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Contributing Sr Motorhead
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
While I am in the process of putting AlphaCat together after 18 years of being apart, I'm coming to a bunch of decisions that I have to make. Since my racing buddies are the ones primarily involved in the process of finishing the car, they are 'suggesting' things that I'm not too sure about (for a street car). :confused:

Roller cam? Hmmmm, for a car that's rarely driven, and sits 99% of the time, maybe I should consider a roller cam since I'd be less likely to 'waste' one vs a flat tappet cam. You know, once the oil has left all of the surfaces from sitting for months you're starting dry, and cams don't like starting dry! I've already opted for the adjustable rocker conversion kit from Crane to go along with a set of roller rocker arms, so I guess I'm part of the way there already. The silver 71 Mach of Keith's has a roller cam in his 484-inch motor and is very docile on the street -- even the vacuum accesories work fine -- until he mashes the skinny pedal! (it runs 10.90s with the full factory interior, radio, heater, etc!) Let's see here.... I went online and Crane ( www.cranecams.com ) makes some neat hydraulic roller cam outfits. Hmmmm. I jotted down the part numbers, then I went to the Summit Racing site ( www.summitracing.com ) to get some idea of the pricing. Hmmmmm. Cam - $301.39, lifters - $409.95, valve springs - $165.69, retainers - $76.69, keepers - $35.99, special length pushrods - $98.69, distributor gear - $49.95 . Total - $1138.35! OUCH!

Then if I was to go all that way with a nice cam, I'd have to replace the factory two-piece (welded, of course) valves that Clevelands have and go with one piece aftermarket valves. The one brother kept snapping off the heads of the valves on his Cleveland racing engine until he went to the one piece valves. Then, of course, since AlphaCat is a 73 351C-4V, it has the smaller 2V valve size valves in it, so I'd have to have them machined for the bigger valves and have hardened seats put in for the more radical valve spring seat pressure... Or I could get rid of the open chamber heads and put on a set of early quench heads. Hmmm. Since I'm already running the Boss 351-style pistons, that would raise the compression up to .... (flipping through books) 12.3! Yipes! I have approximately 10.5:1 now.

Then there is my torque converter choice for the trans... I had traded away the old B&M holeshot converter (the PO had gotten rid of the factory high-stall CJ converter) and bought a TCI 4000 rpm stall speed converter years ago when I was more into the racing scene. I have since bought a new TCI 3500rpm stall converter that is more suitable for the street/strip use I had envisioned for AlphaCat. Of course, my buddy is suggesting the 4000 converter!

Then there is the lightening up of the front bumper... A 73 front bumper, reinforcement and isolators can give a strongman a hernia. If I was to make some lightweight brackets to just hold the bumper out there (just for looks) I could save almost 100lbs!

Then, to save even more weight, as long as the rear end is out of the car, how 'bout getting rid of those heavy leaf springs and going with ladder bars and coil-overs?

Do you see where all this is heading? I have to decide how far to go with the performance mods. I think my buddy is trying to get me to have AlphaCat run in the mid-11s instread of the high 12s!

Opinions? :1poke:
 

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You know what they say about opinions, there like rectums . Everyone has one and most of em stink!:D . Anyway It's up to you and how much you want to spend. I think the roller cam would be nice if the moneys not a problem, but its a luxury to me.

The one thing nice about the ford motors is they use a larger dia lifter than the Chevys and you can still run quite a bit of lift with a regular solid lifter. I ran a class that didnt allow roller cams and Crower made me a .605 lift cam. The most a Chevy can go is like .580. I know the lobe profile of a roller is still going to be better, but for the money spent and what you plan to do with it, you might want to go regular solids and spend the extra money elseware. I really dont think the "dry" startup is as bad as it sounds.

As far as the rear goes, if you go coil overs, try to stay away from the heim joint mounts. They wear fast and are expensive and really kinda fragile.

I thought about a 4 bar or ladder bar setup when I do my next one, but I have pretty well made up my mind to go ahead with a leaf setup. Pretty much trouble free that way for a driver.

It's going to be your choice in the end that matters and what makes it the way you want it. mm
 

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Even the radical roller cams sound rather tame at idle...I think thats something inherent to roller cam design. Neat effect, though.

I'm interested to see how much dough it takes to put you where you wanna be with a Cleveland...I know a way that would be a lot cheaper...but it involves wedging stuff! :D
 

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I don't know if this is an issue on 351C-4v heads, but on my 302-2v I used rollerrockers (NON railtype) without guide plates. I got lucky and only bent all 8 exhaust pushrods... SO for now the stock rockers are back on until I can convert the heads to screw-in studs with guides.
Make sure you use the right kind of roller rockers if you go that route!
 

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With the current lifter shortage, you might want to make sure the roller lifters for the conversion are still available. This might affect your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Greggie,

The crane adjustable rocker conversion kit ($85 from Summit Racing) for Cleveland and Lima engines is just that. It allows you to convert the positive stop heads to adjustable with no machining. The key is a stepped stud, which bolts into the head (5/16 thread), has a shoulder for torking and holding the proprietory guideplate, and then is the 7/16 stud that most aftermarket adjustable rockers require. The guideplate is even has a nylon (or teflon?) insert so you don't need hardened pushrods - the stockers do just fine!

