At the risk of losing credibility with our readers (assuming I had any to begin with!), I must admit to never having built an engine before. I’ve done general maintenance, bodywork, welding, complete paintjobs, and even rebuilt a couple of automatic transmissions, but I’ve never taken an engine apart and put it back together—until now. People I’ve revealed this to usually have the same reaction: Couldn’t you have chosen an easier engine to build than the 4.6? My response is always the same (and I hope I don’t sound smug when I say it): Building this engine wasn’t that hard. I mention this potentially embarrassing truth not as a means of publicly patting myself on the back but rather to inspire our readers. If I can put together an overhead cam 4.6L Ford engine, so can you. To my relief, it started and ran once I got it back in the car. It runs even better now with at least 4,000 miles of daily driving and almost 30 full power pulls on Westech’s chassis dyno. No oil loss, no scary sounds, and best of all, it makes nearly 70 more horsepower and 50 more lb-ft of torque than before, thanks to Trick Flow Specialties Top End Kit for 2V Modular Ford engines. Don’t be fooled by this car’s two extra doors; this same build will work for any SOHC 4.6 or 5.4L Ford engine currently running in millions of cars and trucks—SN-95 Mustangs, Thunderbirds and Cougars, Town Cars, hell, even F-150 and Econoline van owners can do this job and reap the benefits of Trick Flow’s 4.6 Twisted Wedge Top End Kit. As a baseline, I have a glovebox of 10-second, eighth-mile timeslips (about 15.60 quarter-mile) and figures of 208 hp and 254 lb-ft on the rollers at Racers’ Edge Tuning in Downey, California.As a baseline, I have a glovebox of 10-second, eighth-mile timeslips (about 15.60 quarter- Trick Flow includes an instruction book, which illustrates the job being done on a Mustang with the engine still in the car.Trick Flow includes an instruction book, which illustrates the job being done on a Mustang In my Ford service manual, step one in the section on removing the cylinder heads was “remove the engine.” Tech tip: unbolt the A/C compressor and oil filter adapter, but leave them in the chassis.In my Ford service manual, step one in the section on removing the cylinder heads was “rem Remove the fan and coolant reservoir and unbolt the exhaust, torque converter and transmission, and motor mounts from the frame. The engine lifts straight up and out. Removing the hood was necessary so the oil pan would clear the core support and front header panel.Remove the fan and coolant reservoir and unbolt the exhaust, torque converter and transmis Teardown is straightforward. Begin by prying the heater hose from the back of the water pump. The water pump needs a little coaxing with a soft-faced hammer to separate it from the engine block. Pry it off the rest of the way. It is sealed with an O-ring rather than a gasket, and I cleaned and reused it rather than buying a new one.Teardown is straightforward. Begin by prying the heater hose from the back of the water pu The timing cover is retained with two different sized bolts, some of which have long studs that the wiring harness clips to. Mark the location of the studs before removing them and prying off the timing cover. Several of the gaskets on these engines can be reused (the oil pan gasket and valve cover gaskets, for instance); the rubber timing cover gaskets cannot be reused. Take them off and throw them out.The timing cover is retained with two different sized bolts, some of which have long studs Though the overhead cam arrangement looks complicated, it really isn’t. The roller cam followers pivot on hydraulic lash adjusters, and valvespring pressure holds the roller against the cam lobes. The lash adjusters take up the small amount of clearance that develops between the cam and valve stem as the engine heats up and expands.Though the overhead cam arrangement looks complicated, it really isn’t. The roller cam fol This is important: Remove the cam followers before taking the timing chains or tensioners off. With the followers out, all the valves will be closed no matter what position the cams are in. Removing the timing chains or tensioners while some of the valves are open will cause the cams to spin, and because this is an interference engine, the valves will hit the piston if the cam timing is off, possibly bending the valve. You’ll need a special tool to remove the roller followers (foreground). Trick Flow includes one in its top-end kit; this one is from OTC.This is important: Remove the cam followers before taking the timing chains or tensioners The tool levers against the cam to push down on the valvespring, unloading the follower and allowing you to remove it. Before compressing the valves to a particular cylinder, I checked the piston location by looking down the spark plug hole. If the piston was near the top, I turned the crank to move it farther down. Though it is unlikely you’d be able to bend a valve using this valvespring tool, why risk it? Even though I was not going to be reusing any of this stuff, there was no reason to damage perfectly good parts. Supposedly, turning the crank until the keyway points in the 10:30 position puts all the pistons in a safe position. I