Jim Smart
June 1, 2004

Gaskets need to be of the best quality to ensure best results. But, there's more. Proper installation of these gaskets and seals is just as important. Despite all the best gasket technology available, intake-manifold gaskets need additional help in two areas: coolant passages and end rails. Coolant passages and even intake ports can use a light dressing of gasket sealer to ensure proper sealing. This allows for irregularities in the machined surfaces.

End rails need a different treatment entirely. The cork end-rail gaskets included in most gasket seats don't seal these areas effectively. Sometimes, these end-rail gaskets tend to pop out from blow-by pressure. When you're dressing your crate engine, throw the end gaskets away. Instead, use a healthy bead of The Right Stuff or silicone gasket sealer along these rails. As the sealer cures, it expands, closing up any potential leaks.

Blue Oval PowerDid you know you can order Ford Racing Performance Parts crate engines and parts from Mustangs Plus? Mustangs Plus is an FRPP authorized dealer, which means you can order anything in the FRPP catalog from Mustangs Plus. What does this mean for you? It means you can drop a brand-new FRPP crate engine into your vintage Ford and start fresh with new iron. Thumb through the Mustangs Plus catalog and you will find all kinds of accessories and groovy bolt-on parts to compliment your engine installation.

For more information: Mustangs Plus, Dept. MF, 2353 N. Wilson Way, Stockton, CA 95205; (800) 999-4289, (209) 944-9977; www.mustangsplus.com.

Performance Automotive WarehousePerfomormance Automotive Warehouse (PAW) will sell you an engine kit you can assemble yourself-this includes a fully machined block and heads. For a few dollars more, PAW will assemble the engine and ship it to your doorstep. The choice is yours.

The basic PAW engine kit consists of high-quality parts from companies like Federal-Mogul and Fel-Pro. Forget cheap cast pistons. PAW uses forged pistons in its kits. Matched valvetrain components arrive with each kit. Brass freeze plugs, not steel, come in each kit. Everything is there for you to build a short- or long-block. And because we have worked with PAW a lot through the years, we speak from experience. We can tell you, with confidence, the PAW engine kit or crate engine is an excellent value.

For more information: Performance Automotive Warehouse, Dept. MF, 21001 Nordhoff St., Chatsworth, CA 91311; (818) 678-3000; www.pawengineparts.com.

Big Twist CrateLegendary 427ci power is available in a great crate powerhouse from Smeding Performance & Machine Shop. If you're trying to figure out how to stuff a big FE-series big-block in your Mustang, Falcon or Fairlane, do not despair, because this 427 is a 351W stroker. Smeding Performance brings you the solid power of a big-block without the size and weight penalties. We're talking 480 horsepower for $7,495. How does Smeding Performance do it? They do it with a SVO Sportsman block, 4.030-inch bores, 9.500-inch block deck height, 4340 steel crank, 6.125-inch rods with ARP 71/416-inch bolts, forged pistons, custom-ground hydraulic roller camshaft, Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads and induction. This is a bitchin' crate-engine package. all you have to do is take delivery. The rest has been accomplished by Smeding Performance & Machine Shop.

If 427 ci and 480 hp is too much, check out the 380-horse Smeding 347 Extreme stroker small-block for $5,495. For less than $6,000, you get a brand-new 5.0L block with the one-piece seal, nodular iron stroker crankshaft, 4130 I-beam rods with 31/48-inch ARP bolts, forged pistons, hydraulic roller camshaft, and Edelbrock Performer RPM heads and induction.

For more information: Smeding Performance & Machine, Dept. MF, 3340 Sunrise Blvd., Rancho Cordova, CA 95742; (916) 638-0899; www.smedingperformance.com.