454 Bbc Vs 460 Bb Ford Build Result Video


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
the video is worth watching

Last edited:


10 Reasons You’re Better Off With a Big-Block Ford
Johnny HunkinsAuthor
Aug 18, 2020
We're not looking to pick a fight with Chevy or Mopar guys here, we just want to set the record straight where it comes to certain technical blind spots that some single-brand fans have. It's often the case that we see and hear the things that back up our theory of the universe called confirmation bias—a term we often hear in politically charged conversations. It also appears in hot rodding, and we would hate for any of our readers to get broadsided by a simple case of willful ignorance.

We're guilty of confirmation bias ourselves, as each staffer here at HOT ROD has a personal favorite. As a Mopar fan, your author has a more than passing familiarity with the Chrysler 440 Wedge and Hellcat Hemi reactor cores. (I currently own both.) I've also lived life behind the wheel of a potent 496ci big-block Chevy-powered 1968 Chevelle—but I've always watched from a distance as the big-block Ford guys laid low and kept winning.

What Is A Big-Block 460?
The Ford 460ci 385-series big-block—also named the "Lima" engine after the original city of its manufacture in Ohio—began in passenger carsand found its way into the Thunderbird starting around 1968 as a smaller 429ci unit and into the Lincoln Mark III as a 460. Still wet behind the ears when the bottom fell out of the performance industry in 1972, the 460ci big-block became a staple of trucks, where it continued quietly in production until 1998. With its factory horsepower rating falling as low as 197 in 1977, it's no wonder the Ford 460 is often ignored by hot rodders at any budget.

Related Story: How to Build a 501ci Ford Big-Block Stroker

By Build a 775-hp Big-Block Ford for $9,600

Dimensionally, the 460 block is larger than Mopar and Chevy in the places where it matters. In stock form, the Ford 460 weighs about 40 pounds more than the similarly sized Chevy 454 and Mopar 440, and while that extra mass may slow it down in stock form, the extra meat means the purchase of a stronger aftermarket block can be put off until almost 1,000 hp.

The Formula Hasn't Changed Much
Over the years, the Ford 460 block has not changed. Other than the fortuitous addition of an extra quarter-inch of bore at the bottom on the crankcase that happened around 1979 (and that doesn't affect the interchangeability of parts), you won't have to become an expert on obscure Ford minutia in order to build one. No need to keep track of casting numbers and spotter's guides to figure out if you're looking at a Mark IV, Mark V, or Mark VI, in the case of a Chevy.

When selecting a 460 block, Kaase says, there's not much to consider. "When you're building bigger cubic inches with a 4.300 stroke or bigger, it's nice to get the later blocks because they've got a longer cylinder wall. If it's 1979 or newer, it will have the cylinder walls that are a quarter inch longer, and that's pretty helpful when you put a big stroke in it because the pistons aren't dropping out of the bore as far. There are some older four-bolt blocks, some Cobra Jet blocks, back in 1970, 1971 maybe. Those are nice because the bulkheads and the mains are a little bit stronger, but the cylinder walls aren't really any better."

The Ford 460 Deck Height Is Taller
On the basis of deck height alone, the Mopar wins with the 440 clocking in at a stout 10.725 inches—but as we'll see a bit later, with an over-square motor like the 440 Wedge, it's a hollow victory. The Ford 460—at 10.300—is a full half-inch taller than the Mark IV big-block Chevy (454ci), giving it the advantage when it comes to selecting the largest stroker kit that will comfortably fit inside. Regarding the Ford's 10.300-inch deck height, Kaase posited: "Now, with Chrysler, there wouldn't be any problem because they are 10.700 [deck height] some of them, but probably the biggest problem is with a big stroke in a big-block Chevy that's a 9.800 block because you start to run out of room for a big stroke. Either the rod's got to be real short or the compression distance has got to be real short; something's got to happen to get it to 9.800."

The Ford 460 Bore Centers Are Wider
It's here where we see the biggest advantage with the Ford. With a whopping 4.900 inches between bore centerlines, there is massive real estate for big-bore stroker kits. The 4.900-inch bore spacing gives the 460 a 4.360-inch stock bore, which is already larger than some Chrysler 440 blocks can handle with an overbore (stock 440 bores are 4.320-inch diameter). Why's this important? Because feeding big cubic inches for big power means being able to move air into and exhaust out of the cylinder. A bigger bore is critical to doing that, so while you can certainly go big with a Mopar, the ability to move airflow is hampered by its smaller bore. The Chevy only fares marginally better than the Mopar, with a 4.840-inch bore centerline and stock 4.250-inch bore.

