New 385 Build - Head Selection

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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  Scott Foxwell on October 23rd 2017, 9:49 pm

stevesgarage wrote:
Scott Foxwell wrote:
stevesgarage wrote:
Scott Foxwell wrote:Good Lord, talk about complicating something simple.  Shocked
Either the 429 or 460, in stock configuration, will deliver everything you could ever want in something that will make tons of power and turn a bunch of rpm.
One thing I will say...RPM = ruins people's motors. Forget about high rpm unless that's what you want just for the sake of rpm. You can spin either a 429 or a 460 to 7 grand. No problem. Question is, why?
Buy good components, don't get carried away with the induction, focus on build details like valve train geometry, make sure you have the best machine work possible, and talk to Chris Straub about the cam. That's going to be the biggest contributing factor to the power you want to make and where you want to make it. Lets face it, 460 cubic inches with it's short stroke and large bore (comparatively speaking) is a big small block by today's standards. Can you make improvements? You can make improvements to ANY engine, ANY configuration. If you want to do something different, go with one of the 4.3 stroke, 6.8 rod combinations. Simple. Done. Still a reasonable stroke/rod length/compression height. RPM shouldn't be a problem.
Also, not sure if it matters, but there is no way I'd put a 385 series engine in a Cobra.

Not that I wouldn't LOVE a Cobra kit car, and I would certainly use a built SBF if I did.  I'm building a Deuce Hi-Boy Roadster, BBF, 5-speed.  Scott, thanks for the honest, straight-talk feedback, that's why I love this forum!  This is a light, short wheelbase car (LIKE a Cobra Kit car), hence the 'moderate' BBF build.  A 4.3 stroke is way over the top for this, I'm thinking, but thanks for ALL the advice.  After 50 years of wrenching, I thought I 'knew it all'.  3 days on this forum has been quite an education!
That's cool!! Duce Roadster with a BBF. Love it.
Just showing that even with a 4.3 stroke, you would still have a relatively "rpm friendly" combination. Don't worry about piston weight with a shorter stroke. It's not THAT much. Heck, I ran my stock bottom end 429 to 7000 almost every day I drove it. Never missed a beat. There are some really nice pistons and rods on the market these days. I would be tempted to build a 429 with as long a rod as possible and big a bore as possible. Even 3.85 stroke is considered short by big block standards. I like where you're going with this, I just don't think it needs to get complicated. JMO.

Scott, I just read your last post to my wife and she reminded me that overthinking things is kinda how I roll!!  Very Happy
LOL...well, I'm only giving advice from experience. I could make a cotton ball complicated. I find details in the details. Smile

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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  rmcomprandy on October 23rd 2017, 10:54 pm

In an era when money was not so prevalent and it was not so easy to simply buy everything; (I didn't think the 1980's was totally forgotten but, it seems they are).
 I put together a 492 "stroker" 385 short block with Pontiac connecting rods, Oldsmobile .020" oversize replacement 403 pistons and an offset ground 460 crankshaft; (4.100" stroke x 4.371" bore).
That completed short block cost me less than $400.00 and $205.00 of that was spent on having the crankshaft ground and balanced.

I built several of that combination for customers throughout the years but, using aftermarket Pontiac rods instead.
I think I still have a set of Federal Mogul 466P +020 or L-2451F +020 pistons on the shelf; now I gotta go look.

I guess that improvisation would be to complicated for today's "buy everything" engine builders who make almost nothing anymore from what was available O.E.M. .
The offset ground 460 crank, 440 rod combo was derived from what was readily available, also.

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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  dfree383 on October 24th 2017, 6:48 am

rmcomprandy wrote:In an era when money was not so prevalent and it was not so easy to simply buy everything; (I didn't think the 1980's was totally forgotten but, it seems they are).
 I put together a 492 "stroker" 385 short block with Pontiac connecting rods, Oldsmobile .020" oversize replacement 403 pistons and an offset ground 460 crankshaft; (4.100" stroke x 4.371" bore).
That completed short block cost me less than $400.00 and $205.00 of that was spent on having the crankshaft ground and balanced.

I built several of that combination for customers throughout the years but, using aftermarket Pontiac rods instead.
I think I still have a set of Federal Mogul 466P +020 or L-2451F +020 pistons on the shelf; now I gotta go look.

I guess that improvisation would be to complicated for today's "buy everything" engine builders who make almost nothing anymore from what was available O.E.M. .
The offset ground 460 crank, 440 rod combo was derived from what was readily available, also.

