JPC Racing's CNC Stage 1 Coyote Cylinder Heads And Cams Install - Beefed Up
Terry 'Beefcake' Reeves puts JPC Racing's CNC Stage 1 cylinder heads and cams to the test
From the April, 2012 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Michael Johnson
Photography by Terry ‘beefcake’ Reeves
Terry "Beefcake" Reeves' '11...
Terry "Beefcake" Reeves' '11 Mustang GT has served as a testbed for Vortech's JT-Trim supercharger, Stainless Works' exhaust system upgrades, and now RGR/JPC Racing's CNC Stage 1 heads and Stage 1 blower cams. We'll show you the results of adding JPC's heads and cams at the end of the article, but here you can see Beefcake's GT on its way to another low 10-second, or is it a 9-second pass.
When the '11 Mustang GT hit the streets with the new Coyote 5.0 engine, the news was the engine was pretty well maxed out as far as power production. Of course, that just makes the aftermarket want to work harder to challenge that theory.
Right away, shops and engine builders wanted to see if that was true or not. We know of a few '11 GTs that were freed from their heads to see if there was improvement to be had, but minimum gain was reported. Maybe our contacts within Ford were correct in saying the engine's power output was maxed out?
Always one for going against the grain in the name of increased horsepower, Justin Burcham from JPC Racing didn't prescribe to the notion that the engine had nothing left to offer. Of course, he has one of the best engine builders on his side in Rich Groh from RGR Engines. Together, Rich and Justin have put their resources together to win multiple NMRA championships, and countless wins in numerous classes. If anyone could get more power out of these engines, Justin and Rich are the ones that could do it.
The RGR/JPC Stage 1 CNC Stage...
The RGR/JPC Stage 1 CNC Stage 1 heads (from $1,995.95) feature CNC-machined ports for better airflow over stock, a competition valve job, machined stock intake and exhaust valves; new springs, locks, retainers, and valve seals. The idea behind these heads is improve airflow and air velocity through the intake and exhaust ports. With the camshafts increased duration, this point is further driven home. Camshaft duration is the length of time the camshaft holds open the valve. Thinking of an engine as an air pump, with increased airflow and air velocity, and more air thanks to increased duration, more power will definitely be a result.
As such, they put their heads together to formulate a plan for more power. The duo worked together on a CNC program and camshaft design. Once the duo were done working their magic, they needed a car to try them on. The boys wanted a proven car, and one that would get attention, and be seen on a national stage. The heads and cams landed at Terry Reeves' doorstep.
Don't know that name, huh? Do you know the name Beefcake? More than likely you've heard of Beefcake and not Terry Reeves, but they're one in the same. Beefcake is Terry's nickname. He also goes by Meat Pie, as well, but he would prefer Beefcake.
Here's a comparison of the...
Here's a comparison of the exhaust ports between a stock head and the RGR/JPC Racing head. You can see the difference; if you can’t, you can borrow my contacts. Obviously, the RGR/JPC Racing head is on top.
Beefcake has been on the Ford performance case for several years now in a variety of Ford vehicles. Working as a salesman at Beechmont Ford in Cincinnati, Ohio, Beefcake has the inside line on new Ford vehicles, and he's not one to shy away from putting the screws to a new vehicle, even drag racing a new Taurus SHO a couple years ago. Mustangs are generally Beefcake's choice, and as soon as the '11 Mustang GTs hit the lot, he scooped one up for his latest "race car."
The RGR/JPC Racing '11 Mustang...
The RGR/JPC Racing '11 Mustang GT Coyote cams (from $899.95) feature stock lift numbers, but with increased duration to allow more air into and out of the engine to promote airflow and port velocity. The more air you can get into and out of an engine, the more power it’s going to make, especially in a supercharged engine when even more air is being forced into the engine.
Attempting a swap like this...
Attempting a swap like this with the engine in the car would work over your back. Finish Line Performance’s Brian Campbell did the smart thing by dropping the engine out of the bottom and working on it while still attached to the K-member. This will make it a lot easier to do the heads and cams swap. As you can see, Brian already has his seat ready.
Brian removes the engine’s...
Brian removes the engine’s front accessory drive system, water pump, and front cover to expose the timing chains. The timing chains run off the crank snout. Brian must remove the timing chain guards and tensioners to remove the timing chains.
As you can see, the crank...
