The Ford FE engine was a Ford V8 engine used in vehicles sold in the North American market between 1958 and 1976. A related engine, the Ford FT engine, was used in medium and heavy trucks from 1964 through 1978. The FE filled the need for a medium-displacement engine created by the discontinuation of the Lincoln Y-block V8 engine. The FE joined Ford's other V8s which included a small Y-block and the big block MEL engines.
Specific models that used FE engines include the AC Cobra MKIII, AC Frua, high-performance Ford Mustangs between 1967 and 1970, many Ford Galaxies including racing cars, some Ford Fairlanes, Ford Thunderbirds until halfway through 1968, and many others. The FE engine also saw use in industrial applications.
All FE and FT engines have a bore spacing (distance between cylinder centers) of 4.63 in (118 mm), and a deck height (distance from crank center to top of block) of 10.17 in (258 mm). The main journal (crankshaft bearing) diameter is 2.749 in (69.8 mm).
|332||4.000 in (101.6 mm)||3.300 in (83.8 mm)|
|352||4.002 in (101.7 mm)||3.500 in (88.9 mm)|
|360||4.052 in (102.8 mm)||3.500 in (88.9 mm)|
|361||4.047 in (102.8 mm)||3.500 in (88.9 mm)|
|390||4.052 in (102.9 mm)||3.784 in (96.1 mm)|
|391||4.052 in (102.9 mm)||3.784 in (96.1 mm)|
|406||4.130 in (104.9 mm)||3.784 in (96.1 mm)|
|410||4.054 in (103.0 mm)||3.98 in (101.1 mm)|
|427||4.232 in (107.5 mm)||3.784 in (96.1 mm)|
|428||4.132 in (105.0 mm)||3.98 in (101.1 mm)|
The smallest big-block Ford was the 332 of actual engine displacement, with a bore and stroke. It was used in Ford-brand cars in 1958 and 1959. A two-barrel version produced , while a Holley four-barrel version produced .
Introduced in 1958 as part of the Interceptor line of Ford V8 engines, the Ford 352 of actual displacement was the replacement for the Lincoln Y-block. It is a 332 with stroke and a bore, and was rated from with a 2-barrel carburetor to over on the 4-barrel models. When these engines were introduced, they were called Interceptor on the base models and Thunderbird Special on the 4-barrel models. The Interceptor name has caused confusion as many members of the automotive hobby mistakenly presume that if it says Interceptor it is a Police Interceptor; in fact the Interceptor was the base-performance engine in 1958. This series of engines usually weighed over . (1957). New Ford Interceptor V-8 Engines. Ford.
Edsel 361 engines were assembled in Cleveland, OH. They were standard equipment in the 1958 Edsel Ranger, Pacer, Villager, Bermuda, and Roundup, and optional in the 1959 Ranger, Corsair, and Villager. Edsel 361 engines were also issued to law enforcement agencies and other emergency municipal services as the 1958 Ford Police Interceptor. There really were no Police Interceptor Fords but the FE engine sold to consumers was the 332 and 352 and was called the "Interceptor" which caused a lot of confusion and misunderstanding as many people mistakenly think if it says Interceptor it is a Police Interceptor.
The 360, of actual displacement, was introduced in 1968 and phased out at the end of the 1976 year run.used in the Ford F Series trucks and pickups. It is a destroked 390 with a bore of and the 352's stroke. The 360s were sparse on horsepower, but had fairly good torque ratings. 360s were also constructed with heavy duty internal components for truck use. Use of a standard 352/390 cam for use in passenger cars along with carburetor and distributor adjustment gave it the same kind of performance as the 352/390 car engines. Rated at at 4200 rpm and of torque @3600 rpm (2-barrel carb, 1968).
The 39, with true displacement, had a bore of and stroke of . It was the most common FE engine in later applications, used in many Ford cars as the standard engine as well as in many trucks. It was a popular high-performance engine; although not as powerful as the 427 and 428 models, it provided good performance, particularly in the lighter weight vehicles, and was in much greater supply. The 2v is rated at @ 4,100 rpm.
