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How much HP? 390 FE

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by CoolCat82, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. CoolCat82
    Joined: Dec 18, 2008
    Posts: 80

    CoolCat82
    Member
    from Hungary

    Hey guys,

    I was wondering how much hp can puch my engine out.
    What do you think, do you have experience with a similar combo?

    My list:
    '68 390 FE bored 040 over
    POrted and polished heads and intake, gasket match port also.
    Compcams XE262 cam
    Unilite ignition
    Holley 600 carb
     
  2. wfo guy
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,193

    wfo guy
    Member

    The engine ratings from back then were before the with accessories ratings that they use now. Most of the 4v 390's were 300 hp. Because you have done a little head work and added a cam, you might be coming close to 300 hp. I don't want to hurt your feelings but without different heads and intake manifold, you're limited.
     
  3. railroad
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 242

    railroad
    Member

    I would guess about 340, since you did not mention an after market intake.
    Ported and polished heads may or may not be worth much, depending upon
    the work. The Holley 600 is on the small side for making big hp numbers.
    I am guessing on the cam, probably less than .500 lift and about 288 duration.
    It should be a strong engine, maybe 350.
    This thread should go wild shortly. I know the 390s ran 300 to 330 in everything from trucks, station wagons, mustangs, Galaxies, and Fairlanes. I have one in a 67 Fairlane GT with 3x2, 4 sp, 3.50 gears, cast iron exh.
    I just noticed your location. Good to hear from a Ford Fan from so far.
     
  4. James427
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,742

    James427
    BANNED

    The 390 was more of a work horse and less of a horsepower monster. The FE sound is sweet and the torque is glorious but super high HP is not one of its strong suits. You can eliminate over 120lbs of weight by using headers, an aluminum water pump and intake. That makes the engine feel more responsive for the weight.

    The main problem with the 390 is that it is not a high revving engine. With the hydrolic lifters when you rev it over 5,000 rpm you run the risk of floating a valve and ruining the engine. You can use solid lifters and a precise cam with correctly matched springs to help greatly reduce this risk and rev to 6,000rpm or more. But it costs $$ to squeeze HP from an FE.

    You can also find a 428 or 410 Mercury crank and stroke the engine. A mercury 410 engine is nothing more than a 390 with a 428 crank.

    My guess is also about 350hp.
     
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  5. movin/on
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 821

    movin/on
    Member

    I sent you a PM a short time ago but will restate some questions here.

    My guess 280-340 Horse but too many unanswered questions.

    Ford made heads from sicko smog heads for 352's in Hicups/Pickups to some decent 390 & 428 heads and then there were 428 CJ and 427 Low Med & Hiriser heads. Valve sizes were from 2.02 to 2.17 on the intake valves. So which heads you have can make alot of difference. Porting some small valve-smallport heads with a bg combustion chamber might not give you as much HP as an Edsel Machined chamber head that was a forerunner for 406 and LR heads. You need to state which head you have. The ID is between the exhaust outlets and should be something like C4AE---H or D2TE----C or similar.

    Headers are a must to get the true HP output from an FE! are you using headers?

    Intakes can also make a big difference. Only a few of the Cast Iron (CI) intakes had real HP potential but most Ford Aluminum intakes are OK. They also weight 55 LB less than a CI intake. The better aftermarket intakes (single 4V) are the Edelbrock Performer RPM & Edelbrock Streetmaster or the Blue Thunder manifolds. Which intake do you have?

    Valvefloat (Hydraulics) can be an issue but you could make up for it by dialing in springs but then rocker shafts & stands may become necessary. Do you have any aftermarket cam components?

    How about the pistons? dished or flattops with notches?

    There are quite a few FE owners here on the HAMB and some are really professional with their knowledge. One even has a reputation for being the one of the best FE shops in existance!

    I reguraly do a search on "FE" on HAMB to find out what's been posted recently.

    Movin/on
     
  6. woodywagon1965r
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 353

    woodywagon1965r
    Member

    Will make decent torque but not high hp
    way too small carb and need headers

    I had a 390 12 to 1 pistons big cam. intake headers was running a 2 x4 bbl
    had tons of work in it till it threw the rods threw the block at 6200 rpm 2 rods
    best i got was fig..at 400 hp back in late 70s
    did do 12.5 in a 69 mustang..
    sounded mean as hell for its time
     
  7. James427
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,742

    James427
    BANNED

    They have been known to tear the bottom end out of them. The lower side walls of the block can move around with the mass of the heavy rotating assembly. That's why they crossbolted the main caps in the 427. Just in case I put a bottom end girdle in mine that helps reduce that risk. They don't cost much and add a good bit of extra support.
     
