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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-31-2011, 07:31 PM
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project: dirt cheap

so i picked this up today and wanted to share. its a 89 thunderbird 5.0 auto. trans is bad motor was knocking when it got parked. i picked up this motor from my friend its a 283 sbc bored out with all forged internals. heads are redone stock head 2.02 1.70 just needs intake and cam. motor has 500 miles on it. he spent $3000 in machine work on it. i dont have the built sheet in front of me right now. he had it in his s10 until he wrecked it. the s10 did wheelies and had a 150 shot of nos. i picked this all up in a trade. going to sand down the bad spots on the body and do a $200 maco special on it gut it and run it with a th400 trans i got laying around. not sure what im going to do for suspention or if ill tub it or not should be a nice sleeper. so whats everyone think.

edit:that intake is just there to hold the plastic down thats sealing off the top of the motor



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Old 03-31-2011, 08:36 PM
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I'm guessing you live with you parents there. Are they ok with this? Will there be an adult helping you with this, because you are biting off a pretty big novice project to put that chevy engine into the T-bird. I'd say go find another 302, they are a dime a dozen and it will be a lot more likely to get done.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:03 PM
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It would be easier just to find a 302 and C4 or transmission of your choice. But I know sometimes you got to work with what you got.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:14 PM
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Parents or not- I say to stick w/FoMoCo power under the hood of that T-Bird, too. What are the emission requirements where you live in MI? Sometimes swaps like that aren't even possible, legally.

The 302 is likely rebuildable- there are cheap crank kits to turn the docile 302 into a 331 or 347, and guys are running some LOW quarter mile times w/these engines. Even the 5.0L w/a turbo or centrifugal blower will make huge power.

Swapping in a 5.0 HO engine is another cheap option. The '87-'92 engines had forged pistons and a cam good enough to make 400 HP w/a set of AFR (or similar) heads.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:53 PM
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Got a casting # for those heads on that 283?? I can tell they are not stock 283 because they have accesory bolt holes on the front of them - no 283 ever had them.

How about a casting # of the rear drivers side bellhousing flange of the block, to confirm it is a 283??

Car is not going to be very popular with a chevy engine swap should you decide to sell it, and don't expect it to be very quick with a 283, it weighs at least 800 lbs more than the S-10 did.

Not exactly a popular engine swap, and a lot of work and custom fabrication - it won't just bolt it, for sure. Exhaust, driveshaft, trans crossmember will all need custom work, and you will need a GM radiator as the Ford hose connections are on the wrong sides of the radiator for a Chevy engine. Aftermarket floor shifter needed, and you'll need to work on the underhood wiring to fit the Chevy engine. Speedo cable will need to be custom, to hook Chevy trans to Ford speedo.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:09 AM
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to chevy or not?

Spend your money wisely and swap in a 351w, makes the car faster, worth more and more desirable. A 283, if it is one is to hindered by last of cubic inches, to much work to be worth it and you will just wish it was at least a 350 because of being so tired of reving it to the moon all the time just to get it to go. Cool at first then lame after.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:14 AM
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I was young once.. Fwiw,
Why not do the thing that will help best, get the bird engine changed out or rebuilt. Going where you stated is alot to take on. I mean more than you can really guess. The above posts say some good advice on things you need and there will be times you might go, wth?
I'd trade the motor for a FMC product. It's a bolt in, basically.

Why did I say that? I never got some of the early projects done because TIME and LIFE came up. If this is just a hobby, and ya can handle 4 weeks to 4 years..kewl. Life does get in the way, just saying. Best to you.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:28 AM
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this was part of a large trade. picked this up, a nice s10, a 14 foot enclosed trailer, and a few other odds and ends for my 94 gmc 1500 mud truck and a older bass boat and a few other things. i know what im getting into with the swap its not ideal but its here. depending on what the 5.0 looks like once i get the pan off my brother might rebuild it for his mustang. the body work is where im going to cut some corners most of the rust is just surface rust just a few spots where its rotted. instead of welding in new sheet metal im just going to sand it down and bondo over it the best i can. not looking for a 8 second show car just something to have some fun in.

willowbilly3: i understand what im getting into and thats its going to take for work. i have people that will help me out with it if i need it. also not living with my parents.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:40 AM
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ericnova72: i'll pull the casting #'s in the morning not sure if the heads are off a 283 or a another sbc but it's definitely a 283. the custom motor and trans mounts is one thing im going to need help with but i've got someone that can help me with it
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:00 AM
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I'd say it's a 283 block, by looking at the front of the block:




SBC 265 CID


The 327 had a closer rib than the 283 that you couldn't get a finger into easily.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:16 AM
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Well, you don't seem to have much into it and it will be a good learning process. But take this from a guy who has had about 90% of his projects that seemed like a good idea at the time, never get finished. Most of those when I was younger and had a lot more energy. Most of my good judgment comes from bad experiences, which were the result of poor judgment. It can't be imparted, you have to have your own experiences. Education costs money, be ready to spend a lot more than you think. I mean, just getting a drive shaft built for the car, call a machine shop and see what that costs, or an exhaust system, it will pile up a lot faster than you think. Look the car over good, what else is it going to need? How much to fix the window? How is the front suspension? Brakes? It has the weeny 4 bolt hubs and axles, are you ok with those? Can you find any decent wheels to fit them?
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:28 AM
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Just because you have a pile of parts, doesnt mean its a good idea to put them together....Trade the 283 for a Ford engine.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:48 AM
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block #s 3896944
head #s
gm 9t
f29 79
878460 i think i need to clean it up a little to be sure
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:00 PM
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Block is '66-67 283.

Couldn't find anything close to that # for heads...could that actually be 376450 instead??
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:26 PM
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it could be. i'm going to get out there sunday and get started on it
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