Buying a Formula Ford Engine

New Kent Engines
In 2011, new engines are actually available from a number of first rate engine builders in the United States, several of whom specialize in this class. Engines comprised almost entirely of new parts are possible now because Ford Racing is producing brand new, high quality cylinder blocks with improvements over the original. Other major components like crankshafts, cams, pistons, rods, valves, flywheels and cylinder heads are also readily available. Engine builders build up new engines and dyno test them - tuning them to perfection - before shipping them out to racers in the US and overseas as well.

Used / Rebuilt Engines
Engines are also rebuilt by the major engine builders and by a number of smaller engine shops throughout the US. See the "ENGINE REBUILDS" page. Reputable engine builders often know an engine's history and will have most likely run through the entire engine to check its condition. They will have magnafluxed critical parts and replaced parts that are worn or questionable. Most engine builder run their engines on a dynomometer to confirm their power output and to tune it to maximize output.

Used Engines - As Is
Buying a used engine from an individual can be tricky but if the appropriate care is taken and the right questions are asked, most pitfalls can be avoided and money can be saved. But if there are too many unknowns - number of hours on the engine, condition of major internal parts, etc., you may be in for considerable expense later - either when you pull it apart to see what the condition is or when the thing blows up first time out!

Determining the Condition of the Engine

  1. LEAKDOWN TEST - If the engine is in running condition, a leakdown test is a good way to determine basic condition as it reveals, in particular, the status of rings and valves.
  2. HEAD - Determine if the engine has an OEM iron head or one of the newer Pierce aluminum heads. Find out who did the preparation work on it.
  3. CRANKSHAFT - Determine if the engine is fitted with a tired OEM crank or one of the new SCCA/SCAT crankshafts. Find out how many hours are on the crank and on the engine overall.
  4. PISTONS - Are the pistons original Ford pistons, AE cast aluminum pistons or the new CP forged pistons. Are they standard size or the CP .005" oversized pistons?
  5. LAST REBUILD - When it was the engine rebuilt last? Were major parts (crank, rods and cam) magnafluxed? Were new hi-strength ARP or SPS 12 point rod bolts installed?
  6. CYLINDER BORE - What's the current cylinder bore? If it's over the limit, the block may need to be sleeved.
  7. CARBURETOR - Has the carb been prepped by one of the major engine builders?