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Cheap 460 thrasher build plan for bracket tbird

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supervel45
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Post  Doxnoogle July 31st 2022, 7:14 am

Got a lot of down time at work, finding myself building my next project in my head. Its easy to picture it finished, a pro-stock /pro-street inspired 83/84 Thunderbird. Someday it will be home to a 500+ monster, but wheres the fun without progression. Immediate plan is fairly simple, build the gnarliest 460 i can without spending money on stuff that wont be used in the future. Starting out with a 70 or 71 engine, dont have hands on yet, its a state away, "ran but needs rebuilt". I have some experience with porting, not a lot, but i got a set of gt40p's to 226/ 182 before i turned them into scrap. Am confident in doing acceptable bowl work. With that in mind i do plan to keep the stock heads for this stage of the project. I assume theyre D0 heads, but "couldve come off a 429" from what ive been able to find both wouldve had the same head except the CJ.

When i built my 351, the sheer volume of information out there is insane compared to what im finding for the big block. Any configuration of small block you can imagine has been documented a dozen times and probably dyno'd a few. Im finding almost no builds fitting what i have in mind, you either have stock with a cam or aftermarket heads and generally stroked. As far as what stock heads do, i read they can do 800 ported but can hardly find any example of them making more than 450. Information on porting bbf heads is non existent besides vague forum posts to the effect of "easy to get 330 on the intake and the exhaust sucks. So i ask, what can i actually expect out of them with decent bowl work, some fluffing and a valve job? Drivability really isnt a concern, will likely be trailered, but at worst, will only be driven to the track. Bang for buck dictates i stuff the meanest solid cam in it i can stuff and squeeze enough compression out of it to run e85 which is all over around here. Im looking at icon forged flat tops which should put me up towards 13:1 by time i clean up the heads and zero deck the block. Cant find a lot on the stock rods other than the CJ and truck rods are better. Im assuming theyre up to the job and will get resized with standard arp bolts. By my maths i should be able to hit 550 or close to it a little over 6k. Will probably call up Bullet for the cam, theyre awesome to deal with. Numbers coming to mind are low .600 lift, 244/256 @ .050 on a 110 or 109 lsa and maybe only advance it 2* instead of 4. Im not sure how much lift the heads will handle, or where they stop flowing, but from what ive found low 600 lift seems doable. Will probably stick some ferrea ss valves in it. Let me know, am i off the mark here? Where is it worth a little more effort? I know the later small block heads dont generally offer much return on bigger valves unless fully porting, if even then. Being candid, as much fun as it is porting iron heads, id rather just clean them up and go, save my money for p-51s. Cheers

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Post  manofmerc July 31st 2022, 5:25 pm

Whatever you do go with aftermarket rods .Those are the weak link all blocks and cast factory cranks are strong enough for what you plan to do .And there is info out there for porting stock heads you just need to look .P 51s aren't available Ford racing scj heads are .As well as trick flow .Scat has a nice H beam as well as eagle not to expensive .Molnar makes them also nicer and more $$ maybe worth it to you I don't know .Good luck and welcome to the forum .Doug

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Post  BBFTorino July 31st 2022, 6:35 pm

Don't want to be a 'naysayer'...but after you spend the money on stock heads, big valves, spring setup, porting, surfacing, new guides and probably exhaust seats....you'll be at least 2/3rd of the way to good aftermarket heads! They'll still outflow stock ported heads, and be ton lighter too.
Also, what Manofmerc said, go with a better aftermarket rod.

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Post  Doxnoogle August 1st 2022, 3:43 am

manofmerc wrote:Whatever you do go with aftermarket rods .Those are the weak link all blocks and cast factory cranks are strong enough for what you plan to do .And there is info out there  for porting stock heads you just need to look .P 51s aren't available Ford racing scj heads are .As well as trick flow .Scat has a nice H beam as well as eagle not to expensive .Molnar makes them also nicer and more $$ maybe worth it to you I don't know .Good luck and welcome to the forum .Doug

BBFTorino wrote:Don't want to be a 'naysayer'...but after you spend the money on stock heads, big valves, spring setup, porting, surfacing, new guides and probably exhaust seats....you'll be at least 2/3rd of the way to good aftermarket heads! They'll still outflow stock ported heads, and be ton lighter too.
Also, what Manofmerc said, go with a better aftermarket rod.

