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ajzride March 9th, 2011 08:51 PM

'65 Coupe 351w
I've decided to chronicle my adventures of shoving a late 70's 351w from a truck into a 65 mustang for two main reasons:

A) so that anyone else attempting such inane tasks and looking for answers might stumble upon my ramblings via the magical portal of google

B) I refuse to succumb to the oppresive social networking regime, and therefore have no twitter, Facebook, or myspace accounts to direct my friends and family to when they want to when they ask me daily "how the car is coming"

It all started in June of last year when I took at new job, and was provided with a company truck to use for all business related commuting. At that point my 2006 BMW 335i was relegated to weekend driving, and not really even that, because we usually take my wife's SUV out when we go as a family. So in September when I had put 125 miles on my BMW over a 3 month span, I decided that instead of paying the note on the BMW every month, I should get a true weekend car.

The original plan was to restore a 1969 Ford Ranchero that I inherited from y great grandfather and had started working on when I was 13 (that was 15 years ago btw) but never quite finished. The truck originally came with a 351w, but had been swapped to a 351C at some point in the mid 80's. During my junior year in high school (1998 ish) I had managed to nab a free 351w out of a 79 F-150. So I called up Dad, and sure enough the motor (or the disassembled pieces of it anyway) were still out in his garage. It was while the motor was at the machine shop being boiled, bored, and decked that I really got the hankering for a mustang instead of fixing up the ole' ranchero.

Turns out old dad worked with a guy who had a 1965 coupe sitting in his garage that his dead-beat son started and never finished. The car had a brand new interior (carpet, seat covers, headliner, dash, all the metal painted), all the body work was done, the car was painted from the windshield back, and they had even done most of the i6 to v8 swap work including a 77 granada rear end/brakes spindles etc. For a cool 3K I had a mustang that just needed a motor and transmission installed. The guy even threw in a complete 1965 289 and a 1983 302, both completely frozen up and needing rebuilds.

Since I had already dropped a grand into the 351w, I decided to stick with that for now, with plans to rebuild the period correct 289 later down the road and move the 351w into the Ranchero where it belongs. Dad even agreed to throw in a 4 speed top-loader that came out of his 1969 Mach 1 (that he totaled in 1974 but still had pieces of stuck back in the garage)

I'll post some pics of the car before I got started with it in the next post, then get started on the actual good stuff that will be interesting to people attempt to do something similar.

MustangOne March 10th, 2011 01:37 PM

Welcome to MM Forums...

ajzride March 10th, 2011 06:11 PM


And I'll post the pictures as soon as I figure out why my upload fails every time.

Edit: you guys may never get pictures. My files are under the file and picture size limits, but I get File Failed to Upload every time.

Countryboy_99 March 10th, 2011 09:12 PM

Nice story. I may be the black sheep here, but...

I want to hear more about the ranchero. haha

Btw, welcome to the forum.

ajzride March 10th, 2011 10:18 PM

Ahh, the Ranchero.

My great grandfather bought it new in 1969 in Seattle Washington, two years later he used it to pull everything he owned to the gulf coast of Mississippi. At some point he abandoned it in the shed, and when he died, my grandfather put the 351C into it and drove it for about six years before he parked it under a tree. It sat under that same tree another 10 years before it got passed on to me, with the idea I would restore it before I turned 16 and it would be my first car. The truck was white with a pin stripe, and maroon interior.

All it took to get the motor running was a carb rebuild kit, some fresh points, and new plugs and wires. The dash was covered in so much mold, that it was nicely preserved, with no cracks or fading at all. A little mean green and some mink oil, and the dash looked brand new. Dad helped me weld in some new floor pans, then we made custom seat covers and door covers from maroon vinyl and silver faux suede. I was unbelievably shocked at how well my dad could sew (not supposed to be a manly thing right?), but the interior looked awesome. We redid all the brakes and ran new fuel lines, and we actually drove it a few times before tearing the body down to start on the body work.

And man did we do some body work, Not only did the truck still have the original 1969 paint job on it, but 30 years worth of gulf coast sea air rust, and all the dings and dents that go with being a work truck.

