What Engine Would You Put in a 1977 Ford F-250?

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1977 Ford F-250

FTE member has one bad engine and a bunch of good ones. So, which one should he plunk in his classic Ford truck?

No matter how great your truck runs, eventually, that old engine is going to need some work. Or perhaps even a total replacement. Miles and years aren’t friendly to our bodies, and they certainly do a number on our powerplants, too. That problem quickly became a reality for Ford Truck Enthusiasts member Pickupmanx2 and his beloved 1977 Ford F-250 recently. His old 351 started giving him some signs that the end was indeed near. Luckily, he has several replacement options at his disposal. He just needs some advice on which way to go, thus he posted this thread in the forums recently asking for help.

“Max, my 1977 F-250 4×4/351M/NP435 recently lost oil pressure, has clickity clacking lifters, and is running rough. I bought a ’76 with the 300 I6/NP435 I was going to pull and then junk the rest because it’s rusted and rough. I also have a 351C and a 302, both ready to run, and another 300 I6 that I need to rebuild. Any opinions, ideas, and input is greatly appreciated.”

1977 Ford F-250

A tough choice, indeed. The OP does say that his F-250 is used primarily for hauling/towing and exploring off-road. Thus, he’s leaning toward the legendary 300 inline-six. And it turns out, that’s also what most everyone else would choose out of the bunch.

“I’d probably go with the 300 over the 302,” said meangreen92. “I think that these trucks are harder on, and will cause more wear on, a 302 than they will on a 300. 300s were never put in cars by Ford. But the supply of 302s and the sheer amount of go-fast stuff available for them is a good argument in that direction too. A late ’90s GT40-spec Explorer 5.0 would probably be a pretty good engine for that application with some aftermarket valve springs and maybe an RV cam.”

Both of which would be great options. But for ROR29, it’s hard to resist the bulletproof 300. Unless you’re talking about a hybrid 351M/400 combo.

“Personally, I’d go with the 300 given the options. Not as racy as a 302 but it’ll actually work like a truck and 300s last forever. If it were me, I’d rebuild the 351M with a 400 rotating assembly, straight up timing gear, and the other usual stuff. The 300 used to be my favorite Ford truck engine, until I owned a couple 400s.”

1977 Ford F-250

Fellow member dogdays agrees that the later hybrid option is pretty enticing, too.

“If you have the money and the time, using the 351M block with a 4″ crank and Tim Meyer’s pistons plus whatever else Tim has or recommends will get you the most power with very good economy. Pretty much everything except the pistons and crank of the 351M can be used in the 400.”

So far, it looks like the 300 still has a slight edge among the many suggestions so far. But we (and the OP, obviously) want to know what you think. So head over here and tell us which engine option you’d go for if you were in his shoes!

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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