Tag Archives: Eaton Balancing

Ford Y-Block Aluminum Head Testing Part II

With the aluminum versus iron cylinder head baseline dyno testing completed, there were some other variables that were begging to be evaluated before removing the Mummert aluminum heads from the Ford 312 Y-Block test engine. These included increased ratio rocker arms and a variety of intake manifolds and/or carburetion setups. The same +060 over Ford 312 Y-Block engine with the Crower Monarch camshaft that’s been used for dyno testing up to this point is still being used and is holding up great. Issue #99 of the YBM gives the finer details on this engine.

First on the list to try was a set of Dove 1.6:1 roller tipped aluminum rocker arms. Up till now, the aluminum headed engine was being tested with the factory 1.54:1 rockers. On the stock G heads, it was found that the 1.54 rockers were worth an additional 3 horsepower (HP) over the 1.43 rockers and then the addition of 1.6 rockers were worth another 3HP over the 1.54 rockers. 6HP if switching directly from 1.43 rockers to 1.6 rockers. The new aluminum heads didn’t disappoint as they also responded favorably when switching to numerically higher ratio rocker arms. In a back to back test, the peak numbers for the 1.54:1 rockers were 342.1HP @ 6100 rpms and 354.4 lbft torque at 4400 rpms. The net lift at the valve with the 1.54 rockers was 0.435”. With the Dove 1.6:1 rockers in place and


using the same 0.019” hot lash settings, the peak numbers jump up to 353.8HP @ 6100 rpms and 355.8 lbft torque at 4400 rpms. Wow! A twelve horspower increase with just a rocker change. The net valve lift with the 1.6 rockers increased to .472” which really makes the effective rocker ratio 1.64:1. This occurred by manipulating the pushrod length which in turn allowed the rocker ratio to be increased beyond its rated 1.6 value. Only the rocker arms were changed in this test as the same 1” tall HVH tapered carb spacer and 750HP vacuum secondary carb were used with both sets of rockers. The graph on previous page shows both the torque and horsepower curves as a result of the rocker arm tests.

The intake manifold being used for the rocker arm testing was the recently released Mummert aluminum dual plane 4V intake and was being used with the aforementioned carburetor and carb spacer combination. The Dove 1.6 rockers

stayed in place for the intake manifold tests. The other intakes being tested included an original 1957 Ford ECG-D aluminum dual quad setup, an Edelbrock 573 three deuce setup, a stock ECZ-B iron 4V intake, and the CAIN 4V open plenum intake. Using the same scoring format that has been used in previous testing, here’s how each manifold scored.

1885.4 pts Mummert 4V intake
1841.0 pts ECG-D Ford Dual Quad
1817.4 pts Edelbrock 573 3X2
1743.8 pts Stock ECZ-B iron intake
1728.3 pts Cain open plenum intake

Here are some specifics on each of the tested manifolds. The Mummert aluminum 4V intake was topped off with a 1” high HVH tapered carb spacer and Holley HP series 750cfm vacuum secondary carbureter. The Ford ECG-D 2X4 intake had a pair of original dual quad Holley model 4000 carbs (aka Teapots) each having list numbers 1434 and were setting upon the factory phenolic ½” high 4 hole spacers. The Edelbrock 573 3X2 intake was topped off with Stromberg 97’s with #48 jets all the way around. The 3X2 setup was the one setup tested that showed an increase in manifold vacuum in the upper rpm ranges indicating that the engine was actually running out of breath and needing larger carburetors. The stock ECZ-B 4V iron intake was ran with a variety of carbs but the L1848 465cfm Holley was the overall best performer with a 1” high 4 hole spacer under it. The Cain intake used a 2” high 4 hole ‘hi-flow’ spacer with a 750cfm Holley.

But the whole story is not just in scores or peak numbers so here’s a pair of graphs that gives a much clearer picture of how each manifold performs throughout the testing rpm range.

Click on graphs for larger views.

As can be seen by examining the graphs, the aluminum heads still shine with some of the older 3X2 and 2X4 intakes being bolted atop them. The Cain intake in being an open plenum manifold and having no internal runners was down on bottom end torque but the horsepower does try to come back around in the upper rpm ranges.

I had reported in the last article that the test engine was happy at 32° total timing. It was found at the end of the intake manifold testing that the factory damper was slipping so that number may not be a ‘etched in stone’ value to use. Testing on the 375 inch EMC (Engine Master Challenge) combination is finding that 37-38° total ignition timing is a more ideal value on that particular engine. There will be some additional testing in the near future to reaffirm the timing characteristics for these new heads.

That’s it for now and until next time, happy Y motoring. Ted Eaton.

