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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Looking for a reliable, light-weight, daily drivable corner carver engine option for an 88 notch. Was pursuing the 3.7L V-6 cyclone due to the low weight, reliability, and having 2 less cylinders over the drive axles. But the mods required to get that to fit are beyond my skills (or lack thereof). Specifically, drastically different motor mount locations, offset centerline requirement, bypassing EPAS, remote shifter mounting, lack of support (no write-ups on how, no plug-play components, etc, etc, etc).

So, if not the Cyclone, what? I'm open to anything from the new Ecoboost to a Coyote to a LS swap. Looking for 300-400 reliable NA hp (I know the Ecoboost is not NA, but the hp/lb ratio is tough to beat) at the crank, light weight, and ease of installation. Price is a factor, but less so than those 3 priorities. If it matters, I'll be doing a manual tranny and rear disc brakes (I've heard you can take the entire engine/tranny/rear end from certain donor Camaros...not sure what it took to put them in though). Much obliged!
 

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Is the ‘88 a four cylinder car? If it was the 302 I’d say to stick with what you have and add a new top end as well as convert to mass air. You can carve plenty of corners with a 300 wheel horse Fox. You’d have to address the suspension no matter what engine you put in. If it’s a 4 cyl car you’re going to want to upgrade the rear end and axle as well because they came with an open a 7.5” open differential. The corners won’t be all that carved with the power only going to one wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
5.0 and already have the budget for a MM Max Grip box once I choose a drivetrain which should address the suspension. Ideally the engine swap will shave lbs off the front and gain power at the same time.
 

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5.0 and already have the budget for a MM Max Grip box once I choose a drivetrain which should address the suspension. Ideally the engine swap will see if we can gain power.
Keep what you have brother. Other than uniqueness I can’t think of another area the 3.7 would beat a 302 with a “good” top end. The 3.7 will be slower, more expensive, a lot more involved, and it’ll sound way worse.
I know where you’re coming from, I imagine you’re thinking, “the notchback is light so let’s put a light engine in it to make it even lighter.” This says that the 3.7 weighs 170 Kg which is close to 370 lbs. A 302 weighs something like 420-450 lbs. If you were to replace the stock heads with new and improved aluminum heads on the 302 it would reduce the weight by 40-50 lbs. So then there would only be like a 30 lb weight difference between the two and the “built up” 302 would probably be making fifty horses more than the 3.7. The typical $3k-$4k top end build for a 302 usually makes in the ballpark of 300 rear wheel horsepower. The 3.7 won’t be close to that out of the box and I doubt there is much of an aftermarket for them to make it much faster. To make enough power to pull you out of a corner you’ll probably have to rev the 3.7 towards its upper limits. The 302 will make its torque at a lot lower rpm and it’ll continue to build power until you have to shift. No “flat spots” like on a motor that needs to rev to make power.
If you stay with the 302 stay away from the GT40 stuff. The bang for buck isn’t there with them.
$3150 for this kit. But you’ll also need larger injectors and a fuel pump and possibly a mass air conversion. Even then I bet it’s cheaper than a swap. There are better top ends out there. This one is just all in one box and it’ll get you in the 300 wheel horse area and you won’t have to reinvent the wheel to do it.
Also a 3.55 rear gear would probably be decent in the corners.

 

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90lxwhite is right on point. You already have the old 5.0L in it. Why reduce torque, sound, and all the capability to upgrade the 5.0L for which there is MANY parts available for? It would be a wiring nightmare to do that anyway. The 3.7L isn't like a Coyote 5.0L crate engine that you can buy the wiring control kit for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
All great/valid points, but in my original post I already decided to scrap the 3.7 L for some of the reasons you mentioned. The question was, what is another light weight option that gets me the power I want with a meaningful weight reduction over the stock block?

If I’m picking up what you’re throwing down, it sounds like you’re saying there isn’t one.
 

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All great/valid points, but in my original post I already decided to scrap the 3.7 L for some of the reasons you mentioned. The question was, what is another light weight option that gets me the power I want with a meaningful weight reduction over the stock block?

If I’m picking up what you’re throwing down, it sounds like you’re saying there isn’t one.
Don’t sweat the weight so much. You’ll gain more speed with power vs reducing weight by a couple hundred pounds. Once when I was at the 1/8 track there was a guy in a stripped out “PI swapped” 97’GT that he said was making something like 270 rear horse and it was slow. My ‘95 makes 330 at the wheels and it’s heavier than when it came from the factory. So his was probably a couple hundred lbs lighter than mine and mine makes 60 horse more. His was finishing the 1/8 around 70 mph and mine does it in the 80’s.
Build up what you have.
 

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There is no reasonable lighter weight option that won't be a trade off or practically unfeasible. As has been said the small block Ford that you already have isn't that heavy in comparison to newer engines and power will always reign over weight for making you faster. It's not like you have an old heavy cast iron big block that you want to lighten. Replace the heads and you kill two birds with one stone: more power and lighter weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You are right (disappointingly) on all counts. I think I was more enchanted with the V6 swap b/c it moved the CG rearward. The weight reduction is nice, but where the weight was is just as important. I’m not trying to set lap/1/8 mi records. I’m trying to get a certain balance and poise not normally associated with these cars, if that’s even possible. Worth a try but the hunt continues.
 

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You are right (disappointingly) on all counts. I think I was more enchanted with the V6 swap b/c it moved the CG rearward. The weight reduction is nice, but where the weight was is just as important. I’m not trying to set lap/1/8 mi records. I’m trying to get a certain balance and poise not normally associated with these cars, if that’s even possible. Worth a try but the hunt continues.
How old is the suspension and bushings and stuff? New or are they 30 years old?
 
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