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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a non-HO 5.0 that I was planning on doing just a simple HO conversion on, (Stock heads, cam, ECU, etc. from a 5.0 HO) and now that I have to take it out I decided to build it a little bit more, and possibly turbocharge in the future. And I know that this has probably been posted by a million different people, but I found different answers to different questions on different forums, and it was a lot to keep up with. So I needed to post one of my own so that I can get direct answers that will work with my setup. And I need help.

1.) My motor has flat-top pistons without valve reliefs, so they need to go. Are hypereutectic pistons going to be good enough, or will saving money cause me a lot of grief and I should go with forged? (Just a reminder that I plan to add boost.) Are there forged pistons that will work that are close to $200? Can I use stock 5.0 HO pistons, which I assume are cast?
2.) As far as heads go, I don't want to spend too much money, and would like to just get GT40 heads from eBay, along with the upper and lower intake manifolds. How much power can I get with those over regular E7TE heads? Is it worth it for a somewhat budget build?
3.) If I stay with the E7TE heads or go with GT40 heads, I also want a cam. Nothing stupid agressive, but something mild to moderate that will gain me some power and hopefully some good sound. I expect to need different valve springs, but would prefer not to. I would also prefer to use the E7TE heads as I already have a pair. This is another issue that I have with the pistons, because what pistons will work with what cam, and what valve springs with what head? There are a lot of variables and I'd rather not order parts, try them, and send them back if they don't work. Anybody know of any quality, budget-friendly cams?
4.) Will I need an aftermarket ECU if I install these other parts or will the one that I have for a 5.0 HO work? Is it tuneable or do I need to adjust the tune at all? Are there good, low price, aftermarket ECUs that will do what I need them to?
5.) Will I need any fuel upgrades? I have 19 lb/hr injectors, and a stock Town Car fuel system behind those, which I anticipate needing to upgrade.

Basically, I need a cam/piston/head setup that won't kill my wallet but work together, and work together well. I'm not trying to make an insane amount of power, but I would like as much as I can get for the lowest price possible, and as you can see, I need help. This is my first engine build, and I am doing it alone. Any help is appreciated, and please try to remember that I am trying to do this with as little money as possible, but with parts that will hold up fairly well, especially with potential boost in the future. I understand that that's not entirely possible, but I've been doing a lot of research, a lot of shopping, and I just need advice from someone who knows what they're doing and can point me in the right direction. Again, any help is appreciated.

(Note: The car is a 1988 Lincoln Town Car, which is why it's a non-HO 302. I don't expect that to matter, other than the fuel system, possibly)
 

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Welcome to the site.

If you are ever going to do forced induction then always go with forged, period.

GT40 heads are probably the best affordable head out there. The later Explorer heads used specific exhaust manifolds so be careful there.

Go with the mild to moderate Ford Performance cam. It'll be a great all around streetable upgrade. Cams don't really vary all that much in cost. As far as what works with what, you have to do your due diligence and ask the manufacturers questions(calling the tech lines) pertinent to their product meshing with others that you are using.
The lift of a cam is the most critical thing to watch out for. Too much and you will get catastrophic damage if you haven't taken care with your measurements. On a mild to moderate cam it won't be too big of a concern. The FRPP cams will have a warning on the description if it will interfere on a stock engine. Those are generally too much for a street car anyway.
Duration is the second cam spec. Too much will make it idle like crap and will generally be for higher RPM power not low and mid where most street cars spend their time. Avoid a cam with too much.
Lobe separation is the third cam spec. You'll want a wider LSA(lobe separation angle) reduces valve overlap and gives better idle and cruising qualities. It's more streetable and is also better for FI(forced induction engines). A narrow LSA will give a lumpy/choppy idle and has a narrow power band. It's been a while since I talked about LSA so I'm rusty but I think 112° is probably about what you want.

You will need bigger injectors with better heads and a bigger cam.
 

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GT40 heads are better than the E7TE’s but the bang for buck will diminish in a hurry if they require a trip to the machine shop for a rebuild. At bare minimum you’ll need new valve springs. Most of the Ford Explorer GT40 heads you will find will GT40P heads, which require GT40P headers. However, I have heard of people using “regular” headers and using different spark plug bolts. The “standard” spark plug boots don't clear “standard” headers when they are on the P’s. A set of new knock-off aluminum heads will outperform the Ford Explorer heads by a bunch and they’d be new. GT40 combos generally make somewhere between 230-260 rear wheel horse. Aftermarket top end combos will generally be closer to 300 at the wheel. For comparison sake the new Mustang GT makes around 400 rear horsepower.
A cam swap isn’t worth much if you have E7 heads. I have a ‘95 with E7’s and an aftermarket cam (similar to Ford E303) and it made a whopping 205 rear horsepower. Stock it would’ve made something like 190 maybe. The E7’s of course require a valve spring upgrade as well if going with an aftermarket cam. I’m using Comp “beehive” springs.
The fuel system depends on how much power you end up making. If you use the E7TE’s 19# fuel injectors will suffice if you keep it N/A. I don’t know how many LPH your fuel pump is but it’s prob safe to say you’ll need an upgrade if you go with forced induction.
You won’t need forged pistons unless you go with a turbo with a lot of boost. My ‘95 has oem replacement hyper pistons and it is now making 334 rear horse with a 6-8 psi supercharger kit.
The ecu from the 89-95 Mustangs can be tuned, but you’ll need a “chip” and a guy who still does tuning for 89-95. Or you’ll need a “piggyback” like a Moates Quarterhorse. I’m assuming yours is a speed density system so you’ll also need to convert it mass air if you use an ‘89-95 computer.
I’m not sure what you’re thinking as far as budget but it’ll be up there. Tuning along will be over $1k once it’s all said and done. The chip and dyno tune part will run around $700-$800 and you’ll still need to get a mass air meter.
This is top end generally makes a little over 300 horsepower at the wheels in the ‘89-‘95 mustang GT’s which make around 200 at the wheel stock.
To support that power you’ll need somewhere around 30# fuel injectors and most people use Walboro 255 lph pump. If you’re going turbo the 255 will work but the injectors will probably need to be larger than 30#’s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the help. This will definitely be more expensive than I was expecting. What do you think about these RHS heads? Will they be good enough for a somewhat mild build?

Thanks for the help. This will definitely be more expensive than I was expecting. What do you think about these RHS heads? Will they be good enough for a somewhat mild build?
Whoops. Racing Head Service (RHS) 35015 RHS Pro Action Small Block Ford Cylinder Heads | Summit Racing

Welcome to the site.

If you are ever going to do forced induction then always go with forged, period.

GT40 heads are probably the best affordable head out there. The later Explorer heads used specific exhaust manifolds so be careful there.

Go with the mild to moderate Ford Performance cam. It'll be a great all around streetable upgrade. Cams don't really vary all that much in cost. As far as what works with what, you have to do your due diligence and ask the manufacturers questions(calling the tech lines) pertinent to their product meshing with others that you are using.
The lift of a cam is the most critical thing to watch out for. Too much and you will get catastrophic damage if you haven't taken care with your measurements. On a mild to moderate cam it won't be too big of a concern. The FRPP cams will have a warning on the description if it will interfere on a stock engine. Those are generally too much for a street car anyway.
Duration is the second cam spec. Too much will make it idle like crap and will generally be for higher RPM power not low and mid where most street cars spend their time. Avoid a cam with too much.
Lobe separation is the third cam spec. You'll want a wider LSA(lobe separation angle) reduces valve overlap and gives better idle and cruising qualities. It's more streetable and is also better for FI(forced induction engines). A narrow LSA will give a lumpy/choppy idle and has a narrow power band. It's been a while since I talked about LSA so I'm rusty but I think 112° is probably about what you want.

You will need bigger injectors with better heads and a bigger cam.
Good to know. I'll probably look for those then.
 

