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60s-70s big Chevrolets vs. big Fords



  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    I know Dearborn Classics carries them in their catalogue for old Fords, I bet Ames offers them for Pontiac's, and so does companies that specialize in old Chevy's. Here is the link to Coker tires if interested.

    The radials must be why I getting close to 14 mpg, rather than the 10-12 mpg it probably got back in it's day with the old bias-ply. Not to mention, better oil and other lubricants.
    It also seems you may need to change your alignment specifications.

    I guess a lot issues with older cars is just solved by trial and error.

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,387
    I hate to think how bad my Catalina would've done with bias-ply, then! It only get about 10-11 around town, but did get almost 18 on a trip once!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,387
    I couldn't think of anyplace else to post, so I figured this would be as good a place as any. I have a feeling that my grandma's '85 LeSabre is going to need a new exhaust system soon. Would a dual exhaust benefit a car like this? It has a 307 4-bbl, but only puts out 140 hp (at something ridiculously low, like 3200 rpm!)

    I've heard that dual exhausts can actually hinder performance on weaker engines, not to mention making them take longer to warm up. Any truth to this?
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I'm no Buick expert, but I'm willing to guess the same smog reducing techniques used in my Mercury are used it your grandma's Buick- wimpy cam, poor flowing heads, lean mixture, ignition timing retarded into the dark ages, and low compression. Too little backpressure can take away some low end torque, so if you're going to do anything to improve this engine, like heads, cam and a good engine tuning, then get the duals, but if you can't convince Grandma to let you warm her Buick up a little, I think you'd do best to just leave it as it is. FWIW, when a transmission shop ruined the exhaust on my Mercury (among other things, but we won't go there!), I just left the tailpipe hanging down until inspection time came around. That big 400 cubic inch engine sounded like a truck going down the road! I liked the sound, and the cheap replacement exhaust I got to meet state inspection requirements-single exhaust with a glass pack muffler-sounded pretty good as well. Open pipes are fun ;-)
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    That clicking sound is probably the center medallion, the plastic insert with the Pontiac V emblem or PMD lettering. Tighten the prongs that hold the medallion in place, or try another hubcap to see if that's it.

    Hubcaps usually fly off a front wheel when you corner too fast so it's unusual to have one leaving a rear wheel (unless you're power oversteering around corners). I'll bet that after 34 years that wheel is on the back because it's tweaked--an out-of-round wheel isn't nearly as obvious on the rear. See if it has lots of balancing weights.

    If the wheel's out of round the hubcap mounting prongs are compressed every time it rotates to a flat spot and eventually it'll work its way off. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking too it. Replace that wheel with the spare and see if that fixes it, although the spare may be in the trunk because it's the worst wheel.

    As for duals, my understanding is that small engines perform best with some back pressure, but that 307 should do fine with duals with a cross-over pipe connecting the headpipes. I wouldn't use turbo mufflers or glasspacks unless Grandma likes attracting official attention. Years ago they recommended using Cadillac mufflers because Cads had huge engines and a single exhaust that had to flow well but still be quiet--don't know if that's still good information.

    The problem with warm-ups happens when the stock exhaust manifolds are replaced with headers that don't have a heat riser.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Andre, I reread your post about duals (no, I don't have a life) and I want to share.

    I had a '73 Ventura 350 with the usual ham-fisted early smog controls: 7:1 compression, smog pump, exhaust gas recirculation, retarded ignition and lean carb. Probably worse than the 307 in your Grandma's car--by '85 I think they were getting more sophisticated about these things.

    Anyway, one of the first things I did to that Ventura was have a pair of 2" pipes with turbo mufflers welded on. They helped torque so much that I accidently peeled out leaving the muffler shop.

    It worked for me, it can work for Grandma. Just warn her that her initial launch will have a little more authority.

