Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
April 20, 2011

If you're thinking of attacking an engine build for your project car, then the heads, camshaft, and intake choices are undoubtedly the most difficult. Unfortunately, Internet forums, bench racing with buddies, and word of mouth have long dictated which parts people buy. This month, we're going to show the components we picked for our 347ci stroker for our '93 LX coupe and tell you why.

Before, we were utilizing the 170cc Edelbrock E-Street aluminum cylinder heads, a camshaft equivalent to an FRPP E303, and an Edelbrock Performer RPM II intake manifold. The heads utilized 1.90-inch intake valves and 1.60-inch exhaust valves. The combination performed great with our 302ci short-block. Now, with 45 more cubes, we need some healthier heads, a more aggressive cam, and an intake to match.

Ron Robart of Fox Lake Power Products has been porting Ford cylinder heads for 22 years, owning and operating his own business for 18 of those-he knows small-block Ford cylinder heads.

About a year ago, Robart and Fox Lake developed a CNC program for the Edelbrock E-Street heads-ideal for us. But the E-Street heads aren't the only ones that work for this program. "We developed this program specifically for the E-Street heads, but it will also work on the Performer RPM castings as well," says Robart. Since our castings were still good, we boxed them up and shipped them to Robart.

Our E-Street heads in stock form flowed 249 cfm at 0.600-inch lift. Robart's CNC program allows them to flow 300 cfm at the same lift. This represents peak flow, but the down-low numbers are very good as well. Since we didn't-and still don't-have a cam with more than 0.600-inch lift, the lower lift numbers are more important than the peak.

Fox Lake can provide castings for you, or you can send in yours. Either way, it's cheaper than buying a new set of CNC-ported heads from a cylinder head manufacturer. There are a number of pricing options ranging from $989 for porting your heads, to $1,499 to buy a pair outright with the same treatment. We opted for the cheaper route, and shipped some new valvetrain parts to Robart for assembly.

With the heads sorted out, we then needed to decide which camshaft to use. Robart was there to help us. When you pick up the phone and call Fox Lake, Robart picks up the phone. With his knowledge and experience at our disposal, we discussed camshaft selection.

He poked and prodded, wanting to know what exactly we were trying to accomplish with the engine. We told him our car has an automatic transmission and street gears, so we want big mid-range power and we don't plan to exceed the factory rev limiter (6,250) by much. Being realistic in this department will most often get you more power than you expect and a car that is more fun to drive than one that makes 20 more hp at 6,500 rpm, but 20 less lb-ft of torque at 3,000-where the engine spends most of its time!

Armed with this info, he helped us select the Comp Cams XE282HR. The XE282HR (PN 35-522-8; $297.78) is from Comp's Xtreme Energy hydraulic-roller camshaft line, built specifically for the 302-based Windsor engine. A little less aggressive than Comp's stroker camshafts, it will be more compatible with our mild 2,800-stall torque converter and 3.73 gears. It features 0.565- and 0.574-inch lift (intake/exhaust), 232 and 240 degrees of duration (intake/exhaust) at 0.050-inch lift, and an operating range of 2,600 to 6,500 rpm.

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Robart also pointed us in the right direction when selecting the remainder of our valvetrain. We went with a larger/stiffer set of springs, larger rocker arm studs, and even upgraded the intake valves to 2.02 inches. Finally, an intake had to be chosen. Robart assured us that our Performer RPM II intake was capable of handling whatever the 347 could consume.

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So we shipped the lower intake to Fox Lake for Robart to port-match to our newly ported heads. He charges $150 for that service, and an additional $50 if you have a dual-plane manifold for a carbureted application. Port matching ensures that there is no mismatch between the intake, the intake gaskets and the ports in the heads. And this can be worth 10-20 hp depending on the application and the degree of mismatch. In our book, it is money well spent.

Check out the before and after photos of our heads, and follow along with the installation process. Check back next month as we put the finishing touches on our 347, install it, and run it on our DynoJet chassis dyno.

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