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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys,

I'm planning to rebuild a 97-98 3.8L. I'm not doing anything crazy, I'm looking at ported upper and lower intake, ported heads, a new exhaust system and a chip tuning. My goal is to maintain street drive-ability and keep peak torque as low in the rpm range as possible - ideally between 2k and 3k. My trans is an automatic and the only modification I have so far is a 3.55 rear end.

As far as cam specs go, I want to keep the lift at stock - so at or under .48/.48 - and I would like to minimize overlap and keep LSA around 110, ideally. A rougher idle is desired, but not necessary. I won't sacrifice lower-end peak torque for super lumpy sound. I looked at SuperSix, Tom Morana, and CompCam and found a handful of cams that keep lift within stock range - all durations are at .050:

**Stock Specs**
184/202 .43/.45 110LSA

Morana
210/210 .48/.48 115LSA

SuperSix
214/224 .46/.46 110LSA

CompCam
200/208 .48/.48 112LSA
204/216 .48/.48 115LSA

Keeping my performance desires in mind, I'm fairly set on going with the CompCam 200/208. My thought process is this:

According to Popular Hot Rodding, the optimal LSA for my build is approx 110, so I use that as my starting point, and am left with SuperSix's low-lift lumpy and CompCam's 200/208. The overlap on the SuperSix cam is pretty large, compared to the stock cam. So, the 200/208 is my next logical choice. I would prefer if the LSA was 110 for a rougher idle, but with that same duration the overlap goes up when the LSA goes down.

I still feel like I'm going to have a nice little lope to it, but not as much as a real hot rod. But, in the end, I'm not building a hot rod, I'm just building a conservative street engine.

First time posting, but I wanted to do my homework before I opened my mouth. What do you guys think? What have you put in your cars with a similar setup, and how did it perform?


~~Nick
 

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No problem :) oh and welcome to the forum. Only a handful of people that I know of here in the V6 section have the internal engine knowledge that you're looking for and some don't come online as much as others so maybe that's what's taking so long. So don't worry you'll get some awesome feedback sooner or later
 

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The compcam 200/208 would be a good one for your engine. Your ecu should rewrite itself but you should get a tune done anyway. Also your going to need hardened push rods and performance rockers too, it would be a good idea to get better valve springs too.
 

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You'll break factory valve springs with .48 lift, maybe not right away but it's a lot of stress on them, cheap upgrade = LS valve springs and gt spring retainers
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Red and David,
I'm definitely going to get different springs, but I was hoping that I could salvage the stock rockers, push rods, and lifters as long as they're all true and in good condition. But, as I read more and talk to people, I'm starting to realize that I shouldn't skimp on the valve train if I want this guy to last another 100k+.
That being said, I don't put a lot of trust in the necessity of the extras that a company tries to sell me. I know that some performance parts only make a difference when the assembly is revved 5k+ or with a super high lift.

My questions:
should I opt for OE replacement rocker arms? I can't find any performance arms with a 1.5 ratio. Just buying the rocker is half the cost of the rocker/pivot/bolt package. Can I reuse the pivot and bolt as long as there isn't any damage or excessive wear?

OE lifters? Melling is $30-$40 cheaper for a set than CompCam's.

I'm set on buying hardened rods and better springs. The compCam Beehive springs for LS engines seem pretty reasonable, cost-wise. On their site it says $155 and I'm ASSUMING that's for a set of 12. . .
 

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I can't see why you couldn't reuse the pivot and bolt, as long as their is no damage. You should be able to get away with using the stock rocker arms. As for the lifters, I would go aftermarket with those.
 

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According to what i've read you dont want to use the old lifters, you want to buy new ones. because of the way they wear it'll be bad for your cam. Can't remember if i read that off of SSM or somewhere else though.
 

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The stock lifters can't take the extra stress they will heat up faster and bend, and when they bend your valves will start hitting the pistons.
LOL

I have stock replacement ones in mine, 6000rpms on a regular basis not a single sh!t is given

Just go on AM get the set for an old 5.0, we use the same lifters as them

Thanks Red and David,
I'm definitely going to get different springs, but I was hoping that I could salvage the stock rockers, push rods, and lifters as long as they're all true and in good condition. But, as I read more and talk to people, I'm starting to realize that I shouldn't skimp on the valve train if I want this guy to last another 100k+.
That being said, I don't put a lot of trust in the necessity of the extras that a company tries to sell me. I know that some performance parts only make a difference when the assembly is revved 5k+ or with a super high lift.

My questions:
should I opt for OE replacement rocker arms? I can't find any performance arms with a 1.5 ratio. Just buying the rocker is half the cost of the rocker/pivot/bolt package. Can I reuse the pivot and bolt as long as there isn't any damage or excessive wear?

OE lifters? Melling is $30-$40 cheaper for a set than CompCam's.

