Some inside info on the current NASCAR Ford Engine

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Jan 7, 2015
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Western North Carolina
My Car
Multiple Mustangs!
Yesterday when I was searching for a carb spacer for my 351 I stopped in our local engine shop. He always has at least a dozen engines going on. Builds a lot for local dirt track racers.

He had new guy working for him. Now for the life of me I cannot remember the Ford team he worked on as engine builder but he was on one of the top teams.

He was telling me about the inside of the engines. There is a partition between each set of cylinders like isolating a cylinder on each side. He said it is metal with a gasket sealing to the block and welded into the pan. There is also a cover on the cam shaft so any oil from lifters and cam bearings does not go down on the crank. They pull a vacuum on the crankcase to keep all the oil pulled out so it can never slow the crank down. It is of course a dry sump system.

I know when we kart raced if you needed another .1 second you could drain all of your oil out and make your qualifying lap and gain a .1 sec. at least. You never ran but 1/2 the oil in the crankcase it did slow the engine down if full. Lots of resistance with the crank and rods beating into the oil.

He also said there are no flat gaskets in the engine except for the heads all others are now O-rings.

He is going to try to help me find a hot set of old NASCAR 351 heads for my 72 Q code vert track days car.

Another big gain on today's engine is large diameter cam journals so you can use a larger base circle cam. Everything just moves easier with larger lobes on the cam.

We also did that on the karts when racing. I got uncut cams from Briggs & Stratton and had a guy that would grind them with larger base circle. On that engine you could shorten the lifters which too weight out of the valve train and gained another 500 rpm.

All engines are the same just different sizes, lol.

I will quiz him on what they use to do to the Clevelands and how and if they altered the cooling system in the block. Going to see if he can get me into the Yates engine shop down near Charlotte.

They had a Chevy on the run in stand and were just finishing a 1964 Sunbeam Tiger 289 build. Not many of the Sunbeam Tigers came with 289 most were 260. He said the heads were small chamber like HiPo but did not have the spring cradles cast in the head. Harmonic balancer was also narrow not wide like the HiPo and had hydraulic cam.

There were flatheads sitting there and Toyota 4 cyl. they run on dirt against the 2.3 Ford.

He has a tiny little shop but is about the only one local that does much. Can bore, do heads, balance and assemble if you do not want to.

Good to know have someone I can go to local.