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1959 352 engine replacement/donor cars

Discussion in '1955 - 1966 Classic Ford Thunderbird' started by Andrew, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. Hi there! First post here :)

    I've just started work on reviving my mom's '59, that has been sitting for about...25 years now. I'm going to spend a few days trying to get it to run as is (it's not seized, but I haven't tried starting it yet), but I'd like to start researching replacement engines now just in case that turns out to be a waste of time.

    If I can't get it running satisfactorily, I see three options--get the existing engine rebuilt, buy a crate engine, or find a running donor car with a similar enough engine to swap in with minimal fuss.

    Any advice? I'm especially interested in what year/model of contemporary Fords would have compatible engines for a donor car--will any (non-truck?) FE engine work?

    Thanks a lot!

    PS, here she is:

  2. fordrodsteven

    fordrodsteven Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    Hi, Just figured I would chime in. I would say that any FE engine will go in if you want it. The FE engine came in many sizes from 332 up to 428. Your car most likely has the 300 HP version of the 352 in it. That engine is in full size Fords from 1958 through 1960. If you don't mind a little less HP you can use an engine from 64 to 66 Fords (259 HP). I would think you could also go to a 390 engine (literally same block so a direct bolt-in) That engine is common in Ford's and Mercury's from 64 through 68. Personally, If I were changing out the engine I would probably go with the 390.
  3. Thanks fordrodsteven! I've heard that the 390 is a much more common engine these days, as most 352s get rebuilt into 390s.

    I've heard what you said, that any FE engine will go in. I guess what I'm wondering is how easily, and if that's dependent on the engine/donor car. Will I need to make any serious modifications to fit a donor 352/390/etc engine from a Galaxie/Fairlane/Mustang/etc? I think it's a "drop it in" sort of deal but I really don't know if it's more of a "custom exhaust and motor mounts to make everything line up."
  4. fordrodsteven

    fordrodsteven Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    I once pulled a 289 out of a '66 Galaxie and put in a 390. That was a bit involved because I also had to change the steel mount on the frame crossmember. The 352 to 390 swap will be much easier. I would hold the motor mounts and exhaust manifolds from the 352 when you take it out. Just in case you need to swap them onto the 390. You might be pleasantly surprised and find a drop=in situation. I think if there was to be ANY difference it could be the exhaust manifolds. But if you hold the manifolds from the 352 you can just do the swap out of those and everything will bolt right back together (engine into car and exhaust to the manifolds)
  5. That's what I was thinking/hoping, so the confirmation is great to hear. Thanks a lot!
  6. captrick

    captrick Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Hey Andrew, I have been doing engine swaps on Ford for more years then I can remember. Any FE block will fit in your T-Bird. You can get one out of any Ford car or truck. The only difference with a truck motor it might have a governor on the carburetor. Your best chances are a 390 or a 428 they are the more common engines. The trucks had 360, 391, and 410 engines. Good luck Rick
    fordrodsteven likes this.
  7. Thanks Rick, that's great information!

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