5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
351 Engine Swap
A 351W Is One Of The Best Ways To Give Your '86-'95 Mustang New Life
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Cubic inches are like money. Having enough to be comfortable is nice, but having a lot is better, and having more than you know what to do with is just right. The 5.0 is a potent engine (just ask any 5.7 Camaro owner), but when it's time to rebuild or you just want that competitive edge, some extra cubes are in order. Yes, there are numerous stroker 302 kits on the market, and they have their advantages (which we'll talk about later). But if you really want to go for the gusto, then you should consider moving to a 351W. It's got more cubes in its stock form than you can comfortably (or affordably) extract from a 302-based engine, and you can stroke it well beyond 400 cubes should the need arise.
If you've been thinking about a 351W swap but didn't know where to start, you're in luck. We talked to some of the leading swap experts in the industry. In the following pages, we'll discusss 351W/Fox chassis swaps and their advantages/disadvantages versus a 302-based build. We'll also clue you in to all the parts necessary to get the job done right--from the oil pan to the top of the intake manifold. Now let's get rich!
As swaps go, the 351W/Fox chassis swap is relatively simple, with no fabrication or butchering required (the same is true with SN-95 cars). The stock motor mounts will work, as will the front cover, the radiator (if you plan to build a mild 351), the shroud, the water pump, the pulleys, and all of your accessories when the proper brackets are used (more on that later). Unfortunately, just about everything else needs to be replaced, which will add to the cost of your project.
Beginning with the bottom of the engine, the first thing you'll need is a different oil pan. The 302 uses a rear-sump pan, while the 351W uses a front-sump oil pan, which necessitates a new pickup. If you're going to limit your driving to the street, FRPP offers a complete oil-pan kit (PN M-6675-A58) that includes a 5-quart (stock capacity) rear-sump pan, a dipstick, a tube, and a pickup. The oil pump and drive are not included, so you'll have to purchase these items separately. For a street application, FRPP recommends a stock-replacement oil pump (available through Melling), while a street/strip engine with looser bearing clearances (0.0025-inch) can use an FRPP M-6600-B3 pump. An FRPP M-6605-A341 driveshaft will work in either instance.
For street/strip applications, Canton offers a rear-sump 7-quart oil pan (PN 15-670; pickup sold separately under PN 15-671). Moroso also offers a 7-quart oil pan (PN 20520) with a built-in wind-age tray and scraper that fits '81-'97 Mustangs, '81-'88 T-birds, and '81-'86 Capris (pickup sold separately under PN 24514).
The 351W also has a different balance than the 5.0. The 351W requires a 28-inch/ounce unbalance, while the 5.0 uses 50-inch/ounce unbalance. This means you won't be able to reuse your stock 5.0 flywheel or harmonic damper on your 351W. FRPP offers a billet steel, SFI-approved 157-tooth flywheel (M-6375-A302) that will work, and assuming you wish to use the factory serpentine belt system, you can use the FRPP steel damper (PN M-6316-C351), along with the M-8510-B351 or C351 spacer, which creates the proper alignment with the serpentine system.
According to Rod Kack at FRPP, you can also use a damper from a '75-'80 302 or 351W engine, but you have to make sure you get the right one. There are two different bolt patterns and three different lengths (measured from the mounting face to the end of the snout): a 3-inch with a three-bolt pattern, a 3.400-inch with a four-bolt pattern, and a 3.950-inch with a four-bolt pattern. This last one, according to Rod, is the only one that will suit your needs if you want to retain the serpentine system.
As mentioned earlier, the stock motor mounts (if still in good condition) will work. But, because the 351W is 3 inches taller than the 302 (measured from the bottom of the stock pan to the top of the stock valve covers, the 302 measures 203/4 inches, the 351W 233/4 inches) you could encounter hood-clearance problems with fuel injection. HP Motorsport offers solid motor mounts, which lower the 351W by 3/4 inch in the engine cradle, improving both hood clearance and center of gravity. According to HP's Paul Brown, you shouldn't encounter any clearance problems down below as long as you're using the FRPP 351 pan, stock crossmember, and rack. Paul also maintains the solid mounts aren't too severe on the street as long as the factory rubber trans mount--or aftermarket poly- urethane mount--is used.
In any case, you may still require a cowl hood, so keep this in mind when tallying your expenses. If you're beginning with a car that was originally equipped with a four-cylinder or V-6 engine, or you just want to use stock-type motor mounts, George Klass at Coast High Performance recommends certain Ford motor mounts (PN E7ZZ-6038-E and E7ZZ-6038F). These are factory convertible 5.0 motor mounts that feature more reinforcement and therefore are stronger than standard 5.0 motor mounts.
The front cover from your 5.0 will work, along with the water pump. But if your water pump is original, it's probably not a bad idea to get a new unit from FRPP, or aftermarket manufacturers such as Edelbrock, Stewart, or Evans Cooling.