did this but still turned the crank slightly as needed while I removed the followers.The tool levers against the cam to push down on the valvespring, unloading the follower an Check out the damage to my cam tensioner and guide. The driver-side tensioner arm was worn completely through to the point where the tensioner’s hydraulic piston was making contact with the timing chain.Check out the damage to my cam tensioner and guide. The driver-side tensioner arm was worn The slack-side chain guide was broken, too. Now it’s safe to remove the cam timing system. Save yourself a lot of hassle and remove the cam gears first while the chains and tensioners are still attached. You’ll see why later in this article. Then unbolt the tensioners, tensioner arms, and guides, and slide off the crank gear.Now it’s safe to remove the cam timing system. Save yourself a lot of hassle and remove th Remove the cylinder head bolts and throw them away. They are torque-to-yield fasteners and are meant to only be used once. Pry the heads off the dowels with a screwdriver and set them aside. Random piece of trivia: Fully assembled SOHC heads weigh about 45 pounds each.Remove the cylinder head bolts and throw them away. They are torque-to-yield fasteners and While flow-testing the stock heads, several people advised me to inspect the entire engine because the heads “smelled burnt.” I completely disassembled the engine, only to find everything in excellent condition. I’m guessing the combination of a high-temperature thermostat and hundreds of hours of idling during my car’s service life with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department left the engine smelling like oil coking. However, there was no sludge, the bearings and cylinders were in excellent condition, and all the clearances were within spec. Though I had only meant for this to be a cylinder head replacement, I now had a complete engine to rebuild.While flow-testing the stock heads, several people advised me to inspect the entire engine Because the engine looked so good inside, and because I didn’t have a ton of money to spend on machine work, I decided to reuse as many of the original parts as I could. Hi-Tek Engine rebuilding in Gardena, California, hot-tanked the engine for me and added new freeze plugs. I cleaned the deck with 220-grit sandpaper on the longest piece of wood I found lying around and scrubbed the cylinders by hand with a red Scotch-Brite pad. Then I washed the block with detergent, chasing all the oil passages with rifle brushes, blew it dry, and painted it with semigloss black high-temperature paint.Because the engine looked so good inside, and because I didn’t have a ton of money to spen I filed all the sharp edges off the crankshaft and cleaned it with car-wash soap one rainy day in December.I filed all the sharp edges off the crankshaft and cleaned it with car-wash soap one rainy I used a degreaser solvent to clean the connecting rods, pistons, and rings, working one cylinder at a time. Be sure to keep all these components together and mark which cylinder they belong to so you don’t mix and match components that have worn together a certain way over the course of 160,000 miles.I used a degreaser solvent to clean the connecting rods, pistons, and rings, working one c The modular V8 uses floating wristpins that are easier to disassemble and reassemble because they don’t need to be pressed on and off. The pins are held in place by wire retainer rings. Use a pick to pry them out of the groove in the pin boss, but be sure to cover the retainer as you do this, as these things will fly for light years if you let them. I lost one this way, and unfortunately new ones cost $9 each and are only sold in packs of four from the Ford dealer.The modular V8 uses floating wristpins that are easier to disassemble and reassemble becau The pistons had a lot of carbon buildup and several of the oil control rings were stuck. I had to let them soak in degreaser for about an hour before trying to scrape all that stuff off, but I was able to get them almost looking like new.The pistons had a lot of carbon buildup and several of the oil control rings were stuck. I I reused the rings rather than buying new ones so I wouldn’t have to hone the engine. Besides, my engine had good ring seal before I took it apart, and the rings themselves looked good after a thorough cleaning.I reused the rings rather than buying new ones so I wouldn’t have to hone the engine. Besi Reassembling the pistons and rods is easy because Ford casts each part with identifying marks indicating which side faces the rear of the block; a dimple on the piston and ears is cast into the face of the rods. The cracked caps only fit one way as well, so it is easy to get everything aligned correctly. The connecting rod bolts are also one-time-use fasteners. I bought new ones from South Bay Ford.Reassembling the pistons and rods is easy because Ford casts each part with identifying ma Even after 160,000 miles, the ring gaps were within spec—0.015 for the top rings, between 0.019 and 0.020 for the second rings, and 0.030 for the oil rings. I also checked the deck with a straightedge. It was less than 0.0015 on both banks.Even after 160,000 miles, the ring gaps were within spec—0.015 for the top rings, between Iron-block modular engines were built at the Romeo and Windsor plants, and like previous Ford offerings, there are slight design differences between the two blocks—the main bearings being one of these. I had mistakenly ordered the bearing set for a Windsor block (mine is from Romeo), and all the bearings fit except the rear one. Windsor engines apparently have the tang located off-center of the bearing surface for the rear bearing. All the others are centered.Iron-block modular engines were built at the Romeo and Windsor plants, and like previous F The thrust bearing is different, too. Romeo engines use a shim in the block and a flanged bearing on the rear main cap, seen on the right. Windsor engines use non-flanged upper and lower bearing shells and three shims on the thrust surface of the crank.The thrust bearing is different, too. Romeo engines use a shim in the block and a flanged Here is the correct thrust bearing arrangement for a Romeo block. The upper bearing shell is the same as the other four main bearing upper shells, and the thrust washer goes on the outside of the block, facing the transmission. Apply a dab of assembly lube to hold it here as you drop the crank in.Here is the correct thrust bearing arrangement for a Romeo block. The upper bearing shell The main caps are numbered from the factory, eliminating any chance of mismatching. This picture also illustrates another difference between Romeo and Windsor blocks: Romeo blocks have jacking screws in the sides of the cap that press against the block skirt, providing extra support for the cap. The jack screws are reverse threaded and are cut to fit an 8mm Allen key. Tap the cap in place with the wooden end of a hammer handle and turn the jack screws counterclockwise to tighten them to the block. The side bolts thread into the jack screws through the outside of the block and are torqued in the correct sequence. Instead of jack screws, Windsor blocks have dowel pins that fit between the ends of the cap and the engine block.The main caps are numbered from the factory, eliminating any chance of mismatching. This p I replaced the torque-to-yield main bolts with ARP studs. The main bearing clearance was well within spec at 0.0012, and the crank spun freely with all the caps torqued to ARP’s specifications. The longer stud retains the oil pump pickup tube, and in this photo you can also see two of the main-cap side bolts.I replaced the torque-to-yield main bolts with ARP studs. The main bearing clearance was w The pistons and connecting rods are installed as on any other engine. The rod bearing clearance was 0.0015, and the engine turned over with about 18 ft-lb of force on my beam-style torque wrench with all the pistons installed.The pistons and connecting rods are installed as on any other engine. The rod bearing clea Trick Flow’s top-end kit comes complete with the heads and cams, of course, but also with new timing chains, cam followers, lash adjusters, head gaskets, intake gaskets, and cylinder head bolts.Trick Flow’s top-end kit comes complete with the heads and cams, of course, but also with Like the stock cylinder heads, Trick Flow’s heads can be installed on either bank of the engine. However, you need to designate one for the driver side and one for the passenger side. The locations of the oil gallery plugs are different from bank to bank. Though the gallery plugs are shipped with thread sealant, I’d recommend adding a small dab of Teflon paste to each as you install them. I had a couple of leakers once the engine started.Like the stock cylinder heads, Trick Flow’s heads can be installed on either bank of the e Using the supplied assembly lube, coat the cam journals and install the cams. Soak the new lash adjusters in oil for about 30 minutes and install them in their respective locations.Using the supplied assembly lube, coat the cam journals and install the cams. Soak the new These engines use MLS head gaskets, and they are clearly marked for the left or right side of the engine, making them virtually idiot-proof. Trick Flow’s install manual includes the proper torque sequence.These engines use MLS head gaskets, and they are clearly marked for the left or right side I cleaned and reused the stock oil pump. Installation of the timing gear begins with setting the crank to the safe position using OTC’s crank holding tool.I cleaned and reused the stock oil pump. Installation of the timing gear begins with setti Because I had heard about the modular engine’s potential for mismatched cam timing, I requested a set of Comp’s adjustable cam gears. They offer a total of 24 degrees of adjustment—12 degrees advanced and 12 retarded.Because I had heard about the modular engine’s potential for mismatched cam timing, I requ To install them, I needed the spacer behind the stock timing gears. To remove the stock cam gears, I needed OTC’s cam-holding tool, which consists of a button (PN 51155) that fits a hex in the rear of the cam, and the holding tool (PN 511532), which engages the flats inside the button, locking it in place.To remove the stock cam gears, I needed OTC’s cam-holding tool, which consists of a button I needed an impact wrench to get these bolts off, as they were really tight. That’s why I mentioned earlier in the