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Old 01-28-2014, 02:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best engine for swap (79 f250)

I'm trying to decide what engine would be a good choice for my 79 f250 project. Currently has a 400. Thought about going the cummins route (already have a few) but that has its drawbacks too, including weight. I'm looking for something that is reliable and relatively efficient. I'm really open to any options that aren't too far out of reach. What do you guys think?
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm trying to decide what engine would be a good choice for my 79 f250 project. Currently has a 400. Thought about going the cummins route (already have a few) but that has its drawbacks too, including weight. I'm looking for something that is reliable and relatively efficient. I'm really open to any options that aren't too far out of reach. What do you guys think?
Cummins. bigger the better
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes that's what I've always planned on since owning my current 12v but the weight requires its own upgrades such as a 79 Dana 60 front (hard to find), frame reinforcement, brakes,etc. I was just wondering if there was a more feasible, lighter option that would work nicely. I see jeeps and Chevys and yotas with ramjets and ls engines and the like and was thinking of something along those lines for my ford. It doesn't necessarily have to be a ford engine, I was more or less seeing what you guys think is a great overall engine for swaps of this nature.
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What are you going to use the truck for?
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's kind of hard to say exactly. It's a build I've had going for a long time but never had the means to finish it. That time is approaching and I want to make something I can use. I guess I want a general offroading/work/hunting rig and possibly a daily driver. I do already own a cummins but it's body days are numbered and a cherokee I currently use for dd duties so I have options and decisions to make but I'd love to have my built ford and be able to drive it a good bit.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Cummins. bigger the better
Yes, N14 would be good.

Why not just swap out old engine of the beater and scrap it out? I don't think there is a massive difference in weight, to need to swap out axles. Or just swap running gear out too.
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well the cummins isn't really a beater. A new cab and some paint and it's as good as new. And a 6bt with big tires definitely needs a 60 up front. If I did a cummins swap I'd be getting another engine and tranny. Just looking for other options first.
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well then do a multi port injected 460, 514, 532. Dont even have to change tranny. Cheap, easy to find and no other mods needed.
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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What did those come in? Can you speak for their efficiency? What about a healthy 302efi?
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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for what your suggesting the cummins is ideal if you had one on hand, in my eyes at least..


i would do a 5.3 before a 302. i know thats asking to get kicked in the nuts but that platform is undeniable... a nice 351 maybe. mild hci biased to low/mid range tq and good gearing could be pretty easy on fuel in relative terms.


consider a 6.2 with turbo? of the v8's it would likely have the best economy.

they are light and easy to install as well. at 7-750 pounds with the ability to run on a ridiculous range of fuels they are good for conditions you indicate.


a turbo 6.9 or 7.3 idi would be similarly cost effective and run on the same ridiculous range of fuel once you know what your doing.



hey, a scj 429 would be great if you could get someone to buy gas for you, but suck to feed from your wallet.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:36 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Gen 3 GM engine.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:47 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thought about the IDI route since I've had a few and they are pretty solid. They are also pretty heavy but not too bad, and I'm not sure if I'll be happy with the power or not. Could someone elaborate on the 5.3/gen 3 GM options? I know the least amount about GM engines compared to diesels and Fords. How difficult would it be to drop one in, potential issues, etc.?
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:51 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Gen 3 engines are perhaps the easiest engines to put in anything. Lots of support. Search for pacific fab, and look at the swap thread in the jeep section for ideas.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Bunch of cross breeding fucks, this is a classic Ford truck not a fucking Jeep or Ranger

Have you thought about just upgrading the 400? Before I did anything mentioned so far (assuming the 400 that's in there is stock and not completely shot) I'd throw in a mild cam, straight up timing set, Weiand manifold and a 500-600 cfm carb of your choice. The difference in power will be more than noticeable and you will increase the efficiency, not by leap and bounds but it will help. The 400 is a reliable engine, but it was burdened by smog era crap like retarded timing sets that made for lack luster performance and poor economy. If you watch for deals you could pull off what I just mentioned for around $500 and it would be a hell of a step forward.

