Crate Engine Guide - Crate Is Enough
Breaking down the value in buying a ready-to-rock engine for your 'Stang
Most gearheads recognize a crate engine as a built-to-order long-block or an already-prepared, intake-to-oil pan, street or race bullet that's secured atop a pallet or inside a protective wooden or plastic container (better known as a "crate"), then shipped by freight carrier to its new home. These motors are available in a variety of combinations and usually can handle the needs of any Mustang enthusiast or racer. One of the best things about crate engines is they're quite a value, when measured against the cost-in time and dollars-of building similar powerplants yourself.
From a purely economic standpoint, if you aren't building an engine via Internet bargains on new or quality used parts or "good-guy" deals/connections on labor (machine work and/or assembly), buying a crate engine makes perfect sense. You get a motor that's built with quality parts by a skilled professional (in most cases), and you'll also have the support and technical assistance from the reputable company or shop that built the engine. The support and commitment to quality alone are valuable, as many a 'Stangbanger can attest to being left high and dry by "buddies" who refused to have anything to do with an engine they built that failed, didn't meet performance expectations, or blew up after they'd shelled out their hard-earned loot.
We asked six popular engine suppliers-Coast High Performance, D.S.S., Fox Lake, Keith Craft, Livernois Motorsports, and World Products-for their take on hot mail-order Mustang engines (pushrod and modular small-blocks) for the street or strip.
Coast High Performance
For years, Coast High Performance has been recognized as one of the leaders in street/strip small-block Ford crate engines, with its widely popular Street Fighter series leading the way. The standard packages are sold in displacements of 347 ci (4.00- to 4.040-inch bore, 3.400-inch stroke, 420 hp, 395 lb-ft; $6,199.99) and 408 ci, 351/9.5-deck-based, (4.00- to 4.060-inch bore, 4.00 stroke, 470 hp, 440 lb-ft; $5,899.99). They feature cast-steel crankshafts, forged connecting rods, and lightweight, flat-top Probe SRS pistons (dished or dome pistons available), hydraulic-roller cams, and Edelbrock Performer or Victor Jr. cylinder heads. When used with a power adder, these engines are capable of easily making more than 500-600 street/strip horsepower.
Street Fighter crate engines can be used as naturally aspirated power for Mustangs as well, with the 306ci version (4.00- to 4.060-inch bore, 3.00-inch stroke, 340 hp, 320 lb-ft; $6,099.99) being a popular choice for those who prefer muscle alone. The smaller engines also feature forged rods, flat-top pistons, and hydraulic-roller cams.
For those who wish to step up their game a bit more, Coast High now offers its Dynotech line of Ford long-blocks, developed by writer and dyno freak Richard Holdner and CHP engineers. Dynotech's pushrod long-blocks are performance-matched and based on the combination of CHP's stroker short-blocks, cylinder heads (Edelbrock or AFR), cams, lifters, and valvetrain. Listed below are some of the Dynotech packages that are available through Coast High Performance.
|306 ci||4.030 in||3.000 in||$5,849.99|
|331 ci||4.030 in||3.250 in||$5,799.99|
|347 ci||4.030 in||3.400 in||$5,799.99|
CHP also offers the standard 4.6-liter and a 5.1 stroked mod-motor, in short-block or long-block form. Both engines include cast-steel or forged crankshafts, CNC I-beam or 4340 forged I-beam connecting rods, and Patriot Performance CNC cylinder heads. CHP suggests you call for pricing on either of these modular combinations. When enthusiasts and racers have specific engine requirements, horsepower goals, or unique power-adder combinations that can't be addressed with CHP's standard offerings, engine kits, short-blocks, long-blocks, and complete engines designed for their exact needs are also available. Coast High Performance can supply everything necessary for any engine application with a wide variety of oil pans, intake manifolds, balancers, flywheels, and such.
Keith Craft Racing Engines
Keith Craft offers three iterations of 331ci and 347ci crate strokers that can easily fill the horsepower needs of any 5.0 junkie. First up is the 331/347 Econo Crate Engine (425 hp, 415 lb-ft; $5,295). This balanced and blueprinted package is based on a fully machined production block and includes a Scat or an Eagle cast-steel crank, Scat or Eagle I-beam rods, Mahle coated or SRP forged pistons, plasma-moly rings, a hydraulic-roller camshaft, a double-roller timing set, hydraulic-roller lifters, Comp Cams pushrods, Scorpion roller rockers, ARP fasteners, Fel-Pro gaskets, AFR 165 or CNC-ported Brodix 5.0 heads, an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold, a production oil pan, and a 28-ounce BHJ replacement damper.
Additional power and torque are available in the 331/347 Standard Crate Engine (450 hp, 425 lb-ft; $6,295). These engines feature the same basic hard parts found in the Economy line, with a few exceptions. A Scat or an Eagle 4340 forged crank and 4340 H-beam rods replace the cast pieces. Each engine is assembled with Federal-Mogul bearings, and the offered AFR cylinder heads are stepped up to the 185 models, with ARP head bolts, topped with an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold. Canton's 7-quart oil pan and Ford Racing Performance Parts' 28-ounce damper make up the rest of this balanced, blueprinted assembly.
For NMRA or other racing competition, the 331/347 Competition Crate Engine (675 hp, 500 lb-ft; $14,599) is available. These engines are built around fully machined Ford Racing Performance Parts 302 blocks, Scat or Eagle 4340 forged cranks, Scat or Eagle H-beam rods, 14:1 JE pistons, plasma-moly rings, Federal-Mogul bearings, ARP fasteners, CNC-ported Edelbrock Victor racing heads, T&D rockers, polished-aluminum valve covers, a ported Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold, an MSD distributor, a Pro-Systems custom carburetor, Canton's Power Pan, and an ATI damper. Each motor is internally balanced and blueprinted as well.
D.S.S., home of the powerplants that have taken NMRA EFI Renegade veteran Bob Kurgan and many other Mustang racers to numerous victories, weighs in with Pro Bullet 331ci or 347ci crate motors that it says are "supercharger ready." Available as a long-block ($5,409.95) and a complete engine ($8,474.95), these pushrod offerings feature D.S.S. forged Pro-X pistons and rods, aluminum roller rockers, a high volume/adjustable-bypass oil pump, a 7-quart oil pan, a Pro-Tray windage tray, and short valve covers. They also feature Trick Flow Twisted Wedge cylinder heads with high-lift valvesprings (good to 0.600 lift), Trick Flow's Track Heat EFI intake manifold, an Anderson Ford Motorsport B41 blower cam, a Romac SFI-approved steel balancer, a Fidanza SFI-approved billet steel flywheel, an Engine Works high-flow water pump, and an MSD Pro Billet EFI distributor. D.S.S. also makes other 302-based combinations that are available as long-blocks ($3,979.95) and complete engines ($6,599.95).
If high-revving modular engines are what you need, the D.S.S. lineup includes a standard 4.6 long-block ($6,789.95), and it also builds the Super Mod long-block-a 5.0, Two-Valve stroker that's founded on the same fortified short-block as the 4.6 ($7,389.95). A mondo 5.4 modular ($7,689.95) that's capable of making more than 800 hp is also available. In long-block form, D.S.S. modulars include the company's original Main Support System, forged Pro-X pistons, 4340 H-beam rods, and a forged crank. Ford Racing Performance Parts' Romeo PI cylinder heads are standard, as are Crower springs and steel retainers. The company offers a choice of Anderson Ford Motorsport's Hi-Intensity or Hi-Rev camshafts, with new timing chains, guides, gears, tensioners, camshaft followers (rockers), lash adjusters (lifters), and attaching hardware. D.S.S. uses Melling oil pumps, Cometic multilayer steel gaskets, and ARP head studs in all of its modular long-block assemblies, which include various other 4.6, 5.0-stroker, and 5.4 combinations.
Fox Lake Power Products
Affordable modular performance is the word from Fox Lake Power Products, which currently offers the 400-Plus Series of fully balanced short-blocks. Each of these short-blocks (Stage 1; $2,495) uses a stock crank, Probe I-beam rods, and Mahle pistons-all inside a new, Romeo iron block. Long-blocks based on the Stage 1 foundation ($3,500-$4,800) include Stage 1 (flow 200-cfm intake and 182-cfm exhaust at 0.550 lift) or Stage 2 (flow 223-cfm intake and 195-cfm exhaust at 0.550 lift with Mod Max valves) CNC-ported heads, Comp or custom cams, stock head bolts and gaskets, a high-volume oil pump, a Canton 7-quart oil pan, a stock harmonic balancer, and a new timing set. Complete, intake-to-oil-pan engines capable of supporting more than 700 hp with a power adder (starting at $13,500) can be designed and built for the all-out, serious modular racer.
Outlaw 10.5 superstar Dan Millen's turbo 'Stang is literally the rolling business card for his company, Livernois Motorsports-makers of the engines that have carried him to victory at World Ford Challenge and many other major 'Stang events during the years.
Livernois offers a huge variety of crate engines for street/strip and race-only Mustangs of post-'79 heritage, from 306ci pushrod engines to the brand-new, Three-Valve motors that power the '05-'06 GT.
