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Thread: Roller Cam Engine? Do I have one, how do I know?

  1. #1

    Default Roller Cam Engine? Do I have one, how do I know?

    I have a 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis LS. And since my car only has 88k miles, 3k of which I have put on it myself. I would like to do some work with the engine over the next year, right now I'm in the planning and parts gathering phase.
    This phase comes with me asking a lot of dumb, or rehashed questions if I can't locate a clear and straight forward answer for my small brain.

    Does my 5.0 engine have a roller cam, if yes, does this mean if I were to go through the other mods required to do the HO swap, would I need to do anything special to use a roller cam? If I'm changing heads, is there anything special I should worry about with oiling differences or should any Foxybody HO compatible head work with the right cam kit and lifters?

    I'll be doing the engine mods when the car gets paint later this year, I'd just rather spend the money on parts now, so I can spend the money on all the unexpected stuff and unknowns when I actually tear into it later.
    Expect the unexpected.

  2. #2
    P31 Pursuit Car Brown_Muscle's Avatar
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    There's no such thing as a dumb question here. Yes your 87 has a roller cam and the HO heads/cam will go right in. Do you have a HO donor engine? Personally I'd get a different, mild cam when doing the swap, OR a different torque converter. The power curve doesn't suit these big cars very well. A comp cams XE258 is a nice substitute, or you could probably get away with something a little bigger if you wanted, like an XE264. You can always go bigger and better, and more complicated with a build, but if you're sticking with a stock HO computer with no tuning, that's my advice.
    Last edited by Brown_Muscle; 02-18-2021 at 01:49 PM.
    -Phil



    +1982 Ford LTD-S Police Car. 351w, GT40 Heads, Edelbrock 1906 Carb, Full exhaust headers to tails. 3.27 Trac-Lok Rear. Aluminum Police Driveshaft. Speedway Springs+Bilstein Shocks, Intermediate Brakes, Baumann Shift kit.

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    I'm curious with this; would an Explorer top end with a HO cam work in this/our case?

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    P31 Pursuit Car Brown_Muscle's Avatar
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    I believe from what I've read in the past, some people get it to run okay, and others don't, basically it's a gamble. Now if you're going MAF and doing tuning, it doesnt matter, go hog wild
    -Phil



    +1982 Ford LTD-S Police Car. 351w, GT40 Heads, Edelbrock 1906 Carb, Full exhaust headers to tails. 3.27 Trac-Lok Rear. Aluminum Police Driveshaft. Speedway Springs+Bilstein Shocks, Intermediate Brakes, Baumann Shift kit.

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    Ah; I forgot about the SD; gotchya.

  6. #6

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    I will most likely be going with an aftermarket head and an aftermarket ECU. I'd like to build (or find) a PNP ECU that isn't the Megasquirt. This is likely difficult, but there seems to be a couple companies I've reached out to that seem to think it IS possible.

    That way I might be able to keep the SD, if not, MAF conversion will be a must.

    I found some used, reworked, supposedly like 100 miles or so, ProMAXX aluminum heads that are ready to bolt on with roller rockers included. Came off a Foxbody.
    Most likely go with Foxbody shorty headers and grind the outlet to be 2.5 inches instead of 2.25, because I want the full system to match everything after my current downpipes., since that seems to be the only header option.
    I'd like some AFR heads, but that may be a on down the road expense when I get dumb enough for forged internals and a supercharger.

    I already have an Explorer upper, lower, fuel rails, injectors, elbow, and throttle body. One of my friends is going to be doing porting and polishing on the intake and TB, likely for the practice, but I trust his hands to not mess them up, as he's done a few of his own cars including his wife's daily driver, so, it wasn't down for more than a full day.

    Car has 3.27 rear gears, I like the way it pulls from about 60 to 100ish already (surprised a Camaro the other day with the torque in whatever rev range that it), so that gearing will likely stay, just may get a posi unit down the road, as sometimes it likes to pull both rears, but doesn't have the code for it. Very strange.

    Cam selection and transmission/torque converter work would be the parts that I haven't thought through at all yet, at that point. I know I'll do a frame mounted trans cooler as I have on other cars before, even if everything else was stay 100% stock, that would happen.
    I like manual transmissions, but as much of a "manual swap the world" guy as I am, this specific car deserves to stay automatic.

  7. #7

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    Maybe I really should start a build thread for these ideas... One of these days.

