Decking the block starts by bolting this reference bar into the block's main saddle to pro
Since we were using so many new pieces for this build, machining operations were focused on the block, so we hauled the pistons and block over to R&R Performance in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota, for the required machine work. After some measurements, the block was align-honed and the decks were cut to square them up with the crank centerline. Next, the cylinder bores were power-honed 0.040 over to fit the pistons. Finally, the block was washed and new cam bearings were installed in preparation for the build. The final machine work tally came to about $700.
Next this plate is bolted to the block, indexing the crank centerline and the cam centerli
We selected the 428CJ version of Edelbrock's FE heads over the 427 version for their smaller chamber and 16-bolt exhaust pattern, allowing different header combinations to fit. We started with the fully assembled heads for the street engine. Examination of the new heads showed the opportunity to pick up some easy horsepower with a home porting job. The heads were disassembled and the intake bowls and ports were cleaned up, first with a burr to rough in the shape and then with a Summit Racing sand roll porting kit. Flow numbers on the top end of the lift scale improved noticeably, but the numbers below 0.400 lift remained about the same, reflecting the limitationsof the single-angle stock-type valve job and 30-degree intake-seat angle.
For the strip version, we started with a set of bare Edelbrock castings and acquired new valves from Survival Motorsports. The larger 2.19/1.71 valves featured 45-degree seats and 11/32-inch stems for improved flow. At R&R, the stock 3/8-inch guides were replaced with 11/32 guides, the intake seats were cut for the 45-degree seat angle, and a street/strip porting job and competition valve job were done. Springs, retainers, and locks from Comp Cams rounded out the strip engine head assemblies. Our efforts were rewarded with 300-plus cfm on the intakes, making these heads capable of supporting 600 hp.
The flat bar with the dial indicator is used to determine the relative block deck heights
Early 428 Cobra Jet Mustangs had oiling problems because with only 5 quarts in the passenger car pan, 3 quarts were circulating in the engine while it was running, and a hard launch would shoot the remaining 2 quarts to the back of the engine away from the pickup, resulting in bearing carnage. To save your FE from oil starvation death, you must use a good oil pan and windage tray, have 6 quarts of oil in the 5-quart pan, and restrict the oil flow to the rocker arms.
The pan needs to be baffled properly to keep the oil near the pickup, and the windage tray is necessary to keep oil off the spinning crank when using a stock capacity pan and 6 quarts of oil. Restricting oil to the rocker shafts keeps more oil in the pan and bearings, where it belongs.
For our street engine, we selected the Milodon stock replacement FE pan, which has a much better baffle arrangement than the stock pan. For the rigors of the track the strip engine was expected to encounter, we elected to go to a Milodon 7-quart pan and pickup.