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Bookshelves, pencil erasers, and superchargers.


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......#2. From everything I've read here in this forum.....the Ford Racing 550hp over the long run is just too much for that engine since it doesn't have forged internals.....if it wasn't I would go for the 550 hp.

 

......if you have good common sense and don't have your foot in it all the time and throw in an occasional day at the strip you'd PROBABLY be okay but I also understand that 95% of the time the person who is telling me that is the one who's business it is to sell them.

 

......I'm going to tend to agree with the general consensus of the forum. No matter which supercharger you go with - the longevity of your 4.6L 3V is going to be affected. I think that anyone who supercharges their car has to know in the back of their mind that there's ALWAYS THE POSSIBILITY of motor failure. IF that happens - hopefully you've budgeted the additional $5k for the crate engine with the forged internals!!!

 

......Back in the 60's most stock blocks were blown up and sitting on engine stands in the corner of the garage - replaced with something else anyway.

 

......if the motor cannot take it I will be the one to test it....trust me.

 

......I just feel like that 550 is to much for the car in the long run I could be wrong. The guy at Quantum said "as long as you don't drive it with your foot in it all the time like a maniac you should be good for 100,000 miles" I said "well it's your business to tell me that and he respectfully said, "No I've been supercharging cars for twenty years and that's what I think."

 

Gentlemen,

 

Last weekend, Saturday, March 14, I spent most of the day at the Ford/Volvo Desert Proving Ground near Wickenburg Arizona as the guest of Ford Motor Company vehicle dynamics engineer and test driver Mark McGowan. Some of you may be familiar with Mark as he was the Ford test driver who first took the Ford GT prototype to 212 miles per hour at the Nardo test track in Italy. Over the last three years I've had occasion to share a few hours, cocktails, on track, off track, video presentations, and one-on-one conversation with Mark as he is in avid participant in Ford GT owner events. At the entrance to the Ford/Volvo Desert proving ground the security staff confiscates all cameras and cell phones so I don't have any photos to share on this thread but I do have some information direct from the source that I believe members should find of value.

 

The quotes above are a representative sample of the theories, speculation, conjecture, and extrapolation (completely devoid of any actual experience or data with our specific engine to back them up) that I've seen repeated over and over regarding the supercharging of the 4.6L 3V modular Mustang engine. It's become quite clear that many of our members have read this conjecture so many times that they have internalized it and believe it to be true. This is nuts!

 

In order for me to explain what's going on here I'll need to range widely from mechanical properties to human nature, from background information to test results, and from field experience to baseless conjecture.

 

I'll start with some background information. As a former test pilot, aerobatic competitor, and performer, I don't like and don't trust theory, conjecture, and extrapolation. I've lost over 45 good friends who died at the controls of their aircraft. 10 or more of them (Charlie Hillard, Joe Frasca, Harold Chapel, Wes Winter, Rick Brickert, Frank Sanders, Rick Massagee, Jon LeStarge, Amos Buettell, John Sandburg, and others) have described to me in great detail the new modification, part, or structure they would soon be incorporating into their aircraft along with all of the benefits it was going to provide. Stronger, faster, lighter, safer, whatever! In theory, the solid reasoning they used to decide on these new modifications would provide great benefit. Theory and reasoning are all they had to go on as they were doing something that had never been done before. Actual test data and field experience didn't exist. In reality, their solidly reasoned theory was flawed and cost them their lives in the ensuing crash.

 

I don't put a lot of stock in what people "think" is going to happen when a machine is modified. I don't care what your theory, or extrapolation tells you what "might" happen. Future predictions are almost worthless. Actual testing and history are priceless. Don't tell me what you think "might happen in the future". Tell me what actually "did happen in the past". How often did it happen? What percentage of the time did it happen? Has it ever happened?

 

For any information to become actionable it must first pass through two filters. Failure on either count renders that information of little or no use. Those two filters are...1. Is it true? And...2. Is it relevant? Obviously any information found to be untrue is worthless. But a substantial amount of information, though true, is unusable because it is not relevant to the matter at hand. Keep that in mind as we progress.

 

Theory and conjecture are nothing more than an academic exercise that should only be used as a basis for making decisions if actual testing and performance history is unavailable. And even then that theory should be viewed with great skepticism. Once a theory has been thoroughly tested and shown to be untrue, that theory should be discarded as worthless. But human nature is a funny thing and it often prevents us from understanding the true nature of mechanical things. It helps to understand a bit of human psychology.

 

If an individual simultaneously hears two different but conflicting theories and has no data or experience to help him decide which is valid, he will show no preference for either one and will view both of them with equal skepticism. If that same individual however, heard only one of those theories, again with no data or experience to back it up, he would have far less skepticism and a much higher level of confidence that that theory is true. If, one month later, that individual was to hear the second conflicting theory, but this time with some data and history to back it up, most people would still view that second theory with a great deal of skepticism because they have already internalized and "taken ownership of" the first theory. In reality, that first theory that lacks any data to back it up has a lower probability of being true than the second one. But the first theory had already become part of that individual's knowledge base and, correct or not, human beings are loath to give up those things they had previously internalized and believed to be true.

 

Now let me present in simple form, the nature of a mechanical failure. There appears to be quite a bit of misunderstanding among our members as regards this as well. To keep it very simple I'll use the example of two bookshelves. One of them is made of simple pine boards, wood glue, and nails. The second bookshelf is made of plywood, epoxy, and stainless steel screws. Both of these devices will fail if enough weight is put on them. That failure will occur when the load placed upon the shelf exceeds the bearing capabilities of the weakest component in the device. It matters not a whit how strong the other components are, the bearing capacity of any device will be determined by the strength of its weakest component. When the capacity of that weakest component is exceeded, one of two things will happen. 1. Very rapid wear will occur leading to failure in a short period of time or...2. Failure will be instantaneous.

 

BUT...when stressed to 90% of the maximum capacity of the weakest component in that device there is very little difference in its wear or longevity from a similar device that is only stressed to 10% of its maximum capacity. Let's go back to our example of bookshelves. It would stand to reason that the plywood bookshelves would bear more weight before failing than the pine board bookshelves, and that's probably true. It's also probably not relevant. The plywood bookshelves would surely last a lot longer right? Wrong! If the weight of the full load of books that would fit on either bookcase was 50 pounds and the load bearing capability of the weakest link in the pine bookshelves was 100 pounds and 200 pounds in the plywood bookshelves, there would be an insignificant difference in the longevity of either device at loads up to around 90 pounds.

 

At a load of 50 pounds, would there be any discernible benefit from spending additional money for plywood bookshelves? No. Indeed, as the plywood bookshelves are heavier and thus harder to move as well as costlier, there may be more net benefit, in that application, to the pine board bookshelves.