As you can see, the crank sprockets on crank snout can remain in place. Brian removed the chains and has started loosening the factory camshafts. The camshafts are held in place my cam caps, which need are loosened in order to remove the cams.
Here’s a look at the heads...
Here’s a look at the heads with the cams and cam caps removed. The head bolts are the only thing holding the heads to the block at this point. You can see the head bolts between the valves and valve springs in this photo.
At this point Brian loosens...
At this point Brian loosens the head bolts to free the stock heads from the bottom end. Brian will take this opportunity to clean the block’s deck surface so the new heads will have a nice, flat surface with which to attach. A pristine surface enables the heads to have a good seal, especially important in a supercharged application.
Before Brian bolts the heads...
Before Brian bolts the heads on the short block he installs the headers on the RGR/JPC heads. We’ve found, even when doing a head swap on an engine while it’s still in the car, it’s easier to install the headers on the heads prior to installing them on the block. Since the factory head bolts are torque-to-yield, new head bolts are used when installing new heads. As you can see, Brian has lined up the heads with the dowel pins, and has started dropping the head bolts into place.
The heads require a specific...
The heads require a specific torque sequence. If you choose to do this yourself, which a mechanically inclined person can, have a shop manual or instructions with you. In a nutshell, the heads must be torqued to 28-31 lb-ft; then tightened 90 degrees, then another 90 degrees; alternating head bolts as you go. What is suggested is that after the initial torque is applied, a straight mark is put on each head bolt, then apply the latter torque sequences. The marks will help you keep track of which head bolts you have already torqued.
With the heads torqued in...
With the heads torqued in place, Brian turns his attention to the valvetrain. Many times when using reground cams, shims are needed to arrive at the correct amount of preload. These shims will go underneath the lash adjusters (lifters) when they’re set in place. These shims raise the height of the lash adjusters to arrive at the right amount of preload.
Here is a better explanation...
Here is a better explanation of where the shims go. The lash adjusters (lifters) drop into these holes. Without the shim in place, there wouldn’t be enough preload, if any. The shims will raise the height of the lash adjuster so proper preload can be attained.
Competing in the NMRA's Super 'Stang class, Beefcake enjoyed instant success. Knowing he was going to compete at every event, Justin knew he was the ideal candidate for the heads and cams. Beefcake's GT already served as a testbed for other performance products so his car was the perfect candidate.
The heads chosen for Beefcake's GT are RGR/JPC CNC Stage 1 units. The heads feature a RGR custom competition valve job, custom machining of the stock intake and exhaust valves, and new bronze valve guides, seals, locks, retainers, and springs. RGR/JPC has both Stage 1 and Stage 2 heads available, but for Beefcake's car, the Stage 1 heads were chosen for this test.
Using engine assembly lube,...
Using engine assembly lube, Brian dabs the lash adjusters before inserting them into the heads. Just like in a pushrod application, the followers (rockers) ride on the lash adjuster on one side and the valve head on the other. You can see Brian has also used engine assembly lube for the cam journals as well in preparation for the cams install.
To go along with improved cylinder heads, RGR/JPC offers cam grinds in both naturally aspirated and blower-specific applications. JPC calls them its Stage 1 N/A, and Stage 1 Blower grinds. Remember, with a Four-Valve engine, there are four cams—one for the exhaust, and one for the intake on each cylinder head. The Stage 1 blower grinds in Beefcake's engine feature 225 degrees of duration at 0.050 on the intake side and 235 degrees of duration on the exhaust side. Lift numbers come in at 0.470-inch on the intake, and 0.450-inch on the exhaust side. Justin says the lift numbers are stock, but the magic comes from the extended duration built into the cams. The increased duration keeps the valves open longer, which allows the engine to take in and exit more air than the stock cams.
Beefcake's GT received the blower grinds because his GT features a Vortech JT-Trim supercharger system, but before we give away any more information, let's get the install, which took place at Finish Line Performance in Milford, Ohio. Beefcake is such a valued customer that Finish Line Performance's website has a Beefcake's Corner page.
Brian has set the cams in...
Brian has set the cams in place on the heads. Remember, the cams are intake and exhaust specific. In other words, you can’t just take the cams and throw them on. You must make sure they are installed in their proper locations. The intake cam is on the inside, or top, and the exhaust cam is on the outside, or bottom. Before installing the cams, though, Brian makes sure to clean them of any debris. You don’t want anything on the cams when you install them. Any piece of debris can wipe out a cam so make sure to properly clean them before installing.