    Besides, I hear the Chevy smallblock responds well to simple performance modifications ;-).
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    If the below article is to be believed, they are on their way back. Wow, full size Lincoln and Mercury convertibles! Anyone want to hazard a guess on the price? I figure if a Marauder is in the mid $30's, a convertible has to be at lease $40k.

    Not sure what GM has been doing in it's car line lately. Too bad it took Ford 4 years to get around to finally getting around to building the Marauder on an already existing platform.

  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    What I wouldn't give for a '69 Maurader X-100, 429-4V, dual exhaust, Magnum 500s, a hood like as big as an aircraft carrier..... Woo Wee! Flip that breather lid over and you'd sound just like Burt Reynolds in White Lightning! Now, that was a hoss! My bother-in-law (aka "numb nuts") had one and traded it off for a shiney new, powder blue Pinto wagon! By the time I found out about it and called the dealer, they had already sold the Maurader (surprise, surprise) and the new owner wouldn't even talk about selling it. I never forgave him for that and always thought that the fact he was struck by lightning later was some how divine justice for his ignorance!

    Then to tires (or tyres, as our continental friends say), I recall watching "My classic car" or someshow like that several years ago and they were show casing a Yenko Camaro--a special edition modified by a dealer in Chicago, I believe. If I recall right (don't keep up much with GM stuff) it had a 400 horse 427 in it. They showed it going down the street and the driver kicked it, skinny little bias belted tires nearly melted right off the rims. I am amazed that any car from the 60s could turn impressive 0-60 times with the tire technology of the day!

    When I was driving a '72 Mustang convertible daily--351C--4V. I slipped into one of our company cars--a new Taurus the first year the "big" V6 was offered. The "Boss" ordered one with the optional engine, I think it was a 3.1 or 3.2 liter, 24 valve V6. My Mustang would launch from the line like a Patriot missle, but the multivalve V6 just seemed to know no never ran out of breath and from about 40 mph on, I believe it could give that 351 all it wanted. Amazing!

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    I think Mercury's are not that collectible partially because I don't run across many 60's or 70's Merc's that are attractive. Many seem either heavy looking, or just odd to distinguish from the Ford version.

    Cougar excepted, of course.

    Of course, those who collect today probably never wanted a Merc back then either.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yep, Mercurys in the collectible car arena always take a back seat to their Ford Brethren. Possibly exception might be the rare Mercury convertibles from the late 40s and early 50s.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,387
    ...for the opinions about putting a dual exhaust on Grandma's LeSabre. Actually, she doesn't drive it anymore, and we put it into my name about 3 years ago just to keep around as a spare/emergency car. I figured we'd just keep it around until something catastrophic happened to it, and just wring it for all the mileage we can.

    It probably wouldn't make much sense financially to do a dual exhaust, but I'd like to at least have a little fun with the car while we have it!

    Speedshift, this one is the Olds 307, not the Chevy smallblock, so would cheap aftermarket mods still work as well on it? I did look up some of the specs, and it gets 140 hp @ 3200 rpm, and 255 ft-lb of torque @2000 rpm. Rear-end ratio is 2.73:1. It's got a 4-bbl carb, but I'm guessing it's a wussy one, since Chevy 305's could get 145 with just a 2-bbl. Also, I've always exactly do crossover pipes work? I know they improve flow, just don't understand the physics behind it.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I'm a little sketchy on that too. Somewhere way in the back of my mind I seem to recall that the crossover creates a vacuum that helps exhaust flow. Going way way out on a limb, it may have something to do with each cylinder bank's alternate firing pulses creating a vacuum in the opposite exhaust pipe. (I hope Smokey Yunick doesn't read this.) I do know it quiets things a bit.

    The Olds 307 completely escaped me. I thought they had a 260 (not to be confused with the Chevy 262). My books go to 1980 and I'm finding an '80 307 available in the Olds that can't be the Chevy small block because the bore and stroke are 3.8 x 3.38. Sounds like a small bore Olds 350 (4.06 x 3.38).

