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So 5 years ago i bought a 65 convertible at age 15 and started the restoration process from scratch but i didn't have the money to do everything i wanted to the engine and i was mostly just focused on getting her running. so i just threw a new fuel pump and an edellbrock 500 cfm carb and some rebuilt trade in heads through O'riellys and got her to run. however, i think i am ready to upgrade. My current engine runs but has a few quarks sometimes it surges around 80 mph and the coolant level always overflows. it wont stay above the radiator fins(probably a head gasket problem. Anyways id like to rebuild my engine but i don't know a lot about this part yet (i'm learning as i go). I want to keep my original 289 block and heads and am looking to do this as cheap as possible to save money to do a C4 to T5 conversion. So i figure i can pull the engine and do all the disassembly. then have the block bored and machined. and do reassembly myself. So my question is... How can i get the most horsepower out of this block without buying expensive aluminum heads and spending thousands. whats the max HP i can get? is 300+ possible? i would like to get new lifters? what kind? rockers? Do i even need to re machined my heads if they were rebuilt 3 years ago. Can i save money on that? Is stroking the engine safe? how much? I cant seam to get a real answer on the forum about this. some say yes others no. im looking to spend no more than 1500$. if anyone can suggest parts and estimate prices that would be helpful. thanks!




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If you’re planning a rebuild already, go ahead and spend the extra for a stroker kit.
 

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You can get 300+ Hp at the crank with a 289 and stock heads, but it will be way easier and cheaper to just get a stock 302 block, have it machined and notched out for a 347 stoker kit, then do that+aluminum heads. I'd have it assembled too though because it's not just drop-in. I did that and put my 289 block aside. That will of course cost more than $1500. I paid $1500 just to have my machine work done when I did that :0
 

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I took my 289 and changed out the heads for some twisted wedge 11r 170s. Went with a twisted wedge stage 1 roller cam, and roller rockers. I am running a Victor Jr intake, some mid length headers, 2.5 exhaust, h pipe, and summit 600 cfm carb. This combination pulls crazy hard now, even with the 2.80 gearing in the back. My low 1st gear with the T5 makes up for it. Everything but the heads was purchased used. I am sure that if you took your time you could find a good set of used heads as well. If you are willing to do some patient searching and waiting you could probably build something pretty cool on a budget. Craigslist, Facebook market place, and offerup are your best sources. Also the for sale section on here occasionally has something nice pop up.
 

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If the engine has good uniform compression, you can have your current heads port matched, swap a cam, tune the distributor, paint a better flowing aluminum intake Ford blue and put on some Hi-Po manifolds or a decent set of headers for way less than 1500. You can hide all kinds of goodies inside a blue block and a pair of stock valve covers. I like to "look stock and still rock". An old man and an old car can still surprise you !
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Trevan, do you know what casting number heads you have ? Do you have the originals yet ? 300 hp is fall off a log easy for a 289, BUT, if you make one of several common mistakes, you will not get there. The number 1 most common mistake is 302 heads on a 289, the chambers in the 302 head are generally too large for the 289. A 289 needs some compression, and your 1965 heads were the best 289 head there is. The chambers and exhaust ports in the C5AE caasting are the ones everybody wants. If you have the ports opened up and run the larger valves, the iron heads can support ~450 hp. But it takes some work to get there. The 2nd most common mistake is choosing the wrong pistons. If you still have the factory pistons, you are fne. If you bore it and want to keep the 289 stroke, you'll want 3101HC pistons from Silvolite. 99 out of 100 shops will try and give you Silvolite 1177 pistons, which are too short by .020. I recently retired from the engine shop and can help you with part numbers if you need. LSG
 

