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1974 F-100 Engine/Transmission Swap

 
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:38 PM
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1974 F-100 Engine/Transmission Swap

I've got a '74 F-100 that I picked up around 5 years ago as an around-town utility truck (when you own a house, you've got to have a truck). Got it from a farmer about an hour's drive from here for $750 - had a solid body; engine would start, but transmission would only engage in reverse.

Here's what it looked like when I got it home in 2010.



I tuned up the engine (rebuilt the carb, new plugs/wires/cap/rotor, new vacuum lines, etc.) and rebuilt the transmission:












Also discovered that it had no rear brakes at all - both wheel cylinders were blown, the rear brake reservoir on the master cylinder was dry, and the parking brake hardware was entirely absent - PO had rigged up a bungee cord to keep the pedal up since the cables, etc. were absent:




So, after new brakes all around (and master cylinder, etc.), new steering box, new tires, fixing the lighting, and a few trips to the junkyard for things like a front bumper (see the plank in the first pic) and a hood latch (see below), I had the truck back on the road:







Burns a bit of oil and has a fair amount of blowby, but runs OK. The transmission held up for a couple of years, then third gear went out - I pulled the pan and found part of one of the clutch seal O-rings lying in the bottom. There had been some pitting on some of the internals from sitting so long when I put it back together, so I figure that while I could fix it, it's likely to just happen again. Which brings us to the present.

The engine and transmission that are in it are a 302 out of something like a late-70's or early-80's car (it has the double-sump oil pan and a serpentine belt drive); the transmission is an FMX. Here are a few before-pics of the engine compartment:









While the FMX has stout gears, it's hard to find parts for and I'm not keen on sticking with it. So, I'm thinking of doing an AOD swap with tax return money this spring. Since it doesn't make much sense to replace the transmission and leave the old, tired engine as-is, I plan to build up a new 302 (thinking roller block with the 4V manifold & carb from an 83-85 Mustang 5.0) and swap the engine and transmission together.

I'm planning to start procuring parts once my tax return arrives (should be soon - already filed), and will post updates as I actually start making progress on this. Not planning on a frame-off restoration right now, just a fresh power train. Though the PO's cheap-*** paint job is starting to flake off, and I'll probably need to address that in the next year or two, I am doing smaller sub-projects here and am going for a nice, useful truck, not a car show piece.

One initial question for you guys with more experience with these trucks: when pulling the engine/transmission together, is removing just the radiator sufficient, or will I need to pull the grille and core support out too?
 
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:51 PM
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If it was me, I would pull the front clip. It is actually easier than pulling the grill and rad support by itself, and gives you all the room in the world. There are a lot of bolts holding the fenders and grill to the rad support, and you run the risk of tearing up the grill when removing those bolts.
 
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Old 02-07-2015, 01:41 PM
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X2 on pulling the front clip. It's so easy a monkey could do it.
 
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:38 PM
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Thanks for the advice!

Tax return came today, so I'm starting to order parts - should have the project started soon!
 
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Old 02-10-2015, 02:22 AM
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Is there an easy way to get the front clip off? Took most of it apart when I swapped engines and it was a pain. I think it had 10000 bolts holding it together!
 
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Old 02-10-2015, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by John in Vegas View Post
Is there an easy way to get the front clip off? Took most of it apart when I swapped engines and it was a pain. I think it had 10000 bolts holding it together!
I'm kind of wondering the same - the advice above is essentially to leave the fenders/rad support/grille all bolted together and take them off together as a unit, but I haven't yet examined to figure out where everything attaches to the frame/cab to see how much work that would actually be. Seems like it would require more than one person, at least...
 
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Old 02-10-2015, 09:14 AM
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The rad support only has 2 bolts to the frame. Then the inner and outer fenders need to be unbolted at the cowl. Obviously need to remove any wiring connected to parts attached to the inner fenders and rad support. And remove radiator and ac parts if present. Get a buddy and or 2 and off she comes. Oh need to remove the hood. Taking an awl or marker to mark around body attachment points to help with reassembly.

Disclaimer, I have not actually done it this way. I started out to replace a bent grill shell and fender from a deer and then found the other problems, so mine came off piece by piece. But if ever I need to do it again, I will go with what I described above. I will actually be doing this to the same truck as I am parting it out and pulling all good parts off before she gets crushed.
 
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Old 02-14-2015, 10:55 PM
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Thanks for the info! I'll have to give that a try.


Parts are starting to arrive:







I got a start on rebuilding the 4180C carburetor I plan to use:







Got to a stopping place around dinner time, and need to pick up a better drill bit to get the anti-tamper plugs over the mixture control screws out. Will get the carb finished either tomorrow or Monday depending on how many honey-dos compete with it tomorrow. The short-block is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, so I should be able to get going on the engine build this week too!
 
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Old 02-17-2015, 04:54 AM
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Decent looking little driver you've got.

If you're going to go with a Roller motor I would suggest getting a 351W out of a van. I say a van because it would give you a Saginaw steering pump at the same time and if you're going with a "small block" you may as well use a 351W for the little added displacement/power.
 
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:42 AM
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Thanks!

I thought about going to a 351W, but decided to stick with the 302. I've got this remanufactured short block already on the way: Mustang 5.0L 302 Economy Short Block Accepts Roller Cam (79-95) ... should be here this week. I'll be using the stock "HO" roller cam from the '85-'93 Mustang, and have a set of rebuilt "E7" heads. I've got the stock 4 barrel manifold from an '83-'85 Mustang, and a Holley 4180C carb to put on it.

I'm doing an AOD swap at the same time (that was actually the main motivator - just decided to do the engine while I was at it). Just about everything except the short block and the transmission has arrived now, so I'll be able to mostly build it up in the garage, then do the swap all at once, minimizing the disruption. I'll sell the old engine, etc. after I'm done.

The short block was scheduled to be delivered today, but we had an ice storm last night, so it may be delayed until later in the week.
 
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Old 02-21-2015, 11:56 AM
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The mailman finally made it through yesterday with some assorted eBay & RockAuto parts, but still waiting on the shortblock - sometime next week I guess.

Here's a picture of the truck this morning, as I shoveled the driveway.

 
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Old 02-21-2015, 04:14 PM
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I did manage to finish up the carb today. Ended up screwing up the idle mixture screw trying to get the plug out, and had to get a second used carb for parts. Between the two of them, I got it rebuilt and ready to go. Now for an engine to put it on ...




My garage heat solution so I could work out there today: 35,000 BTU propane heater - I run it for a few minutes to get the garage nice and toasty, then can shut it down for an hour or so before it cools back off too much:



My car needs a bath ... ready for this wintry weather to be over and done with!



Next week, once I get the shortblock in, I should be able to start making more progress. Just got an e-mail that the transmission has shipped too.
 
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:08 PM
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The short block arrived this week, so I spent the afternoon today getting things organized, then painting engine parts.

Rather than masking each piece individually, I decided it would be easier to mock it up on the engine stand (no gaskets, etc. just a couple bolts in each part to hold it together). Here it is masked and ready.




After primer:




Painted:




From the other side:




Disassembling again, to get ready to actually build it properly:





The other parts:



Feels good to start making progress!
 
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:11 PM
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Had a little time this afternoon, so I installed the cam and timing set, the roller lifters, and the heads.



 
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:34 AM
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Is it just my eyesight or do you not have any Assembly Lube on the lifters?

I would also recommend putting it on the Valve Tips and ends of the Pushrods, really I put it on pretty much all moving parts.
 

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