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Author Topic:   1978 Thunderbird engine swap help....
78thunderchicken
Journeyman

Posts: 5
From: mn
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-02-2004 11:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 78thunderchicken   Click Here to Email 78thunderchicken     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi everyone im new here, i have been doing some reading in here and am almost afraid to ask this question cause i see no talk of the birds in 70's.....

Any way was wondering about best way to beef up a 78 tbird, current engine is a 351m and from what i have been hearing not a good engine to build. So was thinking like 351w, or 429-460. Biggest concern is the bell housing on current tranny, will it bolt up if i go with a 351w?

any help would be appreciated.

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KULTULZ
Gearhead

Posts: 800
From: Rockville, MD
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 06-03-2004 05:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KULTULZ   Click Here to Email KULTULZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The 78/79 BIRD is a heavy car and to power it for street use, you should consider a 460 in my opinion (even though the 351W/5.8L will give you factory FI).

The 351M/400 and 385 Series has the same bellhousing bolt pattern. The 302/351W is different. What trans do you have now?

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[email protected]
Gearhead

Posts: 850
From: Lakewood, CO, USA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 06-03-2004 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JCQuinn@work   Click Here to Email JCQuinn@work     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't forget the later model truck engines have factory EFI on the 460's.

John

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KULTULZ
Gearhead

Posts: 800
From: Rockville, MD
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 06-03-2004 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KULTULZ   Click Here to Email KULTULZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by [email protected]:

Don't forget the later model truck engines have factory EFI on the 460's.

John


Yes, but they have small port heads and the matching intake manifold is a cast iron single plane with a dual inlet throttle body. It would take a lot of modification to put into a car.

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[email protected]
Gearhead

Posts: 850
From: Lakewood, CO, USA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 06-03-2004 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JCQuinn@work   Click Here to Email JCQuinn@work     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are you sure the manifold is Iron? The one on my truck looks like aluminum. I'll go scratch it and see.

John

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KULTULZ
Gearhead

Posts: 800
From: Rockville, MD
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 06-03-2004 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KULTULZ   Click Here to Email KULTULZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by [email protected]:

Are you sure the manifold is Iron?


er...no...

I just a$$-u-med...

Let me know if it is aluminum. Mine is on an E-373 and I am too lazy to remove the engine cover. Corporate Blue fooled the old guy...


[This message has been edited by KULTULZ (edited 06-03-2004).]

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78thunderchicken
Journeyman

Posts: 5
From: mn
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-03-2004 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 78thunderchicken   Click Here to Email 78thunderchicken     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the input. That was fast.

Not sure what tranny is in it, think it is either fmx or c6. Is there any ez way to tell?

If i do go with a 460 would i need to beef up front suspension?

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KULTULZ
Gearhead

Posts: 800
From: Rockville, MD
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 06-04-2004 03:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KULTULZ   Click Here to Email KULTULZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 78thunderchicken:

Not sure what tranny is in it, think it is either fmx or c6. Is there any ez way to tell?

If i do go with a 460 would i need to beef up front suspension?


The C6 will be a one piece aluminum bellhousing/main case. The FMX will have a cast iron main case and separate bell housing. The 351M also came with the C4.

The BIRD (and other intermediates of that era) came OEM with the 460 so all you would have to change would be the spring rate (assuming the suspension/steering is in good shape).

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[email protected]
Gearhead

Posts: 850
From: Lakewood, CO, USA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 06-04-2004 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JCQuinn@work   Click Here to Email JCQuinn@work     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scratched it, I'm pretty sure it's aluminum or really soft cast iron. LOL

It isn't what I'd call a high performance manifold but the motor is real nice driving around. Lots of torque, a car with an automatic would really scoot. My F250 breaks the tires loose easily if I am not careful.

John

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78thunderchicken
Journeyman

Posts: 5
From: mn
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-04-2004 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 78thunderchicken   Click Here to Email 78thunderchicken     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ok so if it is a fmx,c6 or c4 it should bolt up with a 460 either way then right?

Thanks again for all your help.