Got to remember to Randy, it's gotten real hard to find machine shops in a lot of areas that have the ability to off set grind a crankshaft or modify production parts now days. The whole build it yourself thing because it's not avaliable isn't as common as it had to be years ago.
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  rmcomprandy on October 24th 2017, 9:26 am

dfree383 wrote:
rmcomprandy wrote:In an era when money was not so prevalent and it was not so easy to simply buy everything; (I didn't think the 1980's was totally forgotten but, it seems they are).
 I put together a 492 "stroker" 385 short block with Pontiac connecting rods, Oldsmobile .020" oversize replacement 403 pistons and an offset ground 460 crankshaft; (4.100" stroke x 4.371" bore).
That completed short block cost me less than $400.00 and $205.00 of that was spent on having the crankshaft ground and balanced.

I built several of that combination for customers throughout the years but, using aftermarket Pontiac rods instead.
I think I still have a set of Federal Mogul 466P +020 or L-2451F +020 pistons on the shelf; now I gotta go look.

I guess that improvisation would be to complicated for today's "buy everything" engine builders who make almost nothing anymore from what was available O.E.M. .
The offset ground 460 crank, 440 rod combo was derived from what was readily available, also.

Got to remember to Randy, it's gotten real hard to find machine shops in a lot of areas that have the ability to off set grind a crankshaft or modify production parts now days. The whole build it yourself thing because it's not avaliable isn't as common as it had to be years ago.

Yea ... that's certainly true.

"Doing things the way they are normally done is a dangerous substitute for thinking", Ben Franklin (paraphrased)

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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  Scott Foxwell on October 24th 2017, 10:17 am

rmcomprandy wrote:
dfree383 wrote:
rmcomprandy wrote:In an era when money was not so prevalent and it was not so easy to simply buy everything; (I didn't think the 1980's was totally forgotten but, it seems they are).
 I put together a 492 "stroker" 385 short block with Pontiac connecting rods, Oldsmobile .020" oversize replacement 403 pistons and an offset ground 460 crankshaft; (4.100" stroke x 4.371" bore).
That completed short block cost me less than $400.00 and $205.00 of that was spent on having the crankshaft ground and balanced.

I built several of that combination for customers throughout the years but, using aftermarket Pontiac rods instead.
I think I still have a set of Federal Mogul 466P +020 or L-2451F +020 pistons on the shelf; now I gotta go look.

I guess that improvisation would be to complicated for today's "buy everything" engine builders who make almost nothing anymore from what was available O.E.M. .
The offset ground 460 crank, 440 rod combo was derived from what was readily available, also.

Got to remember to Randy, it's gotten real hard to find machine shops in a lot of areas that have the ability to off set grind a crankshaft or modify production parts now days. The whole build it yourself thing because it's not avaliable isn't as common as it had to be years ago.

Yea ... that's certainly true.

"Doing things the way they are normally done is a dangerous substitute for thinking", Ben Franklin   (paraphrased)
Re: Ben's quote. I think that's one of the problems here, is that even with a dead stock combination, there is still plenty of "thinking" to be done. If guys would learn the basics of engine building (not assembling) instead of trying to keep up with the latest "trends", they would find gobs of power and performance right in front of them at a LOT less cost. Dfree is right... just try and find someone who will actually offset grind a crank correctly these days, let alone find them in your home town. With the aftermarket industry, these sort of services, and the THINKING that goes with using them, is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Too many want to run before than can even crawl. I know a lot of really high end engine building "stuff" but I spend most of the time on my builds focusing on just getting the fundamentals as good as I can, as right as I can. The devil IS in the details. There are places and times for the complicated exotic stuff but for the most part, if you can't focus on good building practices, all the aftermarket stroker, cylinder head, big cam, yada yada is going to net you about half your investment worth when it comes at HP/dollar. Give 5 differenet engine builders identical parts and you will have 5 different engines.
I wonder how a good performance engine ever got built before the internet.... Rolling Eyes

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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  68galaxie on October 24th 2017, 11:10 am

Agree 100% with Randy and Scott.
The internet has plenty of sources of raw information - cylinder head flow charts, camshaft selection calculators (A DV one comes to mind), suggested bearing clearances, suggested compression ratios etc...

I came from the era where not much aftermarket parts were available for 385 series or FE engines. WE had to figure out combinations ourselves. Stroker cranks were offset ground or sometimes welded strokers. Camshafts - well we just experimented alot. And yes, the smaller grinds worked better with our limited cylinder head choices back then (80's).