I'm set on buying hardened rods and better springs. The compCam Beehive springs for LS engines seem pretty reasonable, cost-wise. On their site it says $155 and I'm ASSUMING that's for a set of 12. . .
Stock rockers are 1.73:1... The best aftermarket set are the comp pro magnums (I run them on mine also) 1.7 ratio

I've see stock rockers take a beating, my friend still uses them on his turbo car.. But if you can afford it get the comps less worries and they are somewhat adjustable thanks to not resting on a seat

Stock pushrods are 7.150" btw
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks David,

You're right, I misspoke about the rocker ratio. What do you say about their claim that they give you a 5-10 hp boost? I could see that better balancing and reduced weight in the rockers would reduce inertia in the valve train, but it seems like SUCH a small difference. I like them, though. SOLD!
One issue with the advertised ratio though, is it 1.7 or 1.73? It makes a difference of 0.01 for my cam. . .

Ghost:
As far as reusing the old lifters, I think it depends on the type of lifter: Solid lifters get a wear pattern associated with the cam and pushrod, so lifters and pushrods would have to stay paired if you were to reuse them, which I've heard is not recommended. Roller-hydraulic lifters, like the stock ones, usually don't get a wear pattern and can be reused if they look good and you're overhauling or something. But, I'm assuming that there's a price tag with reusing them, depending on how long they've been used and how aggressively.

I'm trying to be cheap with this rebuild, and wanna reuse as much as I can. But, I can't be a [email protected] and get a quality engine that will last for miles like I want. So, I WILL be buying new lifters.

Also, I feel like a [email protected] pushrod will bend before a 1''x2'' lifter bends. Maybe you meant collapse?
 

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Thanks David,

You're right, I misspoke about the rocker ratio. What do you say about their claim that they give you a 5-10 hp boost? I could see that better balancing and reduced weight in the rockers would reduce inertia in the valve train, but it seems like SUCH a small difference. I like them, though. SOLD!
One issue with the advertised ratio though, is it 1.7 or 1.73? It makes a difference of 0.01 for my cam. . .

Ghost:
As far as reusing the old lifters, I think it depends on the type of lifter: Solid lifters get a wear pattern associated with the cam and pushrod, so lifters and pushrods would have to stay paired if you were to reuse them, which I've heard is not recommended. Roller-hydraulic lifters, like the stock ones, usually don't get a wear pattern and can be reused if they look good and you're overhauling or something. But, I'm assuming that there's a price tag with reusing them, depending on how long they've been used and how aggressively.

I'm trying to be cheap with this rebuild, and wanna reuse as much as I can. But, I can't be a [email protected] and get a quality engine that will last for miles like I want. So, I WILL be buying new lifters.

Also, I feel like a [email protected] pushrod will bend before a 1''x2'' lifter bends. Maybe you meant collapse?
They are heavier than stock ones lol but that's part of the reason they are better, more strength but they provide better geometry in the valvetrain, they won't really give a hp boost..

The comps are 1.7 ratio but its such a small change it makes no difference really

The normal thought if you're 80K or over replace the lifters

I may have missed it somewhere in here but split port swap? Good for 40ish hp and old motors are cheap and everywhere
 

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isn't the low lift lumpy cam suppose to work wit the stock parts? I don't know how the low lift lumpy cam sounds. BUT My favorite V6 exhaust video uses a lumpy cam, LT headers, O/R H and flow 40's. Sounds pretty good in the video.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
David,

No, this is not a split port swap. I'm buying a junked 97/98 3.8 engine, rebuilding it, and throwing it in my 97. But, you got me thinking. . .

Could I instead get a 99-04 38, rebuild it, and put that in a 97? I don't know what trans they use, so I'm unsure on how it will bolt up + All the other BS I'd have to swap out. Or would it be easier to do the split swap? I'm still getting my parts list together, so everything is up in the air.

Lemons,

The LL Lumpy will work with stock rockers, but you need new springs. Since I have an automatic with no torque converter, I don't think my car will perform as well with the Lumpy. But, the idle would be real cool.
 

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The 99 3.8 block is the same. The trans. will bolt strait up. The difference starts at the heads up. Yes, a different cam also. If you get one from the recycle center(junk yard) you will have every thing you need. A few wires need to be spliced. The write up is probably in the archives or deep in a mustang form.
 

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And if I'm going to do that, I might as well look for a 4.2.
YOU would need a different oil pan. I am not shure if the headers are useable because the new 3.8s put the O2 sensor below the headers. You would have to reuse yours.The upper intake will not work unless you have a Cobra R hood. Look at my signature. And follow the 4.2 post. The 3.8 97 to 99 conversion is easier if you get a complete engine at a recycle center. Wiring harness included.
Is this too much for you?
 

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I always recommend a 4.2 swap if you're going to drop a new bottom end in the car, just as cheap as a 3.8 but you just have to get the proper oil pan, pick up tube, balancer, and flywheel/flexplate (neutral balance since the motor is internal)

You'll have the same 4R70W trans as they were used from 96-04

I have basically the "lumpy" cam in my car but has a 112lsa not 110, it's the actual comp version, you would notice a lack luster bottom end if you didn't have gears or a stall, after both though it works pretty good haha
 
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