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1961 Thunderbird Engine questions

Discussion in '1955 - 1966 Classic Ford Thunderbird' started by Apossuman, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. Hi, im currently working on my 61 t-bird, at some point i would like to swap a new v8 into her, this would be my first engine swap, i am looking for injected over natural aspiration, in addition to a couple more horses, my problem is im not sure what engine i should use, im asuming i should use a ford so the mounts are similiar, but im still not sure what i should use, [ this is also just a search for the engine, and the comp, not the drive train, differential etc...)
  2. captrick

    captrick Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    I would recommend that you stay with Ford line of FE motors. Because this is your first engine swap you don't want to try putting other engines in the car. I would contact engine rebuilders and see if they have a fresh 390 or 428 which would bolt right up to your transmission. The radiator, power steering pump, exhaust will all bolt right up........ Keep this simple and you should be OK. Before you take the motor out take a lot of pictures so you know how things go back. Good Luck Rick
  3. I will echo the above.

    You don't really want to swap a modern engine to your older transmission either. First, there is no other engine that will bolt up to the FE-pattern transmission. So, at best, you'll have to find a different version of the transmission to bolt to the engine of choice. If you have a C6, they made small-block pattern C6 for later model trucks (and four years behind 351C), so you could bolt in a late-model 302/5.0 with fuel injection. You might make more horsepower, but you'll be down on torque. You will lose a lot of weight off the front end, so handling would be improved if you matched springs/shocks to the engine weight. You'll have to adapt your accessories to the new engine, or new engine accessories to your chassis.

    Engine swaps have a way of getting complicated and affecting other things...

    A fresh 390 is more likely the way to go. They're reasonably inexpensive (for an FE) and readily available (unlike many other FE) and parts are still pretty easily obtainable. It will bolt in and all your existing accessories will bolt right up.

    If you're truly interested in doing something like this - I highly recommend getting the entire drivetrain and electronics out of a single donor vehicle and using a comprehensive shop manual with very good and detailed wiring diagrams to ensure it's all hooked up correctly. If you've never done something like this, I highly suggest giving it to someone who has, or at the very least, enlisting their help.

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