Sliding into home with our Major League Ford.
Last month we showed you our recipe for a stroked, 533ci Ford big-block that can be built at home with minimal machining and headaches. This month we'll finish the odds and ends and swing the monster into a late '70s Bronco. We'll point out the details of this simple swap and give you a grocery list of what we used to make it all work.
Although we didn't plan on making any dyno runs, the "cyber-dyno" at Speed-O-Motive tells us the combination should be capable of 454 hp at 4,500 rpm and 551 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. All we know is that it's a blast to pull the trigger on this beast! Now if we could just teach our right foot that the throttle is no longer hooked to a gutless, 130-horse 400 motor, our driveline would thank us.
In an attempt to make our Dana 44 live with the power of the new stroker big-block, we decided to have our chromoly axleshafts beefed at CTM Racing Products ("Axles for Your Grandkids," Oct. '03). CTM installed its U-joints, which are forged, cryogenically frozen, heat-treated units that use full-circle clips and bronze bushings instead of crushable needle bearings. CTM also sent the shafts out to Cryo Science for the same cryogenic freezing process. This deep-freezing forces the molecules in the steel to contract tightly. Once the steel returns to room temperature, the molecules hold to a much more organized alignment, which gives the surface a microscopically smoother surface. The process results in fewer stress risers, which should reduce cracks and breakage.
Will all of this result in an unbreakable axle? Well, for us, terms like "unbreakable" are too close to "unsinkable" and we're not ready to go down with the ship. We're just comfortable knowing we've done all that's possible to build strength into our D44. If we have a problem now it's our right foot's fault. Plus, we've written so many Dana 60 tech articles already, could there be room for another? We'll see ...