    Well, it depends on what port and valve sizes they used and how much weight/durability they took out of the 350 block. If the 307 has 350 heads and valves you're in luck but I don't think those valves would clear the smaller bore. If I was GM I'd just bore out the 260 and use the same valves, knowing Grandma wouldn't notice. Heck, I'd use the same cam too.

    So it sounds like it might be a chuffer, which would explain why it's down on power compared to the Chevy, but duals would help anyway. That may be just about as much as you can do. The four barrel is probably a Quadrajet and you can enrich the secondaries without taking it apart--just change the metering rods and rod hanger from the top of the carb. I used to collect these from junkyard carbs and ended up with quite a variety. For more details get a book on Rochester carbs.

    If the 307's heads are different than the 350's there probably aren't any aftermarket intakes for it. Maybe cams are interchangeable and the right cam would make a tremendous difference but now we're talking real work.

    And buy a Mr. Gasket recurve kit for the distributor. The kit has a bushing to slip over the centrifigal advance limit pin so you can take some advance out of the distributor and add more initial timing but that bushing is too small--use a thicker piece of vacuum hose instead.

    That's pretty much everything I know about cars. Do these things and I guarantee you'll dip into the 12s.
  • ab348ab348 Member Posts: 18,173
    The Olds 307 was built from 1980 to 1990, the last of the Olds Rocket V-8 designs. It's a good engine, lasts forever, but isn't much of a performer. GM basically stopped development of it after '84 or so. The '80-'84 heads are considered better than those after that, which were more restrictive.

    Duals certainly won't hurt, but I assume you are going to lose the catalyst. I also think you may have a problem fitting duals due to the trans crossmember not having a second hump to accommodate two pipes.

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6

  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Interesting stuff. It would be great to know valve sizes, cam specs and compression ratio to see how it compares to say a stock Chevy 307 or Ford 302. Something like the old Hot Rod Engine Annual would be helpful.

    If the 307 uses the 260 heads and cam its performance potential may be limited. Edelbrock has a Performer intake that fits the '80 1/2-'85 307 with "5A" heads, casting number 3317, so there's some hope.
  • ab348ab348 Member Posts: 18,173
    There's a good source of Olds engine info online with the Olds list FAQ. Available at or

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6

  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    I remember as a kid, my aunts-n-uncles always had Oldsmobiles, as did his (uncle by marriage) parents. I always liked the distinct sound Olds V8s put out; I can't quite explain it, the sound was just a bit more 'gutteral' or something. Much more throaty.

    Of course, said unc-and-aunt when they were married (their wedding car) was a 70 442 W-30 automatic convertible, blue w/white stripes and interior, power EVERYTHING (windows, steering, brakes, locks, seat). I would likely kill for that car now (OK, depends on the potential victim).

    ANYWAY, can anyone vouch for the 'Olds engine sound'? I could tell an Olds driving by while inside, as a kid, no lookie........

    Even way later, aunt-n-uncle had a weak 76 Delta w/a 350 2v, same distinct sound, as had granny's awful 77 Cutlass coupe (350 2v, for some reason that car was DEADLY fast).
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Oh, I remember that sound. This was especially true on the fifties Oldsmobiles. The most distinctive sounds were the old straight eight Buicks though.

    I am surprised you could hear that familiar sound on the 76 and 77 Olds. By that time, the exhausts went through catalatic converters etc and the old time sounds were gone.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    There's no doubt that engines used to have distinctive exhaust notes. They probably still do, but exhaust systems are well muffled these days and that's okay. I don't want to be able to identify a Toyota from my living room.

    Pontiac had one of the more distinctive sounds, sort of a crackling or rustling sound. Pontiac always used a cam with lots of duration on the exhaust side and it may be as simple as that--you're just hearing more exhaust gases passing through the manifolds.

    The 351 Cleveland had that same rustling sound, different from the more mellow 302-351 Windsor note. Of course the Cleveland had higer compression and made more power from the same displacement, so maybe that's what I hear.

