Aluminator Gibtec Build

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  1. #1

    Default Aluminator Gibtec Build

    Thread update: Table of Contents

    Since this thread has gotten long and I’ve received many PM’s on Facebook and e-mail with questions about the build, I figured a ToC would help anyone searching. It is based on 15 posts per page, and is also broken down in groups and now with hyperlinked post numbers. In the event some quick info is needed, this should make it easy! Also, all hyperlinks, other than the obvious cut-and-paste links are bold so they stand out and are easier to recognize, especially when not logged in.

    p.1 (Posts 1-15): Short block, pistons, heads, '98 Cobra cams, bearings, ARP parts list, oil pump & windage tray
    p.2 (Posts 16-30): Oil cooler gasket, block heater, head gaskets, more on ARP
    p.3 (Posts 31-45): Timing components, cam bolts
    p.4 (Posts 46-60): Timing cover bolt modification (aluminum block), upgraded secondary tensioner
    p.5 (Posts 61-75): Cam degree tools
    p.6 (Posts 76-90): Misc. chat
    p.7 (Posts 91-105): Oil slinger discussion
    p.8 (Posts 106-120): Oil slinger cont., rear main seal
    p.9 (Posts 121-135): Rear main seal cont.
    p.10 (Posts 136-150): King bearing tech from Ed
    p.11 (Posts 151-165): King bearing tech cont., GT-500 rockers, timing cover hole (Cont. from P.4)
    p.12 (Posts 166-180): Degreeing the cams, '98 specs
    p.13 (Posts 181-195): Degreeing the cams cont., timing cover, cam follower install
    p.14 (Posts 196-210): Primary tensioner ratchet modification
    p.15 (Posts 211-225): Primary tensioner spacer modification (update to P.14)
    p.16 (Posts 226-240): Primary tensioner spacer modification cont.
    p.17 (Posts 241-255): Valve cover mock-up, exhaust manifolds
    p.18 (Posts 256-270): Tensioner spacer info from Ed, ready to pull “old” engine
    p.19 (Posts 271-285): Oil cooler, PCV fitting for aluminum block
    p.20 (Posts 286-300): Quick Seat info
    p.21 (Posts 301-315): Old vs. new piston trivia, valve covers
    p.22 (Posts 316-330): New engine installed, Centerforce clutch
    p.23 (Posts 331-345): Crank damper, accessory belts
    p.24 (Posts 346-360): Transmission install, accessory belts cont.
    p.25 (Posts 361-375): Power steering pump and A/C install notes
    p.26 (Posts 376-390): First start!
    p.27 (Posts 391-405): First start cont.
    p.28 (Posts 406-420): Notes on PTW clearances from Ed, Vampire introduction
    p.29 (Posts 421-435): Rod clearance notes from Ed, block bore information
    p.30 (Posts 436-450): OE piston trivia
    p.31 (Posts 451-465): Misc. oil pan discussion
    p.32 (Posts 466-480): Head stud info & torque notes from Ed, wideband install, PCM harness info
    p.33 (Posts 481-495): PCM connector notes
    p.34 (Posts 496-510): Gauge install, oil pressure sensor, billet oil filter
    p.35 (Posts 511-525): Oil and pump discussion
    p.36 (Posts 526-540): Head stud re-torque
    p.37 (Posts 541-555): Head stud re-torque cont.
    p.38 (Posts 556-570): Head stud re-torque cont.
    p.39 (Posts 571-585): Project cost sheet, Vampire install completion
    p.40 (Posts 586-600): Vampire adjustments
    p.41 (Posts 601-615): AFR and piston notes from Ed, Vampire gauge addition
    p.42 (Posts 616-630): More from Ed on detonation, new CAI
    p.43 (Posts 631-645): Vampire gauge video clip
    p.44 (Posts 646-660): Dyno tune results and video clip (11/1/16), new oil separator
    p.45 (Posts 661-675): Switch to Mobil1 0W-40 & UOA, piston wrist pin discussion, updated alternator
    p.46 (Posts 676-690): General alternator discussion
    p.47 (Posts 691-705): Bolt torque & #5 thrust bearing comments, upgraded tensioner, Whipple 2.3 on the way
    p.48 (Posts 706-720): Whipple talk, new intercooler, more fuel system chat
    p.49 (Posts 721-735): More on the Vampire, 4.6 vs Coyote discussion, intercooler pictures
    p.50 (Posts 736-750): Eaton removed, intercooler comparison pics, Whipple installed, intercooler tech
    p.51 (Posts 751-765): Some e85 talk, first drive with the Whipple and new intercooler
    p.52 (Posts 766-): Visit to Gibtec


