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The elusive 224/3.7 MerCruiser banger

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by tjm73, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. GearheadsQCE
    Joined: Mar 23, 2011
    Posts: 1,708


    I'm really torn about cylinder heads now. My heart was set on the Boss 9 head but the P51 makes more power for less money.
    I'd probably go with the shotgun style head if I could find one reasonably, but the smarter move is the P51. I'm not too smart. I can trade a little power for come coolness.
  2. Boss9 Brian
    Joined: Jul 29, 2015
    Posts: 73

    Boss9 Brian

    We knew that the p51 or a460 heads would make more power. We just chose the boss 9 because it looks cool and its different. It just comes down to what the engine is for. Mine is in a hot rod so we wanted it all one of a kind.
  3. FlyHiFlyLo
    Joined: Dec 5, 2016
    Posts: 107


  4. FlyHiFlyLo
    Joined: Dec 5, 2016
    Posts: 107


    Any more progress? As for me.... I wish I could breath... This whole Trump thing has exploded my business.
  5. Trethewey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 18


    Well. I guess I'm outta the closet now...

    I was cruising the web, looking for a four-cylinder engine to build for an upcoming Speedway Motors Track-T project, which mandates a four-cylinder engine or a 60-degree (gasp, choke)V-6...(the horror, the horror:eek:). I've been evaluating the pros-and-cons of several different engines, from real Model A to late GM.

    After several years of stealthily watching this thread, and the knowledge base contained herein, grow and evolve, I've decided on a Mercruiser 224 CID. I LIKES cubic inches:D.

    I decided to start with the unobtainium bits, and in common with most un-SBC flat-tappet cam engines...forget replacement camshafts, much less performance cams or roller conversions...'cause camshaft blanks' don't exist.

    Earlier this week, I contacted GearheadsQCE at his above business e-mail, and asked him to sign me up for a camshaft; he did his, I'm on the list now, and he...requested I come out to the thread...

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  6. beck
    Joined: Sep 20, 2008
    Posts: 158


    Welcome to the group Eddie. As you probably know, I am on GearheadsQCE list too.
  7. Trethewey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 18


    Thanks! Glad to be here.

    GearneadsQCE also mentioned that, with my commitment, he is up 5X requestors now...understandably, he's got to have 6X, minimum, which means he needs only 1X more mark, er, "john", er, "investor".

    He didn't say it, but: 8-10X (or more) would be even better.

    A r-o-l-l-e-r camshaft:cool: (oooh-ahhh; crowd goes wild). That's $600-$800, money well spent. Or money well wasted, if Herself finds out.

  8. woodbutcher
    Joined: Apr 25, 2012
    Posts: 2,659


    :eek: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my.And the plot thickens.:D
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
  9. GearheadsQCE
    Joined: Mar 23, 2011
    Posts: 1,708



    Just set that money aside. We will get some more guys. Just takes time.

    Maybe we should all pool our $600 and buy lottery tickets. Then when we win, we can all get all the cams we need. Hell, we can buy LSM and all sit around all day designing double overhead cam heads for Mercruisers.
  10. Trethewey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 18


    “Just set that money aside. We will get some more guys. Just takes time.”

    I’m glad you’re relaxed about it. I am; when it happens, it happens, que sera sera. Did I mention that the cam was the first step on a complete new fake speedster build…which takes time, measured in my world in “Tectonic Plate Shifts”.

    Actually I lied…it’s the second step: The first was promoting and getting a BRAND NEW reproduction Model A SHIFT KNOB for Christmas…made out of that new-fangled wonder substance—BAKELITE!!! How cool is that?

    “Maybe we should all pool our $600 and buy lottery tickets.”

    Yep, got it in one---that’s the ticket (sorry). A reel blue-chip investment…on the same order of magnitude as spending cubic dollars on…

    ...“Then when we win, we can all get all the cams we need. Hell, we can buy LSM and all sit around all day designing double overhead cam heads for Mercruisers.”

    (Hysteric giggle): And I thot I was the only one not thinking ‘bout that. Hmmm...a large displacement DO four...didn't one them win a couple of races last century?

    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  11. Trethewey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 18


    224/T-5 Durability
    Reading (and rereading, and re-rereading, then re-re-rereading, you get the picture) through this thread, it seems the T-5 is the manual transmission of choice, and I agree, from weight, size, gear spread, availability, etc., viewpoints. It’s the transmission I want to use, rebuilt and upgraded by me personally for this use; an adapter and gearbox all in one, built and rebuilt all by myself (sometimes almost I can tie a bow in my shoes, too!).