We made really good progress at first, fixed all the little dents and dings, but repairing the rust along the bottom edge of the car was very tedious, and if there is one thing that me and my father are terrible at, its anything that requires us to sand smooth and blend. We suck at body work and sheet-rocking. We were about ready to spray the first coat of primer, when my parents split up, and the funds my dad had available for the project took a huge it. So instead of being ready by my 16th birthday, it got relegated to a one weekend a month project when I could make some cash to buy the next thing I needed.

When I was sixteen I got a job umpiring little league baseball, which payed cash, and suddenly I had money to put into the truck, so it didn't take but a few months, and it was ready for primer. After two coats of primer, and two wet-sanding sessions, we were ready for the final coat of primer (it takes several coats when your body work sucks and you keep sanding it off to get the bondo blended)

This is where the story takes a tragic turn. I was in the garage doing my first ever break job on the little beater i was driving until the truck was done, and in majestic learn from your mistakes fashion, I backed the freshly completed beater out of the garage without bleeding the brakes.......

and in slow motion i realized as my foot sank to the floor over and over again, I was heading right into my ready for paint ranchero....

While I did use my baseball money to buy two new fenders, I never really had the heart to put them on and try to straighten out the doors and hoods. The truck has sat just like that in my dad's garage since 1997.

Once I get the mustang on the road, and the wife gets over the amount of cash I sank into it, I'm sure I'll bring the Ranchero to my house and start a slow overhaul on it.

Countryboy_99 March 10th, 2011 10:23 PM

Thanks for sharing. The whole reason I got into cars was because there always to be a few good stories behind a car, and I love a good story.

ajzride March 11th, 2011 11:29 PM


ajzride March 12th, 2011 12:09 AM

The Motor Build
So before talking about building a engine, you first have to talk about what you are doing with the car, because a guy racing for slips has totally differnt needs than someone taking 1000 mile road trips. For me, this is my weekend car, I plan to drive it every weekend, and I don't plan on racing it, any at all, those days are way behind me. Now that said, I'm still a guy, and faster is better, no? So I would have loved to completely go all out on the motor, stroke it out to 427 with keith black pistons and scat rods.... but I had a budget, so I decided to stick with the stock crank (turned 10/10) and go with a set of flat top hypertonic aluminum pistons (30 over). I also wanted to go ahead and change the cam while the motor was on the stand. A guy at work has a 1968 fastback with a 5.0 and he had a comp cams thumpr in it, and I loved the sound of it, so that is where I started. Reading through a bagillion SBF forums resulted in a total mixed bag of opinions, ranging from "total crap/all show no go" to "great for street, as long as you are not a serious racer". Finally I found some dyno results comparing the 3 thumpr cams to serveral other comp cam offerings, as well as some crane and edelbrock offerings. I wish I could find the article again to link for you guys, but I can't. In the end, I decided to stick with the thumpr cam. Since I couldn't find my push rods (down side of waiting 15 years to re-assemble a motor is lots of lost parts), i ordered matching comp cams pushrods, lifters, and timing chains.


Now the stock intake for my 351w is a 2-Barrel carb setup, and I figure the 1979 (height of fuel crunch) heads are going to be a major weak link. I really wanted to upgrade to a 4-Barrel dual plane, and a set of Twisted Wedge or AFR heads, but once again, I had a budget. So I cleaned up the intake, lapped the valves, and my grand-father rebuilt the carb for me one weekend. I had plan for the very short term to at least upgrade the intake and carb, and hold off on the heads until I see how happy I am with the car. If I can get in the 300hp range without upgrading the heads, then I'll be able to hold on to that money for at least a year before I tear the top in apart. If it comes in much under that, I probably won't be able to stop myself from blowing another 2 grand for heads.

Now one of the big hurdles in putting a 351w into a 65/66 is that you have to use swap headers, stock manifolds and standard aftermarket heads just won't fit. After another bajillion SBF forum searches, I elected to use the hedman setup:

Hedman Hedders 88660

Now I've not use any the hooker swap headers, or even some of the more custom one's that can be had, but overall I can't complain about the hedmans. There are a few header bolts that require some patience to instal, but nothing ridiculous. My only real complaint is that if you have valve covers with shoulders on them where they bolt to the heads, you might not be able to install the bolt over the #8 piston. In the picture below you can see how high the headers come up on the back corner. If you don't have shoulders on your head covers, you can reach under the header to screw in the valve cover.

