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Trick Flow Heads, Cam, Intake Upgrade - Top End Evolution
Shortly after the earth cooled, modern man started modifying Flathead V-8 engines with upgraded cylinder heads, intakes, and camshafts. Famous names we know of today, such as Edelbrock, Offenhauser, Isky, Manley, Crane, and dozens of others can trace their beginnings back to offering speed parts for the Flathead. It was known in all the speed circles that you could easily double your Flathead's power output with a good set of heads, a new intake with a couple of Strombergs, and of course, a camshaft from one of the greats like Harvey Crane, Ed Iskendarian, Clay Smith, or Ed Winfield. So it went, throughout the history of the muscle car era; upgrading your heads, cam, and intake/induction was an easy recipe for power.
Today, a lot has changed with the internal combustion engine. Direct injection, multiple runner EFI, factory turbo or supercharging, and so forth often make the traditional heads/cam/intake swap difficult, if not impossible for the home wrench spinner to accomplish. Sure, Ford's modular engines have cylinder head, cam, and induction offerings (we hope to upgrade our 4.6L Three-Valve in Generation Gap some day with such parts), but the overhead cam design means special tools, manuals, and more to get the job done. So it's nice when you open the hood of your classic Ford and still see a traditional small-block between the shock towers sometimes. With our '70 Mustang High School Hauler project, of which we desperately wanted to increase the 302's output, we had giddy thoughts of the proven and timeless heads/cam/intake swap for months now.
The great thing about performing this revered hardware upgrade is that as long as you stay within the parameters of the parts you're bolting on, it's just that, a bolt-on upgrade. Many of the manufacturers out there have built and tested these parts in similar combinations, so you know going in that purchasing head A, with camshaft B, and pushrod length C that everything will work in concert. In today's sales speak, this is often referred to as a "top end" kit or "power pack," or something of that nature. Besides a crankshaft damper puller tool, the rest of the swap can be accomplished with a standard mechanic's set of tools you already have in your garage, making the swap that much more palatable for you weekend wrench benders.
Knowing that to upgrade our heads/cam/intake, we'd also be shopping for gaskets, and a few valvetrain parts (the famous "while we're in there" upgrades like roller rockers, and so on), we picked up the speed parts bible, aka the Summit Racing catalog, and started flipping pages. Yes, we still like a printed catalog to thumb through, but even after checking out Summit's detailed website, we couldn't find a complete combo package for small-block carbureted Fords. Sure, it had Summit Top End Pro Packs for Brand X and great packages for EFI small-blocks, but not for those of us still using a four-hole fueler. Fear not, though, as a quick call to Summit's tech line allowed us to put together all the right parts in a custom package. Essentially, we used Summit's TFS-K514-350370B Trick Flow 350 HP Twisted Wedge Top-End Engine Kit, and substituted one of Summit's carb and intake combo kits for the EFI manifold (see Shopping List sidebar for all the parts details). Needless to say, Summit made it easy and we had everything ordered and delivered in two days. It's time to get to work and make some horsepower!