Back 2 Basics Sheet

Back 2 Basics Sheet
Racer Walsh Co 1849 Foster Drive Jacksonville, Florida 32216 USA
904-721-2289 904-721-2935 fax email:
web site:
video overview
1) shop tour
2) engine block/.crank differences
3) plastigauge crank/rods
4) crank endplay / rod side clearance
5) oiling system / remote filter hook up
6) finding top dead center positive stop method
Ford 2300 OHC engine 1974 to 1997
Identified by 4 cam towers (under the cam cover). Made in
Lima Ohio, and Brazil. The earlier Pinto 2000 engine 1971-74
(made in Germany) has 3 cam towers, and is not covered in
this information sheet.
Pinto 1974-80, Mustang ll 74 -78 both above engines are
front sump oil pan. Drilled dipstick hole in block must match
oil pan sump location.
All later engines are rear sump with corresponding dipstick
hole location drilled towards the rear of the block: Mustang lll
1979-98 and Capri lll (fox body), Thunderbird/Cougar 1983-88
(turbocharged)., and the Ranger truck.
Ranger truck also came as 2000 cc. (same block/crank, but
block is cast with smaller bore. This block cannot be bored to
2300 cc and is only used as a 2000 cc., but all other 2300
components are generally the same as on the 2000 cc block.
Ranger truck also came as a 2500 cc: It uses a unique ‘92-on
style block (with small main journals), and a stroker crank.
This 2500 cc version of the 2300 block used 5.457” length
rods and different compression height hyperutectic pistons. It
has an unusual oil pump setup different than earlier 2300’s.
Also, Capri 2, and Merkur (both German made cars using the
USA built 2300). Both of these cars use a Bosch starter and
have a unique flywheel ring gear that only takes the Bosch
starter rather than the Ford USA starter).
‘Turbo’ blocks, cranks and rods are not any better quality or
different metal content. All engine blocks are basically the
same except:
A) Front or rear sump oil pan ...dipstick location ((above)
B) Pre ’85 blocks have a 2 piece rear main oil seal, ’85 and
later have a one piece rear main oil seal at the
crankshaft. The one-piece seal is also the same size seal
as is used on the later model 302 V8’s. Earlier
crankshafts that are used with the 2 piece rear seal will
not fit in the’85 and later blocks unless the oil slinger on
the crankshaft is machined off. This is common
procedure in most crankshafts grinding shops.
piston rod combinations / choices
overview of rod length
cylinder head differences/ intakes to match
checking for valve to piston clearance with clay
advancing and retarding cam for valve/piston
clearance limits
12) flywheel / clutches
Bare block large main block measures 2.58” at the main
bearing inner diameter with no bearing fitted. The later
small main bearing block measures 2.39”.
D) Turbo blocks ’83 and later (not the ‘79-80 Mustang turbo
blocks) has an oil drainback hole cast into the exhaust
(passenger) side of the block, just
E) Fuel injected engines , 1987 and later do not have an
opening for the mechanical fuel pump near the distributor.
The auxiliary shaft that comes in the ‘87 and later fuel
injected cars does not have the cam eccentric cast on the
shaft to drive the mechanical fuel pump. To use a mechanical
fuel pump on a ’87 or later block the earlier shaft must be
used and the opening on the side of the block must be drilled
C) Most ’92 and later 2300 blocks including the stroker 2500
cc version use a smaller diameter crank main journal size.
Cylinder heads/ intake manifolds: over 13 different cylinder heads have been made for the 2300 to date. Basically they all
interchange. There are 4 main categories:
(1) the oval port (intake portholes are oval), generally made before 1981.
(2) D port (intake port holes are oval on top and squared off on the bottom) 1981 and late
(3) Round port (intake holes are round) as used on most Ranger truck engines,
(4) The twin plug Ranger truck head that has 8 spark plugs (2 per cylinder) which is not often used for racing.
