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by Jon Mikelonis


As the loudest voice for the Ford performance enthusiast on the internet, FordMuscle couldn't let Hot Rod Magazine's recent article on a 400 buildup go uncontested. Titled "The Mutt", the article ran in the February 2007 issue and while hard-core Ford enthusiasts and Cleveland faithfuls were happy to see the words "Ford 400" on the cover, those who are intimate with the powerplant were left dumbfounded by the premise of the article. That mistaken premise was that the performance aftermarket DOES NOT support the Ford 351M/400. Being fair and somewhat balanced,
Hot Rod Magazine printed reader feedback regarding the 400 story in the April 2007 issue. However, it wasn't enough in our eyes. So FordMuscle felt obligated to give the spirit of those replies the real estate afforded in the original 400 buildup article. We'll do just that, and some, in this article.

"The toughest part of this engine build (stroker Ford 400) obviously comes from the fact that it isn't supported by the performance aftermarket"
- from Hot Rod Magazine's February 2007 story "The Mutt".

Certainly, engine builder's will practice their own techniques for achieving the greatest power gains. In other words, ask ten engine builders to put together a 500 horsepower, 500 foot-pound motor using a common mill and you'll get 10 different recipes for that build. This article isn't about challenging how one shop built their 351M/400 but more about debunking three particular instances in Hot Rod Magazine's article that state an inability to locate a variety of performance components for what is essentially the 351 Cleveland's big brother. (To understand the difference between these engines, see our article "351C, 351M, 400 - What's the Difference.")
With the help of Tim Meyer from TMeyer Inc., FordMuscle took the time to consolidate and present to you numerous aftermarket parts that are available for anyone interested in building a performance 351M/400. This article will serve to bring to your attention "the other" performance aftermarket that was overlooked in the Hot Rod Magazine article, keep in mind that between Hot Rod Magazine's willingness to publish an article on a special Ford powerplant and this FordMuscle counterpoint article, Ford enthusiasts can be content knowing more 351M/400's will be saved because of each publication's coverage of the motor. Let's get started 351M/400 hopefuls.

Open Your Browser, Ford 351M/400 Performance Parts Abound

Sharing so much in common with the 351 Cleveland, the 351M/400 benefits from an aftermarket that has been long developed for that motor. Water Pumps, Valve Covers, Distributors, Rockers Arms, Cylinder Heads, Cam & Lifter kits all work on both mills. Sure, perfect buildup recipes don't pepper the dead-tree media and you'll have to consider the volumetric difference between 351 cubic inches and 400 cubic inches when choosing a cam or cylinder head, but the stuff is out there, plenty of it. Where the Cleveland and the 351M/400 do not sync up, specifically the rotating assembly and intake manifold, specialized outfits like TMeyer Inc., Cylinder Head Innovations (CHI), and Price Motorsport fill the holes. A great example is this fuel-injected 434 stroker that was just recently built by TMeyer inc. and shipped to Ford enthusiast Dan Lee. It will be fitted into his 1953 F-100.

Fire up your primary research tool, also known as Google, and outfitting a stock displacement or stroked 400 with existing parts takes no more resourcing than any other performance build. Let's get started by showing you what's available for the 351M/400 within the most critical performance category. Cylinder heads.
Aussie Cast Iron Cleveland Cylinder Heads
A pallet load of cast iron aussie cleveland heads arrive at Tim Meyer's shop in Fairmont, Minnesota.

Australian Cylinder Heads

Whether Hot Rod Magazine's perception that cast iron Aussie cylinder heads are "hard-to-find" was induced by bad memories of swap meets circa-1985 or their proximity to the "easy-to-find" Edelbrock warehouse doesn't matter, as the perception is wrong. Aussie cylinder heads are easily attainable here in the United States. Both Aus Ford Parts based in Oregon and TMeyer Inc. in Minnesota have them in stock. For those of you looking for options in aluminum alloy then yes Edelbrock has their relatively new Cleveland offering, but there are more. TMeyer Inc. chooses Cylinder Head Innovations (CHI) for his customers who want an aluminum alternative to cast iron Aussie heads. CHI should ring a bell with even mild-mannered Ford hobbyists, their Cleveland heads placed four different Ford engine builders within the top five of the 2006 Engine Masters Challenge. The Australian-based manufacturer has by far the most well-developed line of aluminum alloy Cleveland heads in a variety of intake runner volumes. Yes, they're designated "Cleveland" heads but that doesn't mean they require a Cleveland block to bolt up to. In fact, the four top finishers in 2006 Engine Masters Challenge were running their CHI heads atop Windsor blocks, making them the ultimate "Clevor" motors. CHI's broad line is indicative of the various Ford blocks and displacements their Cleveland heads can work with. We all know the original canted valve head was developed for the Boss 302, so CHI heads can work with small blocks with some minor adjustment, Clevelands, as well as the 351M/400. For more information on CHI Ford Cylinder Heads visit their website or contact an authorized US dealer like TMeyer Inc. Otherwise, here is a brief market snapshot for aluminum Cleveland heads suited for use with performance-built 351M/400 motors.

