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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my only car/daily is a 1966 Ford Galaxie 4dr. Love the thing, sunk a fair deal of money into it to make it a great driver with some fun power. It currently has a 390 cubic inch FE engine with some decent mods and an automatic, pretty relevant to the decade of the car(carbureted and such). Runs beautiful, driving it everywhere but it gets 8-10 mpg(seems to hang around that no matter what I change) between the city and highway. I'm in college and I'm trying to look at this in the most budget minded fashion, as most are. I can work with the current engine and maybe get a couple more mpgs out of it with efi/overdrive or something like that, or I could swap in something more modern and easily double the mpgs. I'd like to spend around 2 grand for this. Obviously I could buy a cheap beater, but to me, nothing beats driving this car. As much as I'd really like to keep it mostly original or at least period correct, I was thinking of things like a hemi swap, of course ls swaps are cheap but kinda meh, an ecoboost 3.5l swap would be sick but easily the most expensive. Looking for any ideas/suggestions with where to take this. I'm looking for something between 300-400 hp/torque and very reliable. At the end of the day I might leave the car as is because it's still hard to justify a couple grand for this as opposed to just sucking it up at the pump, but it's fun to entertain at least.
 

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You can buy a lot of gasoline with $2,000.

A swap will end up costing more than $2,000 when it's all said and done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You can buy a lot of gasoline with $2,000.

A swap will end up costing more than $2,000 when it's all said and done.
True, no doubt. Potentially though I could be seeing some other gains besides mpg. Maybe better aftermarket support, more power, better drivability all could be examples. That's just me talking myself into a headache of work to fix what aint broke I suppose.
 

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IIRC, Ford offered the 289 in the Galaxie, but even a junkyard swap might exceed $2k after you get it all together. A common swap would also be an early EFI 302 and overdrive automatic, but that is probably way out of budget.
 

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At todays prices, $5 per gallon and a 25 gallon tank in the Galaxie, at $2000 you'll get about 16 full tanks of gas. Big blocks are gonna suck fuel, no matter what. You could go to an aftermarket EFI system or swap to a 5.0 with factory EFI but you'll only get around 17-24 mpg and that's if everything is new and perfect! How about taking the $2K and buy a beater daily driver and save the Galaxie for weekend cruises?
 

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Swaps are best accomplished by having the entire donor vehicle.
Ard you wanting to stay Ford with the drivetrain?
Are you wanting to keep column shift? Are you willing to cut, and weld on the Galaxy?

Let's say you find a running driving ~'90 F150 2WD with a 351W for $1000.
You remove engine, ECM and all related wires, radiator, trans, crossmember, all shifter linkage, drive shaft and pinion yolk, and fuel pump from truck.

Pull the 390 from Galaxy and everything that goes with it.

Supposedly this is a pretty easy "bolt up" engine transmission swap.
You start putting everything in the Galaxy...

Damn it... the exhaust manifold collides. Spend $400 on headers.
Damn it... the power steering piston from Galaxy is in the way. Convert steering box?... $$$
Damn it... lots of other issues we didn't anticipate. I thought this was an easy bolt up swap.
Ok, we took care of all that. Now the crossmember and shift linkage. Let's do floor shift for this C6 or AOD... $400.
Lay under the car all day getting transmission mount and crossmember to work.
Ok, drive shaft needs cut welded and balanced. We'll have a driveline shop do that... $500
Ok, on to the fuel pump. It's a frame mounted inline EFI pump. Good. Wire it up with new wires and connectors and new filter $50.
Wire up the EFI PCM and fuel pump relay from truck... more wiring/connectors, P- clips, conduit and zip ties ...$75
Galaxy radiator work? Looks like it does, just need universal bendy rad hoses... $40.

100 labor hours and 30-40 trips to auto parts store and home depot later.. Everything is in and it runs and drives great.

How long before you start saving money by getting 4-5 mpg better from this set up?
 