Thats why im not spending any money on them other than a standard valve job and the cheapest stock size stainless valves.  Have to buy valve springs no matter what you do so not really an issue.  Dont care about hardened seats, if the guides are shot ill find another set of heads.  Im not "rebuilding" the heads, im going to spend a couple hours doing basic port / bowl clean up, chuck some cheap valves and springs in them and send it... Also, can generally get most your money back selling decent castings.

You guys are breaking my heart about the rods and p51s...  So not only is there almost no info out there, but what is, is apparently wrong youre saying.  Would be asinine to spend money on rods and pistons and not buy a stroker crank.  Is this another "aftermarket rods are good insurance thing" or are the rods actually junk?  With few exceptions ive long been told that any factory ford rod will do 500+, some substantially more.  As alluded to above, i am 100% not buying aftermarket rods at this stage in the project, best case ill look for a set of football head rods.  Would rather blow up a cheap engine than be disappointed with an "expensive" one.

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Post  manofmerc August 1st 2022, 5:00 am

Do what you want to do .Factory rods in a race engine just dont cut it .And the old football cj- truck rods are really no stronger than the square cut stock rods stock rods normally break about 1" below the pin. Nothing wrong with building a stock stroke 460 And to me it is cheaper to buy just good pistons and rods instead of a complete stroker kit .The p51 issue is what it is I waited one year and still no p51 heads and the guy at Kasses shop says they dont know when they will be available .So I went with scjs for my 502 .Several racers on this forum at one time probably used stock rods and after a rod failure went with an aftermarket rod after destroying their engine .I am one of those guys I ruined a nice four bolt main cj block when my factory cj rod broke . Just trying to help you that is all ! Doug

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Post  Doxnoogle August 1st 2022, 7:00 am

Dont get me wrong, im not knocking the wisdom of what youre saying. If i had it my way id be building a forged 521 or 572 and just be done with it. Working within the scope of what i can swing outside of house savings dictates otherwise. If its a "they will let go" well then i better rethink some shit, but if its a "it could bite you but others have gotten away with it" then lets ride. Reading between extremes the few times ive seen the subject come up seems like i should be able to do 550 and keep it under 6500 with a lighter forged piston.

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Post  dfree383 August 1st 2022, 9:45 am

Stock block and crank, hbeam rods and good pistons

Go the aftermarket head SCJ/p-51 route, it will be worth the money and can be ported and upgraded later for a bigger engine.

High compression 14:1 with a decent roller cam and a dominator will get you 750hp
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Post  the tree man August 1st 2022, 10:01 pm

I'll vouch for the CJ/truck rod failure on the beam,not at the rod bolt cut. I lived that nightmare on my 429CJ back in the 80's. It was a high miler but stock with the 5800 OE rev limiter. Made a big mess.
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Post  stanger68 August 1st 2022, 11:10 pm

All 460 rods are forged. If you bush the small end for floating pins it will dramatically increase strength an reduce chance of breakage at the top that others have mentioned. You’ll definitely want to use arp bolts and keep rpm’s below 6k.

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Post  Doxnoogle August 4th 2022, 4:34 am

the tree man wrote:I'll vouch for the CJ/truck rod failure on the beam, not at the rod bolt cut. I lived that nightmare on my 429CJ back in the 80's. It was a high miler but stock with the 5800 OE rev limiter. Made a big mess.  

It was my understanding that the square cut rods break at the big end when they see too much rpm?

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Post  Doxnoogle August 4th 2022, 8:59 am

You guys have talked me out of putting any time or money into the stock rods, back to not knowing exactly what i want to do. I suppose the argument could be made to build a 3.85 stroke, but my opinion has been the biggest benefit of the 460 is how easy it is to make it bigger. That said, there is an innate beauty in spinning a big block to 7k+ which is easier (cheaper) to do at 3.85 than it is 4.3 or 4.5. To narrow down what i need to do now i need some input on where im going. At an undetermined point in the future I would like to be in the 9s or 8s. Assuming a race weight of ~3k I would need 750-800hp. Is this practically achievable w/out going to a stroker? Would offset grinding the crank to 501 make it weaker, or be better because not spinning as high to make the same power? I guess this is turning into an opinion poll on the pros and cons of stroker vs. non stroker. Im not opposed to a 501, parts are as cheap if not cheaper than std. 460, also lighter crank, lower bearing speed, and lighter pin. The 'overkill is underrated' part of my brain is cringing at taking .300" off the rod throws, but if theres no downside... 6.7 or 6.8 rods could be carried forward into a 521/545 too. On pistons, i assume they are not interchangable either direction, scj vs std? Buying rods and pistons now, knowing the bottom end is bulletproof sounds nice. Moving forward would only require 4 bolting the block, lightening / knife edging the crank, good oil control, set of pistons, and cylinder heads. Ultimately, staying with the stock crank would be the cheapest way to the goal i guess. Even has the benefit of not hitting the tires as hard as a stroker would.

