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BluePrint Engines 306ci Bronco Edition Crate Engine

Posted in How To: Engine on October 2, 2018
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If you’re a car guy or gal (really, a truck guy or gal) you have probably spent some time contemplating an engine refresh or engine swap for your project. Heck, we all have—some of us every day. One issue is finding a reliable source for said engine. Sure, you can roll the dice and get a “good” used engine from a junkyard that may be packed full of sawdust and snake oil, or you could put your trust (and cash) in the pocket of a local engine rebuilder—again, a roll of the dice.

Another option would be to find a crate engine from a known national brand of performance engine builders. All have plusses and minuses, but generally the minuses shrivel up and disappear when you go with a well-known company that has a reputation to uphold.

Chances are the name BluePrint Engines has popped up on your radar over the past 10 years when you were thinking about engines. We know it has in our lives. BluePrint Engines started over 20 years ago in a garage in Nebraska. For BluePrint, the idea to build performance engines began as many ventures do, as a hobby that lead to the company being one of the largest crate engine manufacturers in the world.

Today BluePrint offer lots of products, a few specific to the truck market, like the BluePrint Engines 306ci Bronco Edition Crate Engine. It’s a Ford 302 Windsor, a storied and venerable little engine that is hard to beat for torque and horsepower given its relatively small displacement. This particular engine is engineered at BluePrint specifically for Broncos, so it is perfect for the 1969 Bronco we are resurrecting.

Starting with a handpicked seasoned 2-bolt main block, BluePrint uses modern techniques to square and parallel-deck the block, align-hone the main bearing bore, hone the cylinders on a computer-controlled machine to within 0.0002 straightness and roundness, and bore the cylinders 0.040 over stock. Cylinders walls are then sonic tested for thickness to ensure good cooling and engine longevity. From there, a one-piece rear main seal rides on a cast steel crankshaft that spins hypereutectic pistons through a 3-inch stroke. Other features of the engine are a pair of BluePrint Engines aluminum cylinder heads building a 9.2:1 compression ratio, a hydraulic roller cam with 0.533 intake/0.554 exhaust lift on 215 intake/220 exhaust duration at 0.050 ground on a 114-degree LSA.

What does that mean? Well, this Bronco Edition–specific camshaft has a smooth idle that pulls a lot of vacuum to support fuel injection and builds a ton of the low-end torque that’s helpful for road and trail driving a 4x4. Other performance 302s are probably built for high-end horsepower, something a Bronco won’t see much of.

The engine is painted Ford Blue, has Bronco Script valve covers, and is available with a carburetor or, in our case, a Holley Sniper EFI system on a dual-plenum aluminum intake from BluePrint. Timing comes from a small-cap HEI distributor. When assembled and ready to ship, BluePrint tests and dynos each and every engine to confirm that the promised 365 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque are there. You get all that plus a 30-month/50,000-mile warrantee. You know the junkyard won’t give you that—and the local engine rebuilder probably won’t either.

The only thing we know about the old 302 that came out of our Bronco is that it was tired in the 2000s when we first met the truck. The past 18 years of sitting and dry firing probably haven’t done this engine any favors, so out it came.
A bag in a box that holds horsepower and torque. These are the things that make any 4x4 nut happy. Our BluePrint Engine 306ci Bronco Edition V-8 reportedly comes with 365 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot better than the tired 302 that’s been in the Bronco for at least 20 years, maybe all 49 years since the truck was new.
Inside the plastic bag is a thing of beauty in blue. We got our first look at the Bronco script valve covers, Holley Sniper fuel injection, aluminum intake, sexy aluminum heads, and more. What you can’t see are a bevy of fresh parts inside, including a cast crank, hypereutectic pistons, a roller cam, and more, all for the great price of $5,525. That’s a killer price when you consider the fuel system, distributor, intake, heads, and everything else you get.
BluePrint Engines runs each engine on its dyno free of charge. Other engine builders charge extra for a dyno sheet. BluePrint does this is for a couple reasons. First, dyno testing makes sure everything is in working order. The second reason (and in our opinion the coolest) is to supply you with actual power numbers of your engine. Our engine made 372.3 hp at 5,700 rpm and 368 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm, overdelivering the Bronco crate engine’s advertised numbers. And the thing isn’t even broken in yet!
A small-cap, HEI-style distributor comes already installed in the engine ready to go. The small design helps fit in the Bronco’s crowded underhood area.
The Holley Sniper EFI system comes attached to the engine and is partially plumbed/wired. That saves time on this already intensive vehicle build. Holley has been building fuel delivery systems for more than 100 years and has plenty of experience with throttle-body fuel-injection systems. The system is self-tuning, easy to wire, and easy to set up. The cost of the Sniper if you bought it by itself is around $1,000. Unlike a carburetor, the Sniper fuel injection shouldn’t have hard-start problems on cold days, should run cleanly and efficiently, and also will run at extreme angles on the trail.
The engine has a 50-ounce external balancer installed and requires standard V-belt accessories and a standard-rotation water pump.
BluePrint also manufactures these cast aluminum Muscle Series aluminum heads for stud-mounted rocker arms. The same heads sell for $505 per side, so you can see the kind of deal you are getting in this fully built crate engine.
Tucked into the crate was a cardboard box with all the extra goodies you need to install this blue beast into a Bronco. Most of the included parts are bits for the Holley Sniper fuel injection and HEI-style small-cap distributor.
The fuel-injection system gets info from an O2 sensor and a temp sensor that were both in the box. Wiring and the instruction manuals for the distributor and fuel-injection system are included too. There is even a clamp-on O2 sensor exhaust mount, but we’ll probably buy a weld-in bung and add it to the exhaust system.
The included Holley Sniper system also comes with a handheld LCD touchscreen so you can input startup information as well as monitor engine information using the digital gauges on the unit.

Sources

Blueprint Engines
Kearney, NE
800-483-4263
http://www.blueprintengines.com

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