CHI 2V 190cc
190cc Intake Runner
"220cfm Exhaust Port"
68cc Combustion Chamber
Intake Ports Fit 2V Factory Style Intakes
Exhaust Ports Fit 2V or 4V Headers
351M/400 Block Recommendation: Excellent upgrade for stock displacement Ford 400's for those wishing to retain their factory style intake. Smaller intake runners and the ability to use ready-made dual plane intakes make these heads perfect for drivability and performance even in heavy vehicles.
CHI 3V 185cc
185cc Intake Port
"220cfm Exhaust Port"
68cc Combustion Chamber
For use with CHI matching 3V Intake
Exhaust Ports Fit 2V or 4V Headers. Best used with 4V header.
See Comparison Image
351M/400 Block Recommendation:
Relocated and redesigned intake port makes the 3V a significant upgrade over the stock Cleveland design. Required use of Chi's hi-rise open plenum 3V intake manifold means you've got to be mindful of your target operating range, vehicle weight, and gearing.
CHI 3V 225cc
225cc Intake Port
"220cfm Exhaust Port"
68cc Combustion Chamber
For use with CHI matching 3V Intake
Exhaust Ports Fit 2V or 4V Headers. Best used with 4V header.
See Comparison Image

351M/400 Block Recommendation: Increased intake runner volume makes this "larger" 3V head a serious candidate for a stroked 400. Like the 3V 185cc, the 3V 225cc requires Chi's hi-rise open plenum 3V intake. Again, you've got to consider your target operating range, vehicle weight, and gearing when choosing this head.

For sake of comparison, TMeyer Inc. performed a flow test comparing the Edelbrock Performer RPM Cleveland head to the CHI 2V 190cc head. Note the performance of the CHI exhaust through the entire range, as well as the midlift performance on the CHI intake side.

Cleveland Cylinder Head Flow Test
CHI 2V vs. Edelbrock Performer RPM
Valve Lift

(Performance Engine Building and Parts Development)

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In This Article:
FordMuscle consolidates the best resources for getting the most out of a 351M/400. Working closely with TMeyer Inc. we prove that there is performance to be found for these motors within an aftermarket operating just outside the mainstream.
Pantera Owner Runs Ford
400-based 434 Stroker
A little bit of online research lead Gary Walker, the owner of this 1971 Pantera, to TMeyer Inc. for a Ford 400 performance solution.

While many people call the 400 a bastard truck engine, Gary looked at the 400 for what it virtually is... a stroked 351 Cleveland. As you probably know, Pantera's were originally equipped with Cleveland motors.

"Everyone time I brought up the 400, people told me it was a pig, a bastard truck engine"
- Gary Walker

Upgrading to a 460 requires pushing a Pantera's transaxle back, so those wishing to distinguish themselves from other Pantera owners typically work with power adders and the Cleveland. Gary on the other hand, opened his mind and Internet browser with respect for Ford's 400 motor.

TMeyer Inc. stroked the 400 to 434ci using their stroker kit and topped off the short block with CHI heads. Compression is 10.5:1 and the motor breaths via a Comp Cams custom ground hydraulic roller. The motor dynoed just short of 500hp with 534 ft lbs of torque.

Pantera owners are a special breed. What you can respect about many of them is that they are hands-on Ford enthusiasts. If they didn't want to play a roll in working on their sports cars then they'd be driving Ferraris. The fact that Pantera's use a 351C makes them relatively less intimidating to work on than Italian counterparts.

The increased deck height of the 400 and big-block bellhousing pattern meant Gary had to take a few extra measures for fitting the 400-based 434 stoker.






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