'88 GT vert 302 build


New Member
Apr 14, 2019
Calgary, Canada

I'm putting the LS swap on the back burner for now. Everyone is doing it forcing prices super high. Therefore its become appealing to build a nasty 302! I have an '88 GT with T5. Its all original with only 106000km (approx 66000 miles). Some people say just to keep it stock, while I agree, but 225hp is not nearly enough. I want this to be a crazy street machine that absolutely shreds tires. It wont see a 1/4 mile or road track. Just want a wknd warrior that will hang with vets. Some 2-4 gear pulls and stuff. It will def have a supercharger. Don't want a turbo car. Im looking for 450+ rwhp. Yes I know that's a lot out of a stock block 302 and trans but let me worry about that. I would also like to keep the stock bottom end. Here is a list of some of the components I will be acquiring. I'm sure this has been asked a billion times but please let me know your thoughts on the parts, brands, or any other comments on my build. Other than I'm an idiot to do this on a stock block and trans! lol

- heads ?
- injectors?
- upper/lower intake?
- cold air?
- cam? don't want a super lumpy one. but you need a big cam for big power. stage 2?
- pushrods, springs, bearings?
- lifters ?
- rockers 1.6, 1.7 ?
- distributor/ ignition?
- rad/ fans?
- water pump?
- fuel pump?
- supercharger? Paxton, vortech, kennebell (good luck)!

I will be beefing up the clutch, rear end etc. along with brakes and suspension. I'm just talking NA engine. Will be doing full exhaust with longtubes. I would like the engine to be supercharger ready. please let me know to add anything or if something is not needed.

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Active Member
Jul 12, 2018
I’m recommending you’ll abort the usage of the OE motor, internals. Listed below is primary parts required for achieving that with a Dart, W/P, or other resilient assimilate with your plans for a 450RWHP (540 crank HP, with about 550Ft/Lbs Tq) is do-able just fine with a bolstered block & reciprocating assembly.
302, properly prepped, reciprocating assembly like a steel crank, 3/8” ARP fitted shot peened I beams(de-stress), ARP studded (2) bolt billet capped (main stud girdle (infinite fund assumption). What is the budget for this?
Stock 5.0 is good for a trickflow top end kit, I sell and install these. The Trackheat is 360HP/380Ft/Lbs, I’m able go DynoTune RWHP to 315-320HP, and they come with everything you need, about 2,650$.
Friendly FYI: I’m not cutting you up, whether personally or ideally, nor being disrespectful. Just bringing up factually based suggestions to consider...
I’m assuming by “Vette’s,” you’re not talking 80’s or 90’s Vettes smogged to the hilt, you’re saying Z06’s & similar. a straight shot, not twisties, correct? Please confirm.
Straight line, w/Nitto 555 G2’s, Continental extreme contact, Goodyear supercar tires, warmed up, you will stand a chance.. Cornering, it’s IRS from an 03’-04’ Cobra, XKE Jaguar with inboard disc brakes to stand a chance.
‘450HP on a stock 302 block with stock internals that will shred the tires off in a stock chassis Fox that’ll hang with Vette’s?’
I’d not be thinking of burning off the tires, I’d be looking to get it to hook, and launch.