Examples of Livernois Motorsports' crate 5.0-based engines include its 302ci to 347ci crate long-blocks ($6,895-$8,895) and short-blocks ($1,995-$8,195). In long-block form, these engines feature cast-steel crankshafts, I-beam rods, Mahle or JE pistons, Clevite bearings, ARP fasteners, Livernois CNC-ported Pro Topline cylinder heads (with a choice of 190cc or 230cc combustion chambers), Fel-Pro gaskets, a Canton oil pan, a hydraulic-roller camshaft, an MSD distributor, and a choice of Trick Flow Track Heat EFI or Edelbrock Victor Jr. carburetor intake manifolds. Various upgrades are available for each long-block. Upgrade components include a 4340 Eagle or Scat H-beam or Oliver billet rods, a forged-steel crankshaft, a choice of Ford Racing Performance Parts Sportsman R302, Dart Sportsman or Iron Eagle race blocks, a solid-roller camshaft, roller cam bearings, and several cylinder-head options. Each long-block is professionally balanced and machined to the highest standards-the same standards that go into Dan's record-setting Outlaw engines.
Stepping up in cubes and capable of supporting as much as 625 hp, Livernois' 351/9.5-deck-based crate long-block ($7,895-$9,895) and short-block assemblies ($2,895-$8,295) can be ordered in displacements that range from 392 to 427 cubic inches. Aside from the obvious differences in measurements and sizes, each 351 stroker long-block is comprised of the same base-level parts that are offered in the 302 engines, and can also be upgraded with the same type of rods, racing blocks, camshafts, bearings, and cylinder-head choices.
When it comes to mod motors, Livernois is in the game-with an array of standard (281ci) and stroker (296ci) short-block offerings for Two-Valve ($3,295), Three-Valve ($4,995), and Four-Valve ($3,295) cylinder-headed engines (each requires block exchange). The basic 4.6 modular short-block (281 ci) is built around a Ford Racing Performance Parts '03 Cobra block, a Livernois Motorsports custom forged crankshaft, Mahle standard-bore pistons, Manley standard-length rods with the ARP-Series bolt upgrade, Federal-Mogul bearings, and ARP main studs. Livernois balances and machines each short-block to the same high standards that go into Roxanne Shepard's NMRA mod motor. Prices for Livernois modulars are listed below.
|4.6 short-block (281 ci)|
|4.6 short-block (296 ci)|
Livernois also builds a bigger, 324ci short-block for those who desire the torque that a little more displacement brings. This stroker is based around a Ford Racing Performance Parts 5.0, big-bore aluminum block, a Livernois Motorsports custom forged stroker crankshaft, Mahle 3.700-bore custom stroker pistons designed exclusively for Livernois Motorsports, Manley custom stroker connecting rods, Federal-Mogul bearings and ARP main studs. Prices for Livernois' 5.0 strokers are listed below.
|5.0 short-block (324 ci)|
Each Livernois modular short-block can be upgraded with Two-, Three-, and Four-Valve cylinder heads, and complete intake-to-oil-pan engines are also available.
The crew at World Products assembles carb-to-pan small-block Ford engines of various displacements for both its Daily Driver series and the limited edition, big-inch-in-small-package offering of no-nonsense crate motors that it calls "Man O' War."
World's Daily Driver 302 (PN 102015; $6,995) and 351 (PN 102020; $6,995) cubic-inch engines are both founded on the company's Man O' War 8.2- and 9.2-deck blocks and feature Eagle crankshafts and I-beam rods, Clevite H-bearings, hydraulic camshafts, Edelbrock Victor Jr. cylinder heads, stamped rockers, Milodon oil pans, and dual-plane intake manifolds. Each sports a World Products-prepped Hardcore 750 carburetor. Basically, the only true difference between these two pump-gas powerplants is displacement because, as it was during the high-performance days of old (when horsepower figures equaled the number of cubic inches), the dyno-tested Daily Drivers pump 302 and 351 hp respectively.
If 575 "street" horsepower is more to your liking, World's Man O' War 460 (PN 102075; $10,995) is all you need. As the saying goes, "There's no replacement for displacement," and this engine has plenty. A 4.155x4.250 bore/stroke combination inside the Man O' War block helps create the 460ci monster. Eagle H-beam rods, Mahle pistons (13.5:1 compression/pump gas), Total Seal rings, World's own Windsor aluminum heads, a Hardcore camshaft, one-piece pushrods and valvesprings, Scorpion aluminum rollers, an MSD distributor, a single-plane intake manifold, and a Hardcore 1050 Dominator carb are the highlights of this mammoth small-block.