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Opportunity Cost | What Did We Miss-Out-On Because of the GT350's FPC 5.2L VooDoo V8?

Discussion in 'Front Page Articles' started by SID297, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    Opportunity Cost | What Did We Miss-Out-On Because of the GT350's FPC 5.2L VooDoo V8?

    Missed_GT350_022.jpg

    A few months ago I was talking to a former Ford employee who spent a little time at SVT. He was around when the team was developing the Shelby GT350 Mustang, so naturally our conversation started to drift towards that topic. I’m always interested in hearing the thoughts and theories behind why certain decisions are made during the development process, and the GT350 certainly has lots of details to explore. Eventually our conversation turned to the Flat Plane Crank (“FPC”) equipped 5.2L VooDoo engine. That’s when he laid a bit of knowledge on me that I wasn’t quite prepared for. He told me just what that FPC program cost the Ford enthusiast community.

    Missed_GT350_002.jpg

    How's this for a 'before and after' shot? The mystical 5.2L Flat Plane Crank.


    It’s no secret, thanks to Ford’s marketing team, that the VooDoo is essentially a miracle engine that defies the laws of physics. At 5.2L it was larger than production FPC V8 ever attempted by any manufacturer. The SVT engineers really took this as a opportunity to shine and flex their grey-matter for all the automotive world to see. You see; FPC V8’s tend to have some nasty vibration issues that only get worse as the size of the engine, and the weight of the rotating assembly, increases. Essentially that crank configuration turns a large V8 into a paint shaker.

    Missed_GT350_029.jpg

    A fantastically machined combustion chamber.


    So in order for this engine to not rattle the rest of the car to pieces SVT had to find some creative ways to mitigate the vibrations. If you’ve ever been underneath a GT350 Mustang , somewhere other than the sidewalk at the exit of a car show, you have undoubtedly noticed the numerous mass dampers strewn about. Each of those heavy little jewels were placed just so by a highly educated, and decently paid, NVH engineer just so owners could enjoy their new Hi-Po Mustang with their fillings intact.

    Missed_GT350_031.jpg

    Speaking of 'machined', check out the CNC work on this factory exhaust port.


    All of that time a material spent engineering around the laws of nature has a cost, and that is really the purpose of this article. I don't want to get into specifics, but the NVH mitigation accounted for over 15% of the cost of the entire program. According to my friend, if they engine program had spent the money consumed by NVH mitigation on the valvetrain we could have been enjoying a standard Cross Plane Crank (“CPC”) 5.2L V8 capable of spinning to 9,500RPM. I don’t know about you, but the mere thought of a factory Ford V8 turning to that high of an RPM just brings a smile to my face. Seeing as I have never really fallen in love with the VooDoo engine, that bit of news was a bit of a gut-punch.

    Missed_GT350_015.jpg

    Sure would be nice if those cams could spin just a little faster.

    Supposedly the SVT engineers were benchmarking against the Lexus LFA's V10 cylinder head, which I consider a good thing. That engine has a 9,000RPM redline with fuel shutoff occurring at 9,500RPM. I'm told those were the exact figures SVT was aiming for. Supposedly the valvetrain configuration required to hit those marks was tested in computer simulations, but never made it beyond that. Reportedly it was going to take some trick F1 style valve springs to go much farther.

    Missed_GT350_013.jpg

    Not a typical view. This gives you an idea of how much stuff is moving around in a 4V valvetrain.


    You may have heard that the main purpose of building a FPC V8 engine is its ability to spin-up/rev faster. That is a benefit smaller displacement FPC engines enjoy over their CPC cousins (due to less rotating mass), and it was planned to be the case with the 5.2L VooDoo. However, the one-piece aluminum flywheel that was originally planned to be part of the build would not pass Ford's durability tests. It simply would not live behind 5.2L FPC engine. In its place we got dual-mass steel flywheel that wiped out any rotating mass reductions the flat plane crank would have gotten us.

    Missed_GT350_008.jpg

    The GT350 clutch and flywheel setup ended up being much heavier than originally intended.


    Sadly, to add even more insult to injury he let me in on another little secret. SVT had tested CPC 5.2L engines with the VooDoo heads, intake manifold, headers, cams specs, etc. and found some very interesting results. After all the dust settled, the FPC engine managed to just ekk out four more horsepower than its CPC counterpart. It was determind that the meager difference was due in large part to the different firing order of the two engines. All this really made me question whether the entire endeavor was worth it. Then I remembered another SVT vehicle that a lot of people questioned the value of, the Ford GT (both generations and the original GT40 if you want to go even further back).

