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I am building a 79 Ranchero and would like to get input on some of the options I have for increasing power. Stock power plant is an anemic 351W, trans is a fresh FMX and rear end is a numerically low (I think middle 2's) 9" rear end.. I plan to use it for general driving and around town fun and would like to have considerable torque to play with. I do not expect to spin up much RPM; don't drag or anything. PLease let me know your thoughts on the four options below.
1) Build the 351 with current displacement.
2) Small stroker, thinking 393 or 408 at largest.
3) Engine swap to 400M. One extra benefit here is that I can continue to run the car with existing engine while I go through the 400. I am aware of one I could pick up reasonably. I realize this means a trans swap or is it possible to just pick up a different bell housing so I can still use my rebuild FMX? If not what trans' are suggested? What kind of motor mounts would work and where do I find them?
4) Engine swap to 429 or 460. Local junk yard has an old Lincold 460 with C-6 that I can pick up cheap. It is out of a '70 Mark III putting out 365 HP and big torque. I'm not sure I'd like the extra weight up front although since I'd need to update the heads I suspect going with alum, heads, intake and headers might lower the weight to close to original 351W. Same question on motor mounts.
That is all that I can think of at the moment but feel free to add any other thoughts you feel may be helpful.
 

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The 400 is a good option, but your windsor will be cheaper to build as far as bolt on parts go, obviously if your doing a stroker kit, thats spendy, but anything that bolts on externally will be cheaper for a 351W. I say stroke it to 408, even a mild 408 will make gobs of torque via the displacement.

If you go the 400 route, the FMX does a have a removeable bellhousing, and can be changed to a big block bell.

Change your rear gear eventually, if your street driving it 3.23-3.50 with a posi unit would be fun for you, and still be reasonable on the freeway.

If you can afford aluminum heads, do it on any engine you build. The weight loss, modern design and better cooling are all a huge bonus that i havnent regreted in my ranchero. Headers for a 400 in a ranchero are over 400 bucks for painted units, over 600 for ceramic coated. Much less for the windsor.
I am building a 79 Ranchero and would like to get input on some of the options I have for increasing power. Stock power plant is an anemic 351W, trans is a fresh FMX and rear end is a numerically low (I think middle 2's) 9" rear end.. I plan to use it for general driving and around town fun and would like to have considerable torque to play with. I do not expect to spin up much RPM; don't drag or anything. PLease let me know your thoughts on the four options below.
1) Build the 351 with current displacement.
2) Small stroker, thinking 393 or 408 at largest.
3) Engine swap to 400M. One extra benefit here is that I can continue to run the car with existing engine while I go through the 400. I am aware of one I could pick up reasonably. I realize this means a trans swap or is it possible to just pick up a different bell housing so I can still use my rebuild FMX? If not what trans' are suggested? What kind of motor mounts would work and where do I find them?
4) Engine swap to 429 or 460. Local junk yard has an old Lincold 460 with C-6 that I can pick up cheap. It is out of a '70 Mark III putting out 365 HP and big torque. I'm not sure I'd like the extra weight up front although since I'd need to update the heads I suspect going with alum, heads, intake and headers might lower the weight to close to original 351W. Same question on motor mounts.
That is all that I can think of at the moment but feel free to add any other thoughts you feel may be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your opinion. It helped me quit vacillating and start moving forward. I just ordered a SCAT 408 kit and will start pulling the 351 in the AM. Thx again.
 

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No problem, take lots of pics! Share along the way! The review is always fun down the road. Dont know if you have an intake manifold in mind, but the edelbrock performer rpm air gap is near imposible to beat for area under the curve for an application like yours.What cam did you choose?
Thanks for your opinion. It helped me quit vacillating and start moving forward. I just ordered a SCAT 408 kit and will start pulling the 351 in the AM. Thx again.
 

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The heads on that 351 are absolutely horrible..Huge chambers to kill compression and small 302 sized valves...It's no wonder those engines were anemic....The 408 kit will give you the potential for tons of power but remember you have to feed it..Heads,cam,intake,carb and headers have to be appropriate for big block sized cubes and that ain't cheap in most cases....Looks like I am too late but that 365hp big block would have been my top choice for a low rpm torque monster...If you can pick it up cheap I would grab it anyway and stick it away somewhere for your next project..
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry it has been long to reply. Today I was notified that my stroker assy was backordered which will cause some difficulty so I cancelled the order. Headed to the junk yard tomorrow to check out that 460 as an option. What are your thoughts on the availability of motor mounts for the 460 in 79 Ranchero? My FMX trans is freshly rebuilt and I understand that a big block bellhousing is available for the FMX. Any thoughts on where to scrounge something like that up? Also, any other thoughts regarding this transplant? I have also run across a used 351W 393 crank assy that I can probably pick up reasonably priced. Another of the many options, thoughts??
 

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Sorry it has been long to reply. Today I was notified that my stroker assy was backordered which will cause some difficulty so I cancelled the order. Headed to the junk yard tomorrow to check out that 460 as an option. What are your thoughts on the availability of motor mounts for the 460 in 79 Ranchero? My FMX trans is freshly rebuilt and I understand that a big block bellhousing is available for the FMX. Any thoughts on where to scrounge something like that up? Also, any other thoughts regarding this transplant? I have also run across a used 351W 393 crank assy that I can probably pick up reasonably priced. Another of the many options, thoughts??
The bellhousing for the fmx is the same on a 460,429,351M,400, possibly others if forgetting. The junk yard may be your best bet for that. Or craigslist, where you might have to buy a whole trans. IDK about the mounts, i have no idea if there was a 460 in a ranchero from the factory, or how it compares to other engines of similar size like the 400/351M. Swaps are always tricky when you going from one series engine to another. Big block parts are more expensive also, just FYI But 460 cubic inches!!! Its like a sore pecker...Hard to beat
 

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Should be able to get new motor mounts, just get them for pre77 Ranchero with 460. I did a 460 swap in my 77 cougar years ago, motor was from a 77 ltd, originally had 351m so bellhousing was the same and had dual exhaust so stock manifolds lined up too, also used accessories from ltd since all the brackets were there. Not sure what difficulti es you will find placing '69 motor in place of a 351w though.
 

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I once owned a '77 Ranchero that a previous owner replaced the clunky old 400M (Sorry srmic, I know you love those old boat anchors) with an early 429. It was absolutely awesome! As scmic says, FMX's can have bellhousings that fit either the BB or SB pattern. Personally, I think I would opt for an all-aluminum c-6 if one could be had, but your budget might dictate otherwise. As pdw says, many others have done this swap and all are very satisfied.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey everyone; thanks for all the input. Things changed again today when a Fedex truck backed up my winding driveway to deliver the stoker kit order that I cancelled days ago. I decided to accept delivery so I'm going forward with the 408 W (+.030) in my Ranchero. I'll update with status in a while and will probably be looking for more input. Thx again.
 
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