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I want to keep my original 289 block and heads and am looking to do this as cheap as possible to save money to do a C4 to T5 conversion.
That'll be a nice upgrade.
So i figure i can pull the engine and do all the disassembly. then have the block bored and machined. and do reassembly myself.
The first question is, does it need to be bored? That's a big expense and not to be taken lightly, as it will likely run a bit hotter afterward, requiring a cooling system upgrade.
So my question is... How can i get the most horsepower out of this block without buying expensive aluminum heads and spending thousands. whats the max HP i can get? is 300+ possible?
300+ is in fact easy, and low cost. See below.
i would like to get new lifters?
Yes.
what kind?
Hydraulic
rockers?
No, if yours are good now. I would suggest changing to screw-in studs, if you don't already have them.
Do i even need to re machined my heads if they were rebuilt 3 years ago.
No.
Can i save money on that?
Sure.
Is stroking the engine safe?
Define safe.
how much?
Expensive, and will destroy the budget you name.
I cant seem to get a real answer on the forum about this. some say yes others no.

im looking to spend no more than 1500$. if anyone can suggest parts and estimate prices that would be helpful.
This will come in under that budget.

While I have the C3OZ-6250-C mechanical cam in my own car, mechanical cams are not for everyone. The C9OZ-6250-C hydraulic cam provides very similar performance.


For this upgrade, you will need:

  • C9OZ-6250-C camshaft
  • Cobra or Performer RPM intake manifold
  • Autolite, Summit, or Edelbrock 600 cfm carburetor
  • 14" open air cleaner
  • Distributor recurved to BOSS 302 specifications
  • Dual valve springs (recommended)
  • Screw-in rocker studs (recommended)
  • Heads port-matched to exhaust (or aftermarket heads)
  • 289HP exhaust manifolds or headers
This combination has been dyno tested at 323.5 hp @ 5300 rpm.

Nothing else is required. No whiz-bang million volt coil, 10mm wires, etc.

I just did a set of heads, and the manifolds, last month. Took 2.5 hours for all four pieces. Of course, I've done it before. At worst, it'll take an afternoon. The car's owner wanted to retain the stock standard exhaust manifolds. After matching, they'll work a lot better than when they were unmodified.


Port-matching

Remember, port-matching is not the same as porting. You won't be enlarging them, you'll be cleaning up manufacturing flaws and irregularities, to follow the original design of the ports, nothing more.
 

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Goals, goals, goals.

If you just want a reliable driver with above stock power then you can rebuild the 289, especially if you or someone you know has the equipment check to see how out of spec your stock parts are. If they are within spec (doubtful) you could do a hone and re-ring for pretty cheap.

However, if everything is out of spec, check on machine shop prices for resizing the stock rods, adding better rod bolts, regrinding or polishing the stock crank,etc. This is where you get the argument that it's just as cheap to buy a stroker kit.

The same with your original heads. If you have to have a valve job, pay someone to port them, add larger valves, etc. you could probably get a set of new aluminum heads for cheaper. If running a stock 289 stroke you do have to pay attention to the chamber size. Trick Flow has a set of it's Twisited Wedge heads with 53 cc chamber which would be good for a 289.

Also your 289 block is way stronger than any late model 302 block that doesn't say DART on the side of it.
 

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I want to keep my original 289 block and heads and am looking to do this as cheap as possible to save money to do a C4 to T5 conversion.
That'll be a nice upgrade.
So i figure i can pull the engine and do all the disassembly. then have the block bored and machined. and do reassembly myself.
The first question is, does it need to be bored? That's a big expense and not to be taken lightly, as it will likely run a bit hotter afterward, requiring a cooling system upgrade.
So my question is... How can i get the most horsepower out of this block without buying expensive aluminum heads and spending thousands. whats the max HP i can get? is 300+ possible?
300+ is in fact easy, and low cost. See below.
i would like to get new lifters?
Yes.
what kind?
Hydraulic
rockers?
No, if yours are good now. I would suggest changing to screw-in studs, if you don't already have them.
Do i even need to re machined my heads if they were rebuilt 3 years ago.
No.
Can i save money on that?
Sure.
Is stroking the engine safe?
Define safe.
how much?
Expensive, and will destroy the budget you name.
I cant seem to get a real answer on the forum about this. some say yes others no.

im looking to spend no more than 1500$. if anyone can suggest parts and estimate prices that would be helpful.
This will come in under that budget.

