Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
June 16, 2011
Photos By: Jim Campisano

It's easy for us to sit behind a keyboard and tell you which parts you should buy for your project car, coupled with fancy rhetoric like "budget-friendly" and "on the cheap." But let's face it--most of the time, you get what you pay for. So when we tackled this 347ci engine build, we did all we could to cut costs without sacrificing quality or reliability.

For starters, we skipped the machine work and bought a remanufactured stock block from Summit Racing Equipment. Machined, painted, and ready to go, this thing makes a stroker project just as easy as a basic rebuild. We added a Scat rotating assembly, and ended up with a 347 short-block for under $1,600. We realize that it's still a stock block with a cast crank, but with our plans for this daily driver, it will be plenty stout.

Next, we sent our Edelbrock E-Street cylinder heads to Fox Lake Power Products. There, owner Ron Robart treated them with a full CNC-porting treatment. He also upgraded our exhaust valves to 2.02-inch, and installed upgraded springs and hardware. Flowing almost 300 cfm at 0.600-inch lift, the now-200cc heads are ideal for our new displacement. Robart also port-matched the runners of our lower intake.

Robart also helped us pick out the remainder of our valvetrain, including the Comp Cams XE282HR cam and 1.6:1 rocker arms. The cam features 0.565/0.574 lift (intake/exhaust), duration of 232/240 degrees (intake/exhaust), and a lobe center of 112 degrees. Its operating range is from 2,600 to 6,500 rpm, which is almost perfect for our 2,800-stall converter and 6,500 rpm redline.

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With the main features decided, we needed to upgrade the fuel and intake systems to match. We tossed the stock 19-lb/hr injectors for a set of FRPP squirters from Summit Racing Equipment, and a complementary 76mm mass air meter so calibrated from BBK Performance. Since we were already rockin' a 255-lph pump, we left the fuel system at that. On the induction side, after some testing, we settled on a 75mm throttle body and spacer, also from Summit. Some additional porting of the intake was necessary, but was accomplished with simple power tools.

On the bottom end, we installed a Milodon windage tray and a Summit Racing oil pan kit. The kit included a 7-quart pan, high-volume oil pump and shaft, a high-volume pickup, oil pan gasket, and ARP bolts.

Since the imbalance of our new rotating assembly is 28-ounce, our 50-ounce balancer and flexplate had to go. We went with an FRPP balancer from Summit, and a new Xtreme series flexplate from Performance Automatic. We also added a set of underdrive pulleys by March Performance and FRPP hoses, wires, cap, and rotor--also from Summit Racing.

Once installed, Chris Johnson of SCT Performance came to help us tune the new combination. Though you could learn to do this yourself, it's much quicker to have a trained professional tune your car. If you buy the Advantage III custom tuning software from SCT, you can tune yourself. But verifying your results without a chassis dyno would make writing your own tunes a nightmare. And it's always possible to do more harm than good when tackling such a chore.

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In the end, we made 353 rwhp and 346 lb-ft of torque through our AOD. Though not as much torque, power output was equal to that which we made on the 125-shot of juice with the old combination. On the street, our 347 is an animal. The power band doesn't feel peaky, and power application is instant and thrilling. The real test, though, would be on the dragstrip.

To support the theme, we opted to not trailer the coupe the 125 miles to Gainesville Raceway. Instead, we made the two-hour trip under the power of our newly built engine. With only about 500 miles on the clock since the install, an oil change and nitrous bottle fill was all we needed before setting out on the journey. Since our wheel/tire/suspension upgrade, trips to the track are simple, with little-to-no preparation. Your author's RaceQuip helmet lives on the back floorboard, and the tire pressure gauge stays in the glovebox--let's just say that we're track-ready.

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Once in the staging lanes in Gainesville, we let the SSP cool down before making the first run. After heating up the Nitto NT05R's, I staged and foot-braked revs up to 3,000. When the green light lit, I traded feet, spinning the tires off the line to a 1.96 60-foot. After pedaling it to hook, the first run yielded a 12.24 at 114 mph. I decided to lower the launch rpm to 2,500 for the second run, which resulted in a little tire spin, but didn't require me to lift. The 1.83 60-foot produced a 12.02 at 114 mph.

With 11-second e.t.'s in sight, I lowered the revs on the line to 2,000, and when the tree dropped, I traded feet. The coupe transferred its weight onto the 275mm drag radials and dead hooked to a 1.78 60-foot. Though we've seen 1.69 60s from the coupe, that was only when it was dressed down and wearing skinnies. After going through the traps, I wheeled over to the timing booth to grab my time slip, which read 11.92 at 114 mph. I backed it up with an 11.94, also at 114.

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Though we're not legal to run quicker than 11.50, we opened the nitrous bottle and headed back to the staging lanes. Since we had an issue with tire spin naturally aspirated, the juice certainly wasn't going to help matters. Still, we gave it a shot. A soft 2,000-rpm launch permitted a (spinning) 1.90 60-foot. After lifting and reapplying the throttle two times, both resulting in tire spin, we aborted the run.

In the end, we're still happy. We built a complete do-it-yourself 347 for under $7,000 in our own shop that is daily driven and runs 11s without even a tire change. That being the case, we'll probably just leave the juice at home.

For behind-the-scenes photos and video of the build and track test, go to www.musclemustangfastfords.com.

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What it Cost

Part NameBrandPrice
Engine blockSummit Racing Equipment$689.95
347 rotating assemblyScat Engine Components$872.95
Machine workFox Lake Power Products$1,139.00
Camshaft, lifters, and timing setComp Cams$529.29
Valvesprings, retainers, and locksComp Cams$247.63
Push rods and rocker armsComp Cams$415.28
Intake and exhaust valvesEdelbrock$150.00
Gasket setFel-Pro$350.00
Oil pan kitSummit Racing Equipment$345.07
Windage tray and kitMilodon$89.90
Harmonic balancer/boltFRPP/ARP$270.94
Underdrive pulleysMarch Performance$53.95
30-lb/hr injectorsFRPP$239.88
Mass air meterBBK Performance$229.99
Radiator hose kitFRPP$159.95
Spark plug wiresFRPP$41.95
Cap and rotorFRPP$45.95
FlexplatePerformance Automatic$215.21
Throttle bodySummit Racing Equipment$171.95
EGR plateSummit Racing Equipment$61.95
TuneYour local shop(estimated) $450.00
Total$6,770.79