Since we're assuming you've started out with a new or rebuilt 351 short-block, we're not going to talk about camshaft or timing-chain choices, but there is one important detail that bares mentioning. Early 351W blocks are not designed for use with roller hydraulic cams. This leaves you with two choices: Run a flat-tappet cam, or make some changes so you can run a hydraulic roller. "We find that about 50 percent of our customers stick with the flat-tappet cam," George Klass says. "But that limits you to less-aggressive profiles because of the ramp rates [of a flat-tappet grind]." George says if you want to use a hydraulic-roller cam, you can use stock 5.0 roller lifters as long as you run a small-base-circle cam (also known as a retrofit cam), available through a variety of cam manufacturers.
Cylinder Heads and Intakes
The next step up the ladder is the cylinder head choice. There's no difference here--in aftermarket heads, that is. Any popular aftermarket head designed for the 302 will also fit the 351W, provided the bolt holes in the heads are stepped and can be drilled out for 1/2-inch fasteners. Using junkyard heads and then porting/rebuilding them is another option, but this won't really save you much money over a set of assembled aftermarket heads unless you do most or all of the work yourself. Junkyard heads also won't flow as well as a pair of aftermarket heads.
Again, because the 351W has taller decks than the 302, this places the cylinder heads further apart, which precludes the usage of a fuel-injected 302 lower manifold or any 302 intake manifold for that matter.
If you're going with fuel injection, you only have a few manifold choices, according to Ed Marsh at Windsor-Fox Performance Engineering. You can use the FRPP GT-40 setup used on the Ford Lightning or the Lightning lower and a Cobra upper. Other options include Edelbrock's 351W truck lower (PN 3884) with a 5.0 passenger car upper (Performer PN 3822 or Performer RPM PN 7125), and Trick Flow's 351 EFI Manifold (PN 5150000-4), which includes the upper and lower (also available separately). Yes, the 351W truck upper will bolt up to the engine, but it's not a performance piece and hood clearance problems would be extreme, Ed explains.
For racing purposes, Coast High Performance offers its 351W EFI Spyder intake, which is a four-barrel Victor Jr. manifold with 1/2-inch fuel rails and a 90-degree Power Elbow that accepts up to a 90mm throttle body.
Accessories and Exhaust System
Now that we've talked about what's necessary to bolt the 351W into the engine bay of your Mustang, we'll discuss the stuff you're gonna bolt to the engine--namely the accessories and the exhaust system.
Your stock 302 power-steering and air-conditioning (if so equipped) brackets will not work on the 351W, but there's good news. FRPP offers a 351W Engine Swap Accessory Drive Kit for the '85-'93 Mustang that is available with the power-steering bracket only (M-8511-A351) or with both the power-steering and air-conditioning brackets (M-8511-B351).
Whatever exhaust system you currently have will work, but the headers you have (factory or otherwise) will not, again because the 351W is so much taller. MAC offers short-tube 351W swap headers (PN E358692) that will bolt up to the stock or stock configuration aftermarket H-pipe, as does FRPP (PN M-9430-A58 for '86-'93; PN M-9430 R58 for '94-'95). MAC, Hooker, Hedman, Coast High Performance, and a host of other manufacturers offer long-tube headers.
Fuel and Ignition
While the stock fuel system will sustain a stock 351W, odds are the 351W you have planned won't be stock--so the fuel system will likely require some modification. Beginning at the fuel tank, replace the stock pump with a larger unit, such as FRPP 150- or 190-lph pumps. The 150 is good for about 400-plus horsepower; the 190 is good for about 500 using the stock lines and 351W rails. Higher horsepower levels will likely require a custom fuel system with a larger pump, lines, and aftermarket rails.
Choosing the correct injector for the horsepower level you plan to attain is critical. A mildly built 351W can use 24-lb/hr injectors, although it's more likely you're going to have to use 30-36 lb/hr injectors (36 lb/hr units are no longer available via FRPP). Whether you're building a more normally aspirated engine or a serious supercharged engine, you'll need a mass air meter calibrated for your new injector size, such as those offered by Pro-M and FRPP.
Finally, in order to run fuel injection on a 351W, Ed Marsh at Windsor-Fox says you're going to have to get a distributor from an EFI 351 truck (5.8L), again because of the difference in deck height. Find one at the junkyard, or buy one new from Ford (PN E7TZ-12127-D). If you're using a later, roller-cam- equipped engine ('93-up), you'll also want to replace the cast-iron distributor gear with a steel gear.
As popular as the 351W-in-a-Mustang swap is, Ford waited until the last year of the Mustang's pushrod engine to offer a production Mustang with a 351. Only 250 units of the '95 Mustang Cobra R were produced with the 351. That R's engine produced 300 hp at 4,800 rpm and 365 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm.