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Old 10-13-2003, 01:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
Crazy
 
V8 Engines: Ford vs Chevy

Gentlemen, I'd be interested in hearing any informed opinions about the respective merits of both Ford and Chevy's V8 engines.

I am planning a Cobra build and want to make the correct choice for the right reasons. The fact that Cobras originally had Ford blocks is less important than the build quality or the performance characteristics of, say a Goodwrench V8 vs a Ford unit.

Initial cost and reliability are obviously issues, as are any significant differences between output (torque/power). Finally, tuning is also a potential issue (as yet undecided whether I will mess around with it or just leave it alone): speccing a lower compression solution to make room for supercharging. I know that's fairly easy when ordering up a Goodwrench unit, dunno with Ford.

If you have particular experience, I'd love to get the benefit of that, so please post away.

Any top tips on good prices/sources also most welcome.

Aside from that I think we've all heard the one about "...I'd rather push a [insert brand].." so unless it's excruciatingly funny, lets keep it focussed.

Thanks fellas.
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Old 10-13-2003, 07:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: SE USA
1) Is this for a big block build or a small block build?

2) How much money are you planning on spending on the engine?

3) How much maintainence are you planning on doing yourself?

4) Computer controled ignition on a modern engine, or are you going for an older style mill?

The money question is the big one, size being second.

Me? I'd look for a 289 Hi-Po for a small-block app, or an older 427 side-oiler for a big block.
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Old 10-13-2003, 02:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: California
I'd go for a LT1 350 with a Edelbrock Preformer RPM performance package.......

http://www.edelbrock.com/automotive/index.html
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Old 10-13-2003, 04:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: Don't worry about it.
^^

Yeah, that's great if there is no budget involved.

If there is, Chevy 350 blocks are everywhere you look. They are realitivly cheap too. I'm sure you can find a 427 too for a decent price.
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Old 10-14-2003, 05:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Wisconsin...
Good Things about Chevys
More parts than any other engine available.
Parts are generally less expensive and easier to find used.

Bad Things about Chevys.
I hate the layout of the distributor....have to take it out to take the intake off...
Spark plugs suck to take out with headers.

Bad things about Fords
Not as popular as chevy but if you built a 302...parts are easy to find.

Good things about Ford
Easier to work on as in relationship to spark plugs and cramming a small block in a engine compartment...

There is more good and bad things......I can't think of them right now though...
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Old 10-14-2003, 06:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Central California
As said above. Parts galore for sb chevy
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Old 10-14-2003, 07:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I believe because of their long intake runners, Fords tend to have a lot more torque. look at their early 90's 4.9s with 225 hp and something like 270 lb/ft of torque.
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Old 10-14-2003, 07:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: portland the land of liquid sun shine
what about mopar stick a 44o in that bad boy
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Old 10-15-2003, 07:18 AM   #9 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Hey Moonduck, I was gonna PM you, but I figured this way the rest of the board might get to benefit from the insights. I have copied your questions in below, and answered in CAPS because I can't figure out all this formatting and quoting stuff


1) Is this for a big block build or a small block build?


I HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THE DISTINCTION, AND CAN ONLY GUESS THIS IS A MATTER OF DISPLACEMENT. PRESUMABLY THIS IS WHAT, 289 VS 427? IF SO, WE'RE TALKING 427 HERE.

THAT'S BECAUSE I AM GOING FOR A 427 BODY STYLE. NEXT TIME AROUND I WILL DO A 289 COBRA.

2) How much money are you planning on spending on the engine?

$3000 BUT OBVIOUSLY LESS IF I CAN GET AWAY WITH IT

3) How much maintainence are you planning on doing yourself?

I LIKE WORKING ON VEHICLES, AND THIS WHOLE PROJECT IS ABOUT THE SATISFACTION I WILL GET FROM BUILDING AND MAINTAINING SOMETHING MYSELF. OTHERWISE I COULD JUST GO AND BUY A READY BUILT COBRA REPLICA FROM SOUTH AFRICA FOR THE SAME OR LESS MONEY. THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF SATISFACTION IN KNOWING THAT I BUILT THE WHOLE THING WITH MY OWN HANDS.



