The "Extra Engine" Post....hmmm

Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
Cuba, AL
It's raining and severely slowing my weatherstripping project! Got two left and I'm done but it rained for 3 solid weeks. Had one week of sorta sunshine and got some progress done but it's raining again. So close. Not to mention I have a couple other projects up my sleeve but not until I'm done with the seals. Until then I'd like to talk about something on my mind.

So what do I call this post? How about “Extra Engine”, or “Backup Engine.” I've always wanted to have a second engine waiting just in case something happens to the one in my car. Over the last ten years, most of my thoughts have been skewed a bit because of money. Mainly because of the lack of money. This one is no different. Here's what I have.

Quite a few years ago I bought an engine that someone had pulled out of a 1990 Mustang 5.0 car. I was looking for a complete engine to have as a spare. This one only had about 100k on it which is less than most I found. The guy I bought it from said he was going to put it in a Factory Five Cobra kit car he was building but decided to go a different route. The only thing bad he told me about the engine is that he felt that it had low oil pressure. He also said that he believed that just a set of bearings was all it needed and that if he used it, that's all he was going to do to it. He thought that since it had relatively low miles that everything else was fine. I know personally, I've run these engines to more than double that mileage and pulled them apart and they looked perfect inside. It varies from engine to engine.

This engine is complete from intake to oil pan. As far as he knew, it had never been pulled apart at all. He wasn't a mustang guy so I'm not sure where he got the low-pressure info from. It had to be from the Mustang he bought it out of. We all know the factory gauge at idle in some cars can be way off or the sender could be bad. I'm so tempted to give this engine a shot as is. The only trouble is, as I've gotten older, laying on the ground working on cars is not as much fun as it used to be. Slapping an engine in for a few weeks of testing then swapping it back is major surgery to me now. I hate it but that's the honest truth. It also has been sitting for about 6 years now so there's that. Next part....

For the last four or five years, I've been back to one car. I'm currently driving my '88 GT as my only vehicle. The engine in it is one I had rebuilt in 2007. It's mostly stock with a .030 overbore. I had one hole that was .007 out so I chose to bore it. All other long block parts are factory parts from my former '92 Feature Convertible. I took the complete engine out of it before I sold it since I had just built the engine. I traded that car for almost nothing and didn't want a brand new build going as part of that deal. So it ended up in my '88 along with the T5 from the same '92. This engine has never felt exactly right. Don't get me wrong, it runs just fine. It is the stand-out engine among several that I've had and is the one that underperforms every other one. I do not mean from a sheer power sense but from an overall smooth peppy feel. I don't know, it's just different.

So this brings me back to my extra engine. I cannot afford to do this thing all fancy. As a matter of fact, as of now, it will take me a good while to do anything. So like normal with us car guys, people inevitably make comments like “well if you are going to spend $500 on those heads you may as well put another $300 with them and get these heads.” Sound familiar? Of course it does. I even do it to myself and I'm the one knowing I can't afford to do that. Let's face it, that same argument can be made for many instances on the same engine build. And if you do several of them, it adds up significantly. I am a firm believer in creating a plan with matching parts and sticking to it. Crappy combinations run crappy.

Also of note is that I will not skimp on doing something right. Don't confuse that with getting the best. I can't get the “best.” For example though, if I'm getting the block machined and the shop says it needs X or Y and I know that it's a legitimate claim and not just an extra, I won't just let it go. Doing it right has to be factored into the picture and budget. And before you ask, I have no budget. Every single thing will be done as I have the money and will not be added up later. The final number will be whatever it takes to accomplish my goal. The variable will be time. I also am not trying to make one single HP goal other than stock '88 Mustang worthy. I've already done all the other stuff and I do still love power. It's just not my goal anymore. Awful, I know, but it is true. My goal is an excellent stock like driver with the same fun feeling I had when I bought the car new in 1988. Other goals are to keep my current gas mileage of 23 MPG or so. Lastly, it must be unbelievably solid and dependable. I can't afford to spend money fixing it.

On that note, one of the big things I don't like about every single engine that I've ever put in this car is oil consumption. Since day one this car has used a quart of oil between changes. In the old days, this was every 3,000 miles. I now do 5,000 mile changes and I have to add oil every 1200-1500 miles. I spent large money a number of years ago on two different engines from nationally known and high-end engine builders and both of those used oil just like my factory engine. Same with the one that is in my '88 right now. If I could resolve that one thing I'd be thrilled! I don't think it will happen though because there are literally thousands of posts on the exact same oil consumption issue. Onward we go.

I do have some parts that are currently either in my storage or on my car at present that will be able to be used on my “spare” engine or the car in general when that day comes. That includes the following: Full exhaust system (BBK Ceramic Shorties, BBK X-Pipe, Dynomax CatBack), FRPP 93 Cobra Intake, BBK 70mm throttle body, all new cooling system (aluminum radiator, etc), all new A/C system (I mean every single part), 3G 130 Amp alternator with wiring kit, any other parts like injectors and such that are running the car now will be carried over. Basically, that means that the long block is my focus. Other than an upgraded mass air meter, I think I have everything else covered.

