1978 engine swap v6 to???

KGeeks1978

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Jun 21, 2019
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Hey all.New, old mustang owner, picked up a 78 a few weeks ago and have been slowly getting her road worthy again.
Has the V6 in it and have been toying with putting a bigger engine in. No idea where to start, what to look for in a new one. Can anyone start to point me in the right direction? Thank you!
IMG_20190610_201945_569.jpg
 
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LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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Welcome to Stangnet!! You have a pretty good looking car to start!! :)

A 302 swap is by far the most common, but it's also becoming harder to obtain the correct parts. You could probably swap a more modern Cologne V6 which would give you a boost in power and physically be an easier swap, but you may have some hurdles in the wiring department. If you're not aware, the 4.0 in the more modern Mustangs, Rangers, and Explorers are Cologne V6s and are the same basic architecture as the 2.8 you have in your Mustang. I think anything else will most likely require fabrication to get it to fit. Most anything is doable with enough determination and know-how, I guess it all depends on what you'd like to do and how far you'd like to go with it??
 

2Blue2

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I could of had a V8 :doh:
 
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351MooseStang

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Welcome from another new member who faced the same problem you did when I got my '78 (V6 to V8) and wanted to drop a 351W into back in the late '80s. Since the 351W and 302 have the same mount points for the trans and engine, I thought I could just get the motor mounts for the 302 and I would be good. I found that the frame mount on the drivers side was 1" forward of where the motor mount was at. I also noticed that the passenger side mount lined up just right so rather than getting the V8 frame mount I just exchanged the drivers side motor mount for a second passenger side mount. It worked but the nubs for the mount rivet does not line up with the hole in the mount so I ground one off (if I remember correctly) because this was a temporary measure as I would be switching to an engine plate.

I still have the old frame mounts and the motor mounts (two passenger side ones) since I'm on the engine plate now and surprisingly they still look good almost 30 years later. The rubber is still soft, which surprises me. They never got oil on them so that is probably why. So the short of it is if you want to install a V8 with the V6 frame mounts then find a pair of passenger mounts and it will drop right in!

Good luck! :)
 
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KGeeks1978

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Jun 21, 2019
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Welcome to Stangnet!! You have a pretty good looking car to start!! :)

A 302 swap is by far the most common, but it's also becoming harder to obtain the correct parts. You could probably swap a more modern Cologne V6 which would give you a boost in power and physically be an easier swap, but you may have some hurdles in the wiring department. If you're not aware, the 4.0 in the more modern Mustangs, Rangers, and Explorers are Cologne V6s and are the same basic architecture as the 2.8 you have in your Mustang. I think anything else will most likely require fabrication to get it to fit. Most anything is doable with enough determination and know-how, I guess it all depends on what you'd like to do and how far you'd like to go with it??
Thank you! What years would be the best swap on the newer engines? I'm imagining some hurdles with all of the newer technology
 

LILCBRA

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Thank you! What years would be the best swap on the newer engines? I'm imagining some hurdles with all of the newer technology

Honestly, I'm no expert on the Cologne V6s. But I do know that from the 2.8l in the early Capris and IIs through the latest 4.0l in Explorers and Mustang, they're architecturically the same design. As far as the best swap I'd think that a 4.0 would be the best performing, but I don't know if any of them had distributors or if they were all distributorless. That in and of itself would be a big hurdle. Distributorless - unless they have a provision to install an earlier distributor - would necessitate more wiring and sensors to be installed and figured out. Just having a conventional distributor would simplify a lot.

I also have an understanding that cylinder head design progressed through the years with earlier engines having a pair of siamesed exhaust ports on either side of the engine whereas later models were separated. Figuring out the V6 exhaust probably won't be as big a deal as a V8, but that's also something to think of.

Having said all of that, to the best of my knowledge, they all should physically bolt in with II specific mounts and such which should all but eliminate a lot of fabrication. The hardest part, in my opinion, would be figuring out how you're going to make it run - fuel system, ignition, etc. But you'll definitely want to do your homework with the engines themselves to see what hurdles you may encounter to try and make a game plan before you start.
 

LILCBRA

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Just because I was curious this morning, I've been doing a little searching. I found out I was wrong about the siamesed ports, those were on the European heads. Here is the Wiki about the Cologne sixes with some information concerning each engine size:


And there is support out there for these engines, too. I found this site with different parts - heads, pistons, rocker arms, even stroker kits - for the different variety of Cologne sixes.


There are still quite a few options if you wanted to keep it a V6. Just like anything else, it all depends on what you wanna do and how much you wanna spend!
 
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extra_stout

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Hello,
I know that some people have tried to put the 4.0 V6 in the european Ford Capri and Granada because the biggest engine available was the 2.8L. Most of them run in to fitment problems regarding height... I think this will be an issue in the Mustang II too.
I found a german forum where somebody measured that the 4.0 engine is 60mm higher than the 2.8L (reference is the gasket between head and intake; this means with diffrent intake even higher).
 
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jozsefsz

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You were actually right about the siamesed ports @LILCBRA - the 2.8 used in the II's had those (pretty sure all 2.8's did). The 2.9's and later did not. They made for a really nice v8-sounding exhaust.

