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Old 01-26-2010, 03:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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390fe How much is too much?

Hi all! I have a 68 Ford f250 ranger (front wheel disc brakes) with a 390fe. I'm wondering how far can these be taken before the block splits. I've heard mixed ideas regarding these blocks as it seems to me most people stick to more cheaper builds instead of these pricier 390fe's... I came across one post somewhere that mentioned they'll split after around 650hp which sounds like B.S. to me. I mean this is a big block and it should make much bigger numbers shouldn't it? I was thinking at least 900hp but preferably more than that.

It sounds like alot of power but I just want it to be used on occasion to haul stuff (boats and garbage) but more so to go out mudding and dune driving. And I'll probly go forced induction as well (turbo) unless I can really get good prices on stuff for an N/A build which I doubt.

BTW I'm planning on using ethanol in the future with high compression and I understand it runs alot cooler and loves higher compression (11:1 - 17:1 or so?) so that's just something else to add.

I haven't pulled the engine out yet so I can't give out any casting numbers but otherwise I'm %100 sure it's a block from 1968. Otherwise I don't know for sure if it's originally a truck motor or car motor.

Any info regarding these blocks would be very much appreciated and yes I heard they're expensive to build though I hope it won't be too much through ebaying and salvaging what not.

Thanks again!

EDIT: I was planning on doing something like this hopefully in the near future Oh and he's running e85 I believe


I hope it ain't a sin here to post a video on these ford forums with a uhhh something...

Last edited by FordAndrew; 01-26-2010 at 03:31 PM. Reason: forgot to add something
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 390fe How much is too much?

FE blocks will crack. Usually between the crank and the cam. There's no exact power level when this happens. I would say that over 600 hp and over 7000 rpm with a 2 bolt block it becomes likely, at least eventually.

The fix, aside from an aftermarket block, is to cross bolt the mains and possibly to fill or half fill the block with Hard Blok. With a good tune, I'm imagine 900+ hp could last quite a while. It'd last much longer if the power is made at lower rpms with a turbo or supercharger.

There's more to it than that, but if you really want that kind of power in a factory FE block you're talking about a forged crank, good aftermarket rods, crossbolts, and maybe some block fill.

Just FYI, my 2 bolt 428 block already has a half fill of Hard Blok. On my next rebuild I plan on adding Pro Gram Engineering cross bolt caps, a factory forged crank, and aftermarket rods. I have the main caps and crank. I haven't decided on what rods to get.

JMO.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 390fe How much is too much?

I never saw one Ford in that chebby luvin video. Some folk here wont take kindly to that. At least the beach was nice!
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 390fe How much is too much?

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Originally Posted by colkerr View Post
I never saw one Ford in that chebby luvin video. Some folk here wont take kindly to that. At least the beach was nice!
Yeah I don't know if that was such a good idea lol...

to Plovett: I've never even heard of this hard blok stuff. I'm assuming this stuff HardBlok Water Jacket Filler - Increase Horsepower For High Performance Engines. . I guess I had it all thought out wrong cause I really was thinking 600 hp limit is b.s. for this block but oh well. I hear about 302w's being able to go upwards of 500 hp but never with this hard blok stuff.

Is there a quick way to make sure I'll be able to crossbot the mains?

BTW is your 428 a stroked 390 (dinosaur ford fe block?)? How much hp are you pushing right now and what rpm?

Last edited by FordAndrew; 01-26-2010 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 390fe How much is too much?

I like them old dinosaurs Even baby ones like a 390 LOL
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 390fe How much is too much?

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Originally Posted by FordAndrew View Post
Yeah I don't know if that was such a good idea lol...

to Plovett: I've never even heard of this hard blok stuff. I'm assuming this stuff HardBlok Water Jacket Filler - Increase Horsepower For High Performance Engines. . I guess I had it all thought out wrong cause I really was thinking 600 hp limit is b.s. for this block but oh well. I hear about 302w's being able to go upwards of 500 hp but never with this hard blok stuff.

Is there a quick way to make sure I'll be able to crossbot the mains?

BTW is your 428 a stroked 390 (dinosaur ford fe block?)? How much hp are you pushing right now and what rpm?
Yup, that's the Hardblok I was talking about. It's not a rule that you need Hardblok at 600 hp. It's possible a non-hardblok-ed engine could survive at 600 hp. I wouldn't try it though. For sure, rpms are your enemy. A longer stroke may hurt reliability too. However, for a given power level, the longer the stroke (and the more cubic inches), the lower the rpm you will need to run. So it's kind of a wash IMO.

The cross bolt caps from Pro Gram Engineering fit on any FE block, with machining. The factory cross bolt caps only fit on FE blocks cast for them.

I have a factory 428 FE block with a factory 428 crank. It is at 432 cubic inches right now, 4.155" x 3.98". I have the engine stripped down to a short block right now for cam and valvetrain upgrades. It dynoed at 517 hp at 6200 rpm and I shifted around 6500-6600 rpm. With some other changes I think it was about 530 hp when I took it apart. With my current upgrades I expect around 550-560 hp at around 6500-6600 rpm, and shift points around 6900 rpm. I don't know how well it will hold together at those levels. I'm sure the rpm is more destructive than the actual power level. I sure wish I had the cross bolt caps on there already. I didn't have them when the engine was built. Oh well.

paulie
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 390fe How much is too much?

I don't think that cross-bolting will help prevent cracks, just main cap walking. A main cap girdle might help. The lifter valley is the weakest area, if you can strengthen that somehow it would help. The aftermarket blocks have ribs across the lifter valley, especially for the aluminum blocks.

I think that hard-blocking only helps cylinder wall cracks, not block splitting cracks.
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 390fe How much is too much?

Knowing that those guys put into that truck, I don't think an FE would do the deed. More along the lines of a 385 series. And turbos. And fuel injection.

Check out the sand talon too.

I've known these guys at English Racing for a few years. They do good work.
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Old 02-14-2010, 05:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 390fe How much is too much?

this is more like it.

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Old 02-14-2010, 05:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 390fe How much is too much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wookie1 View Post
I don't think that cross-bolting will help prevent cracks, just main cap walking. A main cap girdle might help. The lifter valley is the weakest area, if you can strengthen that somehow it would help. The aftermarket blocks have ribs across the lifter valley, especially for the aluminum blocks.

I think that hard-blocking only helps cylinder wall cracks, not block splitting cracks.
I'm pretty sure hardblok and crossbolt mains help stabilize the entire bottom end and do help prevent cracks. I've never heard of an FE cracking in the lifter valley.

paulie
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