View Full Version : pulling the 352 and replacing with a 351 w/ good idea or bad?

08-03-2011, 01:30 PM
Question? has anyone replaced their 352 fe with a 351w with out any motor mount issues or any others like bolting up to the COM trany?

i have'nt researched this yet but someone had mentioned that i look at the 351 w because im looking for a good 390 fe crate or long block.



08-03-2011, 02:03 PM
The 351 is a completely different animal than the FE blocks (352/390). You will most likely have to modify the frame for the different mounts.

08-03-2011, 02:23 PM
As I recall, the guys here have said that dropping in a 390 (and a C6 tranny if you want to replace the COM) is an easier way to go. If memory serves me right, the 390 drops right in without any cross bracing or motor mount problems. But these guys can tell you about this. My memory is getting a bit long in the tooth these days, and I have read soooo many threads and posts on this Forum that my head swims sometimes! lol..

Since you asked about the 390 in the FE Engine Forum, I am going to move this thread to that Forum, where it should be.

08-03-2011, 05:30 PM
Transmission repairmen who regularly worked on COM's (from the '60's) are long since retired and today's shops haven't seen a Cruise-O-Matic in many years. They are good transmissions, but harder to find parts for. Same story with FE engines but on a smaller scale.

Now, 351W and AOD transmissions are very available at a much lower price. This combination may be found in many bone yards across the country.

351W's share many 5.0L parts including pistons, rings, water pumps, starters, etc., and had been original equipment in full size Fords, Thunderbirds, Mustangs, and trucks. (Ford sells more trucks than cars.) Many millions of Ford vehicles were powered by this setup.

The 351W/AOD swap makes better sense and is cheaper than converting transmissions. 351's came in different versions; EFI, carbureted, and 351W's also came in a hydraulic roller-cam version which is perfectly suited for use with modern motor oil.

The Ford Lightning engine (EFI 351W/roller) is one of my favorite choices because much of it is aluminum, bearing sizes are much larger than 5.0L, and performance parts are everywhere. Expect over 400-hp, naturally aspirated, with a decent roller cam. Lower rear end gear ratios like 4:10 or 3.90:1 are perfect when coupled with an Automatic Over Drive tranny. So, street performance and Interstate Expressway travel are both well suited to this setup.

The 351W sits lower and is lighter than the FE's. Kits are available to raise Squarebird motor mounts for a bolt-on conversion. A front-sump oil pan (like trucks use) must be used for Squarebird #2 crossmembers.

I suggest you keep your FE/COM off to the side with the driveshaft, in case you ever decide to go back to it. But if you ride your Squarebird a lot, bolt in a 351W and AOD trans. You may need to buy a driveshaft, but they are not expensive and many shops re-tube driveshafts, 'to length'. - Dave Dare

08-03-2011, 08:20 PM
I have to agree here. I had a 93 lightning, 1 bad truck with 4:10 gears and 351 with gt40 heads and AOD trans it FLEW and probobly was the same weight as our squarbirds. Now to find a AOD trans for my 70 couger with no computer hook ups would be nice. I could get off the 3200rpm at 65mph

08-04-2011, 12:35 AM
...Now to find a AOD trans for my 70 couger with no computer hook ups would be nice...AOD's don't have computer hookups. AODE's do.
Here's an AOD for $500 on eBay:

Dream Weaver
08-05-2011, 07:56 PM
If you do in fact replace your 352 what plans do you have for the motor?

08-06-2011, 01:41 PM
The company that's building the 390 wants the 352 as a core but I plan on storing the motor so that I will have the original motor if ever needed. Are you looking for a 352 to rebuild?

If you do in fact replace your 352 what plans do you have for the motor?

Dream Weaver
08-06-2011, 02:18 PM
I am in the process of restoring a 1060 but prior to me purchasing the car someone swapped motors. I have not pulled the heads off yet so I can measure the bore and stroke so I am not sure what I have. It does not have the yellow valve covers (they are blue) and it is a 2 barrel not a 4. Therefore, I am researching the cost difference in rebuilding mine vs purchasing one that runs and matches what the car had originally.

08-09-2011, 02:28 AM
There was a former member of N/Cal TBirds that had a 351C with an AOD. No THAT flew.

I don't know if a Winsor would have the Tq

08-25-2011, 11:25 PM
You guys will laugh at this but I will ask none the less: just how much lighter is the 351 engine/tranny combo??

Suppose you modify the motor mounts and nestle this pair into your Squarebird. As you unhook your engine hoist and stand back... you realize... the nose of the car is alot higher than it used to be . . .

Just curious . . . .


08-26-2011, 12:36 AM
It depends on how much aluminum is used. The 351 is usually married with an aluminum AOD or AODE. The bell housing and trans case are all aluminum.

The 351W comes in a variety of configurations (Mustang, truck, Crown Vic, etc.). For years, these engines wore aluminum water pumps, intake manifold (or mass air), and aluminum heads are very available.

Not only will you save 300-pounds weight, but the engine engineering is more advanced in a 351W setup w/any overdrive trans. No, they don't use overhead cams, but they can come with roller cams (Ford Lightning blocks). New Ford 351W crate engines are insane, with aluminum blocks and four-bolt mains. I have lifted a bare aluminum block over my head with no difficulty.

It's very easy to lower your front end, John. Less weight equals better efficiency, and we still go by horsepower-to-weight.

By no means am I suggesting everyone run out and change powertrains or alter your steel. I believe classic cars should be appreciated for what they were intended to be. Having said that, I also believe classic cars need to be safety-updated if they share our highways with today's cars and trucks. It's your car to enjoy the way YOU wish.

08-26-2011, 03:58 PM
Love the idea of dropping 300#, which is not far from 10% of the entire car, just was wondering if, like alot of modifications, it begins a ripple effect of changes to get the car configured properly again.