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Old 03-12-2012, 12:59 AM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Default 390 heads and intake question

Greetings FE people,
I'm replacing the heads on a 1967 390 with some that have larger intake ports. The heads I'm installing are C4AE-6090G. The old ones were C7AE-xxxxx. Do I have to use an intake manifold with larger ports to reap any benefits? The heads and intake are stock cast iron ford parts.
Also, is there such a thing as porting the intake? The ports on the newer heads are about 3/8 inch longer in the down measuement. (Does that make sense?)
Should I look for a used Edelbrock Performer RPM as described in Barry Rabotnick's "Max performance Ford FE Engines" book? Will there be all that much difference in performance?
As you can probably tell this is the first time I've ever done anything with an engine.
thx for any advice!
regards, DAve J.

PS: I can post pix if that helps
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:08 AM
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simplyconnected simplyconnected is offline
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Dave, be careful in your choice of heads and intake manifolds. There were about fifty different intake manifold choices. The only safe way I know for sure, is to match the manifold to the heads.

It is typical for the intake manifold ports to be smaller than the matching head ports because mixture velocity is faster in the manifold (and that's what you want).

Let's back up a moment... What features are you looking for? Low end torque, high rpm for speed? Depending on what you want, sometimes large valves bog at low rpm's. That's why truck heads typically have smaller diameter valves. They don't bog, but they aren't designed for racing.

If you're looking for horsepower, you may consider a higher compression ratio by shaving the heads and intake to match. FE's aren't easy to do. You'll get more ponies but now we're talking Premium gas. High compression is more likely to blow head gaskets, but it has been done.

I admire your tenacity but I hate to see you spend a lot of money on a cast iron engine. Heads are the heart of every engine. I know you don't want to pop for aluminum, but if you machine cast iron heads and ready them for today's gas (new stainless valves, viton seals, exhaust valve seats, bronze guides, new springs, and decking) it will cost nearly what aluminum heads go for. What do you end up with? Used cast iron heads worth ~$300. If you bought aluminum for $1,500, you could always get a grand back. The difference in performance is huge and so is the weight savings.

Want a good, fast engine? Get a used Mustang engine. Then, buy a scrapped Mustang and use it for the EEC, cables, and connectors. I think you would save money and you'd end up with a EFI Thunderbird (and a great project). All the parts are available at decent prices. Just my humble opinion. - Dave
My latest project:
CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
--Lee Iacocca
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:30 AM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Thx Dave, I remember reading something about the smaller valves being for more low end torque, and the larger valves helping flow, thus working better at high RPM when air is flowing at a much higher rate. I had no idea about the intake manifold port size though. Your explanation of the "mixture velocity" needing to be faster is something I didn't know and helps me a ton!

When I bought my toploader I told the guy I was putting it on a 390. He just happened to be a retired county guy that maintained police cars for Albuquerque way back when. He remembered he had these heads that were rebuilt just sitting on a shelf and asked if I wanted them for a couple of hundred bucks. Anyway, I'm using them for now, hopefully I can get away with a lead additive in my gas for a 1,000 miles, and then replace them in about 5 years (when I retire). At that time I will have tons of free time to do a proper build of this motor.

The engine noise I had explained on a different post DID turn out to be a blown head gasket. I'll be checking my block deck where it blew to make sure it's flat and true, and I'll be sure to follow the installation and torquing sequence described in my book by Barry Rabotnick very thoroughly. Oh, and my rocker assembly's have different shafts, more signs that the motor has already been gone through before. The oil passages are different, they were very clear though - that's a good sign. The push rods and rocker arms all look to be in great shape and show no signs of wear on the contact surfaces. I'm taking tons of pictures as you told me before. I took this week off work so I'm getting a lot done. The trick is going to be figuring out the "Z bar" and related hardware. I found one on Ebay from a 58-59 Fairlane, Ranchero, Skyliner that looks identical to the parts I have a picture of. I could REALLY use some pictures of under the hood on this 59 T-bird to see how they go in and where they all mount.

You had said to use the brass block plugs. I'm also going to get a larger oil pump shaft - can you tell me where on line I might find them? Rockauto and our local Autozone don't sell them.

As always, thank you for your help and advice!

- Dave J
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:58 PM
GTE427 GTE427 is offline
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Here's a start. Doesn't show too much. Work these and the Illustrations.
PM an email address and I'll send full size files.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Picture 012.jpg (14.5 KB, 92 views)
File Type: jpg Picture 013.jpg (13.5 KB, 93 views)
File Type: jpg Picture 014.jpg (15.6 KB, 92 views)
1959 J Convertible
1960 J Hardtop

Last edited by GTE427 : 03-12-2012 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:22 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Hey gents, Can anyone tell me how to remove this plate off my intake manifold? I'm guessing this is some type of valley tray, as there wasn't one on top of the motor when I pulled the intake. Sure looks like a lot of baked on oil from the heat the cross overs generate.
thx, dave J
PS: I found a picture of an intake that looks identical to mine - it says it's a 66 - 69 390 high performance?
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:01 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Hm, OK. I browsed for my 2 small pictures and attached them. Can anyone tell me what I did wrong?
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:07 PM
redstangbob redstangbob is offline
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The plate attached to the intake manifold is held on with drive screws They can be backed out with a chisel or a slot cut for a screwdriver. There should have been a valley pan tucked under the tabs of the head gaskets, it helps direct oil away from the intake. Good luck, Bob C
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