SCJA heads on a stock 460

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SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on June 20th 2012, 1:54 am

My original plan this spring was to build a 521 stroker from Lem or a 545 stroker from Adney, depending on how much spare cash I had. I pulled the motor out of my restored 1979 F150, but the stroker dream ended for this year when I discovered 2 cylinders need sleeving in my 4 bolt A block, and the farm expenses doubled from what I thought they would be.

So I have these pretty heads sitting there, I think hmmm...I wonder... Pulled the head off of the stocker, and bolted the SCJA on - after removing 2 valve springs to check PTV clearance. I was expecting nothing good, as the valve reliefs are an inch away from the new valve location, but was very surprised to find about .145 intake and close to .300 exhaust with a comp cams 43-330-4 cam. (Specs - Duration 219 Int/232 exh@.50, Lift 515 Int/541 Exh, 110CL)
My usual checking procedure is to use a solid lifter, bolt the head down with a 1018 fel pro gasket, have the lifter on the bottom of the cam, use the pushrod that's going in it, pull the valve up tight and zero/set the lash, then slowly run it through several times measuring with a dial indicator. I didn't even use a dial indicator this time, as it never got close - I just used a set of feeler guages.

I haven't done the math yet, but I'm thinking this thing should have around 10.5 to 1 compression ratio which would be just fine. I don't drive it more than a few times a year and mostly to the racetrack, so running good fuel isn't a problem. The cast pistons will hamper revving, but the old 429CJ's had cast pistons and they ran ok. I'll probably limit it to less than 5500. So I guess I'm thinking of building a 460 CJ??!
It will only be temporary, I'll build the stroker this winter, but I've got it out, I don't want to just stick it back in, and I'm just curious as to how it will work.

By the way, the original plan was to use the D00E-R heads - that's why I have the split profile cam, it's probably a lousy choice for these heads - but they were going to require a pile of work, and Frank had these guys laying around, so I bought them.
I will let everybody know how this works out, it might be a dog, it might surprise me.

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  dfree383 on June 20th 2012, 2:24 am

As long as you have the Piston to valve clearance it will work fine. Make sure to use some clay and make sure you have enough radial clearance or no other potential interferences.

Problems come in with Flat tops, 0 deck and big cams, the factory dished pistons, small cam your running and deck clearance make things a little more forgiving.
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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  Paul Kane on June 20th 2012, 10:01 am

There is nothing wrong with a properly sleeved cylinder block, I know guys running 4-figure hp with them (Ford passenger car blocks). Top Fuel teams even blow their blocks into several pieces and weld them back together and remachine them.

Go ahead and sleeve the D0VE block, it's a repair that is essentially no different than replacing valve guides in a cylinder head, bushing the pin end of your rods, etc.

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  rmcomprandy on June 20th 2012, 10:10 am

The FRPP crate motor 460's with the A443 camshaft didn't need any notching of the piston at all when the heads were changed from the A429 heads to the SCJ heads. The FRPP crate motor using the C460 camshaft cleared the piston to valve however, there was only about .040" clearance.
A corresponding notch was added to ALL the cast crate motor pistons at that point for using the SCJ heads.

(note), The notch which was cast in those Federal Mogul H612P pistons used in the crate motors was enlarged for using the larger valved A429 heads so, no EXTRA operations were needed to machine-in the NEW notch for the SCJ heads; simply relocate the cutter.

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on June 20th 2012, 10:30 am

Thanks guys. The valves don't even come close to the dish on the piston, they're well up on the flat part. Does anyone know what volume the dish is?
Paul, I don't have a problem with sleeving the block, it just became an extra expense that shut the project down. The engine spent about 10 years outside before I rescued it, and I think I gouged a cylinder wall driving the pistons out - they were REALLY in there. The one next to it is cracked from the skirt coming off the piston. You guys might call BS on this, and I wouldn't blame you, but I rode with my buddy when he had this motor in his 1970 F100 back in the late '70's, and he hit 8000 rpm with it on several occasions when he'd had a few beers. 80 mph in first gear, and the 8000 rpm tach buried! I attribute it staying together to the short stroke, long rods and a fair amount of luck. It was bone stock, and it was a sound I still remember today.
I have a bit of work to do on the headers, they're just ordinary truck headers, and the MIG and die grinder are getting a workout. I've got one done so far.
What spark plugs do these heads take?

