302 Engine build questions

Vulpes5.0

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Nov 17, 2018
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Hey all, currently my original engine is at the machine shop and given that the $300 bandaid engine that's currently in my car is starting to show it's age, I'm finally going to build a proper engine for this thing hopefully before the original blows up. Mind you this is a budget build, I want to get some solid power out of it but I'm going for around $3000 for this one. Been doing my research but figured I'd get some opinions before moving forward.

Currently I have a stock bottom end, trick flow stage 1 cam, explorer heads and intake, 19 lb injectors, stock TB, MAF conversion, shorty headers + x-pipe. It's certainly fun and if I had to guess I'm making somewhere between 200-275 HP, but leaves much to be desired and the bottom end is worn out. low oil pressure, oil gets gassy quick due to either leaky injectors or blowby, slight knock on startup, etc.

I have a trick flow upper and lower intake, 24 lb injectors with 24 MAF meter, and a 70mm throttle body I got a deal on ready to go on the car, so that part of the build has been taken care of.

1) I've been looking at the AFR 185 heads on summit and for their price point they seem they like a really solid aluminum head at around $1200 for a pair fully assembled. I've heard it mentioned that you would need to fly cut / notch pistons if you use these cylinder heads, but if I have an aftermarket rebuild kit with valve cutouts already in pistons, I should be okay, right?

2) Also wondering if anyone has run these heads, do you like them, and what kind of cam to pair with it to get the most bang for your buck? Are they even worthwhile on a street engine?
I like the trick flow stage 1 cam currently in my car as it has pretty decent driveability, and I've been dailying my fox for a few years now. Don't want to make the car so rowdy that it's just uncomfortable but I want a solid power band on this bad boy

3) Do 24 lb injectors handle most mods you throw at these cars? If I can go ahead and swap for some 30's while convenient I wonder if that may be a better option, or should I simply get an adjustable fuel pressure regulator to increase their output if necessary?

4) The block will likely be bored .030 over during the rebuild, and I'm going with forged pistons. Anyone have a rebuild kit they swear by?

Any opinions welcome, I haven't bought cam, heads, rebuild kit, or roller rockers, so I'm open to suggestions
 
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96pushrod

I think they're a little easier to get off
May 15, 2018
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The engine kits the intake, tb, maf, and injectors you have will work fine with what you’re looking to do.

The afr 185 will also be good, but checking ptv clearance is always 100% required when setting up. Theres no reason not to do it.

The link posted is actually for the engine kits, not the heads so I’ll assume that’s what you’re looking at. You could get one of those, but the intake manifold gaskets will be wrong, and you’ll have to know what the crank will clean up at.

IMO $3000 is a budget you might go slightly over, once you factor in good rockers, pushrods, and maybe you pull the engine and decide you want to do the clutch since everything is apart.
 
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manicmechanic007

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Sep 26, 2017
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My advice do not run new garbage parts
Look for vintage forged TRW pistons and NOS clevite bearings
Same with the cam
Look for a new old stock cam and kit
I found a Crane cam and kit for my old big block for 125 on ebay with lifters from the 70's
Blapp Blapp Blapp ... Sounds bad , does it run?
and in true Ford fashion, If it don't run chrome it
 
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Vulpes5.0

Active Member
Nov 17, 2018
116
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The engine kits the intake, tb, maf, and injectors you have will work fine with what you’re looking to do.

The afr 185 will also be good, but checking ptv clearance is always 100% required when setting up. Theres no reason not to do it.

The link posted is actually for the engine kits, not the heads so I’ll assume that’s what you’re looking at. You could get one of those, but the intake manifold gaskets will be wrong, and you’ll have to know what the crank will clean up at.

IMO $3000 is a budget you might go slightly over, once you factor in good rockers, pushrods, and maybe you pull the engine and decide you want to do the clutch since everything is apart.
I’ve got a deal going with my dad since I helped him sell some property that he’s buying my rebuild kit, so that makes my budget a little more attainable ;)

I also have a relatively new King Cobra clutch + aluminum flywheel in my car that I’ve enjoyed a good bit, but I did learn how to drive stick on it so you may be right about replacing it…

Here’s the proper link, something got backwards while i was copy/pasting for formatting

 