The 406 engine used a new bore with the 390's stroke, giving a displacement of , generously rounded up to "406" for the official designation. The larger bore required a new block casting with thicker walls but otherwise was very similar to the strengthened 390 high performance block.
The 406 was developed purely for racing and was sold to the public only to meet racing targets. It was available for less than two years before it was replaced by the 427.
Testing of the 406, with its higher power levels, led to cross-bolted mains — where the main bearing caps were not only secured by bolts at each end coming up from beneath but also by bolts coming in from the sides through the block to prevent the main bearing caps from working loose under extreme racing conditions. This cross-bolting can be found today in many of the most powerful and modern engines from many manufacturers.
Ford's 427 V8 was introduced in 1963 as a race-only engine. It was developed for NASCAR stock car racing, drag racing, and serious street racers. The true displacement of the 427 was actually , but Ford called it the 427 because was the maximum displacement allowed by NASCAR. The stroke was the same as the 390 at , but the bore was increased to . The block was made of cast iron with an especially thickened deck to withstand higher compression. The cylinders were cast using cloverleaf molds—the corners were thicker all down the wall of each cylinder. Many 427s used a steel crankshaft and all were balanced internally. Most 427s used solid valve lifters with the exception of the 1968 block which was drilled for use with hydraulic lifters.
Two different models of 427 block were produced, the 427 top oiler and 427 side oiler. The top oiler version was the earlier, and delivered oil to the cam and valvetrain first and the crank second. It gained a reputation for insufficient crankshaft lubrication under severe usage; under extremely hard acceleration oil in the pan would tend to slosh back, uncovering the oil pickup. The side oiler block, introduced in 1965, sent oil to the crank first and the cam and valvetrain second. This was similar to the oiling design from the earlier Y-block. The engine was available with low-riser, mid-riser, or high-riser intake manifolds, and either single or double four-barrel carburetion on an aluminum manifold. The single four-barrel setup with the high-riser induction system produces the most power. Ford never released an official power rating. Other models were rated at over 400 hp (299 kW). Today, it is relatively easy to produce over when combining a 428 crank and a 427 block bringing the displacement to 454 cubic inch.
In addition, Ford also produced tunnel-port heads and matching intakes for the FE engine. These lacked the limitations imposed by the other intakes' need to squeeze the intake port between two pushrods by running the pushrods through the intake ports in brass tunnels.
The 427 FE engine is currently enjoying a surge in popularity among Ford enthusiasts. There are now a few companies producing aftermarket aluminum or iron replacement blocks.
The Ford Single Overhead Cam (SOHC) 427 V8 engine, familiarly known as the "Cammer", was released in 1964 to recapture NASCAR dominance from the Chrysler 426 Hemi engine. The Chrysler 426 used extremely large block casting that dwarfed the earlier 392 Hemi. The Ford 427 block was closer dimensionally to the early Hemi's than to the elephantine 426 hemi (Ford FE bore spacing: 4.63"; Chrysler 392 bore spacing: 4.5625"; Ford FE deck height: 10.17"; Chrysler 392 deck height: 10.87"...the 426 Hemi has a deck height of 10.72" and bore spacing of 4.8" by comparison --- both Chrysler hemi's have decks more than a 1/2" taller than the FE).
The engine was based on the ultra high performance 427 side-oiler block, in the Ford FE engine family, providing race-proven durability. The block and associated parts were largely unchanged, the main difference being use of an idler shaft instead of the camshaft in the block, which necessitated plugging the remaining camshaft bearing oiling holes.
The heads were newly-designed cast iron items with hemispherical combustion chambers and a single overhead camshaft on each head, operating shaft-mounted roller rocker arms. The valvetrain consisted of valves larger than those on Ford wedge head engines, made out of stainless steel and with sodium-filled exhaust valves to prevent the valve heads from burning, and dual valve springs. This design allowed for high volumetric efficiency at high engine speed.
The idler shaft in the block in place of the camshaft was driven by the timing chain and drove the distributor and oil pump in conventional fashion, with the same practical limit of about 7,000 rpm for the stock oil pump (a maximum of 20.5 US gallons (78 L) of SAE 40W per minute at 70 psi (480 kPa). An additional sprocket on this shaft drove a second, six foot long timing chain, which drove both overhead camshafts. The length of this chain made precision timing of the camshafts a problem at high rpm and necessitated a complex system of idlers.
