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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got the Thunderbird when I was a sophomore in high school and have upgraded a few parts but for the most part its stock. I’ve had some trouble with overheating and can’t figure out what it is. I’ve read on some threads that a 460 might be a good option. Since its a heavy girl torque is a must. Wondering what opinions you guys might have?
 

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More for Less Racer
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What is the current engine, and are you trying to keep the stock transmission??

I'm guessing the car has a FE motor, probably a 390"??
If so, only another FE will bolt to that transmission.
 

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In a 65 Bird you could have any engine you wanted as long as it was a 390:<) Not sure why you have over heating issues, my 65 390 is .030 over and has never over heated, that's here in AL. It will idle all day long in traffic. There are only three suspects for your issue assuming all is well with tune-up, timing and fuel supply. Water pump, clutch fan or radiator.

While the 460 is a good low end power maker I believe it is a touch too wide to fit between the fender wells. They come with C-6 which will present no fitment problems going in where the FOM currently sits.
 

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1964 Thunderbird, 390 FE
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Yep, fixing the overheating and sticking with a FE is your best bet IMO. I haven't dove in with my grandma's 64 Tbird yet, but I have done quite a bit of research. If you hop up the 390 too much you can crack the case on the stock trans. A C6 swap can be done reasonably easily. A guy on a Tbird forum showed pics of his C6 swap with a 65. X-member modifications, driveshaft and some fab work to mate the column shifter to the C6 linkage is required. If you do decide to build the 390 be ready to cough up $$$ for headers and watch hood clearance when you look at intakes. If you haven't discovered this already, there is a warehouse in West Linn, Oregon called "Bird Nest" that specializes in 2nd-4th gen Tbirds. Any Tbird part you need they have. If you google "tbird nest" their website will pop up.
 

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First order of business is fix the overheating. This can be a loss of timing correctness which can be cam to crank as this being an oldster its likely the timing set is worn out allowing the cam to fall retarded to the crank. This takes the ignition with it but the ignition is an independent adjustment of distributor to crank so correcting the ignition timing does not fix the valve event timing. Retarded timing be it cam to crank or ignition to crank results in overheating. While at the distributor this can also be a vacuum leak via a ruptured vacuum diaphragm.

Being old it presents the radiator as a candidate as these thing clog up with rust debris as they age needing to be riddled, cleaned or replaced.

Sticking a 460 in it will not fix these problems and if your trying to maintain collector value will destroy that. If you need more power a stroker crank on the numbers matching block would be the best way to preserve the overall worth of the vehicle.

Bogie
 
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