    Missed_GT350_020.jpg

    Something a little spicier could have resided here if not for all the vibration mitigation.


    The Ford GT was built as a statement. It was a message to automotive world that Ford engineers can compete and win in any arena they care to enter. It used to be a saying during the early years of SVT that their actual purpose was to “polish the Oval.” Essentially, make Ford look good through superior engineering. No matter how you slice it, the 5.2L VooDoo engine certainly does that. While a Coyote engine screaming at 9,500 RPM would have been impressive, it would have basically just been another in a line of great engines from SVT (Trinity, Terminator, Petunia, etc.). However; building something that had never been done before, and that most believed wasn’t even possible, is of the things from which legacies are made. I believe that is how history will view the VooDoo. Not as the engine that cost us a 9,500 RPM Coyote, but as the engine no other manufacture had the balls to build.

    Missed_GT350_023.jpg

    I'm still trying to convince Ford to give me one of these Cut-Away Engines to use as a coffee table.


    -SID297
     
  2. 7998

    7998 Well-Known Member Established Member

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    Great article, enjoyed the read, but I think I would have rather had the 9500 rpm Coyote.
     
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  3. DMassey

    DMassey No Habla Jibber Jabber Established Member

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    very interesting. I believe history will show very favorable unto the GT350/GT350R
     
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  4. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    I as well.
     
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  5. DSG2003Mach1

    DSG2003Mach1 Well-Known Member Premium Member Established Member

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    while this motor definitely wasn't for me I do think it was cool of them to do something like this. Although I bet engineers at other manufacturers designing FPC engines wish they hadn't, coming out with a bigger and more powerful one than they said was doable
     
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  6. 98 svt

    98 svt Well-Known Member Established Member

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    Wow Sid, thanks for the write-up. Very interesting and informative.

    My current coffee table is a signed Antron Brown NHRA tire.:D
    I'd take that cutaway too, though.;)
     
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  7. Tob

    Tob Salut! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Ready for the GT500 5.2 reveal when you and Ford are, Travis...
     
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  8. Discount Tire

    Discount Tire Authorized Vendor Authorized Vendor

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    Great article, Travis. Thank you for sharing!
     
  9. merkyworks

    merkyworks Active Member Established Member

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    Nice article!

    Almost no difference in HP just adds more reason to why the Mustang GT4 uses a CPC and not a FPC.
     
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  10. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    There's also reliability concerns in a racing situation.
     
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  11. Rubenk

    Rubenk Wasn't me. Premium Member

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    If only they had combined the two and put the FPC Voodoo in the GT. The GT is a marvel as-is, but the engine seems rather run of the mill IMO.
     
  12. GT Premi

    GT Premi Well known member Established Member

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    Meh. I like the Voodoo, but were I given a choice, I would've picked a 9500 RPM Coyote. A 9500 RPM, road-going V8? Who else is doing that?? 9500 > 8250.

    That aside, what can you tell us about the durability issues with the aluminum flywheel during testing? A lightweight flywheel is/was on my wish list for my R, but not if it ends up giving me the Don Garlits treatment.
     
  13. tjs98gt

    tjs98gt Active Member Established Member

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    I like the concept and really enjoy the looks and sound of the car. The owner of the shop that does our cnc work here in Phoenix has a GT350 and brought it by shortly after he bought it. It made 468whp and 377wtq on the Dynojet.
     
  14. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    I think I know, but I'll ask and make sure.
     
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  15. SVOGT302

    SVOGT302 Premium Member Premium Member

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    Great article Sid....
    Thank you!
     
  16. Legendary 351

    Legendary 351 Active Member Established Member

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    nice,very nice.i wonder if the new GT500 will get 9500 RPM.That might get save for the next gen.350 or a BOSS 302
     
  17. 2001Bullitt

    2001Bullitt Active Member Established Member

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    Excellent article! Would have never known any of this haha
     
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  18. gimmie11s

    gimmie11s Dont be a Hybred Premium Member Established Member

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    Excellent, excellent article; I read every word.

    I found specific pleasure in this and enter the 2018 Mustang GT:


     
  19. tt335ci03cobra

    tt335ci03cobra Well-Known Member Established Member

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    What’s the blower setup looking like for the new 500 again? Trying to do some mental math to figure what 9500rpm and a blower would equate to as a ratio....

    7500rpm works out much better lol

    I think ford could put a nice 9500rpm crate engine together though. The 580hp cpc 5.2 is obviously a very nice 8000rpm unit they could build from.
     
  20. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    You're not going to see the 9,500RPM engine anytime soon. It would require an entirely new cylinder head.
     
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