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Discussion Starter #1
I just got given an older Ford 390 with a C6 trans. It has never been in a vehicle. It was an auxilliary power unit for a ski lift. It has very low hours on it. Do you think this combo would be worthwhile for a trail rig build? I've never owned anything Ford so I don't know a whole lot about them. Was the 390 a good engine?
 

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It's an FE series engine...Never heard nothing bad about them, aftermarket never really seemed to catch on for them though. Probably be an expensive build, but if you plan on staying mostly stock or just throwin on a good intake and carb, it would probably work out great.
 

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The fe engines make a ton of torque. I have a 360 fe in my tow rig and it pulls like a champ. Go with an aluminum intake, the cast units weigh a ton.

I'd run it in a trail rig.
 

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It's an FE series engine...Never heard nothing bad about them, aftermarket never really seemed to catch on for them though. Probably be an expensive build, but if you plan on staying mostly stock or just throwin on a good intake and carb, it would probably work out great.
There is actually quite a bit of aftermarket parts for them. Edlebrock makes aluminum heads for them. There's a 454 stroker kit for them. And there is even an aftermarket block.
 

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They are an anvil. Beat away... only real weakness is the non adjustable hydralic cam motors can bend pushrods if you over rev them.

Same external demensions as a 429460 big block, but they weigh less. Pretty much only gonna be worth sticking in a fullsize truck or a tube thingy.
 

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since that was used in an industrial capacity, check your cam before you try anything. It maybe set to run at a specific RPM rather than reving for a vehicle.


Micky
 

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Discussion Starter #7
since that was used in an industrial capacity, check your cam before you try anything. It maybe set to run at a specific RPM rather than reving for a vehicle.


Micky
Good point.

About the C6- It is of the 2WD variety, with a very long tailshaft. Does anyone know if there were "shorty" versions of the C6 that I could adapt it to? Or would it be better to find a 4WD C6?
 

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If it's hard to come up with an FE 4x4 C6, you can swap the output shaft and tailhousing from a later one. C6 married to NP205 from a 351M/400 seem to be relatively easy to find. The tailshaft has to come out the front with all the guts, so you might as well do a rebuild at that point.

If it's truly an industrial engine, and wasn't just pulled out of a regular car or truck, it may be a "391", which is actually the same displacement, but uses heavier duty parts, like a forged steel crank that has a larger snout, so the front damper and timing cover will be different. An rpm governor on the carb would be one clue to look for.

Also many a 360 has been sold as a 390. The block is the same, just has a shorter stroke crank. I have a 360 in my old pickup. Very reliable, would start right up after sitting untouched for 6 months, just a squirt of starter fluid to help with the dry carb, and never skipped a beat. Not the most powerful thing though, and was done pulling by 3500 rpm. I'm sure a cam and intake would help with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This is a power unit package. It's mounted in it's own frame, complete with everything- all accessories, except for no steering pump. The valve covers say Mercury on them. I'll have to look again to see if there is a governor on the carb. It has a cast iron intake manifold with a 2 barrel carb. Like I said in first post- to the best of my knowledge, it has never been in a vehicle. It appears to have come from the factory set up this way.
 

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This engine is on the extinct species list. Ford obsoleted this engine long ago. Why would you use obsolete and expensive parts in a fresh build? Does free always mean cost effective?
 

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I'd use it for sure. I had 390 in a 69 2wd did and intake cam swap and it really woke it up. thing ran like a raped ape and took one hell of a beating.
 

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This engine is on the extinct species list. Ford obsoleted this engine long ago. Why would you use obsolete and expensive parts in a fresh build? Does free always mean cost effective?

Because using an "FE" has a certain cool factor. Nothing wrong with the 390's there great motors. Ford doesn't make most of the engines that we're still using today in are old trucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This engine is on the extinct species list. Ford obsoleted this engine long ago. Why would you use obsolete and expensive parts in a fresh build? Does free always mean cost effective?

The goal of the build is to make a capable, trail only machine, for as low bucks as possible. I think my 390 fits into that catagory. I have almost every component sourced except for the axles. But, I'm sure they will fall into place eventually. The Chrysler 440 is many years obsolete, but it's an awesome engine. If the 390 is a stump puller, I'd be happy with that.
 

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Sounds like you may have scored a 391 FT? Pull a plug and measure the stroke. If you get 3.78 inches and the spark plugs don't point different directions on the same head, you might consider pulling the crank and getting your $6-700 off of ebay along with dollars for all the FE/FT knick nacks. Most of the FT blocks will go .080 over for a 428 conversion so they are very worthy as well.
Better do your math. Pick up a Steve Christ FE rebuild book off of Amazon. He explains in full detail. I run 390's in my pigs.
 
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