Originally published in the Y-Block Magazine, Sep-Oct 2010 issue, Issue #100, Vol 17, No.5

A Y-Block at the 2009 Engine Masters Challenge

The 2009 EMC competition is now history.  The Y engine that was taken to the competition was the 375 inch version that was far from being a reality when September 1st rolled around.  The 4” crank and 6.750” long rods from the previously wounded 4″X4″ Y engine were used in the 375 incher along with the cam and lifters.  Diamond Pistons came through with a set of custom pistons to fill a 3.859” bore and a pair of Total Seal 1.2mm rings with a 3.0mm oil ring sealed each piston to its respective bore.  This engine had good peak numbers on the dyno but the overall score was down due to the oem iron heads being a serious bottle neck in the higher rpms.  Just too much cubic inch for these heads.  Now I know.

With the 375” engine assembled by SeOn the dynoptember 19th, it was put on the dyno and some serious testing commenced.  Seven different intake manifolds were tested along with a variety of carburetors, carb spacers and rocker arms.  Also tested was a pair of headers with one set being off of my ‘23T altered roadster and the other being a set of stepped headers supplied by Jerry Christenson and Royce Brechler.  The final engine combination used the new Mummert intake manifold with a Holley 950HP (834 cfm actual) and the stepped headers with 1.75/1.875” tubes feeding into a modified 3½” collector and then the mufflers.  Metal Finishing Services (Church Brothers) provided the Jet Hot coating for the headers.  An electric water pump design was also finalized and used.  By the time the testing was completed, the dyno was showing 462-464HP and 446-449s/ft torque peak values through the mufflers for the combination that was being taken to the competition.  Not too shabby for a 10.1:1 compression ratio and on pump gas.  Of special note is a 1050 cfm Holley Dominator carb was tried and to my surprise, the torque values jumped up significantly.  There just wasn’t enough time in that last week of thrashing to build a rules specific carb spacer/adapter to work out that particular combination but theUncrating the Y engine definitely likes more carb than what I was taking.

With all the testing behind me, the engine was crated and made ready for shipment.  By luck of the draw, the Y would make its qualifying pulls early on Thursday October 8th which meant I could take it to the competiton myself rather than have it shipped in advance.  As a result, I get the engine to the EMC site (University of Northwestern Ohio) in Lima, Ohio on Tuesday by noon.  It was required to Hooking up to the dynobe there by no later than 5PM or it would not be eligible to run.  On Wednesday, the engine was installed on a docking cart and is hooked up to the dyno later that evening in preparation of being the first up the following morning in that particular dyno cell.  Thursday morning the engine hookups are finalized and the engine is ready to start and run for a timing and carb check.  I’ll add at this point that the crew members for this adventure also included Jody Orsag, Harry Hutten, Jerry Christenson, and Royce Brechler.  The Y was indeed being very well represented and was the perfect crew for the occaision.

There were some issues with the carburetor fuel line prior to startup on Thursday morning and the spare I had brought along was installed.  That could have been a show stopper but someone upstairs was looking out for us.  Once that was resolved, the engine fired right up and idled cleanly at 900 rpms.  Timing is checked at 3500 rpms and is sitting at 39° total.  Perfect!  After the prerequisite five minute warmup period where both the oil and water temperatures are brought to 160°F, the engine then makes three back to back warm up pulls from 3000 to 7000 rpms.  At that point the engine is shut off and the team has five minutes to decide on what tuning changes can be made in the allotted twenty minute tuneup period.  Prior to installing the carb on the engine the previous day, We had rejetted the carb up to 77/89 jets whereas it had been 75/87 jets on its last dyno pull in Texas.  Looking at the data from the warmup pulls, the Y team decides the engine would like more jetting.  The plan was to simply change the jets, make a short pull, re-evaluate the data, and make another jet change if necessary in the allotted twenty minute tuneup period.  Didn’t quite work out that way.  The bowls were pulled and the jets were changed out but upon repressurizing the fuel system, the rear float wasn’tElectric Water Pump holding the fuel and fuel poured out of the rear carb vent into the engine.  The bowl was pulled again, float moved around and reinstalled.  Same problem and more fuel into the engine.  Team members go to both sides of the engine and start pulling all the spark plugs while I pull the rear bowl once more but this time I remove the needle seat assembly from the bowl and blow it out.  I reinstall the bowl assembly back on the carb with the float level eyeballed in place and this time it holds the fuel when pressure is applied.  At this point, the engine is spun over with the plugs out and there’s a bunch of fuel coming out of cylinders on each bank.  As soon as the fuel is cleared from the cylinders, the spark plugs go back in and the plug wires are hooked back up.  There’s no time to double check the rear float level so I instruct the dyno operator to start the engine, make a cleanout rev on the engine and then a 3000 to 4500 rpm dyno pull.  This is done and upon shutting down the engine, there are only 90 seconds remaining in our tuneup period.  The pressure was definitely on for a bit but all is looking better now.  A quick look at the short pull data shows an increase in power so it looks like a good call on the jet change.  It’s a good thing as We are now officially out of time.