While I have the C3OZ-6250-C mechanical cam in my own car, mechanical cams are not for everyone. The C9OZ-6250-C hydraulic cam provides very similar performance.


For this upgrade, you will need:

  • C9OZ-6250-C camshaft
  • Cobra or Performer RPM intake manifold
  • Autolite, Summit, or Edelbrock 600 cfm carburetor
  • 14" open air cleaner
  • Distributor recurved to BOSS 302 specifications
  • Dual valve springs (recommended)
  • Screw-in rocker studs (recommended)
  • Heads port-matched to exhaust (or aftermarket heads)
  • 289HP exhaust manifolds or headers
This combination has been dyno tested at 323.5 hp @ 5300 rpm.

Nothing else is required. No whiz-bang million volt coil, 10mm wires, etc.

I just did a set of heads, and the manifolds, last month. Took 2.5 hours for all four pieces. Of course, I've done it before. At worst, it'll take an afternoon. The car's owner wanted to retain the stock standard exhaust manifolds. After matching, they'll work a lot better than when they were unmodified.


Port-matching

Remember, port-matching is not the same as porting. You won't be enlarging them, you'll be cleaning up manufacturing flaws and irregularities, to follow the original design of the ports, nothing more.
This is a good combo. Nowadays, saying you have 300 horsepower at the crank is looked down upon but an early mustang is light. I also agree that a mechanical cam is no big deal granted you don't mind breaking it in and adding ZDDP at each oil change. Lash doesn't change much if you use good poly locks. I would suggest a modern camshaft though. Good luck
 

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Make your decision based on what you find out about the current condition of your engine. If you don’t have the 65 heads but 302 heads that changes your direction... if you have good equal compression, that changes your direction.

I always go for a rock solid short block first. Make due with the rest and change bolt ons as budget allows. Here’s the order I’d go if your short block is in good condition: 1-Ignition, 2- Headers and Port matching, 3-Intake/carb, 4-Cam/lifter/screw in studs/locks, 5- heads (if you can do 3-5 together you’ll save some money)

Eventually you want 9.5 to 10:1 mechanical compression to start to make good power for street balanced with longevity. your engine power band focus should be 3000-5000. Pick a cam that keeps corrected compression above 9:1. Look for realistically short duration, high lift (fast closing valve time)

Follow these principles and your good to go
 

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For this upgrade, you will need:

  • C9OZ-6250-C camshaft
  • Cobra or Performer RPM intake manifold
  • Autolite, Summit, or Edelbrock 600 cfm carburetor
  • 14" open air cleaner
  • Distributor recurved to BOSS 302 specifications
  • Dual valve springs (recommended)
  • Screw-in rocker studs (recommended)
  • Heads port-matched to exhaust (or aftermarket heads)
  • 289HP exhaust manifolds or headers
This combination has been dyno tested at 323.5 hp @ 5300 rpm.
What do you think is the reliable, repeatable and safe "red-line" RPM ?
 

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I want to keep my original 289 block and heads and am looking to do this as cheap as possible to save money to do a C4 to T5 conversion.
That'll be a nice upgrade.
So i figure i can pull the engine and do all the disassembly. then have the block bored and machined. and do reassembly myself.
The first question is, does it need to be bored? That's a big expense and not to be taken lightly, as it will likely run a bit hotter afterward, requiring a cooling system upgrade.
So my question is... How can i get the most horsepower out of this block without buying expensive aluminum heads and spending thousands. whats the max HP i can get? is 300+ possible?
300+ is in fact easy, and low cost. See below.
i would like to get new lifters?
Yes.
what kind?
Hydraulic
rockers?
No, if yours are good now. I would suggest changing to screw-in studs, if you don't already have them.
Do i even need to re machined my heads if they were rebuilt 3 years ago.
No.
Can i save money on that?
Sure.
Is stroking the engine safe?
Define safe.
how much?
Expensive, and will destroy the budget you name.
I cant seem to get a real answer on the forum about this. some say yes others no.

im looking to spend no more than 1500$. if anyone can suggest parts and estimate prices that would be helpful.
This will come in under that budget.

