I have a 390 that I'm having re-built for my 71 F-100 Shortbed. The C-6 is almost finished with shift kit and 2500 stall. My dilemma is what to do with the motor. It's already .040 over and will probably need to go to .060. What I want out of this motor is basically all of the horsepower and torque that I can get and still be streetable enough to knock around in on pump gas. Don't mind using premium. I'm figuring around 10:1 CR??? One big question that I have is whether to go with hydraulic or solid cam/lifters. Which works best for the FE's and why? After that is answered, I need to know what sort of cam specs to go for. I do want it to lope pretty good. I'm keeping the stock heads for now, but it will have an Edelbrock Performer intake with either a Holley 650 or an Edelbrock 750 on top. Also need suggestions on pistons. Thanks a lot for the help. This is by far the most useful web site that I've ever found.
The TRW L2291 pistons are a good forging and are not too expensive. The cam is pretty much up to you. They both work well in FEs. You can't go too big with stock heads. With 10:1 compression you will need a bigger cam just to get by on premium gas. Might look at the crane 343801 hydraulic cam. I run it and I love it. I do have the edel heads though. Your purpose for the engine plays the biggest part. Solid cams are hard to find that are in somewhat of a mild manner. Crower makes a nice solid with 225 degrees duration at .050 and a little more on the exhaust side. It is very mild though. Either get that compression down or get aluminum heads. There are some very nice cast pistons out there that will give you about 9.5:1 compression. Do something with the exahaust ports on those heads before you go too far with the performance stuff. Head flow is the most important factor in my opinion.
If you do the oiling mods then you have to run restrictors in the heads. Lifter types have little to do with that. There are other mods you have to make to run solids in a block meant for hydraulics from the factory.
If you are going to buy pistons get the forged, I also have TRW, this way no matter what you do now, if you decide to "Kick it up a notch" later, you've laid the groundwork. For same reason I'd reccommend a complete balance and decking, align boring, etc.
Unless you want lots of top end the EBrock performer cams will work for 90% of street drivers. I had one for years, only went to higher lift Crower, just to try it, (soon people, soon.) I'd stay away from 750cfm carb, a bit too much for street use. Worked over stock heads will be OK but work them over, why bother putting stockers back on. You can go to CJ size valves (get stainless). Stick with Hyd. cam you'll be OK until you get serious about drag racing. Please get headers but don't get cheap ones, and don't get me started about headers. Need to get sturdier rockers, timing chain, hi-volume oil pump, and high volume water pump, a 4 row radiator, and you're part way there. The Rear End and Tranny await you and your credit card. Have Fun. -Oh Yeah, look for the CACWBY at a show & shine near you - someday soon, maybe even Pigeon Forge.
I thought we said no "H word" on the forums! Just kidding, they are really a pain, and it depends on heads. If E Brock heads, I'd go with Ford Powertrain Applications (FPA) and tell him what heads you have, there's are also a tri-y design, which is supposed to be better flowing. For more info do a search under my user name. Good Luck. I forget which rockers I got, they were part of first time build up, but stockers are not good for hi-performance (stamped steel). I'll have to dig out old paperwork. I do know they were readily available and not a lot of $$$. Good Luck.