The Ford 460 Pan Rails Are Wider
A tall deck, big airflow, and wide bores can only make power if there's real estate down below to clear swinging rods, and the Ford wins big here. According to Kaase, a Ford 460 can go all the way up to 521ci without a builder having to touch the block for clearance anywhere, and cubes can go much higher with only minimal massaging. For the DIY guy in a garage, this can be a critical sticking point, and considering the stack-up of cost savings seen elsewhere, it's far more likely that an amateur engine builder could build an 800- to 900-hp engine at home without getting stuck.

The Cam Height Is Taller In The Block
"You don't have to do much to the block at all," says Kaase. "There are some other advantages. You know, the cam is pretty high in the block, so the timing chain's longer. The cam sits higher in the block so the cam never hits the connecting rods or anything. It has an advantage there in the stroke." Just as with deck height and pan rail clearance, stroker engines must also deal with interference from the camshaft and cam tunnel. In fact, most aftermarket blocks will tout some kind of raised cam feature—which requires special timing gear and valvetrain—but if you're looking for the maximum clearance for stroke without grinding on the rotating assembly, the Ford 460 wins this category, too. "

The Valvetrain Is Really Stable
One of the things most engine builders expect to deal with when building high-horsepower engines with non-stock valvetrains and aftermarket cylinder heads is lots of upgrading in the valvetrain department. Since the Ford 460 is so beefy and so few components need to be massaged and moved around, valvetrain stability is maintained with relative ease. Jon Kaase reports that an 800- or 900-hp stroker Ford can be built for reliable street and drag use with a $400 set of pedestal-mounted rocker arms. No girdles, no shafts—just bolt-on stuff.

Here, Kaase says the Ford 460 has the advantage. "We really don't have much trouble [with valvetrains]. We use the Comp Cams steel rocker or Crane aluminum, but on most of them, we use the Comp Cams $400 rocker set. We've made 1,200 horses with that stuff—stock-type rockers. With regular stud-mounted rockers and no stud girdle on the SR-71, we've made 1,200 horses like that. Those heads are pretty strong up there; we didn't ever have any failures. [At a 900-horsepower level, the big-block Chevys] definitely needs a stud girdle. They're in the habit of breaking the stud bosses off."

Ford 460 Cam Thrust Is Managed By A Simple Thrust Plate
Like the small-block Ford, the big-block 460 camshaft thrust is also handled by a thrust plate bolted to the block. No buttons, no machining to the timing cover, no springs—just stick the cam in and bolt the plate to the block. Get the cam thrust button wrong on a Chevy and tear up a camshaft and a set of lifters, and all your hard work will go sailing out the window.

Cylinder Sealing Is Excellent
There are only 10 head bolts on the big-block Ford, which would normally be a detriment, but in this case those bolts are 9/16-inch diameter, they're bolted into a deck surface with tons of extra meat (bore centers are 4.900-inch), and those bolt holes are blind, with no coolant behind any of them. There's no other big-block family on the planet that can reasonably support 900 hp with junkyard head bolts and stock head gaskets, but the Ford 460 can. Says Kaase, "The blocks only have 10 head bolts, but they're big ones. There's generally no trouble with head gaskets. They're blind holes, so you don't have coolant coming up through the head-bolt holes and rusting the bolts. To me, it's easier. You can do stock head bolts if you want, you know? Junkyard head bolts. Nine-sixteenths! They're not going anywhere."

There's Lots Of Heads And Intakes Available
You could read reasons 1 through 9, and none of them would make a difference in the outcome without this final advantage. There's a lot of aftermarket support for the Ford 460, especially as it relates to airflow. With available stroker kits compatible with the stock block as large as 545ci (4.500-inch stroke, 4.390-inch bore) selling for around $2,000, it's important to get a great cylinder head, and that's where Jon Kaase has answered the call with his P-51 and SR-71 cylinder heads.

Jon Kaase Racing Engines' P-51 cylinder head for the Ford 460 big-block.

