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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just acquired a ’64 Galaxie 500xl convertible. It is completely stock with a console shift Cruise-O-Matic. The original 352 has 140,000 miles on it and it’s very tired. Aside from routine oil changes and tune-ups, it hasn’t been opened in 25+ years. It and the tranny leak from every interface. It burns some oil, but not enough at this point to be a crisis. The throttle response is very poor, the idle is rough, and it bogs down during each upshift.


I’m looking for a Ford crate engine and transmission transplant. I don’t currently have the time or inclination to rebuild the stock drivetrain. Instead, I intend to remove it and tuck it away somewhere safe. I’m new to Fords and am trying to learn as much as I can.


I see myself putting 5K-10K miles per year on the car, with a mix of around-town and highway driving. Here’s what I seek.

  • An engine with plentiful low-RPM torque to move the Galaxie’s bulk and easily keep up with modern traffic. I have no plans to drag race. I’m thinking something in the 350-400 hp range.
  • Rock solid reliability and easy maintenance. I want to be comfortable firing it up and taking off on a 5,000 mile trip. I don’t want to travel with a trunk full of spare parts and fluids. I don’t want to deal with trouble prone components that require constant tinkering, or routine maintenance tasks that require half the car to be disassembled.
  • I don’t want any part of the drivetrain to have to work hard during normal driving. I want to minimize stresses to ensure a long operational life. I don’t mind overbuilding certain components (within reason).
  • Easy parts availability today and 10 years from now. After traversing the world like Indiana Jones restoring a ’58 DeSoto, I’m done mining unobtainium.
  • Civilized performance. I want to keep the sweet 1960s exhaust burble, but I don’t want it any louder than stock. It will definitely have mufflers. Easy starting and a smooth idle is also important.
  • Good highway manners on long trips. An overdrive transmission would be a big plus. I’m particularly intrigued by some of the ‘”Ford Street Smart” 4R70Ws.
  • I don’t want to modify the frame or body in any way that would make it difficult to return to stock at some point in the future.
  • I prefer to keep the stock 14” wheels. I don’t want so much power that most of it goes to waste spinning the tires.
  • Although not crucial, lower weight and >14 MPG would be nice.
  • The car has PS and PB and I intend to add air conditioning.

A 351W (possibly stroked to a 408) might fit the bill, but I think I’d need new engine perches. How difficult is this job? Can it be reversed without major surgery? I’d also want to make sure that I have adequate torque at low RPMs.

An FE engine could work, and wouldn’t require changes to the perches. However, I see little performance benefit and every part associated with FEs seems to be 70% more expensive than the other engine lines. I also worry about long term parts availability as they have been out of production for a long time.

A 385 series 460 seems like overkill, but it would certainly have the torque. Driving delivery trucks in my early life, I remember them as great tow mills, but very thirsty.

My engine/tranny budget is $12,000. With the criteria above, what would you do? Can anyone recommend specific vendors? Your ideas are greatly appreciated!
 

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i think you've sussed it out pretty well.

the 351 would very likely require new engine perches. i'm wondering...would a 351 sit on the stock 289 perches? those pop up on Ebay once in a while.
 

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Any SBF should fit on the SBF perches. I'd guess either a stroked FE, or stroked 351 would make you happy. Use an EFI system, short gears and an overdrive trans and you'll have everything you're looking for. I would also guess that a great performing SBF swap would be just as valuable as staying with the original FE, from a general market point of view. Possibly the ultimate ease of use and fuel economy swap might be a new Coyote 5.0.
 

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the 351 would be a good choice, but then if your going to stroke it
why not just get a Ford factory 460 with and AOD tranny...
EFI is cool, but you need a engine computer to run it, plus
extra things like High pressure fuel pump, maybe a return fuel line.
My thought on the 460 is also if you go factory and some
after market builders you can get a 3 year drive train warranty...
If you decide to go with another engine, don't throw your
390 away... keep it and maybe sometime you could rebuild it
just to have one..
FE got a lot of bad press in the car mags back in the day, hell
even today I've seen articles saying the FE is "heavy" yet your
390 is lighter then a BBC by about 25lb.
 

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Most of the problems you are describing with the current engine sound like tuneup issues. If you have decent compression and oil pressure, you could sure do allot with 12k and a running FE. Aftermarket Aluminum heads with hardened valve seats seals, Cam intake carb and a regasket might fit the bill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Most of the problems you are describing with the current engine sound like tuneup issues.
Yeah, I'm getting it tuned early next week. If nothing is fatally wrong, and I get a few leaks addressed, I plan to drive around with the 352 until it gets warm next spring.

I'm actually considering nuking my budget and going with a "standard" 390 crate motor from Survival Motorsports, along with the 4R70W. With love and regular maintenance, this might give me all I'm looking for until my kids take my car keys away 40 years from now.
 
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