Short of a diesel, I don't really see any other engine swap being able to push a brick shaped old iron truck around with enough gain in efficiency to warrant the thousands you're going to spend doing it.
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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351 Windsor stroked to 408 light weight reliable and a power house, also you could add forced induction later if that wasnt enough.
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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The 400 is actually built pretty healthy already. I might just leave it like you said. I'm beginning to wonder if this truck will ever see the road. Kind of changing the subject but given the info I gave about my other vehicles, what do you guys think I should do with the ford?
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I actually thought a 408 would be a beast too but I figured it would drink fuel.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:13 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I actually thought a 408 would be a beast too but I figured it would drink fuel.
No more than a 400 Modified which is really a 351 Windsor just go for high compression you will get better fuel economy.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:21 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I would go cummins and putting a GM engine in that truck is stupid a 12v is not much more weight than a big block and there is much mor aftermarket support than vs. a 7. Or 6.9
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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No more than a 400 Modified which is really a 351 Windsor just go for high compression you will get better fuel economy.


Really.... oh really? I know those "modified" engines are all the rage and all, but it would just be a "modified" 351w with moar compression... Read http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/mud/8...tail-400m.html for ideas of what this 351 w can do....
The fuck is this guy talking about....?.
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:58 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I am very happy with the Cummins 4bt that I put in my '68 Highboy Crewcab it gets 20mpg highway and out performs the 390 4v it replaced in every way,the 4bt is about the same weight/length as a ford big block and with the correctly sized turbo and inter cooler will produce comparable Hp/Tq numbers to a 1st gen 6bt I am at ~180hp and 450ft/lbs with a VE pump and a Holset He221 .
Just mu two cents.
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Old 01-30-2014, 02:16 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I think I'm going to keep the 400 for now and once I get a 60 up front and all the little stuff taken care of if I need to change the engine Ill probably do a Cummins swap. Thanks for all the suggestions.
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:14 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Fucking 5.3 or 6.2. Goverment Motors doesn't make the end-all be-all drivetrain for everything.

400s don't breath very well. Rectify that situation and you'll be ahead as far as efficiency is concerned. Next up, convert over to fuel injection. This is where I'll say run whatever you can find for cheap; I'm running a TBI setup myself. Personally, I'd find a decent 351M to reduce displacement and bolt a 350 TBI setup on it. Ought to run well all stock. Don't bother running one of those ghey conversion distributors, just weld the stock distributor advance and run an external coil.

If you want to go diesel, IDI all the way, but you'll need to swap transmissions or redrill the hole pattern.
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:17 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Really.... oh really? I know those "modified" engines are all the rage and all, but it would just be a "modified" 351w with moar compression... Read http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/mud/8...tail-400m.html for ideas of what this 351 w can do....
The fuck is this guy talking about....?.

Hey . . . that looks familiar . Anything you can do to a 351W or cleveland, or 302, you can do to a 400, the only items you need to compensate for are the taller deck height, which means pushrods, connecting rods and intake manifolds. Intake manifolds are solved with spacers, which any compentent machine shop can do (or go to price motorsports.com and buy a set, you can use just about any small block ford intake with some minor port work), upgraded pushrods aren't needed until you start pushing 6000+rpm constantly, and then they are just a phone call away. For rods, well they are a bit more tricky, as if you need better, you have to get creative with them, but they are there, even so the factory rods and crank have no issue support up to 600hp, as this is where my last motor was sitting power wise, and it was a hypereutectic piston that let go due to running lean.

All that said, what do you mean by "healthy"? An rv cam, flat tops, 4bbl carb and headers does not constitute "healthy" in my books, a combo putting 500+ftlbs to the ground by 3000rpms is healthy.

My opinion to you, either rebuild the 400, or go with a 514 bbf crate motor. Call Tim Meyer (google will tell you more) for the 400, and there are numerous places for a cheap 514 crate motor. If you want mileage, buy a car these are heavy trucks with the aerodynamics of a brick shithouse, "good" mileage doesn't happen driving on today's roads.
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Old 01-30-2014, 04:03 PM   #25 (permalink)
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