Like spraying a burst of whip cream to finish off that ice cream delight, it was now time to add the final toppings to our 347cid Ford stroker engine. Our 347 shortblock had been completed using an assortment of parts from companies like K1 Technologies, JE Pistons and Wiseco, so deciding just what those additional "topping" components would be became the next challenge.
The plan for our Windsor small block was to work with the Holley SysteMax electronic fuel injection system and retain a normally aspirated configuration when complete. The challenge then became selecting the right cylinder heads with the proper compression ratio for pump gas while generating the most possible power.
Air Flow Research (AFR) Renegade aluminum cylinder heads were selected for the task due to their long history of power generating. These heads incorporate a combustion chamber that is 58cc and an intake port volume of 185cc (their 165cc intake port volume cylinder heads are suggested for engines that retain the stock piston configuration). When used with an 0.040-inch thick Cometic head gasket and our JE Pistons (-22cc dish), the final compression ratio is 9.2:1, which is very manageable for pump gas; even with the 91-octane fuel we had to work with here in California.
The Renegade AFR cylinder heads come assembled with 2.020-inch intake and 1.600-inch exhaust Bead Lock valves wrapped with 1.290-inch OD PAC Racing hydraulic roller dual valve springs and topped with Manley 1.245-inch OD steel retainers. The ARP rocker studs that come with these heads are 3/8-inch in diameter supported with key components including Viton valve seals, 5/16-inch pushrod diameter guide plates, 8mm bronze valve guides and ductile iron valve seats on both intake and exhaust. These cylinder heads are an amazing value that should really wake up our stroked Ford.
With more cubes to work with than a standard 302 Windsor, our 347cid Windsor engine will be further improved through the use of Holley SysteMax fuel injection featuring an 80mm throttle-body intake opening. Working with the factory Ford computer we will seek to build an engine that not only delivers great WOT power but delivery as well as around town drivability.
The SysteMax system is 50-state legal and includes the full intake manifold kit, black ceramic finish to resist heat and corrosion and can work with the stock injectors or accommodate larger units. Designed for 2,000-6,500 rpm, it was the perfect fuel delivery system for our purposes.
So follow along as we finishing off the build of our engine. Next month we'll head to the dyno out at Westech Dyno service to figure out just how well we did with this engine combination.
Our small block engine short-block awaits our selection of just the right top end components. Saul Gutierrez and Tim Roberts from Gear Driven Automotive will be our guides on this tour. Note the very cool ARP head studs that will help increase the integrity of our head to block seal.
We first applied some thread sealer to the treads of the head studs to help the fastener hardware achieve the proper torque spec when tightening down the nuts.
To drive studs fully into the block, we use and Allen wrench to turn them snuggly into place. We do not torque these parts, we just need to make them seat fully into the head.
We coated the nuts and washers with a thread sealer before installation.
Next we slid the Cometic head gaskets on the engine to make sure they fit over the dowel pins located at the bottom of the deck. That may seem like a simple step but we had issues here and had to swap out two of the dowel pins to get a proper fit.
We coated the gasket with Gasgacinch spray to help ensure a good seal. Coat both sides of the gasket thoroughly.
With the gasket in place, we slowly lowered the heads down the head studs and into position making sure that they seated flush with the block.
Our AFR cylinder heads features 58cc combustion chambers and 185cc intake port volume, which is great for street performance when using an aftermarket piston system. AFR suggests the use of their 165cc intake port volume cylinder heads for engines retaining the stock piston arrangement.
ARF allows you to pick either stud or pedestal rocker arm mounts for your cylinder heads. We selected the rocker studs for our application.
A closer look at the AFR cylinder head shows exactly why they are a great deal. AFR's Renegade cylinder head line is a design upgrade from the previous Outlaw series and includes everything you see here including the valves, springs, retainers and even the two-piece guide plates. Our PN 1388 heads feature 2.020-inch intake valves and 185cc's intake port volume.
We torqued the cylinder heads to 80 ft-lb, working from the center of the head to the outer edges in a circular fashion. Note that the nuts and washers were coated with thread sealer.
From here we lowered the other cylinder head in place. Note that these are street-compatible heads as they include the accessory bolt holes in the ends of the heads for such things as alternators, power steering, etc.
Tim sprays clear over the bottom line of head studs to seal them from rust and corrosion.
The 5/16-inch diameter pushrod guide plates interlock to increase integrity and allow you to adjust each guide plate hole to line up with the hole in the cylinder head. Thread sealer is once again put on the of the rocker arm stud threads before tightening in place.
The pushrods should clear the pushrod plate slot completely and not rub against the slot or excessive wear will occur.
