Roller cam

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by mhjo, Apr 19, 2013.


  1. mhjo

    mhjo Founding Member

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    I am preparing this years upgrade of my 289. I plan to install aluminum heads, roller lifters and maybe also roller cam.

    How much performance increase can one expect from changing from stock heads to e.g. Edelbrock heads, and how much to expect from roller cam upgrade?
    #1
  2. Realmongo

    Realmongo I prefer to be called "Evil Genius" Founding Member

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    If you're looking to put that much into it, you may want to consider storing the car's original 289 and go with a newer 5.0 block already built to take a roller cam. More power in the long run and much cheaper in the camshaft department.
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  3. woodsnake

    woodsnake Active Member

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    Provided the bottom end is good, the classic H/C/I(heads, cam and intake) is the path to making good power. Usually requires new rear gears, and better brakes, as well as a new torque converter. With the increase in rear gears, an overdrive transmission becomes highly desirable.
    Edelbrock makes a "top end kit", that is supposed to be a 400 horse engine, from a 289/302, with a flat tappet cam. An original engine is nice to keep under the bench, if resale is an option down the road.
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  4. Gearbanger 101

    Gearbanger 101 we love us some gays up here Super Mod

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    I agree. If you're going to get into the H/C/I on that thing, you're just as well to find yourself an '87-up HO short block to work with. Roller cam retrofit kits and roller lifters are available, but can get expensive when added to the cost of an aftermarket cam. Also, your stock 289 pistons may not be notched enough to accept a combination of aftermarket aluminum head and healthy aftermarket bumpstick?

    Doable, for sure....but a lot of unnecessary work for little return IMO. Not to mention it'll give you the opportunity to detail that 289 and store it in the corner of your garage to keep the car numbers matching in the event you ever decide to sell it.
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  5. rbohm

    rbohm Founding Member

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    typically aftermarket heads add about 40-50hp, and an aftermarket roller cam can add another 30-60hp on top of that depending on the grind you use. one thing however is you must also upgrade the intake and exhaust to take full advantage of the upgraded heads and cam. you also need to match the components as closely as possible to the rpm range you are going to run the engine in 80% of the time.
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  6. Realmongo

    Realmongo I prefer to be called "Evil Genius" Founding Member

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    Keynote the '87 and up block. The '85 roller block is as bad as the early '80s and I don't know if the E6 block is any better.
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  7. Gearbanger 101

    Gearbanger 101 we love us some gays up here Super Mod

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    Not sure if the '85 roller block is all that bad? I merely suggested the '87-up blocks because they are most plentiful. The '86 short block could get you into trouble because the flat top pistons have no valve reliefs and will most certainly get you into trouble with piston to valve contact with a set of aftermarket heads or cam.
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  8. iskwezm

    iskwezm Advanced Member

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    When i put Edelbrock heads on my last "stock" 289, i lost hp from lowering compression too much the bigger chambers.
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  9. Realmongo

    Realmongo I prefer to be called "Evil Genius" Founding Member

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    Yes, the 1985 blocks are junk. I checked the manual and it is the 1986 and newer blocks that have all the structual upgrades lacking in the previous 5.0 engines. Look for casting numbers such as E6SE or E7TE.
    #9
  10. mhjo

    mhjo Founding Member

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    Thanks. As I live overseas (Norway), replacing the engine wil cost zillions, so I have to go the upgrade path wich will cost 1/4. The 289 has rebuildt some years ago and has an Edelbrock 500 carb, Edelbrock dual plane intake, comp cam + lifters etc. + Hipo manifolds and Dynomax VT exhaust. My Mustang supplier here is very competent and knows how to combine parts. However, I have alwas gor good supplemental advice here ;)
    #10
  11. mhjo

    mhjo Founding Member

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    Finally got the new stuff installed:

    Edelbrock E street heads

    Comp Cams roller tip rocker arms

    Comp Cams roller cam

    Howards Cams hyd roller link bar lifters

    Trickflow one piece rocker arms


    I already have Edelbrock performer intake, HiPo manifolds, MSD Blaster Coil, Mallory distributor and Edelbrock 500 cfm Carburetor.

    Are there any other options that I have missed? Larger carb? MSD ignition box?
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  12. Gearbanger 101

    Gearbanger 101 we love us some gays up here Super Mod

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    Sounds like you're off to a good start. That should really wake up your engine. Don't forget a good set of long tube headers to evacuated those spent fumes. I'll also assume you bought a new timing chain and gears to go along with the other upgrades?
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  13. mhjo

    mhjo Founding Member

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    Gearbanger. Yes, we did. We istalled a Edelbrock double chain. Yes, and I regeret swapping my old shorty headers with HiPo manifolds, so I might switch back.
    However, I still wonder if there is anything else I can add inn order to get the last drop of HP..?
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  14. Rusty67

    Rusty67 Well-Known Member

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    One thing you can do is upgrade your ignition system. An MSD box with a duraspark and a good coil will help.

    Also, since you are making so much more power, a larger radiator might be in order.........
    #14
  15. PoppyMod

    PoppyMod Member

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    One of the first questions one should ask themselves before beginning any build...is what are the expectations of this engine? For a spirited street warrior, a street strip ride., or a competitive track car. As each, will requie a different path, a differenset of components. Just the things I consider when building a super reliable combo.
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  16. rbohm

    rbohm Founding Member

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    good advice poppy. unless you are going to build a high end race motor, i wouldnt try to squeeze out every bit of power you can as it just goes to waste. spend your money on parts that will make the engine more reliable instead. for most applications you wont even notice 10-15 more hp, especially if they are at the top end of the scale.
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  17. mhjo

    mhjo Founding Member

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    Well, the roller cam and roller lifters are installed, so is the Edelbrock heads. The job was pretty tough, discovering that the heads are wider than the Stock (reducing clearance for manifolds), and exhaust didn't fit (had to cut h-pipe and do some modification on one of the manifolds. While removing the old lifters we discovered that one was very hard to remove, almost stuck

    Also, the holes int the heads for mounting power steering pump and AC pump brackets were different size, and new screws had to be bought. Those new screws were also too big to pass through the bracket, so we had to spend a lot of time modifying the bracket.

    The engine has more power and runs fine. However, we are talking about less than 50 hp increase in power.

    It is a little more rough on idle and makes a bit more noise.
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  18. Rusty67

    Rusty67 Well-Known Member

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    You will likely need to rejet the carb if not buy a bigger one to get all the power out of it you need.
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  19. mhjo

    mhjo Founding Member

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    Thanks, I'll check that out. Might be a fine Christmas gift to myself that can make me look forward to the next summer!
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  20. woodsnake

    woodsnake Active Member

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    What gear do you have in the rear end? If you are still running a 3.00, you will probably need to gear up to at least a 3.50, in order to take advantage of your new power band. When I put the cam in my 69 351W, the car was SLOWER, as the stock gears just did NOT match up to where the engine wanted to run.
    What are the specs on the cam that you used? What gear are you running in the rear? Automatic car, or manual transmission?
    I Think I read that you are in Norway, is that right? What are your driving laws like, in comparison to say, the German autobahn?
    #20

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