I will be using a set of Harland Sharp roller rockers ( www.harlandsharp.com ). These are made just a few miles from the house here, and therefore are cheaper than most of the other aftermarket brands. Most are really made by one of two manufacturers anyway, HS being one of them, and then anodized to whatever color the other 'manufacurer' wants to sell. Harland Sharp pioneered the automotive use of roller rockers and have been making roller rockers for cars for over forty years!

Zero,

"Wedging stuff"? :confused: No, I'm not going to use nitrous or any supercharger if that's what you meant.

I'm going to be perfectly happy if I can run mid- to high 12s in my 3800-pound car! I'm pretty sure the engine I have already built will do that. My one buddy had blown up his racing Cleveland in his 71 Mach 1, so we plopped mine in there and he ripped off a 13.0 pass without even finetuning the engine (his carb and distributor). With a little 'dialing-in' of the proper jetting and timing I feel pretty confident that I'll get in to the 12s. I also have more converter, better gearing and better tires than he had back then!

Logan,

You can barely see the rollcage in my buddy's 10.90 Mach. They custom bent it to fit the stock 'deluxe' door panels, cut nice neat holes in the package tray and carpet - even using nice windlace around the openings, painted it the same color as the interior... :D I will probably still put in a set of homemade (semi-inletted) frame connectors, just to make sure I don't twist the car all out of shape. :p:

Like I said, decisions, decisions...(although I'm leaning toward the mid 12s)

Milo
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Zero,

A few years back I had actually picked up a 429CJ for a song and was toying with the idea of dropping that in, either in 429 form or 460, or 460+ but once I saw the $$$ for what it would cost to put all that in there.... Intake, headers, mounts, trans, brackets, etc, I just said the heck with it and decided to go with the fresh 351C. I think I can make plenty of tire shreading power with 'just' a 351C!

I sold the 429CJ for a healthy profit and still have the factory CJ intake and carb (Good things for the restoration market!)!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If I ever blow up my original numbers-matching Cleveland beyond repair, I might just have to go with a 460 based engine since they're easier to get and find performance parts for these days, but until then...

I was also kinda thinking with going with a stroker 351W to lets say 408 or 427 inches...

Then again, if I really want to go fast, I'd get a Fox platform car and drop the 460-based engine in there....

I have a freshly rebuilt, strong-running Cleveland and that's what I'm gonna use!
 

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Well, ok...I guess it's a Jersey thing. As long as you've got the ever-elusive "historic" tags, you do it big!

It's nice, actually...no inspection, every-3-years registration, cheap insurance (even the specialty 'classic' insurance), and most cops dig your car so they leave you alone, even if you are above noise ordinances just a little;) .
 

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Jersey registration & big block

Hey Zero,
I have my Cougar registered as a historic in NJ as well. In fact I'm right next door to you in Mount Laurel. I love the historic thing, no inspection!!! I got tired of trying to squeeze my car through emissions every year, only to drive it on nice days and weekends.
NJ also has a "hobbyist" registration for cars newer than 25 years. It only requires a safety inspection and limits the miles to 4K (I think) a year. I know a guy who has a tubbed 650 horse mid eighties camaro and it is street legal.
I got tired of trying to squeeze more power from the 351, so I am in the process of building a dual quad big block pavement shredder for my convertible. I hope to have it done for next spring. I will be using the car this weekend in the Riverside High School homecoming parade, then it will be put away for the winter and the big block conversion can commence. No substitute for cubic inches!! Check out my Cougar website, you will see some familiar landmarks.
Paul G.
69 XR7 Convertible
http://home.sprynet.com/~pamar/cougar.html
 

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How are you guys plunking these big blocks between the shock towers in these cars?? Mine is a 68 std., 302CID, and I've been considering going to a 390, but it sure doesn't look like much room in there. Were the shock towers different on the 390's and 427's/428's in 68'??

I told myself I wasn't going ape on this drag race thing... I'm afraid I'm being sucked in anyway.

Ron.
 

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Ah, well...mine's a '73, which has a bit more space to work with from the get-go. As for yours, ronzoni...um...anybody? Little help here?
:1poke:
 

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The shock towers on 390 / 427 and 428 Cougars were reinforced beginning in March 1968 but were no wider than the small block shock towers. The big blocks fit in with room to spare. I recommend them highly.
 

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Royce Peterson said:
The shock towers on 390 / 427 and 428 Cougars were reinforced beginning in March 1968 but were no wider than the small block shock towers. The big blocks fit in with room to spare. I recommend them highly.
Thats what this forum is all about, opinions! Royce your idea of room to spare is sure different then mine! But your right they do fit and there not any worse to me than a Cleavland in one. mm
 

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Discussion Starter #18
MM,

I wouldn't go that far! Have you ever tried changing the spark plugs in a 69/70 with a 428CJ? Either way, with the original iron manifolds or headers, they're still a PITA! I'll take my Cleveland, thankyouverymuch! ;)

The wife's 70 Mach with its 351C-4V is much easier to change plugs on, but you still have to let it cool down a good while before attempting to work on it down there! :)
 

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LOL, CJ, yes I have been there and done that. I was laughing at the room to spare part. I do have recent experiance with the 70 xr7 I just recently parted out. In my opinion theres not much room to spare with either.

Thats just part of the reason my next one probalby wont have any shock towers at all!! mm
 
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