At the end of the twenty minute tuneup session, the engine is restarted, allowed to warm back up, and then go into three moreDyno back to back 3000 to 7000 rpm pulls.  These are the qualifying pulls and the ones that count.  Jerry calls them the money pulls.  Did I forget to mention that the dyno permits the engines to over-rev to 7400-7500 rpms on each pull?  I wasn’t really excited about that but the team members as well as the spectators were starting to cringe.  I had already increased the over the nose valve spring pressure from 330 lbs to 388 lbs during the course of my own testing to insure that the rpm capability would not be compromised. The engine makes the three required back to back pulls and I then give the dyno operator instructions on how to shut it down.  A quick look at the data shows that the jet change was still a good call as the engine is now peaking at 433 horsepower and 416 torque.  At this point, I’m taken to a side room where the score is tabulated and I sign off on a 1949.8 score.  Yes!!!  We’re ahead of a 426 Hemi with dual quads and two other engines that couldn’t complete their qualifying runs.  Mission accomplished.  We’re not in last place and as Jerry says “Just a few spots out of first”.

The rest of the day is spent watching the remaining competitors run their engines.  The top six from the four days of running will run again on Friday for the money.  Jon Kaase ultimately wins the competition on Friday with the 403 cid Ford engine he won it with last year and his other engine (a 511 cubic inch Boss engine) comes in sixth.  Second place comes in 1.4 points behind first so it was a close race for first.  A mid Fifties Hemi (360 CID) comes in third place overall and was indeed impressive with its rows of Weber carbs doing their job.

Of special note is all the competitors were getting lower numbers at the competition than seen on their own dynos.  SomeDyno Sheet 1 of the competitors were commenting that they were down at this event by over 100 horsepower.  Our Y entry ended up being over 30 HP down from what I was seeing at my shop.  Not a major concern as everyone is in the same boat on this one but this did create some speculation as to why the differences.  A possible consideration and falling into the equation is that it essentially rained each day of the competition.  Although the air was cooler, it was definitely saturated with moisture.

The engine oil and fuel was provided at the competition.  I had already tested and tuned the engine at the shop with the sample of 91 octane fuel that had been sent to me.  The oil used during my own testing was Valvoline 20W-50 racing oil.   At the competition, Valvoline was not on the selection list so I used Lucas 20W-50 full synthetic racing oil along with some Lucas zinc additive that was available.  It was interesting that the oil pressure was about 10 lbs less with the full synthetic than with the Valvoline although both were the same rated viscosities.  At this point the oil pressure difference could reside in either the oil itself, a difference in sensor readings between the two dynos, or the oil temperature.  There will be more testing later to determine exactly what is going on in this regard.

Dyno Sheet 2In looking at the other engines in the competition, the Y entry was the only engine present with oem iron heads.  All other competitors were using some form of aftermarket aluminum head.  Roller camshafts were also very prevalent and if the Y wasn’t the only one with a flat tappet camshaft, then it was difinitely in the minority.  When the Popular Hot Rodding and Engine Masters Magazine articles hits the newstands starting in January, more details on the competitors engines will be available.

On Friday, We recrate and load the engine and the second crate of parts back into the truck and prepare for the trip home.  After the awards ceremony later in the afternoon, Jody and I jump into the truck and start putting some miles between us and Lima, Ohio.  Harry, Royce, and Jerry have already headed home long before this.  And of course it’s still raining.  After spending the night in Southern Illinois, We use up Saturday travelling back to Texas and get home after the sun has set.  All in all, a very good trip.  Special thanks again to all that helped make this happen!!

Originally published in the Y-Block Magazine, Nov-Dec 2009, Issue #95.

Engine Masters Challenge Y-Block Entry for 2007

The idea for entering a Y into Popular Hot Rodding’s Engine Masters Challenge competition was prompted by discussions on the Y-Blocks Forever website.  I sent off the application form and was ultimately assigned the alternate #15 position which meant as the participants within the first thirty competitors either dropped out or failed to qualify then the alternates would be moved up the list.  I realized early on that actually making the competition from alternate #15 was a very slim chance based on what I had seen in previous year’s competitions but would give it a go.  There were some heavy hitters actually placed after myself in the alternate list so that did give some consolation.