Oval port and D port heads perform about the same. The intake manifold should match the cylinder head, so the fuel flows
smoothly from the crab through the manifold and into the intake hole in the cylinder head. An oval port manifold will not match up
very well to a D port head.
Since most mini stock rules require a stock 2 bbl crab or a Holley 350 or 500 2 bbl. carb the manifold choice is sometimes difficult to
find.Oval port heads (and oval port intake manifolds) came on all Pinto and Mustang 2’s We sell adapters to mount any of the 3
carb choices to these manifolds.
D port heads came with a 2 bbl on 1981 and 1982 Mustang 3’s, then they went to a 1 bbl carb for a few years and then to EFI
(electronic fuel injection) in 1987. So the D port 2 bbl carb intake manifold (1981-82) is desirable as a salvage yard item and can be
hard to find.
The EFI (electronic fuel injection) manifold comes on later years. We also make an adapter to put a 2 bbl carb on the base of an EFI
manifold that bolts to the D port head. A very popular setup, and the best intake manifold/2 bbl setup.
Three types available: Cast (stock), hyperutectic (good
quality cast ), and forged(best quality race). They all run
different piston to wall clearance (the difference between
the piston diameter and the cylinder hole diameter measured
about ½” below the wrist pin on the piston side skirt).
Stock cast pistons run .001”, Hyperutectic race pistons
run .002”-.0025” and forged pistons run .004”-.005”. This is
because the pistons have different expansion rates when
they heat up after the first few minutes of running. The
engine shop should have the piston in hand when they bore
the block so they can bore to the clearance required. They
measure this clearance with micrometers. The nickel budget
guy can shove a flat feeler gauge up between the piston skirt
and the bore to get an approximation of piston to wall
Cast pistons are fairly hopeless in a 2300 race engine.
Hyperutectic (we sell KB) have done well in race engines, and
are the best choice for a street rebuild. but if they do crack,
they shatter and take the block with them. A forged piston is
a much different type of grain structure and is more forgiving
if the engine has a problem. They will melt down, but not
shatter, so the connecting rod stays in place....and hopefully
you can get that .030” over block cleaned up at .040 and try
We sell Wiseco forged pistons. They or JE brand seem to
have the best reputation. Some forged piston brands seem
to need much more clearance (up to .008” piston to wall, as
they expand that much), so that is why we sell Wiseco...we
assume it has to do with the mix of the aluminum in the
The piston rings that we sell with the .030 and .040 over race
pistons are ‘oversized’ so you have to file fit the ends of the
rings to fit the bore of the block. To do this you take the
piston ring and push it into the finished / bored engine block
(about 2” down into the bore) and push it down with a plain
upside down piston (so it is nice and square in the bore) Then
you stick a flat feeler gauge, vertically, into the space
between the ends of the rings. It should be about .012-.017”
and you will have to hand file (with a good fine file) the piston
ring end (either end!) to get the clearance required. KB
pistons are an exception, and run a larger top ring end gap
of .030” This is a time consuming task, but very important. If
there is not a big enough end gap the ring ends will butt and
cause a meltdown in the piston. Better to have too much
piston ring end gap than not enough! Too much, you just
lose very little power. Up to .025” won’t hurt anything.
Piston rings come in different widths. And the ring width
must match the piston. Most racing pistons have ‘thin’ 1/16”
rings and are not interchangeable with pistons that are made
for stock ‘wider’ rings. Even the stock rings used different
widths over the years so have a knowledgeable person check
this out for you if there is a question.
When assembling and engine you need a piston ring
compressor to get the piston with the rings on (and the
connecting rod) into the bore. If you have never done this,
get someone with experience to help and watch them. It is
too difficult to explain the details, and easy to screw it up. A
piston ring compressor such as our part # 1780 makes it much
easier than a universal type ring compressor.
