View Full Version : 390 and 352 question

10-02-2011, 03:05 PM
I have a 352 (300hp) in my "59" T-bird. Will the distributor and coil from that work in a "69" F-250 390?
The 390 supposedly has a bad coil, so the owner suggested I pull my coil and distributor to test run the truck he is selling. Is there a way to make sure it lines up correctly when I install it? I don't want to have to mess with timing etc if I don't have to. I just want to be able to drive it around the block a few times to check it out. It hasn't been run for about 4 years. Should I pull the plugs and put some oil in each cylinder too? If so, how much oil should I use.
Any advise would be appreciated.
thx, Dave J

Joe Johnston
10-02-2011, 04:00 PM
IF I am understanding you correctly, are you looking at buying a non running F-250 and using the known good parts from your 59 T-Bird to test drive it?

Everything considered, I would either offer the seller $100 more than your agreed price if he gets it running, OR buy it "as is" at a much lower price since the condition is unknown. If you intend to use this engine it should be torn down and at least inspected and rebuilt accordingly. To me it seems if "you have to ask" about the proper procedure to do the parts swap and the initial starting of an engine that has not run in 4 years, perhaps you should consider letting someone else accept that responsibility and be willing to pay a modest premium for the work done. This engine may be just fine or it may be a rusted up piece of junk so it is best to let some one else take the risk of checking it out and getting it running.

Again, Its just MY opinion, and yours may be different. Either way you go, good luck, have fun and enjoy!

10-02-2011, 07:08 PM
I second Joe's opinion. If he says it hasn't run in four years, the truth is probably much longer then that. How old is the gas? I sure wouldn't send four-yr-old gas to my carb, even if it is filtered.

This engine is from a 1969. Either it has turned over a few times or it sat around. Totally 'unknown' condition, but may be good for a rebuild. - Dave

10-02-2011, 08:35 PM
Thx gents, I agree with what you're saying completely.
The thing is, my price range doesn't allow for me to tear down and build an engine (even if I was knowledgeable enough to do the work myself). I'm just looking for a vehicle for about $500 that has a 390 and runs. (Granted, this vehicle doesn't) I'm just building a Ratrod - needs to run a couple hundred miles a year max. The idea behind a Ratrod is that a guy like me with a socket set and some open end wrenches puts it together him self. If I had $1500 I'd buy a rebuilt warrantied engine from one of these online sites that does a core swap. Then I'd put my pan, valve covers, timing cover, carb, etc on the new motor.
So, if I could oil up what I can without tearing it down, then get it out for a test drive to prove that it runs that would be good enough for now. The rest of this truck is (almost) worth the price by itself.
At any rate, I can do some research on line and see if the coil/distributor are interchangeable between the two motors. That's all I was looking to find out. Just thought I would try here first in case someone knew off the top of their head.
Thx for the replies!
regards, Dave

10-03-2011, 01:21 AM
The 390 supposedly has a bad coil, so the owner suggested I pull my coil and distributor...Did I miss something? Why replace the entire distributor for a bad coil? Just about any coil will work, even one from a six-cyl.

At the factory, we use LIGHT oil in the bores, like WD-40.

Put a long wrench on the crank. If the crank doesn't turn, don't force it. Let the WD-40 soak into the rings and rust for a few days.

If it turns a little bit, finesse it back and forth (with the WD-40 in the bores and the spark plugs out). Keep doing this until you get a couple turns out of the crank in the same direction (one complete cam rotation).

Hope this helps. - Dave

10-03-2011, 02:02 AM
question, yes the distributors are interchangeable, but Dave is right. Check the coil first. Also agree on the gas. Mike

10-03-2011, 09:44 AM
Thx Dave,
I was wondering about the distributor too. I think this guy knows even less than me when it comes to cars.
The first time I talked to him he said he thought it was the coil - (not sure why), but i think someone told him that was their take on it.

I'll definitely use your routine if I decide to try and fire it up Dave! I was thinking WD-40 also, however, if I can see rust inside the cylinders I'll probably pass on this one and wait until another one comes along. I had a neighbor when I was in high school that was a mechanic. He traded a guy some work for a 64 Ford shortbed with a 6 cylinder that supposedly had a ceased engine. After he towed it home he tried turning the crank and it moved just a little each way. He found that the starter gear had jammed in the flywheel. He pulled the starter, put it back in, jumped it from his battery, and it fired right up! He let his son use the truck and it ran fine for another 10 years. Pretty good deal.
Anyway, thank you all again for the help. I'll try to check it out in the next as soon as I can.

regards, DAve J

10-03-2011, 04:22 PM
...and that's my point. You never know what to expect, and many times the seller gives 'false information'.

I had a friend who bought a truck with a diesel engine that was siezed. He quickly discovered it was due to 'hydraulic lock'.

Afterwards, the seller got all bent out of shape for letting a perfectly good truck go, cheap.

As I said before, I prefer NOT to shake dice.

10-04-2011, 09:08 AM
Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I agree with what you're saying. I'm in no hurry, I might as well wait until I find something that's not so unknown. If I'm patient the right motor will come along.
Thx Dave
regards, Dave J