PRI 2014: Ford Racing’s New 4.6 Stroker Short Block and New Z2 Head

It’s hard to believe, but, nearly 20 years have elapsed since Ford first dropped the 4.6-liter engine into the Mustang. When introduced, in 1996, many diehard enthusiasts bemoaned the engine’s increased weight, size, and complexity, over the pushrod 5.0 it replaced. This was in-spite of the engine producing similar power numbers, and a for the time, very powerful DOHC Cobra variant that produced 305 hp.

The SOHC version of the 4.6 existed in a two and three valve forms up until 2010, when the incoming 2011 Mustang GT would get the Coyote power plant. While Coyote swaps are wildly popular today, there are many enthusiasts who still look to the 4.6 based engines as a viable power solution.

At this year’s Performance Racing Industry show, Ford Racing was showing off something that many 4.6 fans will be very interested in. An all new 5.3 crate short-block, that is based on the 4.6 architecture, and is compatible with two, three (SOHC), and four-valve (DOHC) 4.6-liter heads.

The engine features a solid and proven foundation, and according to Ford Racing’s Mike Delahanty, is ready for just about anything.  “If you want the biggest possible modular 4.6 based engine you can build, whether you want to go NA, power adder, or go crazy, this is it. The idea is you can use this as the foundation to build an engine for anything from a mild cruiser, up to something that can go racing.”

Features of the short block include:

  • Built from all new parts, not remanufactured
  • Based on BOSS 5.0 modular block (4.6 architecture)
  • 94 mm bore
  • 5.3-liter displacement
  • Eagle forged H-beam rods
  • Eagle forged stroker crank
  • MAHLE forged pistons with three-valve cylinder head compatible valve relief
  • Compatible with two, three, or four valve 4.6 heads, including Trick Flow
  • Compression ranges from 9:1 to over 10:1 depending upon cylinder heads

This engine takes the hassle out of getting a properly machined, and built 4.6 liter based engine, and is a solid foundation for a variety of builds, capable of taking just about whatever you can throw at it. “We’ve done the hardest parts, machining the block, bearing clearances, etc. The buyers get to do the fun parts,” said Delahanty.

We can see this in a variety of street and racing project cars in the very near future. Ford Racing’s Jesse Kershaw says that this engine should be available late in the first quarter, or early second quarter of 2015, pricing details haven’t been released yet.

Z2 Heads

Ford Racing’s Z cylinder head, has been the company’s go to cylinder head in their catalog for street based applications, and crate engine line for years. This head was developed as the no limits race head for Ford Racing a few years ago. With features like wider valve spacing to accommodate larger valves, bigger ports, and other features. “The features of the Z head were great for making power, but the wider valve spacing moved the exhaust in such a way that made buying headers difficult,” said Delehanty.

The idea was let’s keep the power of the Z head but get the exhaust flange back where it’s supposed to go. -Mike Delahanty, Ford Racing

“The idea was let’s keep the power of the Z head but get the exhaust flange back where it’s supposed to go.“ The Z2 heads keep the exhaust flange in the more traditional Ford location, meaning whether you’re dropping a crate engine in, or a set of these heads on, in your Fox body, or classic muscle car, chances are, that off the shelf headers are going to fit.

The Z2 also features enhanced port designs. This includes an airfoil in the intake port to direct airflow to the valves. The design is so new that Ford has yet to do dyno testing with their crate engines, or to begin outfitting those production engines with this new head.

We look for this one to be ready later in the year for anxious customers looking to drop a high powered crate engine in their Ford, or bolt on a high flowing set of heads.

Article Sources

About the author

Don Creason

Don Creason is an automotive journalist with passions that lie from everything classic, all the way to modern muscle. Experienced tech writer, and all around car aficionado, Don's love for both cars and writing makes him the perfect addition to the Power Automedia team of experts.
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