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.

Engine Specs-Modified 5.0L H.O. (EFI)
Displacement 306 ci
Bore 4.03
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 RHS Elite CNC
Alum Yes
Iron No
Ported Yes
Intake Valve 2.055-inch
Exhaust Valve 1.60-inch
Chamber Size 62cc
Upper Intake Holley SysteMax
Ported No
Lower Intake Holley SysteMax
Ported No
Throttle Body 65mm Accufab
Injector Size 36-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 Super Comp long-tube
Header Size 13⁄4-inch
Cam Crane hyd-roller (hyd/solid-roller)
Intake Lift 0.542
Exhaust Lift 0.563
Int Dur Degrees 224 @ 0.050
Ex Dur Degrees 232 @ 0.050
LSA 112
Rockers Crane Gold roller
Ratio 1.6:1
Exhaust 2.5-inch with Borla mufflers
Max Power Output (dyno) 395 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Max Torque Output (dyno) 380 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm

5.0L Stock vs. Modified 302 EFI

These two graphs illustrate the power gains offered by typical bolts-ons to a 5.0L Ford. We have included the horsepower and torque graphs for a bone-stock 5.0L as a reference. Run in stock trim with no accessories, a set of Hooker headers, and tuned with a Holley EFI system, the stock 5.0L EFI motor produced 232 hp at 5,100 rpm and 306 lb-ft of torque at 3,400 rpm. After swapping on a set of CNC-ported heads from RHS, a Crane 224/232 cam, and Holley SysteMax intake system, the power jumped to 395 hp at 6,200 rpm and 380 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm. The number of performance packages that have been applied to the otherwise-stock short-block is staggering, but this is a good example of what can be expected. There is additional power to be had with wilder cam timing, but figure you will start to trade bottom end torque for the gains experienced higher in the rev range.

12. The combination of the Edelbrock intake, Crane cam, and CNC-ported heads produced excellent results. Of course the Scat crank, rods, and JE pistons were a big part of the equation, but the EFI 347 produced 463 hp at 6,200 rpm and 435 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.

5.0L Stock vs. Modified 302 Carb

Engine Specs-Modified 5.0L H.O. (Carb)
Displacement 306 ci
Bore 4.03
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 Dart Pro 1 210
Aluminum Yes
Iron No
Ported Yes (max flow 305 cfm)
Intake Valve 2.05-inch
Exhaust Valve 1.60-inch
Chamber Size 62cc
Intake Procomp Electronics dual-plane
Carb Holley 750 HP
Spacer No
Fuel System Aeromotive
Distributor Stock (MSD used on dyno)
Header (style) Hooker Super Comp long-tube
Header Size 13⁄4-inch
Cam Crane hyd-roller (hyd/solid-roller)
Intake Lift 0.542
Exhaust Lift 0.563
Int Dur Degrees 224 @ 0.050
Ex Dur Degrees 232 @ 0.050
LSA 112
Rockers Crane Gold roller
Ratio 1.6:1
Exhaust 2.5-inch with mufflers
Max Power Output (dyno) 401 hp @ 6,300 rpm
Max Torque Output (dyno) 370 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm

Though wilder applications are obviously possible (we have exceeded 500 hp with a 302), this carbureted combination is typical of what can easily be accomplished with simple bolt-ons. Once again using the stock short-block, the 302 was upgraded with the Crane 224/232 cam, Dart Pro 1 210 heads, and a dual-plane intake. Typical of carbureted applications, the 302 produced slightly more peak power and less torque than the EFI version, with peaks of 401 hp and 370 lb-ft. The Dart heads were capable of supporting a great deal more power, but the limitation was the displacement, cam timing, and intake manifold. With a wilder roller cam, a single-plane intake, and a point or so more compression, 500 hp is a possibility, though with greatly diminished driveability. By contrast, either of the two 302 combinations listed here would be ideal daily drivers.

