M5lp 1010 01 O Questions And Answers Logo
KJ Jones Senior Technical Editor
October 1, 2010

Minor Stroke
I have an '87 Mustang GT that is still bone-stock right now. I'd like to have 450-ish horses, and I think I should be able to get there with a 331. I don't really have all the money in the world to put into the engine, but I want to do it right the first time.

Will I have to add subframe connectors to the car if I go with a 331? What other upgrades will I have to make?
Nick Newberry
Paragould, AR

A The 331ci engine (3.250-inch crankshaft, 5.4-inch rods, and 4.030- or 4.040-inch cylinder bore) really has become a popular option for 'Stangbangers who want 400-plus reliable horsepower for their street-driven Ponies.

Since you're on a budget-as most enthusiasts are-we suggest you consider the ready-to-assemble GT Series 331 stroker package from Coast High Performance (PN P3311F-GT-F331; $819.99). The GT engine package features a cast-steel crank; Probe Industries' forged rods; and forged flat-top (5.0cc) pistons, moly rings, and Clevite 77 bearings. Combined with a good set of aluminum cylinder heads such as Trick Flow Twisted Wedge castings, this stroker setup easily makes 450 pump-gas horses.

Adding subframe connectors is a good idea and one we strongly recommend. While you're addressing the chassis, replacing OEM rear control arms (upper and lower) also is a good idea.

Increased torque is another byproduct of a stroked engine Upgrading chassis and suspension pieces will enable your 'Stang to fully benefit from its newfound horsepower and torque, by reducing flex and keeping the rear tires planted to the street.

More With Less
With all the cheaper rotating assemblies available from Pro Comp and such, can't you do a series of builds on a 460? With a healthy solid-roller cam, TFS A-460's, and one or even two Holley Dominators, even the Blue Thunder or Kaase heads would work. These engines are cheap, parts are becoming plentiful, and they make sick power on the sauce. I've been dreaming of such an engine.

If that doesn't get your attention, try a FRPP block, fab some headers, add a 90mm turbo, and hold on to your tighty whiteys. C'mon-the swap is easy; then throw it in a four-eyed '79-'86 notch; add a Jerico, G-Force GF5R, or maybe even a Powerglide; and scare yourself silly. That's my plan.

P.S. Where can I find a set of the Kaase small-block Ford heads? They were a clean-sheet design sold through Jegs and now it's gone.
Jason Jones
Skokie, IL

A Stuffing a big-block Ford engine between the fenders is a sure-fire way to give a Pony some serious grunt, as 460 engines and their stroked derivatives certainly can make serious power and torque. Your proposed idea of adding a big turbo and a quick-shifting stick trans to a big-block powerplant should make for one helluva thrill ride indeed.

Since staying on top of the latest small-block (pushrod and modular) innovations already keeps our dance card pretty full, it's not likely we'll pursue doing a true big-block build and swap anytime soon. However, we do have a pretty keen interest in the current trend of building "big" small-block engines on both the 8.2 and 9.5-deck platforms, and plan on working with another canted-valve/Boss-style powerplant in the near future.

Our proposed "Boss 429" will feature Ford Racing Performance Parts' Boss 351 engine block and a set of Roush/Yates D3 cylinder heads. It should produce some pretty sick high-rev, naturally aspirated power when it's finished.

Try contacting Jon Kaase Racing Engines directly [(770) 307-0241; www.jonkaaseracingengines.com] on how to score a set of small-block heads, or sit tight and see how our D3-headed, small-block version of a Boss 'Nine works out.