    Don’t get me wrong: I want to use a T-5...but I have one lingering, irritating doubt: The effects of the 224CID Four’s diesel-style power pulses and high torque output.

    I plan building this engine as a relatively low-rpm torque monster, i.e., a tractor motor. (Hmmm; apologies to Beck). T-5’s are only rated for around 300 lbs./ft. input torque, though they can be built for a bit more, and expensively built for a lot more.

    T-5’s have a reputation for making geer sausage (sorry) as well as those always-appreciated Sunday afternoon track oil/shapnel slicks; ask any 5.0 guy, ca. 1995.

    Has anyone had the 224/T-5 combo on the road for a while? How’s the tranny holding up? (Am I allowed to say “tranny”?:confused:)

  12. beck
    Joined: Sep 20, 2008
    Posts: 158


    No apology needed for me. That is exactly why I chose this motor.

    I think "tranny" is an acceptable "word" here.

    I have never used a T-5 but I think it is a great candidate for our motors.

    Speedster as in Model A style?? In something that light power will be no problem. I would think tires and brakes will be your limiting issues.
    Or Speedster as in an A. J. Watson Indy car? Others here are going that route.
  13. Cam grind numbers explain why the Mercruiser engines knocked so easily.

    Stock Merc 470 grind (measured yesterday from a low time 470 )
    duration at .050:
    intake 210 degrees
    exhaust 215 degrees
    lift at valve:
    intake .483"
    exhaust .498"
    lobe separation angle 117 degrees

    Measurement of my near new Mercruiser cam by Elgin (my engine knocked with this cam)
    duration @.050:
    207 degrees intake
    218 degrees exhaust
    valve lift:
    .497" intake
    .494" exhaust
    lobe separation angle 115 degrees

    a custom grind I like for its anti knock property
    202 degrees intake
    210 degrees exhaust
    valve lift:
    .456" intake valve
    .483" exhaust valve
    lobe separation angle 114 degrees

    These measurements were made in one measuring session so they can be compared
  14. Although not a T-5, I have used Saginaw 3 speed transmissions for several years. They hold up very well, cost little and work well with the engine's torque to pull a 3.07 rear end.
  15. Tires of course and I'd add that steering instability with my I beam axle has been limiting. I have had to wedge the axle steering angle back more and more as speeds increased .
  16. Beck asked about the cost of cutting the block shorter:
    one company charged me $100
    another charged me $200 and said it was half of what they'd usually charge
    a third estimated $300 but I did not have them do it.

    I suggest you shop around.
  17. Trethewey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 18


    Beck, I’ll address brakes in a future post; we’re in total agreement, though. Sorry to have taken so long to reply.

    For bed time, I had been reading “Model T: In Speed & Sport”, by Dan R. Post, ©1956, a collection of pictures, drawings, DIY articles, and advertisements from approximately 1915-ish to 1929 or so.

    Fellas, we got nuthin’ on the Model T guys from that era; they had V-shape grilles and radiators, four-speed transmissions, 2-speed axles, engine parts of every description, and yes, alternative, aluminum and cast-iron high-CR flatheads, 8-12-16 valve F and OHV heads, SOHC inline-valve setups, 16-valve double-overhead-cam (inclined-opposed AND vertical valve, and—the term “Hot Rod” not having been coined yet—“Speedster” bodies, basically a cowl (handy for monocle windscreen mounting) with a pretty minimal body. Those guys used the term “Speedster” instead of “Hot Rod” to describe their cool rides, and, tiring of hearing “hot rod” and in true doomed-to-repeat-history fashion, I simply stole the term, “Speedster”; somehow, I ‘spect that when I finally get around to actually building the thing, I may just possibly call it a few other names:oops:.

    What I’m looking at now is Speedway Motors’ “Track-T” kit, 100" WB, target weight 1,200-1,500 pounds:

    I like British roadsters, and I know for a fact that I fit well and am comfortable in an MG Midget, wheelbase 72”, 1,200 pounds--Say what you will, I drove that thing as my only car for a decade and it broke no more often or mysteriously than any other car.