 

Many of our members mistakenly view an increase in load bearing (more horsepower) on our engines wear and tear, not like the bookshelf example listed above, but like the wear of a pencil eraser. If you press the pencil eraser twice as hard to the paper when you use it, it will wear out twice as fast! In addition to wear, if you press the eraser against the paper hard enough to exceed its load bearing capability, it will shear off the end of the pencil (immediate structural failure). The wear of a pencil eraser is directly proportional to the pressure applied to it, times the distance it travels across the paper because friction and heat rises in direct proportion to that pressure. The wear on a bookshelf is not at all proportional to the pressure applied by the weight of the books on its shelf. The only similarity in the wear characteristics of these two devices is that they will both experience structural failure when their load bearing capabilities are exceeded.

 

Now imagine that same pencil eraser being pressed against a smooth sheet of glass coated with oil. Assuming sufficient viscosity, the pencil eraser will no longer wear in direct proportion to the amount of pressure used to press it against the glass because that eraser now rides on a thin film of oil. There is no direct eraser to glass contact because of that oil film and therefore wear and heat will no longer rise in direct proportion to the amount of pressure applied. A change in applied pressure will result in almost no discernible difference in wear up to the point where enough pressure is applied to cause a structural failure of the eraser. In this example the pencil eraser's wear characteristic will be similar to that of the bookshelves described above.

 

Which brings us back to the subject of supercharging the 4.6 L 3V modular Mustang engine. If your engine is operating properly and you are using the proper lubricants, there is virtually no metal to metal contact in your engine. Everything rides on a thin film of oil. That oil serves two main functions. 1. To reduce friction by forming a barrier between metal parts and...2. To conduct heat away from those metal surfaces much like radiator water. This is why most engine wear and tear occurs at startup. A cold engine that has been shut down overnight has allowed its oil to drain away from many high points and will experience some metal to metal contact upon startup until the oil pump has a chance to transport lubrication throughout the motor. Once proper oil pressure and temperature has been achieved in an automobile engine, load bearing related failure will mimic the example of the bookshelves or the pencil eraser on smooth oily glass. IT DOES NOT MIMIC THAT OF A DRY ERASER ON PAPER! As long as the engine has sufficient cooling capacity, oil viscosity is sufficient to keep metal parts separated, and the load bearing ability of that engines weakest component has not been exceeded, there will be very little difference in wear between an engine loaded to 30% and an engine loaded to 80% of their maximum load bearing (horsepower handeling) abilities.

 

But does field experience bear out what I have written above? Yes, it absolutely does. When the Ford Motor Company designed the 4.6 L 3V modular engine for the Mustang, they knew from day one that owners would modify the snot out of their cars to drag race, road race, autocross, you name it. That's what Mustangs are all about. The Ford Motor Company encourages these modifications with their factory offered Ford Performance Parts including the 550 hp Whipple supercharger. According to Mark McGowan, they designed these engines FROM DAY ONE to handle the stress and shock loads of drag racing and FRP superchargers that would substantially increase the output of these engines. I saw at least FIVE supercharged 4.6 L Mustangs at the Ford proving ground last Saturday. One of them, nicknamed Bugger, was putting out well over 500 hp. These cars are continually tortured tested in a deliberate attempt to destroy them and find their weak links. Mark described one test I found astounding. A supercharged 4.6 L Mustang was put on a dyno in second gear with a load placed upon it so that it would produce near its maximum horsepower. This Mustang was run at red line in this condition for 48 consecutive hours! 500+ HORSEPOWER AT REDLINE FOR 48 CONSECUTIVE HOURS WITH NO ILL EFFECT!!!!!

 

I asked Mark how many Mustang engines they had blown up and what did they have to do to get that engine to fail. Mark showed me several semi-truckloads of shredded Mustang tires from cars that had been drifted for hours upon end, Mustangs that had been tacked up to redline and had the clutch dumped countless times on the drag strip, Mustangs that had been supercharged to well above 500 hp and abused in every imaginable way. Total number of 4.6 L 3V engines that failed during most tortuous testing that Ford could come up with...ZERO!!! Total number of 4.6L 3V engines that have failed in customer service as a result of using FRP Whipple 400HP, 500HP, and 550HP Superchargers with factory supplied tunes that he is aware of...ZERO!!! Mark told me that something else always failed first. Usually the normal wear items, tires, brakes, and clutches. Occasionally a U-joint, very rarely a transmission or some other item, but never an engine. If it's got oil in it, a working water pump, and the rev limiter is operable, the engine is bulletproof at 550 hp.

 

If the cast bottom end of the stock 4.6 L 3V modular engine is perfectly capable of supporting 600 hp, why did Ford go to the great expense of building the forged GT500 motor that puts out only 500 hp? Again, Mark told me that Ford knew from day one that a huge percentage of these cars were going to be modified by their owners for much higher performance and the motors were designed to accommodate this. 500/550 hp is just a starting point in the GT500/Ford GT. A number of owners are driving around in quite reliable 900/1000 hp Ford GTs and GT500s. Field experience has demonstrated that structural failure will occur in a forged GT500/Ford GT engine as the crank horsepower approaches 1400!!! Field experience has also demonstrated that structural failure will occur in our cast 4.6 L engines as the crank horsepower approaches 900. Note that these failure levels are approximately 300% of the stock horsepower produced by these engines. Ford has obviously engineered in a tremendous safety margin.

 

A supercharged 4.6 L Mustang engine producing 550 hp is still not achieving even 65% of the load bearing capability of the weakest component in its bottom end. It is nowhere near structural failure. Unlike the quoted conjecture at the top of this post, this is not an opinion. It is a fact borne out by Ford Motor Company's extensive testing, years of experience in the field, and hundreds of thousands of customer miles both on the road and on the race track.

 

According to the Ford Motor Company engineers I spoke to, forged internals would not be beneficial in our cars producing 550 hp. In addition to being expensive, forged internals are heavier and consume more horsepower to rotate them. If fuel octane and high boost levels permitted horsepower levels well above 550, forged internals would become necessary at some point. But at the horsepower level produced by the FRP Whipple, all components in the 4.6 L engine are operating at below 65% of their ultimate load bearing abilities and are nowhere near the point where "failure may be eminent" as has been repeated over and over by members speculating in this Forum over the last two years.

 

In short, it is true that the forged internals in the GT500 are stronger than the cast internals in our 4.6 L 3V engines. At 550 hp however, that is irrelevant. At 1000 hp, it would be very relevant. Human nature being what it is, I know some of our members will continue to cling to the notion that, despite over five years of Ford Motor Company testing, thousands of units sold, and millions of miles on the road without one single failure, the 550 hp Whipple is "just too much for this engine". "My mind is made up, don't bother me with data and facts!!"

 

What about the quote above concerning all those stock blocks in the 1960s that were blown up and sitting on engine stands? My family owned the Pontiac dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona back then and we saw a ton of those blown up engines. Virtually 100% of them came apart as a result of being revved way above red line in those days before the rev limiter existed. They did not come apart because internal components were overstressed by high horsepower levels produced below the engines redline. Disconnect the limiter and rev your box stock 319 hp Shelby GT engine to 8000 rpm and it will come apart instantly as well.