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Post  supervel45 August 4th 2022, 5:18 pm



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Post  Doxnoogle August 5th 2022, 4:09 am

What is highflowdynamics?  Seems like every good thread has a link to this site.  Anything from head porting, crank grinding, oiling mods.  They all say "do it like this" and have the link but none actually explain.  Is it actually just a site under maintenance, or is it another treasure trove of info lost to the abyss?  This is one of the things i was referencing when saying its tough to find info, everything goes to dead / down sites or old network54 pages which are obviously defunct.  Best thing ive found is some site wanting to charge money to even see whats in there, seems like a scam.

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Post  stanger68 August 5th 2022, 8:16 am

Yes it was a good site. now under reconstruction.

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Post  Doxnoogle August 5th 2022, 10:27 pm

Confirmed D1 block and D0 heads, virgin bore. Pulled due to oil consumption. So probably valve guides at minimum, and probably means a no go for a down and dirty ring and bearing. Hoped to hear a little more what you guys thought about the 501, mixed reviews from what i can find, some claim just as strong, some claim theyre weaker, some claim it just depends on the quality of the machine work. If no one has any knowledge on the subject i will probably just steer clear, would be hard enough to find someone reputable to do the machining anyway.

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Post  manofmerc August 6th 2022, 5:20 am

Paul Kane is the man behind High Flow Dynamics you can contact him by phone or pm him here .I don't think offset grinding your 460 crank to 4.140 stroke is a big deal thirty years ago that is how a stroker was build and probably just as strong as a cast aftermarket crank .Pistons are available .Performance Crankshaft could do the work for you and they sell stroker kits also .The guy there is Adney Brown .Paul Kane has a shop that can do what you want too .Give either one your goals and intent Most on this forum would want a 4.300 stroke or a 4.500 it just depends on your choices and the 4.500 stroke works better with a d9 block just because the cylinders are longer .Check around a cast crank stroker kit is lots cheaper than forged .But really for 750 hp you probably need a forged crank And to get 750 hp probably good aftermarket heads . Don't worry you will get there it might be expensive but you will enjoy it .By the way where do you live ? Doug

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Post  supervel45 August 6th 2022, 6:52 am

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Post  supervel45 August 6th 2022, 7:11 am

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Post  Doxnoogle August 6th 2022, 8:47 am

manofmerc wrote:Paul Kane is the man behind High Flow Dynamics you can contact him by phone or pm him here .I don't think offset grinding your 460 crank to 4.140 stroke is a big deal thirty years ago that is how a stroker was build and probably just as strong as a cast aftermarket crank .Pistons are available .Performance Crankshaft could do the work for you and they sell stroker kits also .The guy there is Adney Brown .Paul Kane has a shop that can do what you want too .Give either one your goals and intent Most on this forum would want a 4.300 stroke or a 4.500 it just depends on your choices and the 4.500 stroke works better with a d9 block just because the cylinders are longer .Check around a cast crank stroker kit is lots cheaper than forged .But really for 750 hp you probably need a forged crank And to get 750 hp probably good aftermarket heads . Don't worry you will get there it might be expensive but you will enjoy it .By the way where do you live ? Doug

I agree on stronger than a chinese cast, maybe even a chinese forged, my concern is, would the crank still be reliable at 750/800 if turned to the chevy journal. Am aware of thats how it used to be done, dying art anymore, why i mentioned would be hard to find someone without shipping the crank. Ive always had my eye on a 521, dont care for being undersquare in general nor the pin moved into the oil ring.

supervel45 wrote:
I reread you're first post.
If the heads in question are D0VE and not CJ they came with rail rockers if they are stock.
For the mechanical cam you want to run they will need or should be machined for guide plates.
I have some old 1972 PI heads that were nicely ported for cheap ( at least for PI's ) that needed some minor work and a couple of valves, so I thought.
One thing lead to another and they ended up with bigger stainless valves and new guides, surfaced, ect.
I now have a total investment of 1,200 to 1,400 in them, which fine as I wanted to stay with factory castings and am not concerned with weight or making the most HP.
I would never try to make 750HP with factory castings on a budget. The rules/class racers spend big money doing that.
I would pull the engine you have now, down including the heads, inspect and measure what you have.
Maybe even have it Fluxed first.
If it needs major work, or even has a fatal flaw like a cracked block or heads that may not have been detected, you will be in a better position for your decisions.
The flux caught a bowl crack on my PI's. It was nice that it could be repaired. Just Saying.

