Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
June 28, 2013
Photos By: The Manufacturers

We'd all like to think that there's some sort of magic to making horsepower. It's not magic, it's simple math. OK, the math can get pretty complex, but the point is that for an engine to make more power, it has to be able to move more air. When you strip away all the fancy parts and terminology, the basic internal combustion engine is nothing more than an air pump. While an oft-used statement, it is the most truthful and accurate appraisal of what an engine does. Air is brought into the combustion chamber, mixed with fuel, and compressed. An ignition occurs, causing the mixture to ignite, and the subsequent gasses expand and push the piston down before exiting out of the combustion chamber. The engine's reciprocating assembly does this hundreds, and more often, thousands of times per minute. Getting more air into that combustion chamber is how more power is made. You can increase the cam's lift or duration, install larger valves in your cylinder heads, and even enlarge the airflow ports of the cylinder heads and intake manifold; but better yet, why not do all of that at the same time.

Over three decades of wrench turning, your author has seen plenty of people nickel and dime their engine upgrades. What eventually happens is you end up with a bunch of mismatched parts that are fighting each other. Generally, the labor is repeated two or three times as the same bolts are turned/removed to access parts for replacement as budget allows. In our experience, we've always found it better to let those with deeper pockets figure out what works and then follow their lead. Removing the inlet restriction of an engine with free-breathing induction parts should be a system's approach and what better way to find that horsepower than with a complete top end upgrade with proven parts that companies have spent countless hours on testing and refining. So instead of installing one part at a time, put that money away and save it. Have the personal restraint to keep saving those dollars. Then, once you've saved up the money you would have eventually spent anyway on mismatched upgrades, you can purchase one of these top-end kits that have been engineered to work out of the box on your engine.

Due to the installed base of small-block Fords, you'll generally only see top-end kits for 289/302/351W applications from the "big guys," which is what we're covering here. There are countless race shops, engine builders, and more that have devised their own "best of the best" top-end kits. Many of these shops offer intake and cylinder head porting (either hand-ported or CNC-based), custom cam grinds, and more. We feel these can be a bit too specific for the needs of this story, but in all fairness, they can make very good power with the right short-block. We stuck with the likes of Dart Machinery, Edelbrock, and Trick Flow because they are known brands whose products can be found from coast to coast, and they are usually nothing more than a call or Internet order away from landing on your doorstep in a few days. So check out these offerings and start saving (no more expensive coffee on the way to work!), and you'll be making some serious steam before you know it.

Iron Eagle Top-End Kits

Dart's Iron Eagle–based kits utilize cast-iron performance cylinder heads with a 180cc intake runner, or optional 200cc runner and a 58cc or 62cc combustion chamber. The heads feature bronze guides, stainless valves and 3⁄8-inch screw-in rocker studs. The 7⁄16-inch studs are an option, as are dual valvesprings for hydraulic roller cams. The valves are placed at the stock 20-degree angles. Dart recommends the 180cc heads for stock displacement and the 200cc head for stroker-based engines.

Due to the installed base of small-block Fords, you'll generally only see top-end kits for 289/302/351W applications from the "big guys," which is what we're covering here

Dart Machinery

The origins of Dart Machinery focus on hard-core drag racing, with some of the company's first engine components designed for NHRA Pro Stock drag racing. As the company grew, so did its product line, including Top Fuel and Funny Car "Hemi" style cylinder heads. As with most companies based off of hard-core product lines, Dart Machinery looked to high-performance street applications and the growing modern muscle car era. Dart Machinery's Ford product line has grown steadily in recent years, including its very popular performance engine blocks, and Dart now features a rather diverse line of top-end kits featuring both the company's Iron Eagle cast-iron cylinder heads as well as the more stout Pro 1 aluminum cylinder heads. Throw in the many options available, such as combustion chamber volume, valvespring height, and more, and Dart's top-end kit product line becomes quite impressive indeed.