    But it's surprising how powerful most early Mustangs sound even though 99% of them have stock 289 2-barrels with restrictive manifolding and a very mild cam. Another excellent engine with more everyday power than you'd expect.

    The Chevy 283 had a very distinctive note, small but with lots of attitude. One of the all-time great American V8s and sounds like it.

    A lot of the differences between V8 sounds is probably due to exhaust manifolding and combustion chamber design. I suspect that what we're mostly hearing is exhaust gases bouncing around the exhaust manifolds, and of course every engine has a different design.

    But I think an engine gets most of its identity from its combustion chamber design. That's where its performance characteristics start--how much power the engine makes, how easily and efficiently and in what rpm range. All of that gets factored into the exhaust note.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    NOTHING sounded as sweet as an old Chevy six cylinder with a split manifold!

    I had one with an 18" glass pack on one side and a straight pipe on the other.

    Drop it into second gear while decending a long hill...ah, the sweet music!

    A shame the cops weren't always appreciative!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I pulled my 78 Grand Marquis out of mothballs over Thanksgiving break and fired that old 400 up. I've been driving around in an insulated jellybean too long. (to long? I forget) That old beast was LOUD! I'm sure the single glasspack muffler makes it louder than stock, but I had forgotten what 400 cubic inches sound like, even at idle. Yeah, it was a dog of a motor, even from the factory, but it's still got that big-block V-8 sound. I'm gonna have to get the old girl fixed up and, if I can get away with it, go with dual straight pipes-no mufflers ;-) I love an engine that roars. My T-Bird's little OHC V-8 can't compare to the Mercury's roar. OK, I know I'm crazy drooling over a '78 Granny Mobile like it was a Camaro SS or something, but I'm just wierd ;-)!
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    Have to admit, firing up the old 390 gives you the same feeling. It starts up, but sounds kind of mad that you woke it up. After about 20 seconds, it seems to accept the fact and idles smooth and relaxed, waiting for your command. We had beautiful weather this weekend in Ohio, had her out cruising Friday, went to the apple orchard outside of town to buy cider, going to make some homemade hard cider.

    If you plan on fixing up the Merc's engine, I would start collecting as much info on the engine now. That way when something needs fixed, you can upgrade to improve the attributes you are looking for.

    I believe the 400 replaced the 390 engine, mainly for emission reasons. I know both were designed for smoothness and torque first, and performance secondary. I don't know much about the 400 except it came out in 1970, I believe.

    An issue to consider is whether your goal is to keep it pretty original, or work on it's weaknesses. I would think the latter option is more valid on a 78 Merc.

    The previous owner already put a dual exhaust on mine, but I want to improve it by adding a crossover pipe, and possibly running the biggest diameter pipes (Current ones are only 2 inches) I can, along with low restriction mufflers to keep it fairly quite until needed.

    A high capacity ignition system could be something to look as as well.

    Biggest stumbling block is the induction system, I think most 78 engines are choked badly, improving the air and fuel flow is the key. More air and fuel flow, more power, assuming the ignition system can handle it.
  • spokanespokane Member Posts: 514
    Jsylvester, the 390 Ford engine shares the type "FE" engine block casting with the 427 engine. The 400 engine was a long-stroke version of the well-known "351 Cleveland" engine. The 351/400 engines were smaller than the 390/427 engines. And you're right, the Bore/Stroke ratio for the 400 was 7% less than that of the 390 so it was easier to control the NOX exhaust emissions on the 400.
  • northstartnorthstart Member Posts: 41
    Early last year I was approached by a friend and asked if I could take a look at an old American Ford his brother had inherited when he brought a local farmhouse and building as someone had shown some interest in buying the engine.

    On arrival I soon discovered that the cars was a late 70’s LTD (not sure of the exact date of manufacture but it was the one with the stacked square headlights) with a 460ci big block.

    The cars itself was in poor condition having been ravaged by many years of British weather. Furthermore, on talking to its new owner I discovered it had spent at least 7 years sitting in a field and another year sitting in a leaky barn.

