Ford 385 engine
|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company|
|Predecessor||Ford MEL V8
Ford Super Duty truck engine
|Successor||Ford Modular V8
Ford Triton/InTech V8
Ford Boss V8
|Configuration||Big-block OHV V8|
The Ford 385 engine family (the name coming from the 3.85 inch crankshaft stroke of the 460 V8) was the Ford Motor Company's final big block V8 engine design, replacing the Ford MEL engine and gradually superseding the Ford FE engine family. This design was a departure from the paradigm utilizing thinwall casting methods and a skirtless block to reduce weight.
It was available in three sizes in production vehicles; 370 cu in (6.1 L) in medium-duty trucks only, 429 cu in (7.0 L) and 460 cu in (7.5 L). A 514 cu in (8.4 L) crate engine was also available from Ford SVO.
The engines were sold between 1968 and 1997. It was introduced in the Ford Thunderbird in 1968 and replaced the FE in Ford's full-size cars in 1969. Production ended with the ninth generation Ford F-Series truck in the 1996/7 model year. They were manufactured at Ford's Lima Engine plant at Lima, Ohio. This manufacturing line replaced the Ford MEL engine line in the Lima plant. The FE engines, manufactured in Dearborn, continued in production but saw reduced applications and volume as the 385 engine gradually took over in the Ford line up. The FE went out of production in 1976, leaving the 385 as the only big block. The 370 replaced the 361 FE in 1978 and the 429 replaced the Super Duty (401/477/534) engines in 1982.
Besides service in large luxury cars in the 1970s and in trucks throughout its life, the 385 series engine was also popular in motorhomes, marine, and industrial applications. Over 50 varieties were produced in any given year.
As with the FE line of engines, Ford also offered Cobra Jet, Cobra Jet - RamAir, and Super Cobra Jet versions of the 429. The Cobra Jet, rated at 370 hp (280 kW), was equipped with a Holly 700 cfm 4 BBL carburetor, larger camshaft, 11.3:1 compression ratio and a special set of cylinder heads. It was available with or without a hood scoop, and came with a 3.25 rear axle ratio. The Cobra Jet - RamAir came with the shaker scoop, which was attached to the engine, and a 3.50 rear axle ratio. The Super Cobra Jet, rated at 375 hp (280 kW), had a 4-bolt main block, a Holley 780 cfm 4BBL carburetor, and a larger mechanical camshaft. It was only available with a 3.91 or 4.30 rear axle ratio. In 1971, the CJ engine also used a 4-bolt main block. However, these engines were actually derated and produced power in the 440–460 hp range. This was done to deceive insurance companies (common practice in that era), so that buyers did not have to pay higher insurance rates.
Ford also offered Police versions of the 429 and 460. Horsepower, for the Police version, ratings ranged anywhere from 240 BHP to 375 GROSS. The 1971 429 Police Interceptor, with 11-1 compression (which is basically a very slightly beefier version of the 429 Cobra Jet) rated at 375 Horsepower (295 Net).
From 1973 to 1978 Ford offered two versions of the 460 Police Engine. The 460 Police Cruiser "460 PC" and 460 Police Interceptor "460 PI" were commonly confused with each other. One being a basic, stock flowing 460 with additional cooling bolt-ons, and the more powerful 460 Police Interceptor, with its higher lift camshaft and better flowing heads and exhaust. The Basic 460 Police Cruiser was recommended for light duty use ie: city/township, while the 460 Police Interceptor was built for Highway use for State Police Agencies/Highway Patrol. The 1974 460 Police Interceptor, with it's 8.8-1 compression was rated at 260 Horsepower (340 Gross). This combo combined with a 1974 Ford Torino was considered one of the fastest Police Cruisers of the 1970's.
To this day the Ford Police 460 CID is the biggest motor ever used by Police agencies. Followed by Pontiac's Police 455 CID, and Chevy's 454 CID Police versions.
The 385 series of engines, along with virtually every other Ford production engine saw a significant dropoff in HP and torque ratings for the 1972 model year. This was due to a few reasons. Federal mandates came into effect about how HP claims could be advertised by auto companies. Instead of listing gross horsepower, they had to list the SAE net horsepower which takes into account the power reduction of the accessories and exhaust system. The second was newly enforced air pollution regulations which caused Ford to have to redesign the cylinder heads (resulting in a drastically lower compression ratio ~8.0), and retard the ignition timing 8 degrees, among other power sapping, but smog reducing modifications. The 1971 460 which was rated at 365 HP, dropped to as low as 208HP in 1972. 1973 saw the release of an improved cylinder head design, bringing the 429 and 460 back into the 225 HP range, but it would never return to its glory days as a performance engine, at least in its stock form. The 385 series began using catalytic converters in 1975, once again hurting the overall power ratings of the engine until the advent of the fuel injected 460 in 1987.
The 460 was phased out for use in passenger cars in the late 70s, but continued to be produced with minimal modifications in trucks, RVs, and Boats until its production ceased in 1997. The 460 is a great towing engine. The 460 actually had higher horsepower and torque ratings than the IDI 6.9 liter and later 7.3 IDI diesel engines, though fuel economy was significantly better with the diesel. The 460 began using fuel injection in 1988, leading to a slight increase in horsepower and torque ratings. 1993 and up 460s saw an improved cylinder head design that further improved power. While perhaps best known for its poor gas milage, the later 460 is considered by most to be a reliable, long-lasting, heavy-duty, and powerful engine for towing and hauling purposes, as well as a good starting point for engine builders building dragsters. Due to its mass production and relatively minimal changes during its 30 year production run, parts are generally cheap and easy to find for the 385 series engines.
Rod length: 6.605"
Deck height (early block): 10.300" or 10.310"
Deck height (late block, D9TE): 10.322"
Chamber size (C8VE/C9VE/D0VE): ~72-75cc
Chamber size (D2VE) ~99-100cc
Chamber size (D3VE/E6TE): ~93-95cc
Rod length: 6.605"
- Short descriptions of Ford overhead valve V8 engines
- - 460 ford.com Great site with info on the 385 Ford engine
|Ford Motor Company engine timeline, North American market, 1950s–1970s — Next »|
|4-cylinder engines||Ford Pinto engine|
|I6 engines||Flathead I6||Thriftpower I6|
|Mileage Maker I6||Truck I6|
|V6 engines||Cologne V6|
|Small block V8||Flathead V8||351 Cleveland V8|
|Ford Y-block V8||335/Modified V8|
|Medium block V8||FE V8|
|Big block V8||Lincoln Y-block V8|
|MEL V8||385 V8|
|Super Duty V8|
|« Previous — Ford Motor Company engine timeline, North American market, 1980s–2010s|
|4-cylinder engines||Lima/OHC I4|
|HSC I4||Zetec I4|
|Duratec 23/25 I4|
|Inline-6 engines||Thriftpower Six I6|
|V6 engines||Cologne V6||Cologne V6||SOHC V6|
|Duratec (Mondeo) V6|
|V8 engine||SHO V8|
|335/Modified V8||Modular/Triton/InTech/Coyote V8|
|385 V8||Boss V8|
|Super Duty V8|
|V10 engines||Triton V10|
|Diesel engines||IDI V8||PowerStroke V8||PowerStroke V8||PowerStroke V8||Scorpion V8|