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on June 20th 2012, 7:32 pm

Another question...I'm assuming the heads come with fairly stiff flat tappet springs...Comp cams says to remove the inner springs for break in, I wonder if I could just leave them out since I'm not turning any rpm to speak of. I could re-install them later when I put the heads on the stroker.. good idea or bad? I'm not too keen about having to reinstall those springs with the motor in the truck. It has AC and PB so it wouldn't be much fun.

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  rmcomprandy on June 20th 2012, 8:47 pm

John I. wrote:Another question...I'm assuming the heads come with fairly stiff flat tappet springs...Comp cams says to remove the inner springs for break in, I wonder if I could just leave them out since I'm not turning any rpm to speak of. I could re-install them later when I put the heads on the stroker.. good idea or bad? I'm not too keen about having to reinstall those springs with the motor in the truck. It has AC and PB so it wouldn't be much fun.

If you wish to do that, then change the entire spring set. The counter-wound double springs on those SCJ heads will not operate well without the inner as there is no damper other than the inner spring.

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on June 21st 2012, 2:09 am

So is there any way to get away from removing the inners for cam break in? I could buy the spring set designed for the cam, but they probably still want me to remove the inners. I'm using Comp Cams break in oil...geez... I can remember the good old days when you could just install a cam, fire the thing up, hold it at 2500 for half an hour and you were good to go. We've come a long ways technology wise, except for cam break in.
Thanks for taking the time to answer me Randy and the rest of you guys. I used to just think this stuff through by myself, and that didn't always end well. Very Happy

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on June 21st 2012, 2:14 am


Here is where the valves hit on the stock 460 pistons. I used white grease on the valves so the marks would show up on my lousy phone pics.





The headers, the one on the left fits the scja head, the other one, not yet. No

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  dfree383 on June 21st 2012, 2:24 am

John I. wrote:So is there any way to get away from removing the inners for cam break in? I could buy the spring set designed for the cam, but they probably still want me to remove the inners. I'm using Comp Cams break in oil...geez... I can remember the good old days when you could just install a cam, fire the thing up, hold it at 2500 for half an hour and you were good to go. We've come a long ways technology wise, except for cam break in.
Thanks for taking the time to answer me Randy and the rest of you guys. I used to just think this stuff through by myself, and that didn't always end well. Very Happy

You can get a stock type single spring, retainers and locks cheap. Put them on for break-up and the switch the out for the good stuff. Thats what we did for EMC when we had to run flat tappet cams.
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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on September 17th 2012, 12:32 pm

Well, here's the update. Got it in and running in July, used it to deliver my daughter to her outdoor wedding. The biggest hurdle was getting a valve cover to fit the SCJA heads, and still fit in the truck with AC and PB. The Motorsport units are too tall, and the stock steel valve covers won't clear the exhaust valve spring on the passenger side rear and drivers side front. I had a pair of old 1971 SCJ covers, and I discovered they have different angles coming off the gasket flange, and will clear everything if you stack two gaskets, and oval out the bolt holes and move them downwards. One of them had been patched by the previous owner back in the 70;s - he used a torch and aluminum rod to try and fix it, and I pulled on the weld, and a 1 inch chunk broke out. Fired up my MIG and ran a bunch of beads, dressed it up with the zip wheel, and got it fixed.
Took it to the track this weekend, and it ran a 14.32 at 90 mph. Hugely disappointed, it ran 15.4 at 85 last year. Sunday morning I swapped in a recurved dizzy from Scott J and to my surprise, it didn't make any difference. I think it's probably because the converter stall is so high the old one was all in on the launch. Bought a converter from somebody on here, it was supposed to be 3000 stall, it's 4000 with my gutless motor, which is only 1000 off the redline. (I have cast pistons and limit it to 5000)
I have an Edelbrock fuel pump. and 3/8ths line and good filter but it was running out of fuel at the end of high gear, I suspected the sock in the tank, so I switched tanks and used premium fuel along with the new dizzy and the mph jumped to 92, but it's still not what it should be. The exhaust was left on, no doubt it would go into the 13's with open headers, but it still wouldn't run with my old Explorer truck from back in the 70's - it had a 429 Thunderjet with stock heads and stock intake, headers, 780 vac Holley and a 298/510 cam and 3000 stall converter.
Something is wrong, I don't think the converter is helping, but I never got a chance to T&T, there were 250 cars at the race, parts are tired at the year end, there were numerous oildowns, so no T&T's yesterday. Probably not going to mess around with it any more, just build the stroker.