4) Computer controled ignition on a modern engine, or are you going for an older style mill?

OLDER STYLE MILL. THEY'RE MORE RAUCOUS, UNRULY, AND IN-KEEPING. AND I HATE ALL THAT DIAGNOSIS BS THAT'S NECESARY WHEN THE EFI/EMS STARTS PLAYING UP.

The money question is the big one, size being second.

Me? I'd look for a 289 Hi-Po for a small-block app, or an older 427 side-oiler for a big block.

BY "289 HI PO" DO YOU MEAN A SMALL DISPLACEMENT ENGINE WITH AN EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH OUT PUT?

IS IT RELIABLE? DOES IT NEED TO REV ITS TITS OFF? WHO MAKES THEM? WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?

THANKS MAN
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Old 10-15-2003, 10:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: PA
Big blocks and small blocks are actually different engines. Both can be bored/stroked to several possible displacements, but in general the small blocks can't go as high (go figure). A 427 would be a big block, although some aftermarket small block chevies (don't know about ford) can be taken that high as well. A small block would be smaller and lighter, but most small block parts don't breathe so well at displacements that large. The bore/stroke ratio may also be different (changing the torque curve characteristics).

$3000 is not enough to build a reliable 427. You can get a decent 350 for that money (if you shop around), but nothing special.

A 289 would need to rev very high to make power.
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Old 10-16-2003, 09:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: SE USA
Quote:
Originally posted by geeza
Hey Moonduck, I was gonna PM you, but I figured this way the rest of the board might get to benefit from the insights. I have copied your questions in below, and answered in CAPS because I can't figure out all this formatting and quoting stuff
No sweat, Geeza =)

Quote:
1) Is this for a big block build or a small block build?


I HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THE DISTINCTION, AND CAN ONLY GUESS THIS IS A MATTER OF DISPLACEMENT. PRESUMABLY THIS IS WHAT, 289 VS 427? IF SO, WE'RE TALKING 427 HERE.

THAT'S BECAUSE I AM GOING FOR A 427 BODY STYLE. NEXT TIME AROUND I WILL DO A 289 COBRA.
The distinction is, generally, the size difference between the engine blocks themselves. Big block engines are quite literally bigger engines externally. As a result, they can handle higher displacements internally with a greater degree of strength and reliability.

You can build a torque monster with a small block, but for best power, big block is the way to go. The limiter is cash and space in the engine compartment. If you are building a 427 bodied Cobra, size is not really an issue. Money, on the other hand...

Quote:
2) How much money are you planning on spending on the engine?

$3000 BUT OBVIOUSLY LESS IF I CAN GET AWAY WITH IT
Gonna be tough to do a good big block on that kind of scratch. Look around and see what you can afford, remembering that you will have to rebuild whatever you buy and that big block engines are more expensive to rebuild. You could easily build a solid small block with that kind of money, though nothing crazy.

Basically, if you luck out and find a cheap donor engine out of a junker, you are much better off. A crate engine will really set you back, probably more than you want to spend total. Start checking the paper and the net for engines.

Good Ford big blocks would be: 427 (look for 4-bolt mains), 428, 429, and (as a last resort as they weren't that hot) 460. You can go for a 390 big block if you find it, but you would honestly be better served to go for a small block instead of a 390.

Good Chevy big blocks: 389, 427, 454 (Chevy guys, got any others you can suggest?)

Good Ford Small blocks: 289 (I said Hi-Po and will get mor einto that later), 302, 351W, 351C (it has been debated that the 351C is a big block, I disagree, it is however a strong engine no matter how you look at it).

Good Chevy Small blocks: Just about any of them. 283, 327, 350, 383, 402, it doesn't matter really. They're all good properly set up.

Quote:
3) How much maintainence are you planning on doing yourself?

