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Unlocking Falcon Performance

Some truly startling performance achieved with Ford's SOHC 3.9/4.0-litre sixes!

Words by Michael Knowling

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The face of Ford Falcon performance has changed completely since the introduction of the BA XR6 Turbo. The mid-$40k XR6T is arguably the best performance car on the market. But what if you can achieve similar performance in an EA - AU 6-cylinder Falcon with an all-up cost starting at around 10 grand - including purchase of the car? Believe it or not, Ford's unloved SOHC straight-six is a grunter waiting to be unleashed; all of a sudden those 400,000km ex-taxis have some real potential!

The father and son team of Jim and Brendan Mock (of Jim Mock Motorsport, Melbourne) has accrued a vast amount of experience with the big Ford six. You may remember a test we did of a Jim Mock enhanced Falcon sedan back in Issue 166 - see Promise Delivered. Since that February 2002 story, the Mock team has continued to beaver away on the EA - AU Ford six and has released a much-improved range of atmo power-up kits. (And we thought the previous generation was a ball-tearer!)

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Right now, do yourself a favour. Forget about power numbers and get yourself a ride in Jim's enhanced Falcon workshop ute. Beg if you have to. Any reservations you might have about a seriously grunty atmo Ford six fly out the window when Jim nails it - the way this ute peels rubber and lunges toward the scenery is alarming. This is performance with guts - don't expect a turbine smooth power delivery, but do expect a muscles-flexed torque rampage!

So what have Jim and Brendan Mock been up to since out last tasting of their product? Well, the range of power-up kits (known as DEVs) has recently been revised and there are some new developments on the scene. Let's take a look at each DEV kit as they are today...

The DEV Kits

The entry-level kit - DEV1 - focuses primarily on exhaust flow. The factory exhaust manifold is replaced by fourth generation custom 3>2>1 headers, which then connect to a 2½-inch aluminised mild steel mandrel exhaust. A high-flow cat converter and a pair of straight-through mufflers are fitted to ensure emission and noise compliance.Like all DEV kits, the DEV1 upgrade also includes a set of US-sourced Autolite spark plugs that enhance power in the big Ford six - dyno tests prove it. The final component of the DEV1 upgrade is dyno testing of mixtures, timing and a general assessment.

You want figures? Sure. A healthy EA to AU Falcon six with a DEV1 kit breathes to the tune of up to 112kW at the back wheels (varying depending on the model and driveline). The DEV1 upgrade comes fitted and tuned for AUD$980 and is a great stepping stone for further development...

Brendan Mock tells us a DEV2 upgrade is available, but most customers find the extra cash to go for the more serious DEV3 kit; still, the DEV2 kit gives a tidy power increase... You get all the hardware included in DEV1 plus a model-specific Tickford airbox snorkel, low resistance Champion plug leads and a very mild camshaft with adjustable timing gear. Jim Mock Motorsport has tested more cam grinds than they'd care to count, so you can rest assured the final choice has the right specs for the job. DEV2 sees most Ford EA - AU sixes crank out up to 125kW at the wheels and checks in at AUD$1980. This kit comes highly recommended for commercial and towing applications

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Lured by the extra bang-for-buck, over the DEV2 most Jim Mock Motorsport customers opt for the slightly more expensive DEV3 kit. This configuration gives up to 140kW at the treads and comes fitted and tuned for AUD$2200 - just AUD$220 more than the 125kW ATW DEV2 kit. The only mechanical difference is the camshaft, which is slightly more aggressive. This kit is recommended for performance street applications

A variation on this kit is the newly introduced DEV3 HL (high lift) package. Aimed at giving maximum performance without the hassle (and cost) of removing the cylinder head, the DEV3 HL kit comes with an even more serious camshaft profile that requires the fitment of upgrade valve springs. Brendan Mock says these springs have been custom made to aviation spec to ensure long service life and tension. Interestingly, there are no fuel or management changes in any of the kits up to DEV3 HL - the Mock boys have carefully optimised engine airflow to suit the existing fuel delivery. This kit can get you up to the 150kW at the wheels for a cost of AUD$2500.

Beyond this we must step into the devil's realm and remove the cylinder head...

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The DEV4 package involves splitting the engine apart to give the SOHC head some porting and combustion chamber shaping. (This is a photo of a standard EB Falcon exhaust port.) The compression ratio is also increased to around 9.6:1, primarily thanks to a triple-layer metal head gasket (and note that the extra compression requires that you now fill with premium unleaded at all times).

DEV4 also has its own cam profile with upgrade valve springs while the fuelling department receives a remanufactured fuel pressure regulator. The remanufactured regulator helps achieve the appropriate mixtures, but ignition timing remains unaltered (except for across-the-board adjustment of the dizzy). These changes push power up to 160kW at the wheels while the bill amounts to AUD$4300. Note that your 4300 hard-earned bucks also include full cylinder head reconditioning with all new gaskets and seals.

