Ford big-blocks didn’t struggle as much with cooling problems as their small-block brethren, because these larger engines were fitted with more adequate cooling systems, often in larger vehicles, with better airflow through the grille. Their mission was understood right from the start by Ford engineers. Good cooling comes from capacity, a large-enough radiator to handle the thermal load, a sizable fan, and a water pump designed to move large sums of coolant through the engine block and heads.
When shopping for a radiator, capacity and fit are the most important considerations. Some radiators are not equipped with an automatic-transmission fluid cooler, for example. If you have a Cruise-O-Matic, it is important that your radiator have a built-in cooler. Even if your project vehicle isn’t going to have air conditioning, I recommend the highest-capacity radiator possible. It is better to have too much radiator than too little.
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Radiator height is another important issue. Mustangs and Cougars through 1970 used a shorter radiator by 1 inch. A Galaxie or Fairlane radiator does not fit a 1967–1970 Mustang or Cougar, due to hood-clearance problems. Otherwise, you find great interchangeability between full-size and intermediate-size Fords and Mercurys. Mustangs and Cougars from 1971–1973 enjoy improved interchangeability with the rest of the Ford line-up.
Big-block Fords enjoy greater simplicity when it comes to water pumps. The 352/360/390/406/427/428 use two basic water-pump types: standard and high-flow. That’s it. The standard water pump is a D0AZ-8501-D piece, and it fits every type of FE big-block known. Because you’re into high performance, you’re going to want the C5AZ-8501-S high-flow water pump originally conceived for all 390, 406, 427, and 428 high-performance big-blocks. All FE water pumps sold today are the highflow type.
Don’t be alarmed if your replacement water pump has a C9AE-8505-A casting number. This is the casting number for the water-pump housing, not the water-pump assembly, which is “8501.” There are also aftermarket castings devoid of Ford casting numbers, which adds to this confusion.
It’s a similar story for 385-series bigblocks. You can expect a C9VZ-8501-A for 1968–1969 429 water pumps, and then D1VY-8501-B until 1972. The part number changed to D2VY-8501-A for 1972, then to D4VY-8501-A late in 1974. The bottom line here is, specify a high-flow water pump for your 429/460 engine.
The aftermarket offers a wealth of high-quality water pumps for highperformance use. Edelbrock, Weiand, and Ford Motorsport SVO are all players in this market. Each offers high flow water pumps for the 429/460.
Cooling-fan selection is very important; it affects the efficiency of the cooling system. This means properly matching engines, applications, fans, radiators, and shrouds. Each component must be up to the task. Unless striving for originality, I suggest using heavy-duty components in all cases. When selecting a water pump pulley, be conscious of size (diameter, sheave width, and number of sheaves). A high-revving 427, for example, should have a large pulley (6 to 7-plus inches in diameter) to keep pump speed safe.
Written by George Reid and Republished with Permission of CarTech Inc