'88 GT Convertible - Croatia, Europe

Ford used a simple casting code to date certain cast parts.

The heads will have a 4-digit date code under the valve covers, and the block will have a part number and date code cast in the starter area.
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What are the chances... in this universe... that You buy used 302HO from craiglist-a-like..

So, a backup engine for Your 1988 GT convertible and You probably strike 1988 engine from Mustang GT 5-speed on another side of planet (Europe).....????????

I'm shocked... Is it finally a time for getting lucky with this pile of iron? :)


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I'd do compression test and use a camera scope to look in the cylinders. Maybe check the crank bearings. Would not rebuild it unless absolutely necessary.
Now that you have a zipper on the motor, I'd just stab it and run it
Then pull it back out if there are problems
You bought it as a running momo right?
Zipper meaning this will be the 4th? time taking the motor out in 2 years?
You are good at it now, and it is not all that tough
Buy new torque converter nuts
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Once you get that old motor out, consider doing that pressurized oil leak down test
Put it on an engine stand and take the pan off only
Pressurize oil thru the pressure sender port using an air over hydraulic tank of oil
You could use a fuel injector cleaner full of oil
That way you can see where your oil pressure was going
@90sickfox yea, check before unbottoning is a must. Compression test is a problem as I don't have spare bellhousing/starter.

@manicmechanic007 I don't know if it was a runner.
So the idea is quite opposite, revision of this unknown engine first and at the same time run the existing/original one until it starts to complaint (knock/rattle).
Don't really want to look two puzzles on two engine stands... and car parked...
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Compression test would be hard without those couple things.

I hope it's a good engine. You've been through a lot with the current engine.
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Pull the plugs, squirt some oil in each cylinder, roll it over a couple time by hand, squirt a tad bit more oil in the cylinders stick the plugs back in it and shove it in a corner till the other one pukes then swap it out.
I keep thinking you have a crack in the oil pump pickup tube or something simple.
In the meantime enjoy the ride.
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@General karthief to exclude (expensive) simple and stupid mistakes I am also on 3rd oil pump in set with 3rd pickup tube.

I am loosing pressure somewhere not so obvious, and only with hot thinned oil. Cold start builds 60psi.
Sentence almost yields border tolerance.
Leaky new FRPP hyd. lifter squirting when hot oil in galley?
Or out of tolerance lifter bore?
Those would be pretty vell disguised problems crossed my mind, hidden away from plane sight and invisible in diagnosis.....

Didn't know what to think anymore, so I took another engine... gave it to much love but keeps slapping me. Now to be driven until she slaps herself
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Original engine:
No changes on some 20-30 miles short drives, hot idle is about 20psi.
After 60 miles trip and very hot engine it dropped significantly, about 10-15psi at hot idle in neutral/park, but if I pull handbrake and car in gear it drops to somewhere between 0 and 5psi.
No distinctive or audiable knock/rattle, maybe a little louder valvetrain but I heard worse on good runnin' 302's...

Allthru I had them apart and they were new from FRRP - is it possible that sympthoms I have are a simple hyd. lifter(s) stuck open and squirting oil when hot?
What now? Valvoline 10w40 max life and continue driving?

"New" engine I bought:

Pulling the harmonic balances tells me there is radial (left-right) and axial (front to back) play on crank. Left-right may be chain, but front to back is well-known thrust bearing. I will measure how much it travels today with 0.001mm resolution feeler.

In overall, this engine is virgin also (as original was) so with me good luck (again).

Before any teardown: Cylinder leak test showed 15-20-25% across all cylinders except #2 and #4 which are leaking to intake (#2: 50% -#4: 70%). I plan to remove rockers on thoose two and re-test.

From what I saw under valve cover and with removed oil pan, this engine is much, much, much more cleaner (yes, three times) than was original "tacky-black-soot-dirty-sticky" one so this also may we a sign of better service during life.

Piston skirts show few scratches but nothing close to wear from original one. I might get away with re-ring only...
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@Noobz347 I still have hopes for this car... allthru it keeps hitting me :-(

"New" engine":
I took #4 bottom rod cap out. This engine was rattling like crazy last time it worked for sure...
Chewed bearing down to metal and damaged crank - I can clearly feel grooves on journal.
I also took #2 main cap off and bearings also had some debris and are down to copper.
Crank grinding will be neccessary.

So, fine particles in leftover oil I saw were not just my imagination. Let's just hope that none of them is spun. Engine was turning nice...

Piston skwirts have some lines, but I would really like to re-use them if possible with re-ring and hone.
This is a backup engine eitherway...will post more pictures and measurings when I reach that phase...

Leakdown problem with #2 and #4 was resolved with removing rockers and few rubber hammer blows to intake valves.
All cylinders show leakdown 20-25% and are leaking to crankcase.

I will edit this post and upload pictures from my mobile phone later.


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That piston skirt looks OK to me. Have you measured them ?

I'm about to start rebuilding the 3 engines I have stored away. They are a winter project.
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@90sickfox I need to get to them (pistons) to measure them. Good luck to you with those 3 engines :)

Slowly progressing to take the crank out, just broke 3 WP bolts heavily corroded and almost welded to aluminum. WP is off with chisels and stuff, but I can just hope I won't damage timing cover ....
WP is Ford BTW, so it may be factory one from 1988 explaining eaten out bolts....
Any suggestions except penetration oils to pull cover out as a solid part? :-(
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Yeah... TC off. As it started to let loose on right side, it was soon clear why - it cracked along bolt hole....
Timing cover off, casualties are water pump housing, three water pump bolts, timing cover and one termostat housing bolt.
Water pump casting says 96, made by Ford. So pump was changed when car was 8 years old. 25 years of corrosion took its toll.

To be continued...
In "running car" I plan to pour 10w40 Valvoline maxlife. After I check oil pressure I will have Liqui Moly MOS2 additive ready....


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Maybe set the block on it's back (timing cover up) and soak the bolts/holes with Blaster or similar penetrating lube, also lightly tapping the cover along the bolt holes. If it breaks there are replacements

Ok, you got it off, always slather new bolts with Anti seize when aluminium and steel is bolted together and water/coolant is running through, but you knew that :confused:
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Okay, TC is off, pan is off. Timing chain of "new" 302 motor has a quite good slack...
I paused a little bit teardown cause I have other things to resolve and I need to find another crank grinder (one that will do it seriously this time)...

In between I made some 3D printer caps for distributor and crankcase ventilation cause I got enough of old towels and shirts hangin' out of that holes. It is a tight fit, and will protect crankcase on assembly.

BUT I managed to do and change oil in Mustang's "old" engine.
I used 5w40 Valvoline Maxlife
Cold start pressure 60 psi. It was too late to drive at hat point (that was three days ago and we got a high humidity and fogs here lately)

Now I simply cant find time to go in garage... with stetoscope I dont hear nothing pronouncable except some ringing on cylinder #8 exhaust pipe and as the lifers are getting more and more louder (they got oil, slow steady flow)...
Under the car oil pan it loud, but I dont hear clear knock or bearing. I will report.

Ohh... is welding an aluminum timing cover smart idea???? I could try to fix old ones (I have two of them, one was leaking in right bottom corner and other has broken ear few posts above)