Upon looking at the rules, the 312 had an inherit advantage in that it was in the lower spectrum of cubic inches required for the competition.  300 was the lowest manufacturer cubic inch allowed so the 312 was allowable whereas the 292 wasn’t.  Where the Y is strong is actually in the stacked intake port design.  These ports, being what they are, allow each runner length to be equalized and therefore the overall torque being much more pronounced or peaked.  Where runner lengths are varied on other engines due to ports being spaced differently across the length of the head, the torque band for the various cylinders is thereby different and the overall torque of all the cylinders when averaged together is thereby softened or the peak torque reduced.

emcy-blockleftview-1.jpgIf there was any one area in which the Y was handicapped for this competition, it was in the head department.  Aftermarket heads were permissible as long as factory intake and exhaust patterns were maintained.  There are no aftermarket heads for the Y, so a pair of ‘113’ heads were picked out for this combination.  They did not have to be made overly big in port volumes to support a larger cubic inch engine and therefore are more efficient for the smaller cubes.  The heads were set up with a custom set of Ferrea valves and topped off with Comp Cams beehive valve springs and Dove 1.6:1 roller rockers.  Considerable work went into the exhaust porting so that the camshaft could be ground the same for both the intake and exhaust durations.  The camshaft selected for this particular engine was a custom Isky grind with 270° advertised duration, 242° duration at 0.050″, 0.547″ net lift at the valve, and ground on 107° lobe centers.  The cam was installed at 105° intake lobe centerline.  A Rollmaster chain assembly spins the camshaft while Smith Brothers pushrods work the Dove Manufacturing 1.6:1 roller rockers.

Frank Rice shipped me a C2AE block that was a 312 marine engine originally.  This block had the better main webbing but upon sonic checking it, core shift was one of the worst ones I’d seen.  Because I was minimizing the amount of overbore, offset boring to re-center the bores within the casting was not an option.  The other option for a block was to take one of the 292 blocks lying loose and boring the main journals to the 312 size and then boring the cylinders to the desired 312 size.  The rules required factory journal sizes so using the 292 mains on a 312 crankshaft was not an option.  I used Frank’s block for this project though as it saved having to bore a set of main journals to the 312 dimensions and was still an excellent block for this particular project.  Thanks Frank.

For this block, I went one step further in that I had it cryogenically treated.  This ‘cold’ treatment was performed by Cen-Tex Cryogenics of Waco, Texas.  The idea behind this was to make the cylinders walls harder and potentially wear better.  Hard to say just how much more benefit this treatment provides but I couldn’t see it being detrimental and at this point, I’m going for any potential benefit that I can for this particular engine.

The pistons themselves are a custom set from Wiseco which have a left and right specific dome tailored specifically for the Y-Block Ford combustion chamber.  Rules limited the compression ratio to no more than 10½:1 but the smaller cubic inch of the Y still required a domed piston in which to achieve this.  The compression ratio would have been too low otherwise without the dome.  The domes on these particular pistons are configured such that turbulence is created in those areas of the combustion chamber where the head overlaps the decks.  The rules also did not allow gas porting for the rings.  I got around this by using a Dykes style top ring which fits the rules but has superior sealing characteristics in lieu of not being gas ported.  The second ring was a 1/16″ plasma moly design while the oil ring was a low tension 3/16″ unit.  The 10½:1 compression ratio was good for the E85 fuel being used but would not have been suitable for 91 octane pump gas.  E85 fuel is not readily available in this part of the country so tuning a carburetor for this would have taken some time but was doable. The bore was finalized at 0.022” over stock which fit within the max 0.035” overbore restriction and gave a final displacement of 316 cubic inches.  Past dyno experience and calculations indicated an attainable 395 peak HP @ 6200 rpm, 375 lbs-ft peak torque @ 4200 rpm and a flat curve for the torque to give a good average number.  Due to the rules requiring factory journal sizes, I was restricted to using the factory Y rods.  No bolt in aftermarket rods are readily available at this point in time.  I used the C2AE rods as they are slightly longer than the C1 rods and simply fully prepped these with new ARP bolts, bushings, and a resize.

Because pan evacuation or vacuum pumps were not allowed, this permitted me to take advantage of the crankcase breather on the block whereas most blocks do not have this option.  I also added two extra breathers to each valve cover to insure that excessive pressure was not a hindrance to piston movement under load.  The Engine looks achaic or old school with the original side breather on it though but it was put back on specifically for a performance advantage in this particular instance.