All these engines were essentially hand-built with racing in mind. Combustion chambers were fully machined to reduce variability. Nevertheless, Ford recommended blueprinting the engines before use in racing applications. They were rated at 615 hp (458 kW) at 7,000 rpm with a single four-barrel carburetor, and 657 hp (490 kW) at 7,500 rpm with dual four barrel carburetors. Ford sold them via the parts counter, the single four-barrel model as part C6AE-6007-363S, the dual carburetor model as part C6AE-6007-359J for $2350.00 (as of October, 1968). Weight of the engine was 680 lb (308 kg).
Ford's plan was cut short, however; although Ford sold enough to have the design homologated, NASCAR effectively legislated the SOHC engine out of competition (despite permitting the hemi), and the awaited 1965 SOHC vs. Hemi competition at the Daytona 500 season opener never occurred. This was the only engine ever banned from NASCAR. Nevertheless, the 427 found its niche in drag racing, powering many altered-wheelbase A/FX Mustangs (after NHRA banned it from stock classes), and becoming the basis for a few supercharged Top Fuel dragsters, including those of Connie Kalitta, Pete Robinson, and Lou Bany (driven by "Snake" Prudhomme).
The 427 was impractical to manufacture economically for street use; it required tighter tolerances during manufacture than Ford's regular engine plants could deliver. Therefore, Ford combined attributes that had worked well in previous incarnations of the FE: a stroke and a bore, creating an easier-to-make engine with nearly the same displacement. The engine used a cast nodular iron crankshaft and was externally balanced.
The 428 Cobra Jet, launched in April 1967, was a version of the 428 FE engine built for performance rather than cruising smoothness. The 428 Cobra Jet could be made on a regular production line, not requiring the exacting tolerances required by the 427. The 428SCJ used special cylinder head casting # C8OE-6090-N. This casting had larger intake ports and valves than production FE. The Cobra Jet used a strengthened version of the 428 block with an extra main bearing webbing and thicker main caps than the standard block. The CJ used heavier connecting rods with a 13/32 rod bolt and a nodular iron crankshaft casting # 1UB. The engine was underrated at 335 hp (250 kW) at 5200 rpm. The 428 Cobra Jet actually produced 400 to 410 hp (299-306 kW).
The 428 Super Cobra Jet used the same top end as the 428 Cobra Jet but the crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons are different. Cast high-performance pistons, a nodular iron crankshaft casting # 1UA was used as well as heavier 427 "Le Mans" connecting rods with capscrews instead of bolts for greater durability. The heavier connecting rods and the removal of the centre counterweight on the crankshaft 1UA, required an external weight on the snout of the crankshaft for balancing. An engine oil cooler was standard equipment with the Drag Pack and 3.9 or 4.3 rear end gear ratios. This engine was also underrated at .
With the 428 the FE series block had been taken to the extremes of its capacity; no more growth was possible. The FE advances in engine technology had allowed its use across 3 decades. These advances included a thinwall casting process that made the engine much lighter in installed applications than the equivalent-displacement engines of Ford's competitors, the use of nodular iron for its crankshafts, and its use of shaft-mounted rocker system and wedge combustion chambers were also leading edge designs.
In the late 1960s however, Ford reviewed their entire engine family. The 335-series engines, commonly referred to as Cleveland engines, were designed to replace the largest of the small-block Windsor engines, with the 335 beginning at . The medium range of displacement needs was met by the 400M engine, a Cleveland-style block with a raised deck allowing it to use a longer stroke crankshaft giving a displacement of . The 385-series engine was to replace the MEL line in large cars and trucks. These began to be fitted to cars starting in 1968. The FE engines were gone from Ford cars by 1972 but lingered in trucks into the mid-1970s. In the late 1970s the Dearborn Engine Plant that produced these engines was completely retooled to produce the 1.6 L engine introduced in the Ford Escort in 1981.
In the late 1980s when both Ford and GM revamped their V8 offerings, many of the FE's designs were incorporated in the new engines, including the deep skirt, cross-bolting of the mains and thinwall casting.