Im not trying to make 750hp with factory heads. I think ive mentioned multiple times that im just going to clean them up and try to get 500 with them. Acceptable power number to get the car at least faster than my fairlane, while i continue to build the chassis to support the "real engine". Also aware of budget creep, which is why i am / was, trying to avoid doing any more than i had to. Now that i seemingly have to, i want to make sure i buy the right stuff to do what i want. Really easy to build a killer bottom end and drop good heads on later, P51s arent even available currently it would seem. Good call though on tearing it apart and checking it out, i would expect it to be in good shape however given its history.

supervel45 wrote:
Look at more BBF dyno sheets.
Look at the peak HP Rpm.
Most of the ones I have seen are under 7K rpm.
It's not a small block or a Chevy.
They don't seem to need the high Rpm, almost like a turbo diesel. Wink

I will complain about lack of information to be found once more (literally why i made this account) then tell you to point me at these dyno graphs. My turbo diesel spins to 4500, while maybe not a lot compared to something else, its plenty for a diesel. Most of those graphs youre referencing are also strokers i would guess. 460s are rather well known for liking rpm and revving well, more so than chevys (at least bbc, not talking about a 327 or 283 here) because of their short deck, longer stroke, and garbo rod ratio. My intent is to build a race car not a tow truck, to make 800hp with 460cid is going to take some rpm to do, north of 1.7hp/cid. Beyond that, if im staying at 460, well, theres just something really fun about wringing out a big block. My uncle had a 71 or so duster with an aluminum rod 500 something in it, and it was a monster, low 8s going out the back door around 8k. Dads challenger was a forged crank 440 with heavy 6 pack rods, even with indy heads he was only making around 680, shifting 6800 and going through the lights at 7200.

As i said above, if i had my choice id just go buy a forged 521 and away i go. Unfortunately i have a house payment, wifes medical bills, retirement savings, and other less fun things that suck up most of my paycheck first. If i buy parts smart, i can go a long ways without wasting money. If i buy 6.605 rods, im locked in at 460. If i buy 6.8" rods, i have to spend 400-500 on turning the crank, but that gets me 501 cubes, and i can keep the rods if i go 521 down the road. Pistons are moot here, as would have to buy SCJ /kaase style pistons anyway, so thats just a L.

Not looking for you guys to tell me what i 'should' want, looking for advice on the best way to get there.

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Post  supervel45 August 6th 2022, 9:14 am

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Post  supervel45 August 6th 2022, 9:32 am

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Post  supervel45 August 6th 2022, 10:11 am

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Post  rmcomprandy August 6th 2022, 11:27 am

supervel45 wrote:The major difference in my plan and yours is I always planned to stay at 472 cubes, and get better heads and camshaft change. I was wanting between 450 to 650 or so HP increase.

If I ever wanted to go with a stroker engine, I was going to buy a complete rotating assemble.

I wish I could help you more but, I have never been able to figure a way to do both on a budget.

I will stick to my belief that a BBF makes the same or more power then a BBC at a lower Rpm, just my experience from watching, owning, and driving both of them for years.

When I hear 472 or 498 and factory block with 750HP or more in a sentence or two along with D0VE stockish heads it reminds me of a rules based truck pull racing shortblock and cam/valvetrane trying to be bolted together and made to run and live. Yes the Rpm will be high and none of the parts mix.

I am probably mistaken, it just is a hard problem to resolve.

In the title it says ... "CHEAP".

So, cheap, good or fast ... you can only get one.

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Post  supervel45 August 6th 2022, 11:31 am

^ FACT^ Claimer, Just Kidding.

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Post  stanger68 August 6th 2022, 1:09 pm

Cheap is a relative term. 5-600 hp with a stock bottom end is not advised by many. But it doesn’t take much. Good rod bolts, floating pins, cheap forged pistons. I personally know several engines that have done this successfully through the years. Ported dove heads with CJ valves and you’re good to go. The stock 2.09 valves probably not going to cut it, but never tried.


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