There are a few drivetrain parts that should receive extra attention when you’re building a Restomod. Some of parts don’t get much attention on street rods and Pro-Street cars. Most of those cars don’t see the hard driving a Restomod car will see. When you push your car to the limit and beyond, weaknesses in your engine, cooling and oiling systems, transmission, and clutch will become more evident. This chapter is dedicated to these areas and more.
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To start off, this section has information some purists will deem ludicrous and downright horrible. With that said, read on.
Swapping in a non-original engine is done for many reasons. Here are a few of them: gain more power, increase the “oooh” factor, save money, or just use what you have lying around. The most common engine swap in the early Mustang world is to swap from a stock 6- cylinder to a small-block V-8. I’ve included information on common and not-so-common engine swaps. I’ve also included some other things to keep in mind when you’re thinking of swapping in a different engine. If you are reading this book, there is a good chance you are interested in building a car that will handle well. For instance, if you have a 300- pound 4-cylinder in your 1974 Pinto or 1976 Mustang II, dropping in a 720- pound 460 will probably not help your handling. A car like that makes a great drag racer, and that’s about it. A few other aspects to consider include the availability of engine mounts, headers, transmission, crossmembers, engine compartment size versus engine size, hood clearance, oil pan clearance, etc. I’ve gathered just a few possible Ford engine swaps, and some are only covered briefly. With all the engines Ford produced, someone could write a complete book on all the possible Ford engine swaps.
2.0 and 2.3-Liter 4-Cylinder Engine
If you’ve been around since the early 1970s, you may remember Ford’s 2.3- liter coming with as little as 83 hp and 120 ft-lbs of torque. The factory stepped it up with the 1984-1986 SVO Mustang, pumping the 2.3-liter up with as much 205 hp and 248 ft-lbs of torque using fuel injection and a turbocharger. The turbocharged 2.3-liter also appeared in the 1987 and 1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe with a whopping 190 hp (on the 5-speed model) and 240 ft-lbs of torque. If you decide you want to keep your carbureted 4-cylinder, you might want to contact Esslinger Engineering in Southern California. Esslinger produces some serious parts for the 2.0 and 2.3- liter 4-cylinder engines. As noted earlier, the 1974 Pinto 2.3-liter pounded out an anemic 83 hp and 120 ft-lbs of torque.
Esslinger has been able to pump out 109 hp using a stock block, stock intake, and a carburetor, which is pretty impressive. With an upgrade to Esslinger’s aluminum D-port head, you can see a whopping 40 to 50 hp over stock while still being able to keep your stock intake and exhaust manifolds. Plus, the aluminum head saves you 40 lbs over the stock cast-iron unit. Upgrading to Esslinger’s SVO head and the matching custom intake manifold will net you an additional 20-hp gain. Esslinger also offers a complete aluminum block and ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) aluminum head that will juice up your carbureted combination with another 20 hp (up to 170), and save you a combined 100 lbs over the stock castiron parts.
Now those numbers are only for naturally aspirated engines. With the right parts, Esslinger Engineering has been able to pump 400 hp out of the castiron 2.3-liter block. With Esslinger’s aluminum block and all the right parts set up for drag racing, you can make up to 1,000 hp! Of course, that’s with a turbocharger running insane amounts of boost. Esslinger also sells fully assembled crate engines that have been fully dyno-tested. Or how about a stroker kit to turn the 2.3 into a 2.5-, 2.6-, or 2.85- liter? With a rare tall-deck engine block, you can even stroke it up to 3 liters of brutal mass.
If you’d rather go with a swap, the fuel-injected, turbocharged 2.3-liter is a direct bolt-in for the 1974 through 1980 Pintos, as well as many other 2.3-powered Fords. Of course, saying “bolt-in” means that the engine will bolt into the engine compartment with unmodified stock engine mounts. Putting the turbo 2.3-liter into a 1971 through 1973 Pinto can be done; you’ll just have to cut off the 2.0-liter lower engine/frame mounts and weld in 2.3-liter lower mounts. A V- 8 swap may be tempting, but you can buy a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe for very little money; take the engine, transmission, and computer out of it; and sell what’s left to recoup most of your money or more.
If you’re still wondering why I’m talking so much about 4-cylinder engines and Pintos, listen to this: The 1971 Pinto Sedan tips the scales at 1,949 lbs. By 1980, the 4-cylinder Pinto Sedan had slowly gained weight to an all-time high of 2,385 lbs, which is still really light. So, if you had a 2,000-lb Pinto, and put in a stock 190-hp 2.3-liter from an ’88 Turbo Coupe, the power-to-weight ratio would be approximately 10.5 pounds per horsepower. For comparison, let’s look at a 3,300-lb ’68 Mustang with a stock 230- hp, 302-ci engine. That works out to a much weaker power-to-weight ratio (PTWR) of approximately 14.5 lbs per horsepower. Pump the 2.3-liter Pinto up to 400 hp, and the PTWR changes to 5 lbs per horsepower—the Mustang would need 660 hp to match that.
If I have not persuaded you to keep the front of your Pinto light, there are a few companies offering headers and engine mounts for V-8 swaps. Contact info for these companies can be found in the Source Guide in the back of this book. Total Performance has engine mounts, oil pans, and headers. Hedman Hedders and Hooker Headers sell engine swap headers.
Ford V-8 Swaps
You have many engines to pick from when building your Restomod. Each engine has benefits and drawbacks. Picking the right V-8 for your application is not easy. It’s kind of like walking into a donut shop and seeing all those little round treats staring back at you through the glass case. Sure, you have your favorites, but your mind wanders. So, which one’s the right one? The smallblock comes in many different flavors, as do the FE and 385-series big-blocks. Add to that the tasty new overhead-cam 4.6- and 5.4-liter Modular engines, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It goes without saying that each of these engines can be stroked and over-bored for even more cubic inches.
I’d like to send a special thanks out to Marlin Davis of Car Craft magazine, and Jim Smart of Mustang & Fords magazine, for their help on some of this hard-to-find engine information.
Collectors have picked up a decent portion of the factory-equipped V-8 cars on the road and started restoring them, especially the well-optioned V-8 models. This leaves mostly 6-cylinder-equipped cars for the serious Restomodders. According to Jim Smart of Mustang & Fords magazine, the most common engine swaps in the early Mustangs and other shock-tower-equipped cars are from the old inline 6-cylinder to the small-block Ford engine. The second most common swap is from the 289 or 302 to the 351W. Swapping the 289 or 302 for the fuel-injected 5.0-liter (late model 302 ci) is the next most popular after that. Jim also notes that the popularity of the 5.0 swap is beginning to overtake the 351W swap with Restomodders.
Small-block Fords come in three different flavors. The first is the 90- degree Windsor V-8 family, the 221, 225, 260, 289, 302, Boss 302, and 351W (ranging in weight from 460 to 525 pounds). The second is the 335 Series, or Cleveland engines including the 351C and the Boss 351, each weighing 550 lbs. Last are the Modifieds, the 351M and 400M, weighing 575 lbs. When you’re swapping in any of these small-block Fords, you need to know the overall dimensions. These differences can cause installation clearance issues. Small-block Fords range from 24 to 26 inches wide.
The 1962 through 1965 small-block Fords have a five-bolt bellhousing. After that, all small-block Fords, except for the Modifieds, switched to a 6-bolt bellhousing. All small-block Fords, again except for the Modifieds, share the same engine mount configuration on the sides of the engine. The Modified engines are beasts unlike any other. They’re similar to Cleveland, but with taller deck surfaces. The “M” shares the transmission bellhousing surface with 385 Series 429 and 460 big-blocks, but its engine mounts are not shared by any other Ford engine. For more general info on smallblock Ford engines, check out any one of the small-block Ford titles from CarTech Books.
The FE family consists of the 332, 352, 360, 361, 390, 406, 410, 427, and 428-ci engines, each weighing 625 lbs. The rarest FE is the 427 SOHC, which tips the scales at 680 lbs. FE engines produced before 1965 had one type of 2- bolt engine mount on the sides of the block. The 1965 and later FEs had the same early production 2-bolt mount provisions and an additional set of later 2-bolt mounts. With the exception of the 410 and 428, the FEs are internally balanced, so make sure you have the correct weight of flywheel and harmonic balancer to fit your application. The FEs (with the exception of the 427 SOHC) are approximately 27 inches wide. If you are or were privileged enough to own a rare 427 SOHC engine, you will have a hard time fitting this 32-inch-wide monster in the engine compartment of early shocktower-equipped cars.
385 Series Big-blocks
The redesigned 429 and 460 bigblocks are known as the 385 Series engines. They tip the scales at 720 lbs. Then there is the Boss 429, which only weighed 635 lbs. It was a heavy hitter in NASCAR with its big top-end torque numbers. Only a few ’69 and ’70 Mustangs were produced with the Boss 429 wedged between factory-modified shock towers. You can wedge a 429 (nonBOSS) and a 460 between the shocktowers of 1967 through 1973 Mustangs and Cougars, as well as a few other models, with parts from Crites Restoration. Heavy modifications would be necessary to fit these engines in Mustangs and Cougars built before 1967. If you ever found a Boss 429 block, you could identify it by the screw-in freeze plugs and four-bolt mains. The 429/460 blocks can’t be identified as two- or four-bolt mains without pulling the pan, but the four-bolt main blocks are more desirable. The 429 and 460 share the same block, and the displacement depended on the crankshaft. All the factory 429 and 460 engines were filled with cast-iron crankshafts. The 1979 and newer 460s were externally balanced.
Ford’s latest V-8s are the 4.6- and 5.4- liter Modular engines. There is a 16-valve, single overhead-cam (SOHC) and 32- valve, dual-overhead cam (DOHC) version of each displacement. These engines differ from year to year and are available with either aluminum or cast-iron blocks.