All 2300 rods are the same. Some think the turbo engine has
better rods, but it does not. All stock rods are ‘press fit’ wrist
pin type, which means the rod small end is heated (with a
propane type torch, or rod heating machine) and the piston
pin and piston are quickly assembled before the rod cools,
locking the rod onto the wrist pin. This setup makes the
engine difficult to service during the race season, but is fine
for a low maintenance engine. All stock Ford engines are
press fit rod engines.
Most race engine connecting rods have ‘floating’ wrist pins
where the rod turns in both the connecting rod and the
piston. The connecting rod must be machined for a bronze
bushing in the small end of the rod so the wrist pin can turn
freely. This set up uses wrist pin ‘circlips’ that keep the pin
located in the rod/piston. You don’t use circlips with a
pressed on setup and you must use circlips with a floating pin
setup. We use spiroloc type circlips. They are a pain to put
in, but very reliable. Use a very small screwdriver with a
notched blade to get the spiroloc started.
The floating pin setup allows you to easily remove the piston
from the rod to replace either a piston or rod if needed.
Stock rod bolts are adequate, and usually fail due to repeated
torqueing (tightening to specs) during rebuilds. If a rod bolt is
accidentally ‘overtorqued’, or tightened more than the
torque specs call will fail for sure. So you need a good
torque wrench to tighten the rod bolts and if you think you
screwed it up, get another new rod bolt! Rod bolts should
have 30 weight oil on the bolt threads when torqueing We
sell a stronger rod bolt that is a direct replacement for the
We sell a variety of rod choices listed in our catalog by length
and strength. The stock 2300 rod is quite adequate. The
Chevy 6 cylinder 5.7”rod should be held below 7200 rpm for
reliability. The Crower Sportsman rod is a best choice for
weight and reliability and the choice of our shop for all of our
race engines. The Ferrea rod is a bit heavier, and very strong
for turbocharged high HP use.
Flywheel bolts do have a history of failure and should be
replaced with ARP or equivalent higher rated bolts.
Crankshafts that came from an automatic trans engine do
not have a pilot bearing. One must be fitted when used with
a manual transmission to accept the imput shaft from the
trans. All 2300 pilot bearings are the same size over the
Flywheels vary over the 25 years of this engines life. Some
are heavier and ‘thicker’ (1987 and later with the T5 trans) so
attention should be given to the proper throwout bearing to
be sure that the clutch release arm has adequate travel for
the flywheel/clutch/trans combination. T5 transmissions
have a deeper bellhousing to accommodate the thicker
flywheel of those later years. We offer 3 different length
throwout bearings to help with mismatches.
Lighter flywheels are critical to oval track performance, and
are a most important performance addition. The lighter the
better for quicker acceleration.
Getting started:
Buy or borrow an engine stand. best $50-$60 spent to
assemble an engine.
The block and cylinder head should be stripped and sent to
and engine shop to get hot tanked and bored. This is an acid
bath to get all the crud out of those passages in the block and
the boring is to fit new, larger pistons in the bores
Boring / cylinder size:
Most any engine will need to be bored and fitted with new
pistons. Stock pistons in a 2300 are cast type pistons and as
the piston to bore clearance gets larger as the engine wears,
they often crack the side of the piston. The piston rocks in
the bore, and at high rpms (over 4500) the piston ‘skirt’ (side)
2300’s are often bored + .030”, .040” or .060”. the engine
shop will measure (or look at) the block and tell you if it will
‘clean up’ by boring An engine that will clean up at .030”
or .040” overbore is best, as there are more choices for good
piston rings in these 2 sizes. A .060” overbore engine is not
desirable. The walls are getting too thin and this is a last
resort situation. If you start with a .030” over engine at least
you might be able to reuse it as an .040” engine in the future.
If you are on a nickel budget you can pull the pistons and just
run a cylinder hone down the bore and replace them ,
hopefully with new piston rings. Least expensive cast type
piston rings will seat faster than chrome rings.
