem he had was with fuel not air. His A/F ratio went up to 16:1 which says that he was pulling plenty of air and not enough fuel. Most carbs come "under jetted" out of the box, especially for an engine which has been warmed up. If he had put larger jets and maybe a bigger power valve in the 650 he would have easily hit the same numbers he did with the 750.
Just to answer a few more questions if I can.
The engine went into my 78 F150 4x4. I had a bad time putting it in. After wrestling with it for a couple of days, I saw that when I pulled the old engine, one of the alignment pins came out of the engine and got pushed into the tranny by the new engine. After I pulled the old pin out, the engine bolted right up to the tranny. Running the engine on the dyno gave me lots of confidence about how it would fire up. It took about 3-4 hours to hook everything up, and then fired it right up. I was driving it out of the garage immediately.
Bill was right! I had more than enough air with the 650 Holley. We could have done some jet work on it at the dyno and made it work. Since I was paying for the dyno by the hour, we just threw on the 750 as we knew it would be more than big enough.
The truck has a nice idle. It will even idle down at 650 rpm. I have reset it back up to 800rpm, and it seems to like it there. I have a stock torque converter, otherwise I would turn the idle up a little more yet.
The cam seems to be a real good choice for trucks. It pulls! If I rev it up to 5000rpm, it sounds real mean. It has some cheap headers, 2.5 pipes with glass packs.
With the stock torque convertor, 33inch tires, 3.50:1 lockers, I am having a tough time to get the rear end to break loose. It hooks up right away and PULLS!
I really don't think that listing all of the parts that I used will help people. There is nothing fancy here. I used parts that any engine builder would use. Most of my stuff came from Melling. My machinest got me most of the parts. There is no need to go with "high performance" parts for this buildup. ARP bolts, Silvolite pistons, Edlebrock intake, Comp Cam special grind, Melling oil pump, rockers, bearings...
Total price is going to come in just over $2000.00. You can make it seem less painful by buying parts over a few months, then start on the engine. The push rods will be the one thing that you have to buy at assembly time. I measured the length and then allowed .030 extra for preload.
It is a straight forward build. There are no tricks to it. It is all basic engine building. Good luck to all who build their 400's.