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Those heads are “bare.” They don’t have any valves or springs in/on them. So you’ll have to buy them separate, and unless you’re machinist you’ll need to have someone put them in. Those heads are also $529 each, so it’s $1058 for a bare set of heads.
If “budget” is a concern you’re probably not going to be able to afford enough horsepower to warrant forged pistons. The block will blow before the hyper pistons, and that’ll be somewhere around 500 horsepower. 500 horsepower cost a butt-load.
Are you going to build the motor yourself? If you’re not a shortblock will probably be cheaper than rebuilding yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Those heads are “bare.” They don’t have any valves or springs in/on them. So you’ll have to buy them separate, and unless you’re machinist you’ll need to have someone put them in. Those heads are also $529 each, so it’s $1058 for a bare set of heads.
If “budget” is a concern you’re probably not going to be able to afford enough horsepower to warrant forged pistons. The block will blow before the hyper pistons, and that’ll be somewhere around 500 horsepower. 500 horsepower cost a butt-load.
Are you going to build the motor yourself? If you’re not a shortblock will probably be cheaper than rebuilding yours.
Yeah I'm doing it myself. My current plan after talking to you folks is to get a set of hyper pistons, GT40 heads/intake manifolds, and maybe throw in a mild cam that will work with the heads and pistons. New headers if I end up going with GT40p heads. Any performance heads on the market are more than I want to spend, so those are out. Is that a good setup? How much boost will it be able to handle if I ever get to that? Also, thank you for telling me about those RHS heads. Clearly I didn't read it well enough and got excited about the price 😅.
 

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Yeah I'm doing it myself. My current plan after talking to you folks is to get a set of hyper pistons, GT40 heads/intake manifolds, and maybe throw in a mild cam that will work with the heads and pistons. New headers if I end up going with GT40p heads. Any performance heads on the market are more than I want to spend, so those are out. Is that a good setup? How much boost will it be able to handle if I ever get to that? Also, thank you for telling me about those RHS heads. Clearly I didn't read it well enough and got excited about the price 😅.
Have you found a set of reasonably priced GT40 heads? From a private seller they usually run around $500 for the set. But to run anything but a wimpy Ford Explorer cam you’ll need to change out the valve springs and retainers so that’ll be another $450 or so in parts. The Explorer heads are twenty plus years old and probably have hundreds of thousands of miles on them. A valve job might be warranted at this point. Before you know it you’ll have $1k wrapped up in a set of old underwhelming heads. Explorer (GT40) heads and intakes will make somewhere around 250 horsepower at the wheels. That’s better than what you have, but a new Camry will still give you a run for your money.
“Boost” psi will vary but probably stay under ten. I don’t know how much mine is making since I don’t have a gauge, but it makes somewhere between six and eight psi and that gained 109 horsepower to the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Have you found a set of reasonably priced GT40 heads? From a private seller they usually run around $500 for the set. But to run anything but a wimpy Ford Explorer cam you’ll need to change out the valve springs and retainers so that’ll be another $450 or so in parts. The Explorer heads are twenty plus years old and probably have hundreds of thousands of miles on them. A valve job might be warranted at this point. Before you know it you’ll have $1k wrapped up in a set of old underwhelming heads. Explorer (GT40) heads and intakes will make somewhere around 250 horsepower at the wheels. That’s better than what you have, but a new Camry will still give you a run for your money.
“Boost” psi will vary but probably stay under ten. I don’t know how much mine is making since I don’t have a gauge, but it makes somewhere between six and eight psi and that gained 109 horsepower to the wheel.
Interesting. I thought about porting out my E7s, but they only slightly outflow GT40s when ported. I guess I'll look into some aluminum heads because it sounds like I'll be spending the same amount of money for GT40 heads, but very little benefit. Any suggestions for heads?
 

