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Old 06-05-2007, 09:34 AM
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FE 390 vs 427

I have purchased a donor car, a 65 Tbird with what I believe is a rebuilt 390. The installation of the engine was not completed and the car sat for 10 years. Before removing the engine I wish to test start it. What are the considerations to avoid damage to the engine? What systems are required? I thought I could hook up the fuel pump to a container, no coolant for a 3-4 minute run time, work the trottle by hand at the carb, etc. I am a novice at his sort of thing, please advise.

How can I tell for certain if my engine is a 390 or 427?

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Old 06-05-2007, 02:38 PM
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Joe -- I'm no expert on FE motors, but I do recall that the 427s were sleeved-cylinder motors. So, if you pull a head and find 4 sleeved cylinders, you can bet it's either a 427 or a very, very expensive rebuild.

BTW -- I don't recommend starting the engine off of a coffee can filled with gasoline. I did that once, and a friend and I started a fire under the hood of his nearly brand new 1968, 440 Charger. Neither of us was happy.

PatM
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Old 06-05-2007, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joebird2
I have purchased a donor car, a 65 Tbird with what I believe is a rebuilt 390. The installation of the engine was not completed and the car sat for 10 years. Before removing the engine I wish to test start it. What are the considerations to avoid damage to the engine? What systems are required? I thought I could hook up the fuel pump to a container, no coolant for a 3-4 minute run time, work the trottle by hand at the carb, etc. I am a novice at his sort of thing, please advise.

How can I tell for certain if my engine is a 390 or 427?
Sure you don't mean a 428?

The 427 is a race engine derived for Ford's reinstated performance program of mid 1960 after a 2 year hiatus from racing in compliance of the anti racing agreement signed by the Big Three with the Automobile Manufacturer's Association (AMA) in late 1957. GM and Chrysler basically ignored the agreement and Ford after two years of loosing races and customers came back swinging in 1960 with the solid liftered 360 hp 352. In 61 this grew into two 390s at 375 and 401 hp. In 62 the FoMoCO guys got out the boring bar again and came out with the 406 in 385 and 405 hp. Half way thru 1963 the mad boring bar was used again and the 427 arrived in 410 and 425 hp versions. The 427's power output though never advertised as more than 425 took all sorts of turns thru low riser, medium riser, high riser, tunnel port, and cammer heads. The original cam timing of 276 degrees grew to 324, but the power rating never changed. But in reality as power and RPM potential went up so did durability problems and from the outside you can see how the 427 addressed these with cross bolted mains and side oiler blocks, not that all 427's have these, but this does make for instant recognition. Now things do get sticky in that for made a tamed 427 with hydraulic lifters and just to help confuse the casual viewer, there were certain Police Intercepter models built to 390 or 428 dimensions that used cross bolt blocks and hydraulic lifters. These cannot be made into 427s as the cylinder walls don't have enough meat to bore to 4.23 inch. But God if you find one of these what a temptation. I built a thirty over, 390 cross bolt PI with a Le Mans crank and rods set, TRW Power Forged pistons, dual 4's on ported medium riser heads and the 324 degree 427 cam a lot of decades ago and stuffed it into a 1961 Starliner Coupe with a Winters modified clutch operated C-6 with an Detroit Locker 3.89 rear end. What a crushing brute that thing was!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean coming outa the hole it just hammered all the way down the track. The memories leave me grinning. Speed channel did a muscle car comparison which had a Mustang 428 SCJ, the way that whole thing just hammers coming off the line brought back fond memories. It's like the body and frame can't move fast enough for the power and the whole machine just beats you up as it tries to run faster and faster. I've driven a lot of GM and Chrysler muscle cars and they're fast no argument, but there's something about the way a Ford, especially with an FE just pounds, an incredible sensation. Alright enough.

The need for a street performance engine that didn't cost like a full up race motor bred the 428, which I suspect is the root of your original question. Below is a link that lets you decipher FoMoCos casting numbers that might be of some help. Unfortunately the 390, 428, and 427 do share some common parts which can make knowing what is what difficult.

http://www.streetmachinesoftablerock...20numbers.html

The least of these are powerful and heavy engines and I certainly can't get behind starting one up while resting on it's oil pan. The likelihood of this thing getting way from you and doing serious damage to you, others and the surroundings is really high.

Bogie

Last edited by oldbogie; 06-05-2007 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 06-05-2007, 03:45 PM
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You have a 390. There is no reason there being a 427 in a 65 BIRD. Neither a 428 as it was not introduced until 1966.
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Old 06-05-2007, 04:45 PM
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But . . .There were "Lincoln" 430s in 'Birds back in 1960, correct? How many years did they keep up that practice? And, is the 430 considered an FE motor? What about the 460 . . . . Is it an FE or more closely related to the 430? Enquiring minds want to know. . . . . .

PatM
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatM

But . . .There were "Lincoln" 430s in 'Birds back in 1960, correct? How many years did they keep up that practice? And, is the 430 considered an FE motor? What about the 460 . . . . Is it an FE or more closely related to the 430? Enquiring minds want to know. . . . . .

PatM
The MEL 430 was used in the 59/60 BIRD as an option. It is somewhat similiar to an FE, but has many unique features.

The 429/460 is a member of the 385 Series, and was introduced in 1968.

-THE MEL ENGINE FORUM-
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:27 AM
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Thanks all.

You've been a big help
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