Why Did The Boss 429 Fail In The Fuel Classes? - 460 Ford Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-13-2011, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Why Did The Boss 429 Fail In The Fuel Classes?

It is common knowledge that the Boss 429 was a failure in the supercharged fuel classes. One of the things that I have always been curious about are the exact reasons. The heads were fragile, the reciprocating weight high and the valve train had that one heavy rocker. I would have thought that the heads flowed as well as the Chrysler race hemi's of the day and the blocks appeared strong. The chamber was different. Even in the full hemi configuration it looked somewhat shallower than the Chrysler and this may have factored into how efficient a burn they got on nitro. The last attempts (that I can recall) to make it a viable fuel motor were made by Chuck Seyler and Billy Meyer and both failed.

Anyone want to weigh in on the issues?
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-13-2011, 11:13 PM
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The early pioneers using the Boss 429 as nitro engines were Connie Kalita and Mickey Thompson. I would say that Thompson's 1969 Mustang funny car was the more sucessful.

IMO the Boss 429 Hemi was just too late to the party, and a very strong foothold had already been gained the Chrysler 426 Hemi. It's development as a fuel motor had been headed up by the Ramcharger team and then hundreds of other pro racers since around 1964-5. So Mopar got a head start on Ford.

IF, if, if,,,, Ford had focused on one engine and stuck with it and had supported the racers by giving them thousands of cheap parts, then things might have been different. Let me give you an example, from 1964 the racing world had the 426 Mopar Hemi and the same basic engine was put in production cars from 1964 through 1971. In that eight year span of time, what did we have from Ford?
1964 = 427 high riser
1965 = 427 SOHC
1966 = 427 high risers, medium risers and cammers
1967 = 427 Tunnel Port
1968 = 428 CobraJet
1969 = 429 Boss Hemi and 428 CJs
1970 = 429 Boss Hemi, 428 CJs and 429 CJs
1971 = 429 CJs

While I'm not knocking any of the above engines, things would have been better for the development of a Ford nitro engine, if Ford would have focused on either the 427 Cammer, or the Boss 429 and STAYED with either of those engines as if they were married to them.

Stronger racer support to the blue collar masses, rather than to a select few that walked away when the free parts dried up, is the proper way to maintain the develpment of an engine and brand loyalty. IMO Ford is repeating the same mistake with John Force right now. Instead of one big name, they need to be supporting the blue collar racers via cheap parts and plenty of them.

Charlie Evans
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-13-2011, 11:45 PM
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The Boss 429 was not a failure because of its design or parts breakage. It was mostly due to the big shots at Ford and various other factors.

As said, Connie Kalitta and Mickey Thomposon put it on the map. It outran the Mopar Hemi's in Top Fuel competion and took their records away from them!!

The crank was no heavier than the Mopar unit was, and the rods they used were about the same weight too. The heavy exhaust rocker arm was certainly more problematic than the Mopar equivelant, but the Boss heads did indeed outflow the Mopars by a moderate margin.

But like it was said, the Mopar had a head start against it, it had several years of R&D into it already, as to where the Ford was the new player. The Blown fuel Boss made more power and went faster than even the blown fuel 427 SOHC.

But by the time it just began to show promise, Ford pulled the plug and called it quits.

As the world turns...I get more dizzy!
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-13-2011, 11:48 PM
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X2

Interesting to note in 69'-70' Ford gave a few select big name racers Boss 429 equiped cars to race and most of them yanked out the Boss 429 and installed 427 SOHC motors! Seems they at least had some experience and parts to make those run, but the Boss 429 was too new and not supported properly.

A good friend in 1970 bought new a Boss 429 Mustang for the express purpose of drag racing. Never too successful as according to him could not get the the support or inside track on the right parts from Ford.

Steve
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GT3V View Post
It is common knowledge that the Boss 429 was a failure in the supercharged fuel classes. One of the things that I have always been curious about are the exact reasons. The heads were fragile, the reciprocating weight high and the valve train had that one heavy rocker. I would have thought that the heads flowed as well as the Chrysler race hemi's of the day and the blocks appeared strong. The chamber was different. Even in the full hemi configuration it looked somewhat shallower than the Chrysler and this may have factored into how efficient a burn they got on nitro. The last attempts (that I can recall) to make it a viable fuel motor were made by Chuck Seyler and Billy Meyer and both failed.

Anyone want to weigh in on the issues?
fail, not really, the biggest problem is it takes sooooo long too take apart and put back together, and its not common knowage that it failed where does that come from?, it took off in pro stock,and when glidden bought 51 % of it he had the say where parts went, like john f does with the boss 500

and lastly nhra outlawed the head
chuck was just starting to make his own heads,and block, and the chevy boss hemi head, he went 5.83 which was good.