I LIKE WORKING ON VEHICLES, AND THIS WHOLE PROJECT IS ABOUT THE SATISFACTION I WILL GET FROM BUILDING AND MAINTAINING SOMETHING MYSELF. OTHERWISE I COULD JUST GO AND BUY A READY BUILT COBRA REPLICA FROM SOUTH AFRICA FOR THE SAME OR LESS MONEY. THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF SATISFACTION IN KNOWING THAT I BUILT THE WHOLE THING WITH MY OWN HANDS.
Right on! You have the right asttitude, bro. The big reason I am asking is due to things like pushrod engines vs hydraulic lifters, FI vs carbs, etc. If you are willing to get your hands dirty, you will save SO much money.

Quote:
4) Computer controled ignition on a modern engine, or are you going for an older style mill?

OLDER STYLE MILL. THEY'RE MORE RAUCOUS, UNRULY, AND IN-KEEPING. AND I HATE ALL THAT DIAGNOSIS BS THAT'S NECESARY WHEN THE EFI/EMS STARTS PLAYING UP.
Good on ya. This makes choice of base blocks far, far easier. While the computer controlled stuff has gotten a lot hotte rin recent years, it is right expensive.

Quote:
Me? I'd look for a 289 Hi-Po for a small-block app, or an older 427 side-oiler for a big block.

BY "289 HI PO" DO YOU MEAN A SMALL DISPLACEMENT ENGINE WITH AN EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH OUT PUT?
"Hi-Po"was just a Ford designation. It's basically a 289 with 4V heads running a big carb. It is a very high output, high winding engine, beautifully suited to road-racing.

Quote:
IS IT RELIABLE? DOES IT NEED TO REV ITS TITS OFF? WHO MAKES THEM? WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Ford 289's were bulletproof when built even halfway right. They were revvers, but not obscenely so.

Were I the guy with the bucks, my list of engines would go like this:

1) 63 1/2 Ford 427 Side Oiler (an absolutel brute of an engine, banned from NASCAR Competition)
2) Ford 289 (It was good enough for Carrol Shelby for many years in both Cobras and the amazing GT350 Mustangs)
3) Ford 351C (It was good enough for the DeTomasi Pantera, so it's good enough for me)
4) Random Chevy big block from the list above
5) Random Chevy small block from the list above

For pure value, you can't beat a Chevy 350 or a Ford 302. They are the single most commonly available V-8's produced by their respective manufacturer and can be had for a song. About a year ago I found a perfectly good 302 block that had been machined for $50, and that is not all that uncommon if you look. In the long run, a low-buck base engine with a lot of solid mods and machinging may be worth far more to you than a bigger engine that you can't really afford to machine or mod. Check you options and costs before deciding.

And keep us posted! =)
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Old 10-16-2003, 10:34 AM   #12 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: PA
Quote:
63 1/2 Ford 427 Side Oiler (an absolutel brute of an engine, banned from NASCAR Competition)
Can these still be found?
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Old 10-16-2003, 11:00 AM   #13 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Moonduck





Good Ford big blocks would be: 427 (look for 4-bolt mains), 428, 429, and (as a last resort as they weren't that hot) 460. You can go for a 390 big block if you find it, but you would honestly be better served to go for a small block instead of a 390.

Good Chevy big blocks: 389, 427, 454 (Chevy guys, got any others you can suggest?)

Good Ford Small blocks: 289 (I said Hi-Po and will get mor einto that later), 302, 351W, 351C (it has been debated that the 351C is a big block, I disagree, it is however a strong engine no matter how you look at it).

Good Chevy Small blocks: Just about any of them. 283, 327, 350, 383, 402, it doesn't matter really. They're all good properly set up.





And keep us posted! =)
Nice post. Just a couple corrections on the Chevy stuffs. The 389 is not a Chevy engine....I think it is Pontiac, but I am not totally sure. I do know it isn't Chevy. Chevy did produce the 396 and 402 big blocks. After 1970 all 396s where actually 402s in displacement. The 402 and 396 are the same engine. The small block you are thinking of is the 400 small block, there never was a 402 small block. It is now possible to build up to a 454 small block Chevy, Fel-Pro released a gasket large enough to do it. Last I saw 632 was as large as they are going on street big block Chevys.


