The 2.3 to 5.0 swap *DETAILED* -

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The 2.3 to 5.0 swap *DETAILED*

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Old 02-16-2004, 07:55 AM   #1
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Default The 2.3 to 5.0 swap *DETAILED*


  • Introduction

    Okay everybody knows the easiest way to get rid of your 4 banger and put in an 8-cylinder is to sell your existing car and get what you want. But this isn't always an option due to finances, insurance considerations, or just liking a challenge. The second best choice would be to buy an existing V8 parts car and start swapping everything you need. Sometimes this route isn't practical either. This article will try to show you what is needed to make your car into a V8.

    This article is written from the perspective of dropping a 302 in a 79-93 Mustang (or 79-86 Capri) but much of the information is the same for any fox type chassis (1980-88 T-Bird / Cougar, 1978-82 Fairmont / Zephyr, 1981-82 Granada / Monarch, or 1983-? LTD / Marquis). Sometimes the parts for your swap will vary depending on what car you are starting with and what engine you plan to use. In those cases I'll try to provide what I think will work, but some trial and error on your part may be necessary.

  • Parts List and Helpful Hints

    Of course if youíre going to put a V8 in you first have to get one. There are many routes to go from build it yourself to used (scrap yard) motors to crate engines. Just be sure you know what you are getting, check the year of the motor, what type of shape it is in, history, and how many of the peripheral pieces come with it. Many of these little extra items can save headaches in the long run.

    To get the correct flywheel and harmonic damper, the balance of your engine must be known. Basically pre-81 302s have the 'early' imbalance of 28 oz.-in. If the 302 is 82 and later it will be 50 oz.-in. imbalance. WARNING: rotating parts such as the damper, flywheel, and crank cannot be mixed between the two systems without having the entire reciprocating assembly rebalanced.

    Fuel Pump:
    Fuel injected motors or cars have electric fuel pumps. That means if your motor came from an FI car a mechanical type pump (for carb.) will not work unless you change the timing cover or if you have a FI car and using a carb'd motor a new pump will be required that is low pressure (less than 15 psi) along with a regulator.

    Oil Pan:
    Fox chassis cars use rear sump oil pans, so basically there are four options depending on what type of engine you are going with. First, if you are going with anything other that a small block (i.e. 351C, 400M, 460 cid) you must use a conversion kit type pan. Second, for a race type application go with an aftermarket pan that has baffles of some sort. Third, for an engine that has the oil dipstick that goes into the drivers side of the block any fox body 302 oil pan will work, for a 351 use the Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) pan. Last, on a 302 that the dipstick originally entered the engine on the timing cover (front sump), the factory 78-about 81/82 oil pans have the dipstick enter on the drivers side of the pan (see picture) which makes them the hot setup for putting an older 302 into a later model.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    Distributor and Ignition:
    If you start with a car that already has the Duraspark II system then you are miles ahead. If not follow the "Ford Duraspark II Ignition System" tech article on this website to hook it up. The basic components needed are the ignition module, any coil, and a distributor. Use the '85 Mustang stick shift distributor with a roller cam, other wise any '74-'84 Ford distributor will work (except FI distributors). Don't go the points route unless you enjoy changing the points every 3,000 miles. One last option for a hi-po street or strip car is the aftermarket parts - MSD, Mallory, or Accel all are good choices.

    Wiring Harness:
    For a carb'd car the only things necessary to have it run are compression, gas, and spark, everything else is extra. Same goes for the wiring harness - all you need is a hot wire to make the ignition work.

    There were 2 different factory radiators commonly used in garden variety Mustangs. One was smaller, top / bottom tank design used on early 4 cylinder cars, usually mounted using a sheet metal extension to get the radiator closer to the engine. The second was a 2 core cross flow design. The cross flow design will work on a mild 302 if it is in decent shape. Donít even try the smaller it isnít big enough. For any type of high performance application get a new 3-core copper or aluminum radiator. Also always run a thermostat - engines will have dramatically less wear and perform better at the correct operating temperature.

