Project ’85 Coupe Gets a New 363 Dart Stroker Installed

The time has finally come to install our 363ci Dart SHP short block and top end kit into our ’85 Mustang notchback.  The tired 5-liter has been replaced for a fresh engine that will produce twice the amount of horsepower as we previously had.  We will have a full feature article and video documenting our install, but below is a brief overview of some of the parts.

The block is Dart’s sportsman SHP version that features a lot of the same benefits of their high-end blocks with a cheaper price tag.  The fitted the block with one of their rotating assemblies – consisting of a cast crank, I-beam rods, and forged pistons.  Dart also supplied one of their Pro 1 top end kits with 195cc intake runners.  The kit comes with aluminum heads, intake manifold, bolts, gaskets, and even trick aluminum valve covers that are tall enough to support a rocker stud girdle.  Lastly, their Valvetrain Power Package was added.  Dart worked closely with Comp Cams to come up with a variety of cam choices that would deliver optimal performance for these combinations.  We went with their hydraulic roller setup that comes with lifters, cam, front cover gasket, and timing set.  Topping off the heads is a set of Comp push rods and their Ultra Pro Magnum rockers.

Since our Fox will be involved in some heavy autocross and road racing action we chose Canton. Their front sump oil pan includes baffles and kick-outs in the right areas to keep the pick up from running dry under hard braking and heavy turning. We then turned the motor right side up and proceeded to attach the Pro 1 Aluminum Heads, provided by Dart.

For induction, BBK SSI Intake Manifold that came with their throttle body and fuel rail kit.  Finishing off the fuel system was a set of OEM-fit 42-pound injectors from Buy Ford Racing. This Kit includes everything needed to complete your EFI application – upper and lower intake plenums, fuel rails, and any additional hardware. The SSI may give us some hood clearance issues, but hey, thats what cowl hoods are for!

In addition to our intake assembly, BBK came through with a whole slew of automotive goodness.

Here’s the rundown:

– Upper and Lower Intake Manifold: SSI-R (Charcoal) or SSI-Series- PN # 5008 or 5001
– Fuel Pump: 86-95 In-Line Fuel Pump – Mustang- PN # 1602
– Fuel Pressure Regulator: Billet Adjustable Regulator- PN # 1707
– Fuel Pressure Gauge: BBK Liquid Filled Fuel Pressure Gauge Kit- PN # 1617
– Long Tube Headers: 79-93 Full Length Exhaust Headers – 1 5/8″ – 5.0L (Ceramic)- PN # 15160
– Fuel Rails: 86-93 High Flow Aluminum Fuel Rail – 5.0L- PN # 5010
– Throttle Body: 86-93   Throttle Body & EGR Spacer – 5.0L- PN # 1600

The “piece de resistance” was the balancer and TCI came through huge for us in this department. With accuracy and strength being the name of the game here TCI was the sure bet. We quickly slid the balancer into place onto the crank, and we were just about completed with our build. After spinning the motor around to access the opposite side of our crank, we got a good look of the SPEC full face clutch. The SPEC clutch comes complete with a heavy duty pressure plate and also retains a stock-like feel.

With the installation of our clutch complete, our long block build was nearly finished. Special thanks to all those involved on our build, our Project 85 Mustang will not disappoint, with an output in the 400whp range, the Mustang will be ready to hit the dyno soon.  Be sure to stay tuned here on StangTV.com for updates on the engine installation, and keep your eyes peeled for the video of our stang coming to life.

About the author

Mark Gearhart

In 1995 Mark started photographing drag races at his once local track, Bradenton Motorsports Park. He became hooked and shot virtually every series at the track until 2007 until he moved to California and began working as a writer for Power Automedia. He was the founding editor for its first online magazines, and transitioned into the role of editorial director role in 2014. Retiring from the company in 2016, Mark continues to expand his career as a car builder, automotive enthusiast, and freelance journalist to provide featured content and technical expertise.
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