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Hello everyone,

Hoping to get some good advice as to what makes the most sense. I started restoring my 1968 Mustang Coupe thinking my engine would just need cleaned up but when I pulled the water pump to make it easier to pull the engine and trans as a unit, I saw how cruddy the inside was. I am going to do a total tear down and would like to improve the performance. I would like to get about 300 to 350 HP. My goal is to have a reliable street machine. I do not plan to take this car to the drag strip, just weekend cruising with a little performance. The car is a stock 302 J-code (4V) 230HP with a C4 transmission and 8" rear end 3:0 to 1 ratio. My ideas and questions are as follow.

1st option) For the top end, I could use my original 302 heads (4V) or I could purchase a local pair of 351W (4V D0OE) heads for $200 that need rebuilt also, Not sure the cost to rebuild the heads but would guess $600 or so. I would have them rebuilt with hardened seats, screw in studs, guide plates etc..., I could use the stock 4 barrel intake or maybe use an aluminum Edelbrock Performer ($200) not sure how much performance differance there is between the two, and use the current Autolite 600 cfm carb, I would replace the stock cam, lifters, timing chain, rockers etc... with whatever is recommended. For the bottom end I plan to recondition the rods and use Hypereutic pistons or maybe forged (not sure I need the forged for the horsepower I want)? I would have the local engine shop recondition the block, as well as the heads.

2nd option) I could purchase the Edelbrock E-Street Kit for 289-302 S/B Ford (1981 & earlier) - 321 hp & 337 ft-lbs. from Summit Racing for $1700 (comes with new aluminum heads, cam, lifters, timing chain, etc....). They claim the kit is a 321HP bolt on kit and the components are matched and picked by their engineers to work together which is good for me because I don't know what works with what. I would still do the same as mentioned above to the bottom end. I would also still use the Autolite 600 CFM carb I currently have.

For the transmission, I plan to keep the C4 automatic for now but would like to switch to a T5 manual later.

For the rear end I plan to keep the current 8" but rebuild it with 3:55 to 1 ratio and add Yukon Dura Grip posi. (Guy on Ebay sell's this kit for $585). I know a 9" is stronger but again, I already have the correct 8" and I only plan on 300 to 350 HP.

So I guess my real question is what makes more scene, should I rebuild one of the Ford heads (302 or 351) or go with the Edelbrock kit?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts ~ Len
 

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I would not spend any money on the stock heads. For me it is not worth the cost to benefit ratio compared to a good set of aftermarket heads.
 

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I think plan one is not going to get you what you're looking for.

Plan 2 is much more likely to get you close to your target. HE pistons will be fine. Pay very close attention to your compression ratio. That will very widely based on what pistons you choose. For your goals, I would shoot for about 10:1 compression ratio and plan on running plus or premium gas.

Your plan 2 setup is pretty similar to what I was running with my last engine...and it was a lot of fun.

Phil

p.s. Your 8-inch is a better choice anyway. It's plenty strong unless you're going to run slicks (as your tires will go up in smoke before you overload it)...and it's much lighter than the 9-inch.

pps...think about exhaust too. You'll want to go with headers probably, good duals, a crossover, and decent mufflers.
 

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Aluminum heads have reached the price level where spending any money on iron heads is inexcusable.
 
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