    However, the engine looked fairly clean and the mileage read 56.500 miles and judging from the interior it looked as though the car had been well looked after at some point.

    So, I replaced the oil, water, plugs, leads etc. Removed the carb and give it a good cleaning, acquired a very large battery from one of the farm tractors and away we went.

    We ran a pipe from the fuel pump to a fuel can not wanting to risk putting fuel into the old tank and turned the key without the ignition connected just to prime the oil and fuel systems.

    Second turn of the key and the old girl burst into life. After a few coughs and spits everything settled down to a deep rumbled from the now rotten exhaust system.

    I have to say I was impressed, (I had anticipated the engine would need a major strip down before it would run again). I was so impressed If the body hadn’t been so rotten, I would have immediately made an offer for the full car.

    A guy in Scotland eventually bought the engine for his 1975 Country Squire, which he brought down to show us this summer. He had replaced the carb and several gaskets but nothing ells had been done to the engine, which sounded very sweep.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    If the car had stacked lights, it had to be a 1965 through 1967 full-size American Ford. Fords went back to horizontal lights in 1968 and stayed with them.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,387 might've been an LTD-II. I know you could still get 400's in them, but I'm not sure about 460's, although they will fit! The LTD-II ran from '77-79, and though it was considered an intermediate, Ford wanted you to think of it as a downsized full-sizer to compete with the Caprice and Impala, rather than the Torino that it really was.

    I think the biggest engine a '60's Ford would've had would've been a 429, although I think Lincoln had a 462 for awhile.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    That post initially had me stumped, too. I forgot all about the LTD-II. I remember some of the coupes with vinyl roofs and fancier wheel covers, they looked like a slightly cheaper version of the Thunderbird.

    I think Lincoln offered the 462 until about 1968 or 69, then switched to the 460. I don't think Ford even offered this engine on their cars, though I could be wrong. In any case, the 460 was gone by about 1975-76, except for truck use.

    Oooh, I'm watching Bewitched right now, Darrin is driving away in a blue with white interior 64 Malibu SS convertible. Sweet.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,387
    Actually, I think it made it through 1979, in cars like the Lincoln Town Car (don't know if they called it that back then) and Mark V. I think you could still get it in the big LTD and Marquis through '78. For some reason, Lincoln didn't downsize its cars at the same time Ford and Mercury did, so if you truly wanted a dreadnaught car by '79, Lincoln was your last hope.

    I have an old used car book somewhere that lists cars from '77-86 (except for cars whose last year was '77 or first year was '86). I'll have to look in it sometime. Actually, first I have to get it back from a friend of mine who borrowed it! I know in those big Lincolns, Fords, and Mercs, the 400 was listed, and that's probably what was in most of 'em.

    Oh wait, I have my auto encyclopedia too. I'll check in that when I get home.

    Oh, and as Larry Tate would say... "You Son of a Gun!" Unfortunately we don't get the Hallmark channel out here!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I own a '78 Mercury Grand Marquis, as well as an advertising book on it, and I'll second what Andre said about the 460 in big cars. Right on the money. Unfortunately, my '78 only came with the 400, but that's OK. It's not quite the dog people think it is, and I know a few tricks to wake it up a bit.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,387
    Just checked my auto encyclopedia, and the last year you could get a 460 in a midsize was the Montego/Torino/Elite/Cougar. When those cars were reskinned for '77 as the T-bird/LTD-II/Cougar/XR-7, the biggest engine was a 400...but only through '78. After that, the biggest available engine was a 351.

    In big cars, the 400 and 460 were both available through '78 in the LTD/Marquis. For Lincoln, the 460's last year was actually '78, and the 400 was the only engine for the '79 Continental Coupe/Sedan and the Mark V. Now don't laugh...but it was down to 159 hp that year. 159 hp, to move a car with a base weight of around 4600 lb! I'm guessing it still had plenty of low-end torque though, so it might not have been too embarrassing.