    There are a ton of different ways to go here. Obviously if this comes with the donor engine it is the easiest. Since there are so many different variations these are the guidelines - 1) make sure you spin the water pump and fan the correct direction (V-belts are always clockwise), 2) The 4-cylinder alternator will work on your V8 w/ the correct brackets, 3) 302 & 351 brackets are not interchangeable, 4) If starting from scratch just go to the junkyard and get what you need, 5) Pulleys out of alignment will not only reduce belt life but also cost extra horsepower, 6) clutch fans use less power than standard type fans, 7) both the dowel pin and bolt circle pattern are smaller on the standard rotation water pumps vs. the reverse rotation water pumps.

    This depends on the transmission your are using but the 4 basic ones are the standard transmission bellhousing for a T5, standard transmission for the SROD or Toploader 4-speed, the auto bellhousing for a C4, and the auto bellhousing for the AOD. Other combos are different still such as the Tremec. The best way is to get the bellhousing with the tranny if possible. Remember that for a stick and quarter mile time faster than 12.00 seconds most tracks require a scatter shield or blowproof bellhousing.

    Once again the options are wide open. For a light duty application the T5 from a 4-cylinder or a SROD are the cheapest overdrive options, just don't plan on using slicks, dumping the clutch, power-shifting, or going faster than 14.0 in the quarter with these. Other options include the AOD, T5, Tremec, C4, and the Toploader.

    Special Notes on Using C4 Trannies:
    I do not know much about automatic transmission but can say that be careful when getting a C4 for a Mustang. Ford changed many things over the years including input spline count, pans, fill tube location, servos, and shifter direction for column or floor mount. Be sure to choose what is best for your application and trial fit everything.

    A V8 will require a shorter driveshaft than all the other factory engine combos. There are basically 3 factory driveshaft lengths available. The longest is the 4-cylinder 4-speed or C4 driveshaft with a 7.5" r
  • TheGmKiller331 is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 02-17-2004, 01:29 AM   #2
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    Default RE: The 2.3 to 5.0 swap *DETAILED*

    hey killer gm guy....i put a 455 olds in a 82 mustang before that had a 4 it, i would like to show pics of it but dont know how now????got lots of detailed ones like you had???[>:]
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    Old 07-06-2009, 05:27 PM   #3
    Descam 80
    Join Date: Jul 2009
    Vehicle: 1991, Ford, Mustang
    Location: Texas
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    New to this, so I have lots of questions so I hope you all can help me. I working on a swap, original 91 Stang LX 2.3 and just dropped a 5.0 from an 86 T-bird, I took the rear end and the engine. I’m currently working on fuel system and this is what I have done to it so far. Kept the original tank and sumped it, have 3 feet 8 N line to FRAM Filter to Holley Black pump, then 14 Feet 6 N line to Holley pressure regulator, to filter then to a 650 single pump Holley carburetor. My question is can I wire the Holley pump to the original factory fuel pump wires? if so what colors goes with what.
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    Old 08-10-2009, 03:47 AM   #4
    Join Date: Aug 2009
    Vehicle: 1992 ford mustang lx
    Location: Arizona
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    hi im new to this and i need help seeing wat year tranny fits my 1992 5.0 motor just got the motor but dont know wat year tranny fits it can anybody help thx
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    Old 08-10-2009, 05:12 AM   #5
    Join Date: Aug 2009
    Vehicle: 2004 Mustang v6
    Location: Ohio
    Posts: 2

    I have a 3.8 2004 Mustang. My neighbor has a 1972 Ford Torino with a 351 Cleveland v8 in it. For sale. How hard would it be to transplant that engine into my mustang?
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    Old 08-10-2009, 08:54 AM   #6
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    Look what the noobs drug in......
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    Old 08-10-2009, 11:04 AM   #7
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