  8. shoprat
    Joined: Dec 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,466

    shoprat
    Member Emeritus
    from Orange, CA

    Raced them for 30 yrs and never hurt the bottom end. My 390 ran consistent 12.70's
    in my 4000 lb Ranchero and 11.60's with the 27. This was 35 yrs ago man. They're
    known for long crankshaft life....crank sets high in the block. They had 360 HP
    with stock 352's. I think stock 66-67 Fairlanes had 335 HP.
    Good machine work is important with any engine build.
     
  9. claymore
    Joined: Feb 21, 2009
    Posts: 897

    claymore
    BANNED

    Had one in my 67 mustang and drag raced it every weekend. Slicks, headers, and original traction masters and that's it best run 13.00 and it went to 6,000 every shift. They run fine and like people say aluminum intake, water pumps etc. drops a BUNCH of weight.
     
  10. F1James
    Joined: Jun 19, 2003
    Posts: 136

    F1James
    Member

    In 1963 the 390 used in the law inforsment cars was rated 330 HP. I almost bought an x cop car 3 speed transmision it wouls do 90 mph in 2nd gear .I kept it a wk. end would have kept it but finance co. would not finance x police cars.
     
  11. CoolCat82
    Joined: Dec 18, 2008
    Posts: 80

    CoolCat82
    Member
    from Hungary

    Hello Hambers!

    Thank you for these infos! They are very helpful!
    I forgot to meniton I installed headers (Lake pipe) and I use Edelbrock Streetmaster intake. It will be reworked like the heads. Heads are: C8AE-H.

    I have new pistons but they are original type. compression ratio was 9.4:1 to these pistions.

    Valve lift of the Extreme Energy: .513, .520<TABLE border=1><TBODY><TR><TD>
    .513
    </TD><TD>
    .520
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    James427: you mentioned the 428 crankshaft. My engine is disassembled now, and I could buy 428 crankshaft. What kind of connecting rod have I use than? Can I use the 390's pistons?
     
  12. CoolCat82
    Joined: Dec 18, 2008
    Posts: 80

    CoolCat82
    Member
    from Hungary

    I would curious what can do this engine in a 2700 lbs model A.
    Rear end ratio is 2.41 and I have a 5 speed manual transmission out of a '88 f-150. Around 3.8 first gear ratio.
     
  13. a bloke
    Joined: Jul 6, 2007
    Posts: 214

    a bloke
    Member

    What it can do is put a big grin on your face! Good luck with your build.
     
  14. movin/on
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 821

    movin/on
    Member

    If you put a 428 crank in a 390, the pistons will be to far down in the block. 410 pistons (mercury) have the piston pin in a different location. But the rods are the same.
    I've got a 410 i'm building at this time. So you'd have to buy new pistons to use a 428 crank. Also 428's were externally balanced so you'd have to get the proper Flywheel/flexplate balance.
    428 cranks are between $400-600 used.

    You can use the connecting rods but you would have to make sure you got the correct pistons for the rings. If it were me, i'd buy the rings & pistons together to avoid any problems.

    Movin/on
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  15. CoolCat82
    Joined: Dec 18, 2008
    Posts: 80

    CoolCat82
    Member
    from Hungary

    Hi movin/on,

    It seems I can get a 428 crankshaft.
    I could use my old connecting rods and the piston rings?
     
  16. hotroddon
    Joined: Sep 22, 2007
    Posts: 11,790

    hotroddon
    Member

    Lakes style headers look cool and are better than stock manifolds, but they are not condusive to making real power. A good set of 4 into 1 headers will be good for anywhere from 20-40 more horse than the lakes.
    The Streetmaster is also not a great design manifold. A Performer RPM would be a much better choice. And if you really want to wake it up, use a set of aluminum heads, 11:1 pistons and a Victor intake!

    As for bottom end problems - not a concern at all in a street strip car. Last forever.
     
  17. I rebuilt the original 300 H.P. 390 engine for my '61 Starliner and put it on the dyno.

    .030 over, forged plat top pistons, mild hydraulic cam, Blue Thunder intake, Factory distributor, junkyard headers.

