Advice for first time 1966 289 engine rebuild - Ford Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Advice for first time 1966 289 engine rebuild

Hello,
I've been sitting on a 1966 mustang convertible for about 20 years now. It drives but I'm tired of the frequent break downs and feel it's finally time to go for the whole rebuild. I wanted to do it myself; but don't want to wait longer.

My questions are if there are any recommended people to rebuild an engine in Orange County? I've got a guy but might want a second opinion.

What do you think I should be expecting for a basic stock 289 rebuild. I'm hoping they paint and clean the engine while rebuilding so that it finally has that show car beauty that I've always wanted.

Finally, as long as I have the engine out, what are the other things I should have addressed/fixed/repaired/upgraded during that time. Things that are much easier and cheaper to address when the engine out rather than doing it after the engine is replaced?

Thanks so much for your help!!
Cheers,
MIcah
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Micah, just a couple very important questions for you:

1) Is full restoration to you more important than 'hard to tell it's not original'? Because if you are willing to consider the option, you could get a roller cam 5.0 HO motor, from a '97-2001 Explorer/Mountaineer, and enjoy superior power, reliability, and gas mileage, while still retaining the appearance of your stock engine. WAY less expensive to do, too. The GT40P heads are amazing, and will work with your stock exhaust manifolds pretty well. You even get a roller cam, so you don't have to worry about using ZDDP additives to help your engine survive. Virtually all of your old 289 accessories bolt right up to it, so you can very much make it look original to the car, except for a few small details that you'd have to be an expert to spot.

2) Have you upgraded your master cylinder to a dual-reservoir unit? The original Mustang brakes just use one cylinder and one reservoir, so if there's a problem with any part of the brakes, you have NO brakes. The dual setup means the front and rear brakes are separate, so if there's a problem, you at least have a chance to stop the car anyway. If you want to drive, this one's a biggie!

Aside from the brakes, I'd definitely look at the battery cables and grounds, check the battery tray for corrosion, look at your steering gear and inspect for wear/play/leaky boots. If you don't have them, get an export brace and Monte Carlo bar. Every first gen mustang NEEDS them, to prevent metal fatigue, improve handling, and keep your fenders apart from each other. It'd be a great time to do the Shelby drop (Free handling improvement? Yes please.) and possibly install new and improved shocks and swaybar as well, if you want better ride and handling. For shocks, there's a definite "good, better, best" hierarchy for street cars, in terms of ride quality, performance, and pricing: KYB, Bilstein, Koni. And lest they be ignored, if you want to really save money, but have a very soft, compliant, not quite so performance oriented ride, Monroe shocks are actually pretty good!


How's your radiator? Do you have a shroud? What kind of fan?



Just some ideas to help get you rolling, Micah!

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Wow...thank you so much for the thoughts. Exactly the sort of stuff I was looking for.
It is tough because I don't think at this point it will ever be at the point of a show car. I'd been kind of planning on doing it eventually for 20 years now .. and not even come close. Just trying to keep the thing running.

So the reality is that it prob won't be a show car. But if I can get the engine running like clockwork and clean and pretty and get a good paint job and a good ride (interior is quite nice) I think I'd be happy.

The other engine sounds perfect in all honesty. All of my main points ... better performance, cheaper, more power and especially better gas mileage. I have a feeling though that this is kind of sacrilege to do to a classic car that is in good shape?? Would it not decrease the value?? I've tried to keep it as stock as possible ... but don't drive it often because of the bad mileage and the non-reliability (hoping that a new engine would solve that). I'll certainly have to look into that engine. I suppose I'd be curious in the difference between the new engine and a rebuilt stock with gas, power and reliability? Money is a concern, but I've been kind of planning to spend 5k so it's not too big a deal. Obviously I'd love to be able to pay a lot less ... depends on what I'm getting though.

I love the idea on the double cylinder. I did have a new single cylinder replaced on it maybe about 10 years but the brakes do always worry me. A backup certainly would be handy.

After years of overheating and other problems it looks like I got that under control with a newer radiator and a shroud. Have not had problems since having that upgraded thankfully.

All those engine compartment replacements sound great. I figured that some of those would come with the rebuild and cleaning of the engine compartment (battery cables and corroded metals). Shocks would certainly be welcome ... I'll be passing on all those recommendations to my guy for sure.

Thank you so much!!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 3 Weeks Ago
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If your car has the original disc brakes, those are fantastic. There are kits to upgrade to dual master cylinder just for those. If not, I'd just get a full upgrade kit, with the K-H type discs. They are available from a lot of places, and your original wheels/tires will work fine.


With a stock bottom-end roller-cam GT40P headed engine, using any 4V intake (Performer 289, Weiand Stealth), 5.0 HO cam (or mild aftermarket) and something like a 4100 or Summit M-Series carb, you can probably get about 25 mpg out on the highway. Stock, you'd be doing good to hit 17. Average MPG for easy driving will be around 20-21 I'd guess. With the factory 289 I always got 13. Power will be more than 100 horses up on a stock 2V 289, and zero fear of wiping a flat-tappet cam lobe. Average, not just peak power, will be far superior. Most factory 5.0 HO motors still have beautiful cylinder cross-hatching even after 150k miles, and the blocks very rarely need much attention beyond cleaning and paint on the outside.

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