 

Well, something has to wear out sooner if your car is putting out an additional 250 hp right? Yeah, your brakes and your clutch do wear like that dry pencil eraser on paper. Additional horsepower will also create more heat in the fluid of an automatic transmission causing it to wear out sooner. And running your 4.6 L hard right after startup and before it's reached operating temperature is most unhealthy whether or not you have a supercharger.

 

This post has been quite long, both for you to read and for me to write. For those of you who have waded through it all the way to the end, I hope you've found it of some value. Feel free to disagree with this write up, but when you do please present some test data or actual field experience with our particular motor to back up your argument.

 

A ton of test data and actual field experience exist regarding the supercharging of the 4.6 L 3V modular Mustang engine. An even greater amount of theory, speculation, conjecture, and extrapolation exists that has been thoroughly disproved by that extensive test data and field experience. When making a purchase decision on an expensive aftermarket component like a supercharger, I believe you'll be better served if you use the former and disregard the latter.

 

All the best.

 

Chip

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damn Chip, I didn't think I was ever gonna get to the end. Almost a full page. Thanx for posting, that is some good knowledge.

 

Chris

 

Edit......Ill be doing the Whipple 550HO for sure now. Was concerned about the power before, I was gonna have Quantum de-tune it some, not no more.......... :happy feet:

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Thanks Chip. This is good information!

 

At the same time, it troubles me.

 

As a devout follower of all things Mustangs, I'm excited to learn about the power potential of the engine and the testing performed by Ford to verify these numbers. At the same time however, I'm kind of ticked about hearing of this potential of the 4.6L 3-valve four and half years after its introduction to the market. One has to think of how much further ahead we'd be as enthusiasts and aftermarket entrepreneurs if Ford and its engineers would have thought to make these test results publicly available. I wonder why Ford doesn't think this is important information for the consumer to have?

 

Again, thanks for the info.

 

OBTW, Mr McGowan didn't happen to mention any numbers or test data in regard to the 4.6L 2-valve, did he? I don't remember the predecessor to the 3-valve being as stout or getting as many accolades (JD Powers and such).

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I agree. Mine is on and boosted up to the 550hp limit and no issues here. The car sounds stock until the gas is pushed down starting boost. I too did my research and I feel FRPP and Whipple did the necessary testing to ensure a good system trouble free. Don't get stupid, keep clean oil etc and I'm sure it will be there years. I've not had any issues with the clutch but you have to get used to the set up, shifting etc or you will smoke a bit on the clutch. I have no issues smoking the 275s on the rear all the way to 3rd. Love it!

:peelout:

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I know 3 people personally that have had their 3V's grenade on the track. All 3 of them were boosted stock blocks. One of those is a TS member.

Whether that qualifies as 'extensive test data', I'm not sure.

 

Regardless, thanks for passing down the Ford guy's insight. Some of that was interesting to read.

 

Lastly, do you have anymore info on the "Field experience" that "has demonstrated that structural failure will occur in our cast 4.6 L engines as the crank horsepower approaches 900"? Any source data that you can point to, other than the 'track talk' with your friends at Ford? This is honestly the first I've ever heard of such a high HP number. Most folks that I've spoken to about this debate have suggested that HP is not the qualifying factor, but rather the amount of boost pressure. Any opinion on that?

 

Ken

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Very interesting and well written. I think part of the misinformation comes from the aftermarket and Ford as well. In Steeda's latest catalog for example, they recommend new internals with the Whipple. Ford only warranties the 400 hp version and only when dealer installed. So I think it would be easy to see how people could be confused. The only weak link I would worry about would be head gaskets but that doesn't even seem to be an issue with these engines. Improper tuning would also come into play as it would even n/a.

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I know 3 people personally that have had their 3V's grenade on the track. All 3 of them were boosted stock blocks. One of those is a TS member.

Whether that qualifies as 'extensive test data', I'm not sure.

 

Regardless, thanks for passing down the Ford guy's insight. Some of that was interesting to read.

 

Lastly, do you have anymore info on the "Field experience" that "has demonstrated that structural failure will occur in our cast 4.6 L engines as the crank horsepower approaches 900"? Any source data that you can point to, other than the 'track talk' with your friends at Ford? This is honestly the first I've ever heard of such a high HP number. Most folks that I've spoken to about this debate have suggested that HP is not the qualifying factor, but rather the amount of boost pressure. Any opinion on that?

 

Ken

 

931 on the stock blocks possible...though very dangerous. it requires higher octane fuel.

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931 on the stock blocks possible...though very dangerous. it requires higher octane fuel.

931? Where did that # come from?

Here's what Modular Mustang Racing says, "It (stock 3V bottom end) will handle up to 480 HP, beyond this the rods are the weak link and WILL break eventually".

You can understand my confusion. There are lots of people claiming max HP numbers, but I have yet to see any real data. :headscratch:

 

Ken

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931? Where did that # come from?

Here's what Modular Mustang Racing says, "It (stock 3V bottom end) will handle up to 480 HP, beyond this the rods are the weak link and WILL break eventually".

You can understand my confusion. There are lots of people claiming max HP numbers, but I have yet to see any real data. :headscratch:

 

Ken

 

Ken,

I think what Chip is saying after talking to the people that make this thing, test it and then have Whipple design the S/C part is that it is fine. Now granted there are some lemons out there that are going to go bad anyway no matter what.

Who is Modular Mustang Racing--that is just another forum of people with moderators and enthusiasts from what I just saw when I went to their site.

J

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Ken,

I think what Chip is saying after talking to the people that make this thing, test it and then have Whipple design the S/C part is that it is fine. Now granted there are some lemons out there that are going to go bad anyway no matter what.

Who is Modular Mustang Racing--that is just another forum of people with moderators and enthusiasts from what I just saw when I went to their site.

J

MMR has a forum on their site, yes. But it's a well known shop in SoCal that has been modifying modular engines for many years.

I'm not saying that what they say trumps anyone else. I'm just throwing out the contradictions I've been inundated with for awhile now.

 

Ken

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MMR has a forum on their site, yes. But it's a well known shop in SoCal that has been modifying modular engines for many years.

I'm not saying that what they say trumps anyone else. I'm just throwing out the contradictions I've been inundated with for awhile now.

 

Ken

 

I understand. I just read their thread there and I have no clue who the guy is answering the guy on the 08 GT to 500RWHP question. What are the credentials of the guy answering the question is all I am asking. Tasca claims the 550 to be a great and safe product and that you can get more out of the motor without changing anything.

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I understand. I just read their thread there and I have no clue who the guy is answering the guy on the 08 GT to 500RWHP question. What are the credentials of the guy answering the question is all I am asking. Tasca claims the 550 to be a great and safe product and that you can get more out of the motor without changing anything.

I emailed my guy at MMR for the answer I posted. I didn't get the info from the forum. Just an FYI

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931? Where did that # come from?

Here's what Modular Mustang Racing says, "It (stock 3V bottom end) will handle up to 480 HP, beyond this the rods are the weak link and WILL break eventually".