Modular Ford engines hit the streets in 1991 in the Lincoln Town Car. These early 4.6-liter blocks had a different bolt-pattern from later Modular engines because they were bolted to an automatic overdrive transmission that had been used with the older 5.0-liter engine. Some 4.6-liter blocks are made to bolt up to front-wheel-drive (FWD) transaxles and will not bolt to any RWD transmissions, rendering them useless for Restomods. With those exceptions, all other 4.6-liter, 5.4-liter, and 6.8-liter (V-10) Modular engines share the same transmission bellhousing bolt pattern, which is different from all other Ford engines. The front timing cover changed from model to model and year to year. They can have different, bolt-boss configurations and bolt sizes, so builders suggest keeping your parts together when building Modular engines. The main caps are different too. The Windsor (Canada) engine plant builds with main dowel pins and cross-bolts; the Romeo (Michigan) plant builds its mains with jack-screw cross-bolts. Windsor engines use floating wrist pins, and Romeo engines use press-fit pins. The pistons are different dish sizes, too. Windsor iron blocks have a “W” cast in the valley area and in the front of the block. Make sure you know which one you have before you start ordering parts.
The 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter engines share the same engine mounts. The 4.6- and 5.4-liter DOHC and SOHC blocks are different, but can be made to accept either DOHC or SOHC heads with some simple modifications. That way, you can build a screaming 5.4-liter engine with DOHC heads. The Lincoln Navigator came with this combination, putting out 300 hp and 360 ft-lbs of torque, but the supercharged 5.4-liter lightning belted out 380 hp and 450 ftlbs of torque with SOHC heads. Those are just factory power numbers; imagine what can be done with camshaft swaps, head work, intake manifold swaps, superchargers, turbochargers, and more. Sean Hyland Motorsports has been able to create some amazing power, and it offers Modular performance parts and completely modified crate motors. For more info, check out his book How to Build Max Performance 4.6-Liter Ford Engines, available from CarTech Books.
Ford Racing Performance Parts offers complete DOHC Modular crate motors in 4.6-, 5.0-, and 5.4-liter sizes. One of the 4.6-liter options includes a complete 1999 Cobra engine with exhaust and a T-56 six-speed transmission bolted together as one complete unit that, when complete, weighs 1,010 lbs. Another option is a complete (with supercharger) 390-hp 2003 Cobra Supercharged 4.6-liter crate engine with cast-iron block, forged crankshaft, Manley SVT I-beam rods, and all accessories, which weighs 762 lbs. Ford Racing also offers the 2003 5.4-liter supercharged Lightning crate engine that comes with the supercharger, intercooler, and forged crankshaft, weighing in at 543 lbs. Another great option is the 5.0-liter DOHC “Cammer” crate engine, which is rated at approximately 500 hp (with free-flowing exhaust) and a broad torque curve with a peak of 365 ft-lbs. It is equipped with an aluminum block, high-flow DOHC heads, performance rods, 11.0:1 compression ratio, fuel injection, and all accessories. These crate engines are a really great option if you’re looking for something to swap into your Restomod, and Ford is supposed to be coming out with a stand-alone wiring harness to make things even easier Superior Custom Classics offers stand-alone wiring harnesses for just about any engine combination you can imagine or build. Street & Performance also offers wire harnesses for installing a 4.6-liter Modular engine in your Restomod. Of course, you can always get a wiring harness and all the accessories you’ll need out of a donor car.
DVS Restorations makes engine mounts for bolting Modular engines into 1964 through 1970 Mustangs and 1967 through 1970 Cougars using their original suspension. However, no matter which Modular you choose to swap, if you have shock towers, you will need to modify or remove the shock towers to make room. There are two companies offering shock tower modification kits. Revelation Racing Supplies sells kits to convert the front suspension to smallerdiameter coil-overs, which gives you room to modify the shock towers. DVS Restorations also offers shock-tower modification at its facility. The DVS shock tower modification kit requires lowering the upper control-arm attachment points. The other option for installing Modular engines into shocktower cars is to completely remove the shock towers and weld in a whole new front suspension, which does not require any suspension member located above the upper control arm. If you are installing a Modular engine in a fullframe car, such as a Galaxie or Gran Torino, currently there aren’t any companies offering engine mounts. With some fabricating knowledge and tools, you could design some of your own.
Engine Swapping Parts
When it comes to engine swaps, the most common engine swap is ditching a 6-cylinder in an early Mustang to move up to a small-block 302 or 351W. Take into account that when you upgrade from a smaller engine to a larger one in any car, you will need to upgrade suspension (springs, braces, and steering) components to support the extra weight. You should also upgrade the braking system, the fuel system, and the cooling system.
Some cars had different steering components for 6- and 8-cylinder models, so you’ll need to make sure your parts are up to the task of working with the extra power. Using stock 6-cylinder brakes on your Restomod after installing a 400-hp 347 is also a bad idea. Not only have you added weight to the nose of your car, but you have increased the power output to make it even faster. Different engine sizes and performance also need differently sized fuel lines. Don’t expect your new V-8 to reach its potential using the original fuel line from your 6-cylinder equipped Mustang. The same is true for the cooling system – a radiator designed to cool a 6- cylinder is not going to keep your V-8 cool on a hot day.
If you are going to install a fuelinjected 5.0L engine in your older Restomod, you should perform the items previously listed along with a fuelinjection fuel pump and filter, a 130-amp alternator, and some specialty brackets and adapters from Windsor-Fox Performance Engineering. Of course, you will need the complete 5.0L- engine from a donor vehicle with the fuel injection, ignition, engine control module (ECM), and wiring harness.
There are many companies offering parts to make life easier when bolting an engine into your Restomod. For instance, you may want to bolt a bigblock 460 in your 1968 Ford Fairlane, or a 351 Cleveland in your 1965 Mustang. Either way, you’ll need at least one of the following custom engine swap parts: engine mounts, headers, oil pan and pickup, accessory brackets, radiator, and transmission adapter. I’ve put together a pretty good (but by no means comprehensive) list of swap parts manufacturers. Some of the companies manufacture the products they offer, and a few of them offer products for other manufacturers. Not all manufacturers sell parts directly to the public, so purchasing parts from a distributor like Mustangs Plus or Dark Horse Performance is much faster and easier. Some of them offer swap parts I don’t have room to list, so search around these companies and you may find the parts you need.
Hedman Hedders and Hooker Headers sell engine swap headers and brackets for a lot of different applications. Trans-Dapt Performance sells engine mounts, transmission adapters, and transmission mounts. Ford Powertrain Applications (FPA) offers custom tri-Y, shorty, and long-tube headers for many common and uncommon applications from 1955 through 1993 and for stock and aftermarket heads. FPA even has headers for applications using Total Control Products rack-and-pinion steering. They are very high-quality and tuck up tight to the floorpan, which is a great feature for the lowered stance of the Restomod crowd.
D&D Automotive Specialties offers swap kits and components for early Fords, but its largest offering of parts are for Foxbodies (Mustangs, Fairmonts, Zephyrs, Cougars, Capris, and T-Birds). Kaufmann Products sells custom engine mounts and headers for early Mustangs, most Foxbody applications (using stock and aftermarket heads), Rangers, and Broncos. Coast High Performance offers Pro Mustang Performance headers for engine swaps. Mustangs Plus and Year One both sell some engine swap parts. Total Performance manufactures engine swap headers for many of the 1960 through 1978 shock-tower-equipped Fords. Tubular Automotive sells the hard-to-find tightfitting headers for early shock-tower cars, which allow you to install a 351C in 1964- 1⁄2 to 1966 Mustangs without modifying the shock towers. If you have an old or newer Restomod and you want to swap in a big-block, you should try Crites Restoration Products. Crites offers headers, swap kits, and all the necessary parts to swap engines into full-frame and unibody Fords and Mercurys from 1957 through 1988. Crites also has the knowledge of its kits to let you know what other parts you will need during your swap.
Total Control Products produces heavy-duty interlocking engine mounts made for installing the FE (except the 427 SOHC) and small-blocks in the 1964-1⁄2 through 1970 Mustangs and Cougars. The mounts are bushed with polyurethane inserts and will not separate, even if the urethane were to somehow deteriorate.
When swapping newer engines into older Restomods with original Z-bar style clutch linkage, you will find out there is no provision on the side of the late-model 5.0 block to bolt the ball stud. Without that ball stud, you can’t use the original linkage. For some reason, you have to be “in the know” to find an adapter bracket to mount the pivot ball to the newer blocks. Well, I’ll let you in on the secret. Kaufmann Products and Total Performance are at least two companies producing such a bracket.
In some cases, you may need to relocate your oil filter from the stock location due to engine swap headers or engine mounts. It’s actually a good idea to convert to a larger racing oil filter for higher oil pressure and better lubrication. Check the oiling system section later in this chapter for more details.
The large water pump inlet is on different sides of the crankshaft for different engines. If you put a 351W in a 1965 Mustang, you’ll need to change the radiator. The original 289 water pump inlet is on the right side of the crankshaft, and so is the lower radiator outlet. The 351W water pump inlet is on the left side of the crankshaft. In this case, you would need to install a new radiator with the outlet on the left side. Aftermarket radiator companies like Griffin Radiators make custom radiators that are direct bolt-ins.
Accessory mounting is also important when swapping engines. In most cases, you can use the accessories and brackets designed for the new engine. For instance, if you are swapping from a 351C to a big-block 460 in your 1972 Gran Torino, you can go to a wrecking yard and pull a 460 out of a truck, rebuild it, and then swap it in. You have a few options of what accessories and brackets to use. You can either use the brackets that came with the 460, or scour the wrecking yards for brackets that will put things in their stock locations, or you can find an aftermarket accessory bracket company that offers something in the positions you need.