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Interesting. I thought about porting out my E7s, but they only slightly outflow GT40s when ported. I guess I'll look into some aluminum heads because it sounds like I'll be spending the same amount of money for GT40 heads, but very little benefit. Any suggestions for heads?
Trick Flow 170’s and AFR 165’s are old standbys. Heads have gone up since I was last browsing them. They used to run around $1200-$1300 a set, but now it’s looking like about $1500 is the starting off point.. That stinks. If you want to be a Guinea pig, these knock offs might be worth looking at. The castings are knock-off but supposedly they come with name brand “hardware” (springs, valves, etc). They might be worth the gamble, I don’t know. If they are as advertised they’d blow the GT40’s out of the water. To get the most out of them you would want to either have the lower GT40 manifold ported, or buy an intake that will flow better at a higher rpm. I think there’s a method to the madness when porting the GT40 lower. You can’t just “hog it out.”
 

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I forgot this was going in a Lincoln. I think it’s a bigger can of worms than a “budget build” will allow. Of course that all depending on who’s budget, but I don’t think it’s going to be cheap. You have more hurdles than the Mustang guy doing a top end. The Mustang guy only needs to upgrade his fuel system and get a tune to be up and running after a new top end. You’ll need larger injectors and fuel pump but you’ll also have to source out a ‘93-95 Mustang computer as well as the stuff to do a mass air conversion. Then you can have it tuned to be “up and running.” I didn’t think about the exhaust system. It’s going to be a killer because I bet there aren’t very many off the shelf parts that will fit it.
To use those 190cc heads you’ll probably need a set of 30# fuel injectors or there around. They run in the $400 range. Are you on a Crown Vic forum? Those guys might know a little something about something.
Here’s a dude inquiring about doing some work to his Lincoln.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I forgot this was going in a Lincoln. I think it’s a bigger can of worms than a “budget build” will allow. Of course that all depending on who’s budget, but I don’t think it’s going to be cheap. You have more hurdles than the Mustang guy doing a top end. The Mustang guy only needs to upgrade his fuel system and get a tune to be up and running after a new top end. You’ll need larger injectors and fuel pump but you’ll also have to source out a ‘93-95 Mustang computer as well as the stuff to do a mass air conversion. Then you can have it tuned to be “up and running.” I didn’t think about the exhaust system. It’s going to be a killer because I bet there aren’t very many off the shelf parts that will fit it.
To use those 190cc heads you’ll probably need a set of 30# fuel injectors or there around. They run in the $400 range. Are you on a Crown Vic forum? Those guys might know a little something about something.
Here’s a dude inquiring about doing some work to his Lincoln.
Ah. Forgot about the whole speed density issue. I have the H.O. computer and headers. I plan on doing some exhaust work to it, just don't know exactly what I'm gonna do. This whole thing is kinda figure it out as I go, but I hadn't thought about Crown Vic forums for some reason. This article here is what got me started on the whole thing, and I was planning on just doing what it said, but have since decided to make it much harder on myself. I have every part listed on there, as well as some extras, not including all of the misc. parts at the bottom.

 

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In all honesty I would recommend to just build the Lincoln engine back to stock. After reading thru the posts of all the parts you need and want you'll spend a fortune on an 80s Town Car that you'll never get the $ back from. To get it to any level that will even approach competing with a more modern v8 will cost $1000s. If you want to return the old girl to the road then I suggest just doing a bare minimum rebuild and take those thousands that you were going to spend and buy a newer car that has a v8. The Mark VII and VIII are almost as fast as the Mustangs of their eras.
I used to own a Mark IV and Mark V in my late teens early 20s. They had 460 engines in them and were kings of the highway with gobs of torque(low HP though). I had my Mark V up well over 140MPH a couple times with more pedal left when I lifted. The speedo only went to 85MPH so my friends(all 5 of us seated very comfortably) timed the miles in a minute. It's not a completely accurate method but it was scary fast in a car like that. It was the craziest and most reckless thing I ever did.
 

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Ah. Forgot about the whole speed density issue. I have the H.O. computer and headers. I plan on doing some exhaust work to it, just don't know exactly what I'm gonna do. This whole thing is kinda figure it out as I go, but I hadn't thought about Crown Vic forums for some reason. This article here is what got me started on the whole thing, and I was planning on just doing what it said, but have since decided to make it much harder on myself. I have every part listed on there, as well as some extras, not including all of the misc. parts at the bottom.

