So how do you go about making power with a Ford 302 Engine?

1996BlackBauer

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Alright guys, I was wondering what everybody experience has been with the 302 engine and making power with it. I am looking to make some power with a 98-01 Explorer V8 with the GT40P heads, most likely will be running nitrous. I head there are limitations with the block it's self, but I haven't been able to find a reason, or number as far as horsepower for that limit. I plan on building an engine this summer, so I need to research some parts, and other things before I go ahead and start.

I do understand this is a rather large topic to cover, so forgive me in not being more specific, but I don't know a whole lot about making power with this engine platform. If you have links, I would appreciate it it as well, I do enjoy reading to help me, and I don't expect anybody to write a paragraph about what I should do.

thanks for any help, Harold
 

rocket5979

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Alright guys, I was wondering what everybody experience has been with the 302 engine and making power with it. I am looking to make some power with a 98-01 Explorer V8 with the GT40P heads, most likely will be running nitrous. I head there are limitations with the block it's self, but I haven't been able to find a reason, or number as far as horsepower for that limit. I plan on building an engine this summer, so I need to research some parts, and other things before I go ahead and start.

I do understand this is a rather large topic to cover, so forgive me in not being more specific, but I don't know a whole lot about making power with this engine platform. If you have links, I would appreciate it it as well, I do enjoy reading to help me, and I don't expect anybody to write a paragraph about what I should do.

thanks for any help, Harold


The typical power limit for the stock 302 Windsor motors with stock rotating assembly is right around 450rwhp on average with a decent ECU tune. If the rotating assy doesn't die first then usually the block itself will start to crack in half along the piston valley due to relatively weak casting.

Nitrous is a good way to add power, but just make sure to bring it in gradually with a progressive controller in order to make the engine last a little longer while not having to take that full torque hit from a wetshot. What are your power or ET goals for the truck? I posted a "Nitrous How To" thread in the Need for Speed section of Explorerforum many many years ago, it's not a bad read for those who are looking to get into nitrous for their vehicle. You should be able to still find it in there if you search around a bit.

Regardless of what you go for, I always like forced induction for making the most power while remaining the most driveable. Badass N/A combos are great, but they usually come at a very high price/hp gained, and exhibit less than stellar daily driveability.
 

1996BlackBauer

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The typical power limit for the stock 302 Windsor motors with stock rotating assembly is right around 450rwhp on average with a decent ECU tune. If the rotating assy doesn't die first then usually the block itself will start to crack in half along the piston valley due to relatively weak casting.

Nitrous is a good way to add power, but just make sure to bring it in gradually with a progressive controller in order to make the engine last a little longer while not having to take that full torque hit from a wetshot. What are your power or ET goals for the truck? I posted a "Nitrous How To" thread in the Need for Speed section of Explorerforum many many years ago, it's not a bad read for those who are looking to get into nitrous for their vehicle. You should be able to still find it in there if you search around a bit.

Regardless of what you go for, I always like forced induction for making the most power while remaining the most driveable. Badass N/A combos are great, but they usually come at a very high price/hp gained, and exhibit less than stellar daily driveability.
Well let me start to say that I want to go fast on a budget, but I won't be stupid about it either, I am willing to upgrade components to keep the engine reliable, and solid. Nitrous seems to be very cost effective, but I do undestand it won't be my DD, what I really want is to make a vehicle that I can run at the track and have fun, but also drive home with no worries. I really can't stand "Street cars" that have to be trailered to the track. Power for me is dependent on how much I need to run 12's a slightly modified 2nd Gen Explorer. whats your username on EF? I have been on there since early 2011, so I know the site very well, but I don't remember a thread about that in my searches. I ultimately know I will sacrifice driveability for power, but I don't want to go to crazy, so finding that happy medium will be pretty hard.
 

ChiLAX

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Street cars get trailered to the track because if something snaps, you can toss it back on the trailer and take it home. It sucks breaking at the track, and having to get a tow to a shop. Ask me how I know.
 

