Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsHow To Engine
2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Ford Racing Performance Parts Aluminator Crate Engine
We Team Up With Ford Racing And Blow-By Racing To Replace The Finished Four-Valve In Our Mach 1 Project Car.
It's been a few months since project Shake 'N' Bake has graced the pages of MM&FF. With over 90,000 miles on the clock, mechanical failures will happen. In our case, a failure in the oiling system led to our engine locking up.
The good news is there aren't any holes in the block, and even though we haven't disassembled it yet, we think the seized engine is repairable. (As soon as we know the extent of the damage, some sort of Four-Valve engine build will be in the works). As for our Mach 1, which until this point served as daily transportation, it's time to upgrade with Ford Racing's Aluminator crate engine, and we'll top it off with a ported intake test.
Our new powerplant has to stand up to drag racing, high-rpm road-course days, and our daily back-and-forth commute. Given our performance needs, the Aluminator crate engine from Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) is a perfect fit.
The 4.6 Aluminator is offered in a few different versions, and the first choice is between the short-block and long-block. Either way, the rotating assembly is comprised of a slew of forged goodies designed to support higher horsepower levels. The forged-steel Cobra crankshaft uses forged H-beam rods to move the coated, forged pistons in the stock-sized (3.552-inches) bores. The long-block and short-block both check in at the stock displacement of 4.6 liters (281 ci).
The next option is compression ratio. You have two choices in this department: 10:1 or a boost-friendly 8.5:1. Being that we have no intention of putting boost into the new engine, we opted for the higher 10:1, which is close to the stock Mach 1 mill that was 10.1:1 from the factory.
We could have used the heads off the old engine and possibly had some port work done, but to save time, we opted for the long-block configuration, which uses stock '03-04 Cobra heads and camshafts. When the crate arrived, we unboxed a near-complete engine with an oil pan and valve covers on it-it even had oil in it! All that was left to do was bolt on the old intake manifold and front accessories-but that just wouldn't be our style. Instead, we headed to Blow-By Racing (BBR) in Boca Raton, Florida to tackle the task of bringing Shake 'N' Bake back to life.
With the Four-Valve crammed in the SN-95's already-tight engine bay, most performance work requires pulling the engine. Being that our new engine was sitting on an engine stand, we figured why not make it better before dropping it in? A call to Comp Cams netted us four bumpsticks to help make the new Aluminator breathe easier.
The stock sticks check in at 0.394-inch lift (10mm) with 186/194-degrees of duration at 0.050-inch lift respectively. Our new cams from Comp open the intake valves to a taller 0.475 inches, while the exhaust valves open to 0.450 inches off the seats. The duration is 234 degrees at 0.050 on the intake side and 232 degrees at 0.050 for the exhaust cams. Given the higher lift numbers, Comp recommends changing valvesprings when you do this cam swap.
After removing the timing cover, the timing chains and guides were removed before unbolting the cam caps. NMRA Hot Street racer Tim Eichhorn of Mustang Performance Racing in Boynton Beach, Florida, came by to give us a hand. Eichhorn's expertise with Four-Valve engines was apparent as he made quick work of the timing chains and showed us some tricks to swapping the valvesprings.
With the Ford tool for compressing the valvespring in hand, Matt Frith of BBR dove into our new engine, pressurizing each cylinder before compressing the valvespring and removing the locks and retainers. The process is then done in reverse to install the new springs.
The new Comp Cams valvesprings (PN 26123) are a 324-lb/in beehive spring, which gave us 90 pounds of pressure on the seat. Comp also sent new retainers (PN 799-32) to run with the springs. Once the springs were changed, Eichhorn used Royal Purple's Max Tuff synthetic assembly lube on the bearing surfaces and the cams before bolting everything back together. After Eichhorn and Frith buttoned up the cams, the timing chains, guides, and slack adjusters were reinstalled.