When assembling the block and head a good clean well
lighted shop is essential. The block and crankshaft must have
a tap run through the head bolt, main bearing, and
crank/flywheel bolt holes. These 3 locations are critical for
proper torque, so the holes must be clean and free of any
foreign matter for the proper torque settings. Three tap sizes
that will cover most 2300 engine bolts are 6mm x 1mm (oil
pan, cam cover), 8mmx1.25mm (flywheel bolts), 12mm x
1.75mm (head bolts, main bearing bolts).
The 2300 does not have an oiling or head gasket problem. It
should be a very reliable engine if assembled and set
properly. Stock main capend head bolts should be fine, stock
oil pump is adequate. Head/main studs give better clamping
and are ‘insurance’, but we fell they are not critical Same with
the hi volume oil pump. Regular inspection of the main
bearings is more important, and we have run 7500 rpm
engines with 32 lbs. oil pressure, reliably, if the bearings are
in good shape.
Total ignition timing: Often misunderstood by new engine
builders. This is the combination of initial ignition timing (set
by turning the distributor), plus vacuum advance (if the
distributor has a vacuum advance tube going to the base of
the carb), and centrifugal advance (weights that are in the
base of the distributor that change ignition timing as rpms
increase ...up to about 2800 rpm). To check total timing, get
a flashing type timing light and point it down at the crank
shaft dampener where the timing marks are located and rev
the engine, (usually to about 3000-3500 rpm) until the timing
shown by the flashing timing light on the crank pulley does
not change or ‘advance’ any further. This is ‘total timing’ or
the most ignition advance (ignition timing) that the engine
will see no matter how high you rev the engine. This number
should be around 34-36 degrees on most 2300 race engines.
Set total timing by running the engine to about 3500 rpm or
until the timing marks ‘stop moving’ on the crank dampener
as you rev the engine, then turn the distributor until the
flashing timing light shows the timing at 34 degrees on the
crank dampener. Tighten the distributor hold down bolt.
Too much advance will cause detonation and will blow a head
gasket or melt a piston. Turbocharged engines usually run
25-28 degree total timing,due to the forced induction of the
turbo. Ideal or total timing is a function of engine cylinder
head design, compression ratio and quality (octane) of fuel
used. Most normally aspirated (non turbo) engines run in
the 34-36 degree range. This means that the spark plug is
firing a 34 engine degrees before the piston gets to top dead
The speed of the piston and the time that it takes for the fuel
to explode means that the force of the explosion finally gets
to the top of the piston just as it reaches top dead center. If
you have too much initial timing, say 40 degrees, the piston
will be still coming up towards top dead center and will be hit
by the force of the exploding gas before it gets to the top.
Not good, and detonation or melt down will occur. Since you
can’t hear ‘pinging’ in race cars (too much noise), total timing
is important the first time out on the track
This is the distance between the valve and piston when the
engine is running and the valves are fully open. Is easily
checked with modeling clay (available from Walmart in the
kids department).
When you 1)change to a higher lift cam or 2)a longer
duration cam, or 3) mill the head, the valves get closer to the
piston. If you advance the camshaft (move the camshaft/gear
clockwise a notch on the cam belt standing in front of the car)
The intake valve will get closer to hitting the piston.
If you retard the cam (move the camshaft / gear
counterclockwise) the exhaust valve will get closer to hitting
the piston.
In engines with high lift cams, domed pistons, milled heads,
etc. there is a limit of camshaft advance and retard before the
valve hits the piston.
We find these two limits (advance and retard) be using a
mechanical lash adjuster in the #1 exhaust valve position
(because it is in a convenient location...could be any valve).
We set the lash to ‘zero’ (no lash) by adjusting the mechanical
lash adjuster to the base of the cam (lobe pointing straight up),
by turning the adjuster out by hand.
Place a butter pat size piece of modeling clay on the #1 intake
and exhaust valve and bolt the head to the block with no head
gasket and just 2 head bolts. Set the cam timing belt to specs:
crank keyway at 12 o’clock, cam keyway at 6 o’clock.
distributor setting doesn’t matter for this checking operation.