    Made 350.6 H.P. at 5,200 r.p.m. Check it out.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfOEypAXpbQ
     
  18. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 11,993

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    390 motors in the '68-'69 T birds were rated @ 345 ponies... Wasn't there 3 x 2 version 390 rated @ 405 hp in '61 er '62??? Ya might want to look that one up.
     
  19. movin/on
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 821

    movin/on
    Member

    Need to correct my statement regarding 390 pistons with a 428 crank.

    The piston pins on 410 pistons are higher up compared to the top compared to 390 pistons. So if you use 390 4V pistons with a 428 crank the top of the pistons would hit the valves for sure and maybe even the heads in the chamber.

    So, never the less, you still can't use 390 pistons with a 428 crank.

    I stated the reverse in my prior post. 410 pistons would be too low with a 390 crank and have extremely low Comp ratio.

    Movin/on
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  20. Tall Tom
    Joined: Aug 19, 2005
    Posts: 381

    Tall Tom
    Member
    from Austin MN

    My best man had a brand new '62 Ford Galaxy with a 405 hp 390. It had 3 duces, three on the tree with overdrive. Fastest car I ever rode in. Doing 120 mph he would put it in Second.... in Overdrive.... and stump on it and you could hardly lean forward because of the gggggs. Ford said that they would do 180.... Oh by the way both back side windows were covered with Trophy Stickers.
     
  21. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 11,993

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Sweeeet! :) I'll try and dig up some info on the 405/390 and post it on this thread.
     
  22. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,062

    mart3406
    Member
    from Canada

    --------------------------
    I'd probably use a bit bigger carb too. If you're talking about Holleys, either a 735 cfm (stock 428 CJ) carb, or a 780 cfm vacuum secondary carb would be good choices.

    Mart3406
    =====================
     
  23. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 11,993

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Sorry guys! I was wrong.... There was a Z code 390 ci with 6V carburation (3 Holley 2 bbl) that was rated at 401 horsepoower instead of 405 hp.
     
  24. SPDJNKY
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 928

    SPDJNKY
    Member

    Who might that " one even has a reputation for being one of the best FE shop existance" be?
     
  25. movin/on
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 821

    movin/on
    Member

    Sdpjnky: Try Survival Motorsports for parts and engine work or for just parts B2 Motorsports. They are both regular contributors on the 332-428 FEForum
     
  26. 390 v4 owner
    Joined: Dec 13, 2011
    Posts: 1

    390 v4 owner
    Member
    from Roswell NM

    Hey everybody I got an old time 390 in the 60s year i think? We got a 4 barrel Edelbrock Carb, Edelbrock Intake manifold, Edelbrock Camshaft, Headers, and straight pipes coming out in front of the rear wheels, and an Edelbrock air cleaner. I was wondering what would the hp average out at right now?
     
  27. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 9,922

    falcongeorge
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Surrey BC

    The FE streetmaster is actually a pretty good piece, way better than the others, especially with some plenum work and a port match. Edelbrock went a little more agressive on the FE Streetmaster than they did on the other Streetmasters. The Holley Street Dominator was a real good piece too. My FE has a Porto-Sonic, so I dont have a horse in this race.
     
  28. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 9,922

    falcongeorge
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Surrey BC

    Barry lurks, but doesnt say much.
     
  29. SPDJNKY
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 928

    SPDJNKY
    Member

    Thanks for that info re Barry!

    I want to reach out to him and see what he thinks of a cross ram WITH some matching and grinding. I have heard both side of the argument that they suck and also that they(cross ram) can perform with some work. Id like to hear someone who actually dyno'd the same motor with a cross ram against another intake if that info even exists.
     
  30. OneBad56
    Joined: Dec 22, 2008
    Posts: 401

    OneBad56
    Member

    Barry Rabotnick of Survivial Motorsports.

    Even wrote a book - How to build Max-performance Ford FE engines.

    Another article that was good was in the Fall 2010 Enginemasters magazine.
    Might be on their web site: enginemasters.com
    Article was titled "Pumped up for power", by Steve Dulcich. Complete list of parts and specs for a 525 ft lbs @3000 and peak torque of 555 ft lbs @4000.
    HP was 506 @5300. Not bad for a 390.
     

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