A colorful and very functional touch is the use of these Comp Cams Ultra Gold Aluminum Rockers that feature a ratio of 1.72:1 and mount on the ARP rocker studs.
Note that the roller tip on the rocker makes a perfect line across the top of the valve proving that you have the correct pushrod length and rocker location.
The pushrod length was determined by using an adjustable pushrod checker and revealed the correct length for rocker angle and pushrod positioning. Our pushrods measured 6.500-inch length and had a wall thickness of 0.080-inch.
When installing the roller rockers, the flat side of the trunnion must face up to fit flush with the bottom of the lock nut. The AFR heads come with 3/8-inch diameter studs, so make sure you have the right rocker arms to match.
We filled up the oil filter with oil before screwing it on to the oil filter pad. This will avoid oil starvation upon start up.
We poured five quarts of oil into the engine through the engine valley.
Next we attached a mechanical gauge to the oil sending unit and pumped the oil pump drive through the distributor hole with a socket wrench. We achieved 30 psi in this manner and filled the rockers, pushrods and lifters with oil to prime the engine for start up.
Next we started to tighten the rockers arms. We went through two rotations of the crankshaft starting a Top Dead Center (TDC) and set the lash a pair of rockers at the time for every 90-degree of crankshaft rotation following the engine firing order (cylinder #1 at TDC, Cylinder #5 at 90-degrees after TDC, etc.).
As noted, we set each pair of valves at the 90-degree point of the engine's rotation. We first snugged up the rocker tip to the top of the valve and then added 5/8th of a turn on the nut to set pre-load with our hydraulic-roller lifter engine.
After cranking the outer nut 5/8th of a turn, we locked the rocker in place with the setscrew in the center of the lock nut.
With the rocker arms set to the proper specs, we prepared to drop the bottom half of the SysteMax intake manifold in place. Here we add silicone sealer around the points where the intake manifold is most prone to leak.
We installed a 160-degree thermostat to allow coolant to flow around the engine at an earlier temp than standard.
It is important to install the thermostat and housing before the intake is installed on the engine. After the manifold is installed, it can be a battle.
We then installed the Aeromotive fuel rails and lowered the Holley SysteMax fuel injection intake manifold.
These Allen-headed stainless steel intake bolts are nice looking and a highly functional upgrade. The Holley 42 lb/hr injectors were installed before we installed the manifold as well.
A Holley phenolic intake gasket sits atop the intake manifold base to provide heat insulation from the upper intake and keep air charge temps down.
The tried and true ATI harmonic damper provides not only stunning good looks but also a performance enhancement not found with other dampers. Rebuildable, something not possible with regular elastomer factory dampers, ATI Super Damper smooth out engine irregularities generating additional power and extending engine life.
As is always good planning, we made sure the fuel rails and other parts were tight and to proper torque spec.
Next we dropped on the top half of the Holley SysteMax fuel injection air plenum. This intake is designed to help the bottom end torque output of our street-based 347cid engine at as low as 2,000 rpm, with a maximum output is 6,500 rpm.
The Performance Distributors Hot Forged distributor features a forged housing for more strength than aluminum and billet distributors. PD prides itself on testing their distributors for thermal shock and rpm accuracy to between 8,000 and 10,000 rpm. Initial timing for our engine was set at 10-degrees with final total maximum timing to be determined on the dyno.
Holley's 80mm small-block engine throttle-body works with the factory computer, so no custom ECM is required. Our Ford small block is now ready for the dyno. Just how much will it make? Tune in next time for the big reveal.
1986-1995 5.0L Fuel Rail Kit, PN 14101
Air Flow Research
185cc Small Block Ford (SBF) Street Cylinder Head, PN 1388
Combustion Chamber Size: 58cc
185cc intake port volume
Intake valve: 2.020-inch Exhaust; Valve: 1.600-inch
PAC Racing Springs - 1.290-inch OD Hydraulic Roller Dual
Valve Spring: 140lbs on seat, 6000-6500rpm limits
Manley Steel Retainers, Viton valve seals, 8mm bronze valve guides
Rocker stud diameter: 3/8-inch
Ultra Gold Aluminum Rocker arms, PN 19049-16
1.72:1 ratio with 3/8-inch rocker stud
Pushrods: PN 7767
0.080-inch wall thickness
80mm Throttle-Body, PN112-510
42 lb/hr Injectors
SysteMax Intake Manifold Set, PN 300-72BK
(For 1986-1993 5.0-liter engines)
Cometic Head Gasket
MLS Head Gasket
Black 10mm LiveWires, PN DUI- C9058BK
Ford Hot Forged DUI Distributor, PN 18457RD
AirFlow Research Cylinder Heads
ATI Performance Products
Cometic Head Gasket
Gear Driven Automotive
Photography by Cam Benty