You can understand my confusion. There are lots of people claiming max HP numbers, but I have yet to see any real data. :headscratch:

 

Ken

 

should have been more specific, thats what the BLOCK can do. im not sure of the limits on the block. im guessing some where north of 1k but i can not say for sure. i know its pretty high up there.the internals are a different story though.

 

dont ask me to gt data right now im at work and posting in between luls in the action...and here comes another plane excuse me!

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should have been more specific, thats what the BLOCK can do. im not sure of the limits on the block. im guessing some where north of 1k but i can not say for sure. i know its pretty high up there.the internals are a different story though.

 

dont ask me to gt data right now im at work and posting in between luls in the action...and here comes another plane excuse me!

 

I hope you are not ATC...I am LMAO right now

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I hope you are not ATC...I am LMAO right now

 

god no, the taliban airforce here at jones regional would make me put a bulletin my head(they hardly speak english and when they do its usualy jibberish) im a line support specialist(for the moment)

 

we get to see all sorts of things that go wrong with engines(granted a/c engines are built ten times lighter then car engines) the thing to remember people is vehicle engines(atleast most of them) are pretty much over engineered for toughness and long life. they dont skip on the muscle in these engines. you have to push them really hard to break them.

 

all that needs to be said people is GOD BLESS THE AMERICAN SMALL BLOCK! :salute:

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I’ve been running 477 RWHP (~560 hp at the motor) with an aggressive race tune and race gas. For daily driving ~450 RWHP (~530 hp at the motor) with street tune and pump gas. 15,000 miles of hard (fun) driving on the stock block and heads and the motor still pulls like an ox. These modular engines are an engineering marvel, 86% HP over stock with some bolt-on aftermarket parts and still gets 24 MPG on the highway at 75 MPH.

 

“Well, something has to wear out sooner if your car is putting out an additional 250 hp right? Yeah, your brakes and your clutch...”

 

I agree, my concern with adding any more HP at this point is more related to increasing the probability of stock drive train component failure including clutch, transmission, axels, brakes, rotors.

 

Forged internals, ported heads, bigger valves, smaller SC pulley, a nitrous shot, and a custom tune will allow me to easily get to ~700 RWHP (~820 at the motor). But this would not be a good setup unless the entire drive train is upgraded/replaced at the same time.

 

Almost all of the breakage I have seen at the track on S197 4.6L 3V SC powered Mustangs has been related to stock clutch, transmissions, axels, and brakes/rotors.

 

I’ve heard of blown motors but have not seen any although there are a lot of things that could cause a blown motor that is not solely related to HP, for example detonation, over heating, over revving, too much boost, a bad tune, bad gas, a missed shift…

 

It seems to be fairly universal that the weakest links in the motor are the connecting rods. I assume the Ford engineers would agree with that.

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Chip, I have expressed concern about SC a stock lower end 4.6 3-V but have admitted I have no experience or knowledge of Super chargers. I have not raced in almost 40 years and yes I do remember the old days of blocks with a window. You are very knowledgeable so I must give you credibility. I hope to have a supercharger someday but will still keep it conservative, just to be on the safe side. But thankyou for the dissertation. As much as I like the heritage of the Paxton it is obvious Ford has done a tremendous job with the whipple.

 

Thank you

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I think Chip makes some excellent points and his general logic is sound, imo. Where I disagree is the suggestion that it's like the plywood shelves -- that there's a rather black and white failure point.

 

The distortion in the cylinder walls of an engine directly affects it's likelihood of failure because things like rod bearings and the like only can hold their engineered component loads (as in the 48 hr testing on a bench dyno with a water brake) when they follow their geometrically-accurate engineered shapes and paths. When distortion occurs oil films no longer can protect as effectively (or at all) from the huge loading that no longer is spread over the entire load-bearing design surface of a bearing but now may be much more concentrated in the portion that is 'canted' due to distortion, etc ...all metals flex. Flexed metals affect many things and the system then behaves differently (not black and white) as hyper-design forces are produced. It is *not* a linear effect by any means.

 

When Ford Racing was first evaluating the Whipple, I talked to two Ford engineeres for quite some time at SEMA some 2.5 years ago who admitted that the 3V was holding up in rigorous Ford warranty-related testing at 450bHP much better than they had suspected it might. I heard the testing Chip referred being called a '150K test' (there's a Ford test-sepc# for it but I don't recall what that is) and it is a brutal test. I was told that Ford uses that test, among others, to simulate 150K miles of typical usage wear by testing enignes by running them for 72 hours continuously varying only between maximum HP and maximum torque every 30 minutes or so -- all under computer control ...continuously with no let-up ...that's flat out! That said, there was great concern at Ford warranting anything over 450bHP. My understanding is that this is why there is a warranty below that point and no warranty above that. They were not inclined to share the test data behind that decision tho I did ask at what point they saw failures. I agree with Chip in that this is not to say the engine will fail at 450bHP but, given a large population of 3V engines (yours included!) the failure rate above that point will be higher (and may not be linear either).

 

Another perspective: warranties are nothing more than insurance policies and, like insurance policies, are designed to reflect the underlying risk (e.g. life insurance, not suprisingly, costs more per month at 70 than at 40). Note that even at 400HP, the Whippled 3V with FRP tune only carries a warranty on the S/C and a reduced powertrain warranty. Why is that? Clearly these warranties: stock (full), 400HP (partial), and 550HP (no warranty), are designed to reflect Ford's anticipated warranty claims. Much testing money is spent on such things because planned warranty costs must be 'baked' into a product plan (whether a car or an aftermarket S/C Ford offers) and if a product is sold that underestimates the repair costs it drives, there is no way to go back and do it over -- Ford bears the result in reduced profitability since those unplanned costs are real expense (dealers must get reimbursed for parts and labor) and therefore come out of operating revenue as unplanned expense which directly affects the company's profitability in any given year. Read any Ford annual report and you'll see a discussion on warranty claims tracking relative to anticipation and how it affected the company's results (over-expense you under-perform and vice versa, all other things being equal). So warranties tell a very real , precise and factual story relative to engineering's assessment of anticipated statistical breakage. So when a S/C (or any other mod that affects reliability/warranty costs) is evaluated for a vehicle/engine that already has it's program costs long sunk, the S/C must bear the anticipated cost of breakage. At maybe $6,000, it's 400HP for a 1-year warranty. At $10,000 the 550HP version might carry the same warranty. Apparently Ford didn't think that prudent because no one would buy it at that price and there's no way Ford is going to 'eat' the cost of breakage on the base (vehicle) program -- that you can be certain of. The above numbers are just by way of example -- I have no idea if a higher cost/warranty was even considered.