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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c.evans View Post
Stronger racer support to the blue collar masses, rather than to a select few that walked away when the free parts dried up, is the proper way to maintain the develpment of an engine and brand loyalty. IMO Ford is repeating the same mistake with John Force right now. Instead of one big name, they need to be supporting the blue collar racers via cheap parts and plenty of them.
X2.

And except for a few of the select few, I've always wondered, why did they "walk away"? (aside from your point of the parts drying up.)

"Make things Simple, not Simpler"

Albert Einstein
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by BOSS 429 View Post
and lastly nhra outlawed the head
chuck was just starting to make his own heads,and block, and the chevy boss hemi head, he went 5.83 which was good.

Rich, When did NHRA outlaw the head? I don't mean just a few years ago when they hit the Ford over the borespacing deal. To the best of my knowledge they never outlawed the head back in the early years of the Boss 429's development.

Charlie Evans
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by BOSS 429 View Post
fail, not really, the biggest problem is it takes sooooo long too take apart and put back together, and its not common knowage that it failed where does that come from?, it took off in pro stock,and when glidden bought 51 % of it he had the say where parts went, like john f does with the boss 500

and lastly nhra outlawed the head
chuck was just starting to make his own heads,and block, and the chevy boss hemi head, he went 5.83 which was good.
Don't get me wrong I love Fords but where do you guys get your information?The Chrysler Hemi dominated the pro stock ranks in the beginning.NHRA started to regulate against them by adding weight until Chrysler finally pulled out.Dyno Don Nickelson started to dominate after that running Cleavlands not big blocks.Then Bob Gliden came along after nhra lifted the cubic inch rules and ran a big block wedge not a boss hemi.And what records did the nitro boss hemi break?I remember Micky Tompsons 69 Mustang funnt car with the boss in it but I don't remember Connie Kalita using one I do know he ran an sohc though.

You want to race for cheap? Drive a chev. If you want to win? Drive a FORD!
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rat poison View Post
Don't get me wrong I love Fords but where do you guys get your information?The Chrysler Hemi dominated the pro stock ranks in the beginning.NHRA started to regulate against them by adding weight until Chrysler finally pulled out.Dyno Don Nickelson started to dominate after that running Cleavlands not big blocks.Then Bob Gliden came along after nhra lifted the cubic inch rules and ran a big block wedge not a boss hemi.And what records did the nitro boss hemi break?I remember Micky Tompsons 69 Mustang funnt car with the boss in it but I don't remember Connie Kalita using one I do know he ran an sohc though.
Glidden didn't start out with the wedge, he finished with it. His first BBF car, the EXP, was Boss 429 powered and a number of Thunderbirds and Probes followed, all Boss powered. He then switched to a Thunderbird, wedge head combo that saw little development as Bob retired shortly thereafter. I think Robert Patrick bought the wedge stuff.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BOSS 429 View Post
fail, not really, the biggest problem is it takes sooooo long too take apart and put back together, and its not common knowage that it failed where does that come from?, it took off in pro stock,and when glidden bought 51 % of it he had the say where parts went, like john f does with the boss 500

and lastly nhra outlawed the head
chuck was just starting to make his own heads,and block, and the chevy boss hemi head, he went 5.83 which was good.
Never even suggested the engine was a total failure. Just a failure as a supercharged fuel engine (see the first sentence of my original post). You bring up a good point in how long it takes to build one up and strip it. That would have been an important consideration in fuel since they are pulled down after each run. You also mention Chuck Seyler. Yes, Chuck even went quicker than that but unfortunately, the Chrysler based, hybrid fuel motors were going a lot quicker and faster than he at the time. I don't think Chuck ever qualified for an NHRA national event, but I may be in error.

"IF" Ford had decided to develop the Boss 429 for fuel, what were the design problems that were keeping it from running as quick and fast as the Chrysler hemi's of the day with the same nitro/methanol ratio and blower boost? The one thing I remember was the structural integrity of the heads. Keep in mind that it just wasn't only the original version of the engine born out of NASCAR, it was also the Arias Root version that Billy Meyer tried unsuccessfully to make competitive in his funny car years later.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by c.evans View Post
Rich, When did NHRA outlaw the head? I don't mean just a few years ago when they hit the Ford over the borespacing deal. To the best of my knowledge they never outlawed the head back in the early years of the Boss 429's development.
im talkin a few years ago when it would of made a comeback, (lastly).



all the guys ive spoke to one on one said it too long to get part in the 70,s H.M. WAS GETTING pallets of rockers,and heads,but not the drag guys, and it took too long to tear down,and re asb.

billy g tried 2 years ago to get the head back in prostock,nhra said no, 1 of the reasons i bet is it would have to be legal for all classes. THE old head with o rings,and steel cb rings do take a while to asb.


