Tom Wilson
September 24, 2010
Contributers: CourtesyFord Racing Performance Parts Photos By: Courtesy Ford Racing and Performance Parts

Engine buyers have been enjoying Ford Racing Performance Parts' extensive line of crate engines for decades. And why not? These are quality factory engines, built with Ford or Ford-approved parts at competitive prices.

Offering everything from classic big- and small-blocks to the latest in overhead cam units, the FRPP crate engine line has been an easy and smart choice for anyone in the market for a Ford performance power plant. Everyone, that is, except the one guy you'd think was at the head of the line: the Fox-Mustang owner wanting an affordable replacement engine with a bit more soul.

Truth is, Ford Racing hasn't had a price competitive answer for that guy ever since the pushrod 5.0 went out of production almost a decade ago. When the small-block production line shut down, so did Ford Racing's supply of inexpensive small-blocks.

For a while, Ford Racing had a small supply of M-6010-B50 Sportsman blocks, a lightly upgraded version of the production 5.0 H.O. block, but the short run of Sportsman 302 blocks ran out, leaving Ford Racing with just its fabulous-but-even-pricier four-bolt Boss block. Clearly more beef than the average Joe needs for a nicely warmed-up weekend toy, the racy Boss block is on one hand a welcome bit of overkill, but far too expensive at $1,750 for a bare block for the lower-powered, daily driver type of crate engines of interest to the majority of Mustang owners.

Even FRPP's entry-level M-6007-XEFM crate engine, using the last of the Sportsman blocks, has listed for $5,295. That's proven a bit much in a market more accustomed to something like $4,400 long-blocks. Of course, you got (and might still get, as a few XEFM engines may remain in the warehouse as this part number goes away) plenty of engine. The XEFM boasts GT-40X aluminum cylinder heads, forged pistons, an E303 roller cam, and internal balancing.

Just how much of the XEFM's price is due to the block can be estimated by comparing the similar 351 Sportsman block at $1,175, or the $1,759 Boss block to the more complex but mass-produced 4.6 block at just $599. Such are the economies of scale, a calculus that always works against short-run specialist pieces such as upgraded blocks and heads.

So imagine the XEFM Ford Racing 302 crate engine minus well over $1,000 in block costs. Suddenly you'd have an interesting 302 crate engine sporting new aluminum heads with a serious price advantage. That engine is the new M-6007-X302 we're introducing here. It retails for a competitive $3,495, and you can think of it as an XEFM built on a stock-block and stock, externally balanced crankshaft. It even retains the XEFM's 340hp power rating when fitted with an appropriate fuel system and long-tube headers.

With no new affordable 302 blocks available, the X302 crate engine has returned to the proven production 5.0 block that's been at the heart of the Mustang performance scene for so long. Good core blocks are sourced from the used market, cleaned, inspected, and rebuilt to Ford factory standards by AEM near Dallas, Texas. Among other things, this involves a 0.030-inch cylinder overbore, along with squaring the block's decks and re-setting the align hone if necessary. Likewise, stock crankshafts are reconditioned for the X302 by AEM. Obviously they retain the 5.0 H.O.'s 50-ounce imbalance and external balancing.

Considering the X302's intent and price, reconditioned stock connecting rods are the logical choice, and this is the plan. However, initially new connecting rods are being used in early build X302 engines. Other than the block, crank and later, rods, every other part in the X302 is new. That includes 0.030-inch oversized Mahle forged pistons giving a 9.0:1 compression ratio, plus a standard-style ring pack.

The oil pump, pick-up tube, and oil pan are all production parts from the '91-'95 Mustang. This rear-sump pan bolts right into a Fox Mustang, but doesn't have provision for the oil-level sending unit. That's hardly an issue for us, as the sending unit is a chronic oil leak and the sensor can simply be tapped off without the warning light illuminating on the instrument panel.

Ensuring plenty of breathing, Ford Racing fits the X302 with the X306 GT-40 aluminum cylinder heads and cams the engine with the time-tested and emissions-legal (if you have a T-5 transmission) E303 hydraulic roller. You can't miss this cam's stuttering idle, so the X302 comes off with a real attitude to anyone within earshot.

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