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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In my late teens and early 20’s I did what everyone said about gearing and going fast...3:89, 4:11..

I got completely out of racing and muscle cars by about 23... only to get totally wrapped up in Drag Racing Harley’s.
I learned A LOT. I was even sponsored for about three years AMA Vintage Sreet Class.

There was virtually nobody to ask, hardly any books. I was on my own. One of the “tricks” off the beaten path was doing gearing my own way. Rather than building peaky motors with high but narrow power bands, I built the very broadest, highest, average torque curves I could. Here’s where it gets interesting... my secret weapon was instead of converting 4 speeds to 5 speeds (to keep in a power bad) I went the other way. I used three gears instead of 4 on the 1/4. Instead of 51 or 53 tooth rear wheel gears. I used 46 or 47 tooth gears. Basically, my 4 speed (even though 1 to 1) became an overdrive.

What about a vintage mustang? Why not build a C4 with a 33% lower 1st gear, 15% lower second and leave the 3rd 1 to 1? Run a 2:70 rear gear. Or, how about a 4 speed wide ratio with a 2:70 rear gear... Stay in 1-3rd gear longer? Wind out the motor?

Interesting enough Ford is a lot like old Harley’s. Sucky heads, low broad power bands... In the world of Harley, I was successful going against the grain. I used massive mechanical compression, extremely High lift cams, low duration and I made real high average torque and comparatively low horsepower. My contemporaries all said “but the heads don’t flow over 500, why use more than 500 lift”.. “trick” 2. If heads reach peak flow capabilities at 500.. fine, as the cam rises and the heads flow a max of 500, they keep flowing their max 500 as the cam goes 510, 520, 530, 540, 530 520, 510, 500... the peak lift might be past max flow... but it kept max flow through a greater Degrees of valve train rotation... then I want that valve to slam shut building compression, keep your duration... over Rev your shift points intentionally.

So, I know for a fact I’m no genius. I’m sure in our modern day and age with the interwebs, this has all been thought out? On paper where would less gear more torque fail?

Off the line would be a concern... have to have the torque to back up the gearing.. get use to crappy 60 ft times, get used to the lane next to you taking off with you spending the first 1/8 catching up to hopefully pass...

‘So let’s speculate, talk and race on paper.
 

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Very interesting post. I am certainly guilty of building a peaky powerplant and using gearing. I think that you could model your ideas with some of the available software out there. A lot of what you are speculating about was done with big block cars in the sixties and seventies. They made huge torque at low rpms and were geared fairly high with a three speed trans. Ford also did a variation of what you are speculating about with the HO mustangs. They used a very low first gear with a motor that made peak power around 5200 rpms and lots of lowend torque. It was certainly faster than most comparable old school stock small block mustangs.

Another theory that could be speculated upon is the big head, small cam engine. When I freshened my engine and added aluminum heads my idea was to use a relatively small camshaft with a big induction system. I only have 50 degrees of overlap and it pulls 13 degrees of vacuum at idle and has great driveability. It will lug all the way down 1500 rpms in 4th or 5th gears. However, I am not sure my self ported chinese heads flow enough to make up for the small cam and give me the power I was hoping for. I have not verified my power at strip yet but I suspect I am only making about 375 flywheel horsepower. I have modeled my combo on Desktop dyno and I could gain 35 or 40 horsepower at about 500 rpm higher peak with nothing more than a head change to a set of Trick Flows. So a 6500 rpm peak horsepower level with good vacuum and a broad powerband.
 

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Broke, don't know if someone offers a lower gearset for the C4, like is available for an AOD. There are also wide gears available for the C6. If one has a four speed toploader, however, there are 3.01/2.08/1.47/1.00 and 3.52 /2.27/1.46 /1.00 and 3.82/2.29/1.46/1.00 instead of the usual 2.78/1.93/1.36/1.00 normal wide ratio. Don't agree about the 'sucky heads' however. Most of the Ford iron V8 heads can easily be improved with bigger valves and some port cleanup. LSG
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Broke, don't know if someone offers a lower gearset for the C4, like is available for an AOD. There are also wide gears available for the C6. If one has a four speed toploader, however, there are 3.01/2.08/1.47/1.00 and 3.52 /2.27/1.46 /1.00 and 3.82/2.29/1.46/1.00 instead of the usual 2.78/1.93/1.36/1.00 normal wide ratio. Don't agree about the 'sucky heads' however. Most of the Ford iron V8 heads can easily be improved with bigger valves and some port cleanup. LSG
Looks like you can get a lower 1st and second for the C4. Also looks expensive and non reliable. I’m ford blue through. But compared to Chevy and Mopar, Ford didn’t comparably make good heads. Great motors in general. Just saying the usual bottleneck with Ford are heads. Cleveland’s and 385’s were decent. FE and Windsor are a lot more work to get power from stock for stock. Ford makes its power (in general) at lower rpm’s then say Chevy. Just look at the pressed studs... small exhaust valves and ports..