As I stated on another post, the second hurdle, which is not specific to a 351w, but to a truck or fan V8, is the oil pan. The oil pan for truck and van 351w is a rear sump, and the mustang is going to require a front sump pan. The motor I had utilized a sump mounted oil dipstick, but I was unable to find a front sump with an oil dipstick. I ordered a front sump oil pan (just searched on summit for an oil pan for a 1969 mustang with a 351w), and I wound up drilling a hole for a dipstick in my timing cover and buying an aftermarket dipstick.

The next problem I ran into was that the truck/van brackets, do not fit into a 1965 mustang. Now I really wanted to order a March billet serpentine conversion kit, but I keep coming back to the same thing, I have a budget. So decided to just find an alternator bracket, and leave the the power steering unhooked for the time being. Since I couldn't locate one locally, and I was a little antsy to get the motor in the car on a sunday, I decided to make one from some 1/2" aluminum plate I had lying around. I'll show you a picture if you promise not to laugh at my pathetically amateur metal work.

Anyway, Slap it all together, and it looks something like this:

ajzride March 12th, 2011 12:42 AM

Getting it in the car
So, I made the decision to try and get the motor into the car with the headers on, because I had no desire to try and wrestle them into place, inside the car. This required me to remove the stock export brace (no big deal, I already had an aftermarket one). Since I didn't have access to a tilting engine lift, I had to use a standard lift, and a come-along to tilt the engine at a pretty radicle angle to get the headers under the firewall, before the engine started into the bay, and even then it was a really tight fit. It took three of us, one working the lift/come-along, and one on each side with a 2x4 cut with a point, wedging on the motor from side to side. But after an hour, it was sitting right in place.

As I noted in another thread, one of the issues I ran into putting a 1979 motor into a 1965 car is that the motor had an electronic ignition, while the car was not wired for one. I bought the ignition electronics that went into a 1979 F-150 from o'reilly and then downloaded a wiring diagram, but was never able to figure it out. So in the end I would up buying an All-in-one HEI style one wire distributor, and once that arrived, I had the motor running in less than 20 minutes.

Below is the motor in the car, I need to take another picture that shows just how tight the clearance between the headers and shock towers are, but that will have to wait until I return home on wednesday.

Once I got the radiator hooked, I was able to really run the motor some, and I realize I was severely fuel limited, so i ordered a dual plane intake and a 750CFM 4 barrel, pictured below.

ajzride March 12th, 2011 12:52 AM

Finishing the motor
To finish out the motor (since I am sticking with the stock heads for now), I ordered a set of billet V-belt pulleys and brackets from CVF racing. As cool as the March setup looked, I couldn't afford the 2K for the full blown serpentine kit, and the mid-level kits, while allowing you to run serpentine belts, isn't a true serpentine setup. It still utilizes two belts instead of one, and there is no tensioner, so as the belts stretch, there will be nothing to help hold them to the pulleys, at least a V-belt has the groove to hold on to. Once I get all the brackets and pulleys in place, I'll upload some pictures of the engine fully dressed with the new valve covers, braided hoses, billet brackets and pulleys, etc.

ajzride April 4th, 2011 01:50 AM

Okay, so that unfair thing called real life has prevented me from posting any updates for a few weeks, and I know you guys are dying to know how things are going (I almost typed that with a straight face).

Although it is not in chronological order, I will finish off the portion of the thread dealing with the motor, before moving on to everything else.

So after the initial crank, which thrilled me to death, I was never really able to get the motor running like I thought it should. It would spit, sputter, rattle and shake. At times I would mess with the timing and it would get smooth and I would think I had it, only to find out it was teasing me. At first it was a bad sputter from the carburetor. Since I didn't rebuild it myself (my grandfather did that for me), I thought that it was probably not put together right. However since I really wanted to upgrade to a four barrel anyway, I ordered a new intake and carb from summit. I decided to go with a Summit branded intake and carb. I know they are not the highest performance product in the world, but since I am looking for a weekend cruiser and not a racer, the value/ease of use seemed like a good deal for me.

