Oil is the lifeblood of any engine, providing both lubrication and cooling throughout its internal components. The design of the oiling system in Ford V-8s is outstanding, as long as the components are well matched and in good condition. The information that follows will help you achieve these two critical goals.
221/260/289/302/ 351W/Boss 302
The small-block Ford’s oiling system is fairly conventional across the two engine families, with the oil pump being driven by the distributor gear and a shaft. The oil-pump shaft itself is a weak spot for these engines. Even if you are building a stock engine, you should use a heavy-duty aftermarket shaft as affordable insurance against failure. Stock shafts have a history of failure, especially in high-performance applications.
The best step you can take in your small-block buildup is to install a highvolume oil pump and a heavy-duty shaft. There are various pumps available from several manufacturers. It is recommended Federal-Mogul or Melling highvolume pumps for your Ford small-block building effort.
This Tech Tip is From the Full Book, HIGH-PERFORMANCE FORD ENGINE PARTS INTERCHANGE. For a comprehensive guide on this entire subject you can visit this link:
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With a healthy oil pump and shaft in place, you are ready to tackle the rest of the oiling system. The 221/260/289/ 302/Boss 302/351W family of engines was blessed with a healthy oiling system to begin with. All you have to do is improve flow by radiusing the oil holes in the crankshaft and block. This improves oil flow and reduces the risk of cracking. You also want to improve drainback by radiusing the return holes as well. Other oiling-system mods depend directly on intended engine use. Racing mandates an oil sump that keeps a constant supply of oil available to the oil pump at all times. Drag racing mandates a deep-sump pan. Road racing calls for a baffled oil pan that keeps the oil contained around the pump pickup. I suggest a windage tray in both cases, to keep oil from getting around the crankshaft.
A 1978–1995 Fox body Ford or Mercury calls for a double-sump pan due to the design of the front chassis crossmember. The front sump (which really isn’t a sump at all) clears the oil pump while the rear sump serves as the pickup point. Bear this in mind when you’re building a small-block Ford.
Another important oiling system revision is the installation of screw-in oil gallery plugs as a substitute for the pressed-in factory plugs. This affords added safety and reliability in the oiling system. Three retaining screws at the rear camshaft plug add reliability there.
The 351C/351M/400M family of engines suffers from inadequate oiling systems, which feed the camshaft bearings and then the main bearings. The result is oil-starved number-4 and -5 main and rod bearings. However, there is a simple solution for this problem. This easy modification involves routing an oil line from the front of the block, where the sending unit screws in, to the back of the block where there is an oilgallery plug. This modification channels a greater volume of oil to the back of the block to feed number-4 and -5 main bearings.
Aside from the external oil line, the 351C/351M/400M engines receive all of the internal oiling system mods mentioned earlier. A good rule with these engines is to increase oil volume and match oil pressure to the RPM expected. You need 10 psi for every 1,000 rpm expected. If you are expecting 7,000 rpm, you need an oiling system that makes a maximum of 70 psi.
Written by George Reid and Republished with Permission of CarTech Inc