    This project had been in the works for a while: started a few years back when I picked up a brand new set of FRPP heads and a like-new Aluminator block for less than $2,000, which sat in storage until now. The smart thing to do would have been to sell the goods and make some money, especially since my OEM engine only has 21,000 miles on it, but who can resist tinkering. Adding to that, when you can make something leaps and bounds better, might as well enjoy the fruits of your labor while you have the chance.

    I'll actually begin with a shot of where I am as of the date I decided to start this thread (fall of '15), but will go backwards to the early stages and update it little by little with as much tech as I can. Since there are not a lot of Aluminator builds out there, hopefully this will be helpful to anyone considering this route. Here's the long block:

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    Before moving on, I have to pass on a world of thanks to Ed for designing the finest 2618 aluminum piston out there through Gibtec of Denver, and for his willingness to help out so many on this forum with the encyclopedia of knowledge he possesses!! For those that haven't seen the Gibtec "Custom ModMotor Piston" thread, here are my specs (0.002" oversize) and pics added from it:

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    I also intended to add an Aluminator build page up on my own site, but for now it just serves as a link back here since this got long. For anyone curious about the Aluminator block, this Castings page has a bunch of information on what makes it such a great choice! Stay tuned, more to come...
    Last edited by jrgoffin; 10-06-2018 at 06:37 PM. Reason: Hyperlinks added to ToC

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  3. #2


    Looks slick. I ordered a set of Gibtec pistons from Nick last week as well. Thanks for the some of the info you provided....

  4. #3
    Senior Member Array Wicked46's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Palm Bay, FL


    Awesome job Joe. Keep an eye out for a block for me

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  6. #4


    Here are some of the parts that went in to the Aluminator...

    Gibtec billet pistons, 9.0:1 c/r, for 3.555" bore (0.004" PTW).
    Kellog forged crank, STD/STD
    3V full-length windage tray
    Manley H-beam forged rods with ARP2000 bolts
    Total Seal rings (from Gibtec), gapped at 0.024"
    King SI Bi-Metal bearings
    Cloyes adjustable primary & secondary gears with OEM Ford timing chains & guides
    ARP2000 head studs
    ARP main cap studs & side bolts
    '98 Cobra cams w/ARP Mini-Cooper 12mm bolts
    Fel-Pro MLS head gaskets
    Shelby GT-500 oil pump with Boundary Engineering billet gears
    Canton oil pan w/Terminator pickup tube
    Stewart water pump
    Cobra Engineering upgrade dowels & secondary passenger tensioner
    FRPP ported heads

    I'll skip all the boring details like all the torque specs, but anything from ARP will have its own instruction sheet with all those numbers. Those can also be downloaded right from ARP by looking up the individual kit p/n's if anyone wants to get their hands on them before starting a project like this. Whatever ARP doesn't supply, the factory specs and tightening sequences are easy enough to follow.

    It all started with this block, which was acquired through a Ford engineer after it was removed from a Pre-Production 3V Mustang. Other than some unusual etchings and paint markings, it looked like it was brand new:

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    For use with the Terminator supercharger and lower intake, the knock sensor bosses in the pic have to be ground down slightly, which I accomplished with my Makita angle grinder before the machine shop went to work on it. Fast forward just a bit and here's the short-block up on the stand (no pics up to here since this thread started a bit late - sorry!):

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    As an FYI, the main bearing clearances are 0.002", and about the same for the rods at 0.0022". I'd have to look at my notes, but I think the crank end-play is 0.005" as well, but everything went together in spec easily. The King bearings are top notch, and for a street driven car, their Bi-Metal SI series is the way to go. For the rods, they are CR868SI, and the main set is MB5281SI with a slight twist.

    Here is a King drawing of the main set, note the two-piece #5 thrust bearing:

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    As a suggestion from Ed, and in order to toss the thrust washer, a nice feature from King is the ability for find a one-piece flanged upper for #5, but you actually have to purchase MB5219SI just to snag that one bearing. Here's the drawings for them (although listed under the old p/n):

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    The lone pack removed from that set, with the upper flanged bearing on the left side (F5219U shown above). It's the one with the oil groove, very important - do not use the other one!!

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    I neglected to get a picture of the bearings in the saddles, but you now have flanged upper AND lower bearings in the thrust cap and rid yourself of the "tinker toy" setup (as Ed calls it). You spend just a few $$$ more, but the extra durability is well worth it. For anyone wanting to read up more on King, there is a great document put together by their R&D manager that Ed has posted more than once, and is attached at the end of this post.

    Anyway, the short block getting ready with the Fel-Pro 26187PT & 26222PT MLS head gaskets and just TWO studs at each corner for ease of setting the heads down. You don't need to actually thread in any studs before setting a head down (that's what the locating dowels are for), but I wanted the two in there in case either one of the heads slipped out of my hands! I also set the crank position with the holding tool (from the OTC 4.6 tool set), which put pistons #1 & #6 at TDC. You can also see the new coolant inlet tube and head dowels, which were part of the FRPP M-6026-A46 kit:

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    Just for the heck of it, here's a shot from underneath, looking at the #7 piston which is at BDC. The wrist pin (tool steel from Gibtec, by the way) is close to the bottom of the bore, but not beyond it in any way like with a stroker:

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    Next up, head studs, cam swap, upgraded dowel pins, and oil pump.

    Also, King bearing document - well worth the read:

    King Bearing Materials.pdf
    Last edited by jrgoffin; 03-22-2018 at 08:54 AM.

  7. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Wicked46 View Post
    Awesome job Joe. Keep an eye out for a block for me
    Will do, Jon! I know everyone likes the Teksid, but if you get your hands on an Aluminator, you'll be impressed!!

  8. #6
    Senior Member Array
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    Pittsburg, CA (Bay Area)


    Coming together nicely Joe!

  9. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by PWORLDSTANG View Post
    Coming together nicely Joe!
    Thanks, Brandon - it's going to be a beautiful engine when done! The long-block is essentially complete now, but just taking a break so I can acquire all the components to degree the cams. More on the way shortly...

  10. #8


    Looking very nice Joe!

    Whenever you can you should try to have 1 to 2 threads of stud appear above the top of the fully tightened nut. In the pic below you need a little more stud above the nut. See inside the red circle on the outboard 8mm stud

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    Ford does not always help us with their hole drillings — especially when they are a little deep. The easiest fix is to loosen the stud and back it out 1 to 2 turns, spin the nut down and if you have your 1 to 2 threads above the crown of the nut you are good to go. Torque it to spec and go to the next bad boy.


  11. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by eschaider View Post
    Looking very nice Joe!

    Whenever you can you should try to have 1 to 2 threads of stud appear above the top of the fully tightened nut.

    Ford does not always help us with their hole drillings — especially when they are a little deep. The easiest fix is to loosen the stud and back it out 1 to 2 turns, spin the nut down and if you have your 1 to 2 threads above the crown of the nut you are good to go. Torque it to spec and go to the next bad boy.

    Thanks for pointing it out, Ed. Unlike the heads where the studs don't thread down all the way, the outboard mains went in a bit deeper. Will pop the pan off and get them adjusted.
    Last edited by jrgoffin; 08-18-2016 at 08:59 PM.

  12. #10


    Before I forget, for anyone looking at the ARP bolts for the aluminum block, here are some numbers to get started.

    Head studs (2000 series), standard for all 4.6 blocks: 256-4001
    Main cap stud kit (3V): 156-5901
    Side bolts (3V): 156-5002
    Crank snout bolt & washer: 156-2501
    Cam bolts (12mm Mini Cooper), Summit p/n for BOLT ONLY: M19AU20851L
    Cam washers (7/16" which need to be drilled for 12mm bolts): 200-8717 - only two needed

    The Manley rods (14042R-8) came with the 2000 series bolts already, but the bolts can be purchased separately as 200-6207 in packs of eight for those that want to upgrade. I should also mention that the stretch on all of mine was 0.006" at 60 ft/lbs, which is within the limits of what Manley specifies.

    Generic shot of the rods for the heck of it, with more details to come...

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    Last edited by jrgoffin; 01-27-2016 at 08:31 AM.

  13. #11


    Once the heads were set down, I threaded nuts and washers on the two corner studs and got to work swapping each OEM cam out for the '98 set (20° more duration on the intake, same specs as the OE Terminator exhaust cams). I did these one at a time and threaded the remaining studs in since the access was easier (I had also popped all the cam followers out before starting). Each stud was threaded in with a nut driver using a 3/16" hex bit, just "finger tight".

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    Be sure to keep the cams straight, but it's easy enough to match the engineering numbers on each, while some will have an indication in the back end cap as to their position (i.e., "LE" for left exhaust). With aftermarket cams, this is obviously different, but here is a screen shot of the OEM cam base numbers for reference to show which position they go in:

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    The "6A270" and that sequence are the same on the '98 cams, just not the prefix and suffix:

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    With each cam going back in one by one, I used Clevite assembly lube in the saddles then torqued the caps down in the factory sequence (followers not reinstalled yet). The head studs then were torqued down to 85 ft/lbs (not 100 as ARP specifies!) per the factory sequence as well. Be sure to use plenty of the ARP moly lube, and when it comes to the studs, you'll use it on TOP of the washers, as well as the bottom of the nut and on the threads. The bolt torque sequence, again, is on the spec sheet right from ARP.

    Cam cap torque chart:

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    I was sort of doing this backward by installing the heads first, but it made it easy to get the giant boxes off the floor of my garage. I also got real lucky here in that I ended up trading my original FRPP heads for another FRPP set - also new - that were ported by Roush back in the day. This was too good to pass up, especially since these had new cams and followers even though they are listed as bare (I didn't get my hands on the '98 cams until after, but then sold the new OEM cams for the same price). For anyone curious, here's a blurb on those heads:

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    From there, it was on to the upgraded tensioner pins...

    I was lucky enough to get a new fixture from James Hellermann at Cobra Engineering that is basically "one-time-use" (no hardened guide bushings), but came out without a mark and then was put away for safe keeping. Here's the plate with the depth marked before drilling (I actually mounted it before I bolted the heads on, but dragged my feet on doing the job):

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    After you drill the holes, the plate gets flipped so you can make use of the larger holes for the tap. Pretty clever! I used WD-40 and all went smooth.

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    Here, the pins are screwed in and torqued down. I used red loctite and 18 ft/lbs which is safe for an 8mm thread. With these pins, you also have to acquire a 9mm drill bit to open the holes in the tensioner arm so they fit over the larger pin. I found the bit through Ace Hardware (via a Google search), and had my machine shop drill the arms on a press so the holes were perfectly straight.

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    Coming up shortly: upgrading the steel-backed Shelby oil pump with billet gears.
    Last edited by jrgoffin; 12-17-2017 at 10:27 AM. Reason: Added cam cap diagram & '98 cam chart

  14. #12
    Senior Member Array Wicked46's Avatar
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    Awesome info man! Keep the pics and info coming. It's helping me out a TON

  15. #13


    The Shelby GT-500 oil pump in next. There is an Oil pump section on my own site with a bunch of info, but I'll add some here. The latest Shelby pump (also the same as the Melling M360), is actually a 3V HV/HP version, but with a monster steel backing plate to keep oil from flowing out there due to flex. The pump can be purchased through Tousley or Tasca for about $75, which is a great deal (p/n DR3Z-6600-A). Also added to the mix is a set of billet steel gears from Boundary Engineering which were just over $200, making this a great bang for the buck.

