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Thoughts on 390's

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Robbdtme View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10-June-2012 at 8:33AM
Picked up a 1975 390 about 4 years ago ran good and somewhat built although the details were forgotten has a holly carb -  headers a stall converter anyway just checking out idea's for possibly building it up. Other option is taking the current 77 351M and stroking it. Already did the top end on the 351 - Comp cam - Gear drive - Weiland intake - Barry grant Speed demon 625 CFM - Hooker HKR6915 Headers. Bottom end is original yet but it only has 73k miles and no oil burning.

Thoughts?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GranTorinoSport Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-June-2012 at 5:40PM
There will be many that disagree with me, but I'm not a big FE fan. I have spent months in my garage, and over $3000 trying to fix up the 360 in my 71 F-250. It still has problems of various small sorts, and I'm about ready to throw it away and simply get a 460 and put it in - or rebuild the 351W in my 75 Sport for the F-250.
 
Without going too deep into my rants about my personal experiences, some general highlights would be:
 
-  parts are expensive
-  parts generally to not cross-level with other Ford engine platforms
-  some things like intake leaks can be hard to find because the intake gasket surface is under a valve cover
-  there are a lot of "little" things that make a difference - like putting sealant under intake bolts to prevent oil migration onto the top of the intake, stuff like that
 
If you wanted to spend the money to make the 390 a really good engine, and were unwilling to spend more on the 351M for whatever reason, I'd look to a 460 personally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-June-2012 at 6:09PM
well as much as I don't care for the Modified series
I hate the FE even more
 stick with the 351M as you already have done alot to it
 did you do any head work? springs,retainers,keepers, pushrods ,etc.?
porting heads will help them flow better and top end is where you get the H from.
My 351C was all built from the cam up and bottom end stock with just over 50K when I got it form my uncles 74 Ranchero 500 he bought new,so I knew the motor was not beat on and perfect for a mild performance build. It was quick enough for me at the time and had a 2400-2600 stall in the C6 with Hedman Headers. I never got it to the track to see how fast it was but kicked many of Mustang and Camaro butt with it in my 73 Torino on the streets. however I don't street race these days and that was back in the early 90's. I still have the engine but the car was junked in 1993



Edited by 72 GTS 429 - 30-June-2012 at 6:10PM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robbdtme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-July-2012 at 1:13AM
I did a lot of reading on it and found all the casting numbers. Sounds like when the blocks were cast the employees were lazy and did not always fully change the cast setup every time so the cylinder wall thickness to water jackets could vary on the castings.

Looks to me like it is a good 390 for a truck as it runs perfect so just going to unload it. Someone did put some work into it as it has a 750 holley and headers on it still not sure what else but was told the cam and chain were done also. I did drive the truck before it was pulled and it rolled the tires pretty good!! Truck was beautiful a plus condition but was parted out over a title problem.

The Springs Retainers and lifters all came matched with the cam kit That went into the 351M (272 duration with 524 lift both intake and exhaust).

Anyway going to stick with the M for this summer and just found a complete 351CJ that can sit in the corner where the 390 is now.
Thanks for the input! Robb


Edited by Robbdtme - 01-July-2012 at 1:29AM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robbdtme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-July-2012 at 11:39AM
The 351CJ is a 1971. He has the entire car yet parked in the woods at his place. Car itself is junk as he stripped everything and used it to race 2 years in the 80's then parked it where it still sits. Said at the time the motor still ran great but crashed it and the frame was done. Figure it will be a good over the winter rebuild project. Curious now what the rear end is might be a find also ( Not sure if 71 is compatible yet with the later 9 inch). Tranny is a C6
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote unlovedford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-July-2012 at 11:49AM
Good choice on not going with the 390. I love those engines, but they can slowly (or quickly) drain your wallet. I have an S code '68 Cougar XR7/GT and am pulling the built 390 (original engine) back out and going to the trouble of installing a supercharged 4.6/6 speed in it. Why? The 390 would never be able to equal the power and reliability of that 4.6 combo and while a 390 sounds good, sound isn't everything.

Joe
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robbdtme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-July-2012 at 12:23PM
I have a guy here in Wisconsin looking HARD for a 67 390 C7ME engine for a restoration wants to keep his car numbers matching. I can PM you his name and number.