Extensive work for stock vehicle frame reinforcing, sub connectors, Eibach Springs & struts for hooky Should seek an ex drag Mustang GT Roller, add your Engine/Trans.
Buy a prepped 331-347 CID, or step up to a 351W, which can be stroked to 427 CI, another 50HP shortblock from DSS, Blueprint, Dart.
No substitute for cubic inches is correct, if you get a motor, make sure everything fits ok, if a 351W, ensure the bolt pattern is the same at the transmission.
SCAT, Ford Racing, World products 4340 forged crank, 4340 forged x" rods need be in motor or it will shear the 5/16” rod bolts at 7,000 RPM’s near 100%, you can buy a decently prepped 347, 351- stroker- 427 shortblock for 4,000$-5,500$, or less, Warranty included.
Can purchase a 425 crank HP/490Ft/Lbs 331-347 longblock for 6,500$.Its worth the money, you need be focused on the parts used in the bottom of the motor to protect your new top end parts, etc. it let’s go, it will make a mess.
1) AFR Renegade 205cc CNC ported Heads, Aluminum. 316SS Manley severe Duty Valves @ 2.080/1.60, 58cc, 7/16” ARP rocker studs, 3/8” rocker mount, ARP hex set screw locking upper lug. >Trick Flow 11R.
2) Custom grind from Comp. Cam’s.> T.Flow stage 3, H.Roller.
3) Edelbrock Victor JR. Plenum- type EFI Intake, 4150 square flange.
4) 90 MM Ford Racing Plenum Mount Intake 90 Degree Throttle Body to 4150 Flange.
5) PRO-M 90mm MAF sensor, calibrated for conical filter on a CAI.
6) BBK 90mm Throttle Body, w/ TPS installed, smooth bore, bronze butterfly.
7) 3.5” C&L Cool air intake, IAT bore, Conical filter, Fender exit, BBK, AIRAID.
8) S1003 Harland Sharpe Rockers, Full Roller, needle bearing, 1.6 Ratio. 6061-T651, 16, 3/8” rocker Stud. 7/16” into head.
9) Lunati Voodoo Solid Roller Cam, # 40350733. Lift: .624''/.640''
Duration: 279 Deg /285 Deg, LSA: 110 Deg
RPM: 2800-7200. Use vacuum res. accumulator. 2,800 RPM stall, 3.73’s. N.A.. Will work for FI, Trickflow stage 3 H.Roller more mild,{ l<12-15HP]. Idle- Fair, Hot street/Strip. Absolutely streetable. Chc
10) Dual Spring Kit for 40350733 S.Rllr Cam, Billet. Cups, 10 deg inconel retainers, 10 degree keepers, valve float 7,500RPM. 200lb seat, 466Lb open @ 0.640 lift.(1.6:1).
11) DeatschWerks EV14 DV2 Fuel Injectors, 42LB @ 45 PSI.
12) ARP # 7101, 7/16” Head thread, 3/8-24 Rocker Stud.
13) Scorpion # 9005 3/8” ARP rocker stud Girdle(s), 5/16-18 spring hex head fasteners, 1/4-20 socket head cap screws.bits into the rocker adjusters, keep things from flexing with such a valvetrain load.
14) MSD Pro Billett Distributor, OE Cap, OE Rotor. MSD 7AL box with crank trigger, rev limiter. Very simple install.If engine is zero (internally) balanced, Fluidampr balancer has Crank trigger ceramic magnet embedded within. Run a Bronze Dizzy Gear, w/Lunati Billet Cam.one part needs to wear, 1 hardened (Cam). 1 softer.
15) Walbro GSS340 255 LPH high pressure fuel pump would be a good choice for your car. Be sure to get a fuel pressure gauge and an adjustable fuel pressure regulator to set it to spec’s while it’s running. Both parts will sit on new fuel rails I’d listed, which comes with abundant hardware.
16) Run a “Boost a pump” with a Kenne Bell or any supercharger, They come with the supercharger,, or are offered if you buy one. They are easier than they look, Kenne Bell comes with a Tuner with a file you load to the computer, to get you running decent enough to get to a local Dyno Tuning Shop.You could leave the motor as is, (bone stock) and gain 100-150 HP, not touching a thing, except larger injectors, the pump helper, or “boost a pump”.
17) BBK Aluminum fuel rails, fits bolt pattern on Intake i’d listed, “Victor, Jr.”, 86’-93’ , Blue anodized.
18) High output Ford OEM Water Pump is adequate for coolant flow, do not run underdrive pulley on Crank or Pump. If you go electric, don’t do it for power gains, the Alternator draw to run it cancels out most of that.
19) Roller lifters, use Lunati 72411-16 Solid Roller lifters on a solid roller cam.
Some, not many.. Ford blocks may require a slight notch ground in to clear link bar the cam they run with Roller/non roller blocks. Can also run rev kit, not necessary with link bar,
20) A MIT. 3 row radiator, Aluminum. (American Muscle) and a twin electric fan and shroud, motor will ensure run cool in very hot weather if CPU Tune is done correctly,
The first Carb is jetted and with the correct power valve, static & dynamic timing is correct for the Octane used.
21) Run an engine main-girdle with ARP studs, use studs for heads.
22) The Pushrods be certain they are hardened as you will be running guideplates to keep the Rockers centered on the valve stem when installed, and they fit correctly within the Rocker’s rear. You will need a pushrod checker tool to verify the length needed, they’re adjustable. once you have the number, they sell them in 0.100 increments, get some Trickflows, or whatever’s reasonably priced. Usually around 7.375-7.625 in your scenario, you’ll know soon enough.
13) Consider a rebuilt shortblock, from a reputable place, don’t give them yours as a core, Much cheaper than buying all new internals & having yours squared up & bored, etc

With flattop Piston’s, C.Ratio will be 9.85:1-10.0:1 with 58cc Chambers.
Note, if swapped to Carburetion, it will yield more HO/TQ, overall..it’ll lose slight throttle response, negatively. If you decide on that route, I’d use a 750CFM-800CFM Holley Dual feed, double pumper, w/mech secondaries.
Pump would need to be changed for a low pressure(5-7lbs)alternative, and a regulator.

550Ft/Lbs and 500RWHP and drivability as good with a built 4 speed auto trans with a shift kit, bîtfbased on a W/P, Dart block, 331CID. If rebuild is left as 302, a 20-35 Net HP loss. If 347, gain is +14-20 HP (Add Net to original figure.)
Have space to perform this work, tools to do it? It’ll be a large undertaking.
To build a bone stock 88’ GT with under 90K is, IMO, is losing a good investment if hung into for a few years.There’s lots of unfinished projects you can save $$ on by locating that have some mods you’re going to pay for, that could be picked up cheap.
I’ll drop a few pic’s of a SBF a guy had put GT40 heads, Cobra upper, explorer lower, E303 Cam,1.7 Roller Rockers, etc. Major issues. So, offered him this alternative..
Trickflow top end kit went on in, St 2 cam, rolled main brg’s in, #30lb injectors, longtubes, SLP loudmouth Exhaust., MSD pro billet Dizzy -maybe a year ago, 120k on it. Cleans up nice, about 3 grand & labor.
Was 320 HP last dynotune pull & Runs great, 3.73’s in, otherwise, all suspension work & brakes done, lowered, bumpsteer kit. Drives 60miles twice a day, long commute, around 20mpg, yet runs 12’s.
Any questions, feel free to ask! Hope this helped! Good luck!
- John

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