Accessory brackets are available from many aftermarket companies. The following is a list of companies and the applications they support. March Performance, Zoops, and Street & Performance offer aluminum bracket and pulley systems for the following accessories: belt tensioner/idler, power steering, alternator, water pump, and A/C. FPA offers high and low-mount alternator brackets for big-block FEs. Jones Racing Products (JRP) offers small-block accessory brackets and pulleys. The JRP high-mount alternator bracket can be used with the mechanical water pump and pulley removed from the front of the engine (for use with some electric pump applications). Powermaster Motorsports is mainly known for manufacturing performance alternators and starters, but they also offer accessory brackets for Ford engines.
Restomod engines are usually loaded with performance parts. I could write a separate book on engine upgrades, but there are plenty of other S-A Design CarTech books covering the subject. I will keep this section fairly short, and try to include parts that sometimes increase the durability of your engine, especially if you plan on driving it hard on the street and at the track. Some of these parts also give the engine back its horsepower. For instance, a cooling fan bolted to the front of the water pump robs power from the engine. The inertia of its rotating mass and wind drag reduces your engine’s overall output. When you remove the manual fan and install an electric fan, you give the power back to the engine. Of course, the fans would draw more electrical current from the alternator, so it has to work a little harder, but the power difference between manual and electric fans is substantial.
Some people find it hard to justify spending money on engine bolts, since they don’t increase your power. However, they are very important in certain applications. Going to your local hardware store to purchase bolts to use for bolting on your timing cover is okay, but buying hardware-store bolts for your heads and main caps is a really bad idea. Even if you bought some grade-8 bolts from the hardware store, they aren’t designed to work inside an engine, so you’d just be asking for trouble. I’ve been around cars long enough to see people build engines with grade-5 bolts as head and main bolts. Even if you’re on a budget, any good engine builder will tell you to spend the extra money to buy good, quality fasteners. The professionals I asked said they would use a minimum of quality rod bolts, main bolts or main studs, and head bolts when building an engine. They all recommended using Automotive Racing Products (ARP) fasteners.
If you have the extra money, you should consider replacing all your engine fasteners with high-quality nuts and bolts. Some of you may be thinking that using ARP fasteners in areas like the oil pan and the intake manifold is overkill. Figure that most small engine bolts are commonly over-torqued. Now think of the hassle involved with removing the remains of a broken intake manifold bolt that ended up breaking the third time you reinstalled it. Maybe you think you’ll never remove your intake manifold or timing cover after you install them the first time, but that probably won’t be the case. Quality fasteners will save you the threads in your block, untimely hassles, and money in the long run.
Bolts are different from studs. A stud only has to be installed once. For instance, a main bolt must be removed every time you remove a main cap. If you remove a main cap attached with main studs, you only have to remove the nut. This saves the threads in the block. When installing studs in the mains or any other blind location (a hole that does not have an opening at the bottom), it’s best to bottom-tap the hole. This means that the threads need to extend to the bottom of the hole so the bottom face of the stud will have positive contact with the block. This gives the studs more integrity. Since you’re using studs because you want more strength, you should do the job completely.
Using head studs can save the threads in the deck of your block, since you can leave them screwed into the block during head service. Imagine how much deterioration the cooling system can cause to the head-bolt threads in the block. Removing the bolts time and again can eventually pull the threads out of the block, necessitating a Heli-Coil. The only drawback to running head studs is lack of serviceability when the engine is in the car. The head must have room to slide perpendicular to the block’s deck (head mounting surface) for the length of the studs. This is especially troublesome on shock-tower-equipped cars. Stepping up to quality head bolts instead of head studs will not help you save the threads in the block, but they do make it easier to work on the heads while the engine is in the car. Usually, serious racers with head studs don’t have any obstruction for head removal, or they have spare engines to swap for faster repair.
Before assembling the important engine parts, you should clean the threads in the engine block so you get a good torque reading. Some people use a bolt tap to clean the threads. This is a bad idea. Every time you run a tap through the threads in the block, it takes away thread material. If you do it enough times on a new block, or just one time on an old block with 30-year-old threads, you could take away enough material for the threads to pull out when you try to torque things down. The best way to clean the threads is with a heavyduty rifle brush, or a set of Thread Cleaning Chasers from ARP. Thread Cleaning Chasers are undersized taps that safely clean out the gunk, but leave the threads. They are a good investment. Breslin Performance Products also offers high-quality bolts with a feature that no other bolts have – Split-Lock technology. There is a set pin in the center of the bolt that spreads the special split-threaded end of the bolt to lock it into place. Vibration, heat, and torque dependence will not effect the bolt’s locking ability. Once the bolt is torqued, the set pin is tightened, and the bolt is locked in place. Breslin currently offers header and header-flange bolt kits, but more applications are on the way.
Internal combustion engines create enough heat to destroy themselves if they are not equipped with a good cool ing system. The cooling system also circulates hot water to warm the engine in colder climates. In simple terms, the cooling system consists of a few basic components: a radiator, a pump, water, and a fan. The stock cooling system is great for a stock engine in a moderate climate, but stock systems from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s are inadequate in extremely hot environments. With the addition of computer-controlled engine management systems, cooling systems have become more efficient.
The block and reciprocating assemblies operate efficiently and wear less when the temperature is in the range of 190 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit. The wear on the cylinder walls decreases dramatically when the cooling system operating temperature is 180 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. If your cooling system is running too cool, you can damage the engine. Keep that in mind when messing around with the cooling system components.
Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury engines all have similar cooling systems. The coolant is drawn out of the lower portion of the radiator and forced into the front of the block. The water flows around the cylinder walls, up into the heads through holes in the head gaskets, and up even further to the crossover under the thermostat, where it is restricted until it gets hot enough to open the thermostat. After the water flows through the open thermostat, it travels through a hose into the top of the radiator. Once the water enters the radiator, it transfers heat to the cooling fins and starts the whole process all over again.
Ford first introduced the 221-ci V-8 in 1962. Due to its crankshaft and accessory pulley configuration, its water pump rotated clockwise (looking at the front of the engine). This has been labeled standard rotation. In 1986, Ford introduced the serpentine belt accessory system. Because of the way the serpentine belt ran through the pulleys and accessories, it turned the water pump in the opposite direction. Everyone calls this reverse rotation. The impeller in the pump had to be redesigned to efficiently pump water through the engine cooling system. Standard-rotation pumps will not work on reverse-rotation accessorydrive systems, and vice-versa. They might fit, but the blades on the impeller are designed to turn in only one direction. If you have some serious cooling problems with your car, and you have checked every part of the system and still can’t figure it out, check to see if your car has the correct water pump. This problem has baffled many seasoned mechanics.
While not necessarily a Restomod part, I’m including these heater-hose fittings because of the high quality Restomods should reach. Corrosion of original heater hoses and bypass hose fittings are common problems with older cooling systems. Old fittings not only look bad on the engine, but they become difficult to remove from intake manifolds and water pumps without damaging the threads. Replace your corroded, ugly heater and bypass hose fittings with new, high-quality stainless steel fittings from Performance Stainless Steel. They will always look good and will not damage the threads in your water pump, block, or intake manifold if you need to remove them.
Every cooling system needs a pump to circulate fluid, which helps to minimize hot spots; automotive cooling systems are no exception. If your pump fails to circulate water through the engine, the water surrounding the cylinder walls would boil. That boiling would allow air pockets, or hot spots, to form around the cylinder walls. Air doesn’t cool as efficiently as water, so these hot spots would allow the cylinders to over heat and cause severe block expansion. These extreme conditions could cause the block to crack and other engine parts to seize or fail. A functioning pump moves water around inside the engine and through the radiator, where cooler water resides. The cooler water helps to equalize the system temperature. As mentioned above, the impeller inside the water-pump case circulates the water. The impeller has small blades that cup the water and force it through the engine.
Stock Water Pumps
Most stock water pumps have a stamped-steel impeller. They work great on low-horsepower daily drivers. The impeller fins are designed to move coolant into the engine block at normal driving RPM, but it loses efficiency because of the straight-blade design and loose tolerances between the case and the blades. Ford did not design the stock cooling system with high RPM and excessive heat-producing horsepower in mind. At high RPM, the pump cavitates because the impeller turns too fast. When the pump cavitates, it fails to pump cool water into the hot engine. Without cool water cycling into the engine, the water gets even hotter. This is not efficient and can cause damage, or at least headaches, if the system goes through this cycle too often within a short period of time.
Belt-Driven Aftermarket Water
Pumps It’s a good idea to upgrade to an aftermarket water pump if you boost your horsepower, take your car to the track, or just want to improve the efficiency of your cooling system. Aftermarket pumps are available in cast iron and aluminum. Meziere, Milodon, Stewart Components, Edelbrock, and FlowKooler are just a few companies offering these pumps. Some pumps are designed to flow better at lower RPM for streetability, and some are designed to operate at high RPM for full-race applications. Make sure to contact the manufacturer for guidance on its products before making a purchase.
Some companies offer OEM-style housings with upgraded impellers. Others offer their own housings and impellers. Most aftermarket pumps are equipped with low-drag bearings to reduce the horsepower needed to drive the unit. If you are worried about weight, aluminum housings are lighter than castiron units, and can shave approximately 10 lbs off the nose of your engine. Although 10 lbs does not seem like a lot, it can add up when coupled with other weight-saving parts. The aluminum also dissipates heat better than cast iron. The higher-performance water pumps have larger bearings and pump shafts for strength in higher-performance applications. The larger shaft will require a pulley with a larger shaft hole, or you can modify your current pulley. Ford small- and big-block water pumps are available with standard and reverse rotation, so be sure to get the right pump for your application.
Electric Water Pumps
In the past, electric units were made for drag racing only. A drag-racing cooling system has minimal requirements: the pump doesn’t need to produce much pressure and the engine is producing extreme heat for 12 seconds or less. Car owners tried the original beltdriven electric and stand-alone electric water pumps on their street cars with very little success. These bad experiences gave electric water pumps a bad name, but there have been some superior advances in electric water pumps in the last 10 years. Not only have the designs changed for the better, but they have also become more reliable.
