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1997 tbird, motor swap, 3.8 to 4.6

Discussion in '1989 - 1997 Ford Thunderbird' started by RefriedTbird, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. I have a 97 Tbird that I've been contemplating swapping the original 3.8 V6 for the 4.6 V8 and I'm trying to find out if the transmission used for the 3.8 is the same used for the 4.6, mainly to know if the bolt pattern is anywhere near the same.
    constable likes this.
  2. Well that means you have the four speed automatic 4R70W. Ford AOD for all intents and purposes. So that means you CAN put a 4.6 to it.... but you A. Shouldn't until you built the trans a bit, that trans isn't super awesome and B. You need to make sure you get the correct block. They changed the bell housing bolt pattern. I would get a 4.6 out of a 97 Crown Vic, preferably a police interceptor if they had that package because that would most likely give you the high output you're probably going for. While you're at it throw heads and cam on it. It is SOHC Modular though which would pretty much count me out. I wouldn't screw with the SOHC.

    My suggestion: either throw a super charger on your 3.8 and build the engine with bottom end stroker type of upgrades and heads and cam. OR! This is what I really suggest! Get a high output 5.0 out of a mustang and put that in there!
  3. A '97 thunderbird with a 5.0? That sounds crazy, and amazing at the same time. The transmission was rebuilt at 130k miles (the guy who owned it before me drove like a bat out of hell from red light to redlight) and now has somewhere in the neighborhood of 160 k (odometer quit working at 132,251. My number one question from what you've suggested is what were the advantages of using the police interceptor motor from the 4.6 crown Victoria and what is the main difference between it and the standard 4.6 mustang engine?
  4. Lol yeah I'm in the same boat except my car's odometer stopped rolling at 94k. The main reason I say use a police interceptor is because you want a high output motor. A 4.6 from a Thunderbird and a 4.6 from an explorer basically only have one thing in common, and that's the block. They have different heads and cam which completely change the feel of the motor. The police interceptor or mustang one usually has the highest output. The reason I suggest a 5.0 is because.... well its a 5.0 XD. But I would research what output level engine you need.
  5. Amen on the 5.0 brother lmao and slightly off topic, the non rolling odometer, if I were to replace the gears, is it the same set that the mustang uses? I cant get a straight answer from anyone and even the guys at the Ford dealership dont know and want 2k to fix it
  6. Lmao yeah thats the most common problems with these 90's Ford coupes. No, they have different teeth I believe so I would make sure you get the thunderbird ones. I would be surprised if they're different but the internet suggests they are.
  7. Dammit. Guy who owned it before me kinda destroyed the trim so nothing clips in place so at least it'll be easy pulling the cluster out
  8. I hear that it's not too bad of a job. I need to do it as well but I was having a hard time finding those gears for under 80 dollars.
  9. My suggestion is the 3.8 supercharged I have 5 Supercoupes I collect them and race them stock for stock the will beat the 5.0 fox body mustangs all day long you could upgrade both I have no clue what the 5.0 is capable of with mods but with the right mods on the 3.8 supercharged can be awesome a 3.8 supercharged stoked and punched to 4.3 and the right upgrades can hit the mid 10's in the 1/4 mile without spray and the 4.6 has some potential as well with a whipple supercharger and some upgrades I've seem get 500 horse my Brother's Mustang pushing this now so it's really up to you and tastes needs and budget but if you're using that trans dude do a rebuild no joke you're going to be upgrading do it right and add a shift kit to work with the trans but know this you can't just throw supercharged components on the 3.8 you need the SC heads and the block needs to be SC also people make this mistake all the time and blow head gaskets repeatedly and the performance plainly suckswith the SC engine they're around just need to look I can point you in the right direction in locating the the SC club but note the 94 and 95 SC parts are extremely hard as heck to find go with 89 to 93 they're readily available still and the parts as well,Tony

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