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5.0L Performance packages-347 Stroker

Engine Specs-Modified 347 (EFI)
Displacement 347 ci
Bore 4.03
Stroke 3.40
Pistons Stock flat-top JE
Forged Yes
Compression 10.5:1
Rods SCAT 5.40-inch H-beam
Forged Yes
Heads Procomp Electronics 210cc CNC
Aluminum Yes
Iron No
Ported Yes
Intake Valve 2.055-inch
Exhaust Valve 1.60-inch
Chamber Size 62cc
Upper Intake Edelbrock Performer RPM II
Ported No
Lower Intake Edelbrock Performer RPM II
Ported No
Throttle Body 75 mm Accufab
Injector Size 36-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 Super Comp long-tube
Header Size 13⁄4-inch
Cam Crane hyd-roller (hyd/solid-roller)
Intake Lift 0.563
Exhaust Lift 0.584
Int Dur Degrees 232 @ 0.050
Ex Dur Degrees 240 @ 0.050
LSA 112
Rockers Crane Gold roller
Ratio 1.6:1
Exhaust 2.5-inch with Borla mufflers
Max Power Output (dyno) 462 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Max Torque Output (dyno) 434 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm

5.0L-Stock vs. Modified 347 EFI

Since the power output of any combination is a function of the major components and the displacement, an easy way to improve power without resorting to decreased driveability is to add cubes. Remember, there really is no replacement, especially when it fits conveniently in the same physical package as the stock 302. The 347 is a common stoker assembly, and our test components were supplied by Scat and JE pistons. Forged components ensured plenty of strength, since we later ran both boost and nitrous on these 347 combinations. The injected version was equipped with a set of CNC-ported heads from Procomp Electronics, a healthy Crane hydraulic-roller cam (0.563/0.584 lift, 232/240 duration, and 112-degree LSA), and Edelbrock Performer RPM II upper and lower intake. Also present were a set of Hooker Super Comp headers, complete Aeromotive fuel system feeding 36-pound injectors and an Accufab 75mm throttle body. Thanks to tuning from the Holley management system, the injected 347 combination produced 462 hp at 6,200 rpm and 435 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.

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Engine Specs-Modified 347 (Carb)
Displacement 347 ci
Bore 4.03
Stroke 3.40
Pistons JE flat-top
Forged Yes
Compression 10.1:1
Rods Scat 5.4 H-beam
Forged Yes
Heads TFS Twisted Wedge 185 CNC
Aluminum Yes
Iron No
Ported Yes
Intake Valve 2.02 inches
Exhaust Valve 1.60 inch
Chamber Size 64 cc
Intake Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap
Carburetor Holley 950 HP
Spacer No
Fuel System Aeromotive
Distributor Stock (MSD used on dyno)
Header (style) Hooker Super Comp long-tube
Header Size 13⁄4-inch
Cam TFS Stage 3 hyd-roller (hyd/solid-roller)
Intake Lift 0.579
Exhaust Lift 0.595
Int Dur Degrees 236 @ 0.050
Ex Dur Degrees 248 @ 0.050
LSA 110
Rockers Crane Gold roller
Ratio 1.6:1
Exhaust 2.5-inch with Borla mufflers
Max Power Output (dyno) 482 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Max Torque Output (dyno) 442 lb-ft @ 4,900 rpm

5.0L Stock vs. Modified 347 Carb

Once again we employed a 347 stroker assembly, but this one came in the form of a Dart SHP stroker assembly. The SHP motor combined a 4.03-inch bore with a 3.40-inch stroke. The flat-top (Mahle) pistons were combined with a TFS Stage 3 hydraulic-roller cam that offered a 0.574/0.595-lift split, a 236/248-duration split (at 0.050), and a 110-degree lobe-separation angle. The combination was also topped off with a set of CNC-ported Twisted Wedge CNC 185 cylinder heads from Trick Flow Specialties. Topping the combination was an Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap intake and 750 HP Holley carburetor. As with the 302 combinations, the carbureted 347 combo produced slightly more peak power than the EFI version, but slightly less peak torque. This carbureted stroker produced 482 hp at 6,600 rpm and 424 lb-ft at 4,900 rpm. Approaching 500 hp, this 347 is a healthy street motor but one with a nice, broad torque curve.

20. Run on the dyno with a Box R upper and lower intake and 90mm Accufab throttle body, this normally aspirated 363 produced 519 hp at 6,600 rpm and 469 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. Eventually, this motor would see over 1,000 hp in turbocharged form.

