Swap or Build?


Oct 26, 2018
FarEast TN
First; Sorry for the length of the thread. Also to be honest this is my brothers account and his PC, but he and I both have ford blue running in our veins, come to think about it our wives have blue hair...just kidding, but not by much. He has read this thread and approves it!

I hope this thread is in the right place! I have owned many mustangs and fords all my long life (I'm 66!). But I have never owned a mustang with a swapped engine ie FE to SN or winsor to fox body etc. Neither have I owned a turbo mustang, or a turbo anything! My question is; I bought a well worn but tight 2002 mustang V-6 (yeah I know as my sc name indicates I am a fan of big blocks ohvs). So I bought the little V6 3.8 (I think) coupe now I want to modify it into an moderately fast street car. I would like to have a very fast car but dollars are a issue. So after some soul searching I decided to either pull the six and build a dedicated turbo engine, ie stronger rods, modified comp ratio maybe some head work & valve train work depending on target hp and dollars.

Or, and I know the engine choice for the BB swap isn't the the sane one, like a windsor, but rather a 429 or 460 with a swap kit, ie headers pan, maybe a k member etc. The 460 would be warmed over maybe a swap meet or, oh gawd, a new pair of heads, a hyd cam that doesn't need solid lifters and springs. I know it would wallow around these ea tn mountain curves, but much weight can be relocated. The biggest problems as I said is money. I am not delusional (I hope) but I want a car as fast as new GT (mustang). I am disabled so 90% of work would be farmed out, and that breaks my heart cause I know how to spin a wrench. That said all I have is 10 k for engine and trans stuff. Maybe a couple more thousand could be scraped up. Or If I am really short I have nearly 10k more allocated for the rest, meaning tires suspension and pretty stuff. Paint and appearance might have to suffer for now? . So I am hoping those of you who have some experience with swaps, or turbo cars etc could give me some feedback? I have been out of the car scene for a long time. Am I dreaming?

Oh, almost forgot. You guys must be wondering why I dont switch up to a newer model coyote me quipped car or even an BBB car (BBB= Beautiful big block). The reason is I am heavily attached to the little coup. It literally saved me from the street! When my health and then my bank account took a dive, my newer daily driver blew an engine, just out of warranty. I didn't have the money to fix it so I bought the 2002 stang off a lot, and prayed nothing would break. That was three years and over 100,000 miles ago / w no major repairs! (had 129,000 now has 238,000, believe it or not, and is ugly but the motor sounds like its electric). Lastly I am looking for general answers, I plan on doing the repairs beginning next week. I'll take pics for posting here.
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Active Member
Jun 17, 2018
I've read your post a couple of times. You may want to lay a solid plan/budget on paper before stepping off with a max of ~$12k for a 460 build/swap. Ensure you add in things like: frame ties, roll cage, complete differential and rear control arms, torque box upgrades, etc...I think to do it right we're talking stripping your car to the body shell/frame sections and going back with new/hd stuff.

Honestly, my initial thought when reading your post (and being well familiar with the roads in TN east of I-75) was I'd keep the V6 car for a driver and spend some of your budget on a nice GT, then do some mods on it...my second thought was, if it must be the V6 car, a GM 5.3 and auto swap may be a better path then the 460.

That out of the way...there are a couple of extensive threads here detailing 429/460 builds in a couple of different bodies...probably a good place to start getting ideas for your plan. Good luck.


wanna catch the space herp
10 Year Member
Sep 1, 2010
Kearney, NE
Blue Hair? I liked Jessi Combs’ blue tipped hair.
Before most of the car mags were assassinated by Motor Trend, one test ran a pair of aftermarket cylinder heads on a 460. It turned the truck motor into something worth using in a Mustang, even with with the extra weight and fuel consumption of a 460. If you are set against a stroked 351, I would not consider a 460 with stock heads for a dream build. For a Roadkill type build, any LS or stock big block would be fine.
Edit: I know 460’s were also used in some big cars, but around here, they mostly saw duty towing large masses instead of using diesel engines.
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chicks make me feel inadequate
Founding Member
Jul 30, 2002
South Texas
Take into consideration the stuff most people don’t take into consideration.

What transmission will you use on a 460? Auto? Custom transmission mounts and linkage? Custom drive shaft? Upgraded rear end (7.5 rear won’t cut it) with locking diff and upper/lower control arms? New k-member shouldn’t be hard to find, they do make them but now you need new front springs to handle the weight. Motor mounts. Fully custom cooling system and radiator? Carb or FI? Both will need a pretty much all new fuel setup starting at the pump.

Hood clearance with a carburetor and air cleaner? Full custom exhaust? That one is no biggie but it ain’t free. Will the tach and speedo work if you go carb’d and ditch the PCM? Custom throttle linkage. Wiring will be a nightmare. Can you keep power steering with a big block? Will you have to get a custom tune to bypass the PATS system so the car will start?

A forged bottom end, upgraded fuel system and an Eaton blower might be an easier way to go if you got $10k to throw at it. A pre-made turbo setup would also be an option but I’m not too familiar with companies that make 3.8 power adders.
Dec 30, 2018
Medford, OR
Honestly I’d go a completely different way either keep the v6 as a daily or if you want to keep it then get an engine and trans from a gt and build that drop it in and your good. Because you can get an engine, trans, pcm from a GT for 3k maybe 4K depending on where you source through. You could easily build a high HP engine off the Windsor blocks are good for 550 I believe and romeo for upwards of 700. Build bottom up of engine up and once that’s done if you wanted can drop a turbo on it a make great power with the older style and sound because almost everyone agrees that the new edge stangs are the best sounding


Active Member
Jan 14, 2019
Aptos, CA
First thing you need to find out is if your state or local DMV will even allow you to put something else in besides what it came with. I plan on a Coyote swap in the next year and that'll eat up your $$ in a heartbeat. Oh, I'm doing mine to stay road legal as well and that's why I mention your auto laws.