1996BlackBauer

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ill say it. just LS swap it!
I can't do that, I am too much of a Ford guy to do that.

Street cars get trailered to the track because if something snaps, you can toss it back on the trailer and take it home. It sucks breaking at the track, and having to get a tow to a shop. Ask me how I know.
I have a feeling it has something to do with real life experience? lol. That part makes sense, but I still don't like it, and I don't want to do it either, even if it costs me a few tow bills.
 

LikeABauce302

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If you're going to build another engine, don't bother using a stock block. Go with a Dart or FRPP Boss block. The stock block is limited to around 500 horsepower with a strong, well balanced rotating assembly.

Also, post up a build thread! I've always wanted to see someone make a 5.0 awd explorer into a sport SUV.
 

1996BlackBauer

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If you're going to build another engine, don't bother using a stock block. Go with a Dart or FRPP Boss block. The stock block is limited to around 500 horsepower with a strong, well balanced rotating assembly.

Also, post up a build thread! I've always wanted to see someone make a 5.0 awd explorer into a sport SUV.
Thanks for the names, I will look into those. The base Vehicle will be a 2wd Sport version of the Explorer, its easier to make it reliable with less parts to break, but once I figure that out, and can always go from there.
 

1996BlackBauer

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use alchemy to turn the motor into gasoline and put that into a turbo 3800 swapped into the truck


Sorry I had to, I will forever be a V8 Ford guy, lol.

Total respect for the 3800s though, see them roll into the shop all the time with a quart of oil running strong, lol.
 

Donnie

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The cam those came with those are weak as fuck. Like, absurdly so. Bang for buck, valvetrain and an HO cam wake it up pretty well. Header options are limited for the Exploders, but they're out there. Bit pricy though.

Those, along with a free flowing exhaust will get you in the ~270+/- range.




There are a few sources for bolt on roots kits. On one of which, the 4r70 would likely give out long before your stock bottom end with a good tune.
Hope all that helps. I had been digging extensively into this when I was first plotting swapping my Ranger. Have fun man.
 

Sprayin

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The cam those came with those are weak as fuck. Like, absurdly so. Bang for buck, valvetrain and an HO cam wake it up pretty well.
You can find E or F cams for ~$100 if you're okay with used stuff. The stock bottom end on the Explorer engine isn't as strong as the 87-92 Mustang engine, but either way your limited to < 500hp. Nitrous is the cheapest power option available, just have to be a little on the conservative side. Ive sprayed my fair share of SBF's and never had any major issues.

The thing that'll end up holding you back from your goals will have nothing to do with the engine though. Drivetrain, suspension, and tires will be your limiting factors. I'm not sure what they used in the Explorer, or even what is available, so I'm not much help there.
 

Dasfinc

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Please note: the explorer ECU cannot handle an aggressive cam, even E and F code cams give it problems.

Please note: you are looking at a grand to get a baseline tune loaded into that thing, no one does it.

I'm well versed in this. :-(

I put down 250whp/300tq with a 5psi m90 (xcharger), this got me a 13.8 in a ranger.

I upped the boost to 8psi, and got a Comp Cam kit that was recommended for the obd 2 5.0, and could never overcome it shifting into 4th waaaay early with the tuning software I was using. Pulled hard, sounded wicked, but couldn't bring myself to spend half the trucks value into a professional tune for minimal gains.
 

SRT41320

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The only problem I see in your build is the nitrous. Yes it's the cheapest, but it will kill your entire driveline/engine. keep it H/C/I and start piecing together a turbo kit
 

Dasfinc

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This is going to be a boring for anyone who isn't an explorer/ranger person, so here we go:

Problems you will encounter with trying to modify the RBV Chassis:

#1, Tuning Options are extremely limited. You are best off going with a standalone like Megasquirt or something of that type. Looking at a grand easily, or a grand to have a professional actually make a fresh SCT map.