Sometimes we forget there was a time when billet and aluminum “aftermarket” didn’t supply the go to answer. I love me some vintage Harley. Sexy manly stuff... but let’s face it, they where tractor motors with big giant plumbers flanges.

Put it with today’s fuel and those world war plane hemi heads suck. Takes violent obnoxious mass amounts of air and velocity to make any power and it’s gonna be in-efficient power. Doesn’t mean I don’t love them. Means I understand them. Sorta the same with Ford.
 

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Broke, have worked at the engine shop off and on for 30 years, I've seen lots of heads, from all of the makes. Fords are NOT worse than anyone elses. Look at some Buick or Pontiac exhausts.......look at the normal 454 Chevy oval ports. The Fords have no more problems or weaknesses than anyone else's heads. You just have to know what to do with what you got. Pound for pound and inch for inch, I'd put a 390 I built up against any other brand without hesitation. Look who won the last Engine masters, a 1967 390 ! Just because YOU don't know how to do it, doesn't mean the rest of us don't know. The playing with gears thing, Chrysler was already doing that in 1962. Way back when I was in High School, ( don't ask when that was ) guys were putting the 4 & 6 cylinder Muncies behind the GM V8s to get a better launch. none of this new.

Sooooo,.......if you're going to badmouth Ford's cylinderhead design,.....I am searching for the phrase another member used,..........what did he say ?,..........Oh!, I remember, Begone Bench Racer ! LSG
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Broke, have worked at the engine shop off and on for 30 years, I've seen lots of heads, from all of the makes. Fords are NOT worse than anyone elses. Look at some Buick or Pontiac exhausts.......look at the normal 454 Chevy oval ports. The Fords have no more problems or weaknesses than anyone else's heads. You just have to know what to do with what you got. Pound for pound and inch for inch, I'd put a 390 I built up against any other brand without hesitation. Look who won the last Engine masters, a 1967 390 ! Just because YOU don't know how to do it, doesn't mean the rest of us don't know. The playing with gears thing, Chrysler was already doing that in 1962. Way back when I was in High School, ( don't ask when that was ) guys were putting the 4 & 6 cylinder Muncies behind the GM V8s to get a better launch. none of this new.

Sooooo,.......if you're going to badmouth Ford's cylinderhead design,.....I am searching for the phrase another member used,..........what did he say ?,..........Oh!, I remember, Begone Bench Racer ! LSG
What I said wasn’t with malice. I wasn’t trying to insult your delicate flowery nature. Now what you said, was unkind and intended. So let’s put up, I’ll post time slips eager to see yours.

So still here, willing to cut through your bloviating tales.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Someone mentioned the gearing used in the early 60’s. Interesting. Has anyone, or is anyone willing to comment or share on their trying what I was theorizing? Be interesting to know.

Be cool to take a big crank stoker, something under square, Then concentrate on a very broad power band and see what happens with wide ratio gears and something like a 2:70 rear. Since small blocks are already a 4” bore I wouldn’t imagine a larger than 4” crank would fit too many blocks? I know they make a 408W kit..so that’s likely a 4” crank, square motor.
 

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What you are considering seems much more appropriate for a 351 windsor stroker. With the 289 and 302 there's only so much torque you can make even with a stroker.

Also, I don't think you are speaking blasphemy about the ford windsor heads. If they were so great we wouldn't have so many aftermarket heads. The Clevelands are a different story but were so short lived that they never became popular but with someone who knew how to cam them they were quite formidable.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What you are considering seems much more appropriate for a 351 windsor stroker. With the 289 and 302 there's only so much torque you can make even with a stroker.

Also, I don't think you are speaking blasphemy about the ford windsor heads. If they were so great we wouldn't have so many aftermarket heads. The Clevelands are a different story but were so short lived that they never became popular but with someone who knew how to cam them they were quite formidable.
I think you’re probably right about a 351W. 4” bore is the same no matter, it’s the stroke that I have had success building broad torque curves around. I grew up enchanted by Shelby, SHOC, Cammer, side Oiler, SCJ.. terms like that were dreams. I loved all the mustangs I owned. I loved all the motors I messed with. Kinda sad it took me almost 30 years to come back to muscle cars.
 

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Looks like you can get a lower 1st and second for the C4. Also looks expensive and non reliable. I’m ford blue through. But compared to Chevy and Mopar, Ford didn’t comparably make good heads. Great motors in general. Just saying the usual bottleneck with Ford are heads. Cleveland’s and 385’s were decent. FE and Windsor are a lot more work to get power from stock for stock. Ford makes its power (in general) at lower rpm’s then say Chevy. Just look at the pressed studs... small exhaust valves and ports..