    Hey Rea98, do you know what the GVWR is on your Marquis? I've always wondered what those truly big cars ran. I checked out a '76 LeMans coupe once that had a GWVR of around 5400 lb, which is about what the typical downsized full-size also ran. For instance, my '79 NY'er's GWVR is about 5500 lb, and my Grandma's '85 LeSabre's GVWR is about 5300. I think it's interesting how back then, these cars could typically carry about 1500-1700 lb or more over their curb weights, but with a lot of today's cars, even larger ones, your'e lucky if it's around 800-900 lb. I'd guess a "true" full-size 70's car would probably have a GVWR approaching a lot of modern full-size pickups!
  • northstartnorthstart Member Posts: 41
    Hi all!

    All we new about the car was that it had been imported from the USA around 1982 and came with the 460. I knew nothing of its history before this, alhtough, I was unable to find any information about this model.

    The only reference I ever found was in a magazine on a 1978 (I think) Ranchero. The article said it shared some body panels with the LTD. And from the photograph the front looked the same.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    front end (not to be confused with the LTD, now known as the Crown Vic).
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,387
    ...when Ford and Chrysler played those name games back in the 70's and 80's. Chrysler actually did it first, re-naming their midsized Coronet/Satellite as the Monaco/Fury and then tacking a "Royal" or "Gran" onto the names of the traditional big models.

    The whole Ford LTD/LTD-II thing was a bit annoying as well, but at least Mercury just called their midsize the Cougar, and not the Cougar-II ! Well, they made up for it in '83-86 with that little Fairmont-based Marquis, while calling the real thing "Grand" Marquis!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I'm not sure what the exact weight of my Grand Marquis is, but a ballpark figure is about 4500 pounds. It's got awful acceleration, and top speed is around 70 (or it was before the transmission quit shifting to third), but I think part of that may be due to owrn rings in the 400. Torque out of that engine was about 300 ft/lbs though (at least in the truck variety. Not sure if big cars were the same). The thing's got a 4" stroke, so making torque numbers like that shouldn't be too hard. But with some decent flat top pistons, bumping up the ignition and cam timing, and bolting on some Cleveland heads, there's plenty of power in the old "boat anchor." Really, the weakest link in the chain is the complete lack of performance parts for the engine. Same applies to the almost identical 351M. However, the 460 is an entirely different motor with a different set of rules, so I'm not sure about that one.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    I've heard of people retrofitting a 460 to an eariler Ford, but don't know about the performance parts.

    On the tranny issue, unless it is an easy fix, you could probably pick up another 78 Marquis for less than what it would cost to replace tranny and redo the engine. Guess you run into whether you are trying to make it into something it can never be - sporty and fast.

    Big 70's cars are not the best building block to start with modifications. Mid 60's would be my choice to start with.
  • northstartnorthstart Member Posts: 41
    I used to subscribe to two American magazines that were available here in the UK; they were Hot Rodding and Car Craft. They both often have adds for Big Block Ford Performance parts.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    The 400 is not a bad engine. My father had a '72 Torino wagon with the 400 and it had great throttle response. All the things that make it a dog to the racers--4" stroke, "small" ports and valves--make it a great engine for moving lots of weight. I think Edelbrock still has a Performer intake and cam for this engine and that's just about all you need. Leave the heads and compression ratio alone, recurve the advance, put in a 4.11 and you can either race for pink slips or start your own towing business.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    The 400 had BIG ports and valves. They are basically 351 Cleveland 2 barrel heads with 2.08(?) intake valves. Their downfall were rather large combustion chambers combined with dished pistons that gave them a terrible compression ratio. They can be woken up but in Ford's usual wisdom the deck height is different than the Clevelands and the crank journals are larger so things like manifolds and headers for Clevelands wouldn't fit along with many internal parts. The oiling system, like the Clevelands, needs attention for high RPM use.