Here's the discussion part. Given the info above, how would you proceed on slowly making my spare engine a good replacement option? Keep in mind that if I send the block out for full prep, it's going to cost me $1000+ for a build ready piece. Maybe closer to $1500. Or do one of you guys here know an excellent shop that you trust that wouldn't be that high? That's a lot to have sitting there in just a block but if that part isn't done perfectly, the rest will be off. That kinda hurts right off the bat. I don't necessarily have to go in an exact order until a certain point.

To finish up with this let me say that this is merely a discussion point. I do want to do this but I want to do a lot of stuff. Hey, we all like to talk about cars and plans or we wouldn't be on a “talk” forum. So tell me some stuff. Ask me anything I've left out. I'm almost positive I've missed something. I'm a planner. I want to get this plan down and get my mind going in a direction.

And as always, thanks for the input ahead of time.
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Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor
Admin Dude
Jan 4, 1985
Box behind Walmart
I can't help you on the shop portion, I don't live where you live.

That aside, your description tells me:

Hydraulic N/A Custom Street Cam from FTI (fill out the form!) - Don't skimp on this
Hyper Pistons
Cast crank (or whatever is already in there)
Heads - Get something in the 185 neighborhood. 165s if you find a good deal but shoot for the 185s (at least)
Dyno-tune on a real dyno! - Also non-negotiable IMO
#36 lb injectors, In-tank 225L HP Fuel Pump and pump voltage regulator (Boost-a-pump) You can keep the rest of your fuel system intact.

Your intake and TB etc. are all perfect. Use as much of it as you can. If your TB has ever given you any headaches ever... replace it with an Accufab (this is your chance)

Other than that, a stock rebuild with as many cubes as you're comfortable with. Should make somewhere in the 260 - 280 neighborhood and gobbs of torque.

Run whatever shorty header FTI suggests (I honestly don't know if 1 5/8 or 1 3/4 would be better for N/A maybe @TOOLOW91 does). I tend to shy away from Long-tube headers unless you're into really trying to eek out that last 25 HP.

Try and stay away from Fox gimmicks like underdrive pulleys.

Oh... You'll need chassis stiffening, brakes, and whatever else these guys tell you that I'm forgetting ( I do that a lot :O_o: ).

Did you say if you were Manual or Auto?

Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
Cuba, AL
Sorry I apparently didn't make myself clear. I've done all the custom cam, big injectors, aftermarket head stuff. Not my plan. I'm staying all stock on the long block. I was interested in discussing stock building stuff. Like I said....Not interested in one single HP gain over stock.
Excellent post....but not what I'm doing this time. I'm gonna read it again and just day dream of old days

And btw....every engine I've built has been from a place nowhere near me so y'all don't worry about that. If they are reputable then they do out of town work.

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
polk county florida
#1 the oil consumption of the current engine concerns me, 1200 to 1500 miles to a quart?
#2 it may be just dumb luck or good friends but I've got a used engine in my car that I beat on nearly every time I drive it, it leaks oil (thats why I call it 'the exxon valdez) it's not as bad as I imply but it consumes nearly zero oil between changes. I would not hesitate to shoot a little clean oil in the cylinders, spin it over by hand a couple times, shoot a little more in there, wrap it in plastic and save it for a rainy day. When you do feel the need to install it stuff a new oil pump in it and drive it like you stole it.

Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
Cuba, AL
#1 the oil consumption of the current engine concerns me, 1200 to 1500 miles to a quart?
#2 it may be just dumb luck or good friends but I've got a used engine in my car that I beat on nearly every time I drive it, it leaks oil (thats why I call it 'the exxon valdez) it's not as bad as I imply but it consumes nearly zero oil between changes. I would not hesitate to shoot a little clean oil in the cylinders, spin it over by hand a couple times, shoot a little more in there, wrap it in plastic and save it for a rainy day. When you do feel the need to install it stuff a new oil pump in it and drive it like you stole it.
The oil consumption bugs me too. It's just hard for me to worry too much since the car did it since brand new. I pulled that engine with 248k on it. My friend told me it should be bronzed and put in Ford's I ran the crap out of it but was meticulous with maintenance. And once opened it still looked perfect. Next engine was an expensive stock headed engine that put out great power. It was built by a very big name engine builder and was a great engine. And yes it used oil. Next engine was full build and lots of dyno time, also by an excellent builder. Much more power. Car was unbelievable. And yes, same oil consumption. So the next engine I decided to use a local guy that builds a lot of mustang engines for people all around here. Well known locally. ASE Ford trained and has his own machine shop. That's the current engine in the car. Same oil consumption. And for the record, up until the last couple years I've had multiple vehicles coming and going and none of those used any oil at all.
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I didn't really have an issue with the stink...
SN Certified Technician
Mar 2, 2015
My cats have never had an oil consumption issue. My 88 Ford e150 doesn't either. I run basic 10w30 in it.

I always keep a spare engine. The current one is completely stock and been through several of my cars. Im just now starting to hear it down to go through it. If the crank and bearings check out, along with the cylinder walls, it'll get cleaned up and put back together. If not then it'll get put back as close to stock as possible with maybe the addition of 1.7 rockers on the exhaust side and 1.6s on the intake side ( pedestal rollers ofcourse ).
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