 

One other thing, those engineer's HP numbers are bizarre, imo. I don't doubt they were spoken or that they are conceivably real in some special testing context. For example, if I were just testing for component breakage under idealized conditions -- what you might do using a full environmental-chamber bench dyno -- it's conceivable those HP numbers were achieved in some special component testing context. Do *not* confuse that with real world conditions, air temperatures, dynamics, coolant temps, oil temps, etc that might be seen at greatly elevated HP levels in a real car without *extensive* mods -- a bench dyno with full environmental chamber can keep the coolant at idealized temps endlessly, but the radiator in you GT most certainly will will not at big HP! (let alone 550HP) -- ditto for load-cell air temps and, most importantly, oil temps. There also are no g-loads on a bench dyno (unless the whole test facility is installed in NASA's centrifuge ...it's not and wouildn't fit anyway -lol). A enviro-chamber can test under other conditions too, but how was it actually being tested at the time?

 

Even the nightly news generally reflects kernels of truth within some context (lol). I would caution that those engineers were talking in very specific engineering and/or component stress-testing contexts and it would be a grave mistake to think they realistically apply in other contexts at those output levels -- like the highly variable conditions of actual field usage or with the stock support components that ship in the 3V mustang GT: radiator, water pump, oil pump, oil coolers (if any), air temps, physical shock loads, g-forces, thermal shocks, etc. or any other non-idealized structure -- if at all.

 

Btw, I think a 4.6 GT with street tires at 550HP will hold up rather well for years of fun, but I believe it will not hold up as long as a stocker with it's support components designed for stock output. So what's acceptable may vey well be a function of your expectations as well.

 

As far as failure is concerned, Kahmann accurately points out there certainly are 3V failures at much lower power levels than quoted; and GT500 failures too at HP levels far below those Chip quoted those engineers on. In fact there are GT500 failures at levels far below those quoted by the engineers for the 3V so I'm at a loss to explain their bizarre numbers except in specialized test contexts.

 

If those engineers would like to share the actual facts, spradsheet data, specific test scenarios, contexts and environmentals, then I believe a much deeper understanding of the core truths will emerge. Don't hold your breath on that happening anytime soon ...those are proprietary data for sure. Lacking that, just being prudent in what decisions you make is the key, imo.

 

Ultimately, the worst that will happen is a failure. Even if it's a catastrophic failure, the 3V is a highly automated-build and therefore a modestly-priced engine that is readily available from FRP should the unthinkable become the inevitable. Of course, that might not be a reasonable expense to bear for many, and might not be reasonable to have your ride laid-up for any time especially if it's you're primary ride and your daily driver. Life is all about tradeoffs -- this is just one. If you take more risk, allow for more expense. Not suprisingly, Ford does that too. Just some things to consider.

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Gentlemen,

 

Last weekend, Saturday, March 14, I spent most of the day at the Ford/Volvo Desert Proving Ground near Wickenburg Arizona as the guest of Ford Motor Company vehicle dynamics engineer and test driver Mark McGowan. Some of you may be familiar with Mark as he was the Ford test driver who first took the Ford GT prototype to 212 miles per hour at the Nardo test track in Italy. Over the last three years I've had occasion to share a few hours, cocktails, on track, off track, video presentations, and one-on-one conversation with Mark as he is in avid participant in Ford GT owner events. At the entrance to the Ford/Volvo Desert proving ground the security staff confiscates all cameras and cell phones so I don't have any photos to share on this thread but I do have some information direct from the source that I believe members should find of value.

 

The quotes above are a representative sample of the theories, speculation, conjecture, and extrapolation (completely devoid of any actual experience or data with our specific engine to back them up) that I've seen repeated over and over regarding the supercharging of the 4.6L 3V modular Mustang engine. It's become quite clear that many of our members have read this conjecture so many times that they have internalized it and believe it to be true. This is nuts!

 

In order for me to explain what's going on here I'll need to range widely from mechanical properties to human nature, from background information to test results, and from field experience to baseless conjecture.

 

I'll start with some background information. As a former test pilot, aerobatic competitor, and performer, I don't like and don't trust theory, conjecture, and extrapolation. I've lost over 45 good friends who died at the controls of their aircraft. 10 or more of them (Charlie Hillard, Joe Frasca, Harold Chapel, Wes Winter, Rick Brickert, Frank Sanders, Rick Massagee, Jon LeStarge, Amos Buettell, John Sandburg, and others) have described to me in great detail the new modification, part, or structure they would soon be incorporating into their aircraft along with all of the benefits it was going to provide. Stronger, faster, lighter, safer, whatever! In theory, the solid reasoning they used to decide on these new modifications would provide great benefit. Theory and reasoning are all they had to go on as they were doing something that had never been done before. Actual test data and field experience didn't exist. In reality, their solidly reasoned theory was flawed and cost them their lives in the ensuing crash.

 

I don't put a lot of stock in what people "think" is going to happen when a machine is modified. I don't care what your theory, or extrapolation tells you what "might" happen. Future predictions are almost worthless. Actual testing and history are priceless. Don't tell me what you think "might happen in the future". Tell me what actually "did happen in the past". How often did it happen? What percentage of the time did it happen? Has it ever happened?

 

For any information to become actionable it must first pass through two filters. Failure on either count renders that information of little or no use. Those two filters are...1. Is it true? And...2. Is it relevant? Obviously any information found to be untrue is worthless. But a substantial amount of information, though true, is unusable because it is not relevant to the matter at hand. Keep that in mind as we progress.

 

Theory and conjecture are nothing more than an academic exercise that should only be used as a basis for making decisions if actual testing and performance history is unavailable. And even then that theory should be viewed with great skepticism. Once a theory has been thoroughly tested and shown to be untrue, that theory should be discarded as worthless. But human nature is a funny thing and it often prevents us from understanding the true nature of mechanical things. It helps to understand a bit of human psychology.

 

If an individual simultaneously hears two different but conflicting theories and has no data or experience to help him decide which is valid, he will show no preference for either one and will view both of them with equal skepticism. If that same individual however, heard only one of those theories, again with no data or experience to back it up, he would have far less skepticism and a much higher level of confidence that that theory is true. If, one month later, that individual was to hear the second conflicting theory, but this time with some data and history to back it up, most people would still view that second theory with a great deal of skepticism because they have already internalized and "taken ownership of" the first theory. In reality, that first theory that lacks any data to back it up has a lower probability of being true than the second one. But the first theory had already become part of that individual's knowledge base and, correct or not, human beings are loath to give up those things they had previously internalized and believed to be true.

 

Now let me present in simple form, the nature of a mechanical failure. There appears to be quite a bit of misunderstanding among our members as regards this as well. To keep it very simple I'll use the example of two bookshelves. One of them is made of simple pine boards, wood glue, and nails. The second bookshelf is made of plywood, epoxy, and stainless steel screws. Both of these devices will fail if enough weight is put on them. That failure will occur when the load placed upon the shelf exceeds the bearing capabilities of the weakest component in the device. It matters not a whit how strong the other components are, the bearing capacity of any device will be determined by the strength of its weakest component. When the capacity of that weakest component is exceeded, one of two things will happen. 1. Very rapid wear will occur leading to failure in a short period of time or...2. Failure will be instantaneous.

