Heart Transplant – The ITB 363

If any of you are following me on Instagram and Facebook, a lot of the below is going to be repeat, but I figured I’d capture it all in one spot.

This spring, with hot idle oil pressure sub 20psi and peak pressure barely hitting 50psi, I knew my DSS 306 had incurred some main bearing damage.  Different oil pumps (volume, pressure, etc) hadn’t prolonged the life and I was worried about going too far before it popped.  Since it was still running fine, just had low pressure, made the call to pull it.

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Thanks to help from my Dad, the removal was pretty easy.  In the meantime, though I knew the fix wouldn’t be too difficult, other plans were hatching…

In the never ending quest for more power, I had warmed up to the idea of building a 363 for the car.  I bounced around between a custom build and a crate engine from Ford.  Ultimately, after a few conversations with fellow Texas A&M Sports Car Club friends Terry Fair of Vorshlag Motorsports and Erik Koenig of Horsepower Research, I decided to take the plunge on a custom build considering my desires to use my individual throttle body intake.  Eric’s been making big power Fords, Chevys, and everything else for years, including the motors for our CP Camaro so I knew my build would be in good hands.

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Feeding the motor is this individual throttle body setup from Speedmaster79.  It’s basically a knock-off of a Borla/TWM manifold, but at a much lower cost.  My Dad has one of these for his Daytona Coupe and he was super impressed with the quality of the Speedmaster unit.

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From a technical perspective the manifold has lots of good qualities.  One of the big ones is this vacuum manifold which helps maintain idle characteristics, something that plagues individual Weber carburetor setups.  This plate though did need some modification as the two bolts at the rear of the manifold had to be replaced with countersunk ones as they interfere with the block.  Minor issue, but had to be pointed out.  Another positive is true 50mm throttle bodies and injectors positioned so they squirt at the back of the valve.  Time will tell if performance matches up, but so far I’m pretty happy.  I wasn’t a big fan of the polished finish, preferring a satin or black one, but the last key factors to buying this was a Black Friday special of 30% off…  so beggars can’t be choosers.

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The foundation of the build is a Dart SHP block.  I’m not going for crazy power adders, so this block is a great foundation for what I wanted.  Benefit to this is the big bore at 4.125, which lets you get to 363 with the same stroke as a 347.

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Throughout the build, Anthony at HPR kept me up to date, constantly sending me pictures as things progressed.  Here’s a classic Ford blue finish to the block.

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Pistons and rods were next.

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Followed by this nice Lunati crank.  In the meantime, I was selling parts off the old motor and did some tear down to take pictures to post for sale.

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My main bearings all had some pretty good scoring on them.  They weren’t into the really bad yet, but not far off.  Smart me would have just replaced bearings and gotten the crank polished, but the new motor was simply too exciting.

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In the meantime, heads had shown up.  These are AFR 185s with custom specced valve springs.  Erik likes to keep velocity up over max flow.  This approach is working wonders on his series of big cube LS motors so I’m excited to see how it works out for me.

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Short block coming together.

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Getting all the details right.  I’m obviously not going to post a full build sheet or any details of the custom cam specs with HPR picked out.  Needless to say, these guys are pros and I can’t wait for first startup.

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I had bought intake studs after reading an old review on the manifold that access to the manifold bolts was a challenge.  Little did I know that the middle two studs on the manifold interfered with the throttle bodies.  Anthony fixed this with cap screws in these positions on each side.

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Happy day picking up the new motor!  Very pleased with the overall experience of working with these guys.

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Precious cargo headed home!  The motor’s been installed for the last few months and progress has been steadily moving forward on the install.  Goal is to be driving it by the end of the year!

Basic Build Sheet:

Next posts will cover the MS3Pro Evo ECU I’ll be running on this car and details of building a custom wiring harness.

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