Like everything in life it all comes down to money and expectations I guess. It’s going to be expensive to make yours considered to be “quick” and relatively astronomical if you’re working with a budget like mine. The stock ‘88 Towncar ran an 18 some odd second 1/4 mile in ‘88. HO Mustangs ran 14 to 15 second 1/4 miles when they were new. A fourteen second 1/4 mile is painfully slow these. Modern non performance oriented family sedans run 15’s or so. If you were to do the HO stuff on yours I’m thinking best case scenario is a 17 second 1/4 mile. The GT40 stuff wouldn’t be much better. It’s going to take a lot of power to make that 4095 lbs move with any efficiency. Not exactly apples to apples, but it takes 485 horsepower to get the new Charger’s fat azz (4K+ lbs) down the 1/4 mile in 12 and a half seconds or so.
Money and expectations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In all honesty I would recommend to just build the Lincoln engine back to stock. After reading thru the posts of all the parts you need and want you'll spend a fortune on an 80s Town Car that you'll never get the $ back from. To get it to any level that will even approach competing with a more modern v8 will cost $1000s. If you want to return the old girl to the road then I suggest just doing a bare minimum rebuild and take those thousands that you were going to spend and buy a newer car that has a v8. The Mark VII and VIII are almost as fast as the Mustangs of their eras.
I used to own a Mark IV and Mark V in my late teens early 20s. They had 460 engines in them and were kings of the highway with gobs of torque(low HP though). I had my Mark V up well over 140MPH a couple times with more pedal left when I lifted. The speedo only went to 85MPH so my friends(all 5 of us seated very comfortably) timed the miles in a minute. It's not a completely accurate method but it was scary fast in a car like that. It was the craziest and most reckless thing I ever did.
You definitively have a point and I realized this after I started. In fact, I saw a 460 in decent condition after taking apart my 302 and almost bought it. Since starting this thread I have greatly lowered my expectations and decided to do a lot less than planned. I will likely never add boost to this motor and I am going to make do with the parts that I have. I'm hoping to get some more grunt out of the old gal, but my plan to make her any sort of "racecar" have been changed due to reality. Maybe a swap is in her future, where I can build everything to work and not have to work with the fancy factory stuff, but for now it's just a simple change in a few parts. Thank you for helping me realize this, I was definitely in over my head. I'm a steering and suspension guy and didn't realize how difficult and expensive it would be haha.

Like everything in life it all comes down to money and expectations I guess. It’s going to be expensive to make yours considered to be “quick” and relatively astronomical if you’re working with a budget like mine. The stock ‘88 Towncar ran an 18 some odd second 1/4 mile in ‘88. HO Mustangs ran 14 to 15 second 1/4 miles when they were new. A fourteen second 1/4 mile is painfully slow these. Modern non performance oriented family sedans run 15’s or so. If you were to do the HO stuff on yours I’m thinking best case scenario is a 17 second 1/4 mile. The GT40 stuff wouldn’t be much better. It’s going to take a lot of power to make that 4095 lbs move with any efficiency. Not exactly apples to apples, but it takes 485 horsepower to get the new Charger’s fat azz (4K+ lbs) down the 1/4 mile in 12 and a half seconds or so.
Money and expectations.
Yeah, the reply that I just wrote to Cobrajet67 kinda sums up my new plan for the build. It sucks, but luckily I didn't go too far before I realize how unattainable my goal was. I do hope that one day I can make her a monster on the track, but that's for when I have more time, money, and experience on my side. You guys have given me a hell of a lot more help and advice than I had expected when creating this thread, and I may have a couple more questions while I do what I have planned.

