Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
September 26, 2011

Last month we embarked on an engine swap for a '65 Falcon Ranchero. Since the Falcon and Mustang share similar engine bays, everything in this series should be relevant to our Mustang readers. Frankly, even if you own a Torino or Fairlane, the Ford Racing X302 small-block crate engine is a great option to repower your ride. Minor differences between car lines, such as headers, front dress, fuel line routing, and so on, are all minor and everyone tackles them in a different manner regardless. So think of our X302 swap as a guideline for any '60s Ford product, because no matter what you own, with 340 hp on tap in a fresh full-roller 5.0L engine, you'll have plenty of power to move your classic down the road.

So far we've extricated the tired 289 and its C4 automatic, the entire cooling system, and all wiring and engine-bay-mounted components. From that point, we moved forward with engine bay cleaning, including some minor metal repair, and then block sanded and primed the engine bay for a coat of body color paint. The owner of this Ranchero decided to continue his custom exterior color (Viper Blue Pearl metallic) into the engine bay, but even if you want to keep your engine bay looking stock, you'd follow the same preparation steps before laying down a coat of satin black. Once the base and clear had dried, a little wet sanding ensued in the major visual areas like the shock towers and cowl area to make the engine bay look as smooth as the outside of the car.

Now, we're turning our attention this month on prepping the X302 for installation into the engine bay and getting the rest of our engine bay back together before we slide the engine home. Next month, we'll wrap up our three-part series by plumbing our new X302 for EFI, wiring our engine, mounting up our cooling system and backing the new mill with a take-out AOD the owner had from another project. When all is said and done, we'll have taken our Ranchero from a carbureted 289 with three-speed auto and no power accessories to a fuel-injected 5.0L with power steering, power brakes, A/C, and a four-speed overdrive automatic. This will surely make the Ranchero much more driveable and fun. Let's get to work!Next month, we'll wrap up our three-part series by plumbing our new X302 for EFI, wiring our engine, mounting up our cooling system and backing the new mill with a take-out AOD.

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