Topend Buildup


New Member
Dec 9, 2003
St. Louis
I've been viewing these forums religiously for about a year now, but never subscribed.. well until today!
Anyway, I am a student with two stangs, an 89gt 5.0HO and a 69 428mach1.
I've torn the clean 89 down for the winter, and want to build the top end, but want to leave the 120,xxx mile bottom end alone, for it is not worth it with such mileage.

I've already got 24#injectors,70mm throttle body, 75 mm mass air, FULL exhaust, t-5 world class tranny, centerforce clutch, cluth quadrant, underdrives and 3.73s. My buddy has a set of ford 1.7s Im interested in, but I need to select heads first.

I need advice on Heads, intake manifold, and Cam selection. The car will be driven daily about 30-75 miles. It will never see snow and is garage kept.
I plan on buying a beefy (DSS?) short block once the factory 5.0 lays down to rest, so my combo needs to be "small enough" for a stock bottom end, but poweful enough to live up to potential for a future short block (306,331, maybe). I want a lopey cam, but not absurdly radical as I would like to stay put at stoplights. Moneywise, I want to spend around $2,000, buying quality parts, but not the absolutely most expensive thing on the planet. It currently turns out 13.9s, but my goal remains in the 12 second range. Slicks,driveshaft, controlarms,subframes,trac bars are planned for future use, but I need the power to lay down, before I need worry about controlling it.

So my Question remains what combo would you recomend for a top end?

here are some possible thoughts...........

HEADS-(I dont want to modify pistons)
AFR heads
Twisted wedge
gt-40 heads (cast :notnice: )

Trickflow Track intake
performer rpm

Ford alphabet cams????
TF stage 2

Maybe a holley system max kit to kill my bottom end power?

any input on your experience on these products would be greatly appreciated, as I would like to brag about my e.t.s with the rest of the herd.
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I would go with either AFR or TFS for your heads, both are great out of the box for the 302 and will allow for porting for your new motor if needed. The Edelbrock heads would be good for a 302, but don't respond very well to porting.

Intakes I would look at are the new Performer RPM II, TFS track, and holley.

I would leave the stock cam in there actually and just run the higher ratio rockers, I got 12.2s with the stock cam and 1.72 rockers. Any generic cam wont provide much gain, and why get a custom cam when you plan on a different motor in the future?
But if you must have that lopey idle, I would call up crane, they will take your setup and give you a good cam that will match the combo.
Trickflow track heat heads, track heat intake, and an ed curtis custom cam. Not sure where you heard that "edelbrock heads dont respond well to porting" myth, but thats absolutely wrong. Theres a guy on here JJD975 that will easily prove that myth wrong.
$2000 dollars....You know what? I'm thinking blower and gears. The reason being is that you can spend that money on a naturally aspirated combo, however, on a high mileage short block? Most naturally aspirated power comes on with high RPM. If you have a street car, you're not going to really feel it or get a chance to use it unless you are beating the p!$$ out of it from stoplight to stoplight.

With a little bit of boost 6-9psi, some good conservative tuning, and 3.55-3.73 gears you can get that low-end grunt right off idle and you won't have to beat on the car to have a lot of fun. Best of all you wont have to tear into the engine. Later, when you decide to do the short block, you won't have to worry about tearing into the engine twice and all that comes with that...gaskets, fasteners, small parts, and so on that can make rebuilds expensive.

Mine feels like stock around town were I typically spend most of my time around 2000-3000 RPM. It doesn't even "wake up" until it reaches around 4000. Good for the track, not really practical for a street engine.