I've abandoned this project and have sold off the car and motor in bits. I got sick of being pulled over - nobody ever pulls a V8 BMW over so that's me for now. Sweet car to be honest, might find it a blower :)
Hot Rod magazine ran an article in which they rebuilt a 400 for US$2,000 and made 380hp at the rear wheels of an automatic ranchero with a 500 Holley 2bbl carb and cast iron exhaust manifolds. The article is available online page by page by clicking the hotrod magazine cover at left. Many thanks to Tom Crocker for scanning and hosting these pages.
This site is dedicated to all Ford V8s but particularly the excellent but underrated 351M/400. These engines are simply tall-deck long-rod stroker Clevelands, with my 400 running quench chamber 351C-4V heads and a crane roller cam. My personal goal here is to put an end to the stupid short sighted "but it's a truck motor" mindset that also used to apply to the now respected 460, once scoffed at. I has always astonished me that the 'if the factory never made a performance version of it then it must be junk' brigade almost without exception think stroking a motor makes more power. Okay... so, ummm, if you take a 351C and stroke it, it gets better? Yes. Okay, now wouldn't some longer rods be better still? Yes! Alright well now we need a tall deck block, will that make it better again? Heck yeah. Ah. Well see that's really interesting because other than main bearing diameter, you've just built a 400. Tell me again why they're junk? Sigh...
The image at left links to a site with more 351M/400 info and interesting buildup tips, but more importantly the webmaster has contacted aftermarket sources who say if they receive enough requests, usually by email, they will make the parts that people ask for. Worth doing!
|This is the 408cid motor in my Falcon. It runs through a robust Toyota Supra W57 alloy 5 speed to a nodular head 4 pinion LSD 9 inch with vented discs. The main ingredients are...
Haven't heard of a Ford 400 V8? It's like a 351C Cleveland V8, with a 1 inch taller deck and is therefore wider than a Cleveland. I have a 351C 4V intake fitted thanks to Weiand's WND-8205 intake spacer plates which I had to port to 4V size. They're a fantastic product, buy them off from Summit Racing Equipment in Akron, Ohio, USA. I've bought plenty of stuff from them, they're a great place to deal with with a brilliant catalogue, but airfreight is expensive and they charge US$23 per overseas order insurance. They did waive that on a smaller order when I asked them to though, and voluntarily refunded the full cost of freight on my first ever order when I told them it took way too long to arrive so you'll be looked after (wish I got a commission for referrals!)
The other main differences between the 400 (which is, incidentally, a 351M with lower pistons and a 4.00 inch stroke) are the 3.00 inch main journals like the 351W (hence the 416cid Windsor strokers which use the 400 crank with modified snout) and the bigblock bellhousing pattern. And before you fit a geardrive, if it's a dual idler machine the front of the block because the larger journal interferes with the idler pins.
These are great motors, which love to rev. I highly recommend them and being so much lighter than a bigblock (575 vs. 720lbs), they make a lot of sense in a smaller car.
05 September 2000 : According to my G-Tech Pro, assuming all up the Falcon weighs 3500lbs with me in it (okay, I'm 112kg...) and 40 litres of gas, very delicate throttle and massive wheelspin up to a mere 4,500rpm netts 205bhp at the rear wheels. This is slightly more than the nett output of a 195kw HSV Commodore (145kw at the rears, or 193bhp) but what I like about it is how little throttle and how far below the peak power this is.
I'm being a bit cautious on the revs partly because the motor's new but mostly because it's a pretty ordinary shortblock, and I don't want a new rod-shaped door in the side of it... if I can ever afford it I'll get some decent rods and pistons, then go nuts.
