It’s been said that when it comes to building a performance engine there’s no replacement for displacement. That’s the theory that John Beck at Pro Machine felt fit the needs of our Hot Rod Hauler perfectly, and we’re not about to argue.
The first step in building...
The first step in building our stroked 460 Ford was to chemically clean the block, examine it thoroughly for cracks and sonic check the cylinder walls to verify their thickness.
Over the years we’ve done an eclectic selection of project engines with John, including a 998cc Mini motor, flathead Fords, blown and naturally aspirated Hemis and who knows how many small-block Chevys. We’ve learned to listen when John offers advice, his engines have served us well, not to mention he’s the guy who built the horsepower required to make the number 911 Cummins-Beck-Davidson-Thornsberry/Pro Machine Blown Fuel Roadster run over 300 mph at Bonneville (setting a record of 301.15 mph).
When we explained our goal for the Hot Rod Hauler, a truck that can haul a load, pull a trailer and not get any worse mileage than the original 460, he responded with two words, “stroker motor.” Over the years John had put together a number of truck engines destined for such duty and discovered that, properly equipped, an efficient big-inch, long-stroke engine would provide the performance needed, while often being more economical than the smaller displacement engine it replaced, so we began to map out a strategy.
Our engine will be based on a 460 block bored .030-inch oversize and stuffed with an Eagle crank from Summit Racing that increases the stroke a whopping 4½ inches; Eagle H-beam rods and forged Mahle pistons are also part of the package.
The 460 was one of Ford’s 385 engine family. It’s said the 385 reference comes from the length of the 460’s stroke, 3.850-inches (the 429 had a 3.59-inch arm). These engines are also referred to as Limas, as the plant that produced them was in Lima, Ohio. Introduced in 1968, the 460 was used to haul around the Lincoln land yachts and the 429 version went into Thunderbirds. These engines would also be produced as a 370-incher used in medium-duty trucks and a 514 that was sold as a crate motor.
Before any machine work was begun, the Summit-supplied Eagle stroker crank was dropped in the block to check clearances. Note the scalloped pan rail.
Whatever you call it, the 460 had a long production run, particularly for Ford standards. It eventually replaced the FEs that went out of production in ’76. Over the years, the 460 was Ford’s go-to big-block and could be found in cars, trucks and many motorhomes. They were also popular engines for marine use. Production of the 460 ended in ’97 with the fuel-injected version found in trucks.
During the 460’s life span, blocks were cast in three different foundries. The origin of the block can be determined by the casting mark at the back of the block next to the tapped hole for the oil-pressure sender. CCP stands for the Cleveland Foundry, DIF for Dearborn Foundry and MCC is Flat Rock Foundry in Michigan.
While the basic block remained the same during its production life, there were some subtle differences. Through ’71 the deck height was 10.300 inches; from ’72 on, the decks were 10.322 inches. The increase drops the pistons in the cylinders at TDC and was to lower compression to meet emerging federal emissions guidelines.
Ford made a number of other revisions to the 460 block over the years and they were identified with numbers and letters that were cast into the block. A block can be found marked with: C8VE-A, C9VE-A, DOVE-A, D1VE-A2A, D1VE-A2B, and D9TE. (These codes don’t indicate when the block was made, the date code for each block is in the valley under the intake manifold.) The differences aren’t always clear. Blocks marked C8VE, C9VE, DOVE and some D1VE blocks have thinner notched pan rails than others. A very desirable block is the DOVE-A, as it had thicker main webbing to allow for the factory four-bolt main caps. It should be noted that not all these blocks did in fact have four-bolt mains, but they could be added easily.
Even with the
Even with the
inches to 4.500,
the Eagle crank
and rods have
plenty of clearance.
main caps were
To true the
To true the
to the factory
With an accurate surface established,...
With an accurate surface established, the block surface of the rear
main was trimmed slightly.
With all the main caps in...
With all the main caps in place the main bearing bores were linehoned
to ensure they were all the correct size and were perfectly
Once the accuracy
of the main
Once the accuracy
of the main
bearing bores is
off the crankshaft
with the block in
only be programmed
to move the
punch them to
the right size,
but it will step
the bottoms of
the bores for
Using the centerline as a...
Using the centerline as a reference, the block’s decks were surfaced
to be parallel to and equidistant from the crankshaft.
Our 460’s cylinders were standard...
Our 460’s cylinders were standard bore, we punched them .030-inch oversize.