A few aftermarket companies offer reliable, high-quality electric water pumps, including Meziere Enterprises Inc. Meziere offers electric units for the Ford small-blocks, Clevelands, Modifieds, 385-series big-blocks, FE bigblocks, and Modulars. The 5.0-liter and Modular 4.6-liter electric pumps work an idler pulley so you can use the stock accessory belt configuration, or you can run without the pulley. In some applications, these pumps can free up as much as 15 hp. Depending on the application, these pumps flow from 35 to 55 gallons per minute (gpm). These aluminumbodied pumps are available polished or in red, blue, purple, and black.
When you’re running an electric water pump, it should always be running when the engine is on. At any time the pump is not running, the engine could be building up air pockets around the cylinder walls, insulating them from water. This can happen before the water-temp gauge will even register. The beauty of the electric pump is the ability to run the pump even after you shut off the engine. Electric water pumps also operate at the same RPM, no matter how fast the engine is running. If you have a 35-gpm water pump, it will be pumping at the same rate at 1,000 or 6,000 rpm. This helps keep the engine cool at an idle, as well as high RPM. If you get stuck in traffic, which can spell trouble for highhorsepower engines, the system will be flowing better than a belt-driven system.
New remote water pumps are also becoming available. They can help you free up some space on the front of your engine. This can be useful in custom applications where space between the radiator and a conventional water pump is cramped. Whether you’ve swapped in a physically larger engine or you’re running turbos or a blower, a remote pump can get some extra space. If you simply want to clean up the front of the engine for an ultra-clean look, a remote pump might be the ticket. Meziere also offers remote-mounted water pumps. One version mounts directly to the radiator with a special bracket that can be tig-welded to most aluminum radiators. When you completely remove the water pump off the front of your engine, you need special port adapters to run hoses directly from the pump to the front of the block.
The engine’s operating temperature is regulated by the thermostat. Every thermostat has a temperature rating, which is where it is supposed to open. The ratings typically range from 160 to 190 degrees. For instance, a 160-degree thermostat will stay closed until the coolant behind it reaches 160 degrees. When the thermostat opens, hot coolant flows through it. Once the coolant flowing through it drops below 160 degrees, the thermostat closes so the coolant can reach 160 degrees again.
Drag-racing applications can benefit from replacing the thermostat with a restrictor plate, since the cooling system only needs to operate for short bursts of time. Restomods should be running a thermostat. With the exception of extreme Restomods, our cars will probably be driven on the street on a regular basis. On the street, the thermostat is necessary for bringing the car up to operating temperature. Most people think a cool running engine makes more power, since the colder the air-fuel mixture is, the better it burns. This is correct for the intake system, but the block and reciprocating assembly operate better and wear less when the engine is in the range of 190 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooling system experts choose Robertshaw thermostats and Stant Superstats. The Robertshaw is available from many manufacturers, including Mr. Gasket and FlowKooler. It’s the most desirable thermostat since it’s the least restrictive when fully open. Cooling experts suggest drilling two small holes in the outer ring of the thermostat if your cooling system does not have a bypass. Without a bypass system, air pockets can form under the thermostat. The hot air doesn’t heat the thermostat to its opening temperature, so it stays closed. If this happens, your system will fail and your engine will overheat in a hurry. The two small holes allow the hot air to get through the thermostat, so your cooling system will operate correctly.
The cooling system is made up of many important components; the radiator is the key to dissipating heat. The radiator is made of tanks, tubes, and fins. Hot coolant flows into one of the radiator tanks. The coolant is pushed through tubes on its way to the tank on the opposite side. During this movement, the heat transfers to the tubes and into the cooling fins. The fins are cooled by the air flowing around them (through the radiator), which allows more heat to be transferred from the tubes.
Until the mid-1980s, most production radiators were constructed of copper and brass. When manufacturers started trying to make their systems more efficient, the copper/brass tube thickness was causing radiators to weigh too much. They had to find alternative material to make radiators lighter, without losing strength. Instead of running four half-inch-diameter copper brass tubes with .015-inch wall thickness, radiators could be constructed of two one-inch aluminum tubes with .016- inch walls, with half the weight and better cooling capacity. If you’re just trying to lighten up your front end, you may want to take into consideration that an aluminum radiator may weigh less, but the bigger tubes hold more coolant. In Restomod applications, cooling properties should be a higher goal than saving a few pounds, so don’t skimp out on a radiator that’s too small.
Griffin Radiator, BeCool, C&R Racing Inc, and Saldana Racing Products are just a few companies offering aftermarket aluminum radiators. Each company has a different construction process, and some may not offer direct bolt-in units for your application. Griffin Radiators welds its tubes to the headers (where the tubes meet the side tanks) like the other companies, but unlike other manufacturers, Griffin also adds epoxy where the tubes meet the headers. The epoxy adds extra strength to the tube-to-header joints, and adds an extra level of leak protection.. If you want a direct bolt-in radiator for your ’66 Mustang with a 351W, you may be limited to one or two radiator companies. Radiators made specifically for 351W swaps use original mounting brackets and have the correct inlet and outlet sizes and locations. If you’re building a custom cooling system and don’t require a bolt-in radiator, universal radiators are available from most companies. The universal radiators are usually cheaper, but since they don’t have any mounting provisions, some custom mounting and fabrication skill is required. Universals are sold by overall width and height, and they are not always offered with different sizes of inlets and outlets.
Custom radiators are available in single- and dual-pass versions. A singlepass radiator is most common. The hot coolant is forced into the left tank, at the upper left corner of the radiator, where it works its way to the tank on the right side of the radiator and flows back into the engine through the lower right corner. The dual-pass radiator is essentially two single-pass radiators stacked on top of each other. A typical dual-pass design will have the hot coolant enter the upper right corner of the upper right tank. The coolant is forced across the upper section of the radiator to the left tank, where it travels down the left side of the tank and into the lower half of the radiator. The coolant then has to pass from the left side to the lower right side of the tank, where it enters the engine.
The cooling system is put to the ultimate test—not only in road-course racing, but in traffic as well. The system builds heat in the engine as usual, but the heat is trapped under the hood, where it heat-soaks the engine compartment. The worst part of traffic is not getting flow through the radiator.
I was once told, “If your car overheats in traffic but runs cool at 60 miles per hour, your radiator is big enough, but you are not getting enough airflow through your radiator.” You can dig a little deeper and say: The cooling fans may not flow enough cfm, or you may need a fan shroud to effectively direct air through the entire radiator. Stock flex fans, like stock clutch fans, are great for moderate performance engines. There are a few aftermarket companies making high-performance flex fans. Aftermarket flex fans usually have less reciprocating weight than stock solid and flex fans, but not all flex fans are created equal. Flex fans are rated by their maximum RPM and by engine size, so make sure you get the right one for your application.
Flex fans get their names from their flexible, steel fan blades. At low RPM, the blades keep their pre-formed curves, so they can pull as much air through the radiator as possible. This is great for when you are idling in traffic. At high RPM, the blades lose their curve and flatten out. The flat fan blade has less drag on the engine which, along with the blades’ lighter weight, increases power output. This is great for racing. Since your car will be moving when your engine is at high RPM, your fan doesn’t need to feed the radiator with air.
When using a stock or aftermarket flex fan, make sure you periodically check the fan blades for defects and cracks. Since the blades flex back and forth constantly, the metal can get fatigued and crack. Think of bending or twisting an aluminum can for a few minutes. It will eventually crack and break. I’m not saying flex fans break a lot, but if they do, they can be very dangerous. I had a stock flex fan break at about 4,000 rpm on one of my old cars. The fan blade went through the layers of metal in my hood. I never found the blade. Minutes before that, a friend was leaning over my engine, revving the engine after he tuned my carburetor. Be aware of the state of your car and its parts.
Deciding which electric fan set-up to run can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. Besides looking for a fan that will fit in the space you have, the most important thing to look at is the amount of air a fan moves. For instance, a single 15-inch-diameter electric fan might move 2,800 cfm, while a 14.45-inch fan from another company might only move 1,350 cfm. That’s a big difference. Another feature to look for is the amperage drawn by the fan. Of those two fans, the 15-inch model draws 13.9 amps, and the 14.45-inch model draws 10.5 amps. The higher the draw, the more power your alternator will need to generate.
Each company offers a variety of single- and dual-fan set-ups with different widths, heights, and depths, along with cfm and amperage ratings. In some instances, you may get stuck with a lowperformance fan due to cramped space. If your car heats up driving around town but stays cool on the freeway, you may need a fan that moves more cfm. If you have only 3 inches of clearance between your water pump pulley and the radiator, it may mean you’re stuck with a fan set-up that moves half the cfm of a set-up that requires 41 ⁄2 inches of clearance. It might cost you more money, but if clearance is your problem, you can switch to a remote-mounted electric water pump. Driving around with an inferior set-up that overheats under normal driving conditions can be unnerving and embarrassing.
You can mount electric fans directly to the radiator, to brackets, or to a fan shroud. Mounting fans to the radiator can be done by using plastic or metal rod kits that slide through the radiator cooling fins. The rod kits come with little locks to prevent them from coming loose and causing the fan assembly to fall into the engine. When you cut the excess rod off, leave about 3⁄8-inch of rod sticking out. The excess rod sticking out is a very dangerous cutting hazard, especially if it’s metal. Go to your local hardware store and get some rubber screw caps or some small-engine vacuum caps to slip over the protruding rod tips. The first time you are working on your car and rub on one of those caps, you will be thankful you took a little time to do this right. Some fans or integrated fan and shroud systems can be mounted to metal or aluminum straps specifically for the job, or you can fabricate your own.