  8. #8
    P31 Pursuit Car Brown_Muscle's Avatar
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    OK this is a full build- I thought by your first post you were just doing a HO swap. There are a bunch of aftermarket tuning options out there, including using a stock a9p or a9L ECU (if you go MAF). I'd look into seeing if you can get a self learning system. They are getting more and more common, and although fine tuning is still involved to make the system work perfectly, its a lot easier than starting from scratch. I did too much with stock ECU's and Moats quarterhorse tuning to ever do it again- I'm personally getting a Holley Sniper unit that self learns, and can tweak parameters from there.
    -Phil



    +1982 Ford LTD-S Police Car. 351w, GT40 Heads, Edelbrock 1906 Carb, Full exhaust headers to tails. 3.27 Trac-Lok Rear. Aluminum Police Driveshaft. Speedway Springs+Bilstein Shocks, Intermediate Brakes, Baumann Shift kit.

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    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    How are you attaching the throttle cable and throttle valve cable? YOu pick up a lightning egr spacer or going custom to attach the bracket for the aforementioned pieces?
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryMcMuffin View Post
    I will most likely be going with an aftermarket head and an aftermarket ECU. I'd like to build (or find) a PNP ECU that isn't the Megasquirt. This is likely difficult, but there seems to be a couple companies I've reached out to that seem to think it IS possible.
    Don't know if you'd be interested in this got it for my fox body I want to say 15 years ago & never used it so it's brand new. I don't know if there is still support for this system & have no paperwork for it will sell it cheap.Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brown_Muscle View Post
    OK this is a full build- I thought by your first post you were just doing a HO swap. There are a bunch of aftermarket tuning options out there, including using a stock a9p or a9L ECU (if you go MAF). I'd look into seeing if you can get a self learning system. They are getting more and more common, and although fine tuning is still involved to make the system work perfectly, its a lot easier than starting from scratch. I did too much with stock ECU's and Moats quarterhorse tuning to ever do it again- I'm personally getting a Holley Sniper unit that self learns, and can tweak parameters from there.
    Do you know if they make a Holley Sniper system that's for the EFI cars? I had a regular in the restaurant I work at sometimes who had a corvette he used for drag racing that used the Holley Sniper stuff a few years ago. He got in and tried to do some tuning himself instead of just letting it work it's magic. So he had to send the unit back to Holley to get the base tune fixed. Funny memory. After that it was great!

    Quote Originally Posted by 87gtVIC View Post
    How are you attaching the throttle cable and throttle valve cable? YOu pick up a lightning egr spacer or going custom to attach the bracket for the aforementioned pieces?
    Haven't sorted that out yet, will come back to it, hopefully Spring or early Summer, if nothing else comes up. Any and all ideas are welcome, was hoping between me and my friend, we could think something through, since he also has had to do a fair amount of fab work for his job.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mustang Eddie View Post
    Don't know if you'd be interested in this got it for my fox body I want to say 15 years ago & never used it so it's brand new. I don't know if there is still support for this system & have no paperwork for it will sell it cheap.Click image for larger version. 

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    Potentially! Even if it just gets me started in the 5.0 EFI tuning world, any idea on the software it uses or a model number on it? PM me or I can PM you? If it's powers up and plugs in, it'll get me headed down the right path.

  12. #12
    P31 Pursuit Car Brown_Muscle's Avatar
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    That must have been an old version or something, you can tune the new one with you laptop and easily reset the base tune

    Here ya go: https://www.holley.com/blog/post/how...xbody_mustang/

    Plug and play, self learning, uses stock equipment
    -Phil



    +1982 Ford LTD-S Police Car. 351w, GT40 Heads, Edelbrock 1906 Carb, Full exhaust headers to tails. 3.27 Trac-Lok Rear. Aluminum Police Driveshaft. Speedway Springs+Bilstein Shocks, Intermediate Brakes, Baumann Shift kit.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brown_Muscle View Post
    That must have been an old version or something, you can tune the new one with you laptop and easily reset the base tune

    Here ya go: https://www.holley.com/blog/post/how...xbody_mustang/

    Plug and play, self learning, uses stock equipment
    This could be the route to go. I wonder if you can keep cruise control with it, and if you can set up things such as launch control. I imagine so.

  14. #14
    P31 Pursuit Car Brown_Muscle's Avatar
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    AFAIK cruise control is a separate module/unit, so no problems there. Not sure about launch control, but the system seems really adaptable. Says it can even control some electronic transmissions
    -Phil



    +1982 Ford LTD-S Police Car. 351w, GT40 Heads, Edelbrock 1906 Carb, Full exhaust headers to tails. 3.27 Trac-Lok Rear. Aluminum Police Driveshaft. Speedway Springs+Bilstein Shocks, Intermediate Brakes, Baumann Shift kit.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brown_Muscle View Post
    AFAIK cruise control is a separate module/unit, so no problems there. Not sure about launch control, but the system seems really adaptable. Says it can even control some electronic transmissions
    I spoke to one of the Holley tech guys a minute ago, and surely he was thinking "this guy has no clue what he's doing", and he said it basically would depend on if you'd need more than 4 inputs and 4 outputs to accomplish what you want. In summary.