    Fast forward a few decades (or millennia, according to my Teenager), and I’ve read (and reread) (then reread) Gordon Elliot White’s “Offenhauser” and Mark L. Dees’ “The Miller Dynasty” and finally I’ve decided to build my own ride. Thought process: settle on a kit of some sort; "Make your mind, what’s it gonna be, boy":

    First try: Shelby-AC Cobra. Regretfully, scratch that…buy-in’s a tad over my budget:eek:. AC—as in “AC Ace”…cool classic Brit sports car; the first Cobras were based on the Ace. ERA makes a nice “slab side”, (early 289-Cobra) kit, though, and late-‘90’s Explorer 302s are available for cheap-cheap.

    Second try: Locost 7, a true build-it-yerself replica of Colin Chapman’s Lotus 7. I was seriously ready to do that one, only…I wanted to build the engine first: A .020”-over BMC “A”-Series (for 1,293cc) as I had in my MG of yore. Only this 1,293 had to have a DOHC conversion head, and a bellhousing/adapter for a no-longer-made Japanese 5-speed. Plus I don’t have the shop space to tie up for a year or so for frame jig, plus I rilly don’t like that ugly square bustle’n’fenders rear end on the 7.

    Third try: Speedway Motors Track-T kit. Horrible ‘80’s pic in their catalog; if you look at it, try to ignore wheels. Kit was designed in the '80's; no more need be said. Engine compartment only big enuff for a V6 (yuck) or a 4-banger:cool:; Speedway designed the kit around the—wait for it—Pinto engine; good, tough motor, proven over a zillion race laps but not for me; I see an engine in a rod as one of the focal points, and the Pinto engine, good as it is, just isn’t terribly photogenic. I see ways to make the Track-T suspension handle, though…hmmm…

    Hmmm…Track nose looks cool. And I like the suspension design—dirt track cross-spring front, 3-point quarter elliptic rear, car can be built very light weight…hmm, hmm, hmm…Yep, Speedway’s gonna make some money offa me…

    OK. The Offy is the appropriate engine. A real Offy’s Not In Budget; donations cheerfully accepted, though. Brainiac time…

    First Try: Late-model GM Ecotec 2.2, 2.4, or 2.5, which are are current, all-aluminum DOHC 16v 4-cylinder design; I will simply buy a wrecked donor vehicle. The 2.2/2.4 is still on the table, BTW—not the 2.5 and some 2.2/2.4s—EFI don’t skeer me none, but I see no way to prettify gasoline direct injection. Full roller valve train; fuel injection, standard.

    Second Try: GM “Quad Four” engine. A DOHC engine, predecessor to the Ecotech, and more to the Offy DOHC 4v look with its separable cam towers. Dress-up parts available, good. But: I dove into fact finding, and it turns out that if you want real cams for this thing you gotta start with the rarer go-fast engine version, rather than trying to upgrade the standard versions. Seems the HO/SD versions used a wider bucket tappet.

    Third Try:
    Mercruiser 224, good. Offy made a 220; good.
    Offy: DOHC 4V; perfect. Mercruiser only available as an OHV; not good.
    Big-inch 220 Offy make tons of low-end torque; Big-inch Mercruiser 224 makes tons of low-end torque; real good!

    Plus, plus there is a LOT of do-it-yourself creativity and the end result is a Gee-Whiz-Mr. Wizard speedster focal point that goes as good as it looks...

    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  18. Phil1934
    Joined: Jun 24, 2001
    Posts: 2,612


    Pinto with 16V Volvo head would also be a choice
  19. Trethewey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 18


    OOOOOOOH! Cool idea! Dammit, man!:)

  20. drtrcrV-8
    Joined: Jan 6, 2013
    Posts: 782


    Merc 224/ Jon Kaase Head...... VERY GOOD!!!!!!! NOW: What can KINSLER do for us???
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  21. Trethewey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 18


    I’m going to be playing a game of inches here, doing what hot rodders do best, i.e., stuffing a large engine into a space designed for a widdle itty-bitty wheezer motor; in precise engineering terminology, the technical phrase for this procedure: “Stuffing a 10-pound bag of shit into a space meant for a 5-pound bag of shit.”

    Kit car being evaluated is Speedway Motors’ Track-T kit, designed in the ‘80’s using components from a then-current and then-sorta-advanced-ish four-cylinder engine: namely, the Ford Pinto 2,300cc SOHC. The Pinto engine measures approximately “…23 inches, rear of block/front of 1-groove pulley…”—this info from an Internet post, so I believe it unquestionably.