    They had a relatively short run and IMHO due to EPA, crap gas etc. the big canted valve Cleveland headed motors(351M and 400 included) with low compression couldn't use the better flowing but higher revving capability of the heads.

    Even though they use the Windsor/302 bore spacing and head bolt pattern(Windsor and Cleveland heads are interchangeable with minor mods) they do use the 429/460 bellhousing pattern so a swap to a 460 is not that difficult.
  • northstartnorthstart Member Posts: 41
    I have been searching for a 4-speed auto transmission that would fit a 351 Cleveland. I have been told that Ford produced a box called an AEO however no-one can tell me what models it was fitted to and what years.

    The 351 is going into a European Ford which has the A4LD unit fitted however I have visited a few site that have info on this box and they all say its not up to the job of backing a V8.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Modvptnl, you're right, the 400's valves are on the large size, 2.05" and 1.65", but they're smaller than those on the 4v heads, 2.19" and 1.71", which is why I used "small" in quotes. Port sizes are also quite a bit smaller but they're fine for the rev range a 400 would see.

    The dished pistons are a bummer but I'm not sure you'd want much more than the stock 8:1 CR. It's hard to make power at 8:1 but if I had a '78 Marquis I'd want to run it on regular so I could keep the gas bill down to where it almost made sense. I don't know if anyone offers flat top pistons for the 400 but apparently 351C pistons can be made to work. Milling the heads would get it up to around 8.5:1.

    My reservation about going to the 460 is that the extra weight would partly offset the extra 15% in displacement. Of course you've already got plenty of weight with a Marquis but when you factor in the extra expense of buying a rebuildable 460 (admittedly small but relatively high compared to the value of a Marquis) I'd stick with the 400.

    Plus how much power do you really want in a Marquis?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Northstart, I probably know less than you do, but my guess is that whatever box they use behind the 302 would work behind a 351 if it was beefed up with aftermarket parts. I had a '67 Cougar with a '70 351 bolted to the original 289 C-4 so the bolt pattern was the same then and probably still is. Maybe you've already done this, but I'd try to see if any racing automatic builders have web sites. I've been out of that scene for years but I remember Art Carr built automatics and maybe Kenne/Bell. Maybe kits are available through SVO or one of the aftermarket parts houses like Summit.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    I'll agree on a rebuilding stand point. The thing about 460's is they are a dime a dozen in good running condition. They were still carbed and made decent amount of power up to about '86 in Ford trucks. Of course the later EFI 460's can be converted to carb cheaply enough too. Just a suggestion.

    I'll look it up but I'd bet the weight aint that much difference. The only thing bigger on a 460 is the bore spacing. I'm thinking the 400 may have had a taller deck(?).

    Northstart, there is a co. in Canada called LEN TECH that builds the ultimate AOD transmissions. I've been told many times why, but always forget, that the AOD has one of the strongest gearsets EVER in an auto trans. The OD is the weak link because it uses a band set up. If OD is used while cruising these things are handling 800HP in 9 second Mustangs reliably.
  • northstartnorthstart Member Posts: 41
    I’ve considered the C4, however, I am having difficulty in locating a higher ratio gear set for the diff I want to use. Its to low to be practical with the 351 I intend to use (which produces about 315bhp).

    Therefore, my only option is to use an auto box with an overdrive gear. Although on a positive note. I have spoken to an auto transmission specialist (in my local area) and they say that they would have no problem rebuilding an American Ford, GM or Chrysler box.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    .....anyone know if the 302 in 86 model year was carburated or FI? A friend has a great-running, bad-looking 86 Club Wagon for sale, and we wanna know, in case anyone wants to buy it for the engine alone (I don't even wanna open the hood).
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,387
    ...I know it was fuel injected in cars by then, but I'm not sure about trucks. Sometimes back then they'd keep the cruder stuff around for trucks, while cars would continue to advance.

