Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
May 18, 2012

Over the past few issues, we've followed along as Livernois Motorsports built a new 323ci Four-Valve engine for Superfly. Consisting of an FRPP Boss 302 modular block, a Livernois rotating assembly, ported '03 Cobra heads, and custom Comp cams, it made 519 hp on the engine dyno.

More importantly, and uncommon for modular engines, our new powerplant made peak power at only 6,200 rpm and peak torque at 5,000 rpm. The old engine made peak power at redline, so not only will we make more power, but we'll actually be able to use it--on the track and the street. Although engine dyno numbers are impressive, they only give an idea of how much usable power the finished product will deliver to the rear wheels.

To wrap up this overhaul, we had our new 323ci stroker shipped to Lamotta Performance in Longwood, Florida, for the swap. Just for fun, we strapped Superfly to Jake Lamotta's Dynojet chassis dyno before removing the old engine. It wound up to 5,500 rpm before it broke up so bad that Lamotta had to abort the run. Other tries after that yielded the same results, and peak output was only 306 rwhp and 285 lb-ft of torque.

Wasting no time, Lamotta removed the old engine, robbing the timing cover and cam covers from the carcass before setting it aside. He then cleaned the parts that were to be reused. We wheeled the car outside, and Lamotta's Austin Dulak cleaned the K-member and engine bay. We also took this opportunity to remove unnecessary components like the nitrous system and the old aftermarket ignition box.

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On the engine stand, Lamotta dressed our new long-block with a slew of new accessories. He installed new polyurethane engine mounts by Energy Suspension and new FRPP spark plug wires, all from Brothers Performance. He also installed new FRPP 34-lb/hr injectors and adapters, a Meziere electric water pump, and a PA Performance alternator. We also replaced miscellaneous components--just so everything was new--like idler pulleys, coil packs, and radiator hoses.

A few things had to be changed to accept the throttle-body placement on our new Mach 1 intake manifold. To help with this, MPS Auto Salvage sent a Mach 1 throttle cable, coolant crossover, and cruise control module. Lamotta scrounged around his shop and found a throttle cable bracket, since this is a discontinued part. He also modified the engine harness to accommodate the new locations of the IAC (idle air control valve) and TPS (throttle position sensor).

With the engine in place, Lamotta began making all the connections. He installed the stainless steel long-tube headers from American Racing Headers, followed by a new starter from PA Performance. Since our old throttle body and cold-air kit wouldn't work with the new intake, we opted for an '03-'04 Mach 1 throttle body from Accufab and a Mach 1 cold-air kit from C&L Performance. C&L also sent one of its mass air meter housings to use with our new 34-lb/hr FRPP injectors. Lamotta then wired the new electric water pump, using the power feed and relay leftover from the nitrous system.

However, we ran into a problem under the car. The "Mac Daddy" twin-disc clutch that we ordered from Centerforce was equipped with a 26-spline disc; our old T-56 has a 10-spline input shaft. A call to Centerforce assured us that our 519 hp would be more than that input shaft could handle, and it would be senseless to put a new 10-spline clutch in it (see sidebar on page 96). So Lamotta reinstalled our old clutch, pressure plate, and flywheel. Besides, it was Friday afternoon, and we were determined to bring this thing to life--it couldn't wait until Monday.

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Lamotta then installed our new X-style mid-pipe from American Racing Headers, and connected it to the existing after-cat system. The kit from ARH also comes with extenders for the oxygen sensors. Lamotta then drained the oil from the transmission, and refilled it and the engine with AMSOIL fluids. This wrapped up the install. At about 1 a.m., Jake Lamotta hit the key and Superfly came to life. Though it hadn't yet been tuned, we could tell it was going to be an animal. Satisfied, we called it a night.

We reconvened on Monday and Chris Johnson of SCT Performance made the short trip across town from SCT's headquarters to Lamotta's to tune our new setup. SCT supplied us with a new X3 handheld tuner, and Johnson made the necessary adjustments to accommodate our new components. Taking into account the daily-driver status of this project, he burned one tune for everyday driving on the street and one for the track.

On the race tune, Superfly spun the rollers on Lamotta's Dynojet to a best of 428 rwhp at 6,100 rpm and 395 lb-ft of torque at 5,100 rpm--that's 68 rwhp more than the old engine on its best day, and at a usable point in the rpm range!

In the next few months, we'll sort out our input shaft issue, install the new clutch, and get Superfly out on track. We expect to break into the low-11s, only this time without the juice. We also have a couple of open track outings planned, so be on the lookout for those results as well.

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In the Clutch

Since we were now 70-rwhp higher than our best ever dyno run on the old engine, we knew that it was time for a clutch upgrade. We were using a stock Cobra clutch, and it has taken a beating. So we called Centerforce for one of its new DYAD DS twin-disc clutches. When it arrived, we were excited to say the least.

The DYAD DS is a multi-disc clutch designed to handle up to 750 lb-ft of torque, while maintaining daily-driven driveability. It offers smooth engagement, quiet operation, a light pedal feel, and an exceptional holding capacity. The only problem is that our old T-56 has a 10-spline input shaft and the DYAD that we ordered is for a 26-spline input shaft.

So when we discovered this problem, we called our main man at Centerforce, Will Baty. He informed us that he could send us a different disc, but it would be wasting our time and his. Why? He went on to say that our 10-spline input shaft would twist like a pretzel under heavy-duty driving conditions considering the output of our new engine.

So we figured we would call our friends at D&D Performance for an input shaft upgrade. Over the phone, Don Walsh Sr. asked us about the First gear ratio for our T-56. Unsure, we asked how to check it. "Remove the input shaft and count the teeth on the gear," he said. So Lamotta drained the transmission and removed the input shaft. Ours has 29 teeth.

Back on the phone with Walsh, we told him our findings. Cringing, he said "Yours has a 2.97 First Gear. If you had 31 teeth, it would mean you had a 2.66 First gear. We have 26-spline input shafts for the 2.66 First gear, but not for the 2.97 First."

Just to check, we called a few other places, including Tremec, and got the same answer. We could have one specially made, but that is expensive and time-consuming. On top of that, a simple input shaft upgrade would only remove the weakest link in the chain, and something else would fail instead.

Solution? Well, we're not sure yet, but we'll do something in the next couple of months, culminating in the installation of our new clutch and a track test. Stay tuned.

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