  16. #16
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    87- cars have stand-alone cruise, the ECM has nothing to do with operating it. Just have to keep the VSS in the transmission so it works.

    I don't think you can do launch control since that usually involves a computer-driven throttle. Possible someone makes such a thing but gut feeling is that it won't be cheap unless you can adapt a throttle body from something else. I also suspect you'd have to change to an electronically-controlled transmission at that point since there would be nothing for the TV cable to hook to. Maybe someone makes a universal fly by wire thing that has a solenoid that can attach to any cable but I'm not completely sure I'd trust some cheap "one size fits all" solution like that.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
    87- cars have stand-alone cruise, the ECM has nothing to do with operating it. Just have to keep the VSS in the transmission so it works.

    I don't think you can do launch control since that usually involves a computer-driven throttle. Possible someone makes such a thing but gut feeling is that it won't be cheap unless you can adapt a throttle body from something else. I also suspect you'd have to change to an electronically-controlled transmission at that point since there would be nothing for the TV cable to hook to. Maybe someone makes a universal fly by wire thing that has a solenoid that can attach to any cable but I'm not completely sure I'd trust some cheap "one size fits all" solution like that.
    Noted on the cruise control, that means the Holley unit will suit all my needs perfectly. I just need to make sure I can keep my AC, because it works and I'm spoiled to having that after years of cars with no AC...

    Ah, I'll have to look into it, but I'll take the L on it if it means I'd have to go drive by wire. Call me skeptical, but I just don't trust it.

  18. #18
    P31 Pursuit Car Brown_Muscle's Avatar
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    You can definitely keep your A/C. most aftermarket units also allow for an A/C trigger to up the Idle. But even if it doesn't you can still run A/C, that system is standalone as well.

    You probably saw this but if you are just using an AOD and don't need the transmission control this unit is a few hundred dollars cheaper: https://www.holley.com/products/fuel...parts/550-937F
    Last edited by Brown_Muscle; 02-22-2021 at 11:35 AM.
    -Phil



    +1982 Ford LTD-S Police Car. 351w, GT40 Heads, Edelbrock 1906 Carb, Full exhaust headers to tails. 3.27 Trac-Lok Rear. Aluminum Police Driveshaft. Speedway Springs+Bilstein Shocks, Intermediate Brakes, Baumann Shift kit.

  19. #19
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    The AC system has almost no connection to the computer. It has a wide open throttle cutout relay, but the ECM has to power it to cut compressor power. with no ECM, nothing will power it. Would be better if the Holley system could operate it though, the compressor really doesn't want to be spinning at a ton of RPM. There is also a connection from compressor to ECM so it knows to bump the idle when the AC is on.

    pre-computer cars usually did this with a vacuum switch. Manifold vac under a certain point and the compressor would drop. There was also usually a simple throttle kicker that pushed the lever open a bit more at idle. my turbodiesel car has one switch for manifold boost pressure and one for vac pump output. The boost one is to drop the AC under high load (boost) conditions, the other keeps the compressor from engaging until the engine is actually running. No computer so the controls are very primitive.

    Chevys kicked the AC compressor out using a switch on the transmission. If you kicked the trans down a gear, it would cut the AC.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brown_Muscle View Post
    You can definitely keep your A/C. most aftermarket units also allow for an A/C trigger to up the Idle. But even if it doesn't you can still run A/C, that system is standalone as well.

    You probably saw this but if you are just using an AOD and don't need the transmission control this unit is a few hundred dollars cheaper: https://www.holley.com/products/fuel...parts/550-937F
    I did happen to see that one, as I would keep the AOD, likely need to have it built to handle power and such, but keep it since I already have it after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
    The AC system has almost no connection to the computer. It has a wide open throttle cutout relay, but the ECM has to power it to cut compressor power. with no ECM, nothing will power it. Would be better if the Holley system could operate it though, the compressor really doesn't want to be spinning at a ton of RPM. There is also a connection from compressor to ECM so it knows to bump the idle when the AC is on.

    pre-computer cars usually did this with a vacuum switch. Manifold vac under a certain point and the compressor would drop. There was also usually a simple throttle kicker that pushed the lever open a bit more at idle. my turbodiesel car has one switch for manifold boost pressure and one for vac pump output. The boost one is to drop the AC under high load (boost) conditions, the other keeps the compressor from engaging until the engine is actually running. No computer so the controls are very primitive.

    Chevys kicked the AC compressor out using a switch on the transmission. If you kicked the trans down a gear, it would cut the AC.
    Definitely interesting. I'll have to ask one of the Holley guys how that would work, or scour other forums. I'm willing to pay the extra to gain ease of use. Also, certainly going with AFR Renegade 165cc heads, because I found a really good deal on them.

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