Dart Machinery's top-end kits include offerings for 8.2-inch deck 302ci small-blocks and 9.5-inch deck 351 Windsors. Runner volume, chamber size, valve sizes, and spring packages are user-selectable when ordering through Dart Machinery's website or authorized dealer. Due to space constraints, we'll consolidate like kits in our listings here, calling out the available options as applicable. It should be noted that Dart's top-end kits do not include a camshaft (leaving the owner or engine builder to often spec a custom grind), or timing chain set, however its top-end kits do include fabricated aluminum valve covers and the proper spark plugs.

Kit Details (8.2-inch deck 302)
Intake Manifold Dual-plane aluminum, single-plane optional upgrade
Cylinder Heads Assembled Iron Eagle cast-iron heads, 180cc runner, 62cc chamber, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, single spring, double spring optional upgrade, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Not supplied
Timing Chain Not supplied
Head Bolts Yes, 7⁄16-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers, ½-inch bolts optional upgrade
Intake Bolts Not supplied
Gaskets Yes, cylinder heads, intake, exhaust, valve covers
PN/Pricing 01150111 (single spring)/$1,695.33, 01150112 (double spring)/$1,770.67 (via Summit Racing)

Kit Details (9.5-inch deck 351)
Intake Manifold Dual-plane aluminum, single-plane optional upgrade
Cylinder Heads Assembled Iron Eagle cast-iron heads, 180cc runner, 62cc chamber, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, single spring, double spring optional upgrade, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Not supplied
Timing Chain Not supplied
Head Bolts Yes, ½-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Not supplied
Gaskets Yes, cylinder heads, intake, exhaust, valve covers
PN/Pricing 01151111 (single spring)/$1,740.53, 01151112 (double spring)/$1,815.88 (via Summit Racing)

Kit Details (8.2-inch deck 302)
Intake Manifold Dual-plane aluminum, single-plane optional upgrade
Cylinder Heads Assembled Iron Eagle cast-iron heads, 200cc runner, 58cc or 62cc chamber, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, double springs, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Not supplied
Timing Chain Not supplied
Head Bolts Yes, 7⁄16-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers, ½-inch bolts optional upgrade
Intake Bolts Not supplied
Gaskets Yes, cylinder heads, intake, exhaust, valve covers
PN/Pricing 01150122 (58cc chamber)/$1,695.33, 01150132 (62cc chamber)/$1,770.67 (via Summit Racing)

Kit Details (9.5-inch deck 351)
Intake Manifold Dual-plane aluminum, single-plane optional upgrade
Cylinder Heads Assembled Iron Eagle cast-iron heads, 200cc runner, 58cc or 62cc chamber, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, double springs, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Not supplied
Timing Chain Not supplied
Head Bolts Yes, ½-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Not supplied
Gaskets Yes, cylinder heads, intake, exhaust, valve covers
PN/Pricing 01151121 (58cc chamber)/$1,740.53, 01151132 (62cc chamber)/$1,815.88 (via Summit Racing)

PRO1 Top-End Kits

Dart furthers its top-end kit offerings with the next step up in the company's performance cylinder head line for small-block Fords—the PRO1 aluminum head. The PRO1 is available as a 170cc intake runner design with an option to upgrade to a 195cc runner. The PRO1 heads feature high-flowing, as-cast ports that also utilize profiled valve guide bosses and a CNC-based bowl blending. Stock mounting/bolt-hole locations are used to ensure compatibility, even with a slightly raised exhaust runner (0.135-inch) for better airflow. Like its Iron Eagle counterparts, the PRO1 heads come with 3⁄8-inch studs and can be optioned with 7⁄16-inch studs. Valvespring packages include 1.250-inch single spring for flat tappet use and an optional 1.437-inch dual spring for hydraulic roller cams. The 195cc PRO1 also has an option for a 1.55-inch dual spring package for solid-roller cam use, allowing a maximum lift of 0.660-inch.