Rules required no modifications to the oil pan.  Aftermarket pans were accepted but unfortunately there’s not an off the shelf pan for the Y.  Rules also prohibited the use of truck pans or I would have used one of the HD pans I had sitting here.  Because modifications to the pan were not allowed, I did get an okay from the rules committee to use a windage tray that sandwiches between the pan and the block.  I subsequently built a windage tray that used directional screening and this simply fit in place with a pan gasket on each side of it to seal it in place.  One side of the tray acts as a wiper against the crankshaft and rods.  If I pull it out of the engine or build another, I’ll get some pictures of it and submit to the Y-Block Magazine.  Nothing fancy but every little bit has to help.  The oil pump is the gearotor style.  I still think there’s a slight advantage to using this style pump over the gear style in both power and pumping even though both are rated the same as far a volume goes.  An ARP oil drive keeps it turning.

The Ford Y-Block oiling system is already a ‘side-oiler’ design similar to the later produced 427 FE side-oilers.  The main bearings are fed directly from a proprietary oil gallery in the side of the block and then the cam bearings and rocker arms are fed from the mains.  Rocker arm oiling for this family of engines is normally by way of a grooved camshaft on the middle journal or a camshaft that is crossdrilled in the center journal which alternately feeds each bank as required.  I opted to machine a groove in the block in the center cam journal hole which connects the three holes located there and then this modification is sealed in place with the installed center cam bearing.   This provides a solid flow of oil to the heads which I restrict at the rocker arm pedestals with a 0.046″ orifice.  The overflow tubes at the ends of the rocker shafts are left intact so that they can free flow which provides ample lubrication for both the distributor gear and the timing chain.  This also insures that the rocker shafts are purged of air and that the oil remains cool thus warding off any potential sludging or oil degradation that may occur as a result of stagnation.

Ignition is an MSD distributor using the MSD wires and MSD Digital 6-Plus controller.  Sparkplugs are a set of 18mm NOS Autolite BF32’s that I had been saving for a rainy day as these are getting more difficult to find.  These plugs have been side gapped and indexed to the individual cylinders.  There’s a forthcoming article about how to do this in an upcoming issue of the YBM.   Intake manifold is a Blue Thunder unit that’s been simply port matched to the heads.  Otherwise it’s stock other than what’s being called the 2nd design manifold.  Based on what Gary Burnette has passed on to me, the 2nd design intake flows as well as the 1st design intake after being extrude honed.  Carburetion for gasoline is handled by a Holley 750 cfm HP series carb with vacuum secondaries.  Backup carb is the 650 cfm Speed Demon carb which has been a proven carb on my Y powered roadster.  I lean heavily towards the vacuum secondary carbs due to them being very optimal in flow on a day to day basis as the secondaries only open up as required for a given engine demand.   Testing has shown similar results on the Y with both the 650 and 750 cfm carbs and this has to do with the vacuum secondaries simply opening less on the larger carburetor to get the same amount of power output.  For E85 fuel, I would simply get a alcohol specific carb in the 650 to 750 range and have to work with it to get the tuneup right.

The tech at the EMC competition ultimately called and said that the Y would not be allowed into the competition with the mushroom tappets.  Didn’t matter if it was a factory lifter, rules were specific against mushroom tappets.  As a result the engine was not run and instead relegated to the back of the shop.  But because I was entered into the competition as an individual and not as an engine choice, I was free to change engines and remain in the competition.  As a result, I readied a 427 Tunnel Port engine I had for the competition.  Standard bore, factory steel crank, an Isky flat tappet camshaft, a single plane TP intake, MSD ignition, and that engine was ready to be called up.  But I was simply too far down on the alternate list to be a player.  Do all this again?  Not at a number fifteen on the alternate list for sure.  Definitely way too much work with not much to show for it and especially with the engine being disallowed due to the original tappet design.

Note that this article was actually a response from Ted to one of the topics I’ve been working up for the “Top Ten Y-Block Stories” for the March-April issue of Legendary Ford Magazine (condensed from this).  But the volume and the depth of his response was an article in itself and I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.  Shown at the ßbottom-left is the Y-Blocks Forever picture by Jim Culver of Randy Gummelt’s blown 770 HP Y that took the World Y-Block E.T. mark to 8.15 @ 162 mph in Columbus at the 2005 Y-Block Nationals.  The motor was prepared by Ted Eaton and Lonnie Putnam – but that’s another one of the expanded “Top Ten” story’s for Bruce’s Y-Block Magazine this year.        Bob Martin

Originally published in the Y-Block Magazine, Jan-Feb 2008, Issue #84,  A shorter version of the text was published in Legendary Ford Magazine, Mar-Apr 2008 Issue.