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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
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

I was kind of thinking along these lines. At the end of the day I've sunk a lot of money into this motor and it's not very impressive, fun and reliable but not much compared to whats out there today. Granted I'd be spending even more money but something different might just make more sense, especially because I plan on putting as many miles on this car as I can
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I'm leaning towards a hemi swap, durangos/chargers can be had for 2-3 grand and hopefully I could sell whats left of the vehicle after a get everything I need. Surely it would be a lot of work and more money than I'd probably want to spend but it's an interesting challenge to me. I could maybe squeeze 15 mpg out of the 390 but I still don't expect it to last as long as something more modern with how much I drive. I'd try to make everything as bolt in as possible to not ruin the car, but it's a daily and it will never be perfect nor entirely original, it already has over 100,000 on the chassis/body and has been painted in it's past, etc. I'm probably putting around 10,000 on this car every year
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
There's also crown vic motors, would be nice to keep if all ford but would probably take a lot of cutting. Ls engine? What a luxury to have all that aftermarket support, super cheap, easy fitment, and I can imagine at least 20 mpg could be had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Have you thought about a Coyote swap?? Super stout and efficient factory package and the possibilities for more are almost endless

You won't do it for $2K though

The Ford Faithful will just crucify you if you do an LS swap. LOL
They won't be crazy about the hemi either, but they'll tolerate it. LOL

Bang for the buck....LS and matching trans all the way.
Coyote swap i would certainly go for, but yea definitely out of the price range. Plus, I mean galaxies have a huge engine bay, but I'd still be the most difficult to fit I might imagine.

I have started going from the hemi rabbit hole to the LS rabbit hole. Undeniably cheap and abundant sooo it might be where I take this even though I absolutely agree that it's overdone and blashphemous to a ford, at the end of the day what does it really matter. I can see myself getting that done in the next couple weeks too with christmas break coming up in college.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Come on, its a 4-door Galaxie, anything modern you do is an improvement that adds value.....it'll never be worth high dollar enough stone stock to worry about.

Case in point.....right now you can buy a stone stock, restored driver 1928-31 Ford Model A coupe, sedan, convertable, whatever for under $20k....runs, drives, ready to take to a parade day.
Take that same car, strip it, swap a V8 and drivetrain, modify it up how you like and it is worth 3 to 5 times what that stone stock car was. .....and you can sell off the stock running driveline/suspension and anything else you don't keep

If you had a original 427 Galaxie, or a fastback, then it would be different, would not want to ruin that.....but the mom, pop, and grandpa 4 door you can do whatever you want with it.
For sure, I'm not worried about the value of the car except its value to me. Certainly not a show room limited production model that I'm messing with here, as you mention. Appreciate the motivational input
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Everyone has some great points here, I don't deny that what I want is inevitably impractical and uneconomical to an extent. Despite that, I guess I look forward to the challenge of something like this and for the value I see in being able to drive my car afterwards, it'd be worth it to me. I guess If i knew that, though, i maybe shouldn't have asked this question lol.

Anyways, I was about to go buy chevy truck for an ls swap but it was a scam and instead I found a really good deal on a perfectly running dodge charger. So, hemi swap it is. Thankfully the car is nice enough that i don't doubt I can get my money back parting it out after I get what I need. Impatient me plans to get this done in the next 5 weeks I have off for christmas break, it'll be one heck of an endeavor
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Adapting a late model Hemi and all it's complicated electronics into a '66 Galaxie over Christmas break........this outta be good!
Pics or it didn't happen!

Lol, right. I'm doubtful myself. I'll try to avoid too much cutting so that both cars can go back together if things mess up. If that charger goes back together in one piece it could sell for a profit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Adapting a late model Hemi and all it's complicated electronics into a '66 Galaxie over Christmas break........this outta be good!
Pics or it didn't happen!
Will do! The real kicker is that I'll be home at my parents house and it'll have to be done in time for me to make the hour+ drive back to school. Not too life or death though, can always get a lift form the folks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
I took a 74 Chrysler Newport with a 400 on a road trip. With very strict discipline on acceleration and braking I coaxed a 20 mile per gallon. I had a good tune, kept my foot out of the carburetor, and limited my idling. It was miserable. What's the point of a big block car and the sounds of the duals and 4 barrels kicking in? The next tank I eased up, got off the freeway and had some fun. The mpg dropped to 10 to 12, not terrible, just more fun. The in town stop and go traffic put me down to 8 to 10 mpg. Love your car for what it is. You can get good mpg but it's more fun to drive doing a occasional limited burn out. I consider the little cars to be coffins on wheels. They may in fact be safer, but a bigger vehicle is going to absorb more damage.
Had a 74 Torino that got rear ended at stop light from someone doing about 20-30mph a couple years ago. It was a little honda or something that got entire totaled (everyone was ok), but my torino had absolutely 0 damage, practically had to drive off the smashed honda. Unfortunately someone t-boned it a year later at the rear axle and it was totaled but still held up like a tank, loved that thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
If I was smarter I'll figure whether or not I'm confident in this working before I start pulling things apart, which I'll do my best, and i'll be no worse off. I don't doubt that in the end this can work (knock on wood) but will I finish it in time and within budget? Stay tuned
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Make sure you find a modern Hemi forum where you can get specialized help for the swap. I am not a Chrysler guy, so I cannot recommend any forum, but I could never have finished my '70 Impala LS swap without help from the LS1Tech forum!

Yes indeed, I already posted on one I found. These next couple days will be research, research, research.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Haha already finding some serious issues about about adapting the charger's trans in my car, glad I'm looking into it. Again, got this charger for a STEAL, might be worth selling it and then I could practically do an ls swap for free. I'll probably be all over the place with ideas/planning through this.
 
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