Kit Details (8.2-inch deck 302)
Intake Manifold Dual-plane aluminum, single-plane optional upgrade
Cylinder Heads Assembled PRO1 aluminum heads, 170cc runner, 62cc chamber, 1.94-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, single springs, double spring optional upgrade, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Not supplied
Timing Chain Not supplied
Head Bolts Yes, 7⁄16-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers, ½-inch bolts optional upgrade
Intake Bolts Not supplied
Gaskets Yes, cylinder heads, intake, exhaust, valve covers
PN/Pricing 01250101 (single spring)/$2,026.86, 01250102 (double springs)/$2,102.20 (via Summit Racing)

Kit Details (9.5-inch deck 351)
Intake Manifold Dual-plane aluminum, single-plane optional upgrade
Cylinder Heads Assembled PRO1 aluminum heads, 170cc runner, 62cc chamber, 1.94-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, single springs, double spring optional upgrade, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Not supplied
Timing Chain Not supplied
Head Bolts Yes, ½-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Not supplied
Gaskets Yes, cylinder heads, intake, exhaust, valve covers
PN/Pricing 01251101 (single spring)/$2,072.07, 01251102 (double springs)/$2,147.41 (via Summit Racing)

Kit Details (9.5-inch deck 351)
Intake Manifold Dual-plane aluminum, single-plane optional upgrade
Cylinder Heads Assembled PRO1 aluminum heads, 195cc runner, 62cc chamber, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, double springs, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Not supplied
Timing Chain Not supplied
Head Bolts Yes, ½-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Not supplied
Gaskets Yes, cylinder heads, intake, exhaust, valve covers
PN/Pricing 01251122 (1.437-inch double springs)/$2,102.20, 01251123 (1.55-inch double springs)/$2,147.21 (via Summit Racing)

Kit Details (8.2-inch deck 302)
Intake Manifold Single-plane aluminum
Cylinder Heads Assembled PRO1 aluminum heads, 195cc runner, 62cc chamber, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, double springs, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Not supplied
Timing Chain Not supplied
Head Bolts Yes, 7⁄16-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers, ½-inch bolts optional upgrade
Intake Bolts Not supplied
Gaskets Yes, cylinder heads, intake, exhaust, valve covers
PN/Pricing 01250023/$2,162.48 (via Summit Racing)

Edelbrock

Edelbrock may have started with Ford intake manifolds (for the flathead some 70-odd years ago), but today, the folks at the Big-E have added all of the bolt-on engine goodies you can think of to the catalog. Cylinder heads, camshafts, and more are all available from Edelbrock. Edelbrock has been at the forefront of the package concept for decades and has a healthy listing of parts that complement each other. The company's Performer, E-Street, and Performer RPM packages allow the end-user to pick from a selection of parts that work together to create "no-guesswork" performance. These packages have been successful; however, the folks at Edelbrock realized that buyers wanted dyno-proven parts with horsepower numbers that they can brag to their friends about.

Edelbrock also saw the need to simplify its most popular packages under one part number for ease of ordering. While you can still choose from Edelbrock's base packages by selecting cylinder head, camshaft, and timing chain options (on most), Edelbrock's Total Power Package kits simplify things by matching a specific set of heads, intake manifold, camshaft, and timing chain, and include such additions as gaskets and bolts—all of which is backed with real dyno-tested results. It should be noted that all Total Power Package kits shown here are carbureted applications, but Edelbrock does offer EFI intakes for the 302/5.0L and 351/5.8L in its base Performer and Performer RPM packages. Base packages are even available for 351C/M/400, FE, and 385-series big-blocks, though that's outside the realm of this story. See Edelbrock's catalog or Power Package guide for full details.

E-Street Power Package

The E-street package is Edelbrock's entry-level, top-end kit. The kit features its E-Street aluminum cylinder heads and is designed for '81 and older 289/302 small-block engines with a power range of idle-5,500 rpm. Edelbrock's dyno results for this package (on a 302 short-block) are 321 hp and 337 lb-ft of torque.