This is known as straight up, or split overlap for the cam. adjust
the belt with the tensioner, and turn the engine over twice (2
rotations of the crank) A dial indicator is set on the retainer of
the valve spring and the engine is rotated until the cam lifts
the #1 exhaust valve .050”. Mark the crank pulley.
This mark on the crank pulley is your reference for accurately
resetting the head on the block. At .050” valve lift (shown on
the dial indicator) the crank timing pointer should be on the
mark on the crank pulley. Now remove the head and look at
the clay. You should have .100” (1/10”) thickness to the clay
for final assembly. (you will have an additional .043” clearance
when you put the head gasket on for final assembly).
Try advancing the cam with the adjustable pulley or a full notch
on the belt, reassemble, mark the crank pulley when you get
the #1 exhaust valve to lift .050” again and turn the engine
over twice. Look at the clay again, and you will see that the
intake valve is closer to the piston.
Continue through this tedious procedure until you realize the
limits of advance and retard for that engine/cam/piston
By marking the crank at the limits of advance and retard
at .050” lift on the exhaust valve (as we use) can safely
advance and retard the cam at the track or on the dyno as
long as it is within the limits you marked on the crank. You
will need a dial indicator and one mechanical lash adjuster if
the engine uses hydraulic lifters.
2300 Ford cylinder heads
combustion chamber INT.SHAPE
74-75 CARS
75-80 CARS
85-90 CAR W/EFI
87-88 RANGER
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------89-up RANGER
91-up CAR
The oval port head is a good head, and very very close to the
D port head in performance. We feel the D-port head is a
slightly better flowing head and seems to be the head of
choice. If you are allowed to port and polish the head, then
we suggest using the “heart” shaped D-port head. For this
head to work properly with big valves, the valves will have to
be unshrouded (grinding the cylinder head combustion
chamber walls near the valves so fuel can flow past the vales
into the combustion
Miscellaneous notes:
Valve spring pressure of 95-115 lbs. on the seat (valve closed)
and 230-260 lbs. open (valve fully open) is adequate for high
rpm use.
chamber) The Ranger head is a good head, except there are
no stock intakes that work well with this head. As of now we
have not done any work with the dual plug head.
The 2300 head can be milled up to the intake bolt holes
(approximately .130”).
Using a flattop piston, generally, .040” off of the head equals
about 1 compression point increase for the engine. The heart
shaped combustion chamber cylinder head gives a slightly
higher compression ratio.
Roller cams are very reliable. Roller followers can be used and
transferred from one cam or one lobe to another without
Flat tappet cams over .450 lift should consider the ‘insert type
follower’ for better cam reliability. (see catalog). On flat
tappet cams the follower must be new and stay with that cam
lobe for the life of the cam, as they wear in to each other on
initial startup. If a flat tappet cam fails and wipes out a cam
follower, the engine should be disassembled and cleaned ( a
big job) as the metal from the failed cam is in the oiling system
and will cause more cam failures. Changing oil and filter
doesn’t do it.
Header gaskets can be reused if they are smeared with silver
‘antisieze’ paste available from most auto supply or marine
supply stores. The antisieze keeps them from sticking to the
cylinder head or header.
horsepower we know of for the 2300. We stock them at $5.00
ea. The main jets are down in the float bowl. A # 52 drill is a
good starting point for jet size for the main jets on most 2300
race engines.
Most race engines using the stock 32-36mm
Holley/Weber carbs will see a 8-10 hp increase on the dyno
by changing the air corrector jets from the 185-190 that they
come with to a set of 160 air correctors. These air corrector
jets are visible at the top of the carb when you take the carb
top plate off (easily changed with a screwdriver). Cheapest
Milling the head is also a least expensive path to power on the
Milling the head (up to the intake manifold bolt holes / .130”)
requires higher octane fuel or less ignition timing to be safe
with the higher compression.