 

BUT...when stressed to 90% of the maximum capacity of the weakest component in that device there is very little difference in its wear or longevity from a similar device that is only stressed to 10% of its maximum capacity. Let's go back to our example of bookshelves. It would stand to reason that the plywood bookshelves would bear more weight before failing than the pine board bookshelves, and that's probably true. It's also probably not relevant. The plywood bookshelves would surely last a lot longer right? Wrong! If the weight of the full load of books that would fit on either bookcase was 50 pounds and the load bearing capability of the weakest link in the pine bookshelves was 100 pounds and 200 pounds in the plywood bookshelves, there would be an insignificant difference in the longevity of either device at loads up to around 90 pounds.

 

At a load of 50 pounds, would there be any discernible benefit from spending additional money for plywood bookshelves? No. Indeed, as the plywood bookshelves are heavier and thus harder to move as well as costlier, there may be more net benefit, in that application, to the pine board bookshelves.

 

Many of our members mistakenly view an increase in load bearing (more horsepower) on our engines wear and tear, not like the bookshelf example listed above, but like the wear of a pencil eraser. If you press the pencil eraser twice as hard to the paper when you use it, it will wear out twice as fast! In addition to wear, if you press the eraser against the paper hard enough to exceed its load bearing capability, it will shear off the end of the pencil (immediate structural failure). The wear of a pencil eraser is directly proportional to the pressure applied to it, times the distance it travels across the paper because friction and heat rises in direct proportion to that pressure. The wear on a bookshelf is not at all proportional to the pressure applied by the weight of the books on its shelf. The only similarity in the wear characteristics of these two devices is that they will both experience structural failure when their load bearing capabilities are exceeded.

 

Now imagine that same pencil eraser being pressed against a smooth sheet of glass coated with oil. Assuming sufficient viscosity, the pencil eraser will no longer wear in direct proportion to the amount of pressure used to press it against the glass because that eraser now rides on a thin film of oil. There is no direct eraser to glass contact because of that oil film and therefore wear and heat will no longer rise in direct proportion to the amount of pressure applied. A change in applied pressure will result in almost no discernible difference in wear up to the point where enough pressure is applied to cause a structural failure of the eraser. In this example the pencil eraser's wear characteristic will be similar to that of the bookshelves described above.

 

Which brings us back to the subject of supercharging the 4.6 L 3V modular Mustang engine. If your engine is operating properly and you are using the proper lubricants, there is virtually no metal to metal contact in your engine. Everything rides on a thin film of oil. That oil serves two main functions. 1. To reduce friction by forming a barrier between metal parts and...2. To conduct heat away from those metal surfaces much like radiator water. This is why most engine wear and tear occurs at startup. A cold engine that has been shut down overnight has allowed its oil to drain away from many high points and will experience some metal to metal contact upon startup until the oil pump has a chance to transport lubrication throughout the motor. Once proper oil pressure and temperature has been achieved in an automobile engine, load bearing related failure will mimic the example of the bookshelves or the pencil eraser on smooth oily glass. IT DOES NOT MIMIC THAT OF A DRY ERASER ON PAPER! As long as the engine has sufficient cooling capacity, oil viscosity is sufficient to keep metal parts separated, and the load bearing ability of that engines weakest component has not been exceeded, there will be very little difference in wear between an engine loaded to 30% and an engine loaded to 80% of their maximum load bearing (horsepower handeling) abilities.

 

But does field experience bear out what I have written above? Yes, it absolutely does. When the Ford Motor Company designed to 4.6 L 3V modular engine for the Mustang, they knew from day one that owners would modify the snot out of their cars to drag race, road race, autocross, you name it. That's what Mustangs are all about. The Ford Motor Company encourages these modifications with their factory offered Ford Performance Parts including the 550 hp Whipple supercharger. According to Mark McGowan, they designed these engines FROM DAY ONE to handle the stress and shock loads of drag racing and FRP superchargers that would substantially increase the output of these engines. I saw at least FIVE supercharged 4.6 L Mustangs at the Ford proving ground last Saturday. One of them, nicknamed Bugger, was putting out well over 500 hp. These cars are continually tortured tested in a deliberate attempt to destroy them and find their weak links. Mark described one test I found astounding. A supercharged 4.6 L Mustang was put on a dyno in second gear with a load placed upon it so that it would produce near its maximum horsepower. This Mustang was run at red line in this condition for 48 consecutive hours! 500+ HORSEPOWER AT REDLINE FOR 48 CONSECUTIVE HOURS WITH NO ILL EFFECT!!!!!

 

I asked Mark how many Mustang engines they had blown up and what did they have to do to get that engine to fail. Mark showed me several semi-truckloads of shredded Mustang tires from cars that had been drifted for hours upon end, Mustangs that had been tacked up to redline and had the clutch dumped countless times on the drag strip, Mustangs that had been supercharged to well above 500 hp and abused in every imaginable way. Total number of 4.6 L 3V engines that failed during most tortuous testing that Ford could come up with...ZERO!!! Total number of 4.6L 3V engines that have failed in customer service as a result of using FRP Whipple 400HP, 500HP, and 550HP Superchargers with factory supplied tunes that he is aware of...ZERO!!! Mark told me that something else always failed first. Usually the normal wear items, tires, brakes, and clutches. Occasionally a U-joint, very rarely a transmission or some other item, but never an engine. If it's got oil in it, a working water pump, and the rev limiter is operable, the engine is bulletproof at 550 hp.

 

If the cast bottom end of the stock 4.6 L 3V modular engine is perfectly capable of supporting 600 hp, why did Ford go to the great expense of building the forged GT500 motor that puts out only 500 hp? Again, Mark told me that Ford knew from day one that a huge percentage of these cars were going to be modified by their owners for much higher performance and the motors were designed to accommodate this. 500/550 hp is just a starting point in the GT500/Ford GT. A number of owners are driving around in quite reliable 900/1000 hp Ford GTs and GT500s. Field experience has demonstrated that structural failure will occur in a forged GT500/Ford GT engine as the crank horsepower approaches 1400!!! Field experience has also demonstrated that structural failure will occur in our cast 4.6 L engines as the crank horsepower approaches 900. Note that these failure levels are approximately 300% of the stock horsepower produced by these engines. Ford has obviously engineered in a tremendous safety margin.

 

A supercharged 4.6 L Mustang engine producing 550 hp is still not achieving even 65% of the load bearing capability of the weakest component in its bottom end. It is nowhere near structural failure. Unlike the quoted conjecture at the top of this post, this is not an opinion. It is a fact borne out by Ford Motor Company's extensive testing, years of experience in the field, and hundreds of thousands of customer miles both on the road and on the race track.

 

According to the Ford Motor Company engineers I spoke to, forged internals would not be beneficial in our cars producing 550 hp. In addition to being expensive, forged internals are heavier and consume more horsepower to rotate them. If fuel octane and high boost levels permitted horsepower levels well above 550, forged internals would become necessary at some point. But at the horsepower level produced by the FRP Whipple, all components in the 4.6 L engine are operating at below 65% of their ultimate load bearing abilities and are nowhere near the point where "failure may be eminent" as has been repeated over and over by members speculating in this Forum over the last two years.

