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Installing 557 Demon Stroker Kit - The Demon Stroker Kit For Big-Block Fords

Don't Rev That Small-Block To The Moon. Make More Power Using . . .

By Richard Holdener, Photography by Richard Holdener

One of the best ways to start any engine build is with a power goal. It's also important to be honest (or at least realistic) about the intended application. Real (meaning daily-driven, pump gas) street motors that produce an honest 1,000 hp are rare-and for good reason. The odds are bad that someone will roll up next to you at a light with 950 hp wanting to street race. The other consideration is cost. Even if we decide that 1,000 hp is necessary, not many of us can afford to build such an animal, let alone pay for the fuel and maintenance required to keep it alive. Let's face it, most of us are on tight budgets and need to make do with the most basic buildups.

Rather than go the easy Chevy route, we decided to take a look at what was available for the Ford guys-more specifically, for the big-block Ford guys. The Windsor crowd seems to get all the love recently, leaving the 429/460 Ford owners out in the cold. This big block Ford never caught on with performance enthusiasts like the big block Chevy did. The relative lack of desirability means there are plenty of rebuildable cores just rusting away in local wrecking yards. Don't bother looking for that Boss 429 or even a Cobra Jet-those are all long gone. In fact, don't bother looking under the hood of cars, period. Wander over to the area designated for trucks and marvel at all the big-block Ford performance just waiting to be unleashed. If your boneyards are anything like the ones here on the West Coast, most fullsize trucks in the yard will be sporting 460s. We like the idea of pulling a complete motor (or at least a long-block), since the assembly includes all the hard-to-find components such as a timing pointer, a distributor hold-down, and even the hundred or so retaining bolts Ford deemed necessary to secure the water pump. The local Pick-A-Part offered complete 460 Fords for the paltry sum of $245 (less $45 if you have a core). On special sale weekends, everything in the yard is 50 percent off.

As big-blocks go, the factory 460 Ford already sports some impressive displacement. Easily eclipsing the 440 Dodge, 454 Chevy, 455 Buick, and Pontiac offerings, only the massive 472- and 500-inch Cadillacs offer more displacement. The inches on the 460 come courtesy of a 4.36-inch bore combined with a 3.85-inch stroke. Though the big-bore combination suggests a candidate for high-rpm use (even more so for the smaller 429 with the 3.59 stroke), the 460 was primarily used for low-rpm towing and heavy hauling applications. As big as the 460 is in stock configuration, the best way to improve the power (and more importantly torque) output is to make it even bigger. A little math here goes a long way toward explaining the benefit of the extra inches. Suppose we choose a realistic power output of 600 hp for our street 460. Producing 600 hp from a 460 equates to a specific output of 1.304 hp per cubic inch, about the equivalent of a 400hp 302. Reaching this specific output with the 460 isn't a problem-it will just require sufficient compression, cam timing, and head flow. The downside of an elevated specific output is that the combination of compression, cam timing, and head flow might actually decrease driveability. In technical terms, the smaller the motor, the wilder the combination required to reach a given power output.

By Richard Holdener
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