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Old 09-05-2010, 09:17 PM
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FE 352 Upgrades

I have seen a few posts in regards to the 352 and some of the upgrades at this site and others. But being a newbie i do have questions so forgive the ignorance.

I have a bone stock 1959 Tbird with a 352, factory holley (rebuilt many times), switching to Edelbrock 600cfm performer. Has the 3 speed Cruise O Matic transmission. Due to the type of car I have i would prefer to keep it somewhat stock as in a 352 engine! HAHA more money for me later if it is "correct" LOL or maybe i can just work on the internals of the engine??????

I have read that the FE series engines have the same block (except maybe the 427 or 428????) and the parts are interchangable on many.

so in order for me to get more umph out of the car while cruising in the city or on the highway passing the sheep, i would like to know what changes i can make to the stock engine. i dont want a strip car. that will come later in something else. for now i want something that looks semi stock, sounds good, doesnt have too much of a rough idle but can get up and go if needed, when needed with no hesitation. something that can also easily haul the 3900 plus pounds of steel tank i am in. LOL i want it to run better than what it did new. it was rated at 300hp but i think its NO WHERE near it and it surely isnt now.

i think i have read that without boring the engine i can add a 390 crankshaft/pistons/rods. is that correct? doesnt seem so but i thought i read that. is that something that could be done easily and increase HP along with some Pertronix coil and ignition etc. i have also read that i could add a 427 crank and other stuff and make it a 410 or something like that?

any help would be appreciated. i am not wanting to spend 2000 plus dollars as i could get a completely remanufactured 352 with upgrades for that and have no worries. i have looked at comp cams for the daily driver (not that i drive it daily) edelbrock exhaust and intake manifolds, looked for headers but really cant find much so i am clueless as you can tell and need some guidance.

thanks again!
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:03 AM
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I think the first thing you need is some gear. If you get a numerically higher gear in there, you may find that the increased performance from that one change alone will satisfy your needs. No matter what you do to the motor, it isn't going to be really effective with a tall gear anyway.
Well, maybe the first thing to do would be to order this book and read from an author who has a lot of experience with these motors....
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:28 AM
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Thanks for the info on the book. Just ordered it. Since I am a Acupuncturist by trade I have no idea what you are talking about when you are speaking of a tall gear. I have an idea but i maybe wrong. Can i put a different gear in it and it would still keep the Cruise O Matic? And what would you recommend and where to purchase?
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:49 AM
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The 352 and 390 share the same block “kind of”. The 390 crank and rods fit with no problem but the bore size on the 390 is .050 larger than the 352. So yes with an overbore and new pistons you can easily turn your engine into a 390 and believe me you will like having the extra 38 cubic inches.

The biggest improvement that can be seen on these engines is a better exhaust manifold or headers, unfortunately I don’t believe that there is enough room in the engine compartment for much other than the stock manifolds you already have. One band aid for this is a better cam with split lift and duration (basically more lift and duration on the exhaust valves that the intake). If your engine is original it probably still uses a cam button and spring to keep the cam located so you will also need to dig up a later cam retaining plate (something a good machine shop probably has laying around).

As you mentioned you have a heavy car, so for cam selection don’t go overboard, pick something that is more of an “RV” type grind.

Good luck these are a fun car.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:17 AM
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Ok thanks. so to bore it means the engine has to come out i think. is that correct? it would do it good to get out anyway. i am replacing the timing cover gasket and the valve cover gaskets and although it has a new fuel line the guy didnt have the right ends or fittings so its not exactly "right". Everything on the engine is stock. it could use new exhaust manifold and headers. no rot thru anywhere in the exhaust system but not perfect either. the engine was rebuilt in 1980 and drove 6k from 80-83 then parked for 25 yrs under a carport. it generally runs fine but has alot of hesitation when starting out from a stop or doing a uturn and just hitting the gas. automatic choke doesnt work right and the car needs some vacuum hoses i think, small (not dripping) leaks fixed and a new carb (which i ordered). i am hoping the carb situation fixes the problem with the hesitation, the vacuum lines are to the wipers and i have rigged it to stop sucking air til i get them fixed, has new plugs, points are ok, so i am hoping that the carb fixes the small issue currently. overall its not bad and it looks great. i am just trying to figure out what i can do to the car under 1800 bucks to get it running great. because even with the core deposit i can get a reman 352 with upgrades for that price including shipping. i also have the availablity to get a 352 block with reman and used 390 rods/pistons/crank and a 390 block with some other parts for 400 bucks. dont know if that is something to consider. i can drop the 390 block and get the rods/pistons/crank and just get the 352 for 200 bucks. since i dont need a new engine maybe this would be a way to go to build one cheaply starting out and putting it in later? as long as there is a 352 engine in it then its correct as there are no numbers to "match", only the code on the data plate.
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Old 09-06-2010, 02:39 PM
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another question

so my car has automatic choke. not working right anyway. the edelbrock 600cfm electric choke is on the way. will this fix the automatic choke problem and will i have to buy the electric choke kit for the car from summit or wherever? just drove it down the street, once its going good i can punch it and it gets up a little bit. but when i come to a stop then have to give it gas on initial acceleration or go from reverse to drive etc it hesitates. almost stalls it feels like. i know the carb on it is about done regardless. any input will be helpful. thanks.
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