New Engine Swap Ideas

Wile E. Coyote

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NJ
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1996 Tbird LX, SVO blown 4.6 // 1990 Tbird SC Drift missile, OHV 5.0
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As I've started pricing out building my spare 302 for the red car, I became hesitant as the price total crept towards $15k. Sure, it would make the wanted 500hp and be quite happy at 7500, but then I still need to get a better transmission.

As the title states, I would like ideas from y'all as to what engine I should consider next.

Factors to include total engine weight, how easy it is to get parts for, cost, ease of tuning (another issue I have with the SBF), and capabilities for power/reliability.

The transmission will be $6k alone, so I'd like to keep the engine to around that price.

Currently, as much as I hate the idea, I'm torn between an aluminum 5.3 or building an aluminum 2V (which I have nearly all the parts for, but they are physically massive and make working on the car more of a pain).

Look forward to hearing everyone's ideas.

IMG_20240623_160756215_HDR.jpg
 
500hp on a SBF will be difficult on a budget unless you go turbo. The nice thing about doing a turbo is you can go cheap Chinese turbo to get you started. You will need to spend money on a Holley EFI to do so. But then you can just swap in the next block each time you grenade it.

5.3 with 243 or 799 heads with a cam and decent intake will make for a strong runner with unlimited replacements. Just be sure to upgrade oil pump as those were print to failure in a few certain years.

Coyote will be a bit more expensive just to get into one and then 4x the cam cost. But assuming you didn't eat cams, they could be swapped over.
 
I'd vote the aluminum 2V. You already have the parts and you know it will fit in the MN12. Assuming you build the engine before putting it in, how much "work" do you see yourself having to do to it once it is in?
 
I'd vote the aluminum 2V. You already have the parts and you know it will fit in the MN12. Assuming you build the engine before putting it in, how much "work" do you see yourself having to do to it once it is in?
Have to be prepared for as much as you can. I've had to replace injectors, intake gaskets, header gaskets, bad coils, and a handful of bushings at the track. It's nice to have a small engine when doing so.
 
I love a good 5.0 Windsor. But if you have the kind of budget you mention. You could consider the 7.3 Godzilla. Those are 444HP out of the box. they are all aluminum and they are not large. And they are available in crates for 9-10k. Just a thought.

And there is a good selection of go fast parts for them now too.
 
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OHC or DOHC motors seem to not mind constant higher rpm's. my last pickup had the 2nd gen Coyote. I towed to and from Niagra Falls to Connecticut then out to south western PA and back to Connecticut without burning any oil. Plumbing for the exhaust would probably be the difficult part but it would not take much to hit the 500 hp number.

What are your plans for the transmission? TKX or T56?

The 5.3 is a good motor too. What do you need to do so they are happy running at higher rpm's all day?
 
OHC or DOHC motors seem to not mind constant higher rpm's. my last pickup had the 2nd gen Coyote. I towed to and from Niagra Falls to Connecticut then out to south western PA and back to Connecticut without burning any oil. Plumbing for the exhaust would probably be the difficult part but it would not take much to hit the 500 hp number.

What are your plans for the transmission? TKX or T56?

The 5.3 is a good motor too. What do you need to do so they are happy running at higher rpm's all day?

My plan is a face plated T56.
The aluminum 5.3 would need a cam/lifter/spring swap, after that I think they are good to go. But they are expensive by me ($1500 for just the block) and then all the pieces to do the swap.
 
Stay Tuned just built a 500-ish horsepower (crank) junkyard 5.3 using some cheap Summit aluminum heads and a big cam. They freshened up the cam bearings and oil pump and updated the rockers to trunnion style, but other than that it was low buck stuff.

I agree with you on the cost. I see people saying they are buying $500 LS engines. I don't know where from. Most I see are $1500-$4000 and most have 200k+ miles on them even at those prices.

I have to believe it will be easier/cheaper to mate the T56 to an LS than any Ford engine. Before Lakewood started making cast aluminum bellhousings to mount the T56 to an SBF, the only option was the Qwik Time blow proof bell which maybe you already need (?). Dollar for dollar for what you want to do I think it will be tough to beat the LS.
 
Stay Tuned just built a 500-ish horsepower (crank) junkyard 5.3 using some cheap Summit aluminum heads and a big cam. They freshened up the cam bearings and oil pump and updated the rockers to trunnion style, but other than that it was low buck stuff.

I agree with you on the cost. I see people saying they are buying $500 LS engines. I don't know where from. Most I see are $1500-$4000 and most have 200k+ miles on them even at those prices.

I have to believe it will be easier/cheaper to mate the T56 to an LS than any Ford engine. Before Lakewood started making cast aluminum bellhousings to mount the T56 to an SBF, the only option was the Qwik Time blow proof bell which maybe you already need (?). Dollar for dollar for what you want to do I think it will be tough to beat the LS.
I can get a cobra bell housing to mate to a family Ford modular engine. Which would be included in the price of the having the trans built. But the 5.3 is on the radar.
 
Why a 5.3 and not a 6.0? I find LQ4 Express vans constantly in yards. I'd want the displacement advantage of the LS platform more than any other reason
 
Why a 5.3 and not a 6.0? I find LQ4 Express vans constantly in yards. I'd want the displacement advantage of the LS platform more than any other reason
Weight of the aluminum 5.3 is the biggest benefit. But a 6.0 definitely gives room to grow.
 
Why a 5.3 and not a 6.0? I find LQ4 Express vans constantly in yards. I'd want the displacement advantage of the LS platform more than any other reason
That is true as well. I never consider the larger displacement engines because all I ever see are the 5.3.

I think the 4.6 is super keen, but I just don't see it meeting your goals for what you want to spend. I also would very much prefer an OHV to OHC if is is something that might have to come apart from time to time for inspection or repair.