article to remove the cam gears while the heads are still on the engine. It would be a lot easier to remove them with the timing chains and guides still installed, and you wouldn’t need to buy the cam holding tools, either.I needed an impact wrench to get these bolts off, as they were really tight. That’s why I The stock timing gears have a tooth that engages the keyway on the cams, but the Comp cam gears do not. Instead, they come with a key that must be installed with the spacers before the gears go on the cams.The stock timing gears have a tooth that engages the keyway on the cams, but the Comp cam The timing chains come with colored links to indicate cam alignment during installation. One colored link is installed at zero degrees on the Comp gears or on a tooth indicated by a dot on the stock gears. The second colored link lines up with a corresponding dot on the crank gear.The timing chains come with colored links to indicate cam alignment during installation. O It really is that easy. Fully installed, the system should look like this. Note that the right-side cam tensioner was a really tight fit. I needed to pry against the tensioner arm with a long screwdriver to get the tensioner in place behind the tensioner arm.It really is that easy. Fully installed, the system should look like this. Note that the r I rechecked the cam timing to find that Trick Flow’s specs of a 113-degree installed centerline were spot on. After that, I tightened the timing gear’s adjuster screws with Loctite to the recommended torque value. You’ll need an inch-pound torque wrench for this.I rechecked the cam timing to find that Trick Flow’s specs of a 113-degree installed cente Before finishing assembly of the engine, I checked all the cylinders with OTC leakdown tester. Six of them were within 2 or 3 psi of the accepted 15 percent leakdown rate for a newly assembled engine. Two cylinders had higher readings, one of them being more than 30 percent. Turning the engine over several times by hand fixed this, but not before I removed that bank’s head to verify that the piston rings had indeed been indexed correctly. After that, all the cylinders indicated less than 15 percent leakdown.Before finishing assembly of the engine, I checked all the cylinders with OTC leakdown tes I assembled the remainder of the engine using timing cover, valve cover, and oil pan gaskets from Rock Auto. They also supplied the front crank seal. I used OTC’s universal harmonic balancer installation tool to slide the damper on the crank. The intake manifold and 19-pound fuel injectors are stock.I assembled the remainder of the engine using timing cover, valve cover, and oil pan gaske I encountered an interesting problem with Fel-Pro’s rear main seal, the brown one in this picture. Compared with the black Motorcraft seal I bought from South Bay Ford, the Fel-Pro seal has an extra lip that faces the transmission, and it prevented the seal from fitting over my Ford- recommended OTC rear seal installation tool, so I had to buy and install the Motorcraft seal instead. We recommend installing the crank seals with some sort of installer tool, rather than tapping them on with a drift. This ensures the seal is installed correctly and at the right depth in the seal retainer to prevent leaks.I encountered an interesting problem with Fel-Pro’s rear main seal, the brown one in this With the engine nearly ready to drop into the car, I ran into my next snag. The right side exhaust manifold would not fit. The ear of the flange made contact with a casting boss that is much thicker on Trick Flow’s heads than on the stock ones. I’ve checked with the guys at Trick Flow, and it’s likely they didn’t have Crown Victorias in mind when they designed these cylinder heads.With the engine nearly ready to drop into the car, I ran into my next snag. The right side Mustang exhaust manifolds aren’t routed as closely to the engine block. Either way, we’d argue that if you’re installing Trick Flow heads on your 4.6, you should also be buying a set of headers. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to take full advantage of these heads’ superior airflow characteristics over the stock heads.Mustang exhaust manifolds aren’t routed as closely to the engine block. Either way, we’d a I would have had to do a lot of grinding to make the manifold fit, and I simply didn’t have time for that. Stainless Works saved me big time with its awesome and newly developed long-tube headers for ’03 to ’07 Crown Victorias and Grand Marquis (and probably Town Cars, too!). They fit everywhere with a ton of room to spare.I would have had to do a lot of grinding to make the manifold fit, and I simply didn’t hav I tried to drop the engine into the car with the headers bolted on, but they were too long to clear the firewall, even with the engine angled down like the Titanic slipping into the Atlantic. No worries, they fed up from the bottom of the car with no problems. Once in place, there was plenty of room around the tubes to install the starter motor and oil filter adapter and route the wiring harness.I tried to drop the engine into the car with the headers bolted on, but they were too long 1 | 2 | 3 | » | View Full Article By Ohn Mcgann Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!