    Firing up the Wayback Machine, from an earlier recap post to this thread (#728:p), the Merc length is ca. 29.5”, 28" or so may be possible; would someone please provide me an up to date length measurement, back-of-block/first-pulley groove, engine to incorporate Dennis G.’s Toyota water pump conversion and modern harmonic damper? Please note if back of block has been milled .625" or not.

    This is an important number for me, possibly THE important number. That 6.5” delta between engine lengths could possibly make the difference between having a radiator or not, or converting a cramped footwell into no footwell, which would mean I'd have to get on the Yoga crazy train 'cause I'd have to drive around sitting in the driver's seat with the pedals in the trunk (ow). Something tells me that wouldn't work all that well, much less pass Tech...

  22. Trethewey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 18


    Dennis, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you; I hadn't even thought of using a rack and pinion steering set up on my Track-T project. I love rack and pinion steering--my beloved MG Midget had it, and that car's cat-quick steering was the best thing about it (well, other than the NHRA Top Fuel power of the engineo_O).

    Speedway Motors' Track-T recommends cross-steering using their optional, extra cost kit, which includes a (choke-gasp) Vega (remember those? neither do I) steering box with and 6-inch pitman arm on the driver side, connected by a diagonal drag link to the steering knuckle on the passenger side. Takes up a lot of room, you're absolutely right.

    I'm slowly putting a schematic together so I can guesstimate engine fitment; tie rods's centerline/center of rack tube of rack unit would be really helpful.

    To show my appreciation, I'm going to ask for a measurement from you--the thickness? diameter? of the rack unit; longitudinally, at its widest, how much room does it take up along the vehicle centerline?

    The more I read up on this, the more I think I'm going to have to steal Unisteer's half-rack idea.


    To further show my appreciation, I'm still going to steal your idea.

    Last edited: May 22, 2017
  23. Trethewey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 18


    Brian, it looks to me as though your engine placement was determined at front by tie rod clearance, (I don't see a cross-steer drag link) and then room at rear by recessed firewall.
    1. What is the depth of the firewall recess?
    2. What is your '32's hood length at centerline?
    3. What is your engine length, front pulley groove/bellhousing flange?
    Thanx, Eddie
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
  24. But with so much torque, are 5 speeds a help or a hindrance?
    Certainly they are needed for an engine with little oomph.
    After I changed my 2800lb 65 mustang (289 with about the same power and torque as a Mercruiser 170 ) from its 3 speed to a 5 speed I did not feel that I'd gained much of anything. The extra speeds only meant more shifting and the 5 speed transmission was less robust
  26. Ed
    You asked very good questions and went through the same engine selection series that I did. Certainly using an engine you never had to open up is easy and a modern engine is going to be much more fuel efficient.

    I had a sprintcar body on hand and used that for by build. It was too short, and so was my frame (a jeep) So I lengthened both.
    The first consideration is how many seats will be in the car? A single seat car forces the driver to be back more in the car and up over the driveshaft. It is a very different layout
    Then the question, will the engine be over the front axle or completely behind it? I put them behind as I don't trust how far the axle is going to thrash around on those floppy leaf springs. The mercruiser engine is tall but not as tall as an allis chalmers engine and certainly lighter, but an AC engine is an extremely tight fit in a body designed for a flathead ford v8 engine. So consider height also.

    You can make your own body, it takes me as long to make as the rest of the car does.

    If you are willing to use an independent front suspension there is a lot more room. you will make it up of hemispherical ball ends and tubes
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  27. here are Toyota manual steering rack approximate dimensions ( in inches):
    end to end length 48"
    center length 18"
    center average diameter 1.25"
    center greatest diameter 2.25"
    the end to end length can be modified ,
  28. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I just measured a cut down block, a bare block is 23.75" long . add the front casting for the back of the water pump and it becomes 24.75" to this add 1/4" for the adapting plate to the Toyota water pump and the length of the pump including its shaft which you must measure as I did not see mine
    the crankshaft is 26 inches long without the stock Mercruiser "balancer which is 4.75" long but as it fits over the end of the crankshaft, deduct some ( roughly 1.5" for doing that) the elastomer balancer adds very little length to the crankshaft . I bolted a multigroove swapmeet pulley to the dampener and selected from a number of waterpump pulleys so the drive belt ran straight .

    these measurements should be ok for a preliminary design
  29. compared to a M90 supercharger, the engine is so much shorter that I put the blower back into storage until I get an idea as to where I can put it...a short snout would help a lot.

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