Vulpes5.0

Active Member
Nov 17, 2018
116
16
28
My advice do not run new garbage parts
Look for vintage forged TRW pistons and NOS clevite bearings
Same with the cam
Look for a new old stock cam and kit
I found a Crane cam and kit for my old big block for 125 on ebay with lifters from the 70's
Blapp Blapp Blapp ... Sounds bad , does it run?
and in true Ford fashion, If it don't run chrome it
Now that you mention it I have an old rebuild kit lying around the garage with a “clevite 560” cam but i was unable to find anything online about the specs of it lol, hesitant to run an unknown like that. Also unsure if it’s flat tappet or roller as my car is a roller block
 

Vulpes5.0

Active Member
Nov 17, 2018
116
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Your machine shop would be the place to recommend pistons for you ...
He has recommended a few, old guy who’s been building engines quite a while, often for circle track cars. Still fingers crossed to see if the block and crank are in usable condition, because man my main bearings were looking rough… then I’ll be able to move forward with it more
 

LEEDAY Boss

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May 25, 2006
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If you're not tuning it be careful with your cam selection. For a nice no worries daily drivable combo I always stick with the stock cam and 1.72 rockers. You can get a Melling "stock" replacement HO cam from Rock Auto very reasonable. With AFR165, a good intake, bigger MAF and 19 lb injectors, the car will have great manners and be super fun to drive and won't need a tune to behave. Yes the 19lb injectors are fine. Even with an Anderson B-31 cam my Holley Term X was still pulling fuel from the table almost everywhere with 19's and an efficient AFR.
 
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Vulpes5.0

Active Member
Nov 17, 2018
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If you're not tuning it be careful with your cam selection. For a nice no worries daily drivable combo I always stick with the stock cam and 1.72 rockers. You can get a Melling "stock" replacement HO cam from Rock Auto very reasonable. With AFR165, a good intake, bigger MAF and 19 lb injectors, the car will have great manners and be super fun to drive and won't need a tune to behave. Yes the 19lb injectors are fine. Even with an Anderson B-31 cam my Holley Term X was still pulling fuel from the table almost everywhere with 19's and an efficient AFR.
I have the email BAMA tune going on my car at the moment, free tunes for life and all that jazz. Pretty much a waste of money though, I’d really like to get an actual tuner take their time getting it right, car still bucks at <1500 RPMs and A/C makes it idle funny. I know i could get more out of it with a real tune.

Anyone know a good fox tuner near middle georgia? (Can you take these cars to just any old tuner?)
 

96pushrod

I think they're a little easier to get off
May 15, 2018
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I have the email BAMA tune going on my car at the moment, free tunes for life and all that jazz. Pretty much a waste of money though, I’d really like to get an actual tuner take their time getting it right, car still bucks at <1500 RPMs and A/C makes it idle funny. I know i could get more out of it with a real tune.

Anyone know a good fox tuner near middle georgia? (Can you take these cars to just any old tuner?)
You’re pretty close to Kurgan up in Gainesville. That’s who I’d go with based on your location.
 
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LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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I'm pretty sure Mo's would work well for you, they're a little closer to you being in Dallas. Their website is down, but here's their FB page.


I can't speak from any kind of experience with their services, but they have a dyno and I believe they host a Fox Mustang show regularly.

(Taken from a post from July 2021.)

1650552460399.png
 
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96pushrod

I think they're a little easier to get off
May 15, 2018
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893
123
I'm pretty sure Mo's would work well for you, they're a little closer to you being in Dallas. Their website is down, but here's their FB page.


I can't speak from any kind of experience with their services, but they have a dyno and I believe they host a Fox Mustang show regularly.

(Taken from a post from July 2021.)

1650552460399.png
I wasn’t 100% if mo’s does in house eec iv tuning. I can say for sure kurgan does though.
 
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LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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I wasn’t 100% if mo’s does in house eec iv tuning. I can say for sure kurgan does though.

Yeah, I'm not 100% sure either. I dunno what all they work with, but I'm fairly certain that someone there is a Fox guy so I'd suspect that they'd be able to at least work with whatever's common. I've gone to one show over there, they have a pretty nice facility and the guys are pretty friendly. Best I can say is for the OP to give them a call.
 

