Engine Build: Prestige Motorsports' Nitrous-Assisted, 1,000HP 427 Ford
When it comes to power adders, these days it seems that nitrous has taken a back seat to forced induction -- both by turbos and superchargers. But if you are a fan of bottled horsepower, rejoice! Modern engine management systems are actually making big power combos with nitrous easier than ever before.
We recently had the chance to spend some time at the shops of Prestige Motorsports in Concord, NC, while they were working on a 427 cubic inch Ford Windsor build that Holley just gave away to one lucky fan (Click Here to read the story). The idea of the build is to put together a very healthy Windsor-based Ford that can be used as a daily driver, has enough power on its own to spin the tires in any gear AND be able to bust off a grand in horsepower any time you want with a healthy dose of nitrous.
Prestige is no stranger to building high horsepower street engines with incredible durability, so they knew exactly what they wanted as a baseline for the package when it came to building this Ford. Being able to reliably handle extended 1,000-horsepower blasts is a lot easier said than done, so the parts chosen have to be able to take the heat. For the block, Prestige went with a Man O’War cast iron block from World Products. While it will accept standard Ford Windsor components, the new Man O’War has recently been redesigned to be one of the stoutest Ford blocks on the market. The blocks are now cast from 40,000 psi iron with thicker main webbing and larger galleries for the priority main oiling.
Internally, the rotating assembly is made up of a set of forged Eagle crank and rods, with pistons from DSS Racing. Meanwhile, the cylinder heads are from Air Flow Research. These are AFR’s Renegade 20 Degree Competition cylinder heads with 58cc combustion chambers and 220 cc intake runners. They are also fully CNC ported and should flow an absolute ton of air. And helping make sure the cylinder heads receive all the air they can use, they will be fed with a Holley Hi-Ram intake and not one, but two, Holley 1,000 cfm throttle bodies mounted up top.
Valve timing will be handled by a Comp Cams solid roller camshaft. It is a pretty big boy, as it’s ground with 260 degrees of duration at 0.050 tappet lift for the intakes and 274 for the exhaust. Lobe lift is 0.431in/0.430in and there’s a 114 lobe separation. They activate a set of 1.6:1 ratio Scorpion rocker arms, so gross valve lift will be 0.690in for the intake valves and 0.688in for the exhausts.
But what’s really cool here is the nitrous system. We aren’t using any exotic or race-only components. In fact, everything is right out of the NOS catalog. And we aren’t even using a few components most old-school gearheads would consider mandatory. We’re actually leaving out the fuel solenoids and all the associated plumbing, which simplifies the installation and tuning chores significantly. The extra fuel to mate with the nitrous will come directly from the fuel injectors.
This engine will be fuel injected, with a Holley Terminator X ECU controlling everything. No separate nitrous controller is necessary. Because the Terminator X operates as an all-in-one package, you can do things with a nitrous setup that just a few years ago were impossible for the average guy.
Previously, when most hot-rodders were running carburetors, adding nitrous required plumbing along with solenoids for the nitrous, a separate set of plumbing with solenoids for extra fuel and a box of jets for tuning. And if you don’t add enough fuel when the nitrous kicks in (which will cause the engine to go way too lean) you have severe detonation and expensive engine damage in your future.
That all goes away with the setup Prestige is using. Instead of a separate set of plumbing just to add extra fuel to keep up with the nitrous hit, Prestige is allowing the Terminator X ECU to read the sensors and add the correct amount of fuel through the injectors. This means you need to use a set of appropriately large injectors to handle the nitrous hit (We are using a set of 80 pound injectors here.), but the benefit is you never have to worry about tuning fuel jets, only nitrous jets, to dial in the air fuel ratio.
Another benefit is the ease of tuning, including progressive activation. The software that comes with the Terminator X doesn’t require some arcane knowledge of computer coding to tune your engine. In fact, there are even dedicated tables for nitrous that allow you to specify exactly how much you want depending on engine rpm’s or time after activation. You can even ramp up the amount of nitrous you want depending on rpm or time, and the computer manages the fuel mixtures throughout at the air/fuel ratio you request. So for our run on the dyno what worked best for us was to have the NOS nitrous system activate at 5,000 rpm at 25 percent, then ramp up to 75 percent at 6,000 rpm where it remains throughout the rest of the pull.
With most carbureted systems, you have to tune with physical jets, and once the solenoid kicks on it is all or nothing. In our case we simply threw in two large #73 nitrous jets (one for each plate) because we knew it would be more than our needs would require, and allowed the Terminator X to control the amount of nitrous the engine would actually see.
Previously, when you wanted to make big power numbers using nitrous without blowing the tires off with one giant hit, you had to set up multiple stages, or circuits, to ramp up the power -- which gets complicated pretty quickly. With the Terminator X it was surprisingly simple. We just used the “Progressive Control” table on the Terminator X software, adjusted the line graph on the laptop and sent the update back to the ECU. It really was that easy.
So if you are at the track and don’t want a really hard nitrous hit to blow the rear tires off you just make the nitrous progression a little more gentle.
NOS Announces New Nitrous Controller!Author: Skylar Drake | 03/30/2020
NOS, the brand you've trusted to deliver high quality nitrous oxide systems is still developing technologies that make using this power adder easier than ever. Their new "Mini 2-stage Progressive Controller" has all of the functionality you would expect from other models, without the high price tag! Click here to learn about your next nitrous controller!
NOS Releases Giant Assortment of New Nitrous ProductsBy: Todd Veney | 11/14/2018
Choose from black nitrous bottle blankets and new nitrous systems for GM LS engines, late model Ford and Chrysler applications, and dual-carb (2x4) engines.
Giving A Ford Flathead A Jolt With A Mallory Unilite DistributorAuthor: Bryan McTaggart | 03/05/2021
Can't teach an old dog new tricks? We beg to differ. We recently gave a Ford flathead a new spark of life with a Mallory Unilite distributor upgrade!
Preparing Your ATV For Off-Roading Activities With AnvilAuthor: Bryan McTaggart | 03/04/2021
Keep your ATV moving on the trails with the help of Anvil! From winches to accessories and more, you won't have to worry about being stuck!