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Ford Crate Engines - Insider - Off-Road

Posted in Product Reviews on March 1, 2003 Comment (0)
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Ford Crate Engines - Insider - Off-Road
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Ford 5.0L Cammer Crate EngineFord Racing Technology's new 5.0L Cammer crate engine should be available as you read this. According to Ford, the approach to this crate engine is different that previous products. Instead of modifying a standard production engine to suit non-stock applications, Ford Racing specifically designed the Cammer to be one of the most technologically advanced crate engines on the market.

The engine is an all-aluminum, overhead-cam, four-valve engine that delivers 425 hp at 6,700 rpm with a torque curve that peaks with 370 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. It is based on the SVT Mustang Cobra's 4.6L, four-valve V-8 with extensive performance mods, including larger bore (94mm versus 90.2mm) for 5 liters of displacement, flanged cylinder liners, reinforced crankcase web areas, forged pistons, 11.0:1 compression ratio, ported heads, higher-lift cams (12mm versus 10mm), beehive-shaped valve springs to accommodate the higher lift, and modified roller-finger followers. In addition, the engine gets multi-layer steel-insert head gaskets, higher-flow dual-cone pattern fuel injectors, and a three-piece cast-magnesium variable geometry intake manifold. Wow!

The 5.0L Cammer crate engine will be shipped with a stock Mustang Cobra oil pan and exhaust manifolds. Installation will be eased substantially by a choice of six different 4.6L, four-valve modular wiring harnesses being created specifically for the 5.0L Cammer crate engine.

According to Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, "Ford intends to grow the interest in overhead-cam technology. This is the future for tuners, project-vehicle builders, and aftermarket car and truck enthusiasts. There's no reason why a crate engine can't start and perform as well in an aftermarket setting as the engines in production automobiles and trucks do. The 5.0L Cammer crate engine will provide top performance, a slick underhood appearance, and excellent driveability without the hassles attached to carburetors and distributors."

When Nature Calls
Here's more proof that no matter what you do, you're going to offend at least one action group or non-governmental agency with an axe to grind and contributions to promote. Case in point: The new Dodge Truck TV spot that spoofs a cartoon decal popular among a certain segment pickup owners (you know who you are) that depicts a little boy urinating on a truck-maker's logo.

In the Dodge Ram commercial, an animated Dodge Ram head logo assumes a position on the back window of a Ram 1500 pickup. Said boy tiptoes up to the decal and exhibits proper modesty before attempting to relieve himself on the logo. The Ram decal comes alive with aggressive actions toward the boy, ultimately knocking him off the truck, as the voice over announcer says, "Don't mess with the most powerful, longest-lasting line of trucks."

Commercial Alert, a nonprofit group in Portland, Oregon, that reportedly supports family values in TV spots, regards the commercial spot as an example of the just how crass commercial culture has become. Moreover, the group predicts a backlash from the insensitive and offensive nature of the content.

However, the exact opposite seemed to have happened at the beginning of the campaign. According to Dodge, the commercial had the highest awareness score of any auto spot tracked by Millward Brown, a market research firm in Naperville, Illinois. Our guess is that the vast majority of truck owners and buyers hold the real family values and that a little potty humor maybe just what some of our watch dogs of morality need most.

Next-Gen F-150 Gets Three-Valve Modular V-8
Ford's new three-valve, 5.4L Triton engine, to be launched in the next-generation '04 F-150 pickups, provides more of the qualities our customers love in a V-8 engine - plenty of power, with instant gratification when you push the accelerator pedal, says Pete Dowding, Manager of Modular Engine Programs.

The new 5.4L Triton V-8 engine is designed with three valves per cylinder, variable-cam timing, and several supporting technologies that are said to provide increased power along with improved refinement and fuel efficiency. Ford is claiming the new three-valve Triton engine delivers 300 hp at 5,000 rpm, and 365 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm. A significant improvement compared with the present two-valve 5.4L engine.

The engine is built around a new aluminum cylinder head with two intake valves and one exhaust valve per cylinder and a new cast-iron block. The new 24-valve engine will be Ford's first modular V-8 to use variable-cam timing (VCT). The VCT design allows Ford engineers to optimize intake and exhaust valve actuation across the rev range by shifting the intake and exhaust valve timing together, a technology Ford refers to as dual equal valve control. The engine also introduces what Ford calls Charge Motion Control Valves that in combination with precise control of spark timing, fuel injection improves low end power.

The new three-valve modular engine employs two intake and one exhaust valve. The use of two intake valves enhances fuel-air mixing prior to combustion. This helps to squeeze all the energy out of each combustion event, improving power delivery and fuel efficiency. Multiple valves also enhance the engine's ability to breathe, which is key to generating maximum hp.

While four-valve engines remain Ford's first choice for luxury and high-performance applications, where hp and acceleration are key benefits, they require considerable complexity, including two camshafts per cylinder head, which adds both weight and additional moving parts. Ford engineers found the three-valve arrangement had many of the benefits of a four-valve design, such as a central spark plug and symmetrical combustion chamber with the added advantage of reduced weight and complexity compared with four-valve designs.

Our first impression of the new engine is very positive. The two intake valves allow peak airflow of approximately 350 cubic feet per minute, compared with about 250 cubic feet per minute in the 5.4L Triton V-8, which uses a single intake valve per cylinder. Part of the improvement in peak flow is due to a completely redesigned intake port, which provides a much straighter path to the cylinder - very similar to the approach taken in racing engines.

All this technology should make the new F-150 far more fun to drive than the current generation. Finally, the truck group recognizes that people drive more than torque and it's about time the F-150 gets an engine that makes power over a wide range of engine speeds as opposed to the current engine tune of low-end torque with meek top-end power.

Twin Turbo H2 Under DevelopmentVT Competition Engine Development in Lansing, Michigan, is building a twin turbo Hummer H2. The blown H2 will have a pair of ceramic ball bearing Turbonetics turbochargers blowing through an intake combination of LS6 intake and CNC ported Vortec 6000 LS6 heads with LS6 high ratio rockers. The intercooled turbo motor also features Tial wastegates and TEC3 engine management.

Dodge Dakota and Ram 1500 Score in Top Three in J.D. Power StudyThe Dodge Dakota compact pickup and the Dodge Ram 1500 fullsize pickup ranked among the top three in their respective segments in the J.D. Power and Associates 2002 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. Most significant was the all-new '02 Dodge Ram 1500 light-duty pickup's nearly 50-point improvement. The APEAL study gauges which features and attributes make car and truck models stand out to their owners. The study surveys vehicle purchasers and lessees after the first 90 days of ownership. More than 100 attributes are organized into categories, such as ride and handling, engine/transmission, comfort, and convenience.

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