Video: Blown Big-Block Ford Engine On Dyno – With A Twist

Terry Hagedorn of Hagedorn Racing Engines has been building engines for all forms of motorsports for decades, with a concentration on engines for truck-pulling events. In fact, Hagedorn has a number of professional titles in the category and has been competing as a pro since 1989. Not only does Hagedorn run the engine shop, he also owns a local repair facility along with a number of head of cattle on his farm in Thompson, Missouri.

Recently a customer brought him this 514ci big-block Ford with the intent of building a blown big-block for a Nostalgia class. The project started at another shop and ended up on Hagedorn’s workbench to be completed.

The engine centered around a stock block that was bored to 4.440-inches, using a Star 4340 steel crankshaft with a 4.150-inch stroke, a set of GRP‘s 6.800-inch aluminum connecting rods, and -10cc dished Diamond pistons secured with .990-wall piston pins. Total Seal piston rings with a 1/16-1/16-3/16 ring package control the combustion and oiling. 

In addition, the block was O-ringed to help hold in the compression. SCE copper head gaskets in .052-inch thickness were used under the aluminum Super Cobra Jet cylinder heads. A COMP Cams 34-000-9 roller camshaft featuring .715I/.714E lift figures and 282/284 @ .050-inch dimensions on a 114-degree lobe center along with COMP’s 816-16 roller lifters and COMP .080-inch wall pushrods actuate the valvetrain.

The block was also fitted with a main-cap stud girdle (which came in handy, as you’ll see shortly) and a Titan custom dual-pickup oil pump to go with the Stefs 12-quart custom oil pan. 

On top, a BDS 8-71 supercharger draws through an Enderle birdcatcher injector, and the alcohol fuel is supplied through an Enderle 110 belt-drive fuel pump. Spark is fired through an MSD billet distributor from an MSD 7AL-3 ignition box.

Typically a stock Ford big-block engine casting is only good for about 800 horsepower at maximum, and the customer found out in short order exactly why that’s the case – and why the main cap girdle came in handy.

“The next run after this video, we split this block completely in half with a bit too much boost on a stock block when the customer insisted on upping the boost. At the time of the dyno run, the engine held together and made 1,050 horsepower at 10 percent overdrive with 12 pounds of boost. After making one short run to 7,000 rpm with 20 percent overdrive and 21 pounds of boost, the engine went to 1,180 HP. After being told the block would not take that, the customer insisted on running to 8,000 rpm to see the max horsepower reading – and the block split in half. The incredible thing not one internal part was damaged inside of engine when the block broke!” Hagedorn says. 

When the engine came apart, it pulled all of the main caps out, but the amazing thing according to Hagedorn is that nothing inside the block was damaged save for the bent main stud girdle, which apparently kept the internals together just long enough to save the rotating assembly and ancillary parts from what would surely be complete destruction had it not been installed.

The plan is to put all of the parts back into a brand-new billet engine block and use a Bryant billet crankshaft on the second go-round – which will be shown off in a follow-up when Hagedorn Racing Engines gets the engine back together over the next several months. 

Finding the limits of stock parts has long been the challenge of drag racers the world over, and this customer learned exactly what not to do with the combination that was originally selected.

About the author

Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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