#2, Cam Options, Explorer ECU's cannot deal with more than 116* or 112* of LSA (I'd have to hunt it down to confirm), or they won't hold idle.

#3, There is only a SINGLE option for exhaust headers, they are from Torque Monster and they are $800 and take 2-3 months to have made to order. Nothing else fits, its been tried over and over and over.

#4, The Transmission Tuning, there is some kind of fail-safe in the ECU that knocks you into 4th gear 1000RPM earlier under WOT than you do for 1-2-3 shifts. This even happens WITH a tune loaded.

#5, Only a SINGLE bolt-on FI Option (Xcharger, which is what I had), which is an M90 blower which is obviously extremely limited, and are out of production (read - Rare). When they pop up you can get them for about $2k used. I had an EXTREMELY good experiance with my Xcharger minus the limited tuning options.

If I were to do it all over again, I'd buy the Headers immediatly since they make a sizeble impact, then I'd have someone fab up a STS Turbo kit and get it tuned professionally. Its worth noting that would put you into the 6K+ range easily just to get a correctly running turbo setup on your truck, which is likely worth less than half that (No offense, my ranger was $800), and you won't be able to take past about 450whp without putting a hole through the block.

I had about $3500 into my truck between the blower setup and assorted parts. I used a "Sniper" Tuner (less well-known option), which was crappy, but worked well enough that the truck ran wonderfully minus the WOT throttle issues that were basically going to cost me another grand in a professional tune to deal with (if it could even be dealt with at all).

http://www.thechicagogarage.com/forum/member-builds/49311-dasfincs-ranger-build-thread.html



 

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His exploder would have the r70 and an 8.8, the rear will take anything his stock shortblock can give but the trans absolutely will not. If OPs is AWD, he'd be better off swapping to RWD or a Ranger 2 speed t-case.

Das is correct. As mentioned, the oe manifolds are stupid restrictive. They went tubular in latter years which helped, but was still far from optimal.

I'd stay n/a or go low boost. No spray.
 

Donnie

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An additional note on the 4r70w. Total hit or miss trans. When I was still at Lincoln/mercury, it was a 50/50 coin toss if the thing would be a happy little camper or a primed grenade. This is on grandma driven church-going -mobiles...
 

Dasfinc

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An additional note on the 4r70w. Total hit or miss trans. When I was still at Lincoln/mercury, it was a 50/50 coin toss if the thing would be a happy little camper or a primed grenade. This is on grandma driven church-going -mobiles...
I had great luck with my 4R70W, I beat the FUCK out of my truck and it was happy as can be, Granted it only weighed MAYBE 3000lbs.
 

OffshoreDrilling

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for something that isn't being built to race, nitrous is the biggest waste of money. The price of a well done kit puts a huge dent in a blower or turbo setup that will make power all the time.
 

SHARKBITEATTACK

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for something that isn't being built to race, nitrous is the biggest waste of money. The price of a well done kit puts a huge dent in a blower or turbo setup that will make power all the time.
I've never had nitrous but I heard that you can buy all the parts used and install it yourself for less than $1000. After you've had felt what an additional 100hp feels like you can sell everything for around the price you paid for it and then decide whether its worth to spending big bux for FI.
 

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I have had 4 different kits. the expense of nitrous isn't the kit itself. It's refilling the bottle over and over. I don't want to piss away $5 every time I want to show off and slam the pedal for 10 seconds. For a car that isn't being built to race or isn't seeing significant amount of time on the track. 100hp doesn't feel like shit once you already have a motor making some steam on its own.
 

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That's kind of the beauty of nitrous. You only subject it to really hard abuse when you are at the track. Not when you are bored cruising the highway.
 

OffshoreDrilling

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let's get real here. it's an explorer, not a muscle car making 600hp on motor and another 300 on a bottle.
 

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