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DEV5 goes wilder again with extra porting, larger one-piece valves and high-as-possible-on-pump-fuel compression. The remanufactured fuel pressure reg is also carried over. Recommended for street/strip use, the DEV5 costs AUD$4900 and provides up to 170kW at the wheels. Brendan Mock points out that this kit replaces the DEV5a configuration we tested in our original drive back in Feb 2002. "The new DEV5 kit is much more streetable and it makes 99 percent of the power the old DEV5a kit used to," he says.

The ultimate off-the-shelf upgrade is the latest incarnation of DEV5a. The new DEV5a kit uses all the same hardware used in the revised DEV5 package but also includes a UniChip interceptor. The UniChip allows accurate tuning of mixtures and ignition timing. For AUD$6300, the new DEV5a kit punches out up to 175kW at the wheels and enough performance to go club racing, off-road racing, etc.

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If you're chasing even more power, Jim Mock Motorsport can accommodate. Their DEV6 option is tailor-made to your requirements and is intended for competition use. Price is on application.

What About the SOHC VCT Engine?

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Jim Mock Motorsport also offers DEV kits suitable for the SOHC 4.0-litre engine featuring variable cam timing (as fitted to the AU XR6 HP and Fairlane). Chose from VCT DEV1, VCT DEV3+, VCT DEV4+ or VCT DEV5 (there is no VCT DEV2)...

The VCT DEV1 kit lifts power from about 110kW at the wheels up to 128kW ATW using the same hardware as the conventional DEV1 kit. VCT DEV1 costs AUD$1080 fitted.

VCT DEV3+ adds a free-flow air intake, Champion plug leads and a UniChip interceptor. Power is increased up to 142kW at the wheel and the bill goes up to AUD$2800.

The newly introduced VCT DEV4+ kit introduces head porting and slightly higher compression to achieve up to 152kW at the wheels. Of course, the cylinder head needs to come off for these mods - this contributes to the AUD$5200 (fitted and tuned) cost.

The most potent upgrade for the VCT engine is VCT DEV5+. In this kit, the standard camshaft is replaced with something a little bumpier, the valve springs are upgraded and more time is spent porting. AUD$5900 gets you up to 160kW ATW.

DEV Kit Options

There are a couple of extra-cost options applicable to all DEV kits.

The optional Race Series air intake comprises a 3-inch mandrel bent and HPC'd pipe between the airbox and throttle body. A conical aftermarket air filter (which fits inside the factory airbox) is also included as part of the AUD$550 Race Series intake.

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Optional Race Series headers (with mandrel bent pipes) are also available, offering a more generous torque spread and sharper throttle response. The Race Series headers cost AUD$245. Oh, and the conventional DEV headers and Race Series headers can be HPC'd for an extra AUD$145.

Note that, for optimal results, it is advised that the Race Series intake and headers are fitted as a pair.

The Jim Mock Motorsport Workshop Ute

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What you're looking at here is no show pony - more like a draught horse. The Mock workshop XH Ford Falcon ute has been subjected to unspeakable tortures and has been a long-serving test mule. Sure, it might be layered in workshop dust and grime - but that's soon blown off!

You can't help have fun behind the wheel of this ute - fitted with the DEV5 kit and the optional Race Series intake and exhaust, it simply begs to be driven! Driveability at very low rpm is very strong and there are no noticeable flat-spots on the way up the tacho - there's just torque, torque and more torque. The long-stroke SOHC Ford six is not a high revver but we found it all too easy to bounce off the 5800-ish rev limiter in low gears (a 5-speed manual gearbox is fitted to the ute). Our only criticism is engine roughness when returning down to idle - the engine actually stalled once in this scenario. Jim Mock puts this down to the fact the ute was way overdue for a service and new spark plugs.

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In hand-timed 0 - 100 km/h sprints, the Falcon ute was difficult to get off to a clean start - the unladen rear-end allowed bulk wheelspin whenever we gave it a small clutch dump. Still, we recorded 7.2 - 7.3-seconds time after time and we couldn't help think it could be faster given a more effective launch. Interestingly, we managed a high 6-second 0 - 100 by launching in second gear! This indicates that amount of torque on tap... Certainly, a taller diff ratio would make the most of the DEV5's power and torque curves.

And - hang on - before you start comparing our 0 - 100 km/h times with other performance benchmarks... The consummate ease with which the Falcon achieved these acceleration times was quite remarkable. In real-world scenarios we reckon the tickled Falcon could out-gun cars that are supposed to be faster. Let's take a Subaru WRX as an example. Unless the WRX driver absolutely nails the launch (which is damn hard to do!) it is easily a second or more slower to 100 km/h than is quoted. In the DEV'd Falcon you could totally screw up the launch and still be within a few tenths of its optimal time.

If we were betting people we'd back the Mock work ute against some pretty stiff competition - grime an' all! A ball of fun to drive? You'd better bloody believe it.


Jim Mock Motorsport +61 3 9399 4401

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