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  1. #1
    FEP Power Member haromaster87's Avatar
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    Default Experiences with building engine for stock or low stall torque converter

    Hey everyone,

    So I have a 289 and C4 from a '66 Mustang that I will be swapping into my 1980 hatch. I know it's a really antiquated combo, but I'm a really antiquated guy, so it works. The transmission is recently serviced and drives/shifts really well, and the engine runs okay, but needs a rebuild. I've worked out the majority of my build, but now I'm down to the fun what if game of cam choice. I will be sticking with flat tappet at my own risk. I think I can work out the break in procedure.

    I'm going to be using FloTek aluminum heads or something similar, somewhere around 180cc intake/62cc exhaust and more importantly with 58cc combustion chambers. I've found a piston that I can use to get around 9.9:1 compression without having to do any milling beyond what's needed to clean up the block. I'm hoping that's enough for good throttle response without being too much compression for a small cam. As far as the car, I will have the C4 trans and a 3.08 rear gear with stockish size tires. The car is a base model 1980 without power accessories so it should be fairly light for a fox.

    The next part of the equation is where I have trouble finding relatable experiences to work around. Most builds I find discussed go with a large cams for high rpm power, high stall converter, etc. This car won't really be tracked though, it's just going to be a cruiser for local roads. I'd like more to lean towards snappy low rpm response, and I'd like it to be able to light the tires up from a stand still. I know, very mature. But overall, just something more "fun" to drive.

    Without getting into what the C4 may need, I'm mostly looking at the cam/tq converter relation right now. From everything I can find, it seems as long as I stick with a cam around 215* duration @50 or so and something made to make power from around 1400-5400 or so, that should work well with the stock converters 1500-1800 stall speed. I guess I'm just looking to speak to folks who've built more mild low RPM type engines with automatic transmissions. Thanks for any comments or contributions!
    Last edited by haromaster87; 10-13-2021 at 10:46 PM.

  2. #2
    FEP Super Member xctasy's Avatar
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    Default

    All srock C4 converters are a bespoke 1650 rpm stall. There was a rare 2.53 stall ratio, 2350 stall converter on some HI Po K code 289s...the same kind of stator and housing lay back as the FMX 2350 and C6 and AOD options for GT spec engines.

    Ford rated it's stall based on the 300/302/351 and 390 engines. All Fords converter stall development for C4s; C6s, FMX's was done between 1966 and 1970 when the engines got 300 and 290 degree HI Po and Cobra Jet cams. The stock stall isn't perfect, but good enough for what you are doing. I'd ppersonally talk with Hughes Performance in Arizona by phone, and ask about getting a recommended replacement when or if it fails. Crosley (retired) and Paul at the company have a good reputation, and by mentioning them by name I'm not saying there aren't others more local to you that wouldn't be just as good.

    One other thing. The upshift rpm is governed by a Bob weight on the output shaft, it can lock up some and cause issues. The shift firmness can be changed by the setvo pistons. The modulator is adjustable internally, and the early C4s have a different converter spline count. The C4 responds best to band adjustment and a good TransGo or similar shift kit. It's the most adjustable automatic Ford made.

  3. #3

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    Cylinder heads with 180cc intake ports are going to be too large for an engine of that displacement, cam duration and engine rpm range. They will just make the low rpm response very slow. Not what you want for a car with an automatic. Use a head with a 160cc intake port instead.
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  4. #4
    FEP Power Member haromaster87's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hidley View Post
    Cylinder heads with 180cc intake ports are going to be too large for an engine of that displacement, cam duration and engine rpm range. They will just make the low rpm response very slow. Not what you want for a car with an automatic. Use a head with a 160cc intake port instead.
    Ah I had a feeling those were too big for something like this. I wonder if I could up my range a little bit and build something for strong lower mid range? Or is a 180cc head on a 289 only good for a big cam/high rpm range type build?

  5. #5
    FEP Power Member haromaster87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xctasy View Post
    All srock C4 converters are a bespoke 1650 rpm stall. There was a rare 2.53 stall ratio, 2350 stall converter on some HI Po K code 289s...the same kind of stator and housing lay back as the FMX 2350 and C6 and AOD options for GT spec engines.

    Ford rated it's stall based on the 300/302/351 and 390 engines. All Fords converter stall development for C4s; C6s, FMX's was done between 1966 and 1970 when the engines got 300 and 290 degree HI Po and Cobra Jet cams. The stock stall isn't perfect, but good enough for what you are doing. I'd ppersonally talk with Hughes Performance in Arizona by phone, and ask about getting a recommended replacement when or if it fails. Crosley (retired) and Paul at the company have a good reputation, and by mentioning them by name I'm not saying there aren't others more local to you that wouldn't be just as good.

    One other thing. The upshift rpm is governed by a Bob weight on the output shaft, it can lock up some and cause issues. The shift firmness can be changed by the setvo pistons. The modulator is adjustable internally, and the early C4s have a different converter spline count. The C4 responds best to band adjustment and a good TransGo or similar shift kit. It's the most adjustable automatic Ford made.
    Thanks! This is great info. Yeah even though it's just a 3 speed, I like the simplicity and adjustable factor a lot, great hobbyist transmission. I'm at work now but I'll be looking at all that in further detail

  6. #6

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    Not really. The ratio of engine displacement to intake port volume, determines how responsive the engine is. This means when you matt the throttle pedal, how quickly the engine builds power. This is especially true if the engine uses a carb. Carbs operate on the principle of vacuum under them sucking air into the engine. The airflow velocity through the carb determines how much fuel is delivered. When the port volume is larger, for a given engine displacement, it is going to take longer for the vacuum level under the carb to build up. This creates a lag in the engine power. Note that all normal engine and chassis dynos, do not measure this. They are all considered steady state measuring devices. Much more expensive equipment is needed to measure this effect to quantify it.
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  7. #7
    FEP Power Member haromaster87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hidley View Post
    Not really. The ratio of engine displacement to intake port volume, determines how responsive the engine is. This means when you matt the throttle pedal, how quickly the engine builds power. This is especially true if the engine uses a carb. Carbs operate on the principle of vacuum under them sucking air into the engine. The airflow velocity through the carb determines how much fuel is delivered. When the port volume is larger, for a given engine displacement, it is going to take longer for the vacuum level under the carb to build up. This creates a lag in the engine power. Note that all normal engine and chassis dynos, do not measure this. They are all considered steady state measuring devices. Much more expensive equipment is needed to measure this effect to quantify it.
    That makes sense, I remember a lot of the old truck big blocks would use narrow intake runners because it helped them make nice off idle torque. I suppose it's back to the drawing board a bit then. Thanks for your input!

    Edit: Looks like the Edelbrock e-steets come in a 170cc intake runner on a 60cc chamber so I can keep compression up.
    Last edited by haromaster87; 10-15-2021 at 01:39 PM.

  8. #8
    FEP Power Member richpet's Avatar
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    I have the e-streets on a .040 build, 286 cam and it is great.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
    83 5.0 GT. Quicker than it looks! 10:1 (or just over) 306, Motorsport a332 cam, 140A alt, t5 conv, 8.8 w/ 3.27's, Edel rpm, alum rad, very worked e7's, Holley SA carb, etc... SOLD IT!!!!

    Now an 1981 Granada! 9.5:1 .040 over 302, Edel E-street heads, 268 cam, T5, 8.8 with 3.55, plus all the stiffening goodies, all control arms, lowered, alum shaft, x-pipe with Outlaws, FiTech FI system...

    "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups"

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