The intake is a high rise that basically is modeled after a Weiand design, and the carb is made for summit by Holley and is really and updated version of the Holley 4010 carb. Unfortunately putting on a new intake and carb did nothing to make the engine run better, in fact things got worse.

Since I have no timing marks (they got covered up by my water pump) I really had no way to know how far off my timing was, so I pulled the passenger side valve cover and the distributor cap, and rotated the motor until I found #1 TDC. Then I marked where the distributor was pointed on the manifold, and found a convient mark on the timing cover for my harmonic balancer. I reassembled everything and fired her back up, and she ran a little better.... but not much.

For the next two weekends I messed around with the timing, thinking I must be an idiot who can't set timing on a simple pushrod motor. Now, since I don't have any muffler on the car yet, it is very very loud in my garage, which makes hard to listen to the motor, but this Saturday morning i finally noticed a steady pop-pop-pop from the motor. So I started pulling plug wires off of the distributor one at a time until I found the one that was making the pop-pop-pop noise. #7. Hmm, wonder what is wrong with #7. So I pulled the drivers side valve cover and everything looked good. Damn, I must have a bad valve. Let me run the engine and see if I can see anything obvious before I rip the heads off.

As a side note, trust me, you don't know what to have to rip the heads off of a 351w inside of a 1965/1966 mustang bay if you can help it. There is no room, and you might never get the headers lined back up (well at least not without 3 or 4 friends helping you muscle them into place).

So I fired it up with the drivers side valve cover off, and I noticed that when the #7 pushrod came up, the valve didn't go down. The Rocker arm was bending in the middle. After pulling it off and cleaning it up, it was pretty clear what the problem was.

Turns out it wasn't just #7 though, both of the rockers on #5 were doing the same thing. My bad-ass V8 was running on 6 & 1/2 pistons. Well i guess it serves me right, the heads are about the only thing on the engine I didn't replace, should have know I would have trouble with them. And while I am on the subject, I am 99.9999% sure these things were broken when I put them on top of the motor, because the motor spins free, and all of the pushrods are still straight.

So a quick trip to autozone and $15 cash netted me three new rocker arms, and now she is finally running like a champ!

(BTW does anyone know how to embedd with Photobucket, hate having to use that and youtube?)

So for anyone else out there, here is a little advice. If you are SURE your timing is right, and you still can't get it after a few hours, have a little confidence in yourself and move on to something else. What I really should have weeks ago was compression test each cylinder. Of course, that would have required me to go buy a compression tester with a hose attachment, because there was no way I could fit a standard one between my shock towers and my motor. Oh well, I guess that is a hard lesson learned.

67ATX April 16th, 2011 07:29 AM

What modification is needed to run one of those HEI distributors?

ajzride April 16th, 2011 10:31 PM

Just need to worry about air cleaner clearance. A 14" drop base will not fit unless it is offset (they make them offset just for that purpose), I just went with a 12" cleaner. Other than that, it was the only thing on the car that has worked right the first time I tried it, couldn't be happier.

ajzride April 19th, 2011 01:40 AM

So i got the car back from the muffler shop on monday. An H-Pipe and a pair of flowmaster 40 series. Not thrilled about the tips I wound up with. Apparently it is pretty tight on the drivers side due to clearance with the gas tank. Biggest tip they could fit in there was a 2.5". It's not the size that bothers me, its that I wanted a straight cut rolled tip, and I got a single walled angle tip. The shop I was at deals mostly with trucks, and it was the only 2.5" tip they had available, since they didn't charge me for them, I didn't complain.

Here is a video of how she sounds sitting still. As soon as I get my air shocks in and lift the back end up an inch, I'll do a pull away video.

It is hard to tell it there, but there is still a knocking from the engine that you couldn't hear when there were no mufflers. I think it is due to the fact that I lost two of the exhaust valve lashing caps when I was lapping the valves. I couldn't find any locally, so I ordered some today. Hopefully when they come in that will solve my problem. If not I will have to look for a stuck valve or partially collapsed lifter.