 

In short, it is true that the forged internals in the GT500 are stronger than the cast internals in our 4.6 L 3V engines. At 550 hp however, that is irrelevant. At 1000 hp, it would be very relevant. Human nature being what it is, I know some of our members will continue to cling to the notion that, despite over five years of Ford Motor Company testing, thousands of units sold, and millions of miles on the road without one single failure, the 550 hp Whipple is "just too much for this engine". "My mind is made up, don't bother me with data and facts!!"

 

What about the quote above concerning all those stock blocks in the 1960s that were blown up and sitting on engine stands? My family owned the Pontiac dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona back then and we saw a ton of those blown up engines. Virtually 100% of them came apart as a result of being revved way above red line in those days before the rev limiter existed. They did not come apart because internal components were overstressed by high horsepower levels produced below the engines redline. Disconnect the limiter and rev your box stock 319 hp Shelby GT engine to 8000 rpm and it will come apart instantly as well.

 

Well, something has to wear out sooner if your car is putting out an additional 250 hp right? Yeah, your brakes and your clutch do wear like that dry pencil eraser on paper. Additional horsepower will also create more heat in the fluid of an automatic transmission causing it to wear out sooner. And running your 4.6 L hard right after startup and before it's reached operating temperature is most unhealthy whether or not you have a supercharger.

 

This post has been quite long, both for you to read and for me to write. For those of you who have waded through it all the way to the end, I hope you've found it of some value. Feel free to disagree with this write up, but when you do please present some test data or actual field experience with our particular motor to back up your argument.

 

A ton of test data and actual field experience exist regarding the supercharging of the 4.6 L 3V modular Mustang engine. An even greater amount of theory, speculation, conjecture, and extrapolation exists that has been thoroughly disproved by that extensive test data and field experience. When making a purchase decision on an expensive aftermarket component like a supercharger, I believe you'll be better served if you use the former and disregard the latter.

 

All the best.

 

Chip

 

Chip, just curious. 48 hours at redline. Can you get Ford to tell us what oil they are using for the tests? 5w-20? 5w-30? synthetic blend, full synthetic. Brand?

 

Thnak you

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Chip, just curious. 48 hours at redline. Can you get Ford to tell us what oil they are using for the tests? 5w-20? 5w-30? synthetic blend, full synthetic. Brand?

 

Manufacturers vehicle tests are normally performed with the lubricants recommended in the owner's manual. In this case that would be Motorcraft 5W20 synthetic blend oil. I'm certain they test other types of lubricants to see how they perform, but in such a case they would be testing the lubricant and not the automobile.

 

Chip

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I know 3 people personally that have had their 3V's grenade on the track. All 3 of them were boosted stock blocks. One of those is a TS member.

Whether that qualifies as 'extensive test data', I'm not sure.

Lastly, do you have anymore info on the "Field experience" that "has demonstrated that structural failure will occur in our cast 4.6 L engines as the crank horsepower approaches 900"? Any source data that you can point to, other than the 'track talk' with your friends at Ford? This is honestly the first I've ever heard of such a high HP number. Most folks that I've spoken to about this debate have suggested that HP is not the qualifying factor, but rather the amount of boost pressure. Any opinion on that?

Ken

 

Ken,

 

There have been dozens of bone stock and near stock normally aspirated 4.6L 3Vs grenade on the track. This is not an indication that the engine is incapable of safely handling 300 hp. There are a number of reasons that engines grenade at the track and most of them have nothing to do with engine horsepower overwhelming the components in the bottom end, which is what we are talking about here. It's a pretty safe bet that engine over speed related to a missed shift, a blown down shift into first instead of third (which I did in my Ford GT!), loss of engine coolant, detonation, loss of oil pressure, and a host of other reasons played a major factor or perhaps even the only factor that led to those three failures you mention above on the track. Could I trouble you to perhaps get them to post about their engine failure experience here because that would clear things up considerably. Even with our engines rev limiter, a missed down shift can result in a serious over speed and near instantaneous failure. Attributing supercharged engine failures at the track to the supercharger is most likely misstating the actual cause of that failure. Take your bone stock SGT "to the track" and the failure rate of just about everything in your car will skyrocket.

 

The information relayed to owners by Ford engineers and test drivers is about as far from "track talk" as you can get. The testing they are able to do allows them to isolate individual components while controlling other variables. When one of your buddies blows his car up on the track, neither he, nor you, will ever know exactly what happened. Perhaps if our cars had a sophisticated blackbox logging all potential variables that could be printed out after a failure, kind of like the data retrieved after an airliner crash, then you would have a better idea. With a car in a test cell or on a dyno, that type of information is available with every potential variable be monitored all the time, it's much easier to determine what's going on and if something fails, what caused it.

 

The Ford Motor Company has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that the bottom end of the 4.6 L 3V engine is capable of handling the power produced by the 550 hp Whipple. I don't believe that is even open to debate anymore. If I take my car out on the track and blow it to smithereens, with or without a supercharger, it's not because the bottom end couldn't handle the 500 horsepower produced by my supercharger.

 

As far as boost versus horsepower producing a failure, as long as detonation is not occurring and air/fuel ratios are proper, boost and horsepower are synonymous.

 

There is a thread on the Ford GT Forum I think you'll find interesting titled "Joe's Twin Turbo GT". Joe continually pushed his Ford GT to ever higher power levels, first with supercharger upgrades, and then with twin turbochargers. On high octane race fuel and at well over 1000 hp the car was virtually uncontrollable on a drag strip and once went through the traps backwards at almost 100 mph. Pushing for ever higher power levels became an academic exercise for Joe, and an expensive one at that. How much horsepower could the Ford GT bottom end handle? Running the car on a Dyno with lots of equipment to monitor air fuel ratios, coolant temperature, timing and detonation, oil pressure & temperature, and RPM, Joe and his crew knew that any failure would not be due to those factors. I don't remember the precise number but his engine ultimately gave up the ghost at about 1400 hp. So he built an even stronger one!!! Interesting reading with a lot of videos to look at as well. The GT500 engine is just as strong as the Ford GT motor, though its iron block is heavier.

 

In short, an engine can fail for a multitude of reasons. Driven long enough, 100% of all engines do ultimately fail. It would be a mistake to assume that without a supercharger your engine will never fail and that if you add a supercharger, any failure must certainly be attributable to that supercharger.

 

Chip

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1. I think Chip makes some excellent points and his general logic is sound, imo. Where I disagree is the suggestion that it's like the plywood shelves -- that there's a rather black and white failure point.