Geeza-
In all honesty and I'm not trying to be hatefull in any way. Why are you even considering putting anything but a Ford 427 in a Cobra? A guy near my house built a Cobra and didn't want to fork the cash for the right engine so he used a Chevy small block. It was cheap and easy and propelled the car. But, now he can't show the car in anyway or even take it to a gathering of car guys. He gets so much crap for using the 350 it hurts. If you can afford to build the Cobra at all, wait a little and plunk down the 8 to 10 grand required to build a Cobra engine. Bare minimum, go with a very well built 347 stroker or 408W. An engine worthy of being in a Cobra is going to cost- and I don't mean in a lot of chrome. Chrome is only shiny, it does not make an engine worthy of resting in that engine bay. Please consider waiting and saving a bit to get a really nice engine for the car. I love Chevys, they are all I hotrod, but I woud not want to look into a Cobra and find one.
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Old 10-16-2003, 05:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
Upright
 
Location: San Marcos, CA
Quote:
Good Chevy big blocks: 389, 427, 454 (Chevy guys, got any others you can suggest?
Come on now, the 502!

The 454 is a beasty beast. My friend just dropped one in his Nova, runs great. But if you're going for a Cobra i'd go with something smaller, i.e. 427 should be plenty.

As for Big Block/Small Block, generally, the rule is anything over 400 cubic inches is a big block. The names say it all, small block is smaller, big block is bigger. :P
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Old 10-16-2003, 06:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: SE USA
Quote:
Originally posted by mighty mouse
Nice post. Just a couple corrections on the Chevy stuffs. The 389 is not a Chevy engine....I think it is Pontiac, but I am not totally sure. I do know it isn't Chevy.
Thanks. Right after I finished my post I left my house. While I was driving, it hit me that I meant 396. The 389 is one of my all-time favorit engines as it was the engine in the early Pontiac GTO's. I was sitting there as I posted trying to remember the original Mustang-killer. There was a big rivalry in '67 between the Mustangs and the Camaros as the top-end Camaro engine (396) would wreck the all but top-end Mustang engine (390). You could get a 427 (bang!) that year, but they were rare as hen's teeth compared to the 396 camaros.

Quote:
Chevy did produce the 396 and 402 big blocks. After 1970 all 396s where actually 402s in displacement. The 402 and 396 are the same engine. The small block you are thinking of is the 400 small block, there never was a 402 small block. It is now possible to build up to a 454 small block Chevy, Fel-Pro released a gasket large enough to do it. Last I saw 632 was as large as they are going on street big block Chevys.
Thanks. Like I said, I'm not as up on my Chevy engines as I am my Ford ones. I've owned three Mustangs and a couple Ford trucks and really dig the engines.
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Old 10-16-2003, 06:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: SE USA
Quote:
Originally posted by stingc
Can these still be found? (referring to the 63.5 427)
I would guess, but they're tough to find. The only luck I had was looking for 427 Galaxies. They are uncommon, but easier to get ahold of than the performance cars with 427's. As you are going to swap out heads, intake, and exhaust manifolds anyway, who cares if it isn't a 427 from a "cool" car. The big thing to look for the 4-bolt mains version. Everything else is mutable.

As an aside, I've not built one. I did find a couple for friends. My experience with the engine comes from my Dad's Hot Rod Lincoln, a '56 Lincoln Premier with a 63.5 427 Side Oiler and a 4-speed manual that was VERY tough to make fit. It was this huge brute of a car weighing in at well over two tons, but that engine was so freakinshly torquey that it threw that old Lincoln down the road with a vengeance. 3/4 race cam, homemade headers, port and polish job done the old way (the car was built in the mid-sixties so everything was done the old way), and had to have retaining straps built in for the cam and crank, and was also required to have a scattershield over the tranny cover and under the oil-pan.

Beast of a car =)
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Old 10-26-2003, 05:59 AM   #17 (permalink)
Crazy
 
fellas,

thanks for the *outstanding* replies/quality of advice.