Kit Details
Intake Manifold Performer dual-plane aluminum
Cylinder Heads Assembled aluminum E-Street, 170cc runner, 60cc chamber, 1.90-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, single spring with damper, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Performer Plus hydraulic flat-tappet, 0.448/0.472 lift, 204/214 duration at 0.050-inch lift, 112-degree lobe separation, with lifters
Timing Chain Performer-Link double-roller chain, iron cam gear, billet-steel crank gear with advance/retard keyways
Head Bolts Yes, 7⁄16-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Yes, 5⁄16-inch cadmium plated steel with reduced hex head and hardened washers
Gaskets Yes, cylinder heads, intake, exhaust, valve covers, timing set
PN/Pricing 2027/$1,486.95 (via Summit Racing)

Performer RPM Power Packages

The Performer RPM-based top-end kits from Edelbrock expand the engine's breathing capabilities even further with hotter cam profiles, bigger cylinder heads, and more. These packages allow an operating range from idle-6,500 rpm and are available for '81 and older 289/302 engines (367 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque) and '69-'95 351 Windsors (400 hp and 412 lb-ft of torque with hydraulic flat tappet cam/443 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque with hydraulic roller cam). Edelbrock even offers a nice “Clevor” package that allows Cleveland-based Performer RPM aluminum heads to be bolted up to an 8.2-inch deck 302 block or a 9.5-inch deck 351 Windsor block, both with a hydraulic-roller cam. Edelbrock's testing of the 351-Windsor-based Clevor package netted 438 hp and 414 lb-ft of torque on the company's in-house dyno.

Kit Details (Performer RPM for 289/302)
Intake Manifold Performer RPM Air-Gap dual plane
Cylinder Heads Assembled aluminum Performer RPM, 170cc runner, 60cc chamber, 1.90-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, single spring, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Performer RPM hydraulic flat-tappet, 0.496/0.520 lift, 224/234 duration at 0.050-inch lift, 112-degree lobe separation, with lifters
Timing Chain Performer-Link double-roller chain, iron cam gear, billet-steel crank gear with advance/retard keyways
Head Bolts Yes, 7⁄16-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Yes, 5⁄16-inch cadmium plated steel with reduced hex head and hardened washers
Gaskets Yes, cylinder heads, intake, exhaust, valve covers, timing set
PN/Pricing 2091/$2,149.95 (via Summit Racing)

Kit Details (Performer RPM for 351 w/ flat tappet cam)
Intake Manifold Performer RPM Air-Gap, dual-plane
Cylinder Heads Assembled aluminum Performer RPM, 170cc runner, 60cc chamber, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, single spring, 3⁄8-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Performer RPM hydraulic flat-tappet, 0.496/0.520 lift, 224/234 duration at 0.050-inch lift, 110-degree lobe separation, with lifters
Timing Chain Performer-Link double-roller chain, iron cam gear, billet-steel crank gear with advance/retard keyways
Head Bolts Yes, ½-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Yes, 3⁄8-inch cadmium plated steel with reduced hex head and hardened washers
Gaskets Yes, cylinder head, intake, exhaust, valve covers, timing set
PN/Pricing 2092/$1,968.95 (via Summit Racing)

Kit Details (Performer RPM for 351 w/ hydraulic roller cam)
Intake Manifold Performer RPM Air-Gap, dual-plane
Cylinder Heads Assembled aluminum E-CNC, 185cc runner, 59cc chamber, 2.02-inch intake/1.57-inch exhaust valves, single spring, 7⁄16-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Rollin' Thunder hydraulic roller, 0.573/0.582 lift, 235/238 duration at 0.050-inch lift, 112-degree lobe separation, lifters not included
Timing Chain Performer-Link double-roller chain, iron cam gear, billet-steel crank gear with advance/retard keyways
Head Bolts Yes, ½-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Yes, 3⁄8-inch cadmium plated steel with reduced hex head and hardened washers
Gaskets Yes, cylinder head, intake, exhaust, valve covers, timing set
PN/Pricing 2090/$2,869.95 (via Summit Racing)

