1973 - 1979 F-100 & Larger F-Series TrucksDiscuss the Dentsides Ford Truck
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you're trying to push a brick through air. A 390 getting 11mpg is not bad at all. FE's are not known for their gas sipping economy.
Now I had a '77 F250 w/a 460,C6,Dana 61 w/3.07 gears and 265-75-16 tires. I ran a Q-Jet and dual exhaust w/ Magnaflow mufflers. I got an honest 14mpg on freeway @ 65mph.
I'm still in the fact finding part...considering options for costs, benifits, labor and mental health. I can see going to the AOD will bring many other changes to my setup...and headaches! Maybe upgrading to locking converter and bolt on OD to my C6 will be easyer overall. Cost will be higher but have a cleaner install.
I'd like to have the 390 breath better with intake manifold from Edelbrock and Headers. My last header from Hooker was a pain to keep from leaking...the design was pretty poor all the way around. Eventually installed stock manifolds to stop the agony. Any good leads for respectable Headers?
I'll hold off the EFI...maybe the above upgrades will be enough.
And yes I'll do this because I want to. I've had this f250 since '85. For the past few years its been used less and less for fuel costs. I plan to by another camper...would be nice to vacation more than 50 miles away!
when it comes to headers. another wonderful 390 design. most headers are made for the 2v configuration. i went from a 2v to a 4v set of heads-i haven't found a set of headers that fit. the exhaust ports on 4vs' are larger than most header flanges- leaky leaky. my headmans dont work, my hookers didn't work. i've got access to a custom set for a 64 galaxy...my neighbors, they fit perfectly.
after seeing how they fit( you have to thicken up the flange, then plasma out the holes to fit the ports ) im gonna have to modify
I kept my old Hookers and just dug them out. I always wondered if I retro'd the flange would that help the sealing. This flange is 1/4 thick. And the opening isn't close to the exhaust port dimensions. The better one's I saw had the flange at least 3/8" thick. Grinding off the flanges and have someone cut new ones to fit the gasket. How hard would it be to weld then back together? And I not a fan of the 3 bolt collector bracket. Wish I had access to a fabrication shop and new what I was doing.
So I too did some thinking about this, and I made a thread about it: Mileage ROI: Ratio change, tires or hedders?
The only other thing I would add to this list is possibly a 4bbl carburetor. "Why?!" you immediately ask? Well, a properly tuned vacuum secondary carb will only run on the primaries until you romp on it, and the primaries are pretty small on most 600cfm carbs. If you can keep your foot out of it, it CAN save you some fuel. Buying a NEW Edelbrock Performer 390 ($300) and a NEW Holley 4160 ($280) is not going to be cost effective. Great deals can be found on used stuff if you keep your eyes open!
I also commented in this thread with regards to EFI: EFI options on a FE
There is a BinderPlanet.com article I linked in my comment about a fella who put a MegaSquirt and a Ford CFI on a International TravelAll with an IH 392v8 in it. His results were not exactly spectacular, but I believe it may have something to do with the narrowband o2 sensor he was using. Expect to pay around $650 these days to go this route on your FE seeing as you will need to find a Duraspark type distributor ($100) and a wideband o2 sensor & controller ($150) to really get this to work right.
I'm also in the process of converting to an electric fan to replace the factory belt driven boat propeller, and a 130a 3g alternator. It takes horsepower to constantly spin the fan and the alternator, and the alternator takes more horsepower depending on how much load its experiencing. A 40amp load on the factory 1g alternator puts it at 75% capacity... It takes quite a bit of HP to run at 75% capacity! The 3g alternator will be running at like 25% capacity for that same 40amp load. The belt driven fan elimination is all gravy. The cost is about $135 so even if I only save 1mpg, ROI (from calcs in my previous thread) shows something like 9 months
Hedders, tires, EFI (or 4bbl,) ratio change and electric fan will never get you 20mpg, but its a decent start!
