Project Ramp Truck: Rebuilding the Engine

Feb 14, 2017 update to the Ford F-350 Ramp Truck project car

Our 390 crank is balanced and will be used to stroke our 360 cubic-inch engine out to a torquier 390 cubic inches.
Our short block is rebuilt and almost ready to go back into our ramp truck. All the hardware is ARP and National Parts Depot had all the parts we needed—like pistons and bearings—right in stock.
These Edelbrock heads are well priced works of art that come fully assembled with huge valves. They make rebuilding an engine much easier.
Our buddy Gordon Johnstone did all the rebuilding for us and now helps us load the finished engine to take home and put back in our ramp truck.

Time to dive into the engine rebuild in more depth. This project series has started in the May issue of Grassroots Motorsports. To get all the details, you can subscribe right here.

We talked to Curt Vogt from Cobra Automotive about our engine, as he knows Ford engines very well. He suggested that we rebuild our original engine with a crankshaft and pistons from a 390 cubic-inch engine, thus effectively giving it 390 cubic inches of displacement and a bit more torque to haul cars around.

That sounded like a no-brainer to us. Curt even had the correct crankshaft in hand and we were planning on replacing the pistons when we bored the engine anyway.

We did learn something the hard way: A crankshaft for a car with an automatic transmission is slightly different than one on truck with a manual transmission like ours. We ended up doing some emergency machining on the pilot bushing to make everything fit together correctly. Had we known this going in, we could have planned for it.

At the same time, we decided that rather than rebuild the heads and replace the cam, we would use an Edelbrock Top End Kit. We had used one of these amazing kits on a past project and found the power claims to be spot on when tested on the dyno.

On this kit—#2044—Edelbrock claims 418 horsepower and 434 lb.-ft. of torque. That estimate is based on a stock 390 engine, and would effectively double the power our rather anemic 360 was putting out. Summit Racing has it listed for $2298.37.

The kit includes Edelbrock aluminum heads–which are lighter and put out much more power than stock Ford heads, a cam, intake manifold, timing gear and chain, lifters, and gaskets.

We balanced and rebuilt the bottom end of the engine to stock clearances using ARP fasteners.

All that was needed to finish installation was a Edelbrock 750 cfm carburetor, MSD ignition, Pertronix distributor and a set of Hooker headers.


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Reader comments:

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
Feb. 14, 2017 12:52 p.m.

Nice. That seemed like a straight forward build. Sounds like the truck will have plenty of power to get out of its own way now.

Gaunt596
Gaunt596 New Reader
Feb. 14, 2017 3:25 p.m.

Should have a nice amount of pep now. Part of me also says that, for what the truck is doing, a diesel would be better suited, and probably squeak out a few extra MPG's

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
Feb. 14, 2017 4:04 p.m.

What about the driveshaft? Are you going to rebuild it/upgrade it for double the power? You know, them driveshafts are a potential failure point, or so I hear.

TIGMOTORSPORTS
TIGMOTORSPORTS HalfDork
Feb. 14, 2017 4:23 p.m.

A LONG time ago, I had a guy that worked with me that had a mid 70's Ford 4x4 with a 390 4speed combo. Great puller - used to pull off road jeeps, trailers, and snowmobiles.

Aluminum heads will be a nice weight saver

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
Feb. 15, 2017 7:56 a.m.

This is just your run of the mill 360 FE engine, right? Because I already have a 390 in Fergus and the power quoted for the kit is......tempting. Also, the Summit link seems to be broken.

NickD
NickD SuperDork
Feb. 15, 2017 2:55 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: This is just your run of the mill 360 FE engine, right? Because I already have a 390 in Fergus and the power quoted for the kit is......tempting. Also, the Summit link seems to be broken.

Yup, a as long as they are within the FE family, the parts interchange. Also, the FT family is still the same as an FE, just with a truck designation and usually much more utilitarian cam and intake setup

The0retical
Feb. 15, 2017 3:13 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce:

Here you go. Linked back to to the forum for some reason (Someone forgot the https:// and just used www.) I've made that mistake a few times since the two or so forum tweaks ago.

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh HalfDork
Feb. 15, 2017 6:03 p.m.

Couldn't you have used a 427 crankshaft and had a nice, mild 428?

jimbbski
jimbbski Dork
Feb. 15, 2017 6:10 p.m.

Looking at the specs on the cam in the kit at Summit's website the cam seems just a bit lumpy for use in a truck like that. Would work great in a car but you need low down grunt. Going bigger on cubes and less on cam is the way to go. Granted the stock cam is not enough even for a 360 let alone a 390 but something in between.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
Feb. 15, 2017 6:19 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: This is just your run of the mill 360 FE engine, right? Because I already have a 390 in Fergus and the power quoted for the kit is......tempting. Also, the Summit link seems to be broken.

Hey, you have enough on your plate right now. You have to finish buttoning up our, er, your motor and putting that van back on the road.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
Feb. 15, 2017 7:10 p.m.
snailmont5oh wrote: Couldn't you have used a 427 crankshaft and had a nice, mild 428?

Sure, but a 390 crank is a lot cheaper than a 427 crank.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
Feb. 15, 2017 7:21 p.m.
Jerry From LA wrote:
mazdeuce wrote: This is just your run of the mill 360 FE engine, right? Because I already have a 390 in Fergus and the power quoted for the kit is......tempting. Also, the Summit link seems to be broken.

Hey, you have enough on your plate right now. You have to finish buttoning up our, er, your motor and putting that van back on the road.

Fergus was here before the van, Fergus will be here after the van. It's always the right time to plan something else.

BrokenYugo
BrokenYugo MegaDork
Feb. 15, 2017 8:40 p.m.
stuart in mn wrote:
snailmont5oh wrote: Couldn't you have used a 427 crankshaft and had a nice, mild 428?

Sure, but a 390 crank is a lot cheaper than a 427 crank.

Only $415 for a cast 428 crank, seems reasonable. Or build a real beast of an engine with this 4.250 stroke crank for the same money.

SkinnyG
SkinnyG Dork
Feb. 15, 2017 8:54 p.m.
jimbbski wrote: Looking at the specs on the cam in the kit at Summit's website the cam seems just a bit lumpy for use in a truck like that.

I was thinking the same thing, but I don't know FE's all that much. I think I would prefer something around 222°@050 maximum. How big is a typical "RV" cam for a 390?

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
Feb. 15, 2017 9:49 p.m.

Is that intake manifold a Performer or Performer RPM? I can't tell unless they're side-by-side.

SkinnyG
SkinnyG Dork
Feb. 15, 2017 10:00 p.m.

The picture on Summit's site are for a Windsor, not an FE.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
Feb. 15, 2017 10:55 p.m.
SkinnyG wrote:
jimbbski wrote: Looking at the specs on the cam in the kit at Summit's website the cam seems just a bit lumpy for use in a truck like that.

I was thinking the same thing, but I don't know FE's all that much. I think I would prefer something around 222°@050 maximum. How big is a typical "RV" cam for a 390?

The way this thing is geared, it might be turning 3,500-4,000 at 70 mph.

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All 1973 Ford F-350 Ramp Truck updates

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1 year ago

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1 year ago

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1 year ago

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1 year ago

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1 year ago

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