If you're wondering, the new plan is:
-E7TE heads (Possibly ported, I know a guy that'll do it for free, but it'll be a mild port job)
-HO Cam
-HO Computer
-19 lb/hr Injectors
-Explorer upper and lower intake manifolds w/ bored TC throttle body and EGR spacer (60ish mm)
-HO Headers
-Other parts as needed, possibly a MAF conversion.
I already have all of these parts, and some are already installed. I should be fine with these, and if I mess something up, then I get to buy a new motor and cause me and my wallet more grief ;). Thanks again for the help, guys.
 

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You definitively have a point and I realized this after I started. In fact, I saw a 460 in decent condition after taking apart my 302 and almost bought it. Since starting this thread I have greatly lowered my expectations and decided to do a lot less than planned. I will likely never add boost to this motor and I am going to make do with the parts that I have. I'm hoping to get some more grunt out of the old gal, but my plan to make her any sort of "racecar" have been changed due to reality. Maybe a swap is in her future, where I can build everything to work and not have to work with the fancy factory stuff, but for now it's just a simple change in a few parts. Thank you for helping me realize this, I was definitely in over my head. I'm a steering and suspension guy and didn't realize how difficult and expensive it would be haha.


Yeah, the reply that I just wrote to Cobrajet67 kinda sums up my new plan for the build. It sucks, but luckily I didn't go too far before I realize how unattainable my goal was. I do hope that one day I can make her a monster on the track, but that's for when I have more time, money, and experience on my side. You guys have given me a hell of a lot more help and advice than I had expected when creating this thread, and I may have a couple more questions while I do what I have planned.

If you're wondering, the new plan is:
-E7TE heads (Possibly ported, I know a guy that'll do it for free, but it'll be a mild port job)
-HO Cam
-HO Computer
-19 lb/hr Injectors
-Explorer upper and lower intake manifolds w/ bored TC throttle body and EGR spacer (60ish mm)
-HO Headers
-Other parts as needed, possibly a MAF conversion.
I already have all of these parts, and some are already installed. I should be fine with these, and if I mess something up, then I get to buy a new motor and cause me and my wallet more grief ;). Thanks again for the help, guys.
Maybe look into a new & improved valve body for your AOD transmission.
 

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Carson, I may be late to this party, but I'd like to add a couple of things!

1) Don't spend money on E7TE heads. I mean, if they work, they work. If they don't, get something better! Any garbage set of Explorer or Mountaineer GT40 or GT40P heads with better springs is worth around 30-40 horsepower compared to the old E7s. If you are going to spend $1000 on headwork anyway, why not just spend that same money on something that will gain double or triple the horsepower, and get you better economy too? The only good thing you can say about the E7 heads is that they're not 70s smog heads, really.

2) AOD in stock form is not a performance transmission. If you hammer on it, 2-3 and 3-4 full throttle shifts put the torque converter lockup in a bind. Either the friction materials have to fail, or the frail 2-piece shaft will fail, and then you have problems. Fixing it is possible, but tends to be pricey! The gentle cushy engagement of the gears with AOD were designed with comfort in mind, not performance. By slipping the friction materials, it avoided harshness, but at the cost of greatly increased heat and wear if you're being rowdy. These problems are greatly aggravated by being in a full-size car, because of the extra weight.

Not saying all this to rain on your parade, because having a 'hot rod Lincoln' is pretty awesome! Your project is also very do-able. If you're passionate about it, you've got a million options!

One very simple possibility is just getting a complete Mountaineer or Explorer motor from a 96-01 that already has the good heads. Put in better valvesprings and a cam, and you'd have a pre-made engine that can bolt right in. (it wouldn't solve all your fuel issues, but at least you'd have a solid motor to run!) Stock cam on the Explorer had less lift than a week old birthday balloon, and was never made for performance. The springs are accordingly anemic too.

As far as transmissions go, you might think about a 4R70W to replace the mushy 4 speed slushbox you have too. Upside? Even the V6 version can handle at least 350 hp without fuss, and it'll shift great. Gives you a lower 1st and 2nd gear too, so you can take off faster! Downside is that you'd need a stand-alone controller to run it. I chose to control mine by buying a Holley Terminator X Max engine control system, since I needed it for my fuel injection anyway. It has a controller built in. Not the cheapest route. Baumann Engineering makes really good ones, and some of them are fairly cheap.