The Performer RPM-based top-end kits from Edelbrock expand the engine's breathing capabilities even further with hotter cam profiles, bigger cylinder heads, and more

Kit Details (Performer RPM for 8.2-inch deck 302 w/ Cleveland heads)
Intake Manifold Performer RPM dual-plane aluminum “Clevor”
Cylinder Heads Assembled aluminum Performer RPM, 190cc runner, 60cc chamber, 2.05-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, dual springs, 7⁄16-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Rollin' Thunder hydraulic roller, 0.520/0.520 lift, 227/234 duration at 0.050-inch lift, 112-degree lobe separation, lifters not included
Timing Chain Performer-Link double-roller chain, iron cam gear, billet-steel crank gear with advance/retard keyways
Head Bolts Yes, 7⁄16-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Yes, 3⁄8-inch cadmium plated steel with reduced hex head and hardened washers
Gaskets Yes, cylinder head, intake, exhaust, valve covers (no timing set)
PN/Pricing 2059/$2,979.95 (via Summit Racing)

Kit Details (Performer RPM for 9.5-inch deck 351 w/ Cleveland heads)
Intake Manifold Performer RPM dual-plane aluminum “Clevor”
Cylinder Heads Assembled aluminum Performer RPM, 190cc runner, 60cc chamber, 2.05-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, dual springs, 7⁄16-inch stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods required
Camshaft Rollin' Thunder hydraulic roller, 0.573/0.582 lift, 235/238 duration at 0.050-inch lift, 112-degree lobe separation, lifters not included
Timing Chain Performer-Link double-roller chain, iron cam gear, billet-steel crank gear with advance/retard keyways
Head Bolts Yes, ½-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Yes, 3⁄8-inch cadmium plated steel with reduced hex head and hardened washers
Gaskets Yes, cylinder head, intake, exhaust, valve covers (no timing set)
PN/Pricing 2060/$2,899.95 (via Summit Racing)

Trick Flow Specialties

If there's one thing the Trick Flow Specialties crew understands it is airflow. Arguably the manufacturer of one of the earliest mass-produced aftermarket aluminum performance cylinder head designs for the small-block Ford, Trick Flow put the performance world on its head with the original TFS Street Heat head back in the early 1990s. Then, the company's infamous “Twisted Wedge” cylinder head design later in the decade stunned the performance world once again. Today, Trick Flow Specialties is at the forefront of Ford airflow enhancement with cylinder heads, intake manifolds, and more for pushrod Ford engines, and now even Ford's modular engine family as well!

Currently, all of Trick Flow Specialties' top-end kits are designed for the '86-'95 5.0L EFI small-block, but you can put together an identical package by ordering the parts separately and then substituting a carburetor and dual-plane intake, such as Summit Racing's carb and intake Pro Pack setup. Of course, if you're looking to EFI your classic Ford, the included manifold will work. Trick Flow Specialties offers two dyno-proven top-end kits; a 360hp kit and a 350hp kit, with the main difference being the intake manifold ports. Lastly, Trick Flow Specialties' top-end kits include cast aluminum valve covers (either black or silver to match the upper intake manifold) and a nice billet EFI-style oil fill tube.

Kit Details (350 HP/370 lb-ft torque kit)
Intake Manifold Street Burner aluminum lower with Street Burner silver or black powder coated upper
Cylinder Heads Assembled aluminum Twisted Wedge, 170cc runner, 61cc chamber, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, dual springs with damper, 3⁄8-inch 1.6:1 ratio stud-mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods included
Camshaft Track Max hydraulic roller, 0.499/0.510 lift, 221/225 duration at 0.050-inch lift, 112-degree lobe separation, lifters not included
Timing Chain Double-roller chain, billet-steel crank and cam gears with advance/retard keyways
Head Bolts Yes, 7⁄16-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Yes, bolt and stud kit for Trick Flow EFI manifolds
Gaskets Yes, cylinder head, intake, exhaust, valve covers, timing set
PN/Pricing TFS-K514-350-370/$2,599.95 (Silver) TFS-K514-350370B/$2,599.95 (Black)(via Summit Racing)

Kit Details (360 HP/350 lb-ft torque kit)
Intake Manifold Street Burner aluminum lower with Track Heat silver or black powder coated upper
Cylinder Heads Assembled aluminum Twisted Wedge, 170cc runner, 61cc chamber, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, dual springs with damper, 3⁄8-inch 1.6:1 ratio stud mount rockers and 5⁄16-inch hardened pushrods included
Camshaft Track Max hydraulic roller, 0.499/0.510 lift, 221/225 duration at 0.050-inch lift, 112-degree lobe separation, lifters not included
Timing Chain Double-roller chain, billet-steel crank and cam gears with advance/retard keyways
Head Bolts Yes, 7⁄16-inch black oxide chrome-moly with hardened washers
Intake Bolts Yes, bolt and stud kit for Trick Flow EFI manifolds
Gaskets Yes, cylinder head, intake, exhaust, valve covers, timing set
PN/Pricing TFS-K514-360-350/$2,599.95 (Silver)TFS-K514-360-350B/$2,799.95 (Black)(via Summit Racing)

Summit Racing offers its carb and intake Pro Packs for small-block Fords in several configurations. These kits are a great alternative to the EFI hardware in Trick Flow Specialties’ top-end kits if you wish to maintain a carb-based induction. Simply order the Trick Flow Specialties top-end kit of your choice by individual part number (the Summit Racing website makes this easy), and then substitute the Pro Pack for the EFI manifold. This is exactly what we did when we installed a Trick Flow Specialties top-end kit on our project High School Hauler in our May ’12 issue.

Top-End Tidbits

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While the majority of a top-end package is simple remove and replace labor with general hand tools, perhaps the most technical aspect of the job is properly setting up the valvetrain. Once again, following the instructions is crucial to getting the valve-tip-to-rocker-arm relationship right and not having any issues at start up.

As you can see by scanning the specs of each manufacturer, each brand's top-end package differs in hardware with accompanying price points to match. The Trick Flow packages include rocker arms and pushrods, but have a bit of a premium to their pricing to be able to do so. On the other hand, the Dart Machinery offerings leave the cam and timing components off the list. It could be to keep pricing down, or could be because these parts are not typically part of the “top” of the engine (without getting literal of course). Whatever package you feel fits your needs, none of them are going to be 100-percent ready to bolt on out of the box. Some are more than others, but you should consider the following when installing a top-end kit of any manufacturer.

• Gaskets, sealants, and lubes: You'll need fresh oil and filter, silicone sealer for gaskets, and miscellaneous gaskets like carburetor base, thermostat housing, and so on.

• Additional hard parts: Depending upon the kit you order, you'll need to pick up rocker arms, pushrods, and possibly lifters (especially if converting to a roller cam). Thoroughly inspect surrounding hard parts like the water pump, carburetor, and more, and plan to purchase replacements to install at the time of your top-end upgrade.

• Read the instructions before you start: Depending upon the design of the parts, we've seen additional installation steps such as drilling the block deck for matching steam holes, machining the cam thrust plate for cam gear fit, and others. While the majority of the parts truly bolt right on, it is always wise to read up in advance and be prepared for possible additional labor steps.

• Flat tappet break-in: We try to encourage everyone to upgrade to a hydraulic roller cam, but if the budget doesn't allow it, be certain you add a break-in concentrate or special break-in oil to prevent cam lobe and lifter wear due to modern oil's lack of zinc.

• Proper distributor gear for your new cam: You don't want to bolt on all your new parts and then end up on the side of the road scratching your head at a no-start situation a couple of thousand miles later. Verify with the manufacturer what the cam is made out of and what distributor gear it requires. If you don't know what your distributor has call the manufacturer or simply play it safe and order the right gear.