Sometimes we forget there was a time when billet and aluminum “aftermarket” didn’t supply the go to answer. I love me some vintage Harley. Sexy manly stuff... but let’s face it, they where tractor motors with big giant plumbers flanges.

Put it with today’s fuel and those world war plane hemi heads suck. Takes violent obnoxious mass amounts of air and velocity to make any power and it’s gonna be in-efficient power. Doesn’t mean I don’t love them. Means I understand them. Sorta the same with Ford.
i love vintage harley's as well. i built 1975 ironhead. 77 cubic inch. 4-5/8 stroke (s&s wheels & . 3.25 bore (+.60). sifton minus minus cams & springs, ported heads, manley oversized stainless valves, super E with 2'' spacer, crane hi4, bandit machine works clutch, has stupid high compression. trying to kick start it with me only weighing 180 lbs sucks, some days it just wont turn over. bike made 71hp/74tq @wheel. precision cycles in rockford IL did the machine work & dyno tune. this old chopper is a bitch some days but she's a blast when it starts hahahahaha
 

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Ive done much the same as the OP over the years. Ive been an FE guy at heart from the late 70's. "Back in the day" I ran a 428cj in my 67 with a 3.00 rear gear and a 2.32TL. 3rd gear though the lights at 6000rpm. 13.0 on street Pro Tracks. Swapped to 3.91 and needed slicks but went 12.40's...
FAST forward... 430ci FE good for 6500rpm. TKO 5 speed 2.66 first gear. 4.11 was a ton of gear, useless first gear. switched to a 3.25 too tall to use OD (.68) 5th until 80mph+. Settled on a 3.70 for 8 years. Autocrossed for 4 years too with that gear, still a little too much first but also limited top end speed at 6200 ,only 64mph, on longer course set ups I hit the rev limiter,went to a 3.60. Softened first a bit but picked up 2nd MPH by 4. 70mph is sort of the goto MPH in autocross.
The FE's seem to like some gear to push against instead of blasting right though the torque curve.

A friend roadraced a 71 Mustang and instead of gearing it for max RPM in 4th he set it up in 3rd. He ran a 2.87 that gave him about 125 in 3rd. about perfect for then Texas World (RIP).
With an Auto Im sure you know the money is in the torque converter.

Knowing what I know,not a lot, I would punt the C4 for either a well built AOD-E with a controller or one of the brand X modern 4 spd autos.
Make them solid then put a GOOD converter in it,I LOVED the Precision Industry's converter in my Marauder! 3000rpm lock up.

Playing with low gearsets in autos works ,but for the money a good converter with the proper K factor will get more out of the set up.

The trick is having the converter tight enough at light cruise throttle to not beat the fluid. That is where the lock up 4spds work better than a C4.
 

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Ive done much the same as the OP over the years. Ive been an FE guy at heart from the late 70's. "Back in the day" I ran a 428cj in my 67 with a 3.00 rear gear and a 2.32TL. 3rd gear though the lights at 6000rpm. 13.0 on street Pro Tracks. Swapped to 3.91 and needed slicks but went 12.40's...
FAST forward... 430ci FE good for 6500rpm. TKO 5 speed 2.66 first gear. 4.11 was a ton of gear, useless first gear. switched to a 3.25 too tall to use OD (.68) 5th until 80mph+. Settled on a 3.70 for 8 years. Autocrossed for 4 years too with that gear, still a little too much first but also limited top end speed at 6200 ,only 64mph, on longer course set ups I hit the rev limiter,went to a 3.60. Softened first a bit but picked up 2nd MPH by 4. 70mph is sort of the goto MPH in autocross.
The FE's seem to like some gear to push against instead of blasting right though the torque curve.

A friend roadraced a 71 Mustang and instead of gearing it for max RPM in 4th he set it up in 3rd. He ran a 2.87 that gave him about 125 in 3rd. about perfect for then Texas World (RIP).
With an Auto Im sure you know the money is in the torque converter.

Knowing what I know,not a lot, I would punt the C4 for either a well built AOD-E with a controller or one of the brand X modern 4 spd autos.
Make them solid then put a GOOD converter in it,I LOVED the Precision Industry's converter in my Marauder! 3000rpm lock up.

Playing with low gearsets in autos works ,but for the money a good converter with the proper K factor will get more out of the set up.

The trick is having the converter tight enough at light cruise throttle to not beat the fluid. That is where the lock up 4spds work better than a C4.
Very interesting post with first hand experience.
 
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