Fans come as pushers and pullers. A pusher fan will need to go in front of the radiator so it can push air in. A puller fan needs to be mounted in the rear of the radiator so it can pull air through. Most electric fans with integral fan shrouds are puller types, since if it was mounted in front of the radiator, the fan shroud would block the path of airflow. Pusher fans work well as a booster fan if you’re running a mechanical fan and need some extra help cooling, or for custom applications without clearance between the radiator and engine.
High-output Restomods need an electric fan set-up that flows 2,800 cfm. This might require running dual fans. I’ve seen 550-hp small-blocks get by with a single 15-inch puller that moves 2,800 cfm. I’ve also seen 480-hp bigblock cars have lots of issues with dual 12-inch electric fans pulling 2,500 cfm. An engine that is out of tune can run hotter, and big-block engines historically run hotter than small-blocks. Cooling systems on moderate-to high-horsepower engines in hotter climates would be better with at least 3,600 cfm. Getting too much cfm is almost impossible, at least according to Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor.
Factory production cars are another good source for electric fan set-ups. For instance, 1993 to 1997 LT1 Camaros and Firebirds came equipped from the factory with dual 12-inch electric fans and a fan shroud. Due to overall size, this fan is good for full-size Restomods. It’s approximately 28x18x5 inches, and supposedly moves 3,600 cfm. This set-up draws 10 to 15 amps while running, and has a 15-to 20-amp surge on start-up. The most common factory fan setup used for older cars is the 1997-1998 18-inch Lincoln Mark VIII fan with built-in shroud, part number F8LH- 8C607-AA. Its overall dimensions (not including factory mounting tabs, which are typically removed for installation) are 22×18.5×6.25-inches deep at the center of the electric motor. The set-up moves approximately 4,500 cfm. It draws 33 amps while running and 100 amps during the surge at start-up. When using this fan, it’s imperative to swap out the alternator and run at least a 130-amp unit to make up for the current draw. For your exact electrical system amp draw, check the formula for picking the correct alternator.
The other imperative part of installing the Mark VIII fan, or any other fan that draws a lot of amperage, is getting the correct high amp relay, wire gauge size, and wiring configuration. Using the wrong parts will cause disastrous failure to your electrical system; this is not an area to cut corners in. Putting in a standard 30-amp relay to operate the fan’s power circuit is a good way to smoke your wiring harness. There are two ways to get switched high-amp power to high-amp fans. The most common way is to use a Bosch 75-amp relay (part number 0-332-002-156) that is meant to be used for Mercedes diesel glow-plugs. The second, more elegant way of regulating high-amp power to an electric fan is to install a high-amp fan controller. One controller from Delta Current Control is designed to gradually turn the fan on, rather than giving it a big surge of power and shocking your electrical system. The controller also helps maintain a constant system temperature, rather than hot and cold coolant cycling that can hamper engine life and performance.
Electric fans can be triggered by a manual switch on your dashboard, or by a thermostatic switch. Fixed-range thermostatic switches screw into a water port on the engine or the radiator and have an operating range of 10 to 15 degrees. They can be purchased for the range that you determine is best for your application. Adjustable thermostatic switches have a probe that either screws into a water port in the cooling system, or they have a probe that pushes into the radiator fins near the inlet where the heated water enters. You can adjust them to turn the fans on at whatever temperature you choose. Either way, electric fans draw enough amperage that powering them without a relay can cause enough resistance in the wire to get it real hot. In some cases, the wire can get hot enough to drop the speed of your fans after 15 minutes of running time, or melt the insulation off the wire and cause serious problems. A relay mounted close to the fans will run the load-bearing hot wire a much shorter distance for a much safer connection. If you connect the fan relay with a constant hot, the fans will be able to run even after the key is turned off. They’ll turn off after the engine temperature drops below the switch’s operating temperature. Most companies will tell you not to wire it like this because there is a possibility the fans will stay on and drain your battery. With a “keyed” hotwire to the fan relay, the power is cut off when the ignition key is turned off.
DERRICK YEE’S 1973 MAVERICK
What is the first car that comes to mind when you read the word Restomod? If you’re from the same country I’m from, you will probably have the same initial thought that I do – Mustang. That’s understandable. We probably read the same magazines and books. What’s the second car to come to mind? Maybe your next answer is a Cougar, Fairlane, or Falcon. Well, when will your response be the Maverick? What’s wrong with the Maverick? It was built to replace the Falcon and compete with the import cars coming to the US in the early 1970s. Its platform is very similar to the Mustang, but it has more rounded and swoopier body lines.
Derrick Yee has held Mavericks high on his list of cool cars for many years. He’s even a big enough fan of them to create his own website called MaverickMan.com, where he is the Maverick Man. The Maverick in these pictures is just one in his collection of many. One is built with straight-line racing in mind, and the other is a straight-6 gem. This one is known as the Baby Blue Maverick. It is built for all-around performance driving, which makes it a Restomod. He wanted something different, something that exuded performance, so he had some connections build a custom carbon-fiber cowl hood (which he sells as a product on his website). Just so the hood wasn’t the only carbon-fiber part on the car, he put a set of APR carbon-fiber race mirrors with bases custom-made to fit the original mirror mounting holes. The twotone roof helps balance the dark-colored hood. To lighten things up, the Mav has Hella H4 conversion headlights, Koito White Beam H4 bulbs, clear turn signals, and smoked Plexiglas taillight lenses. Other external touches include removal of the huge front and rear bumper guards, the addition of Boyd Coddington Dictator 17×7-inch and 18×8-inch wheels wearing 245/40-17 and 255/45-18 Bridgestone Potenza S- 03 Pole Position rubber, and the menacing stance. The car has a completely different look than I’ve ever seen on a Maverick. To get the big tires to fit, Derrick used the combination of 4-inch backspacing on the wheels and rolled the front and rear inner fender lips.
If the looks alone aren’t enough to get you to change your mind about Mavericks, maybe looking under its babyblue skin will. The powerplant is a 302 stuffed with 8.5:1 forged JE slugs, compressing air up against 1966 52-cc heads with 1.94-inch intake, and 1.6- inch exhaust valves. The Lunati cam operates the Comp Cams 1.6:1 ratio roller-tipped rocker arms. The engine is force-fed through a Holley 750 double pumper by a Holley 174 Power Charger running 6 lbs of boost. Compressed air is ignited by Taylor wires, MSD BTM ignition box, Blaster 2 coil, and Mallory distributor. The boost wasn’t enough for Derrick, so he threw a pair of Nitrous Express polished bottles in the trunk with an automatic bottle opener, which feeds the blower through a Nitrous Express Phase 3 Gemini Twin Plate. For accessories, the engine was dressed with K&N air and valve cover breathers, Ford Motorsports valve covers, and March pulleys and brackets. Cooling is handled by a GMB pump, Cool Flex hoses, and a Griffin aluminum radiator. The spent gasses flow through Hedman Hedders, 2.5-inch pipes to 2.5-inch Magnaflow Tru-X Pipe to 3-inch pipes, complimented by Magnaflow XL stainless mufflers to 3-inch mandrel bent tubing piped out the rear.
A C4 automatic transmission powers a Ford 9-inch rear end. Derrick knew a standard 9-inch wouldn’t hold up, so he contacted Moser Engineering. Moser came up with a heavy-duty housing capped with a nodular case and a 1350 yoke. Inside is a 3.50:1 gear set on a Trac-Loc limited slip diff and a pair of 31- spline Moser custom alloy axles. The rear end is kept in place by stock leaves, but assisted by Cal Trac traction bars and a 0.5-inch ADDCO sway bar. The front suspension consists of all polyurethane bushed parts, 1-inch TMC Mustang sway bar (not an exact fit, about a half-inch wider than the Maverick bar), TMC 600-lb springs, and other TMC hardware. All four corners are wearing KYB gas shocks. The best drivability modification Derrick made so far was the addition of Wilwood Dynalite Pro disc brakes on all four corners. He made slight modifications to fit a Mustang kit on the Maverick front spindles, and easily installed a 9-inch Ford rear kit. After driving with 4-wheel discs, he wants to upgrade all his Mavericks, even the 6-cylinder.
An often-overlooked part of a Restomod is the interior. Derrick didn’t leave this stone unturned. He had the Cobra Daytona front buckets and rear seats covered by Katzkins with leather to match the color of the Auto Custom Carpet kit and original interior. Derrick positioned the AutoMeter gauges so they could be read clearly through the leather-wrapped Dino steering wheel. The centerpiece is a B&M Starshifter. When he gets tired of listening to the engine, he has a sound system consisting of all the right Panasonic pieces. To power the grid, he uses a chrome 100- amp alternator and Optima Red Top.
Derrick would like to thank his wife, mom, dad, God, Matt Held at Holley, Chris Coddington at Boyd Coddington Wheels, Allen Nicholas at Wilwood Brakes, Eric Knappenberger at McCullough PR, Todd Ryden at MSD, Carol Yohe at Edelbrock, Brian Havins at Nitrous Express, Jon Bennet and Bruce Wood at Moser Engineering, Chad Dimarco at Sube Sports, Lisa Cerda at Katzkins, Randy Killingbeck at March Perfromance, Ron Piasecki at Autometer, Tanya Axford at Magnaflow, John Hrinsin and Mike Golding at Mr. Gasket, Jay Hess and Kathy Flack at JE Pistons, KC Chow at APR Performance, Chris Chan at VIS Racing Sports, Crystal Nelson at Stir Marketing, Shane Reichart at K&N Filters, Carl at Viking Fabricators, Phil Royle, at Eurotuner, and Greg Yamamoto at Super Street
If you think the car looks familiar, it’s possible you’ve seen it on Hot Rod TV. It also showed up (with yellow paint) on the cover of the January 2000 issue of Hot Rod magazine. Maybe now that you’ve seen what can be done to a car with lower popularity numbers than the Mustang, you may want to add Maverick to your Restomod vocabulary.
A fan shroud is an important part of getting optimum performance out of your manual or electric cooling fan. The shroud helps channel the airflow through the radiator for optimum cooling. Without a shroud, even a fan will draw air through a limited section of the radiator, depending on the size of the fan. Obviously, if you don’t have enough cool air flowing through the radiator, you might have overheating problems.