If you are looking for one-stop shopping, JPC Racing offers an '11-'12 Mustang GT 500hp Top Dog package (Starting at $5,795.95), consisting of a JPC full exhaust, JPC/RGR CNC‘d heads and cams, a Boss intake, a JLT Performance cold-air intake, new head gaskets and head bolts, and a JPC-tuned SCT SF3 tuner.
Brian bolts the cam caps over...
Brian bolts the cam caps over the cams in the same arrangement as they came off. If you look back at the image of just the head, you’ll see the cam caps are already in place. They must be reinstalled on the same journal. Like the heads, the cam caps also have a specific torque sequence and specs.
Brian holds the cam while...
Brian holds the cam while he torques the cam sprocket to spec. The cam sprockets have a chain to keep them in time, and another chain running from the crank sprocket up to the exhaust cam sprocket.
Here’s a closer look at the...
Here’s a closer look at the cam sprockets, and the chain used to connect them and keep them in time. The exhaust cam sprocket is used to connect the timing chain to the crank sprocket, which you can also see on the crank snout.
Here you can see Brian is...
Here you can see Brian is attaching the driver-side timing chain. He lines up the timing marks on both the exhaust cam sprocket and crank sprocket to appropriate marks on the chain to make sure the engine will be perfectly timed upon start-up.
Just like the links in the...
Just like the links in the chains of your old GT, Mach 1, or Hutch Trick Star, the timing chain features a darkened link, while the cam sprocket has a mark on it. If you notice in this image there is an L and a R. From what we’ve gathered, these sprockets are interchangeable. Therefore, if you install one on the left side of the engine, you line up the darkened link to the L. If you install the sprocket on the passenger side, or right side, of the engine, you’d line up the darkened link with the R. There’s also a tensioner for the cam sprocket chains.
Here’s a shot of the crank...
Here’s a shot of the crank sprockets. The driver-side chain is on the inside while the passenger-side chain is on the outside. Much like a drive belt, the cam sprockets and timing chains only go on one way. They are not interchangeable.
Brian reinstalled the front...
Brian reinstalled the front cover at this point, using the factory gasket with a dab of silicone at the area of where the heads bolt to the block. The camshaft actuators are located on the front of the cams, while the cam sensors are located at the back of the cams. These actuators are responsible for the variable valve action of the TiVCT camshafts and valvetrain.
Now Brian bolts on Beefcake’s...
Now Brian bolts on Beefcake’s ATI balancer, water pump, cam covers, and engine harness. You can see the wiring for the camshaft actuators, coils, fuel injectors, and throttle body.
Brian reinstalls the Vortech...
Brian reinstalls the Vortech JT-Trim supercharger on the engine before raising it back up into the engine bay. Beefcake’s car was used for testing by Vortech for fitment and functionality. So far, no complaints from anyone involved with Beefcake’s ride when it comes to power delivery from the Vortech.
Here’s how Beefcake’s engine compartment looked when he competed in our King of the Street competition. We’re only going to report the horsepower the car made with this combo, as he made further changes to the combo before KOTS.
On The Dyno
To make sure he wouldn't scatter a short-block during this test, Beefcake selected Manley rods and Diamond Racing pistons to withstand the boost. Topped with the stock heads and cams, the built short-block received its boost from a Vortech JT-Trim. In that form, Beefcake raced the car at the NMRA 2011 Bradenton opener.
The car went back to Finish Line Performance for the RGR/JPC CNC Stage 1 heads and Stage 1 blower cams. The results are shown in the dyno graph from Dog House Racing's Dynojet.
Notice the stock cams and heads give out around 6,600 rpm, but the RGR/JPC heads and cams extend the power band all the way up to 7,500 rpm. In any powerplant, rpm equals horsepower, but when you're relying on crankshaft speed, the higher the rpm the more horsepower is possible. Since a centrifugal supercharger relies heavily on crankshaft speed, the RGR/JPC heads and cams shine even brighter, allowing the Beefcake's engine to rev to the moon and make power all the way up.
Case in point, before the heads and cams were swapped, peak power came in at 6,000 rpm, but with the RGR/JPC heads and cams, peak power moved up to 7,200 rpm. With the stock heads and cams, peak power equaled 585 horsepower, but with the RGR/JPC heads and cams, that number jumped to 637 horsepower. Torque numbers followed suit, up from 486 lb-ft to 504 lb-ft.
Heads & Cams