You're also correct that the 4.0 swap is a hassle because there's no real / simple way to take it to a carb so you'd need to swap the whole EFI system. Which I've thought about doing because I bet it would run amazing, but would basically require a donor car that I didn't feel like dealing with. That's why I went through the hassle of a turbo installation on my 2.8 - more power, less hassle in the end. Though I sometimes think a 5.0 EFI would be nice, the light-weight v6 is kind of uniquely fun to throw around corners.

You can do this with the old 2.8 if you're brave enough: View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6bq9aOk2qQ
 
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extra_stout

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You were actually right about the siamesed ports @LILCBRA - the 2.8 used in the II's had those (pretty sure all 2.8's did).
I think the 2.8 L engines from the fox had a specific head with non-siamesed ports. But your right about that everything else had them. In europe the small engine was a V4 (I'm not talking bull:poo:). And the simased ports allowed to keep the manifolds and exhaust system... That makes it easy to swap from v4 to v6.
The engine suffer from this siamesed ports because now exhaust tuning is possible. Then the best way is indeed a turbo install :)

In the link, that LILCBRA provided, there is an carb manifold for the 4.0 pushrod engine... makes me thinking about if the swap whouldn't be a little bit easier than i thought in the beginning. But still you need to mess around with the ignition... No idea if there is a simple solution without distributor.

Though I sometimes think a 5.0 EFI would be nice, the light-weight v6 is kind of uniquely fun to throw around corners.
I've calculated, that a 5.0 engine with T5 is just about the same weight as an 2.8L with C4... but thats mainly based on the weight diffrence of the T5 to C4 transmission, which should be about 50kg. And your still right, that there are 50kg more at the nose of the car with a 5.0.
 
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Aug 17, 2021
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Is it possible to get an HEI distributor for a 1977 2.8 v6 Cologne? I can not find a new set of points. Evidently they came both either a Motorcraft distributor or a Bosch. I need help finding out if parts are still available for those engines or not. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!!
 

extra_stout

Mustang Master
Aug 27, 2018
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Can you make pictures of the distributor? Closed and also with cap off?
Wondering why there are points, because 75+ run a contact-less system:
https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog...1134683,ignition,distributor+pickup+coil,7176
In Germany there where Bosch distributors sold (for European Capri and Granada) that had points for different ignition timing / mechanical advance as aftermarket solution.
Perhaps you can also look for some numbers in the casting of the distributor housing.
Another info is also, if there is an ignition module connected to the distributor, then it should have a 4(?) wire connector. If not, it is just wired with one wire to the coil.
 

manicmechanic007

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Kgeek, That looks like a very clean 78. You should have no trouble finding a 302 and a C4 for it. Easy swap after that. Buy a rebuilt duraspark distributor from checker pep zone for a 78 cobra then you can use just about any older 302 for the swap. Personally I think the 2.8's were cool. Only thing that ever went wrong with them was the timing gears and the waterpump. OEM cam gear was phenolic and problematic at best. Free flowing motor not much trouble to fix.
 

manicmechanic007

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Kgeek,
For what market was that car intended? IMHO it should not have points if it was a US market car. Available? I found Autoline D4028 is a 2.8 duraspark on rockauto
 

LILCBRA

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extra_stout

Mustang Master
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The engine is the same architecture as the 2.9 and 4.0 in the later model Rangers and Explorers (as well as other models...). For something like that you may have luck scrolling sources for those. From what I understand there are a number of people doing things with the 4.0s.

A quick Google search for "ford 4.0 hei distributor" populated a number of results, this was included:

Amazon productView: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073WMZJBR/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_glt_fabc_EMK20Q08AMT274KY01G9
2.9/4.0 and 2.3/2.8... have different rotation direction of the camshaft, so the cam gear is wrong.
It is in German, but google translate can help:
http://www.lieblmotorsport.de/Ford-Info 2,9-01.htm
 
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manicmechanic007

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Do you have a source for C4 with MustangII-specific bellhousing, MustangII-specific oil pan and the MustangII-specific engine mounts, where everybody is looking for?!
Item # 8066 from wild horses is an oil pan that should work. C4 bellhousings are all the same or the same enough to work for your swap. What on a mustang II would require a specific bellhousing? The car was sold with a 302 and C4 so you should have no trouble finding parts. I see 4 bellhousings on google for C4 all should work one is a safety scatter shield. Like to see you get that one
 
Aug 17, 2021
9
5
13
62
Piperton
Can you make pictures of the distributor? Closed and also with cap off?
Wondering why there are points, because 75+ run a contact-less system:
https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog...1134683,ignition,distributor+pickup+coil,7176
In Germany there where Bosch distributors sold (for European Capri and Granada) that had points for different ignition timing / mechanical advance as aftermarket solution.
Perhaps you can also look for some numbers in the casting of the distributor housing.
Another info is also, if there is an ignition module connected to the distributor, then it should have a 4(?) wire connector. If not, it is just wired with one wire to the coil.
Thank you so much for your input. I will get some pictures posted. Unfortunately I still have to work my day job>>>>
 
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