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Inherited 63 T-Bird that needs love

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  • Inherited 63 T-Bird that needs love

    Hello, this is my first post here but i've been reading through the forum for several weeks. When my father-inlaw passed away 2 years ago my wife and I inherited his 63 Bird. He was the second owner and had the car since 1972.The car is straight and rust free and has always been garaged since he owned it. In 1981 he did somewhat of a restoration, paint, rechromed bumpers and mechanical repairs and in 83 he replaced engine with what turns out to be professionally rebuilt truck motor. I have every receipt on this car since 1972 which is very helpful.The big issue with this car is that it sat since 1984 and the gas in it turned into glue, gas tank rotten and the valve train frozen from bad gas. My first order of business was a completely new fuel system from tank to carb and I pulled heads apart and cleaned them, now they are like new since there are so few miles on them.
    My first question is what problems might I have running original intake on D4TE heads, intake is C3AE and has large ports. Exhaust manifolds are C3SE original dual exhaust. Carb is Holley 4160 450cfm. What do I need to do to post attachments?

  • #2
    Have you tried to start the car yet?
    I don't think you would have any problems with it all seeing that you have so many new things and seem to have everything cleaned up. If the car has not been started in a long time I would pull the plugs out and squirt some Marvel Mystery Oil in each cylinder and crank the engine for a bit before you put the plugs back in. Re-install the plugs and prime the carb and give it a shot to see what happens.
    As always, have a fire extinguisher handy just in case.



    • #3
      The last time an attempt was made to start it all the push rods bent due to the valve being varnished shut with old gas. I pulled the heads and had to knock valves out with hammer and block of wood. I then soaked them in parts washer and cleaned everything up with wire brush. All cleaned up, lubed and ready to go back on engine. New lifters and new pushrods going in also.


      • #4
        Sorry to hear about your father-in-law but glad you are keeping and working on his car.

        The rear main seal on my original 352 in my '60 Tbird that my Dad bought new finally gave up so I had planned a rebuild.

        Saw an engine on craigslist for less than half what it would cost to rebuild mine and took a chance.

        I have a similar engine in my car. The fellow didn't have the receipts but said it was one he had built for his truck. Someone wanted the truck more than he did but was planning on using a modern engine so he sold the truck and kept the engine. Finally decided he wouldn't find another truck and sold the engine.

        Long story short - I think you'll be fine - maybe a bit too much carb but if it works - use it. I'm running my original 4100 which is 400 cfm.

        Good plan on the fuel system - I tried resealing my tank one time but after paying a couple of tow bills I could have come out cheaper on a new tank if I had just replaced it to begin with. Was trying to keep everything original since the car is fairly original - sometimes that's just not the best way to go.

        My engine is stamped with a 352 on the block but that was the same on 352, 360, and 390. Haven't checked to see which displacement mine is by measuring the stroke. Runs great so don't really care. Intake is a C5AE. Heads are C4AE-G (which I was told was the big valve design).

        About the only thing I can suggest is that you do NOT use gaskets on the exhaust manifolds. My original engine did not have them but I decided to use them on this replacement engine since I also installed a set of used exhaust manifolds. They looked good but thought a few pits were sort of deep in the mating surface so went with the gaskets for a better seal. BIG mistake. Lasted about 1K miles before one developed a leak. Had the manifolds machined and installed without gaskets - they have been fine now for about 8K miles.

        Here's the original engine...

        Let the fun begin...

        New engine as purchased....

        Block stamp



        New engine re-sealed, cleaned up and painted the correct color for the '60 Tbird.

        Valve covers just didn't work for me and I needed PCV. Originals would have needed mods so went with some bling.
        (those are the early '55-57 Tbird stickers on the valve covers - I just liked them)

        Pic of the manifold gasket where it failed.

        Love to drive it!

        Good luck on your project.


        • #5
          63 390 intake on 74 truck heads

          Will mating the original 390 c3a intake to d4te heads give me driveability issues? The heads are now, after serious cleaning, in excellent shape and have the hardened seats but i don't know what effect the larger intake ports will have. Any advise is appreciated.


          • #6
            Thanks for reply DK, I tried cleaning tank with acid but it was shot. Had pin holes and too much crap in it. Rock auto had the Canadian made tank for 160, no brainer to start from scratch with all new fuel system. What fuel pump are you running? I bought one for 63 before discovering I had 74 truck motor. Does anyone know if it will work?


            • #7
              Very nice looking T-Bird DK!


              • #8
                Why cant I post attachments?


                • #9
                  Inherited 63 T-Bird that needs love

                  Perhaps you did not read the Welcome that was posted to you in the New Members Welcoming Forum when you joined? You must be a Paid Member to upload attachments directly on our server. Here is probably what you missed seeing. Everyone who joins this Forum should read the Welcome we post to you when you join us... We even send you a PM telling you that when you become a member!

                  Last edited by YellowRose; November 21st, 2015, 09:32 PM.

                  Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                  '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
                  "It's Hip To Be Square"
                  Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

                  Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781



                  • #10
                    ok, thanks Yellowrose. I may have to consider donating since I am sure I will be here awhile.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wingman65 View Post
                      What fuel pump are you running? I bought one for 63 before discovering I had 74 truck motor. Does anyone know if it will work?
                      The fuel pump you bought should work fine. The only difference with the truck pumps are the way the inlets and outlets are configured. The arm and mounting is the same.

                      John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                      Thunderbird Registry #36223



                      • #12
                        Tony, there is nothing wrong with using truck heads but you will have trouble racing with them. The intake valves are normally smaller for more low end torque.

                        To measure your stroke, put your damper on TDC. When #1 piston is up, #4 is down. Pull #1 and #4 spark plugs. Stick a rod in the spark plug hole until it bottoms and mark it at the valve cover flange with a sharpie. ( I like using welding rod because the coating is easy to write on.)

                        Now, pull the rod out and put it down #4 until it bottoms, and mark it the same way.

                        Pull the rod out and measure between your marks.

                        If you read, 3.5" you have a 352. If you read 3.784" you have a 390. You don't need a lot of precision here since the difference is over 1/4". Basically speaking, if you measure more than 3.5" it is NOT a 352.

                        The light truck (F-and E-series) engines are nearly identical to car engines. They may have a bit more bottom-end strength in the castings but all the bearing sizes are the same. I prefer using a truck engine to overhaul, especially one from the early 1970's. - Dave
                        My latest project:
                        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                        --Lee Iacocca

                        From: Royal Oak, Michigan