Running a manual fan without a shroud can produce similar cooling issues, especially since they aren’t as close to the radiator as most electric units. The fan will just whip the air around in the engine compartment instead of pulling it through the radiator effectively. Without a shroud, the air that does get pulled through the radiator only comes through an area about the same diameter as the fan. Increasing the shroud inlet size increases the cooling area. The best design would have a shroud inlet that is the same size as the radiator core. The fan diameter should be about 1 inch less than the diameter of the shroud’s outlet opening.
Along with helping airflow, the shroud also helps keep the engine compartment safer while the engine is running. The fan, whether it’s electric or manual, can be dangerous when you are working on your engine. Electric fans wired to engage solely by a thermostatic temperature sensor can turn on at any time. Fingers or loose clothing pose a safety hazard if the fan kicks on when you least expect it. The same can be said for a manual fan while the engine is running, so don’t lean over your engine while wearing a necktie. The fan shroud doesn’t eliminate the danger, but it helps.
The stock engine oiling system consists of oil, oil pump, pump pickup, oil pan, oil filter, and the engine block’s oil passages. There are two types of oil systems available for engines: wet-sump and dry-sump systems. Of the two systems, I will be covering wet-sump systems more than dry sumps, since the latter is very uncommon on street-driven cars.
A wet-sump system is the most common and holds the majority of its oil in the oil pan sump, hence the term “wet sump.” Ford production cars, except for the 2005 Ford GT, run wet-sump systems. They are cheaper to build and maintain. Wet-sump systems are selfcontained with an internal oil pump that is indirectly driven by the camshaft, and a pickup in the oil pan.
The capacity of a wet-sump oil system is determined by how much oil the oil-pan sump will hold. Adding an external filter and/or cooler adds capacity to your oiling system, but that doesn’t change the amount of oil in the oil pan. If you’re worried about your oil pump running dry, some builders suggest putting oil restrictors in the block to allow less oil to get to the top end of the engine. This helps, but adding a higher- capacity oil pan will help even more. Some engine builders prefer to use high-pressure oil pumps in engines with stock-size pans. This increases oil pressure, but won’t suck a stock pan dry like a high-volume oil pump will in the right conditions.
Dry-sump systems hold the majority of their oil in an external oil tank, not in the sump of the oil pan, hence the term “dry sump.” Dry-sump systems require an external pump turned by the camshaft or a crank-driven belt. Any problem with the drive system or hose failure will cause serious engine failure. Dry-sump systems are more expensive than wet-sump systems due to the added components and plumbing, but they are the safest way to keep your engine pressurized with oil. In a dry-sump system, oil is continuously pumped by one chamber of the pump into the external oil tank. There is a constant supply of oil available in the external oil tank for another chamber of the pump to feed the engine. Depending upon the application, the available capacity of a dry-sump system ranges from 4 to 14 quarts. They allow for a very low-profile oil pan, which allows racers to set the engine closer to the ground for a lower center of gravity. Under harsh acceleration, braking, and cornering, the wet-sump pickups in the oil pan will be sucking air, which could cause damage to the engine. The dry-sump pump removes the oil from the pan to stop it from sloshing up during extreme conditions and hitting the crankshaft and rods, where it robs power from the engine. Moving up to 14 quarts of oil in a dry-sump tank, toward the center or the rear of the car, also helps transfer weight for a more balanced car.
Not all oil filters are created equal. There are many different oil filters on the market, but only a few of them are suited for performance applications. If you’re going to drive your car hard, you should get a performance filter. Performance filters have better filtering media and thicker cases, which increase the burst pressure to at least 500 psi and protect against rock and stone damage. Wix Racing filters are distinguished by the “R” after the part number. They’re also individually wrapped to keep out contaminants. K&N Filters offers Performance Gold filters that have an additional 1-inch wrench nut on the end with a provision for safety wiring (specialty stainless steel wire used in racing and aircraft to keep bolts from vibrating loose). Fram also offers Racing series filters for performance applications.
Oil Filter Relocation
A common problem with Ford’s stock oiling system is the restrictive oil filter and its mount. Upgrading to an aftermarket, remote oil filter helps combat oil pressure problems and helps increase bearing life. These problems don’t pop up on the street with mild engine combinations, but when you start pumping high horsepower at a high RPM, you should upgrade to a remotemounted filter to protect your powerplant. When I mention remote oil filters, I don’t mean those cheap remote kits that use the stock size filter. I’m talking about installing a remote oil filter adapter, like a Fram HPK600 or Moroso #23766 and a high-flowing, high-capacity Fram HP6 or WIX 51222R filter. This is a trick known to Ford road racers, and now the secret is out. Canton Racing Products and other manufacturers offer oil filter adapters that accept fittings large enough not to restrict the oil flow from the block to the remote filter, or the flow of oil back to the engine. Use at least -10 AN fittings and hoses to plumb the system to keep the oil flowing freely. Just swapping from a high-performance filter in the stock location to a system like the one mentioned here has been documented to increase oil pressure to 6 psi at idle. That might not seem like much, but imagine how happy your bearings will be at high RPM.
During harsh driving conditions, oil sloshes around enough in the oil pan to come into contact with the crankshaft. This contact creates drag on the crank and robs power from the engine. A windage tray is basically a shield located between the crankshaft and the oil. It not only keeps the oil off the rotating assembly, but it also keeps it in the pan, making it harder for the sump to suck air into the oil pump and the system.
Windage trays are connected to the oil pan, or bolted to crankshaft main studs and the oil-pump bolt or stud. If your frame and suspension limits your oil-pan clearance, you can use a stock or stockshaped aftermarket oil pan. Some of these oil pans have windage trays welded inside, near the top of the sump. The bolt-in windage trays require a windage tray install kit, which includes main studs that feature extra threads on the ends for the tray’s height adjustment. Milodon recommends adjusting the windage tray to no closer than .100 inch to the rotating assembly. These studs typically have 5⁄16 inch of extended thread length on the end of the main stud. The extra length should be left as long as possible (without interfering with the oil pan), just in case you eventually want to switch the style of tray or spend some more money on getting a stroker upgrade. Replacing the main studs on your second build-up because the studs were cut 1⁄2 inch too short is an unnecessary expense.
Many aftermarket manufacturers offer their own windage trays. Milodon offers louvered windage trays for most Fords. Their testing has shown realworld gains of up to 12- to 15-hp on 400-hp engines. The louvers allow the oil to fly off the crank and back into the pan, where the tray keeps it until it’s sucked up by the sump.
Dry-Sump Oil Pans
Very few Restomods have drysump systems. Dry-sump pans are very low profile; they usually only have about 1 inch of clearance between the rotating assembly and the bottom of the oil pan. They either have pickup tubes that run the length of the pan with little inertia-baffles, or they have multiple pickups so the oil can be picked up during hard acceleration, braking, and cornering. Since the dry-sump system does not rely on the pan for its oil supply, a little air sucked up in the pan pickup won’t kill the engine. As with most parts, dry-sump oil pans are designed differently for road racing, circle tracking, and drag racing. Make sure you buy the right pan for your application.
Wet-Sump Oil Pans Since
Restomods are meant to be driven fast around corners, a stock pan might not be adequate for your application. Stock pans don’t hold much oil compared to aftermarket oil pans, and they are barely suited for mild performance engines and/or road-course driving. Aftermarket street/strip pans are designed to control the oil from front to rear, but the oil pickup can still get uncovered if you corner hard. Aftermarket wet-sump pans typically hold 2 to 2.5 quarts more oil than a stock pan. They also hang further down, which can limit your ground clearance.
A road-race wet-sump pan has trap doors to control the oil from moving in every direction. This keeps the oil pickup covered with oil, so the engine components will stay happy. Installing a street/strip pan is adequate for mild performance driving on a road course, but when you dial in your suspension, have extremely good brakes, and run sticky tires on a road course, you’ll need an oil pan designed for road racing. Road-race pans have a wider sump than street/strip pans, so they can hold as much oil or more. They’re also typically shallower than street/strip pans, so ground clearance can be even better, while still increasing the oil capacity.
The downside to road-race pans is that because they are bigger, it can be hard to find one that fits your application. They can interfere with headers, or at least get close enough to heat up your oil without a thermal barrier. The biggest hurdle to jump is possible interference with steering linkage. Consult the manufacturer’s technical department about your engine size and chassis type for the correct road-race pan before laying down your money.
When upgrading to a new oil pan, you’ll need to buy the proper oil pump pickup. A given pickup is designed for a specific pan, and probably a specific oil pump too. Oil pump companies don’t have any kind of standard. So, it’s a good idea to purchase your oil pump and oilpump pickup from the same company you purchase your oil pan from. That way you know the pan, pump, and pickup will all fit when you go to bolt them up. It’s pretty frustrating to buy a pan and pickup, hope to bolt it all on over a weekend, and then find out they don’t fit. You may later find that your oil pump was made by a manufacturer that changed the pump design four times within a couple of years. A 3 ⁄8-inch change is huge when you are working with tight tolerances in the oil pan. The oil pump pickup is supposed to be 3 ⁄8 of an inch from the bottom of the oil pan. If it’s too far from the bottom of the pan, it could starve under hard driving conditions. If the pickup is too close to the bottom of the pan, it will be too restricted and not able to feed enough oil to the engine. If the engine does not get enough oil, it could cause enough suction to pull the pan in and out at different RPM and eventually cause the bottom of the pan to fail from fatigue.
All this information about oil pans, pumps, and pickups is not just a scare tactic – it’s written from personal experience. These problems can happen to anyone. So, the moral to all this is: Don’t mess around with your oil system. The oiling system is very fickle and it doesn’t take much to cause expensive problems, let alone just a headache.
