Darin Morgan Working with Ford Racing on New Pro Stock Head
Cylinder head designer and Profiler Performance R&D Manager Darin Morgan has been working with Ford Racing on a new Pro Stock Cylinder head for the 2010 Ford Pro Stock engine program. Ford has received approval from the NHRA to run two types of cylinder heads, a canted valve combustion chamber head and a mirror chamber head.
When Ford Racing was tasked with developing a new engine for Pro Stock, Morgan was highly recommended for the cylinder head development and he has completed a rotated canted valve head that is ready for testing in record time. For more information about Darin Morgan and his cylinder head program, visit his website.
Ford has already revealed the three teams that are working on 2010 engine development: Jim Cunningham, Larry Morgan and Bob Ingles (Robert Patrick) will give both approved heads a shot during their engine development programs.
With the engine’s debut scheduled for the 2010 Winter Nationals in Pomona, we imagine the GM and Dodge teams are anxious to see how well the new Ford engine performs. Having been involved with designing Pro Stock heads for “The General” for the past twenty years, Morgan feels that the Ford teams will come out of the gate strong in 2010.
Darin Morgan has been porting and flow testing cylinder heads for over twenty years and he jumped at the opportunity to help Ford’s return to NHRA Pro Stock. Photo courtesy of Darin Morgan
Morgan discussed his canted valve Ford Pro Stock head with StangTV during a recent interview.
StangTV: Can you tell us about the Ford Pro Stock head you have been working on with Ford Racing?
Darin Morgan: We call it a rotated canted valve arrangement. It’s basically one step back from a true rotated or what they call a semi-hemi head. Ford is now calling the semi-hemi their mirror chamber cylinder head. The head we’ve been developing is heavily rotated so the intake and exhaust valves are straighter, and they are in an arrangement where the cross flow or overlap allows this cylinder head to breathe really well at high engine speed. Engine speeds have increased by 1000 RPM’s since the original E460 head design. High engine speed was part of the problem for the wedge style arrangement, because the air had to turn a 90-degree angle and another 90-degree angle to get out during overlap. You can’t raise the RPM range with that setup, whereas the hemi or canted valve has a lot more overlap flow and you can raise the power range. We’re valve limited with these engines right now, that’s why the rotated canted valve arrangement. The rotated canted valve head design is very similar to the GM DRCE3 head, except these exhaust valves are rotated more and the valves are on bore center, so we can squeeze a lot more valve area in the thing.
That’s where these engines are hurting – a Pro Stock engine or any high-end normally aspirated engine is a quest for RPM’s. You cannot raise the RPM range unless you have a valve arrangement that has free cross flow at high RPM’s. What we are trying to achieve is a balance of valve area, valve efficiency, and cross flow, and I think we have hit the nail on the head on this cylinder head.
StangTV: So you have taken a lot of what you have learned off GM’s DRCE3 heads and applied it to the Ford head?
Darin Morgan: Most cylinder heads, like my rotated canted valve or the mirror port, have similar valve arrangements that have been in competition for three or four years. I think most cylinder heads have the same potential to qualify and win races. The reason I went with this arrangement is that I have a lot of experience with the DRCE3. I was a part of the original design team that did that program, and over the last four years, I have seen that cylinder head come full circle. Myself, Tony McAffey and Richard Maskin at Dart have done major research and development on the DRCE3 cylinder head. From that, we learned what direction Pro Stock cylinder head technology is heading. That cylinder head design has won numerous races and set every record for the last three years, so I know the potential of that cylinder head and that is the reason why I went with that design. The new Ford head is not a DRCE3 copy, it’s a result of knowledge gained from three years of research and development on the DRCE3.
StangTV: We understand you have orders and are producing heads now.
Darin Morgan: Jim Cunningham was the catalyst on this entire project, along with Brian Wolf, the head of Ford Racing. With Brian also being a racer, he wanted Ford back into NHRA Pro Stock. Jim Cunningham got in his ear and told him that we needed to do this. That got the ball rolling. They assembled the team and in just under a year, starting from a clean sheet of paper, came up with a Pro Stock engine and cylinder head. In my twenty-seven years of doing this, it’s a world record. It’s amazing how fast this has come together. We are making castings as fast as we can here at the shop. Here at Profiler, we design the product, get the raw aluminum in the door, melt it, cast it, heat treat it, machine it and ship it out the front door. We are the only ones in the U.S. that can do that.
StangTV: Are you working with the valvetrain suppliers on rocker arm designs and other parts?
Darin Morgan: Everything goes through me or the individual team, because every team does it a little differently. I made the heads versatile for different valve angles, rocker arm geometry, or anything you want. My major complaint over the years was the inability to do any rapid prototype change on these Pro Stock heads. Teams need to advance because development does not stand still. This cylinder head allows them to do just about anything they want. I’m doing ten sets of heads right now. I’ve got three teams that I’m doing heads for right now. Everybody is jumping on the Ford bandwagon and you’ll see a lot of Fords back in Pro Stock and Comp.
StangTV: Who have you worked with at Ford Racing on the Pro Stock program?
Darin Morgan: Mose Nowland is the guy, he is a wealth of information and he is awesome – a great guy to work with. Ford has been nothing short of unbelievable on this project. Again, this has all happened in under a year. That is amazing and the end result is shocking. Mark my words: this is going to put Ford Pro Stock into the number one slot bar none, hands down.
StangTV: Do you think this head and engine will have some Comp Eliminator racers looking to run this engine?
Darin Morgan: My phone has been ringing off the hook. I’ve gotten no less than thirty phone calls from Competition Eliminator racers who want to use the engine. They want to know where they can find parts, how they can get heads, and how fast they can get them. The only reason Ford is not more prominent is because of the stagnation of engine technology over the last two decades. With this new engine, Ford has not only made up for lost time, they have really outdone themselves.