Also discovered that if you put a jumper wire on a permanent magnet starter motor, it might work perfectly like it did on my racecar, or it might keep cranking after you let go of the key! Once the motor fires up, it can become a generator, and generate enough power flowing into the fender relay to hang it open.

I'll post a neat pic of the truck at my daughters wedding.


Last edited by John I. on September 17th 2012, 12:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on September 17th 2012, 12:36 pm

[img][/img]

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  dfree383 on September 17th 2012, 12:43 pm

How much gear is in it? And why limit it to 5000?
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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on September 17th 2012, 12:57 pm

3.25 gear. I street drive it on the highway a lot, and din't want it screaming any more than it does. The truck from the 70's had the same gear, and it would have blown this truck away, and it didn't have ET streets. I limited it to 5000 because of the cast pistons, and the fact it has the original engine with 80,000 miles on it. Just from my experience, I don't think revving any higher would help a whole bunch, it's not like my old 351C that came on like a beast at 4000 and kept pulling harder, this was just a steady pull.
I live out in the country, the tourists are gone for the year, I might mark out a 1/4 mile and put new batteries in my stopwatch and try a few things. I've had dampeners slip before on old cars, that's possible, the carb is kind of a pos, I've got a different one I could try, there is definately something wrong, this thing should be low 13's at over 100 mph.

*Edit* Forgot to mention the 60 foots were 1.9, this is a quick as my high 12 second 1979 Mustang with the Cleveland ever did, so I was happy about that part.

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  dfree383 on September 17th 2012, 1:23 pm

Try shifting it a lot higher.... 5000 is way to low with the big heads on it. Maybe 6000 or 6200ish.

How tall are the tires?

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on September 17th 2012, 3:36 pm

So do you think the pistons are good for that rpm? I don't know if I'm brave enough to rev it that high... Shocked
Tires are 28X12.5 Mickey Thompson et streets.
Another reason I put 3.25's back in was from a thing I witnessed a few years ago. My buddy had my old Mustang, was running a mild 460 with 4.55 gears, and he blew them up on the starting line at our national open. His oppenent had redlit, so he had a couple of hours to fix it, all he could find were some 3.50 gears. He put the chunk in, dialed up to 12.0 from his 11.45, the next guy redlit against him, he got to make a full pass, and it ran 11.60. Going down from 4.55's to 3.50's only cost him 15 hundredths - we couldn't believe it. I didn't want to put some 3.98's or 4.11's in and put up with the screaming engine in just to pick up a tenth or two. When I get the stroker in, the 3.25's should be perfect. I'm only shooting for high 11's or low 12's when it's done.
Rev it to 6200 you say... hmmm...
Next time I take it out, I'll split the difference with you and go to 5500 and see how it's pulling.
Thanks for the input Dave.

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  dfree383 on September 17th 2012, 10:55 pm

Try 5500 see if it goes faster, the try 6000 if it goes faster at 5500.
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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on September 17th 2012, 11:12 pm

Just unloaded it off the trailer at home, and took it for a blast. Ran it up to 5500, but it just isn't pulling right. With those heads it should be starting to cut loose and it's not - it's like it's laboring above 4500-5000. Stopped and did a proper stall check on the converter, stuck it in 2nd gear so it wouldn't spin and floored it - 4500 stall... it was advertised as 3000. I'm sure it's part of the problem, I don't need that much stall. Also, my speeds don't match my et. At 14.3 I should be close to 100 mph, and it's barely getting 90. I think I have a fuel delivery problem too, probably both socks are plugged in the tanks, this truck is 33 years old after all. I will get it figured out, I think it's a combination of a few things, and I'm going to chck them all. I have a fuel pressure guage laying around, so I'll hook it up and watch it at the end of high gear, I'm going to check the balancer and make sure it hasn't slipped, do a compression test etc.
Frank told me how to cure the dirty sock problem, wait till the tank is just about empty, take the gas cap off, and hit the fuel line with air and blow the sock off. I might try it, if it suddenly starts working, I can drop the tank and clean it up or replace it.

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  dfree383 on September 17th 2012, 11:49 pm

Drop the tank and clean it. Its not a big deal.