When driving your Restomod hard at a road course, your engine oil temperature will climb higher than you have ever imagined. On a road course, you keep the RPM up and the engine working harder than in any other type of driving you do. The water-cooling system is usually hotter, too. All the components under the hood are hot from trapped air under the hood. The temperature of your engine oil can climb to 260 degrees or more, but there are a few ways to cool it. You can run an external cooler in front of your radiator, a cooler built into the radiator, or a heat exchanger.
Aftermarket radiators are available for serious performance applications with oil coolers built directly into the radiator. This helps keep the oil cooler, but at the same time, it heats up your coolant. Think of your engine oil running about 265 degrees, and your engine coolant running about 215 degrees. The oil will be trying to dissipate heat to the coolant, and since the water is considerably cooler, it will cool the oil. This can be a happy relationship if your coolant system is extremely efficient. The oil cooler in the radiator can also work in the opposite way during normal day-today driving conditions. The engine could take forever to heat up to operating temperatures. The water could cool the oil too much to effectively protect your engine.
An external oil cooler in front of the radiator will transfer less heat to the cooling system directly, but since there will be hot air flowing through the oil cooler into the radiator, you’ll get some extra heating in the coolant system. The best external coolers on the market are Setrab coolers. They are known worldwide and supply many manufacturers. They are a stackedplate design and are durable in racing environments. There are a few companies offering copies of lesser quality, and there are a few companies re-labeling Setrab coolers as their own. A heat exchanger also works as an oil cooler. Coolant runs through plumbing that runs through the oil system, which allows the heat from the oil to transfer to the cooling system and vice versa. This system helps equalize the two temperatures for better performance and longevity. An aftermarket external heat exchanger is good enough for just about any horsepower level, depending on the system. Typically you will only find heat exchangers on highdollar racecars. They use bypass systems that close off the oil going to the exchanger until oil-operating temperatures have been met. The bypass systems combat the problem of getting engine fluids up to proper operating temperature. The car will have faster warm-up times and better (less) engine wear.
Induction and Fuel Systems
The most important elements in making power are air and fuel. Getting the correct air/fuel ratio into and out of the combustion chamber is the key to making power. There are a few ways to get the mixture in. Natural aspiration through a carburetor is the traditional way to feed an engine, but fuel injection can be more efficient if it’s tuned properly. To increase power, you can cram more air and fuel into the engine by bolting on a turbocharger or supercharger. Whatever you choose, remember that first you have to get the fuel to the carburetor or fuel-injection system. There are entire books written on carburetors (even on specific carburetors), fuel-injection systems, and superchargers. For more specific info on any of these topics, check out the CarTech Books website at www.cartechbooks. Com.
Carburetors are rated by how many cubic feet per minute (cfm) they flow. This rating is helpful in choosing a carburetor, depending on the number of cubic inches or potential horsepower output of your engine. It is possible to over-carb an engine. Bolting a big 750- cfm carb on a stock small-block 302 is overkill, and the engine will not operate at its optimum potential. If you bolt a little 600-cfm carb on a 460 built for high-RPM power, it will not run correctly. There are charts and information to help find the carb for your application, but it’s best to consult an experienced professional. You can ask a technician from the carb company, or an experienced carburetor guy at a speed shop. If you get the wrong size of carb, your performance potential can be limited by over carbureting and running too rich, or by under carbureting and running too lean. In extreme cases, running excessively rich can cause fuel contamination in the oil, which thins the oil and can lead to internal engine failure. Running too lean can cause overheating and possible piston failure. These conditions can even happen with a correct-sized carb that’s just seriously out of tune, so if you don’t know what you’re doing, be sure to consult a professional who does.
Before choosing a carburetor size, choose your carburetor company. There are a few common brands on the market today, and each has its benefits. Some carburetors are better for trouble-free street driving, some are best for street/strip driving, and some are better for road-course racing. The well-known aftermarket carburetor companies include Holley, Barry Grant Demon Carbs, Carter, and Edelbrock. Factory remanufactured replacement carbs are also available from a few companies. There are even shops that rebuild and power-tune factory and aftermarket carburetors. The best way to tune a carburetor for optimum fuel efficiency and power is to take your car to a shop equipped with a dynamometer, where an air/fuel meter can be connected to the exhaust. With this equipment, the shop can fine-tune your car’s fuel system while putting the entire mechanical drivetrain under load.
If you’re tired of tuning your carburetor, you can step up to a fuel-injection system. Compared to carburetors, fuelinjection systems are completely tunable, and the torque curve is usually more level and kicks in earlier in the RPM range. There are throttle-body injection (TBI) systems and direct-point fuel-injection (DPFI) systems. Throttlebody injection has a single point of injection (one area, on top of the intake manifold), where port injection has multiple ports, such as an injector for each cylinder. DPFI has many other commonly known names, such as directport fuel injection, direct fuel injection, multi-port fuel injection, port fuel injection, and more. These systems are available from factory donor vehicles and aftermarket companies.
Fuel-injection systems are built from two types of components: electronics and hardware. Electronic components include the computer, wire harness, and sensors. The hardware components are the manifold, throttle body, injectors, fuel rails, fuel pressure regulator, and fuel pump. Fuel-injection systems come in many different configurations and manifold designs. Direct-port fuel-injection (DPFI) systems are superior to throttlebody injection (TBI) systems and are the only systems we will be considering for Restomod use. TBI systems were used early on in Ford’s quest for fuel-injection performance. TBI systems are not generally thought of as much of a performance upgrade over a good carburetor set-up, so they are not common today. Don’t get the term “throttle body” confused with TBI injection. A throttle body of some kind is also used on all DPFI systems. The difference is that in a TBI system, the throttle body actually contains two fuel injectors. Since the air and fuel all flow into the manifold at a single point, a TBI system still utilizes the intake manifold to try and distribute the air-fuel mixture evenly to all the cylinders.
All manifolds and throttle bodies in DPFI systems deliver air only. In almost every configuration, fuel is injected at the base of the intake manifold almost directly into the cylinder head. Therefore, there must be an injector for every cylinder. There are two distinct styles of intake manifold designs: plenum-style manifolds and individual-runner manifolds. Plenum-style manifolds have central throttle body that feeds into a central common plenum. The plenum branches off into individual runners that flow to each intake port in the heads. Individual-runner manifolds do not share any common area, and they have individual throttle bodies and injectors for each runner.
Examples of plenum-style systems are 1986-1995 5.0-liter intake manifolds and converted single-plane or openplenum carburetor manifolds. Examples of individual-runner systems are converted stack or ram injector intakes like the ones available from Hilborn, or Weber-style manifolds with throttle body replacements made to replace the Weber carbs.
One of the fun things about fuelinjection conversions is the fact that almost any manifold and throttle body combo that will deliver air can be made to work as a fuel-injection intake. With some creative thinking, some builders have merged vintage intake styles with updated electronic fuel injection. An original intake manifold can be modified to accept fuel injectors, and even vintagelooking carburetors can be altered to serve as throttle bodies, making for a nice blend of performance and classic looks. Aftermarket companies have been producing fuel-injection conversion kits since the mid-1990s. These early kits only replaced the 4-barrel carburetor with a throttle body injection unit. In the late 1990s, a few companies started offering DPFI kits for Chevy applications. If you wanted a DPFI for your Ford, you had to buy a DPFI system without the intake manifold and have the injector bungs welded to your aluminum intake manifold. In 2004, Edelbrock and ACCEL introduced standalone DPFI systems with pre-fabricated small-block Ford intake manifolds that you can tune with a laptop computer. These systems come with almost everything you need including a throttle body, fuel injectors, intake manifold, fuel rails, regulator, wiring harness, ECM, tuning software, and more. Some systems come more complete and support different horsepower levels than others. ACCEL, Edelbrock, and other manufacturers have seen the demand for DPFI systems for Fords increase, so development of more parts and Ford applications are on the way For more on custom and aftermarket fuel injection systems, check out the CarTech title Building and Tuning High-Performance Electronic Fuel Injection by Ben Strader.
Fuel Feed Systems
Before it ends up in the engine, the fuel has to get to the carburetor or fuelinjection system from the fuel tank. The fuel feed system consists of the fuel, tank, pickup, filter, pump, and line. If you don’t upgrade your fuel-feed system when you upgrade your engine and its induction system, you won’t be able to optimize the performance. In some cases, you can damage the engine by starving it and running lean.
In the past, fuel tanks were not designed very well. Fuel tanks in cars built after the mid-1980s were designed with baffles around the fuel pump and pickup. Flaws in older designs first became evident to drag racers. During straight-line acceleration, the fuel would rush to the rear of the fuel tank, leaving the fuel pickup uncovered. Without fuel covering the pickup, the pump could not suck fuel from the tank. The fuel in the system would feed the carb until the line ran dry, which could happen in a matter of seconds. Once the car stumbled and slowed down from running out of fuel, the fuel would slosh toward the front of the tank, where the pickup could suck fuel again instead of fumes.
Restomods have the same problem, but not necessarily from straight-line acceleration. The pickup gets uncovered when you make hard lefts and rights. Drag racers found resolution by putting a sump in the rear of the tank, since that’s where the fuel ends up during straight-line acceleration. Although this move isn’t common for Restomod builders, they can gain some resolution by installing a sump in the rear, as long as it’s baffled. A non-baffled lower sump doesn’t keep the fuel from sloshing during cornering. A few companies offer fuel tanks for older cars with built-in baffles to keep the fuel trapped around the fuel-pump pickup. Aeromotive offers a tank with a baffled rear sump that is a direct replacement for many popular Fords. Rock Valley Antique Auto Parts offers stainless-steel replacement fuel tanks with internal baffling (without lower rear sump). They also have options for installing in-tank fuelinjection pumps, and offer tanks for selected Ford cars from 1928 to 1957.
