Wayne Cook
January 1, 1999

Step By Step

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Here’s the heart of our project on the engine stand. The Ford Racing Performance Parts 302 short-block assembly, PN M-6009-B50, comes with flat-top pistons that are fly-cut for valve relief. The cam is preinstalled, but there are no lifters or roller cam spider. However, the block is drilled and tapped to accept the roller cam equipment.
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Total Performance provided two important pieces for our early-to-late short-block swap. The special harmonic balancer (left) has the late-style balance combined with the early-style three-bolt pulley pattern, allowing us to retain the V-belt drive. Also shown is the AOD flexplate, which is the standard part for late-model applications.
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ROL’s gaskets offer the latest in engine sealing technology, including the one-piece oil pan gasket seen at the bottom of the photo.
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The teardown begins with the removal of the induction system, including the air-intake duct with mass air meter and upper intake manifold. This will make disconnecting the wiring harnesses easier.
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We don’t want to risk damaging our new Fluidyne radiator when the engine is hanging on the hook, so we’re getting it out of harm’s way.
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Removing the lower intake makes it easier to attach the chain for the hoist. Also, we don’t want to risk damaging the delicate injectors.
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Here, the old 289 comes out of the car. On a 1964 Fairlane with tight clearances, it helps to have an adjustable attachment for the hoist. The one used at Windsor-Fox allows the engine angle to be varied by turning the crank on the front of the unit. With the engine out of the car, we stripped everything we planned to use on the new short-block. The only things left on the 289 were the oil pump, pan, flexplate, and balancer.
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We started our work on the new short-block by applying a coat of Ford Blue engine enamel.
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Because we left our old oil pump in the 289, we needed a new pump drive rod. If the collar is not positioned correctly, the drive rod could come out of place if the distributor is pulled out. The rod will then drop down into the oil pan, and you’ll be looking at an oil pan R&R before you can replace the distributor and run the engine. Position the collar so that it’s just beneath the lifter valley floor--not touching, but close enough to prevent the oil pump shaft from disengaging the pump when the distributor is removed.
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When the pump drive rod is positioned correctly, lower the pump into position. We used red Loctite on our oil pump mounting bolts for a secure fit. Tighten the pump mounting bolts to 23-28 lb-ft.
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Make sure you don’t forget to install this gasket between the oil pump and oil pickup, or else you risk air leaks into the pick-up tube, causing erratic oil pressure. We also used Loctite on our oil pick-up mounting bolts.
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On this engine, you cannot go forward with the oil-pan installation until the timing cover is installed. This is the early-style 289 timing cover with the dipstick at the front of the engine, needed for our early car with its front-sump oil pan. Before tightening down the front cover, make sure the bottom surface of the cover is level with the bottom of the block, where the oil pan seats. Failure to check this could leave a small step where the cover and the bottom rail of the block meet. If this happens, you’ll have an oil leak. You’ll also damage the front seal because it will be off-center with respect to the crank.
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Without the Total Performance harmonic balancer, we would really be stuck because it features the needed characteristics of late-model balance and early-model pulley bolt pattern. The large retaining bolt goes down to 70-90 lb-ft.
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We checked for exact top dead center with a micrometer depth gauge and compared the information to the markings for TDC on the balancer, which was right on the money. Check stuff like this as you go along and you won’t be going in circles if there’s a timing problem later.
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The ROL one-piece, oil-pan gasket is a great item. It’s easy to see how it prevents leaks as you lay the gasket into place.
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The new, stock, Ford oil pan was lowered into place on the gasket. We tightened the pan bolts to 7-9 lb-ft for the 1/4-inch bolts, and 9-11 lb-ft for the 5/16-inch bolts.
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New cylinder-head retaining dowels must be installed into the provided holes in the deck of the block. These make sure the heads stay in the right place when they are set on the deck.
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ROL head gaskets assure a tight seal and good compression on our new engine. Each gasket is labeled "front," so be sure to install the gaskets with the correct orientation or you’ll block off water passageways.
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Everything is ready for the cylinder heads to be lowered into place. These beautiful heads are Edelbrock aluminum units with 1.90-inch intake valves.
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These Edelbrock heads are designed to also fit a 351 short-block, which uses larger 1/2-inch head bolts. When used on a 289 or 302, these special Edelbrock washers must be used to keep the 289/ 302’s smaller 7/16-inch bolts on center.
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The shorter head bolts situated at the lower side of the bores enter coolant passageways, so use some sealant, like Permatex Teflon Thread Sealer, to prevent leaks on all of the shorter bolts.
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Here, Ed Marsh of Windsor-Fox performs the crucial task of tightening the head bolts. Done in the correct sequence and in three stages, the upper bolts went to a spec of 80 lb-ft, while the lower bolts went to 70 lb-ft.
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With the cylinder heads installed, we started work on the valvetrain. Here, the new roller lifters drop into their bores. Even though there is no break-in required for a roller cam, we coated each roller wheel with assembly lube.
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Unlike flat-tappet lifters, which rotate in their bores, the wheel at the bottom of the roller lifter must face the lobe ramp squarely at all times, so lifter connectors are used to keep the lifters oriented correctly.
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This spring steel spider holds the connected lifters in place. Unlike early blocks, which must be slightly modified to accept the spider, our new block is already drilled and tapped for the fasteners.
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The taller roller lifter requires a shorter pushrod than the ones used in the flat-tappet 289. All of the needed parts, including pushrods, roller lifters, and lifter hold-down spider, came from Windsor-Fox.
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Adjust the valves to zero lash, which means no slack in the components. Be sure you don’t depress the lifter when you set the valve lash. Then, tighten the rocker nut down three-quarters of a turn past zero lash and your adjustment is complete. If you have locking rocker nuts, like our Crane roller rockers, lock down the nuts at this time.
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Because our early car demands a front sump, we won’t be using this supplied dipstick tube port in the block. An oversize wooden dowel, with a taper, will plug the port. When the wood is exposed to the oil and heat, it will swell up for a tight seal. An alternative method would be to tap the hole for threads and install a threaded plug.
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The new short-block does not come with the adapter for mounting the oil filter. Install this Ford-only part with Loctite so it won’t accidentally come off when the filter is removed.
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With the engine on the hoist, the block-off plate and flex plate were installed. Torque the flex plate mounting bolts to 75-85 lb-ft.
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With the engine dropped into place, we completed the installation of our front dress, radiator, and injector harness. Then Marsh prelubed the fresh engine with a power drill and a distributor with the drive gear teeth shaved off. This allows the oil pump to be driven without engaging the gear on the cam. Because we went from a flat-tappet cam to a roller cam, it was necessary to change the distributor’s drive gear from iron to steel. Failure to do this will result in a wiped-out drive gear and metal shavings in the oil.
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At this point, we installed the lower intake manifold with the engine out of the car because it is critical to get the drop done perfectly. Any vacuum leak plays havoc with an electronic fuel-injection system.
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When the 289 High-Performance exhaust manifolds were removed from the Edelbrock heads, it was obvious to see that the manifold ports were smaller than the exhaust ports in the aluminum heads.
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Here is the completed installation of our new 302 short-block. Except for a few minor details, it’s difficult to distinguish this engine from the old 289 that came out of the car.