Jon Kaase Talks Cylinder Heads
Of course, the whole idea behind increasing the cubic inches of a big-block is to increase the power without adding boost, nitrous, or rpm. If that's your goal, a superior cylinder head is a must, and that's an area of expertise in which Jon Kaase excels. In fact, manufacturing big-block Ford 460 cylinder heads of his proprietary design is the main reason Jon Kaase Racing Engines exists. We asked him about the cylinder heads on the market as well as the challenges of building cylinder heads for the Ford 460 market:

"You can't really go by the [intake port] cc's on all of this stuff because we changed some of those heads around—what we call the P-51 head and the SR-71. They're really good wedge heads for those engines—the valves are moved enough in the head, back toward the intake manifold, that it shortens up the intake port just a little bit, and then that knocks a bunch of cc's out of it. So you could have one head that's got less cc's in the intake port, but the ports are bigger. You have to be careful about that.

"There's three or four different, distinct kinds of wedge heads for [the 460]. You know there's the aluminum passenger-car heads that have the stock valve placement and angles, like the Edelbrock stuff. There's some of those Chinese heads that are all about the same, and they're a little bit better than the stock head, but they're not a lot better. The Air Flow Research head is a pretty good step away from those. It's not bad. It's got some stuff moved around, and it takes its own intake manifold—it really doesn't fit anything but their manifold.

"The P-51, which is our head, is also very similar to the Ford Super Cobra Jet that they sell today. We used to make those things for Ford, and we lost our guy there and we ended up losing our deal; that's why we did the P-51, because we didn't any longer make the Ford head. But those valve placements and angles are pretty close to the same between the Ford Motorsport Super Cobra Jet and the P-51. Those are a pretty good departure from the stock valve layout. They take a little bit different valve pocket in the piston on the intake, and that's all, but they're considerably better on power. It would be 75 or 100 hp better than any of the other stuff."

Stroker Kit Basics
Building a hot big-block Ford for the street or track doesn't require a stroker kit, but it sure helps. In fact, setting up your basic 460 short-block for a large bump in cubic inches is fairly inexpensive, and stroker kits that can easily support a goal of 800 to 900 hp typically cost around $2,000, including a stroker crank, forged rods, and forged pistons. Kaase says there are a lot of offerings to choose from in the budget realm, and he's seen them hold up just fine when power is kept within reason. Kaase told HOT ROD: "All the stock stuff, you just throw it away. The thing is, you'd like to build the motor a little bigger, so we use different cranks. Most of the forgings come from offshore, you know? Unless you want to spend $3,000 or $3,500 for a crank, that's way cheaper. Scat, Eagle, Molnar, and Lunati and some of those companies—I don't know if those cranks come from exactly the same place—they're all Chinese forgings, but they're machined here, a lot of them, and they're finished here, and they're strong. It's not something that we ever see break. The stock crank would probably never fail in stock form, but for us it's not quite a big enough stroke.

The Jon Kaase SR-71 head was designed as a max-effort Ford 460 cylinder head. It takes a stock-style intake manifold and has a stock-location exhaust port. Only a modest spacer is required on the China wall.
"Now the connecting rod—we ran this test motor for a few years with stock connecting rods in it, and we never had one fail, but they bent up by the pin. The piston decks were all crooked, you know? [laughs] The pin end of the rod bent sideways a little bit, so at about 700 horses, you're probably done with the stock rods. The thing is, you'd never want to spend a bunch of money on the stock rods, like, to put bolts in them and have them reconditioned and stuff, because when you get done, you're a third of the way to buying a set of Eagle, or Scat, or Lunati rods or something, and they're really nice H-beam rods, and they work just great. I don't think we've ever hardly seen one fail."
Chevrolet 396-454

Dimensions: 28 inches wide, 30.5 inches long, and 29 inches tall
Weight: 685 pounds
Sump Location: Rear
Starter Location: Right

Ford 429-460

Dimensions: 27 inches wide, 30 inches long, and 29 inches tall
Weight: 720 pounds
Sump Location: Front
Starter Location: Right

I don,t have any brand loyalty,
I like most
CADDY, 472-500
BUICK, 455
,MOPAR ,426-440
FORD 429-460 ENGINEs
plus cubic inches