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View Poll Results: 390 vs 460 What to do?
390: Running with all stock except the Edelbrock Carb. 17 68.00%
460: needs to be built has Edelbrock Carb and Intake + Headers with it. 8 32.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 07-21-2008, 02:54 PM
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390 vs. 460

Ok so, I have a running 390 in my 73 F250. Nothing special just a stock rebuilt 390 that is about to aquire an Edelbrock carb. But it's running.

My truck is going to be a toy or project. Not a daily driver. I want some HP to abuse.

My good friend has a 460 that is ready to be rebuilt (in pieces) for his 77 F250 that he has agreed to trade me even for the 460. It needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, but all the parts are there and good.

He wants a Daily Driver out of his truck. He needs it to get back and forth to work.

Should I make the trade? Both him and I are worried that I'm gonna come out in the hole on this one. We both mant to make sure that we are trading even. Niether of us want to spend to much more money on this than we have already planned. What do y'all think?
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:05 PM
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This is an apples and oranges comparison.
390 will get better mileage than a 460.
The 460 will out torque the 390 every time and on the street torque is King.
Horsepower is top speed, torque is acceleration and on the street acceleration is always KING.
Horsepower cost money, so how much to you want to spend?
If it was me, since it is a hobby truck, I'd get some good heads, a cam, headers and a good intake for the 390.
460s have a very poor exhaust side in there heads unless you pring for the CJ heads or after market.
I've had both, stock and warmed over and my warmed over 390s were strong plus cheaper to drive than the 460s.
In any case with either engine keep compression reasonable, 9.5 to 1 max. Then you can run it more on the regular gas.
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:10 PM
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Well I know I'm going to have to spend money either way. Its just a project / money pit anyways. So I'm @ a loss. I will inevitably take it to the strip and race it once or twice either way. Who knows. Will I be throwing money down the drain if I go with the 460?
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by joshc_guitar View Post
Well I know I'm going to have to spend money either way. Its just a project / money pit anyways. So I'm @ a loss. I will inevitably take it to the strip and race it once or twice either way. Who knows. Will I be throwing money down the drain if I go with the 460?
I'm an old time FE guy. As a teenager I built my first FE 390 in 1965 and at the time 427 was the top of the heap. But the 460 is lighter and with a stroker kit will out cubic inch anything you can do with the stock 390 block and a stroker kit. Like I said, the stock 460 heads at best are so-so, so you need other heads but for true high performance so will the 390, probably CJs at least. With a 460 you will have the hassle of an engine swap. So how mechanically inclined are you will determine a lot of which route you go. Just remember are real race machine is a total Pain in the butt to drive on the street where as a hot rod street machine will generally work fine on the track and if you run bracket races, top speed is nothing, consistancy is everything.
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:49 PM
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I built the 390 I have. A few friends and I pulled the old one out and rebuilt the new one. I bought the truck a few months ago with a bad block and bought the current one from a junk yard.
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:09 PM
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Josh, Both are good engines, but nothing between them swaps. You will need to swap trannys, motor mounts, all brackets, etc. Something to think about.

I like the FE family engines, but I would build a 460 and run it also.

Just know to go to the 460 everything has to be swapped, just like going to a 302.

Good Luck on your choice.


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Old 07-21-2008, 05:25 PM
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Well its a no brainer to me... If you have a few bucks to toss in a 460 besed build...It will run the Nuts off a 390 hands down....and Bear is right ..I'd take Tq. over Hp anyday...Stock parts are cheaper for the 460 and aftermarkey parts are about 70% of what an FE costs to build....

What year is the 460 block and heads?? I would get the head and block numbers and see just what you have from your Bud...and a Good suggestion so you both know your dealing with parts that are buildable to start...you both get the blocks magged and the neads to check for cracks...

but with that said ..a upgrade in Compression and a good valve job, a set of headers, Intake and a 750 holley and even a mid lift .550" cam around 230* at .050" will put you in the low 500hp bracket...very cheaply !! A little port and polish and some Intake work , port match, and a little larger cam and an 850cfm Holley your in the 600hp range!!

from there you have to start adding some money in the build... just an easy motor to make Hp and Tq with... FE 428 cranks (stock) are going in the range of 4350 to $600 depending on condition and who's selling them and what there turned too...

460 stroker Crank...Forged 4.250" i the neighborhood of $700, and with a 4.300" + bore they make Tq monsters!! If you have ever driven something with 600ft lbs of Tq...You would know it'll rip you lips off and sit the in the back window!!

I love my FE's...dont get me wrong.....But with a Truck and the weight we have to push around...The 460's are cheap...and available in any junk yard..but buyer beware as with any motor...and cheap to build uo too probably the 700hp level... I personally have friend that make 700 to 750hp with stock 460 blocks, other than machine work...Squared and decked...Oil Mods...

And i also have friends with A460 blocks and IDT blocks in street driven cars and trucks pushing 1000 to 1100 hp all N/A motors....But even tho they drive them on the street, Its for a limited time because of the street manners...But a 100 mile round trip for the pre-qualifying Gas Street drag is a walk in the park for most...But these are aftermarket Blocks also...

the one I just bought is an FFRP A460 block and was $1899...and shipped to a buddies Machine shop.. I may get that one done about the time I retire "IF" i'am lucky!! LOL..

So if you come across some head and block numbers that would help to really see what you dealing with... the truck D9 is a good tall deck block at 10.322" and alot of guys buildthe D1-ABA or AB2A blocks because there plentiful... But IF you can find a D0VE block and a set of either D0VE heads or a C8 or C9 block thats a 10.300" deck...the C8 and C9 heads are great also..

Also the 429CJ block is like trying to find hens teeth.....But there from the factory a 4 bolt block in the mains on 2-3-4....