I'm not running hedders quite yet, but I will soon. I'm going to pull the engine out of my truck sometime in the next month and I have a myriad of things to fix, one of them being several broken exhaust manifold bolts. I did a lot of searching and asked a lot of questions here on the site, and looked at a lot of pictures. I finally decided that I'm going to replace the factory manifolds with a set of Hedman Hedders PN 89100. I'm about 95% sure they will fit, even with the camper special sway bar that everyone seems so worried about. They are still sitting in the box in my garage waiting for me to get time to get to work on this project. I'll definitely post up when I get it done.
buddy you may not completely agree with what i have to say and i dont expect you to, but in my opinion... If you already have the engine out, why not take the time to swap in a 12v cummins engine? You can pick up a wrecked 94-98 dodge 2wd pickup for less than $1500(heck i bought a running driving one for $700) and simply pull the engine and trans and put them in your truck. Its a little heavier than and ole fe is but can get up to 25mpg. i have an extended cab long bed 98 dodge rolling on 37" bfg km2's and average 21-23 mpgs all day long. pulling my gooseneck with 2 toyota pickups at 75 mph i get 18. that is just too good to complain about. like i said you may not like my idea but it is certainly what i am doing to my 74 supercab when i find another parts truck to rob the engine from. just my $.02
More good ideas! I like the electric fan and 3g alternator. I'll start looking for them at the local U Pull It. The fan controller will be spendy. I'm tired of going the cheap way and regretting it later. Seems like the Spa controller has it all with the AC by pass. Ebay has good pricing...
I have a 1973 F250 Camper Special with a 390. I get around 8mpg city and 11mpg highway. That's with an aftermarket Edelbrock performer intake manifold, Holley carburetor, and without any emission parts (took everything off when I got it), and with dual exhaust. I don't really complain. It's a heavy truck, and there's a reason why it has 2-20 gallon gas tanks on it, lol.
1973 Ford F250 Custom Camper Special Longbed, 390 V8 6.4L, Holley 4160 4 BBL 600CFM Carburetor, 42k miles on rebuild, 85k miles total.
Headers and a dual 2.25 or 2.5 exhaust is the first thing I would do. I'd build it myself with mandrel bent pieces over having a shop "ram bend" a system. I have used Heddman on several trucks and they seem to fit ok. I use copper high temp on the gaskets and keep a wrench with me to tq the bolts occasionally. After a month or two they stay tight. The exhaust ports face each other so inside the manifold the exhaust crash into each other. Headers fix this and really help.
Since this thread started a while back, I've done a few upgrades.
First I installed a 3g 130 amp alternator and electric fan. The alternator came off a mid 90's Taurus and the fan from a Lincoln MarkVIII. The fan motor was toast so that was replaced. The Taurus fan shroud just barely fit inside the Ford shroud. To control the fan I installed the Dakota Digital...it works perfect!
For the ignition I installed a Duraspark 1 brain module meant for California emmissions (has the red grommet). The Duraspark 1 delivers a hotter spark (no ballast resistor) so I used MSD Blaster 2F coil (primary resistans @ .700 ohms).. I found this modification on line too..Had to think through the schematic and made a slight change to make it work. I carry a spare brain module just in case. With all these changes I need to be ready. In retrospect, it would have been easyer to install a MSD or Pertronix aftermarket setup.
For the electronic distributor I found one off a '76 at the local U-Pullit. I upgraded this with a HEI cap and rotor kit. The plug wires were upgraded to 8MM.
All said and done the performance was greatly improved! Bump the key and she starts up instantly! Smoother idle and peppyer acceleration.
I've driven these modifications for a year now. Just a few miles running errands. The only problems I ran into was replacing the charging fusable link to 14gage. Upgrading the alternator output cable. The used 3g alternator needed another voltage regulator.
Since I drive her sparingly can't report on mileage gains...but I do know $20 of gas goes further now! On the freeway she wants to take off so I have to back down on the pedal. Not spinning the fan made a difference.
Next is the OD. I picked up a used Gear vendors. Not sure of its condition but expecting a rebuild some tiime. Will find that out after she's installed.
And intake and exhaust mods are on the horizon sometime. Have to do all of my mods in stages as money allows. But I have noticed vast improvements in performance so far...I can't justify filling her up checking mileage right now. hate to have all that fuel in the truck when I need it in my Jeep!
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