Ford 302 Small Block Engines and Cylinder Heads

Categories: Cylinder Head Tips

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of a legend’s debut, the Ford 302 small block engine. Through many generations and different names, from the 302 Windsor to the 302 “Boss” engine, this 302 line of high-performance powerhouse from Ford Motor was a quantum leap in muscle car engine technology at the time.

The Ford 302 V8 is a strong-running engine that considered as one of the most powerful factories ever offered by Ford, and also the most serious rival to Chevy’s legendary 350. First introduced in 1969, the Ford 302 served Ford lineups for 27 years before its retirement in 1995. You might wonder, what is so special about this small block engine? The answer lies in its 5.0L displacement.

Ford 302 Engine Displacement

Engine displacement is the swept volume of all the pistons inside the cylinders from top to bottom. It has a direct impact on how much fuel will be drawn into a cylinder, therefore, generally, the higher an engine’s displacement, the more power it can create. True to its name, the Ford 302 small block engine’s displacement is 302 cu in, or 5.0L (or Five-Oh as Ford enthusiasts always referred to it), which is very large when it comes to the displacement of small block engines. This was enabled because Ford engineers have utilized a 4-inch bore, a 3-inch stroke, 10 head bolts to retain the cylinder heads, and the common 8.2-inch deck height when designing the Ford 302 small block engine. As a result, this humble in size powerhouse can create massive output, up to 290 hp at 5,200 RPM.

Furthermore, the 302 engine is very reliable since it was manufactured with nickel material. The high nickel content makes it sturdier and stronger. Therefore, the 302 engine was able to run for a long time and over many hours without giving in to any potential breakdown. For instance, in 2004, one car owner reported that their 302 could cover 300 thousand miles.

Replacing Cylinder Heads in a Ford 302 Engine

Whether you want to pump the power up a little bit, or simply your Ford 302 engine is getting old (the youngest 302 must be at least 23 years old by now), you will need to get some of the engine’s parts either repaired or replaced. One of the more critical and expensive parts that require more attention than others is the cylinder heads. One major problem you might encounter is since there are many versions of the Ford 302 engines, not to mention small block engine siblings such as the Ford 351, 289, etc., each engine requires the correct heads, or else you won’t be able to take the roller lifters out of the block with those heads in place.

The Cylinder Head Experts

Since repairing cylinder heads or gaskets is not a typical DIY project, we recommend that you consult a professional company. Clearwater Cylinder Head Inc. (CCH) is a reputable, experienced (over 25 years) dealer. We specialize in providing quality and warranty-backed rebuilt cylinder heads for a variety of vehicles (cars, trucks, boats, etc). With a massive online catalog, we most likely have the cylinder heads for your Ford 302 engine. The knowledgeable staff at CCH is happy to help you find the cylinder head that is right for your 302 engine. Please contact Clearwater Cylinder Head Inc. toll-free at 1-800-572-1963.

Ford 302 Cylinder Head Videos: