The Great FE Intake Comparo is the perfect title for Jay Brown’s exhaustingly detailed evaluation of Ford FE engine intake and exhaust manifolds. Once you read it, the “Comparo” is clearly as “great” as the title implies. Few first time authors ever approach the level of detail Brown provides in his refreshingly thorough, no stone left unturned evaluation of FE V8 induction systems. The cover states that it is the most comprehensive work ever produced comparing intake and exhaust manifold performance. Brown delivers dyno data and detailed analysis for over 150 intake manifold and street engine combinations ranging from 350 to 675 horsepower. This book easily serves as the ultimate bible for Ford FE owners seeking the optimum set up for their own street engine projects. It covers all 352, 360, 390, 406, 427 and 428 FE engines.
Brown’s training as a degreed engineer is quickly evident in his methodical and detailed approach to engine testing and evaluation. He begins by describing his personal interest and motivation for FE engines and then moves on to a thorough and technically correct explanation of engine dyno testing procedures and what they can and can’t tell you. The dyno mules supporting this work include a 375 HP Thunderbird 428, a 410 HP 428 Cobra Jet, a 425 HP 428 Cobra jet, a 500 HP 390 stroker, a 575 HP 427 side oiler and a 650 HP 427 stroker. Evaluations are provided for single and multiple carb setups and every intake is described in full detail with original specs and installation notes. Each entry covers disassembly and assembly, gasket notes, port matching procedures, testing notes and detailed photos from every angle. Cylinder head flow data is also provided so readers can judge the effectiveness of different combinations.
Summary data is also supplied with extensive bar graphs illustrating where each manifold combination falls within the overall power range compared to the others. Brown’s attention to detail provides not only “as cast” testing data for each intake, but also porting specifics and subsequent results with various cylinder heads. Readers can look to the summary data, choose their desired torque level and then view the detailed dyno sheet to see if the power band matches their desired results. The level of detail provided is such that savvy readers can infer their own results based on the thoroughness of Brown’s testing.
Separate and similar performance data is also generated for every possible FE exhaust manifold and exhaust system combination; all supported by clear informative photographs. The photographs are all black and white, but they are clear and sharp with good detail. Dyno charts and graphs are supported by brief but clear captions.
Carrying his efforts a step beyond, Brown also delivers detailed comparison testing that includes different carburetors, mufflers and back pressure, port matching, oiling systems, solid versus hydraulic lifters and valve sealing. The data taken for every intake and exhaust manifold tested is also listed in the appendix and blank graphs are provided so readers can copy them and plot their own curves based on Brown’s testing data. Brown’s exhaustive testing also provides valuable insight into the dispelling of assorted myths and so-called tribal beliefs attributed to certain FE manifolds. It cuts through the hype with actual facts the reader can apply to his own engine.
Most automotive technical books of this nature average 160 to 220 pages. Brown’s detailed 288 page FE examination is easily representative of a factory engineering evaluation both procedurally and factually. FE builders basing their combinations on the comparisons presented in this book can expect strong results. As such, Brown has also presented FE related technical articles in Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines and he has also competed in Hot Rod Magazine’s Drag Week events, earning two class wins and one second place with FE powered cars. Few automotive authors manage to capture the depth of information Brown has generated on his first try. This book is a “must read” for every FE engine enthusiast and engine builders serving the FE community.
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