5.0L Performance Packages-363 Stroker

5.0L Stock vs. Modified 363 EFI

Engine Specs-Modified 363 (EFI)
Displacement 363 ci
Bore 4.125
Stroke 3.400
Pistons Stock flat-top
Forged Yes
Compression 9.4:1
Rods Scat 5.40-inch H-beam
Forged Yes
Heads AFR 225 CNC
Aluminum Yes
Iron No
Ported Yes
Intake Valve 2.08-inch
Exhaust Valve 1.60-inch
Chamber Size 72cc
Upper Intake TFS Box R
Ported No
Lower Intake TFS Box R
Ported No
Throttle Body 90mm Accufab
Injector Size 75-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 Super Comp long-tube
Header Size 13⁄4-inch
Cam Cam Research solid-roller (hyd/solid-roller)
Intake Lift 0.736
Exhaust Lift 0.727
Int Dur Degrees 254 @ 0.050
Ex Dur Degrees 252 @ 0.050
LSA 112
Rockers Crane Gold roller
Ratio 1.7:1
Exhaust 3.0-inch with Borla mufflers
Max Power Output (dyno) 519 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Max Torque Output (dyno) 472 lb-ft @ 5,100 rpm

If a 347 is good, then a 363 must be even better, right? Some might be tempted to think the 363 is some kind of over-bore for the 351W block, but it is actuality a big-bore 347 based on the 8.2-inch-deck 302 block. The 363ci comes with a 4.125 bore combined with the common 3.40-inch stroke used on the smaller 347. Dart supplied the SHP short-block, to which we added a set of (big-chamber) AFR 225 heads, a turbo-grind Cam Research solid-roller cam, and TFS Box R upper and lower intake. In truth, this 363 was designed as a turbo motor and eventually exceeded 1,000 hp at 17 psi. In normally aspirated trim with a Holley EFI system, 90mm Accufab throttle body, and Crane Gold rockers, the injected 363 stroker produced 521 hp at 6,600 rpm and 472 lb-ft of torque at 5,100 rpm. Since the AFR heads will support in excess of 650 hp in normally aspirated trim, wilder cam timing designed for an NA application would certainly allow this motor to strut its stuff. With over 500 hp, it was certainly healthy for something that looked like a 302.

22. Feeding the beast was a Holley 950 HP carburetor. Fuel flow came courtesy of a complete Aeromotive fuel system.

Engine Specs-Modified 363 (Carb)
Displacement 363 ci
Bore 4.125
Stroke 3.40
Pistons Mahle flat-top
Forged Yes
Compression 11.5:1
Rods Scat 5.4 H-beam
Forged Yes
Heads Dart Pro 1 225 CNC
Alum Yes
Iron No
Ported Yes
Intake Valve 2.08-inch
Exhaust Valve 1.60-inch
Chamber Size 62cc
Intake Parker Funnel Web
Carburetor Holley 950 HP
Spacer No
Fuel System Aeromotive
Distributor Stock (MSD used on dyno)
Header (style) Hooker Super Comp long-tube
Header Size 13⁄4-inch
Cam Cam Research solid-roller (hyd/solid-roller)
Intake Lift 0.692
Exhaust Lift 0.692
Int Dur Degrees 256 @ 0.050
Ex Dur Degrees 260 @ 0.050
LSA 105
Rockers Crane Gold roller
Ratio 1.7:1
Exhaust 2.5-inch with Borla mufflers
Max Power Output (dyno) 564 hp @ 6,800 rpm
Max Torque Output (dyno) 487 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm

5.0L-Stock vs. Modified 363 Carb

The final stroker assembly was another 363, but one dedicated as a normally aspirated combination. The Dart SHP short-block was equipped with flat-top pistons that combined with Dart Pro 1 225 heads with 62cc combustion chambers. Full CNC porting allowed them to flow 325 cfm, more than enough for this stroker application. Cam Research Corp supplied a hot solid-roller cam that featured 0.736 lift (both intake and exhaust), combined with a 256/260-degree duration split and a tight, 105-degree lobe-separation angle. Toss in some 1.7-ratio roller rockers, a Funnel Web intake, and Holley 950 HP carb and you have the makings of a serious street stroker. Once again we relied on Hooker headers, but this combination would certainly have liked something bigger than the 1¾-inch set we had on- hand. After tuning, the Dart-headed 363 stroker produced 564 hp at 6,800 rpm and 487 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm.

24. Run in anger with a healthy solid-roller cam from Cam Research Corp, the carbureted 363 produced 564 hp at 6,800 rpm and 487 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm.