The Differences Between the Ford 429 & 460by Alexander Rudinski
The Ford 429 and 460 engines, introduced in 1976, were massive, heavy and for their size surprisingly low on horsepower. The number refers to the cubic inches of displacement, which is the volume swept by all the pistons in the engine. This number is directly linked to the amount of horsepower the engine can provide, but many variables determine the horsepower of an engine, including efficiency, design, and fuel delivery method. Normally, more expensive, larger engines have more horsepower, but this is not always the case.
As far as raw power goes, these two cousin engines are surprisingly divergent. The larger 460 put out up to 385 horsepower stock on the year of its introduction, while the 429 only cranked on 286. As the years wore on, both engines decreased in horsepower, coming down to about 200 horsepower by 1973.
Both engines were part of the Ford 385 family, which was named for the 3.85-inch crankshaft stroke of the 460 V8. This means that both engines have roughly the same outer dimensions: the 429 is 34 inches by 30 inches by 30 inches, and the 460 is 34 inches by 27 inches by 30 inches. These massive engines certainly weighed plenty, however. The 429 weighed in at 635 pounds, while the 460 was an incredible 720 pounds, living up to its "big block" heritage. Obviously, the physical size of the engine displacement is reflected in the names of the engines.
Though both engines began their lives in 1968, the 429 was discontinued in 1973, while the 460 lasted all the way until 1996, seeing use exclusively in trucks. However, in 1973, the 460 underwent a massive change, dropping from a robust 365 horsepower to a paltry 209 horsepower. It was finally discontinued due to demands for a more efficient engine to respond to the newly environmentally aware consumers.
This is where most of the difference between the engines is made up. The 429, with less displacement volume, had a shorter stroke length of 3.59, meaning it produced less power per camshaft rotation than the 460, which had a stroke length of 3.85, as mentioned above. The longer stroke produces more power and also allows for more and better high-performance modifications.
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