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Engine of the Week

Small Block Ford Engine

When Lazaro Mesa of Mesa Balancing built this small block Ford engine a year ago it made 600 hp. In the shop for freshening up, this street engine will make around 630 hp once its done.


Lazaro Mesa is an engine builder who takes great pride in doing the best engine work possible. Utilizing the high-tech tools and machines in his shop, Mesa Balancing, the Hialeah, FL shop can machine, build and dyno tune partial to complete racing engines for all types of applications from championship-winning off-shore power boat motors, alcohol sprint cars, turbo and blower engines to carburetor and EFI engines. Mesa’s shop has been in Hialeah for nearly 20 years.

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One of those engine projects recently in the shop was a small block Ford engine with a Windsor block that is a 4.100˝ stroke with a 4.030˝ bore.

“It’s a production ’71 block,” Mesa says. “We’re using a set of AFR CNC-ported heads. We’re right at 10:1 compression. We’re using an AED custom carburetor, MSD distributor, and Motor Sport intake manifold. It’s just your regular run of the mill streetcar stuff.”


While Mesa says the job is pretty run of the mill for his shop, the small block Ford engine is going in a ‘57 Ford Fairlane 500. In fact, Mesa is no stranger to this engine as he originally built it.

“I built this engine about a year ago,” he says. “We’ve made over 600 horsepower with it when we built it originally. It’s in the shop now for freshening up. I think we’ll make another 20-30 horsepower with it once we’re done.”


Being used in a street race application, the small block Ford came into Mesa Balancing needing new rings, bearings, gaskets, valves, springs and other things in a standard freshening job.

“We’re using an Eagle rotating assembly, CP pistons and rings, a custom Cam Motion camshaft, Clevite 8-series bearings, Melling high-volume pump, Cloyes timing chain set, roller lifters, Scorpion rocker arms, Cometic head gaskets, and a Wilson combo spacer,” he says. “With the freshen up this engine should produce around 630 hp and 580 ft.-lbs. of torque.”

“There is nobody that does crankshafts, blocks, cylinder heads, dyno, porting work like we do,” Mesa says. “Everything is done in-house and in the past four or five years we’ve added CNC work and we’re doing engraving on our valve covers, titanium retainers and we’re making tapered ring compressors, and all kinds of stuff.”
With only four people in the shop, Mesa Balancing isn’t a huge operation, but the shop has championships under its belt to back up its engine work.


“In 2005, we won the offshore Powerboat Championships with one of our customers,” Mesa says. “In 2003, we won the Pro Import Championship with a four-cylinder turbo car. We set all kinds of World Records that held for 6-7 years ET and MPH.”

In a 5,500 sq.-ft. space, Mesa Balancing doesn’t limit what kind of engine work it will take on.

“The problem that you have when you do the type of stuff that we do is that if I wanted to do one type of engine the customers wouldn’t let me,” he says. “We do anything and everything high performance. A lot of people say that, but they can’t walk that walk. We do all the machine work in-house. Stuff comes here in a box and it leaves as a painted, finished, dyno-tuned engine – carbureted, fuel injected and anything in between.”

This small block Ford engine is just another example of the fine work done in Hialeah by Mesa Balancing.

Engine of the Week is sponsored by Cometic Gasket

To see one of your engines highlighted in this special feature and newsletter, please email Engine Builder managing editor, Greg Jones at [email protected]

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