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Forgot to mention there isn't a speedometer/ odo/trip without spending more money.. oh well, getting better mileage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
IIRC, Ford offered the 289 in the Galaxie, but even a junkyard swap might exceed $2k after you get it all together. A common swap would also be an early EFI 302 and overdrive automatic, but that is probably way out of budget.
I’m worried one of those smaller engines might be too much of a power drop for my liking, but I have seen complete set ups for surprisingly cheap here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
At todays prices, $5 per gallon and a 25 gallon tank in the Galaxie, at $2000 you'll get about 16 full tanks of gas. Big blocks are gonna suck fuel, no matter what. You could go to an aftermarket EFI system or swap to a 5.0 with factory EFI but you'll only get around 17-24 mpg and that's if everything is new and perfect! How about taking the $2K and buy a beater daily driver and save the Galaxie for weekend cruises?
I’m filling up at least once a week so those 16 tanks go away pretty quick. Honestly 17-24 is what I’m hoping for, that’s more than twice what I have now
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Swaps are best accomplished by having the entire donor vehicle.
Ard you wanting to stay Ford with the drivetrain?
Are you wanting to keep column shift? Are you willing to cut, and weld on the Galaxy?

Let's say you find a running driving ~'90 F150 2WD with a 351W for $1000.
You remove engine, ECM and all related wires, radiator, trans, crossmember, all shifter linkage, drive shaft and pinion yolk, and fuel pump from truck.

Pull the 390 from Galaxy and everything that goes with it.

Supposedly this is a pretty easy "bolt up" engine transmission swap.
You start putting everything in the Galaxy...

Damn it... the exhaust manifold collides. Spend $400 on headers.
Damn it... the power steering piston from Galaxy is in the way. Convert steering box?... $$$
Damn it... lots of other issues we didn't anticipate. I thought this was an easy bolt up swap.
Ok, we took care of all that. Now the crossmember and shift linkage. Let's do floor shift for this C6 or AOD... $400.
Lay under the car all day getting transmission mount and crossmember to work.
Ok, drive shaft needs cut welded and balanced. We'll have a driveline shop do that... $500
Ok, on to the fuel pump. It's a frame mounted inline EFI pump. Good. Wire it up with new wires and connectors and new filter $50.
Wire up the EFI PCM and fuel pump relay from truck... more wiring/connectors, P- clips, conduit and zip ties ...$75
Galaxy radiator work? Looks like it does, just need universal bendy rad hoses... $40.

100 labor hours and 30-40 trips to auto parts store and home depot later.. Everything is in and it runs and drives great.

How long before you start saving money by getting 4-5 mpg better from this set up?


Well aren’t we all doing some variations of this to our cars for whatever unjustifiable reasons? Again I’m hoping that this’ll benefit in more ways than one. I’d like to have a trans with more gears and something less antiquated for a drivetrain.
 

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There are a lot of ways to skin the cat on swap stuff.....but the fact is $2000 budget is unreasonable small for the type of gains you are looking for.

Let's back up for a second....you've said nothing about the combo other than rebuilt and mild performance 390.

What rear gear??
What transmission??
What carburetor?
How is you ignition timing set up?? Be specific....Initial Timing, Total Mechanical Advance timing, what rpm is full advance reached??
Are you using a vacuum advance?? Hooked to Full Manifold vacuum, or Ported vacuum? How much does it add??

There may be low hanging fruit in just getting those details sorted out.

I've run a 406" engine in a 3500 lb street car with 4.56 rear gear, No overdrive, 27" diameter tire, rowdy solid lifter cam.... 11 second 1/4 mile while still getting 16-17 mpg highway.
But you had to just run a steady speed of 60 mph, anything faster at cruise would really eat up the mileage.
8 mpg at best in start stop town driving.....with 4.56 freaking gears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There are a lot of ways to skin the cat on swap stuff.....but the fact is $2000 budget is unreasonable small for the type of gains you are looking for.

Let's back up for a second....you've said nothing about the combo other than rebuilt and mild performance 390.

What rear gear??
What transmission??
What carburetor?
How is you ignition timing set up?? Be specific....Initial Timing, Total Mechanical Advance timing, what rpm is full advance reached??
Are you using a vacuum advance?? Hooked to Full Manifold vacuum, or Ported vacuum? How much does it add??

There may be low hanging fruit in just getting those details sorted out.

I've run a 406" engine in a 3500 lb street car with 4.56 rear gear, No overdrive, 27" diameter tire, rowdy solid lifter cam.... 11 second 1/4 mile while still getting 16-17 mpg highway.
But you had to just run a steady speed of 60 mph, anything faster at cruise would really eat up the mileage.
8 mpg at best in start stop town driving.....with 4.56 freaking gears.

has an edelbrock performer rpm with 670 vac secondary holley with quarter inch spacer under, early 60s cast iron heads. MSD 6A + hei distributor, headers 2.5 inch exhaust, mild roller cam. timing goes from about 20-34 degrees from idle to 3000rpm ish plus porterd vacuum sitting right before it pings. Runs clean spark plugs good. C6 trans, 3.00 gears. 28 inch tall tires. Heavy old 66 full size 4 door. I usually cruise between 2500-2800 rpm going about 75 pretty steady on the highway.
 

