The Ford 351 can be a front-heavy beast, especially when you have to run the oil pump off the front of the block. For some time, Winston Cup teams ran a magnesium front motor cover to keep weight down, but the magnesium corroded and NASCAR put an end to those high-dollar hijinks when it outlawed the cover not too long ago. That left a cast aluminum piece as the next-best option.
Now, though, Ultra Pro Machining has introduced a new Ford front motor cover made completely from billet aluminum. It holds the water pump, fuel pump, and oil pump, and features O-ring grooves for sealing the cover to the block and eliminating the need for a gasket. Looking more like a piece of art than engine hardware, Ultra Pro's front cover began life as a completely computer-designed model. Because it's billet, the cover is much stronger than an equivalent cast piece, and at 6.5 pounds it's within ounces of the weight of a magnesium piece. Because all cutting is handled by computer-controlled machinery, tolerances in every direction are held to thousandths of an inch. The aluminum used is 6061 T6 alloy, chosen specifically for its hardness, resistance to corrosion, and ability to withstand heat cycles. For better strength, all bolt holes are tapped with helicoils.
Of course quality does come with a price-Ultra Pro's front cover sells for $550, but for Ford racing teams required to run an oil pump at the front of the engine, the reliability and light weight of a billet aluminum front motor cover may be just the ticket.
Manufacturer: Ultra Pro Machining
6350 Brookshire Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28216