Wayne Cook
June 1, 1998
Photos By: Jim Smart

Step By Step

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Here’s everything we need to get started. Since this is a roller camshaft, all the lifter guides and retainers are furnished.
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Begin the task by removing the distributor. Don’t worry about marking the rotor location, because the engine will be timed from scratch later on.
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Off comes the intake, exposing the lifter valley.
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Here, the valve covers are removed. On some engines, it’s necessary to do this before removing the intake.
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Loosen the rocker arms and remove them along with the pushrods. Keep the pushrods in order, because you’ll reinstall them in the same location.
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Remove the water pump. It’s easier to remove the harmonic balancer with the pump out of the way.
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Use one of these pullers from Snap-on to remove the balancer.
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Removing the timing cover is easy, because most of the bolts came out with the water pump.
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Now is a good time to remove the roller lifter retainer from the lifter valley. This isn’t found on an engine equipped with a flat-tappet cam.
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After the camshaft timing sprocket retainer was removed, the timing gear popped right off. On our mill, the keyed crankshaft gear slid easily off the crank snout. On engines with a press-fit, you need a two- or three-jawed puller. Even if the gear is being replaced, don’t break it off with a chisel—you’ll likely damage the crank.
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To remove the cam, we reinstalled the long bolt into the front of the cam and slipped a deep socket over it. This makes a sort of handle to support the cam during removal. Be gentle, because you don’t want to damage the cam bearings.
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Here’s the new cam getting a bath in brake cleaner before installation. It’s important to ensure that everything going into the engine is clean.
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The new cam gets a coat of assembly lube before installation. Don’t miss any of the lobes or journals or the distributor drive gear. If you do, you’ll risk a cam wipeout on fire up. We chose a special white grease for cam lubrication.
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The new cam goes in here, using the same support setup as during removal.
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Here, the camshaft front retainer goes back on. Make sure the oiling slots are at the noon-six position.
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Our timing chain set was in excellent shape, so we reinstalled it. Make sure the two timing marks, one on each gear, meet each other in the middle, as shown.
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Reinstall the timing cover using a new gasket. Then you can seat the balancer on the crank by torquing the retaining bolt.
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New gaskets on the water pump are mandatory.
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New roller lifters from Crane were soaked in clean engine oil overnight to fill them before installation. The rollers were lubed with white grease just for insurance.
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New lifter guides were installed along with new lifters. These guides ensure that the rollers stay oriented to the cam.
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The lifter guide retainer installed here keeps everything in place during operation.
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Reinstall the pushrods in their original locations.
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After installing the rockers, adjust the valve lash to ballpark specs; final adjustment will be made with the engine running, so leave rocker covers loose for now. Reinstall the intake, distributor, and other remaining components.

In a past issue of Mustang & Fords , we talked about building a hot Ford small-block for street use for less than $2,000. A little later, we began to experiment with different modifications to produce good horsepower numbers for the street. This we did, and a honkin’ 289-cubic-inch mill was the result. Dyno testing showed a maximum of 311 hp at 5,700 rpm, and peak torque of 321 lb-ft showed up at 4,100 rpm.

This was no stock 289, as you may have guessed, with power output at more than one horsepower per cubic inch. Extra goodies on the mill included Windsor Jr. heads from World Products, an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold (PN 7121), a Holley 650-cfm double-pumper, JBA long-tube headers, and a Performance Distributor/Jacobs Electronics ignition. No doubt about it, this engine was a real screamer and achieved its objective of good numbers on the dyno.

Crane supplied the cam, which featured a lift of 0.520-inch intake and 0.542-inch exhaust. The duration was 212 degrees intake and 220 on exhaust. This was a stout roller camshaft that gave us great performance numbers. The block had already been converted for roller use.

Today, however, our needs for the mill have changed, and we need more torque toward the bottom end along with a civilized idle. Quiet performance is needed, as is the ability to pull a boat up a ramp at relatively low rpm. Once again, we looked to Crane Cams to fill our needs, and it came through with a grind of 0.458 on intake and 0.482 on exhaust. Compared to the old cam, these are mild numbers, but the duration is up to 286 degrees on intake and 301 on exhaust. We’re hoping this will tone down the mill and make it more suitable for our needs. The engine is already out of the car, so let’s get started with the swap.