You might even be able to get the transmission along with the engine, if you find the right donor vehicle. Just be sure to grab one that's pre 2001 so you have the mechanical speedo provision - and get one with the Windsor bellhousing pattern, not the "Mod Motor" version. You can't swap bellhousings to change it.

Best wishes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Carson, I may be late to this party, but I'd like to add a couple of things!

1) Don't spend money on E7TE heads. I mean, if they work, they work. If they don't, get something better! Any garbage set of Explorer or Mountaineer GT40 or GT40P heads with better springs is worth around 30-40 horsepower compared to the old E7s. If you are going to spend $1000 on headwork anyway, why not just spend that same money on something that will gain double or triple the horsepower, and get you better economy too? The only good thing you can say about the E7 heads is that they're not 70s smog heads, really.

2) AOD in stock form is not a performance transmission. If you hammer on it, 2-3 and 3-4 full throttle shifts put the torque converter lockup in a bind. Either the friction materials have to fail, or the frail 2-piece shaft will fail, and then you have problems. Fixing it is possible, but tends to be pricey! The gentle cushy engagement of the gears with AOD were designed with comfort in mind, not performance. By slipping the friction materials, it avoided harshness, but at the cost of greatly increased heat and wear if you're being rowdy. These problems are greatly aggravated by being in a full-size car, because of the extra weight.

Not saying all this to rain on your parade, because having a 'hot rod Lincoln' is pretty awesome! Your project is also very do-able. If you're passionate about it, you've got a million options!

One very simple possibility is just getting a complete Mountaineer or Explorer motor from a 96-01 that already has the good heads. Put in better valvesprings and a cam, and you'd have a pre-made engine that can bolt right in. (it wouldn't solve all your fuel issues, but at least you'd have a solid motor to run!) Stock cam on the Explorer had less lift than a week old birthday balloon, and was never made for performance. The springs are accordingly anemic too.

As far as transmissions go, you might think about a 4R70W to replace the mushy 4 speed slushbox you have too. Upside? Even the V6 version can handle at least 350 hp without fuss, and it'll shift great. Gives you a lower 1st and 2nd gear too, so you can take off faster! Downside is that you'd need a stand-alone controller to run it. I chose to control mine by buying a Holley Terminator X Max engine control system, since I needed it for my fuel injection anyway. It has a controller built in. Not the cheapest route. Baumann Engineering makes really good ones, and some of them are fairly cheap.

You might even be able to get the transmission along with the engine, if you find the right donor vehicle. Just be sure to grab one that's pre 2001 so you have the mechanical speedo provision - and get one with the Windsor bellhousing pattern, not the "Mod Motor" version. You can't swap bellhousings to change it.

Best wishes!
Thanks man, I might just have to look into that.
 

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1967 Mercury Cougar XR7
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I mis-spoke just a bit. I said "pre 2001" on the transmission, when what I meant was "up to 2001". They got rid of the mechanical speedo provision in 2002, I believe. =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Alright fellas, I'm back. Took me a while to get the engine out of the car because I've been super busy and very little free time, but it's out and it's mostly taken apart. I had decided not to change the pistons, but when I took the heads off, I noticed a few little chips and some pitting in my pistons. It ran fine before, but I beat on the ol gal a little bit and I'm giving her slightly more power, so I think I'm gonna go with some hyper pistons. What are some good options? I'm hoping to spend somewhere around $350ish, and Summit's hyper pistons are right around there. I don't wanna just get any old piston set, I want something that will work with a stock 302 cam and valve springs, and potentially more aggressive cam/VS in the future. Also, I obviously want some higher compression. Part #'s and links are appreciated.
P.S.- 302 bore is 4.000, correct?
P.P.S- I had a friend port my E7 heads for me in exchange for yard work, so I got slightly better flow for free.
 
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