Vinnie The Hitman
June 1, 2007
At a recent track outing, we clicked off a 10.33 at 132.8 mph. In an effort to dial up the boost, we wound up splitting the stock 5.0 block and mortally injured our engine about 30 seconds after this picture was taken.

I am the coupon-clippin' clown who spends the bare minimum to make my car faster. Sure, a paint job or a few more hard-core race parts would be nice, but as the Champion of Cheapness, I spend only what I can afford. When someone talks price, all I hear are the birds screaming, "Cheap, cheap, cheap!" Some call it an act of stubborn ignorance; I call it arthritis of the wallet. Many laugh at my Mickey Mouse contraptions, but they work and for quite some time. But even I have to admit, they work only up to a certain point.

For the past two years, we've been flogging our street-driven '91 GT with 15 pounds of turbocharged boost and have lit the Chrondecks with 10.30 e.t's. Our 66mm turbo still cranks out nice, clean boost, and the HP turbo kit looks great after two years of mixed usage. Our big-dollar Lentech AOD is still banging away, and the TFS top-half works just as good as the day we bolted it onto our stroked 347 short-block. For quite some time, many couldn't believe that our production block was lasting this long, but we credit it to two things-good machine work and a soft tune that Mustang Magic gave us to help keep things alive.

We're happy to report the soft street tune in our EEC IV has proven to be quite reliable up to this point. Just a week before the engine blew, it produced 480 hp at the wheels at 5,400 rpm on Mustang Magic's DynoJet chassis dyno.

Mustang buffs intimate with the 5.0 are painfully aware of the delicate production block and its inherent lack of strength. The 98-pound casting sometimes works in 11- or 10-second cars, but once you start throwing power adders at it, the stock iron lump is simply useless in containing all the rotating bits. It's terribly thin internally, especially in the main web areas where it will deform under any type of enhanced cylinder pressure that comes with high horsepower. So it will not surprise you to hear that the stock block in our Mustang finally gave up the ghost. This is how it went down.

It was a beautiful day at Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. The MM&FF staff members were busy photographing some pretty cool readers' rides and were chewing the fat about all sorts of stuff-new power adders, the NOPI girl bikini contests, and of course, the huge plume of smoke that was coming from our GT at about halftrack. From behind the wheel, yours truly felt the car begin to slow down during another test run. I shut it down, jumped out of the groove, and luckily, still had enough momentum to reach the return road. There's nothing worse than looking in your rearview mirror and seeing a contrail of white smoke while asking yourself, "I wonder what fluid that is?"

On the deck surface, it's interesting to note the recessed head bolt bosses. This allows the head bolts (or studs) to grab the block closer to the main saddles to prevent distortion on the 0.600-inch-thick decks and within the cylinder bores when everything is torqued down. Also, there is an oil galley that needs to be plugged before anything else. After it was installed, we had to grind it down because the head hovers right above (no part of the head gasket sits here.)

Anytime your car blows up, you instinctively open the hood, thinking it's nothing major. At first, you'll look at a few hose clamps and maybe check a few wires, hoping it's a simple repair. So when we noticed the distributor was loose, we asked ourselves, "I wonder why the water pump is leaking?" It would normally stop there, but we quickly followed up with, "Why are the intake manifold bolts loose?" After spewing coolant and oil out of the front half of the engine, we already knew it was a broken block. So, instead of trying to avoid it, we admitted to ourselves that our cheap way out of using a stock block for our 10-second buildup finally caught up to us. It said "Peace Out" while we were still expecting to hang with all our homies.

Nowadays, there are plenty of ways to build up a Ford Windsor without using a single part from Ford (not counting Ford Racing Performance Parts). The aftermarket is so huge that you can literally build and run a Ford 302- or 351-based engine with components sourced from an online catalog. It was certainly hard to choose which way to go, but in the end, we went with a World Products' Man O' War block. Why? Well, we're sticklers for the newest in foundry and manufacturing processes, and this block was particularly interesting for many reasons. So, instead of rambling off its press release, we'll talk about some things that are not listed and that you may not know about.

The Man O' War's deck readily accepts conventional Ford heads with the traditional bolt pattern with 10 bolts. It also accommodates 16-bolt heads that are a part of World's own line of race-ready Man O' War 10-degree heads. No shortage of clamping force there!

World uses CNC-machining from start to finish on all of its engine-component castings. This eliminates issues with stacked tolerances, which is when you go from one machine to the next. For instance, if each tool used to machine the block is off by just one-ten-thousandth (0.0001) of an inch, by the time you're done, all the tolerances are added up and stacked together for a poorly machined chunk of high-nickel cast iron. CNC-machining the block in one station eliminates this. Another thing that World does is to make sure all castings will accept a huge stroker crank with just about any aftermarket rod swinging from its hip. It may not matter for you 347 or 408 guys, but once you put in some serious amounts of arm into that crankcase (up to 371 inches for an 8.200 block and 470 inches for the taller 9.500 version), you're talking some serious room that the original Windsor blueprints simply did not take into consideration. Because the World block is a proprietary design, it has many key features put into it from the very moment the CAD engineer started his/her first rendering.

Our steel Scat stroker crank that was part of the Summit Racing 347 kit was still in perfect shape. After a thorough cleaning, we placed it in the main saddles with new bearings. Because the main caps use steel dowels to align them to the block, there is no way to skew main cap No. 3 to adjust crankshaft endplay. Luckily, the Clevite bearings we bought were machined just as nicely as the block, and we found endplay to be a favorable 0.003 inch.

So now you know a bit about the block, but what does it all mean? Well, it means we can go racing again with the added confidence that our block will never be the source of our next breakdown. We'll probably step it up a notch with more boost and maybe some more cam. But one thing at a time-we want to first get the car running back to its former glory. All we had to do was transplant our engine internals from the busted short-block and pop it into our 4.030-bore Man O' War (PN 087110-4030.)

Two things should be noted about the Man O' War block:-head-bolt size and hydraulic roller cams. If you intend to reuse your old head bolts, you'd best forget it. Aside from utilizing 11/42-inch threads, it has deeper bosses than any factory Ford block, so you'll require longer studs or bolts. For the exact part number you'll need, you should contact World about the head you'll be using so you get the right one. Secondly, for those intending to use the factory-style hydraulic roller camshaft setup, you'll have to modify the lifter alignment bars to clear bosses that are cast into the block. These are minor details, but worth noting.

After putting our new engine back together, we took it out for a quick run. Hooligan lives again, and hopefully it'll still be around for future testing. Thanks to our new reinforced engine, we can now step it up several notches in our quest for more power and speed.