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Adapt an overdrive transmission and the correct rear end ratio to run it if it does not have. Something around a 3.42,3.55 or a 3.73.

You could drop an EFI kit on it to gain a little more but your going to run close to that $2k in that kit alone
 

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My 93 F150 came in around 5000 LBS. So a 302/auto (4th is OD) from that year or earlier will do a nice job hauling around that 4000 LBS of LTD. The system on the truck was speed density, the transmission was a TV controlled (94 and later are electronic shifted) so the swap will be as close to bolt in as you will ever get. My 93 with a 3.23 rear gave right at 19 on the road running 75.
 

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How many miles to you drive a year ? Don't be the guy who spends $1000 to save $50 .. That vehicle , properly tuned , driven & in good condition should get +-15 mpg . That car is worth more with its original equipment . Before you say anything , the 2 doors are mostly gone , the 4 doors are rising in value . I'd by far prefer driving that car with the toque producing 390 than some out of place mod motor with electronic over ride ( no manual control ) . For the record , that galaxies listed curb weight is 3437 , that's average weight for a sedan IMO .
 

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I don't think 8-10 mpg is anywhere near what you should be getting from that 390. Even if you have 4.10s in the back and a huge cam, you have a tuning issue. You're either way behind on spark or that Holley is dumping way too much fuel. You should be able to get 15 easy for the cost of a tune-up.

I had a mostly stock Caddy 500 in a 66 Bonneville with 3.08s and it got 18mpg. That same engine I swapped into a 78 C30 with 4.10s and it got 16mpg.

Holleys are also not known for their efficiency. I'm sure your RPM is a squarebore? If so you're a bit limited. A Qjet would likely be superb for your needs, but you can't adapt spreadbore to a squarebore carb with any kind of benefit.
 

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Find a little Econo box that gets 35+ to gallon, then save money and to home work on what you want to swap. The big thing is to have Econ box as back up daily driver. Odds are your swap will take longer then you think.

just an old guy shaking wisdom of life’s speed bumps
 

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The FE engine has always been a big fuel eater. Much of that is in the head’s, the only efficient head was the 1960 high performance 352. That’s not to say other head’s like the High Riser or Tunnel port didn’t make big power it’s to say they burnt massive amounts of fuel doing it. The 1960 high performance 360 horse, 352 engine used a combustion chamber very much like the more recent Chevy L31 Vortec or Ford Windsor GT and GT-P head.

This brings you to an aftermarket modern chambered aluminum head with modern Ricardo heart shaped chambers of which there are several sources the least expensive but uses the true Ricardo chamber is available from Pro Comp, Edelbrock sits in the middle price wise but uses a simpler version of the chamber. There are several high end head’s like those from Blue Oval that use the correct chamber but they are pretty costly.

The factory iron intake is one of the heaviest objects known to man, replacing it with an aluminum intake intake takes about 45 pounds off that portly engine and improves cylinder to cylinder fuel distribution.

The cam can stand modernization, like all cams of the era it has long ramps which result it too much overlap and too late a closing intake valve. Both conditions are great for top end power which this engines stock valve train will not support, but this is horrible for fuel economy.

The pistons use large round dishes to manage compression ratio as do most production engines. This reduces chamber activity leading up to the ignition event making for a inefficient burn covered by throwing fuel at it. The needed three principle conditions simply are not there, these being squish, quench, and as possible with a wedge chamber a centered spark plug as much as these designs allow possible.

The exhaust manifold of the FE is the poster child of how not to design an exhaust manifold. It really harkens back to bastard design to allow this engine to by fitted into the fairly narrow 1958, 59 chassis this was which was never fixed for the wider subsequent chassis that came out in 1960. Because of this narrow box that passes for a manifold is so inefficient a lot of power that could be used for propulsion is instead consumed pushing exhaust out of the engine. Therefore, headers are an instant and substantial improvement in power and mileage for this engine.

Basically the FE engine fakes being a second generation OHV, V8 design; but in fact it is a rehash of of the first generation OHV Lincoln Y block designed right after WW-II and in a period of great financial stress within Ford Motor. It suffers greatly from that.

As you can quickly see this engine’s needed fixes requires a very big investment, Two thousand dollars would be woefully short of the fixes this engine needs to improve fuel mileage by anything close to arriving at a payback.

Bogie
 
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