RickIsYoDaddy April 19th, 2011 01:00 PM

looking sexy man!

ajzride April 19th, 2011 11:24 PM

Since Dad's top-loader hasn't been in a car in over 33 years, I decided it would be a good idea to rebuild it before I put it behind the 351. So I ordered up the master rebuild kit from Mustangs Unlimited (I like ordering from them because the warehouse is close to me, and I usually get stuff the next day):

Mustangs Unlimited - The Premier Source for Mustang, Shelby and Cougar Parts and Accessories

I didn't actually rebuild the transmission myself, My dad did that the day I was making that god awful ugly alternator bracket. But after he got it back together, and it wasn't quite right, I did help him take it back apart and troubleshoot it. Turns out, he didn't really do anything wrong, but there were two snags I'll make note of here in case anyone else has similar problems.

First: Rear bearing that came with the rebuild kit was too thin. Taking it out and comparing it to the old bearing, it was about 1/8" - 1/16" too short. We wound up taking the old thrust bearing and shaving it down to make a shim.

Second: the synchro keys (see picture below) for 1-2 and 3-4 ARE NOT THE SAME SIZE. However, the kit that was shipped to me had all 4 keys the same size. Since they were all the same size, it never occured to us that we could have them in wrong. After over 6 hours of troubleshooting, we finally went rummaging through the trash to find ALL of the old parts, only then did we realize that we had two sets of 3-4 synchro keys, and none for 1-2. The old keys were in pretty good shape so we just used them.

ajzride April 19th, 2011 11:42 PM

Flywheel - Clutch - Zbar and linkage
The 351w came with an automatic slushbox and a flexplate when I aquired oh so many years ago, so I was in need of a flywheel. The first thought that came to my mind was that I would use the flywheel that came with the 302 that I obtained when I picked the car up. Turns out I couldn't use it for two reason:

One: it was a 157 tooth flywheel, the bellhousing with Dad's top-loader was the larger one that required a 164 tooth flywheel

Two: The 302 was a 1983, this is the year that ford changed 302 motors from a 28oz imbalance to a 50oz imbalance. However, notice that I said 302 motors changed, 351w motors never changed, and all 351w motors are a 28oz imbalance regardless of year.

And man was I in for a shock when I went looking for a flywheel, those suckers are expensive. Seems like everywhere I looked the lowest price I could find was in the $300 range, and some of them were even in the $600 -$700 range.

Finally I was able to locate a 164 tooth 28oz imbalance flywheel from summit. I was able to do this by setting the filter to just those two options, and nothing else, not for a ford, not for a mustang, just weight and tooth count. What I wound up with is technically a bronco flywheel, but I couldn't think of a reason it would not work:

Zoom Performance Products 50-735 - Zoom OE Replacement Flywheels - Application -

So for only $65 I had a flywheel finally.

Next I made the mistake of ordering a clutch kit for a 1969 Mustang 4 speed from summit. While it appeared to be the right size, the pressure plate would not bolt up to my bronco flywheel. I was able to call zoom and they got me the correct clutch number:

Zoom Performance Products MU49-1 - Zoom MU Series Clutches - Application -

After an RMA of the clutch that didn't fit, everything bolted right up using the setup Zoom recommended.

For the Z-Bar and linkage, I literally called up Mustangs Unlimited and told them that I had a clutch pedal in the drivers compartment and a throw out lever on my bellhousing, and nothing in between, please send me everything I need for a 1969 mustang. The reason I specified 1969 is because I had been told that a 1969 Z-bar would give me the best clearance through my headers. Mustang Unlimited gladly shipped me a box full parts and a surprisingly hefty bill. If anyone is interested in a complete list of parts needed for this retrofit, send me a PM, and I'll dig up the email receipt with all of the parts detailed.

I had been dreading trying to install the Z-bar and linkage since the day I ordered the swap headers, and I have to admit, it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. The trick for me was to pull the steering wheel and column out, then remove the pitman arm (rent a puller from AutoZone) from the steering box and break the box loose from the frame. I didn't have to remove the box (good thing because the shaft is integrated), just allowing it to slide back and forth made it rather easy to thread the z-bar through the headers and install everything. The whole process took less than 3 hours, and that included the trips to AutoZone to pickup and return the pitman arm puller.
I'll try to take some good pictures of the z-bar setup when I pull the steering box out and install the rack and pinion kit (if i go through with that project)

ajzride April 20th, 2011 12:07 AM

So, I've actually got another thread going for the shifter, but I thought it might be a good idea to consolidate.

