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Classic Mustangs Tech Forum

Technical discussions specific to 1964-1967, 1968-1970, and 1971-1973 Classic Mustang. Discuss all tech related to in-line six cylinder and V8 powered Vintage Mustangs here.

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Unread 07-11-2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default Crate engine build or rebuild a worn 302?

I have purchased a used complete 302 (except intake/carburetor and transmission) out of 1973 Ranchero that I want to put in my 1965 Mustang. I'm going for a mild street build mostly stock with aluminum heads, electronic ignition, etc. for a daily driver car. I don't need all the most expensive parts out there, but I don't want to be cheap either as I want this engine to last and be reliable. My transmission plan is a T-5 to match with it. My question is, would it be more cost effective to rebuild the used 302, or to buy the Ford Racing crate 5.0 and buy the additional parts needed. Also, any other opinions/suggestions for the build that have worked for any of you would be greatly appreciated as I am going from the inline six and C4. Thanks in advance.
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Unread 07-11-2011   #2 (permalink)
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When I did the research for my engine decisions that had to be made, I liked Ford Racing's reputation the best. There are quite a few engine builders out there that boast high HP for little money, but Ford Racing did not seem too good to be true and Summit sells their stuff.

BUT, I ended up building my own. I took the money that I saved and put it into a stoker kit. Granted, I spent more in the long run, but more power is "more power".

It all depends on your budget, what you can do yourself, what HP/Torque you want. The cheapest way to go is build your 302 using stock parts to get about 200 HP, then build it up to 300 HP. After that it gets questsionable if Ford Racing is a better value. Especially if you lack Know-How, tools, or more importantly - TIME.
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Unread 07-11-2011   #3 (permalink)
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well 1973 is probably the worst year for any engine...you'll be much better off getting a later model roller motor or yes a crate engine, rebuilds take alot of time and cash, a crate motor can be installed in a day
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Unread 07-11-2011   #4 (permalink)
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Didn't you already make the decision by buying the used engine in the first place?
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Unread 07-11-2011   #5 (permalink)
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I was in the same situation 13 years ago. My car had a 68 302 in it and was debating on rebuilding. Decided not to and went for the 5.0 GT40 Crate motor and car has nver had a problem and motor is still bullet proof with 17,000 miles on it now.
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Unread 07-11-2011   #6 (permalink)
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It kinda depends on what you want. If you just want it done quick and right, buy the crate motor and drop it in.

If you wanna have fun actually assembling your own engine (while cursing like a sailor) then rebuild the 302. This is the route I took. Stripped the engine down to just the block and had it machined. In the process of rebuilding it atm
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Unread 07-11-2011   #7 (permalink)
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I had the same decision to make, except I had my 68 302 which I rebuilt 20 years ago was due. By the time I updated the old engine, it wasn't much more to start with a new 351W and build a stroker. It all depends on your resources and goals. I crate would be the easiest, but quality would be a concern for me. I bought the pieces amd went to a local builder who had a great reputation. If you have the block, just buy the pieces and have it done. Just check out the person you choose.
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Unread 07-12-2011   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yadkin View Post
Didn't you already make the decision by buying the used engine in the first place?
I picked up the used engine for $100, so if I decided to part with it, I'm not at a huge loss. Also, why is 1973 the worst year for engines? Even if I only use the block and bore it out .030 for example, is it still better to just get a newer 5.0 roller block? Time isn't really an issue for the build as my 200 I6 is still running me around daily. I'm just curious about what has worked for other people's street small blocks in their Mustangs and this is contributing to my research on what I should do. I have built one engine prior to this with a group of friends at school (Chevy 350) so I have a generally good idea of what I'm doing. Like I said before, I just want a reliable/reasonable street engine that has some good power to lay down on the pavement.
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Unread 07-12-2011   #9 (permalink)
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I'd personally get a remanufactured long block built to your specs. It's warrantied and cheaper than having an engine machined AND a crate engine. And you can still build it up however you'd like.
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Unread 07-12-2011   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Pajamas View Post
I picked up the used engine for $100, so if I decided to part with it, I'm not at a huge loss. Also, why is 1973 the worst year for engines? Even if I only use the block and bore it out .030 for example, is it still better to just get a newer 5.0 roller block? Time isn't really an issue for the build as my 200 I6 is still running me around daily. I'm just curious about what has worked for other people's street small blocks in their Mustangs and this is contributing to my research on what I should do. I have built one engine prior to this with a group of friends at school (Chevy 350) so I have a generally good idea of what I'm doing. Like I said before, I just want a reliable/reasonable street engine that has some good power to lay down on the pavement.
1973 has a bad reputation because that's when a certain EPA mandate came out that the car manufacturer's frankly weren't ready for. Carbs had a certain amount of non-adjustability, "smog pumps" robbed us of power, and as I recall there was a change in the way horsepower was measured. Heads were de-tuned for lower octane no-lead gas. Bottom line is that the engines ran like crap compared to what we were used to. The insurance industry as well forced the manufacturer's to stop the muscle car war. It was the end of an era and we all lost a little bit more freedom.

My dad had a 1972 Ford with a 351W and my grandfather had a '72 Olds Cutlass with a 350 "Rocket" V8. Both those were fine engines that ran great and lasted a long time. I used to take the Olds and find 1973 or newer Trans Ams to play with- they couldn't keep up. I ran the Ford up to 185,000 miles before I sold it.

It shouldn't matter to you though since a 1973 block is no different than a 1972. And since you have a classic you can delete the smog gear and get a decent set of heads.
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Unread 07-13-2011   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yadkin View Post
1973 has a bad reputation because that's when a certain EPA mandate came out that the car manufacturer's frankly weren't ready for. Carbs had a certain amount of non-adjustability, "smog pumps" robbed us of power, and as I recall there was a change in the way horsepower was measured. Heads were de-tuned for lower octane no-lead gas. Bottom line is that the engines ran like crap compared to what we were used to. The insurance industry as well forced the manufacturer's to stop the muscle car war. It was the end of an era and we all lost a little bit more freedom.

My dad had a 1972 Ford with a 351W and my grandfather had a '72 Olds Cutlass with a 350 "Rocket" V8. Both those were fine engines that ran great and lasted a long time. I used to take the Olds and find 1973 or newer <acronym title="transmission">Trans</acronym> Ams to play with- they couldn't keep up. I ran the Ford up to 185,000 miles before I sold it.

It shouldn't matter to you though since a 1973 block is no different than a 1972. And since you have a classic you can delete the smog gear and get a decent set of heads.

I'm sure this would all matter if he was trying to "restore" a 1973 302 to original factory specifications, but since his plan is to rebuild it, he's going to determine what pistons, what cam, which intake, which carb, etc. 1973, 1983, 1963, it's just a big block of cast iron to mold into whatever you want to make!
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Unread 07-13-2011   #12 (permalink)
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You cant go wrong with a mild performance engine built of the newer 302HO block with full hyd roller cam/lifters. I would personally stay away from the older flat tappet stuff....the newer blocks are cheaper to build off using OE roller components as well rather than spending more for Retro Lifters.

Let me know if I can help.
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Unread 07-13-2011   #13 (permalink)
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Are roller motors better simply because the rolling ability of the lifters frees up more horsepower??
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Unread 07-13-2011   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t.mcginley.jr View Post
Are roller motors better simply because the rolling ability of the lifters frees up more horsepower??
yes, that and one less thing to wear out.
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Unread 07-13-2011   #15 (permalink)
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Are roller motors better simply because the rolling ability of the lifters frees up more horsepower??
Also the roller allows for a more aggressive (steeper) profile than a regular cam/lifter setup does.
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