Vulpes5.0

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Nov 17, 2018
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Yeah, I'm not 100% sure either. I dunno what all they work with, but I'm fairly certain that someone there is a Fox guy so I'd suspect that they'd be able to at least work with whatever's common. I've gone to one show over there, they have a pretty nice facility and the guys are pretty friendly. Best I can say is for the OP to give them a call.
I need to do a ton to this car to get it comfortable enough to drive all the way to texas LOL. Still fighting a highway vibration and need to swap rear ends for a longer gear, 4.10’s are just too much, but I’ll keep these in mind
 

LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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I need to do a ton to this car to get it comfortable enough to drive all the way to texas LOL. Still fighting a highway vibration and need to swap rear ends for a longer gear, 4.10’s are just too much, but I’ll keep these in mind

They're in Dallas, Georgia. ;)
 
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Willybill32

But at least it's tight!
Jul 16, 2019
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Hey all, currently my original engine is at the machine shop and given that the $300 bandaid engine that's currently in my car is starting to show it's age, I'm finally going to build a proper engine for this thing hopefully before the original blows up. Mind you this is a budget build, I want to get some solid power out of it but I'm going for around $3000 for this one. Been doing my research but figured I'd get some opinions before moving forward.

Currently I have a stock bottom end, trick flow stage 1 cam, explorer heads and intake, 19 lb injectors, stock TB, MAF conversion, shorty headers + x-pipe. It's certainly fun and if I had to guess I'm making somewhere between 200-275 HP, but leaves much to be desired and the bottom end is worn out. low oil pressure, oil gets gassy quick due to either leaky injectors or blowby, slight knock on startup, etc.

I have a trick flow upper and lower intake, 24 lb injectors with 24 MAF meter, and a 70mm throttle body I got a deal on ready to go on the car, so that part of the build has been taken care of.

1) I've been looking at the AFR 185 heads on summit and for their price point they seem they like a really solid aluminum head at around $1200 for a pair fully assembled. I've heard it mentioned that you would need to fly cut / notch pistons if you use these cylinder heads, but if I have an aftermarket rebuild kit with valve cutouts already in pistons, I should be okay, right?

2) Also wondering if anyone has run these heads, do you like them, and what kind of cam to pair with it to get the most bang for your buck? Are they even worthwhile on a street engine?
I like the trick flow stage 1 cam currently in my car as it has pretty decent driveability, and I've been dailying my fox for a few years now. Don't want to make the car so rowdy that it's just uncomfortable but I want a solid power band on this bad boy

3) Do 24 lb injectors handle most mods you throw at these cars? If I can go ahead and swap for some 30's while convenient I wonder if that may be a better option, or should I simply get an adjustable fuel pressure regulator to increase their output if necessary?

4) The block will likely be bored .030 over during the rebuild, and I'm going with forged pistons. Anyone have a rebuild kit they swear by?

Any opinions welcome, I haven't bought cam, heads, rebuild kit, or roller rockers, so I'm open to suggestions
You mention having to fly cut pistons with the AFR heads, so it sounds like you might have an '86, as that's the only 5.0 I know of with flat top pistons. The TFS TW 170 heads work without fly cutting and are a little more expensive ($1,530). I have these on my '86 with the E303 cam and roller rockers. No issues with stock pistons.

Bill
 

Vulpes5.0

Active Member
Nov 17, 2018
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You mention having to fly cut pistons with the AFR heads, so it sounds like you might have an '86, as that's the only 5.0 I know of with flat top pistons. The TFS TW 170 heads work without fly cutting and are a little more expensive ($1,530). I have these on my '86 with the E303 cam and roller rockers. No issues with stock pistons.

Bill
I have an 87 with an engine from a different 87 currently in my car, but they do have the notches in the pistons.
The engine that I'm rebuilding has flat top pistons but they will be getting replaced with 4.030 pistons (hopefully) that already have the notches. My main concern was the notches being too small for the larger valves regardless, but I'm guessing most people running these heads only had to do that because of the flat tops and that I'll be fine to run them
 
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Willybill32

But at least it's tight!
Jul 16, 2019
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I have an 87 with an engine from a different 87 currently in my car, but they do have the notches in the pistons.
The engine that I'm rebuilding has flat top pistons but they will be getting replaced with 4.030 pistons (hopefully) that already have the notches. My main concern was the notches being too small for the larger valves regardless, but I'm guessing most people running these heads only had to do that because of the flat tops and that I'll be fine to run them
Yes, that's correct. Most heads are such that the valves will likely hit the stock '86 pistons. TFS TW heads ( I have the 170s) are an exception to that rule.


Bill
 
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