08 September 2000 : Oh dear. Tried the g-tech with full throttle over 5,000rpm and what a gutless underpowered piece of shit it is, only made 192bhp..? It pulled from 5,000rpm to 5,200rpm then that was it, all over. Very sad! So I chucked the other carb back on, with the inserts in the power valve channels restricting to 0.040", and tried it again. Only made a miserable 226bhp which is poor. But again it won't pull, only this time it felt jerky all the way, really surging and not at all happy and once again it wouldn'r rev past about 5,500rpm. 226bhp is only 169kw and my 300kw target seems so far away I'm starting to really worry about whether I'll even crack 300bhp!!! I know that I haven't started tuning it yet, but I'm not even in the ballpark yet. The only thing that gives me hope is that HotRod magazine put a 400M together (full article to be scanned and published soon) with a mild cam, little 2V heads and a 2 barrel carb and made 380bhp at the rear wheels. I'd settle for that right now, it's good power, although on paper with more compression, huge ports and intake, giant valves, large double pumper and a roller cam mine HAS to make more top end power.
A stock imported jap spec detuned Supra turbo makes 180kw at the rears through an auto vs. my miserable 169kw so I have some way to go before it delivers on it's potential, unless I've overestimated it's potential... for the amount of money sunk into the damned thing, it'd better do better than this!
09 September 2000 : Out of total desparation I fitted the 600 Holley off my freebie 351C. Because it was wet I didn't have a prayer of actually testing it, so it only registered 192bhp (familiar figure!) due to wheelspinning all the way. It certainly seemed to be much happier at 5,000rpm than it's ever been before. As soon as it's fine I'll give it a decent blast and we'll see.
I'm researching injection pretty eagerly now. To be able to make changes with a laptop while driving... pure heaven. What I've found so far I've put on it's own page, henceforth known as the 'Project EFI' page.
01 October 2000 : Arrgghh!!! This is pretty embarrassing... I bought a NZ$500 Romac balancer/damper, a nice steel one with a lightweight aluminium outer ring. The instructions said "this will be so tight and hard to fit you are allowed to heat it". Well it was tight alright and I'd like to go on record now as saying the people who made it should be bent over and a pro-stock crank rammed up their arse, one of the really long stroke bastards. Why? Because it doesn't engage the frigging keyway that's why! Standard dampers do, THEN they start to taper. These idiots have machined an initial large-diameter section to allow you to do this, as have Ford, but it's half as long?!?! Okay, you can see where this is leading. I lined it up as well as I could, and thinking it was perfect proceded to wind this bloody damper on. I felt with my hand that the key was sitting nice, everything seemed fine, as I cranked. Didn't take much effort at first, and when it did get hard it was consistent with their warning and the bottom line is, it seems that it must have rotated without me noticing it - some 40 degrees!!! And the astounding unbelievable mindf**king part is, the bastard went on over the top of my key, it tipped it over a bit (the other end was in the cam sprocket so it couldn't tip much) and then just simply bent itself into an oval shape.
I HATE ROMAC!!!
Click on the image for a larger shot of the damage - ever seen a
double-keyway egg-shaped steel/alloy SFI balancer before? Argh!
11 October 2000 : The key was only slightly stuffed, not too bad though, and the timing set while looking perfect I just couldn't trust so binned it. Back on with the gear drive, with the solid pump cam.
14 October 2000 : Holy Shit! Turned the cam by hand to check all was nice and smooth with the pushrods out, and it locks up every rev! Turns out the crane cam's gear is eating my bronze gear. I have no idea why but will find out, it only happens with the load of the oil pump but even so, it locks up solid until you turn the dizzy in the same direction by grabbing the rotor, which unloads the gear mesh. VERY bad, but possibly if I find the position it was previously in, it'll be smooth having worn a certain pattern. Not really acceptable, dunno what to do really. May put the old cam in and feel it, to confirm Crane are at fault. I'm sick of buying expensive paperweights.