If you’re building a Restomod or racer and don’t have the constraints of using a stock fuel tank, you can step up to a fuel cell. They come in different forms. Unlike stock fuel tanks, fuel cells can be purchased with internal baffling and foam to keep the fuel from sloshing around and uncovering the pickup. Racing fuel cells are safer than a standard metal fuel tank that came from the factory in your car because they are more pliable and resilient in a crash. The less-expensive fuel cells are typically a polyethylene outer shell with aviation foam inside to assist in baffling. The safer and more expensive fuel cells have a metal outer shell with an inner bladder filled with internal fuel strainers and foam baffles. The inner bladder is the wearing part. If you are purchasing a fuel cell for a long-term project car, make sure to check the company’s fuel cell warranty. If the warranty is for 5 years or less, and your car isn’t running for 2 years, you will be limiting the lifespan of the bladder. You may want to purchase your fuel cell toward the end of your project. Fuel Safe makes custom fuel cells and some specific bolt-in units for early Mustangs. The bolt-in Mustang cells come in 16- and 22-gallon versions.
There are performance mechanical and electric fuel pumps available for all power ranges. Fuel pumps are rated in gallons per hour (gph) and how many psi they maintain. For a carbureted engine, you need a fuel pressure of 6.5 to 7.5 psi, depending on your horsepower level. Any more than that, and the fuel will push past the needle, seat in the carburetor, and cause a rich running condition or flooding, depending on the severity. If you install a pump that builds more psi, you’ll need a fuel pressure regulator in between the fuel pump and carburetor. Mechanical fuel pumps are all pretty similar and basic, since they have a specific place they mount on the block. They’re available up to 130 gph and 15 psi for high-revving engines.
Most builders prefer to have their higher-output engines fed by electric fuel pumps, which take away much less power from the engine than a mechanical pump, and also transfer less heat into the fuel. For standard applications, electric fuel pumps mount in two places: either in the fuel tank or outside it. Intank pumps are mounted inside the fuel tank and are immersed in the fuel. Ninety-nine percent of externally mounted electric fuel pumps are “pushers,” which means they push fuel better than they suck it from the tank. Pushers need to be mounted as close to the tank and its fuel pump pickup as possible; most manufacturers suggest mounting it within 12 inches from the tank. If you mount a pusher too far from the tank, it will not be able to supply the engine with enough fuel and your car will be plagued with driveability problems.
Fuel pressure regulators do as their name suggests. Performance fuel pumps push more pressure than the carburetor or fuel injection can handle. This is necessary to keep fuel flowing to the engine under load when it demands more. Nonadjustable fuel-pressure regulators regulate the pressure to the predetermined amount, while you can adjust the pressure according to engine’s demand with an adjustable regulator. Each regulator is designed for a specific job. High-performance regulators are designed to operate at full potential with a specific fuel pump, so if you are running an Aeromotive fuel pump, you should get the properly matched regulator. Some are also designed specifically for turbocharged and supercharged boost demands. These regulators use a vacuum boost port for increasing fuel pressure during boost conditions.
Follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for mounting your fuel-pressure regulator. The regulator is typically mounted within 12 inches of the carburetor or fuel-injection system. Some racetracks won’t let you race if your fuel pressure regulator is mounted on the firewall, since it would be in the path of the flywheel and clutch if either were to fail and scatter. It’s also a good idea to mount the regulator in a place that is not too close to a heat source, unless it’s shielded. On carbureted cars, you could mount it on the engine close to the carburetor. However, it will be close to a heat source, and if you need to work on the carb or adjust the valves it may get in the way. A less obstructive place to mount the regulator is on the inner fenderwell.
Some regulators work without a return line to the fuel tank, which is called a static or dead-head set-up. Dead-head systems require the fuel pump to cavitate, since the pump has to pressurize the feed line up to the regulator. The feed line is kept at a higher pressure than what the regulator allows, so the pump cavitates. Some dead-head regulators make loud knocking noises, caused by the piston or ball cavitating while the pump keeps higher pressure against it. This cavitation can also cause the engine to run lean because the fuel is sitting in the line, rather than constantly flowing through it like it would on a system with a return line to the tank.
The other type of regulators operate in return-style systems. Regulators for carbureted systems with a fuel return line have one feed line plumbed from the fuel tank and a separate line that returns extra fuel to the tank, once a predetermined pressure has been reached. Since this system is able to return extra fuel to the tank, there’s no need for the pump to cavitate. Fuel-pressure regulators on fuel-injection systems work the same way, returning the excess fuel to the tank. The fuel return system allows the fuel pump to constantly flow at its full potential, while the regulator keeps only the necessary fuel where your engine needs it.
High-performance engines demand more fuel. You can upgrade all the components of your fuel system, but you will be limiting the system’s potential if you don’t upgrade the fuel lines all the way from the engine to the tank. For instance, a ’65 Mustang equipped with a 289 had a 5⁄16-inch fuel line that ran from the tank to the fuel pump. This fuel line will not support the volume of fuel a pumped-up that 347 will require. A 3⁄8-inch fuel line running from front to rear is great for big- and small-blocks up to the 400-hp range, but not much more. Once you move into the 400+ horsepower area, you need to upgrade to a larger fuel line. Aeromotive suggests running a -10AN (5⁄8-inch) feed line and an -8-AN (1⁄2-inch) return line with a 500-hp engine built for street and roadcourse racing. A 5⁄8-inch fuel line might seem like a lot, but if you spend the money on the pump and regulator, you should listen to what the company suggests because it knows the products’ capabilities. High-performance engines are demanding at high RPM, and the fuel line sizes need to be stepped up. It’s very annoying to spin the motor up and have it cut out because the fuel pump just can’t get the volume to the engine.
The other fuel lines need to be upgraded, too. Sucking fuel out of the tank through a stock 3⁄8-inch fuel pump pickup will defeat the purpose of upgrading the size of the fuel feed line. Make sure your fuel hoses and fuel fittings aren’t too restrictive. Running a 5⁄8-inch feed line into a -6-AN (3⁄8-inch) fuel filter creates a bottleneck and defeats the purpose of running a large feed line. Be careful when using fuel fittings. Bent fittings come in two different types. There is a forged style and a less restrictive tube style. Every 90-degree forged fitting decreases the flow. Some companies offer fittings that are “flowed” better than others for less restriction. A few restrictive fittings will hurt the engine’s performance potential.
When running feed and return lines, I have found the Moroso aluminum fuel line is easiest to use. It can be easily bent by using a hand-operated spring-type tubing bender. Be aware that you can kink it if you bend it too far. Before installing the aluminum hard line, take a few things into consideration. Don’t run fuel line (or any line that carries important or flammable liquid) in the transmission tunnel, because if you ever break a universal joint or a driveshaft, the flying parts can possibly damage the lines within reach. The lines should not be the lowest hanging part on the underside of your car, where they could be ripped or damaged if you were to drive off the road course or pull off the highway onto a soft or uneven shoulder. Every 90-degree bend is another restriction in the system. If a 90-degree bend is necessary, try to make it a sweeping bend rather than a tight bend. With the aluminum hard line, you can use tube nuts so that the fittings connect it to accessories. Otherwise, you’ll need to run a short section of hose between the hard line and the accessory.
On carbureted systems, at least one filter should be mounted between the tank and the pump. Some pumps have such tight tolerance that a small piece of debris will cause the pump to jam. On fuel-injection systems, filtering is even more important. The injectors are much more susceptible to getting clogged than a fuel pump, because the injector clearances are so precise. A clogged injector has the potential to burn a hole in your piston. That’s why it is suggested to run a filter between the tank and the pump, and another between the pump and the fuel rails, just for an extra point of filtering protection.
Turbocharged street cars have become more common in the last few years. With the introduction of computer-controlled fuel-injection systems and new turbo technology, some of the turbo woes of the past have diminished. One of the problems that still exists is that the boost can kick in suddenly and isn’t necessarily proportional to RPM, which makes it harder to modulate on a road racing set-up. Running an intercooler is beneficial on a system running above 6 to 7 lbs of boost. An intercooler will help keep your intake temperatures down, which can keep your engine from detonating. Intercoolers come in two types: air-toair and air-to-liquid/water. If you have a way to feed a steady supply of cooled water to the intercooler, the air-to-liquid units are more efficient. They just require more plumbing and weigh more, due to the liquid and extra equipment necessary to cool it.
There are a few types of superchargers available. The two most common superchargers are the Roots type and the centrifugal. The most popular type in the 1980s was the Roots-type supercharger. It was really cool to have a big 6-71 or 8-71 Roots blower sticking out of your hood with the carbs and air cleaner sitting as high as the roofline of your car. These big Roots blowers are not fuel-efficient. They also generate lots of heat, obstruct the driver’s vision, and make a lot of noise. Every once in a while, auto manufacturers play around with blowers and offer them to the public on special-option vehicles. In 1989, Ford started introducing smaller Rootstype blowers on production vehicles like the Thunderbird Supercoupe, SVT Lightning, and SVT Cobra. These Roots-type blowers are starting to be more common on production cars and trucks, but they are smaller and quieter than the 6-71.
Hot rodders in the 1990s changed their building style to make it a little more subtle. They were building more hot rods with all the performance parts under uncut hoods. Car guys still want big power, but they don’t want their source of power to be obvious to everyone, including local authorities. For this reason and others, people started moving to centrifugal superchargers. Centrifugal superchargers had been around for at least 70 years in one form or another, but a drive design change in the early 1990s made them more bearable on the ears. By the late 1990s, centrifugal supercharger technology had vastly improved. The newer centrifugal units are built better. They are more suited for fuel-injection systems, available for more applications, and some even include a warranty.
The small-block Ford is one of the most popular centrifugal supercharger applications. The most popular centrifugal supercharger companies are Paxton, Vortech Engineering, Accessible Technologies Inc (ATI), and Paxton Automotive. For more on supercharging, check out the CarTech title Street Supercharging by Pat Ganahl.
Written by Tony Huntimer and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks