Barry Kluczyk
October 1, 2008

Tech World Products' Aluminum Man O' War
Cylinder Block
Whether it's the poundage carried above your belt or between your Blue Oval's front wheels, excess weight is something most of us try to avoid. And it seems like it would be easier to bypass that morning doughnut than reduce the nose weight of your Mustang by 100 pounds, right?

Not so fast, Krispy Kreme fans. World Products offers an aluminum version of its 302/351-style Man O' War cylinder block, shaving precious pounds off the weight of an engine assembly. Such a diet plan improves the balance and launch characteristics of a car.

Made of 357 T6 aluminum, an alloy that includes about 7 percent silicon and a trace of magnesium, the Man o' War block (starting at $4,400) weighs only 108 pounds with its billet steel main caps and cylinder sleeves installed. A regular iron block is more than 100 pounds heavier.

The alloy Man O' War weighs only 108 pounds with the caps and cylinder sleeves installed. That's 110 pounds less than the ferrous Man O' War block. It has capacity, too. Thanks to generous material poured into the cylinder bank areas, the aluminum alloy block maxes out at 460 cubic inches when equipped with 4.155-inch bore cylinder liners and a whopping 4.250-inch stroke. World Products offers such a combination in a "limited-edition" crate engine conservatively rated at 600 hp.

Better still, the aluminum block carries the design strengths of the cast-iron Man O' War block, which was designed as a stronger, yet direct, replacement for the standard 302/351 Windsor-style Ford small-block. It features more material cast in key areas to prevent the catastrophic, block-splitting failure known to befall highly boosted small-block engines.

Design Details
Like the original iron Man O' War block, the aluminum version is designed with thicker front and rear bulkheads and rails, which add a tremendous amount of strength and rigidity to the block and helps it resist bending. There are reinforcing ribs cast into the rear bulkhead, too, and strength-enhancing cross-valley ribs are a feature specific to the aluminum block.

A top-side view shows the aluminum Man o' War's thick bulkheads and lifter valley ribs. The extra material used in the casting, compared to a factory block, shows up in more pronounced cylinder banks and other details, but all factory accessories and components bolt up to it.

The cylinder bank areas carry more material inside to enable the generous bore capability and they support enlarged cooling jackets and 0.500-inch oil gallerys. The deck surfaces are also machined to accept six-bolt cylinder heads, which World Products offers in its 10-degree heads (see sidebar).

At the bottom, splayed four-bolt main caps are standard, with the caps made of billet steel. Iron cylinder liners are inserted in the aluminum case. To ensure the cylinder liners stay put, they have flats between the cylinders and are sealed at the bottom with O-rings. This helps prevent oil from squeezing between the block and liners, preventing heat transfer to the water jacket.

From what we could discern, World Products didn't cut any corners when it came to designing the block. In fact, we understand the company called upon the insight of NASCAR teams during the design stage, which helped improve the block in a more strategic, efficient manner. All in all, it's a very rigid, very strong design that should stand up to plenty of power.

The front bulkhead rail is about twice as thick as the factory block, significantly contributing to the block's rigidity.

Deck Height
The aluminum Man O' War block is offered in two deck heights: 8.2 inches and 9.5 inches. The 8.2-inch blocks swap interchangeably with standard 302 engines, including heads, intakes, and so on, while the 9.5-inch block is designed as the 351 variant and is the enabler of a 4.25-inch stroke and the maximum 460-cube displacement. The 8.2-inch deck block can accommodate the same 4.250-inch crank, which makes the length of the connecting rod the limiting factor. The deck thickness on both 8.2- and 9.5-inch blocks is at least 0.600-inch.

The block's external dimensions are the same as a standard FoMoCo cast block. That means that all standard factory and aftermarket accessories, manifolds, headers, front dress, and so on, bolt up without a problem. You could paint the block and heads blue, throw on a factory-style air cleaner and engine dress, and stomp around town with a sedate-looking mill. There would be a few giveaways, though. For one thing, all the gallery plugs are aluminum screw-in types. And your buddies might also notice you carrying the front wheels whenever the car leaves a stoplight. Stuff like that.