The top-loader came equipped with a Hurst Competition Plus 4 speed shifter. Unlike more modern transmission, the shifter is not built into the transmission, but bolts on to the side and utilizes and "installation kit" to connect to levers on the side of the transmission.

Now the first thing I would like to say in my defense is that I did not remove the shifter from the transmission, it was removed 30 something years ago when it was pulled from the totaled mustang of my dad's.

The problem I experienced when I first put the shifter in was that after I had gone into reverse and came back out, I was stuck in neutral and the shifter would not go into any gear.

The first step in troubleshooting I took was to find an exploded diagram of the installation kit so that I could ensure that the linkage was hooked up in the proper order.
It was also pointed out that I should be using a 1/4" drill bit to hold the shifter in neutral while I align the linkage. I don't have a picture of this, but it is pretty obvious when you look at one how this works.

In the link below, you can see how the linkage is supposed to be hooked up, with all the rods (round pipes that actually connect to the shifter) above the arms (flat plates that connect to the transmission). I had installed the unit with the 1-2 rod below the arm, which resulted in second gear being up, and first gear being down.

However, realigning the arm did not fix my problem. So my next step was to order a "pit pack" for the linkage. A pit pack is a bushing that sits between the rod and arm, and a funny looking clip to hold it in.

After installing the pit pack, I was very unsatisfied with the fit, the rod and arm were still very sloppy, with lots of play, and if you wiggled just right, you could even get the arm off the rod, although it would get caught on the clip and not fall off.

So I went down to ACE with my rod and arm in hand, and found some washers to tighten things up. Due to the diameter of the washer I used, I could no longer use the funny little clip, so I grabbed some cotter pins while I was there. This really tightened things up, and I felt much better about putting it on.

I applied these washers to both ends of the rods, both where they attached to the arm/transmission and where they attached to the shift levers on the base of the shifter.

Unfortunately this did not solve my problem. Shifting 1 - 4 was much easier and I got much better feedback and "clicks" going into gears, but the shifter would still get lost coming out of reverse. The next thing I did was pull the shifter off the transmission. Holding it in a vice, it felt like it had an awful lot of play in it:

So i completely disassembled the shifter:

I took a couple of bottles of brake cleaner, brass wheel, and brass brush to all of the parts, and the shifter cleaned up real nice.

I ordred this shifter rebuild kit from Mustangs Unlimited:

However it is on back order and has not arrived yet. Although I'm not sure I need it. This video shows how stiff the springs are:

After cleaning it up and putting it back in, I have only mildly improved my issues. Now if I come out of reverse and get stuck, I can go back into reverse and try again. I seem to have the most luck coming out of reverse if I keep tension on the shifter as far left as I can as I come down, going straight into second, then going into first. If I do this, 75% of the time I don't get locked up. I really wish I knew what the problem here is. If I knew it was the shifter, or the linkage, I would be very tempted to order the afflicting parts replacement, but since I can't seem to pinpoint the problem, it would be very expensive to replace both. And at this point the WAF (wife approval factor) for more funds for the project is rapidly decreasing. Since I can get in and out of gear (with no problems if I avoid reverse) then I would rather use my WAF points on other issues.

If anyone has a good idea on this shifter, please feel free to chime in, because I'm out of ideas.

Gregski April 20th, 2011 12:51 AM

fantastic thread, glad I found it, good to have a German car owning brother, I have a '93 VW Corrado VR6, not exactly a BMW but over engineered just the same, LOL, love your sense of humor, keep postin', can't wait to see your progress

Gregski April 20th, 2011 02:55 AM


Originally Posted by ajzride (Post 3579438)
This is where the story takes a tragic turn. I was in the garage doing my first ever break job on the little beater i was driving until the truck was done, and in majestic learn from your mistakes fashion, I backed the freshly completed beater out of the garage without bleeding the brakes.......

and in slow motion i realized as my foot sank to the floor over and over again, I was heading right into my ready for paint ranchero....


(you are a great story teller)

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