While I have the C3OZ-6250-C mechanical cam in my own car, mechanical cams are not for everyone. The C9OZ-6250-C hydraulic cam provides very similar performance.


For this upgrade, you will need:

  • C9OZ-6250-C camshaft
  • Cobra or Performer RPM intake manifold
  • Autolite, Summit, or Edelbrock 600 cfm carburetor
  • 14" open air cleaner
  • Distributor recurved to BOSS 302 specifications
  • Dual valve springs (recommended)
  • Screw-in rocker studs (recommended)
  • Heads port-matched to exhaust (or aftermarket heads)
  • 289HP exhaust manifolds or headers
This combination has been dyno tested at 323.5 hp @ 5300 rpm.

Nothing else is required. No whiz-bang million volt coil, 10mm wires, etc.

I just did a set of heads, and the manifolds, last month. Took 2.5 hours for all four pieces. Of course, I've done it before. At worst, it'll take an afternoon. The car's owner wanted to retain the stock standard exhaust manifolds. After matching, they'll work a lot better than when they were unmodified.


Port-matching

Remember, port-matching is not the same as porting. You won't be enlarging them, you'll be cleaning up manufacturing flaws and irregularities, to follow the original design of the ports, nothing more.
I think this combination sounds excellent! Do you have the dyno sheet for this by chance?? I’ve been trying to find one for this combo and can’t seem to find it:-/
 

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$1500? Quit thinking about stroking anything but yourselfo_O
Get the coolant purging under control 1st, it might just be that its too high to begin with, might be timing, might be radiator, might be nothing.

Wait till you can drop $2500 to cover the greatest portion of a T5 install. It will feel like an engine upgrade.

$1500 will easily cover a cam and intake but once you actually cover all the ancillary costs it will eat the greatest portion of that money up. For a beginner its still quit a complex test of craft skill and patience.
 

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I know you want to keep your heads but think about GT40P heads. I got mine from the junkyard for $45. For more horses you need different springs. Not much porting needed. Combined with a new cam, intake and export manifold you would have a nice engine.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I know you want to keep your heads but think about GT40P heads. I got mine from the junkyard for $45. For more horses you need different springs. Not much porting needed. Combined with a new cam, intake and export manifold you would have a nice engine.
Came here to say this. It's what we're doing for my daughter's 66. The only real hiccup there is matching headers to them (different plug angle), but it's do-able and cheap for the results.
 

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I know you want to keep your heads but think about GT40P heads. I got mine from the junkyard for $45. For more horses you need different springs. Not much porting needed. Combined with a new cam, intake and export manifold you would have a nice engine.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Just curious... what would be the mechanical compression of those heads bolted onto his stock 289? Flo is great for horsepower but compression is just as critical.
 

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I want to keep my original 289 block and heads and am looking to do this as cheap as possible to save money to do a C4 to T5 conversion.
That'll be a nice upgrade.
So i figure i can pull the engine and do all the disassembly. then have the block bored and machined. and do reassembly myself.
The first question is, does it need to be bored? That's a big expense and not to be taken lightly, as it will likely run a bit hotter afterward, requiring a cooling system upgrade.
So my question is... How can i get the most horsepower out of this block without buying expensive aluminum heads and spending thousands. whats the max HP i can get? is 300+ possible?
300+ is in fact easy, and low cost. See below.
i would like to get new lifters?
Yes.
what kind?
Hydraulic
rockers?
No, if yours are good now. I would suggest changing to screw-in studs, if you don't already have them.
Do i even need to re machined my heads if they were rebuilt 3 years ago.
No.
Can i save money on that?
Sure.
Is stroking the engine safe?
Define safe.
how much?
Expensive, and will destroy the budget you name.
I cant seem to get a real answer on the forum about this. some say yes others no.

im looking to spend no more than 1500$. if anyone can suggest parts and estimate prices that would be helpful.
This will come in under that budget.