It's all very much appreciated. Mighty Mouse, I can see where you're coming from on this purist Cobra thing, but there are two counter issues I am having to weigh up:

1) It's a kit/replica, so i have kinda blown the authenticity thing anyway, wouldn't you say?

2) There's apparently some sort of scam where you can get brand new Goodwrench units into the UK, designated as used, and have them get around some of the spoilsport regulations slapped on engines, emissions etc. The Goodwrench units seem to be cheap and (obviously) excellent condition.

I know what you mean with all this though, you make a good point.

But where the HELL am I going to get that 427 side oiler beastie??! Drag it out of a swamp?
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Old 10-26-2003, 08:21 AM   #18 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: SE USA
One thing I will say, Ford man that I am and engine purist as well, Chevy engines are much cheaper to build, especially small blocks. The same money spent on parts and engine will produce more torque and hp in a Chevy than anything else simply because the market for Chevy upgrades is more competitive.

As to finding a 427, dunno. You mentioned that you were in Califronia in a thread under Weaponry, right? CA is where a lot of the action is as far as old cars goes. This is good in that you have a lot of aftermarket supplier in arm's reach. This is bad because you are competing with a lot more folks for the same resources. I would start looking on the internet for blocks. Try Ebay, auto trader publications, etc. It'll be a tough search, and expensive, but worth it in the end.
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Old 10-26-2003, 08:27 AM   #19 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: SE USA
Oh, and this will hurt any good car geek - the 63.5 427 in my Dad's Lincoln Premier is currently sitting in the ground at the family farm. He'd wrecked the tranny road racing and was letting it sit until he could afford another Warchowski (totall bad spelling there, sorry) clutch assembly. An early freeze rolled through the North Carolina mountains and froze the block solid. When he got to it, he found that the block was cracked in three cylinders. He decided it wasn't worth sleeving and knew that he couldn't gracefully afford another big engine for the beast.

They just took it out to a pit on the land and rolled over the car with a tracked backhoe until it was crushed. Saddest car story ever =(

The upside was that my Pop got into motorcycles after that, and obtained the '50 Panhead that I have sitting in my garage waiting patiently for a rebuild. I still get choked up thinking about that Lincoln though.
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Old 10-26-2003, 10:01 AM   #20 (permalink)
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With a $3000 budget, you can forget anything other than a smallblock Ford or Chevy. I've seen non-running side oilers go for a good bit more than $3000, and if you're REALLY lucky, you may be able to get a bone stock BBC for $3k that MIGHT be running, but thats about it. The GM Goodwrench motors have poor power output, and many of them are made and assembled in Mexico.

IMO, your best bet is to have a local machine shop put together a fairly mild SBC or SBF.
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Old 10-27-2003, 09:36 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Location: Chitown!!
It pains me to say this, being the died in the wool Chevy fan that I am... but the exhaust note out of a stock Mustang V8 (especially a Cobra) is fuckin boss. The note of a stock Z28 or Trans-Am doesn't even compare.
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Old 10-27-2003, 08:21 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Location: Clarkson U.
Quote:
Good Chevy Small blocks: Just about any of them. 283, 327, 350, 383, 402, it doesn't matter really. They're all good properly set up

327 are a reeeaaaal nice engine man. Shorter stroke, so they wind up fast, and you can easily achieve 300-350 hp, depending on how its set up. And thats before say, a turbo.

If you want a little more boost, as a lot of other people said, the 350s are all over the place. Real common engine for a reason. They worked well.

As fas as big blocks, I'm a 427 fan. This is mostly because my dream car is a '67 vette with a 427, but hey...

But, the 454 is known for its over all power. You need the bucks for this one though.
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Old 10-28-2003, 05:47 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Location: CT
It's a bit off topic, but I was just reading Popular Mechanics, and GM and Ford did a joint project and came up with a V8 Diesel that makes 400HP and gets almost 35MPG.

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread.
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Old 10-29-2003, 07:45 AM   #24 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: SE USA
Oooh, sounds nice. Popular Mechanics you say?
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Old 10-29-2003, 12:48 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Location: Central California
what about a 454 sbc..

http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/engine/113_0307_454/
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