Dan Simons
November 1, 2004

Horse Sense:
We previously mentioned that gas mileage dropped just a little with the 5.4 install, but with the cam swap, we seem to have gone the other direction. We recently recorded a tank of 23 mpg with the 5.4, versus a best of 21.6 with the stock 4.6 and a previous best of 20.6 with the 5.4.

It has been a while since you've seen any updates on our 5.4 SOHC-equipped project car. As do most projects, this one has its time and budget constraints. A complete, "pull up the stakes, pack the wagons, and go" move by the author put a definite dent in any car-related plans for quite some time.

A horsepower junkie can only go so long without a fix, though, so in the interest of preventing any permanent psychological damage, it seemed the only logical thing to do was to install more parts on the car. This particular brand of logic may not be an exact match for the version employed by your significant other, but hey, we're here for technical information, not relationship counseling.

In our last round of testing ("Size Still Matters," Jan. '04, p. 103), we covered all the popular bolt-ons, including an off-road H-pipe, underdrive pulleys, a cold-air inlet, a larger throttle body, and a ported stock upper intake. We also bolted on a Reichard Racing intake manifold. At the end of it all, we had some nice gains, but even with the short runner intake installed, horsepower still peaked at a low 4,800 rpm. At that point, the biggest restriction in the airflow chain was determined to be the smallish stock PI cams, so when it came time to upgrade again it was clear which path to take.

To help with the camshaft selection, we contacted Crane Cams, one of the biggest and most experienced companies in the industry. Crane had recently released six new billet grinds for the 4.6/5.4 modular motors, and we found one that fit our needs perfectly. Part number 379511 has 228 degrees of intake duration and 234 degrees of exhaust duration at 0.050 inch lift, 0.493 inch lift at the valve, and it is ground with 112 degrees of lobe separation. There was a similar grind with higher lift available that may have been worth a few more horsepower, but due to the tight confines of the engine bay, we had no desire to try and swap valvesprings with the motor in the car. The 379511 grind works fine with stock PI valvesprings, so that's what we went with. (See the Cam Specs sidebar for specs on all six grinds available.)

The in-depth details of modular cam swaps have been covered recently and thoroughly, so in this article we'll just point out what was different as far as dealing with the physically larger 5.4 motor. You can find the testing results in the dyno sidebar, and details of the installation in the following photos. Many thanks go out this time around to friend and ASE mechanic Casey Wittmer [anniversarystang@aol.com], who does performance installations in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, area. He made the installation smooth and easy. And thanks to Brian Ebert at Hitech Motorsport who once again handled the dyno testing and tuning tweaks.