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Turbo Ford 5.4L Modular V8 Takes On 5.3L LS In Junkyard Dyno Battle: Video

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The Ford 5.4L V8 often catches a lot of flack, mainly because of common problems with its timing chain, tensioners, and the variable valve timing that can cause some pretty gnarly engine damage if neglected. But those problems can be prevented, of course, and as we can see from this nifty video from Richard Holdener, a junkyard turbo Ford 5.4L V8 can also make pretty serious power with just a few mods.

Holdener pits the turbo Ford 5.4L mill against an engine that has earned its reputation for being one of the best ways to make big power on a budget – General Motors’ legendary LS. In this case, it’s a 5.3L version of the LS, which is also fitted with a pair of turbos.

The Blue Oval mill was lifted from a Lincoln Navigator and is a four-valve unit that’s been fitted with some other upgrades including bigger cams, ported heads, a 90mm throttle body, and a single plane intake manifold. The formerly naturally-aspirated V8 also has forged internals and a pair of 67mm turbos, along with an air-to-air intercooler to keep things cool under the hood.

The LS it’s going up against is pretty similar, though not a totally apples-to-apples comparison. It too has the typical heads/cam/intake upgrades, along with two turbos. Holdener is also running both engines at the same boost level to keep this comparison fair.

Naturally aspirated, the 5.4 put down 444 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque on the dyno. With 13 pounds of boost, the V8 went all the way up to 840 horsepower. With 14 pounds of boost it cranked out 885 ponies, and at 15.4 psi the modular motor laid down an astounding 935 horsepower. But Holdener wasn’t done just yet and crested the magical 1,000 hp mark with almost 18 pounds of boost.

Meanwhile, the LS started off a little better than the Blue Oval mill with an N/A baseline of 500 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. With just 5.5 pounds of boost, it hit almost 700 horsepower, and at 13 pounds, it was already at 930 ponies. The LS topped 1,000 horsepower with 15.5 pounds, and finally, nearly 1,100 horsepower at 18 psi.

While the LS ultimately beat out the turbo Ford 5.4L, it’s clear that there is another cheap junkyard motor out there worth building. And it can probably be had even cheaper than GM’s famous V8, mainly because a lot of people aren’t even aware of its power potential.

We’ll have more cool videos like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for non-stop Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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15 Comments

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  1. I’d give up 75hp just for the better looks of the 5.4. There’s probably a couple tweaks to the heads that would get the 5.4 past the LS, just needs more people to play with it, and aftermarket parts. That’s not going to happen with the Coyote out there tho.

  2. Stock LS bottom end vs. forged aftermarket internals in the Ford.
    Why?
    Because with stock internals of the Ford, it would quickly be dead. The stock OH cam system won’t be far behind, it can barely handle stock power levels.

    Would like to see the side by side $ cost of the tested motors.

    • The Stock 4V has been beat by a lowsy tuner and the LS is completely forged internals also. By the way, a good tuner would have Been Lund or PBD. Stock Coyote’s go 1100+ . David Van Voris ran in the low 8’s in a heavy S550 in 2019…something wrong with this test!!!

  3. The sad thing is that the LS had a stock bottom end/ short block and is running pushrods but somehow still beat the pants off of the 5.4 ford heavily modified 32v modular engine..Definitely not a good comparison at all

  4. Proof that a 3.5″ cylinder flows less than a 3.78″ bore. The bigger bore LS’s flow even better. The bore spacing of the Mod motor is the limiter here. IMO the 5.4 is a better truck motor because the long stroke promotes low end torque. I would love to compare stock power curves because any advantage that a long stroke gives the Ford happens before the dyno run starts.

  5. Just out of curiosity why would you feel that a 5.4L DOHC Navigator longblock would cost less than an old GEN3 LS based iron block 5.3L that was used from 99-07? If you said a 5.4L SOHC I might agree, but you can get a good junkyard LM7 longblock for say $500/600 if you’re smart enough to look around instead of paying some of the prices listed on Ebay. Plus if building a 5.4L was cheap then my Lightning would be making a lot more power than it does right now. I still own a 03 Cobra and an 03 Lightning, and I’ve owned LS vehicles in the past and currently own a GEN5 LT1 car so I have no real bias either way.

    To be honest I’m a little surprised that a small bore GEN3 SBC made more power both N/A and boosted than a built (both on the topend and bottomend) DOHC Modular with more displacement. I believe a 5.4L DOHC has more in it than this, but a stock bottomend 5.3L that’s still running cathedral heads (TFS or otherwise) is far from the most optimal high HP 5.3L setup especially when talking turbocharging it. SOHC Modulars suck because you can’t fit enough valve in their small bores to flow much. 5.3L has a bigger bore than a Modular (3.552″ vs 3.78″) so a 2V head on it can flow more air than on a Modular, but a ported 4V head should flow better than a small bore LS head IMO. (Even though there are so really good flowing 5.3L aftermarket heads including cathedrals like the TFS on this 5.3L) 5.3L’s are strong/solid blocks that handle abuse and boost well, but all other things being equal a larger 4″+ bore LS engine will easily outclass them as they accept a much higher flowing set of heads.

  6. All that power is all well and good, but will either engine survive those levels of boost on fuel readily available at any gas station? I’m gonna guess they ran these tests on a minimum of 100 octane. Significantly higher than the 93 that a few gas stations in my area have.
    Show me engine builds that I can run on readily available gasoline. Give me that, and you’ll have my interest.

  7. It SAYS the 5.4 has ported heads &the LS has typical heads meaning aftermarket for you bowties.
    Aftermarket heads & its blue oval all the way
    They always cheat the fords on the test
    We know you bowties can’t stay between the lines, let alone read between em.😁😆😆😅😅🤣😂😂

  8. Why does any of this even matter the communist left is going to have all on foot if they get their way. Ammunition is a better investment than HP.

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