 

2. The distortion in the cylinder walls of an engine directly affects it's likelihood of failure because things like rod bearings and the like only can hold their engineered component loads (as in the 48 hr testing on a bench dyno with a water brake) when they follow their geometrically-accurate engineered shapes and paths. When distortion occurs oil films no longer can protect as effectively (or at all) from the huge loading that no longer is spread over the entire load-bearing design surface of a bearing but now may be much more concentrated in the portion that is 'canted' due to distortion, etc ...all metals flex. Flexed metals affect many things and the system then behaves differently (not black and white) as hyper-design forces are produced. It is *not* a linear effect by any means.

 

3. When Ford Racing was first evaluating the Whipple, I talked to two Ford engineers for quite some time at SEMA some 2.5 years ago who admitted that the 3V was holding up in rigorous Ford warranty-related testing at 450bHP much better than they had suspected it might.

 

4. That said, there was great concern at Ford warranting anything over 450bHP. My understanding is that this is why there is a warranty below that point and no warranty above that. They were not inclined to share the test data behind that decision tho I did ask at what point they saw failures. I agree with Chip in that this is not to say the engine will fail at 450bHP but, given a large population of 3V engines (yours included!) the failure rate above that point will be higher (and may not be linear either).

 

5. Another perspective: warranties are nothing more than insurance policies and, like insurance policies, are designed to reflect the underlying risk (e.g. life insurance, not surprisingly, costs more per month at 70 than at 40). Note that even at 400HP, the Whippled 3V with FRP tune only carries a warranty on the S/C and a reduced power train warranty. Why is that? Clearly these warranties: stock (full), 400HP (partial), and 550HP (no warranty), are designed to reflect Ford's anticipated warranty claims. Much testing money is spent on such things because planned warranty costs must be 'baked' into a product plan.

 

6. As far as failure is concerned, Kahmann accurately points out there certainly are 3V failures at much lower power levels than quoted; and GT500 failures too at HP levels far below those Chip quoted those engineers on. In fact there are GT500 failures at levels far below those quoted by the engineers for the 3V so I'm at a loss to explain their bizarre numbers except in specialized test contexts.

 

7. If those engineers would like to share the actual facts, spread sheet data, specific test scenarios, context and environmental, then I believe a much deeper understanding of the core truths will emerge. Don't hold your breath on that happening anytime soon ...those are proprietary data for sure.

 

68,

 

I'll answer as best I can.

 

1. I didn't stay that either one of these devices have a black and white failure point. Both the plywood in the shelves and the metal in an engine flexes. Both may fail instantaneously or, near the limit, both may experience rapid wear (material fatigue at a stress point) leading to failure.

 

2. “When distortion occurs oil films no longer can protect as effectively” The method that all manufacturers use to check for the distortion scenario you describe here, is a simple oil analysis. Any distortion that causes a breakdown at any spot in an engine's protective oil film will lead to an immediate spike in the metal content of the engine oil. I can tell you definitively that such distortion is not occurring in the 4.6 L engine equipped with a Whipple supercharger even when that engine is putting out 550 hp. I use the exact same oil analysis on both of my aircraft at every oil change to check for potential internal engine problems.

 

3. I heard the same thing. The outstanding reliability of the 500 hp supercharger led them to bump it another 50 hp to the current 550.

 

4. Ford already warranties things well above 400 hp, the Ford GT and the GT500. I am amazed that they offer any warranty on any supercharger installation. The biggest change in modified vehicles has nothing to do with the vehicle itself. It's the driver!! And that's a variable that no manufacturer can control. The failure rate of Mustangs with the 550hp Whipple and the 400hp Whipple would differ primarily because of how and where the cars are driven. This is the same reason that your warranty won't cover you for damage suffered “on a track”, even if your car is bone stock with no supercharger. The cars don't become less reliable when they cross the track threshold. The cars innate reliability is the same, the way they're driven is different.

 

5. I disagree with almost everything here. Warranties are far from insurance policies designed to reflect some underlying risk. Warranty terms, mileage, and length of coverage most often reflect what competitors offer on similar vehicles. When I was young, the big three all offered five year, 50,000 mile warranties on virtually every one of their models. In one model year all three of them shortened warranties to 12 months and 12,000 miles. This was not done as a result of extensive testing to cover the cost of an underlying risk. It was done when Ford and Chrysler followed the lead of General Motors in a move to reduce warranty costs significantly. Some horribly unreliable cars are forced, by competitive pressure, to offer the exact same warranty terms as other far more reliable models. People like me, who supercharge our cars, tend to drive them much harder than people who don't. No amount of factory testing can measure the way I’m going to drive my car. Again, I'm amazed that Ford even offers a one-year warranty on the 400 hp supercharger.

 

6. Here the assumption is that all failures are caused by the supercharger. That no failures ever occur because the tuner screwed up the air fuel ratios, timing problems were causing detonation, over speeds never occurred, water pumps never failed, oil pressure never faltered. That any failure at horse power levels well below the horsepower level of other similar cars that have been running reliably for years, must be because of the supercharger producing more horsepower than that particular engines bottom end would handle. The bizarre numbers are accounted for because the engine failures were not the result of horse power levels overstressing bottom end components. They were the result of a combination of other factors.

 

This is why I have so much faith in the Ford Racing Parts Whipple supercharger kits. Their tunes have been extensively tested in all types of conditions, both on the road and on the Dyno. As supplied, the tune that came with my FRP Whipple supercharger provided perfect air/fuel ratios throughout the rpm range and the car ran flawlessly right out of the box. It has also been faultlessly reliable. I doubt that any “one off” custom tune would produce better reliability than the one supplied to me by Ford racing.

 

7. You’re dead right here 68. I don't think Mark would let me load up all of their binders of test data and haul them away to my home. I probably wouldn't know how to read them all anyway.

 

The bottom line for me is, I know my engine is strong enough to handle the power that my FRP supercharger provides. That doesn't mean that I can't blow my engine up at the track or the drag strip. When my car was still stock, I could have blown my engine up at the track or at the drag strip. With my FRP provided tune, I have no worries about improper air/fuel ratios or detonation. It's a safe, well tested tune.

 

That's the best information I have, as best I understand it. Cheers.

 

Chip

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Chip, thanks for the information, that was one hell of a post, considering I just dropped my SGT off at tasca on Monday for the Whipple h.o. , except I went with the larger pulley which puts it at 475 HP. (my car is an auto) the info from your conversation made me feel a whole lot better, I was always wondering in the back of my mind how much wear the supercharger will put on the engine, but after hearing so many positive results with the Whipple, I felt that was they way to go, and now you have just reinforced that. :D

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"if the motor cannot take it I will be the one to test it....trust me."

 

Thanks for the quote Chip but I stand by my post! :hysterical:

 

550 whipple kit is going on mine and I intend to not worry about it. I intend to drive it.

 

I do oil anlysis on my marine diesels, great thing.

 

In the end Ford would not offer the 550 kit if it smoked your engine.

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Chip maybe they need a "slipper clutch" in these cars... like the moto gp bikes... :hysterical:

 

It would fix that pesky downshift thing, I cringed just reading that as alas I have done the dreaded downshift mistake, but not on my SGT...I hate that noise of an over rev...

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