A unique 460 block is the D9TE block with cylinder walls that are .250-inch longer than other production blocks. (While this could be an advantage for extremely long strokes, however, most builders agree that all the blocks will easily accommodate a 4.500-inch stroke without any problems.) Another difference in this block is that it uses a crankshaft with smaller counterweights and it’s the only 460 that is externally balanced. As a result, the D9TE crank will fit in other 460 blocks (it must be used with the proper externally balanced damper and flywheel), but it doesn’t work the other way around. Internally balanced cranks with larger counterweights will not fit in the D9TE block.
Although there were changes made in the 460 block during its production run, the fact is that for our purposes any of them would work. These things are durable and are easily capable of handling well over 500 horsepower, even with two-bolt mains. Most 460s can be safely bored .060-inch oversize, and a few will go bigger, but we’d suggest sonic checking for anything bigger than .030-inch just for peace of mind. For really big bores the Ford Racing and Performance Parts block, M-6010-A46, is the way to go, its cylinders can be punched to 4.600-inches.
As for swinging a big crank, any block other than the D9TE should accept a 4.500-inch stroke. However never take anything for granted and do a test assembly of any non-standard parts.
A heavy deck plate was used when the cylinders were honed. You may notice the plate isn’t bolted down. So don’t tell CCT editor, Ryan Manson, we forgot to get a photo and had to go back and fake it.
John likes his engines bulletproof and to that end he often fits four-bolt main caps to big-inch engines whenever possible. However, our block was the typical 460 with thin main webs (at least compared to the DOVE-A) and there just isn’t enough material to drill and tap for the additional bolts, plus the bulkheads have a dip in them that would leave a gap between the outer bolts and the block. But John’s resourceful and the decision was made to fit two-bolt steel main caps. They were made by simply cutting the ears off a set of Milodon main caps for DOVE-A blocks; presto, steel main caps for a 460.
With the main caps installed, Russ Beck (no relation to John) went about making our block square with the world. Once the basic blueprinting was done Russ balanced the internals to be within a “gnat’s butt.”
If the 460 has any shortcoming, its probably the oiling system. For sustained high-rpm use, a high-pressure/high-volume oil pump is recommended. To go along with that, a heavy-duty oil pump driveshaft and a hardened pin in the distributor gear that drives it should be added. In our case this engine will not be wound up, it won’t need to be. It’s being built to be a low-rpm pull so we’ll be using a Summit standard-pressure/high-volume oil pump.
One of the components we elected to add to the bottom-end assembly was a vibration damper from Fluidampr. The OEM damper is an elastomer (rubber-lined) design that compensates for peak crankshaft torsional vibrations under stock conditions. Adding a ½-inch stroke pretty much throws the original damper’s tuning out the window, which may result in uncontrolled torsional vibrations that can accelerate main bearing wear, disrupt valve timing and even result in crankshaft breakage. With the time and money invested in this engine the Fluidampr is cheap insurance.
As can be seen here, the main...
As can be seen here, the main webs of our block did not have enough material to add four-bolt caps. Our modified Milodon steel caps are secured with ARP studs.
What’s unique about the Fluidampr is that it automatically adjusts to engine modifications and self-tunes throughout the entire rpm range. The crank’s torsional vibration resonates the internal inertia ring, causing it to shear through the silicone. That transforms the vibration into heat, which dissipates through the housing.
We’ve got all the stout components to build the foundation of the Hot Rod Hauler’s new engine. Next we’ll be doing the final assembly with some trick pieces that will make it a real stump puller, then it’s on to the dyno with high hopes of some impressive numbers. CCT
One of the important aspects...
One of the important aspects of building a long-lasting, smooth engine is balancing. First, each of the Eagle H-beam rods was weighed to make sure they were identical.
With the total weight of the...
With the total weight of the rods established, the reciprocating ends were weighed.
All the pistons, pins and...
All the pistons, pins and rings are weighed. This fixture is used to hold the pistons if any weight has to be removed.
Pistons can be lightened in...
Pistons can be lightened in a number of ways. The pads below the piston pins can be ground, or a special cutter can be used to remove material above the pins.
With the all the pistons and...
With the all the pistons and rods balanced, weights to simulate them are attached to the crank and it’s spun. Note the counterweight has been drilled to remove weight, in some cases with stroker cranks heavy metal must be added.
Bearing clearances are critical....
Bearing clearances are critical. Russ Beck carefully measured the crank’s journals.
With the bearing in place,...
With the bearing in place, the main caps were installed and torqued to specs. A bore gauge was used to measure the id of each bearing and then compared to the crank measurements to determine the clearance.
We opted to swap the stock...
We opted to swap the stock vibration damper for a Fluidampr. They are SFI 18.1-certified for professional competition and feature engraved timing marks.
The Fluidampr has a precisionmachined...
The Fluidampr has a precisionmachined and computer-balanced housing and inertia ring separated by a thin layer of viscous silicone.