Supercharged 4.6 holy moving on out batman! Regular triton 4.6 hauled A** in my old towncar.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote unlovedford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-July-2012 at 1:27PM
It is a major swap that involves tower elimination, R&P steering, and major reconfiguration of the engine compartment. However, I've had the car since '86 or so and don't mind doing the work. It moved well in my friend's Cobra before it was wrecked, price was really right, and came with everything from the donor.

I had a couple of those Town Cars - smooth, reasonably quick and would get unreal (for a big car) MPG on the highway.
Joe
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robbdtme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-July-2012 at 2:28PM
Look forward to hearing the progress and maybe share some pictures as it comes along. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote formaltop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-July-2012 at 4:29PM
I just have to pipe some info in on the FE thing. My 390 I had in my Mustang would run circles around my 351 windsor. Have a buddy with a 390 in a 71 pickup that will run circles around anothers 77 with a 400M. FE's do well without having to spend a lot of money on the build. The worst flowing factory FE head flows better than the best FACTORY small block. They are also, to many peoples amazement are not that heavy, like 150ish # under a 385 series. Now if you are going VERY fast, then yes the $ ad up.

That being said I would see no reason to try to put one in a 70 or newer Torino. The Cleveland is like a direct bolt in.

Sorry for the rant but they can run. My current engine in the Mustang is a 431FE, very mellow cammed, factory C6 with a 325! gear will pull 113 in the 1/4!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robbdtme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-August-2012 at 7:14PM
Dead topic just testing if my profile sig worked

Johnny cash Special 74-75-76 freak. 77 XR7. 78 LTD II sport looks pretty but poop 302 in it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robbdtme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-August-2012 at 7:18PM
OK it did just need to scroll it a little.

I had a few tonight and for the first time in 30 years the other half got to drive the Cougar. She Stalled it 4 times then let her rip posi. Woot Woot.......

Johnny cash Special 74-75-76 freak. 77 XR7. 78 LTD II sport looks pretty but poop 302 in it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 79 ltd II All green Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-August-2012 at 7:57AM
I have two 390s and ill tell you thoes motors run great. They will out run a stock 427 all day long. If you put the money into them they typyclly run great. But that all depends on the engine builder too
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robbdtme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-September-2012 at 9:21PM
Thanks This one runs strong although no I have had it sitting for almost 5 years. I did some reading on these and see the 360-390-428 were the same block.Ford employees were lazy and did not always change the castings so some were thin wall and some thick. I have not pulled mine down since it runs awesome or did. Looks like from my running the numbers it is a 76 block with 72 heads.
Heads D2TEA Block D6TE. 
Johnny cash Special 74-75-76 freak. 77 XR7. 78 LTD II sport looks pretty but poop 302 in it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote formaltop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-September-2012 at 2:09PM
Um, 360's and 390's are the same block. 428's have a bigger bore cast to handle the 4.13" bore. Don't try to bore a 390 block that far-to thin.
There are some truck blocks that have the 390's 4.05" bore that were cast with the 428 bore sleeves, not all-actually not most. If it has the 428 sleeve casting there should be a 428 shown in one of the core plug holes, down on the bottom, I believe it's the center plug.

Steve
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fordpower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-September-2012 at 2:21PM
don't know much about cost but the 406,bored390 and the merc410 stroked 390 were to of fords best motors in the day dom the drag strip,I believe ford only had them for a yr.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ross6860 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-October-2012 at 12:38PM
I know it's a dead thread, but have to throw my 2 cents in.

I like FE motors.  Just don't try and make them what they are not.  They are not 9000 rpm small-blocks.  I've had several in Galaxies and LTDs and never could blow one up.  Drove one for a year and a half with a pretty serious rod knock.  It was still running when I sold it.

Yes, they can be expensive if you think you are going to run with a stroked big-block Chevy, but if you are building an FE (other than a side-oiler or a cammer) that's not what you are doing in the first place.  If you are, go get a 385-series block.

I nice 390 or 428 with a mild street-performance cam, Performer manifold, adequate vacuum secondary 4-barrel, decent exhaust and ignition is a nice, reliable, motor that will last for many tens of thousands of miles with no work needed other than general PM (plugs, oil, filters, etc.).  Not a lot of money either.  The one I built like this would run at illegal speeds on the highway all day, across country if you wanted.  It pulled like crazy from 3000-5000 rpm and raised a few eyebrows in a 70-100 mph roll on.

If you have some ca$h and want to stay with a vintage block, throw Edelbrock's Performer RPM heads, manifold and cam on one of these babies and you really have something. 
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