16 November 2000 : Okay, I got it all back together a few weeks ago, with a new bronze gear (the old one felt great back in the original position, go figure!) having put prussian blue on it and checked the mesh - which was perfect. Anyway, it's still as gutless as ever. Has heaps of power at part throttle then, regardless of revs, it's just limited to a certain power output. I suspect it's the Hurricane Header still on the driver's side, so I'm amusing myself making the second header, not an easy job but rewarding... would have been easy to make tuned length but oh no, I had to make tri-bloody-y ones didn't I... arrggh! Still, nearly done... those Hurricane Headers are the worst made pieces of shit I've ever seen, honestly I took photos of them and cut them up they were so bad. So I think that's what's killing all my power, hope so anyway - stay tuned... heehee a header joke, get it? Ahem.
10 January 2001 : The home made header did help, quite a lot in fact. It's not really going too well still but that's just the secondaries in need of tuning. My crappy Mallory dizzy showed it's class once again, the baseplate with points and all started rattling around, talk about point float! Stranded on the side of the road, all because Mallory are garbage. The baseplate is retained by ramming two grubscrews into the side of it, crude as hell. Eventually the plate can pop up like mine did, and you have to file the plate to encourage the screws to slightly load the plate downwards. Junk. New motto - I HATE MALLORY!
The next problem I faced was the axle hop, it had worn out my new rear shocks it was so bad. The fix came in the form of an adjustable rod each side, running under the front of the leaf springs from a hanger suspended a couple of inches below each front spring eye to a hanger under the diff u-bolts. It works! Really, it's absolutely brilliant, and it's adjustable so I can set my pinion angle although with half a leaf spring serving as the top rod it's not exactly a proper 4 link. But for the money I spent it's really improved it's manners no end.
The next development was buying a 1990 Toyota Supra 2.5 Twin Turbo. The plan was to fit the 400 into the more luxurious and sleek body yet instead I bought a second Supra, both are 2.5s but this is a rare 5 speed manual and I don't want to chop up either of them. Have to sell both and buy a cheapie, get enough money to finish the engine.
04 October 2001 : Slack!! I now have a set of SVO injectors, 30lb/hr for US$219 the set. Nice price! They're bosch units and fit into Kinsler injector bungs/plugs I bought locally from Cardwells in New Zealand. Lousy progress but at least a step in the right direction. The recondition found my missing rod caps so I can build the 351C to replace the 400 and sell the Falcon. This will put the 400 on the garage floor with plenty of room and if that doesn't inspire project-efi, nothing will!!! I'm so looking forward to having this motor in a Supra, I love those cars but there's no substitute for the sound and image of a big V8, even if it's slower than a hot turbo motor (my brother's 6 speed Supra has more bottom end thanks to sequential turbos than a good 460).
04 November 2003 : About the only thing I have achieved in one year is to finally sell the Falcon, with a 351C and aussie quench 2V heads off a 302C, as predicted above. Sad, but it had to go.
04 December 2003 : Engine progress at last, I've decided how to inject it and bought many of the parts I need off eBay. It's amazingly simple. 351W EFI distributor (same firing order as 351M-400) but with a Cleveland gear on the bottom, EEC-IV A9L MAF computer out of an '89-93 Mustang (only 302/5.0 HO has the same firing order as the 351M-400) and all the necessary sensors including a maf sensor to put into a vortech MAF body with sample tube to suit 30lb/hr injectors, plus wiring looms, new oxy sensors, loads of good stuff. Need a right-angle adapter from square-bore carb mount to throttle body, someone wanted US$140 for one which seemed steep at first but since it suits an 86mm throttle body I'm tempted... sounds like it should all bolt up, fire up, and purr like a kitty! See the EFI Project Page for more info. Exciting times!
29 October 2006 : PROJECT ABANDONED. I'm never going to finish it AND find a car to put it in AND transplant it AND certify it, to be honest I think I'd rather eat my own shit than go through all of that again. Thinking I should just buy a BMW 540 6spd and buy a blower kit for it. I'll probably hang onto my 4V heads just in case, I do love these engines, maybe one day I'll pick up cobra kit car or something.
Excerpt from The Book of Genesis, as related by the apostle Geoff (made this up in a newsgroup posting, think I'll keep it!);
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