Carburetors: On short tracks (any oval stock car track ) the 350
Holley 2 bbl will often give faster lap times due to quicker
throttle response and fuel flow over the larger 500 Holley 2
bbl. Both carb are designed for V8’s, not 4 cylinder use, so they
run too rich on initial throttle ‘tip in’. A basic over rich
condition can be cured by using our restrictor kit under the
power valve in the metering block between the float bowl and
main carb body. On an unmodified carb, when the power
valve opens as manifold vacuum drops on initial acceleration,
the carb gets too much fuel through the power valve
enrichment channels under the power valve) and the engine
bogs badly. Our carb restrictors (or a power valve block off
plug) will get it back to a usable amount of fuel for the 4
cylinders needs. As a starting point try # 74 carb jets for the
500 Holley, and #56 for the 350 Holley.
The accelerator pump squirters also tend to keep dribbling
fuel into the engine due to the vibration of the 4 cylinder
engine. Our carb vibration isolator ( a rubber gasket under the
carb) will help cure this.
Also, adjusting the carb idle too high (at the throttle cable)
where the idle is at, say 1800 rpm, will not allow the
butterflies to close fully as you lift off the throttle going into a
corner. The carb will continue to draw fuel and will cause a
over rich condition when you get back on the throttle coming
out of the corner.....a very difficult problem to diagnose. Try
to get the idle setting down to 1000 rpm or so, to be sure
that the butterflies close adequately going into the corner.
2 lbs. fuel pressure at highest rpm is enough fuel pressure.
2-8 is normal fuel pressure for most 4 cyl carbureted engines.
You just don’t want the carb float bowl to run dry at the end
of the straight.
Engine miss diagnosis:
If the valve springs are too weak for the rpms used, or the
hydraulic lifters will not keep up with the engine rpms, the
engine miss will be at the exact same rpm every time. If it is
electrical, such as ignition point bounce in a point type
distributor, the engine miss will be at the exact same rpm every
If you can pump the throttle to cure the miss or get it to change
rpm, then it is fuel...either too much or not enough.
Any 2300 engine we have run on any dyno will pick up at least
10 hp no matter how much time we spend assembling and
setting everything. A dyno session usually costs $300-400 and
is the best money you can spend. Cam timing, ignition timing
and carb jetting are easily set for best power. The exact
measuring capability of the engine dyno can do this better
than any at track testing. Engine dynos are more accurate than
chassis dynos, particularly on the relatively low HP 4 cylinder
the Ford ignition box as does the tach pickup. The other side
of the ignition switch goes to the battery positive. The other
side of the tach wiring goes to the negative on the coil. The
white wire out of the ignition box is not used (tape it off). Use
a good coil, like the Mallory voltmaster. The starter button is
separate from the ignition described above and goes from the
battery positive to the starter solenoid. (the diagram below
says ECC-IV, but that is incorrect. It should be Duraspark
ignition from ‘70’s 80’s Fords)
Ford EC C -lV
ig nition b ox
Duraspark ignition is a simple wiring hookup (shown below)
to use a stock 2300 (or Ford V8) magnetic pickup distributor
in a race car. Most all late 70’s- early 80’s Fords( 4 cylinder
and V8) used this ignition setup with 3 wires going from the
stock Ford ignition box to the distributor (black, purple, and
orange wires). The green wire to the negative side of the
coil. The red wire to the positive side of the coil, with a
Mallory resistor part #700 spliced into this red line. The
ignition switch connects to the resistor on the side towards
stock Ford
ma g netic
d istrib utor
cam gear
connecting rod nut
crankshaft dampener bolt
cylinder head
distributor clamp
flywheel to crankshaft bolts
fuel pump to cylinder block
intake manifold to cylinder head
main bearing cap
oil pump pickup tube to pump
oil pump to
oil pan drain plug to pan
oil pan to
oil pan to
spark plug to cylinder head
ig nition
- +
TORQUE SPECS / 2300 ENGINE / using stock (factory) bolts
auxiliary shaft gear bolt
b a ttery +
ta ch
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF