Richard Holdener
July 5, 2013

Speculating about horsepower is a time-honored tradition. Fact is, everyone wants big power, but most people overestimate how much they really have. You have no idea how many 400hp combinations really make 325 hp. The same can be said of 500hp combos making 400 hp and 600hp motors that make nowhere near 500 hp. The only sure-fire way to determine output is to dyno test it—or run it at the dragstrip where you can use the vehicle's weight and trap speed to get a close estimate.

That's why we go to great lengths to verify the performance of our projects. Our stories often provide the recipe and the results. The one problem with building and testing a single engine is that it only provides accurate information on one particular combination. Change one part and the power curve will change as well. So unless you follow the build exactly, you can expect different results. And changing parts is sometimes part of the fun.

While the modular Ford is a killer powerplant, it lacks the variety of parts and variety of possible combinations of heads, intakes, cams and displacement. Often times a simple blower or turbo will make one fly. The early 5.0 engines often take a bit more finessing of the combination. You have to know your stuff to pick the best cam, heads, and induction for max power.

For this reason we've provided you with multiple dyno-verified 5.0L combinations—even going so far as to include both carbureted and EFI induction combos.

1. To illustrate possible gains, we first had to test a stock 5.0L. The wrecking-yard motor was equipped with the factory H.O. upper and lower intake. Run with a set of Hooker headers and Holley EFI system, the otherwise-stock 5.0L produced 232 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque.

Since man does not live by 5.0Ls alone, we've included stroker combinations as well, as these are simply displacement upgrades that, like heads, cam and intake, offer additional power.

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8. Dart supplied CNC-ported 210 Pro 1 heads for this test. Offering over 300 cfm, these were actually more head than the little 302 could use, but they worked very well on this application and now the combination has room to grow. The Crane hydraulic-roller cam was carried over on this carbureted application.

5.0L Performance Packages-302

Engine Specs-Stock 5.0L H.O.
Displacement 302 ci
Bore 4.00
Stroke 3.00
Pistons Stock H.O.
Forged Yes and no—depends on year
Compression 9.2:1
Rods Stock H.O.
Forged No
Heads Stock 5.0L E7TE
Aluminum No
Iron Yes
Ported No
Intake Valve 1.45-inch
Exhaust Valve 1.78-inch
Chamber Size 61.5cc
Upper Intake Stock 5.0L H.O.
Ported No
Lower Intake Stock 5.0L H.O
Ported No
Throttle Body 60mm stock
Injector Size 19-lb/hr
Fuel System Aeromotive
EFI System Holley Dominator
MAF Stock Ford (not used on engine dyno)
Custom Chip No
Distributor Stock (MSD used on dyno)
Header (style) Hooker long-tube
Header Size 13⁄4-inch
Cam Stock 5.0L hyd-roller (hyd/solid-roller)
Intake Lift 0.444
Exhaust Lift 0.444
Int Dur Degrees 276 @ 0.006
Ex Dur Degrees 266 @ 0.006
Lobe Separation 116
Rockers Stock
Ratio 1.6:1
Exhaust 2.5-inch with mufflers
Max Power (dyno) 232 hp @ 5,100 rpm
Max Torque (dyno) 306 lb-ft @ 3,400 rpm

Stock 5.0L

To properly illustrate the power gains offered by the modified versions, we first had to dyno test a stock 5.0L under the same conditions. Rated at 225 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque by the factory, our test method differed from Ford. First off, our stock 5.0L was far from factory fresh, instead having logged over 100,000 miles in an '89 Mustang. We simply removed it from the wrecking yard and made the necessary modifications to run it on the engine dyno. This required removal of the accessories, and installation of the Meziere electric water pump. Tuning came from a Holley EFI system, that meant eliminating the MAF and remainder of the induction system. The exhaust consisted of Hooker Super Comp headers feeding a 2.5-inch exhaust. The remainder of the motor was stock from the 60mm throttle body to the factory oil pan. Equipped on the dyno and tuned to perfection, the 5.0L produced 232 hp at 5,100 rpm and 306 lb-ft of torque at 3,400 rpm. Given that a modern Coyote motor makes twice that much horsepower, it is hard to believe that this was considered powerful back in the day.

10. For the stroker, we stepped up to a larger Crane hydraulic-roller cam. The increased lift (0.563/0.584) and duration (232/240 degrees) were combined with a 112- degree LSA.