    While Boundary Engineering isn't as common as some of the other shops out there making these gears, I am fully confident that their gears are every bit as good, if not better than the others. If you get a set in your hands, you'll most likely think the same. The company's owner, Travis, had this to say from another thread:

    "...I manufacture and design the gears myself. These are made in America, made by me actually. There aren't many that actually know how to design a trochoidal gerotor pump, but I'm one of them. I didn't hit the copy key, these use a unique pattern that mitigates the torsion moments on the teeth and creates a bigger pumping chamber. We have thousands of my designed gears floating in different vehicles, and many house name my brand. I challenge you to find one that has failed."

    Fine by me. Anyway, here are the billet gears next to the powdered metal stock set:

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    Adding these gears to a pump is a no-brainer: unscrew the back plate, remove the old set, and insert the new (with some lubricant as well). This pump in the picture is actually a standard 3V pump that I had and decided not to use, but you get the idea:

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    The steel backing plate goes back on easily on the actual Shelby pump and the screws get torqued down to 89 in/lbs. after just threading them in by hand first. I tightened them in a criss-cross pattern and marked each as shown just to be sure I got all of them - fairly important! Before mounting it, I also added a small bead of anaerobic gasket maker around the port just to keep it completely sealed with the block (some "upgraded" pumps will have an o-ring here):

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    The pump initially attached with three bolts, with a fourth (lower right) added when the timing chain guide is bolted on. You also have to align the two flats inside the gears with those on the crank, but it's pretty straightforward:

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    Once the pump and windage tray are on, it's time to add the pickup. The nice thing about this 3V block is the full-length tray - an "upgrade" over the standard 4V half-length tray. The ARP studs are also specific if you use the tray, and it bolts right back on easily. For guys that have a WAP block and want to add the 3V tray, it's inexpensive through Ford (about $25) as 4R3Z-6687-BA. Here's how it looks, and note the "stand" on the #4 cap:

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    With regards to the pickup, the OEM Terminator (4V) version is pefect since the length allows it to sit about 1/4" above the pan bottom (also measured this with Silly Putty in my Canton pan). Additionally, it is considered a "high-flow funnel type" by Ford, so it never hurts to have the ability to get more oil up top. Here is a comparison picture with a newer style on the left (I have no idea why Ford made the change):

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    One caveat now with the 4V tube is the "scraper" that runs along the front edge. If you are using the full-length tray, it will have to be cut off, which is easy enough. As an alternative, the '05-'10 (3V) pickup will work since the depth is identical, but I believe it is the newer style as seen above left (this one in the picture is for the 5.8 Shelby). In any case, here is a side view of a new pickup - part of the scraper was simply removed with a cut-off wheel tracing the contour of the tube with about 1/2" clearance:

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    Once that is done, it bolts on to the bottom of the pump (don't forget the o-ring!) and to the #4 cap stand. With an upgrade to the ARP stud kit, you have to have about 0.070" removed from the stand, but that is shown clearly on the instruction sheet that comes with the stud kit (the machine shop handling my block took care of this for me). Here's the final product, and in the second picture, you can also see the new rear main seal plate in place as well:

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    From here, the Canton "road race" pan, 15-784 (which was the same used on the 2000 Cobra R), was mounted up. There is also an Oil pan section on my site with some more information there, but bolting on the pan is real simple. Since the rear main seal plate is attached with a bead of RTV under it (I used the Permatex black, which is the same used when the engines were originally built) I also added two small beads at the rail joints before putting the gasket and pan in place. All my gaskets were from FelPro, by the way.

    With the timing chain guides in place, and ready to move on. The upper bolt for the driver's guide is not shown since it was left out of my FR timing kit (shown in Post #35), but it was sent later along with a couple others that were missing.

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    Applicable page from the assembly manual:

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    Stay tuned for the rest of the timing gear!
    Last edited by jrgoffin; 12-02-2017 at 03:05 PM. Reason: Added timing chain guide diagram & hyperlink to timing kit.

  16. #14
    Senior Member Array boosted01's Avatar
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    Great Write-up. These builds never get old.

  17. #15


    Quote Originally Posted by boosted01 View Post
    Great Write-up. These builds never get old.
    I only wish my wallet felt the same way!

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