What carb? are you getting full throttle?
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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on September 18th 2012, 12:05 am

850 double pumper. Got Frank to hold the gas pedal down in the pits yesterday morning, it was only opening 3/4 on the primarys, so about half on the secondarys, got it adjusted to wide open, no difference. Maybe it's trying to tell me something.
I know it sounds like a lot of carb, but in my years of trying different things, I found that Clevelands and big block Fords seem to like a bigger carb than is normally called for. Maybe it's got something to do with big intake ports, I dunno.
Whatever it is that's wrong, I need to get it fixed or the stroker isn't going to run good either.
I'm going to try and post a couple of pics of the motor, but they come off the camera really small, so I gotta get that fixed first.

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  dfree383 on September 18th 2012, 12:23 am

A 850 isn't to big !! LOL

What the tune in it?

Your on the right track getting the fuel tank cleaned and make sure its getting enough fuel.
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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on September 18th 2012, 2:08 am

[img][/img]

Obviously didn't get the picture thing figured out, and it doesn't look like I can delete it.

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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  BigBlockRanger on September 18th 2012, 12:27 pm

The single thing that make the biggest difference in how my car ran was getting a GOOD handle on what the timing was doing. Might try locking it out and eliminate that as a potential problem while you are trying to get it sorted out. Mine would look fine when checked at 3500 rpm, but the mechanical advance was not maxed and would keep on advancing as rpm increased. Once I locked it out, things started working much much better.
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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  jasonf on September 18th 2012, 2:44 pm

John I. wrote:Took it to the track this weekend, and it ran a 14.32 at 90 mph. Hugely disappointed, it ran 15.4 at 85 last year.

You picked up a whole second from just a head swap. I may be wrong but that seems pretty good doesn't it. Especially considering the miss match on the gears, tires and stall. I have a 79 with a 460 in it, ported Dove heads, SCJ valves and mild hyd cam, stock converter, 3.5 gears. Back around 87 it was just slightly faster than the new 5.0l's and they ran what, high 14's-15 at the time.

Nice truck btw. My daughters getting married next year and that would be cool as heck to do what you did. Too bad my truck is a pile of crap now.lol
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Re: SCJA heads on a stock 460

Post  John I. on September 19th 2012, 12:38 am

Dave...Had the timing set at 14 as per Scott's reccomendation. Tried moving it up to 18 and no difference. And I'm embarrased to admit, I don't know what jets are in the carb, I forgot to write it down.

BBRanger...I did what you did once on my 351C mustang, and picked up 4 tenths, but I attributed it to the previous owners decision to get his engine builder to install 8-1 pistons so the engine could run on regular, and then leave the Fireball cam in. It lacked cylinder pressure so bad, anything was going to help it. (Plus, I was running a stock converter at the time because I couldn't afford a looser one)

Jason... The full second increase sounds good, but it's probably the looser converter that's making most of that - the 60 foots dropped by 6-7 tenths. What I'm lamenting about is installing aluminum heads that have no flow restriction in this motor, up the compression ratio by at least 1.5 points, and require less ignition advance to make full power, besides weighing 100 lbs less. Plus it got a dual energy cam vs the stocker, and roller rockers, and a recurved distributor, and it only picked up 5 mph.
It was always inconsistent at the strip. I bet it was running low on fuel, now with the increase in rpm all the way down the track and the additional fuel it's using, it's starting to really show up.

I never ran my old F100 Explorer at a dragstrip, but we always had a 1/4 mile accurately market out on the highway, and we timed with a stopwatch, and it ran 14.0 with the exhaust buttoned up and a passenger. Uncorking the headers it went 13.7. The speedo wouldn't have been accurate because of the 50 series tires, but it would show over 105 at the white stripe. (Yes, we were bold enough to paint a stripe across the road) The mph is just a guess of course, since there were no speedo markings past 100 mph.
The first time I took it to the street races, I mopped the earth with a Buick LaSabre that had just finished mopping the earth with a 390 Mustang. The Chevy boys gathered around and I heard them whispering...holy s**t, that's the STOCK intake!! I would pedal it to about 30 mph, pin it when it was just about done spinning, shift into 2nd at 60 mph, and high at 100mph.
I'm sure if I opened the headers on this truck, it would run close to the et the old one did, but it sure wouldn't run the mph. Fuel and spark. That's what I will be looking at.
Thanks for all your input, I love a good bench racing session. I should crack open a beer when I'm on here, that's the only way to bench race.

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