I was more aiming point to the start of the thread, because the new head a441 was built with top fuel in mind. Not prostock

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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 02:12 PM
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Never even suggested the engine was a total failure. Just a failure as a supercharged fuel engine (see the first sentence of my original post). You bring up a good point in how long it takes to build one up and strip it. That would have been an important consideration in fuel since they are pulled down after each run. You also mention Chuck Seyler. Yes, Chuck even went quicker than that but unfortunately, the Chrysler based, hybrid fuel motors were going a lot quicker and faster than he at the time. I don't think Chuck ever qualified for an NHRA national event, but I may be in error.

"IF" Ford had decided to develop the Boss 429 for fuel, what were the design problems that were keeping it from running as quick and fast as the Chrysler hemi's of the day with the same nitro/methanol ratio and blower boost? The one thing I remember was the structural integrity of the heads. Keep in mind that it just wasn't only the original version of the engine born out of NASCAR, it was also the Arias Root version that Billy Meyer tried unsuccessfully to make competitive in his funny car years later.
Don't confuse the SOHC with the Boss 429. Teardown was the biggest drawback when used in T/F for the Cammer, not the Boss as the B-429 had the same basic head/pushrod/rockerarm components as the 426 Hemi Mopar. The Cammer had the long timing chains and timing the 2 cams was sensitive and very tricky, not something you want to do when you only have 45 minutes between rounds. Also Chrysler/Mopar worked very closely with Keith Black to develop the Hemi for racing and had many years head start, not to speak of the advantages from running the old 354-392 Hemi that was so widely used up thru the early 70s. [Donovan 417] That in it self was the biggest advantage over the many different engines Ford played with, key word here is "played" Anybody could buy a early hemi and build it for fuel racing as they did in the 60s, the early hemis were almsot as common as small block Chevys in the wreckiing yards. How often did a Cammer or a B 429 show up in a wrecked or junked Ford? If one did show up in a wrecking yard the general public only got to see the empty engine bay of the car it was pulled from. Wrecking yard operators were no dummies.
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 03:02 PM
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426 hemi was not an immediate success in top fuel either. It took a while for it to gain in popularity when compared to the 392 hemi engine. As Charlie said The Ramchargers were among the 1st to use the new hemi and then later Don Gartlits. After that it caught on quickly.

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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 05:47 PM
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Don't confuse the SOHC with the Boss 429. Teardown was the biggest drawback when used in T/F for the Cammer, not the Boss as the B-429 had the same basic head/pushrod/rockerarm components as the 426 Hemi Mopar. The Cammer had the long timing chains and timing the 2 cams was sensitive and very tricky, not something you want to do when you only have 45 minutes between rounds. Also Chrysler/Mopar worked very closely with Keith Black to develop the Hemi for racing and had many years head start, not to speak of the advantages from running the old 354-392 Hemi that was so widely used up thru the early 70s. [Donovan 417] That in it self was the biggest advantage over the many different engines Ford played with, key word here is "played" Anybody could buy a early hemi and build it for fuel racing as they did in the 60s, the early hemis were almost as common as small block Chevys in the wrecking yards. How often did a Cammer or a B 429 show up in a wrecked or junked Ford? If one did show up in a wrecking yard the general public only got to see the empty engine bay of the car it was pulled from. Wrecking yard operators were no dummies.
I think you better realize how long it actually takes to remove a BOSS valve train verses a Chrysler Hemi. I, and almost anyone with a mechanical aptitude can remove the entire valve train, all tied to the shafts held down by the head bolts, in less than 5 minutes. The individual cylinder BOSS valve train takes an expert a good bit longer to remove not even considering RE-installing it too. The Cammer isn't THAT bad to remove a head having no pushrods involved, except for the chain.

That is a MAJOR drawback in today's fuel drag racing.

EDIT: In the earlier days they didn't rebuild them "on the spot" but, changed the entire engine under the blower.

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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by GT3V View Post
Why Did The Boss 429 Fail In The Fuel Classes?
"Fail" is a harsh word to use for an engine that was never really given the chance in the first place, thanks to its inadequate factory race support and inadequate timeline for a plethora or racers to really develop a racing program with it. Better prose might be to ask why it was not as successful as you--as we all--wish it might have been. And when you pose the question that way, the majority of (recurring) replies in this thread make a lot of sense.

I don't mean to debate semantics; I'm just trying to put it in into perspective.

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