    I think it had something like 140 hp and 250 ft-lb of torque (in car applications like the T-bird and Crown Vic, at least)
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I've never heard of an AEO, but, like was mentioned earlier, there is an AOD. Two electronically controlled varieties were made, the AODE, and the 4R70W. The 4R70W is still being made today, available in almost anything that comes with the 4.6 liter V-8. Very stout transmission when built right, but a picky eater when it comes to transmission fluids. Any of the varieties should be easy to find, and should bolt up to a smallblock Ford, but if you get the AODE or 4R70W, you'll have computer issues which can be a headache. Unless of course you want to fit all of the fuel injection and engine control stuff up so the transmission's computer will work. Then again, that might be a headache too. I'll have to look at what years got AOD's, and what years got AODE's, but just about all of the V-8 Fox Mustangs and T-Birds, as well as Crown Victorias, got one variation or the other until they were converted to the 4.6 engine and went with the 4R70W box.

    As far as a '78 Marquis, yeah, i know I'm gonna sink a lot more money in that car than common sense says is practical. But I'm doing it for sentamental reasons. Money, however, is the reason I decided not to swap in a 460. There's no way I'm going to put a used engine in my car unless it's been rebuilt. I could buy the 460, rebuild it, then have to track down and buy all the motor mounts, and other bits & peices to make it work. I already have the 400, and it's in the car and running, so I'm going to rebuild the 400, hoping to learn a thing or two along the way. I think 350-400 horsepower should be easy to coax out of that engine, but a Marquis will never be a sportscar. Still, I don't see any harm in hopping it up a little bit. Besides, witht all the weight that engine hauls around (the car, not me ;-), it's going to need all the power it can get.
  • northstartnorthstart Member Posts: 41
    I should have typed AOE rather than AEO; however, I think that the AOE that I have heard about is probably the AODE. Although I prefer not to get into the hassle of the electronic units. I tried this once before and swore (and swore some more) I'd never try it again. (Couldn't get a hold of a good wiring diagram so ended up tracing ever single wire in the harness###).

    On the subject of your 400 V8. Have you tried Real Steel in Uxbridge? I hear they offer a huge range of parts and have a mail order service. They have a catalogue available for about £3.20. Tel:01895 440505
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    Maybe it's different there but the non-EEC controlled overdrive trans is the AOD with the E designating computer controlled. The thing about the E in the later model trucks(up to around '86 in the trucks.) is They will have a wide ratio and stronger gear set. That same gear set is available from Ford to fit in the AOD.

    As far as the trannys for any modular engines, as usual, Ford in their infinite wisdom changed bolt patterns from the Windsors and Clevelands.

    One great bit of news, however, is that there are a few companies now making stand alone programmers for the "E" transmissions. No need to run it through the engine EEC.

    I still think calling Len Tech to build you an AOD would be a real safe bet.
  • northstartnorthstart Member Posts: 41
    I've often wondered about the tyranny's from the modular engines. I sore a Late model Lincoln unit for sale last year and was surprised to see the bolt pattern looked closer to what Ford have used on European V6 engines than the traditional American V8.

    I was tempted, however, Modular units are very expensive to tune over-hear, that's why I opted for the 351 Cleveland. As for the auto box, I hope to find something before April, as this is when I hope to start. Although, if I have to, I could use the 3 speed unit for a short while.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    Do you care much for 1991-96 Caprices? These vehicles any good in terms of reliability?
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    Make DOUBLE sure that the Cleveland is what you have. There is a Ford 351 "M" that is very similar to the Cleveland and uses a different bell housing pattern than the C or W.

    A quick run down (and one of the reasons it's harder to put together a Ford ) is:

    Windsor and Clevelands share a bellhousing pattern, EXCEPT pre-67(?)289's which use a different pattern.

    429/460's(385 series) use a different pattern than above.

    351M/400 use the 429/460 pattern BUT different motor mount locations.

    And, of course, the new modulars are even a whole 'nother pattern. On a side note the very first modulars in Lincolns used the windsor pattern and then changed it!!! ARRRRRGHHHHH!!!
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