We’ve already done a lot to upgrade the old 289 in our 1964 Fairlane. Besides Edelbrock aluminum heads, we’ve added Ford EEC IV electronic fuel injection--first the stock Ford EFI, then the Edelbrock Performer 5.0 setup as an upgrade. Then we installed a new dual exhaust system featuring 289 High-Performance exhaust manifolds to help out the Edelbrock cam.

Detailing our progress, we began with a baseline dyno reading of 125 hp at the rear wheels, a figure achieved with the engine in stock C-code trim, which included a two-barrel carb and stock log-type exhaust manifolds. When we last checked the 289, the figures had improved to 206 rear-wheel horsepower, with torque at 250 lb-ft. That’s an 81hp improvement--an impressive number from a tired 289. As a logical progression, we wanted to see what kind of power improvement could be made if we put all of the upgrade goodies on a new Ford Racing Performance Parts M-6009 B50 short-block assembly. Going from a 289 to a 302 would boost displacement by a modest 13 ci, but more importantly, the new short-block would provide higher compression and an even compression balance between cylinders. When we replaced our factory, cast-iron 289 heads with the Edelbrock aluminum units, we lost some compression because of the larger chamber volume on the new heads. With the new heads and the 289’s dished-out pistons, compression dropped to about 8:1. With the new short-block’s flat-top pistons, our compression would be up to a solid 9:1.

Another advantage with the new short-block is its roller camshaft. Our flat-tappet cam had a valve lift of .448-inch intake, .472 exhaust, with duration at 270 degrees for the intake and 280 degrees for exhaust. The FRPP B50 short-block comes with an E-303 roller cam with a .498-inch lift and duration of 282 degrees for both intake and exhaust. With slightly more lift and duration, our new cam would be another factor working in our favor for power enhancement.

We decided to keep our early-style V-belt accessory drive system, which would allow us to use our existing water pump and radiator. Otherwise, we would have to relocate the radiator's lower hose port. In order to retain the V-belt drive, we needed a late-model 5.0 harmonic balancer, but with the early-style, three-bolt mounting pattern required for the vintage pulleys instead of the late-model version with a four-bolt pattern. Total Performance came to the rescue with its special balancer, offered just for our purpose, along with a standard, 50-ounce AOD flexplate to match our late-model Automatic Overdrive transmission.

Clearly, there was going to be a lot of wrenching for this project. Any complete engine tear-down requires lots of gaskets, and for our new engine we wanted to be sure there were no problems when it came to sealing. That's why we specified ROL gaskets for the complete engine. ROL is a noted leader in high-performance gasket technology, and the folks there were kind enough to supply a complete engine gasket set for our project, including a one-piece oil-pan gasket. Whenever we encounter a big project where expert advice is needed, we enlist the help of the experts at Windsor-Fox Performance Engineering. Special thanks for their technical support and ongoing help in many Mustang & Fords' projects. We'll perform the swap at Windsor-Fox and then it's out to the Dynojet at Dan's Performance Center, where we'll see what kind of improvement comes with the new short-block.