I'm not as familiar with the Godzilla engines, but I have to believe cost would be an issue with those. Maybe not. I have no idea what kind of aftermarket support there is for them.
 
The 5.3 I'm talking of is not an LM7 or similar LS. I'm focusing more on the L83, the LT variant. A good take out is $3000 give or take a few hundred from what I'm finding. On stock components with a decent tune I've seen them make 400 crank, so with a cam, intake, and headers 500 wouldn't be too far out of the question. And they seem to be stable enough to sit at 7k.

While the 6Ls or higher are obviously more desirable, that makes them more expensive. Which may very well push it out of my budget. I already have to buy $500 headers, a $500 oil pan and pickup tube, a flywheel/starter, and a $2500 wiring harness and computer. I'll bring in $500 for misc gaskets and bolts.
That puts me at roughly $7500.
If I can find an L86 in the rough price range, then it's on the table. Otherwise I have to look at the less desirable of desirable engines.
 
Weight of the aluminum 5.3 is the biggest benefit. But a 6.0 definitely gives room to grow.

Still lighter than the iron head aluminum intake 5.0 in there now.

A 6.0 wakes up with the cam intake headers etc you’d be doing with the newer 5.3 too, but you can pluck the 6.0 from a yard for $300.
 
Still lighter than the iron head aluminum intake 5.0 in there now.

A 6.0 wakes up with the cam intake headers etc you’d be doing with the newer 5.3 too, but you can pluck the 6.0 from a yard for $300.
Maybe by you. Not by me. Even in yards old iron blocks go for a grand, easy.


And I know it's lighter than my all iron small block. In the build I was planning it was going to get aluminum heads. But I'd love an all aluminum engine period.
 
Mark engine, C heads, mach 1 intake, kooks, cams, and a 6-speed like Matts. Lots of parts, they build good power, They fit, will run with our eec. If you really want to, you can get a controller and a 10 speed trans.
 
I have a 5-speed. And no, I don't think it'll meet the goals, 4.6s are maxed out engines unless you have pockets deep enough to just buy a more powerful engine out of the box. I'm not a fan of Chevy swaps in Fords but for a drift car its pretty tried and true for the sport.

I doubt self service yards are charging $1,000 for engines, car-part sure but U pull its are pretty consistent on their prices nationwide, only caveat is you need to extract it out of the van all by yourself using their janky yard gantry.
 
I have a 5-speed. And no, I don't think it'll meet the goals, 4.6s are maxed out engines unless you have pockets deep enough to just buy a more powerful engine out of the box. I'm not a fan of Chevy swaps in Fords but for a drift car its pretty tried and true for the sport.

I doubt self service yards are charging $1,000 for engines, car-part sure but U pull its are pretty consistent on their prices nationwide, only caveat is you need to extract it out of the van all by yourself using their janky yard gantry.
If I find one I let you know. But all the yards by me charge a grand for V8s. And I haven't been to one that had a gantry. No LKQs or places like that here.


If I do the Teksid 2V I know it won't hit the 500 goal. Maybe Low 4s. But at least that is nearly free, since I have basically everything. Headers, oil pan, 8 bolt crank, comp cams, PI heads, and another SVO. I need pistons and rods, and gaskets and bolts. But even then, I'm not wanting it.
 
The problem I see for your use a SVO is a big heat pump without an intercooler, that’s perfectly viable for street/strip but I would expect in a drift environment it might be problematic.
 
The problem I see for your use a SVO is a big heat pump without an intercooler, that’s perfectly viable for street/strip but I would expect in a drift environment it might be problematic.
Its nearly guaranteed. There's one guy there who runs a non IC blower set up, a 1UZ with twin M90s. I'll have to talk to him. Probably will need water meth if I go that route.
 
Even at $1000 each 6.0, you can do a budget rebuild, or just send it and have $3000-$4000 depending on heads, cam and intake you run. Figure swapping most of that over to a spare that you have maybe $1500 in w/bearing rebuild.

As much as it's over done LS swap is the cheapest power without adding the weight of a turbo setup (+ another item using your cool air)

How are emissions laws? So you still want to occasionally street drive?
 
Even at $1000 each 6.0, you can do a budget rebuild, or just send it and have $3000-$4000 depending on heads, cam and intake you run. Figure swapping most of that over to a spare that you have maybe $1500 in w/bearing rebuild.

As much as it's over done LS swap is the cheapest power without adding the weight of a turbo setup (+ another item using your cool air)

How are emissions laws? So you still want to occasionally street drive?

That’s my rationale; if you’re going to go blasphemy go big. And with displacement the need for a power adder diminishes.

I really don’t have a passionate issue with a Chevy swap outside the cliche aspects of it, but to me the displacement advantage is really where the platform truly shines over the Modular. I’d never consider a 4.8 swap better than a modular build for instance. 5.3, eh better, but 6.0 is where you can really turn the platform into a different animal
 
That’s my rationale; if you’re going to go blasphemy go big. And with displacement the need for a power adder diminishes.

I really don’t have a passionate issue with a Chevy swap outside the cliche aspects of it, but to me the displacement advantage is really where the platform truly shines over the Modular. I’d never consider a 4.8 swap better than a modular build for instance. 5.3, eh better, but 6.0 is where you can really turn the platform into a different animal
While I agree, I still have to consider cost. If money wasn't an object I'd be running an aluminum 427 Ford dart block.

If I can find an aluminum 6.0/6.2 that's not dumb in price, trust me I will run it.

If an iron variant comes across and it's a good enough deal, I will probably run it.

In the mean time, I'm looking at a few different avenues. Even Ecoboost 3.5s or 3.7s and adding turbo kits.

But total cost does play a role.
 

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