While I have the C3OZ-6250-C mechanical cam in my own car, mechanical cams are not for everyone. The C9OZ-6250-C hydraulic cam provides very similar performance.


For this upgrade, you will need:

  • C9OZ-6250-C camshaft
  • Cobra or Performer RPM intake manifold
  • Autolite, Summit, or Edelbrock 600 cfm carburetor
  • 14" open air cleaner
  • Distributor recurved to BOSS 302 specifications
  • Dual valve springs (recommended)
  • Screw-in rocker studs (recommended)
  • Heads port-matched to exhaust (or aftermarket heads)
  • 289HP exhaust manifolds or headers
This combination has been dyno tested at 323.5 hp @ 5300 rpm.

Nothing else is required. No whiz-bang million volt coil, 10mm wires, etc.

I just did a set of heads, and the manifolds, last month. Took 2.5 hours for all four pieces. Of course, I've done it before. At worst, it'll take an afternoon. The car's owner wanted to retain the stock standard exhaust manifolds. After matching, they'll work a lot better than when they were unmodified.


Port-matching

Remember, port-matching is not the same as porting. You won't be enlarging them, you'll be cleaning up manufacturing flaws and irregularities, to follow the original design of the ports, nothing more.
Gotta couple questions, is that flywheel power? Say that goes into a 2500lb 65 coupe.. Add half a tank of gas, a 165lb driver.. that’s a low 13 second car... maybe with a good driver, the best gearing for the track and slicks, truly positive state of tune a 12.5 ET. So realistically it’s a mid 13 second car with radials and street gearing.


What is a realistic expectation of power for something competitive with today’s factory muscle? How much “real” flywheel power is needed to keep up with a new GT, Charger or Camaro?

Don’t get me wrong, your advice looks really good to me, especially considering his budget. I agree. I only pose the above questions/thoughts because I get the sense that like in the bike world folks have shifted from “how fast” to “how much power”. I think when the dust settles the real goal is how can I go faster? Looking at printed dyno sheets isn’t anywhere near the full answer of How Fast. Probably most reading this know that..so please don’t take my comments as condescending. I just think as new to these hobbies guys come up, they need to be able to differentiate between a forecasted dyno sheet, a real dyno sheet and the road. I sorta think OP is asking How Can I Go Faster with $1500..and I think it needs to go into the motor cause it might be showing some ware.

All that to say, flywheel power sounds impressive when you compare it to RWHP, it seems like the gap is narrowed, in reality your still a long way from keeping up to a car rated by RWHP.

Here’s some ugly thoughts... today’s muscle is all mid 11’s from the factory.. (mustang GT, Camaro SS, Dodge Challenger) for a 65 to be in that league you’d need about 415hp at the flywheel or maybe 375 RWHP.
 

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Came here to say this. It's what we're doing for my daughter's 66. The only real hiccup there is matching headers to them (different plug angle), but it's do-able and cheap for the results.
I run HiPo exhaust manifold, no issues here. But you are right, headers are limited.
 

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Just curious... what would be the mechanical compression of those heads bolted onto his stock 289? Flo is great for horsepower but compression is just as critical.
The GT40P heads are not too bad (58-61cc chamber). I guess you will end up at around 9:1. I flat milled the heads by 0.020", this will reduce the chamber size by approximately 4cc or so and boosts the compression a bit up.
 
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