Jim Smart
October 14, 2005

The Modular V-8 employs a camshaft unlike any you have ever seen in a vintage pushrod V-8. Instead of a single casting with machined lobes, the Mod motor has composite camshafts with hollow tubes and press-on lobes. The lobes are installed and indexed in a press-fit design. And because we have two cams inside the SOHC V-8, we have two different cam timing profiles for each bank. This means two cam part numbers for left and right. Camshaft profiles from 1991-'95 were pretty much the same from the factory.

Things changed in 1996, which is a pivotal year for the SOHC engines. From 1996-and-up, there are a greater variety of factory camshafts across Windsor and Romeo engines. The aftermarket offers a variety of cam profiles for these engines too. Just be mindful of your engine type and the cylinder heads used. It's also important to note Romeo SOHC engines have bolt-on cam sprockets, and Windsor SOHC engines have pressed-on cam sprockets.

From 1991-'98, the SOHC has .482-inch valve lift, with duration of 204/208 degrees intake/exhaust. With the PI heads in 1999, Ford went to .535-inch valve lift intake and .505-inch exhaust, with reduced durations of 192-degrees intake and 184-degrees exhaust. This approach improved low-end torque according to Sean Hyland. You may swap these cams into any SOHC engine without having to change springs.

Timing Chain Cover
From 1991-'92, expect to see 15 bolt holes in the Romeo F1AE/F2AE timing cover. From 1993-'95, Romeo timing covers keep the same-sized bolt holes (8 mm), but there's a location for the serpentine belt tensioner on the right-hand side. From 1996-'99, the timing cover changed again with the introduction of Windsor Mod motors. Expect to see casting numbers F6AE, F7AE, F7ZE, F8ZE. Windsor engines have larger bolt holes (10 mm); Romeo engines kept the 8mm bolt holes. Earlier timing covers will not interchange. The Mustang timing cover is different and unto itself. Expect to see yet a different timing cover casting number for Mustang GT 4.6 SOHC engines.

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Timing covers for the 1997-and-up F-150 and Expedition sport a F65E casting number, which means they're truck specific. Because these are Windsor engines, they have the larger 10mm bolt holes.

When Ford introduced the redesigned '99 Mustang, it also introduced a new timing cover--casting number XR3E. Serpentine belt tensioner positioning changed. That same year, the Econoline got the Mod motor, with its own timing cover--2L3E--that is identical to the truck timing cover sans the timing pointer. We don't know why.

Oil Pump
As you might expect, Ford took a completely different approach to lubrication with the Modular V-8. Instead of a cam-driven oil pump, the "gerotor" oil pump wraps around the front of the crankshaft, which provides a positive means of pump propulsion. A pickup tube extends deep into the oil pan from the pump at the front of the engine. This oil pump has a 12mm-wide rotor package that is larger in diameter than we are used to seeing with the older Ford V-8 designs. The factory gerotor package inside the pump is a powdered-metal design, just like the connecting rods. The downside to this approach is failure when we spin these rotors fast. The aftermarket offers us billet oil-pump gears, which perform more reliably than the factory gears. The DOHC uses the same basic oil pump as the SOHC, except for a wider gerotor package inside.

Because these engines run hotter with tighter tolerances, they have deep sump pans that hold nearly seven quarts of oil. Oil viscosities run much lower than we are used to with vintage Ford V-8s--5W20. Running anything heavier isn't healthy for the Modular V-8 because of its tight tolerances. The lower viscosity oil also creates less internal friction, which frees up power and improves efficiency.

The best factory oil pan is for the '96-'04 Mustang Cobra, which has scrapers and a baffled sump. This keeps plenty of oil around the pickup under all kinds of conditions. Of course, the greatest challenge is oil pan fit in vintage Fords. If you're going with a Mod motor in a classic Mustang, you will have to change the front end significantly and go with a Rod & Custom Motorsports, Heidt's, or other Mustang II style front end to make room for both engine and oil pan. There are also aftermarket front-sump pans that will fit vintage Fords with ease.