K.J. Jones
February 5, 2007

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.

Displmt. Bore Stroke Price
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. Racing
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.