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KULTULZ
Gearhead

Posts: 800
From: Rockville, MD
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 06-04-2004 01:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KULTULZ   Click Here to Email KULTULZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 78thunderchicken:

Ok so if it is a fmx,c6 or c4 it should bolt up with a 460 either way then right?


Hopefully you will have a C6. The bellhousing pattern is the same between a 351M/400 and 429/460 but then you run into flexplate/convertor differences. Have you looked close at your trans to see if a tag is attached either to the pan or servo?

You might want to reconsider the 351M/400. It is not such a dog as most lead you to believe. A 351 buildup will save you a lot of work and money (changeover costs).

-351M/400 Buildup-

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KULTULZ
Gearhead

Posts: 800
From: Rockville, MD
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 06-04-2004 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KULTULZ   Click Here to Email KULTULZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by [email protected]:

Scratched it, I'm pretty sure it's aluminum or really soft cast iron. LOL

It isn't what I'd call a high performance manifold but the motor is real nice driving around. Lots of torque, a car with an automatic would really scoot. My F250 breaks the tires loose easily if I am not careful.

John


Thanks for waking me up John. Again I a$$-u-med the intake was iron. But come to think of it, the early 5.0L CFI intake was aluminum. It is cheaper to cast it in aluminum.

I have been participating in an early LINC board and there is a lot of interest in retrofitting the 460. This makes the use of factory FI that much easier as now you can use the stock intake and only have to modify the throttle body so it will fit under the hood of a car. The serpentine FEAD will go with it. Couple it to an AOD and it will make a nice hiway cruiser.

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78thunderchicken
Journeyman

Posts: 5
From: mn
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-04-2004 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 78thunderchicken   Click Here to Email 78thunderchicken     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi again, according to the vehicle build tag, which is "x" it is a fmx. I am almost 100% sure that it is original motor and tranny. Guess i will have to verify by crawling underneath it this weekend.

I have read that article as well about the 351m buildup and still not convinced:-(

Anyway based upon the input you have given me i think im gonna start searching for a 460 to build.

Doh one more question:-), think the motor mounts would be the same? (the 460 wasn't and option in a 78 bird, but it was in a 78 ltd.)

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KULTULZ
Gearhead

Posts: 800
From: Rockville, MD
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 06-04-2004 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KULTULZ   Click Here to Email KULTULZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well...You have two options on mounts;

-CRITES RESTORATIONS- offers a changeover kit, or;

You will need to find a 1974/76 460 TORINO or TBIRD (the sheet metal is different but the frame is the same). There are brackets that go between the insulators and block. These (with the proper insulators) will allow you to drop it in your TBIRD (LINC also used these brackets in these years).

I would also try to find a C6 to go with it as I am not sure that you can connect an FMX to a 385 Series. (We can worry about this later as the FMX doesn't take as much HP to churn).

[This message has been edited by KULTULZ (edited 06-04-2004).]

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KULTULZ
Gearhead

Posts: 800
From: Rockville, MD
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 06-04-2004 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KULTULZ   Click Here to Email KULTULZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Disregard This Post...

One of These Days You Guys Are Going To Get Old Also...

...sheesh...

[This message has been edited by KULTULZ (edited 06-04-2004).]

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[email protected]
Gearhead

Posts: 850
From: Lakewood, CO, USA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 06-04-2004 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JCQuinn@work   Click Here to Email JCQuinn@work     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Old? I've been here for quite awhile now. I can't remember why I came here but young was a lot easier. Anybody know the way back?

John

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78thunderchicken
Journeyman

Posts: 5
From: mn
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-04-2004 09:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 78thunderchicken   Click Here to Email 78thunderchicken     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow man thanks for all the great info Kultulz. It relly helps alot.

I will keep you posted as to how it goes.


Thanks.

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73torinoqcode
Gearhead

Posts: 403
From: Buffalo,NY,USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 06-12-2004 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 73torinoqcode   Click Here to Email 73torinoqcode     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
M engines use the Big Block bolt patterns and will swap with a 460

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