FE Big Block: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums



Old 02-21-2004, 11:13 PM
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If you are looking for a quick answer to some of the most commonly asked FE questions you can look at the post below and you may find it.

Freqently Asked Questions

Q: What does FE stand for?
A: This is a highly debated topic but ford was called and they said it means "Ford Edsel". There are many gurus out there that claim it means "Fairlane Engine" or "Ford Engine".

Q: What is the firing order for my FE?
A: The order is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8 in a counter-clockwise fashion. Cylinders are numbered 1 - 4 starting on the passenger side from front to back and 5 - 8 on the drivers side front to back.

Q: What is the best rebuild manual for the FE engine?
A: "How to rebuild a big block Ford", by Steve Christ, is the best to date. This is a must have for the novice FE builder. It covers everything you will need. You can buy it here.

Q: How far can I bore my FE out?
A: There is no solid answer here. The FEs suffered from core shift. You may have one side of the cylinder wall be very thin and the other very thick. Some blocks with identical casting numbers have different wall thicknesses to start with. You will need to have the block sonic checked to be positive. Many D3TE and D4TE blocks can be bored .080 over to use as a 406 or 428 but some are in hurting status at .060 over. I have heard of no problems with any blocks at .030 over.

Q: How can I turn my 360 into a 390?
A: Easy! The ONLY part that differ in a 390 from a 360 is the crank, rods and pistons. The blocks and truck cams are 100% identical.

Q: What Cam should I run?
A: This question can only be answered in the forums or by a cam manufacturer. You will need to give thorough details about the rest of your build and what the build is going in. You will also need to specify what you will be using the engine for.

Q: How can I convert my FE block to run a solid cam?
A: The best way to do this is blocking off the oil to the lifters with a threaded plug. I will post pictures of this modification when I find an old FE block to do it with. This modification should be done prior to taking the engine to the machine shop to be cleaned and machined to ensure no metal shavings are left over. You can also run a solid cam by using the shell type lifters. This will greatly reduce the amount of oil flowing through the lifter area. Some have also used solid lifters that only had a slight recess to the body and they are having good success.

Q: What is the best way to improve the performance of my stock FE?
A: Headers and dual exhaust are the first place to start. Stock FEs never had any problem getting air into them. The FE exhaust manifolds are the worst design out there. There are many headers out there for the FE and they vary greatly in quality. FPA seems to have the best thing going right now but they are very expensive.

Q: How do I perform the oiling mods everyone is talking about?
A: Look at the post right after this one.

Q: My FE seems very sluggish at low RPMs and sometimes pops through the carb under rapid accelerator depression.
A: The factory timing initial advance specs on the FE are 6BTDC. Increasing the advance to 10 - 12BTDC can greatly increase your throttle responsiveness. If you are still getting popping through the carb you may need to fix your accelerator pump or get a bigger one.

Q: Why is my gas mileage so horrible?
A: Because you have an FE. You can get better gas mileage by running headers and dual exhaust. Ensure your vacuum advance is working properly. Ensure your ignition timing is set correctly. You can buy an adjustable vacuum advance pot. This will allow you to play with the amount of partial throttle advance to achieve the best results.

Q: How can I tell whether or not I have a 360 or a 390 by the block markings?
A: You can't. The 360 and the 390 blocks were 100% identical. You will need to measure the stroke with a dowel. Take out a spark plug and insert the dowel. Have a buddy turn the engine over by hand until the piston goes all the way down to the bottom of the bore. Mark the dowel. Now have the buddy turn the engine by hand until the piston is all the way at the top of the cylinder. Mark the dowel again. If you come up with a distance of 3 1/2" you have a 360. If the difference is about 3 3/4" you have a 390.

Q: What are the bore and stroke measurements for all FE engines?
A: 332 = 4.00" X 3.30"
352 = 4.00" X 3.50"
360 = 4.05" X 3.50"
390 = 4.05" X 3.784"
406 = 4.13" X 3.784"
410 = 4.05" X 3.984"
427 = 4.23" X 3.784"
428 = 4.13" X 3.984"

Last edited by Krewat; 09-09-2016 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Edited by Krewat - recovered after loss of clufte.com web sites - keeping Ratsmoker's name on it
Old 09-09-2016, 12:18 PM
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Continued from above, Ratsmoker's Oiling Modification instructions.

Basic FE Oiling Modifications

These are basic mods every FE should have at a minimum per the opinion of many FE enthusiasts. There are many more modifications that can be performed but these should be sufficient for pretty much any street/strip FE that does not see extremely long periods of very high RPMs.

1) Drill the oil passage from the filter pad to the oil pump out to 7/16". This takes a long Drill bit and needs to be hit from both angles as it is not a straight shot. Be sure to drill it straight and carefully!

2) Chamfer the oil holes in the main saddles to match the holes in the main bearings.

3) Run a Melling PN# M57HV oil pump and an ARP Oil Pump Driveshaft.

4) Insert #90 holley jets into the oil gallery in each head underneath the rocker stands. This is only applicable to the stock heads as the edelbrocks come pre-restricted.

5) Unless your FE never sees steep inclines or hard launches you should dump your stock front sump oil pan. Rear sumps are the best way to go but will not always work in your vehicle. Special front sump oil pans with baffles are out there that will work great. If you do run a stock pan then you should run about 6.5qts of oil to ensure the pan does not run dry. - The validity of running more oil in the FE has been disputed - unless you're running high RPMs most of the time, or your rocker arms/shafts are loose and you don't have an oil feed restrictor in the heads, running more oil may not be necessary (Krewat - 9/28/2016)
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