I dint mean to write a boo here ..But , just wanted you to know the potential of the 460/385 series motors...and there cheap to build....to a certain point!! LOL As with everything... Good Luck and keep us posted on your thoughts!
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  #8  
Old 07-21-2008, 06:29 PM
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Smile stick with FE

Bear, no it isn't. The 385 series is really heavy. A 460 is certainly capable and buildup-able. But so is the 390, and you already have that, and it is running. Even if you get a spare 390 to build, you can keep the mounts, headers and bell that you already have. Changing everything over to switch families is an awful lot of work. The FE is far more capable than most folks realize. Just build what ya got. DinosaurFan, on work's old 'puter

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  #9  
Old 07-22-2008, 12:47 AM
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My outlook (similar to others), with more things to consider beyond the motor:

You have the 390 already in there, so another FE would bolt right in. Major $$ savings.

Economy wise, I've never heard of anyone getting more than about 12mpg from a 460, and I've personally gotten high 15's out of a pretty decent 390. 9.5:1, about 300hp, had it in a 1985 F-150. Cruised at 60 right about 2100 RPM.

The 390 is also a dimensionally smaller motor, so it pulls the weight down and back more as compared to the 460.

I'd just build a lightly warmed over 390 if it's just a go out and play truck.


For absolute power, 460 based build all the way, but do you really want/need the over 500hp to justify moving over to the 460? Building a 500hp FE based motor is about the same price as building a 500HP 385 and buying all of the pieces needed to put the 385 into the truck.

Then also think about this; as soon as you have your motor in there, you WILL find the weak link of your drivetrain. Do you want to find it ($$$) sooner or later?


Besides, people don't really have a good concept of what a little bit of power will do. When I built my 300hp 390 (about 250ish to the gorund), i was expecting performance to be decent, but nothing to get excited about. Well, 250 Hp is ALOT more than the magazines want you to believe.

Afterwards, I figured out that 300hp was all that truck would ever need since if it was any quicker or faster, the truck just wouldn't be able to support it without a MAJOR suspension overhaul (more $$$)

Justin
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:29 AM
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Thanks guys for the info!
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:06 AM
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ok all you need to do is change bellhouseings and mounts with your buddy...correct me if i am wrong but dont those parts interchange from 73 to 77? just do a full swap...i love my 460 and would never go back to a 390....but then again i went from a stock 390 (with a 2 bbl) to a mild build 460 with a 4bbl.....still never go back. well maybe to a 428CJ cuz my dads got one of them in a 69 mach 1 and man tha is a good motor!

you people are lame...i am the only one who told him to go for the 460?
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:40 AM
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ok all you need to do is change bellhouseings and mounts with your buddy...correct me if i am wrong but dont those parts interchange from 73 to 77? just do a full swap...i love my 460 and would never go back to a 390....but then again i went from a stock 390 (with a 2 bbl) to a mild build 460 with a 4bbl.....still never go back. well maybe to a 428CJ cuz my dads got one of them in a 69 mach 1 and man tha is a good motor!

you people are lame...i am the only one who told him to go for the 460?
With the 460 there is much more involved than just the bellhousing issue. There are motor mounts, mount towers, a different exhaust system requirements and wiring changes. I like the 460 but I think the change over problems out weigh the advantages. I've had both and with todays fuel prices, I'd trade my 460 for a fuel effiecent 390 in a heart beat. However the change over problems pretty much make it not worth the effort for the gains in mileage. I'll just use my 1999 Ranger 4.0 Liter for the light to medium stuff and use the F-250 for the heavy towing and hauling only.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear 45/70 View Post
With the 460 there is much more involved than just the bellhousing issue. There are motor mounts, mount towers, a different exhaust system requirements and wiring changes. I like the 460 but I think the change over problems out weigh the advantages. I've had both and with todays fuel prices, I'd trade my 460 for a fuel effiecent 390 in a heart beat. However the change over problems pretty much make it not worth the effort for the gains in mileage. I'll just use my 1999 Ranger 4.0 Liter for the light to medium stuff and use the F-250 for the heavy towing and hauling only.

That makes sense but this thing hardly ever goes out of the county! Its just a toy right now. If my Ranger goes die die then I need to be able to drive it but ol' Whitey is pretty solid right now. Both of the trucks considered for the trade have custom exhaust but yes we would have to switch to make it work. Really he would need mine more than I'd need his because I'll most likely just put a turn down right after the headers anyways. Motor mounts is not that big og a deal IMO. But I'm still not sold on it.

Maybe if he threw in the gaskets, rings, and bearings, then all I'm spending is time thats ok. Then he would be saving time not rebuilding an engine and i would get a bigger one.

Who knows?
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:49 PM
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i think that you should go with the 390 and put and in take along with that carb and a cam then youd be fine my 390 in my 76 is a great motor it towed a 75 supercab lonbed on a trailer no problem i didnt get it up to 60 but thats cause there was too much wieght on the back end of the trailer so it would get to fish tailin really bad if i got over 40 but it towed that thing down the road just fine plenty of power and im pushin 35s along with that so i voted for the 390 but if you want some more power that that go with a 410 stroker 390 with 428 crank that would be plenty of power for ya and still decent gas mileage if you keep your foot out of it
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:35 PM
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The key to deciding on this is your words "do not want to spend much money on this".

Just keep your 390 and when you get some money, start with the exhaust and add things as you can afford them. After the exhaust, you can look into a 3.98 crank with pistons, then heads, cam and intake. When and if you want to put in a stroker kit, have the cylinders checked to see how far you can bore safely to increase your cubic inches. Remember 428 cranks (3.98)are externally balanced. A 410 (torque) is a big improvement over a 390 when a heavy vehicle is concerned.
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:35 PM
 
 
 
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