289 Engine Rebuild Question


Looking for some advice on a 289 rebuild.

I purchased a 1967 Cougar some years ago that had a stock 289 installed. The engine was worn out & blowing smoke, so I had it rebuilt. They re-used the factory crankshaft & bored the block .40 over. They then installed a new cam, heads & intake from Edelbrock. (EDL-2027 which what they call the E-Street 321 HP Top End Kit.) Edelbrock part #2027 E-Street Top End Kit is designed for 1981 and earlier small-Block Ford 289-302 V-8 engines. This Top End Kit produced 321 HP & 337 TQ on a 302 c.i.d. Small-Block Ford with 9.1:1 compression.
I currently have a Holley 600 cfm carburetor installed. The motor is bolted to the factory C4 transmission that has not been modified. I did install a truetrac differential with 3.25 gears.
A while back I was having issues with timing & it was blowing smoke out the exhaust so I took it to a shop that also has a dyno. Once they got it fixed they put it on the dyno & at the rear wheels they measured 132 hp. (Max power = 132.20 at Engine RPM = 4.50 Max Torque = 181.78 at Engine RPM = 3.29) (Engine RPM x 1000)
A factory 289 is rated at 200 hp. I am assuming this is at the crank / flex plate, not the rear wheels. Even if I subtract 50 HP for the loss from the drive line, the motor is still making less HP than a factory 289.
So here is my question:

  1. Will any amount of tuning ever get me back close to the 300 HP mark?
  2. Do I need to pull the motor & take it somewhere to get rebuilt again?
  3. Should I just cut my losses & buy a crate motor?

Any advice would be appreciated.
Also if anyone knows a good engine shop in the Denver area, please let me know. I might need one.


The short answer is no.
The original Ford HP numbers were rated without alternator and fan - and at sea level.
Did the shop correct your numbers to SAE @ sea level?

I ran into nearly this exact scenario with another Albuquerque club member who was very unhappy with this combo on a 302. My recommendation was to build a 347 stroker or install a supercharger.

So, couple of things- you said it was smoking, but what color? Is it oil, gas, or coolant that you are losing?You said the C4 trans hadn’t been rebuilt, but what about the torque converter? Does your stall speed match what the cam card specs for your build? Also,that isn’t what I would call a high performance cam, it looks more like something for a pick up, or more specifically, a cam designed for a low range torque application. I don’t know a shop in Denver that can handle a rebuild, but there are a lot o 289 cores on Craigslist, or the Facebook market place. I would save the good parts you already paid for, and just get a second 289. I do know a good machine shop in Denver. The guy did excellent work on my 302 block. I’m heading out of town for a week, but can get you his info when I get back if you want. A fresh .030 over 289 with an RPM cam, is a lot of fun! Just make sure your push rod length and everything are correct, and you should be good to go. Edelbrock.com: Performer RPM Camshaft And Lifter Kit #7122 For Small-Block Ford 289-302 V8

The cause of the smoke was the motor creating vacuum & pulling oil from the PVC valve. This has been fixed. I also added a Pertronix Flamethrower coil, Pertronix Distributor with the P3 module.

woodsnake, yes please give the name of your guy when you can. Thanks

I just got home last night, give me a couple of days. If you don’t hear back, remind me, I don’t have nearly enough time to do what I need to do-

This is the guy I used- his shop is a separate building behind his home. Very good work, fairly priced for what all I had done. But, he is busy!

Thanks. I’m going to try a couple things first. If they don’t work out I’ll give him a call.

You might check the modulator on the auto transmission. If they get a break in the diaphragm they will suck trans fluid when you let off the gas and put white smoke out the exhaust.
Had one made me thinking I had a coolant leak for a long time.

I’ll check. Thanks for the tip.