It still comes down to experience. Find someone who has plenty of experience with that specific engine type and listen. Of course there are always differing opinions among engine builders as to what combination(s) they prefer.

Anyhow, building an engine IS learning and IS fun! To me it doesn't matter if I would have chosen a different camshaft or cylinder head
and made another 50 HP. I can scare the hell out of myself any time I am aggressive with the throttle pedal.

Cheers!!
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  nickpohlaandp on October 24th 2017, 12:27 pm

dfree383 wrote:...Might consider turning down the journals to BBC size and getting some longer rods to lighten up the Pistons considerably if you haven't already built it

I've heard of this being done a lot on the BBF cranks. I'm not a crank expert so bear with me, but when you grind that much off a crank journal doesn't it compromise the strength of the surface? Would it need to be nitrided or something like that?

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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  kjett on October 24th 2017, 1:30 pm

stevesgarage wrote:
Lem Evans wrote:If a guy didn't want a real big engine the decades old 4.150" crank and 6.8" rod package would be hard to beat. RPM friendly and affordable components.

And that would give me about a 502?  Lem, I think I could get behind that, and considering back when I first got into cars the Chevy 409 was a HUGE engine, that's a pretty bold statement!  And, those cranks are readily available.  From what most guys tell me it's not worth the cost of offset grinding a crank when new is only a little more.

       Steve

While this is true that new cast cranks are around the same cost as offset grinding a stock crank, but I can tell you I personally know for a fact that the stock offset ground crank is stronger than most of the offshore castings. I loved my little 488ci motor with an offset ground stock crank (3.975"), mopar 440 rods, and custom pistons. I sprayed the crap out of it as a 14.5:1 race motor. Plenty of torque and power to go around, but for a street deal, there are plenty of 514" kits on the market using common 4.14" cranks, bbc length rods and shelf pistons. More torque of the longer stroke, and good rpms for the snappy response you want with the right head/cam/induction/exhaust packages.
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  stevesgarage on October 26th 2017, 2:09 am

Spent the day at Ford Performance Solutions in Anaheim, CA yesterday. Troy Bowen is the owner and long-time Ford engine builder with a full machine shop, fabrication facility and dyno lab. I shared allot of the tips that I picked up from all the posters on this thread (which he already knew) and we’re real close to A PLAN!!

Sent from Topic'it App
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  BBFTorino on October 26th 2017, 5:07 am

Stevesgarage....have you ever been to "PowerHeads" in Wildomar??

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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  stevesgarage on October 28th 2017, 5:37 pm

No, I sure haven't, but I SURE WOULD LIKE TO!  Do you have an address or phone for 'PowerHeads'?  (I live in Wildomar.)
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  stevesgarage on October 28th 2017, 5:54 pm

Thanks BBFTorino, but I just Googled PowerHeads, got the contact and address info.  I also got some pretty angry reviews of upset engine & head build customers.  Apparently this guy just works out of his garage and doesn't sound too reputable.  BUT THANKS ANYWAY!

   Steve
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  BBFTorino on October 29th 2017, 12:33 am

I had a set of Aussie 351C heads, the 2V heads with the 4V style closed chambers.
I had Power Heads do a full CNC port job on them.
When I called them and spoke to them, he said he has a program already for the 2V heads for a full CNC porting job.
But he also said that for no extra charge, he could open up the valve sizes and pockets/bowls to the 4V size, and I could run the bigger 2.19 and 1.71 valve package.
So I dropped them off and had it done.
My mistake!!.....when I picked them up, they were wrapped in plastic and were cleaned up very nice. I paid him and went on my merry way.
It wasn't until several days later that I unpacked them and inspected them.
The CNC process hit coolant passages in every intake bowl:evil:
I called him later to find out what I can do, and why did'nt he stop the process after the first port??
He explained that going with the 4V valve sizes is a 50/50 chance of breaking thru to the coolant passage. Some heads turn out fine, others hit coolant.
He said sorry, but there are no guarantees.
I politely asked for a refund, he said sorry, no refunds as it was merely labor....no parts or other sales.
Closer inspection shows that I can save them......by removing the core plugs on top, in the valve spring area, I can get in "behind" the intake ports/bowls and either use epoxy or brazing rod.
However, since the time I had this done, the aftermarket has come out with a bunch of Cleveland style heads!! Edelbrock, Trick Flow, CHI, AFD, Scott Cook, etc.
So I figured that why should I bother investing more time, effort, and money into these cast iron lumps, when all this new and improved aluminum stuff is now on the market??
They would have probably been fine if we decided to go to a slightly smaller Pontiac sized 2.11" valve.
he now offers that size...LOL
But I learned a lesson in this....and it's that I can save 15% or more on my auto insurance if I switch to GEICO!!lol!

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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  stevesgarage on October 29th 2017, 4:40 pm

BBFTorino, that sounds like the stories I read online!  I think Troy at Ford Performance Solutions is going to do a good job for me.  We’re talking about a 502 with a 4.39 bore, 4.15 stroke and 6.80 rods.  My intake choice is narrowing the selection of heads.  I’m using a Blue Thunder tunnel ram modified for EFI and an Enderle Bugcatcher.  The manifold has round CJ ports and that would call for too much work to use the AFR heads that have much smaller rectangular ports.  I just finished tearing down one of the two complete 429’s I have so I can bring the block to FPS Tuesday.  Wish me luck!  
I’ll ask if they give the GEICO discount!
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  jasonf on October 29th 2017, 6:08 pm

Can you post up some pictures of your intake once it is converted?
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  stevesgarage on October 29th 2017, 7:10 pm



Here's a pic from the day I brought the parts home last week.  It's going to be awhile for the conversion.  Not the least of which will be acquiring a manifold top or fabricating a spacer/adapter.  There is a butt ugly rectangular 3" spacer with the hat 4-bolt pattern available, but I'm looking for something that uses the 8-bolt bosses cast in the manifold and with the hat bolt pattern on top.  Enderle makes the manifold under the Blue Thunder name and they may have a top, I'm trying to contact them directly because their main outlet, Good Vibrations Performance, has no info.  The pic shows about 2 1/2" spacing, I'm thinking 2" or less would be just about right (and clear the hood of my Deuce).

   Steve
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  jasonf on October 30th 2017, 8:13 am

Are you planning on running the injectors in the runners or under the hat in the spacer? When I was looking for them a few years ago there was non available at the time. BT must have cast some more since then.
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  stevesgarage on November 3rd 2017, 7:34 pm

Good Vibrations has the manifolds in stock now. I will be drilling the vertical bosses in the ports for the injector bungs. It has become apparent that no matching manifold top exists and I will probably have to use the available spacer and cut it down some. I could use the 8 bolt bosses as a mounting point for the injector rail bracket. I have talked to a few Blue Thunder vendors and it seems that little if any stock is being produced by them these days.
I’m currently looking for their Competition Valve Covers. Many vendors have them pictured on their sites but no inventory.
Steve
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  stevesgarage on November 11th 2017, 7:55 pm

jasonf wrote:Are you planning on running the injectors in the runners or under the hat in the spacer? When I was looking for them a few years ago there was non available at the time. BT must have cast some more since then.

My engine build is coming right along and I should have some pics of the partial manifold mods next week.  I will soon post them on a new thread looking for some feedback on my induction system of choice:  Streetrod 502 Build With Bugcatcher EFI   For now, I guess this thread is done, I considered all the great advice and info I received here, but it came down to which heads' intake ports most closely matched the Blue Thunder/Enderle tunnel ram I was using.  Turned out to be a fairly short list with the TFS Power Port 325's on top.  (And also my builder has allot of experience with them.)  So, I sincerely thank all of you that contributed, and hopefully, will continue to contribute to the realization of my long-time dream hot rod!
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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  rmcomprandy on November 11th 2017, 8:42 pm

stevesgarage wrote:
jasonf wrote:Are you planning on running the injectors in the runners or under the hat in the spacer? When I was looking for them a few years ago there was non available at the time. BT must have cast some more since then.

My engine build is coming right along and I should have some pics of the partial manifold mods next week.  I will soon post them on a new thread looking for some feedback on my induction system of choice:  Streetrod 502 Build With Bugcatcher EFI   For now, I guess this thread is done, I considered all the great advice and info I received here, but it came down to which heads' intake ports most closely matched the Blue Thunder/Enderle tunnel ram I was using.  Turned out to be a fairly short list with the TFS Power Port 325's on top.  (And also my builder has allot of experience with them.)  So, I sincerely thank all of you that contributed, and hopefully, will continue to contribute to the realization of my long-time dream hot rod!

Be sure to procure a Mallory distributor with a "crab" cap for use with that intake manifold.

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Re: New 385 Build - Head Selection

Post  stevesgarage on November 11th 2017, 10:16 pm

Thanks for the suggestion Randy, but I was thinking of going with the MSD 8577 dist, 4.75" at its widest point, 8.75" from the coil tower to mounting point.  Seems compact enough to clear the manifold and hat.  (?)
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