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Old 05-20-2009, 01:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best year of a 302 to build?

Well I have been lurking around here for quite sometime and I am really itching to build a Roadster. Of course like many there is a budgetary problem… so I have been making incremental steps toward the goal, like getting a large tool box and collecting tools.

I am looking to build a 302 and rebuild a transmission first and then hopefully some discretionary income will be available for the kit.

I have an acquaintance that is suppose to give me a good block to start with; however, we have yet to hook up, so I am thinking about getting a 302 from one of the salvage places on line… such as MPS or Prestige Mustang. I am looking to go pretty stock and get what I call “free” horsepower through modest component upgrades, hopefully getting up around 350 or more.

My question, is there a particular year of the 302 that is most favorable? Cast vs. forged… hydraulic vs. mechanical, roller cams… and any transmission compatibility issues.

I plan to rebuild the engine completely, possibly replace everything on the long block and going carb ( just using a seasoned block, of course assuring its square and the likes… ). I also want A/C, power steering and wonder if I could rebuild these components that come with these engines.

Any advice would be great.
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Forged internals in 87? - 93 5.0's. If you are rebuilding the whole thing then I guess you would have a clean slate?
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Whatever you do, stay away from 94-95!
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Best year of a 302 to build?
The year you put it in your Cobra!
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have an 87 that has 130K miles on it and still runs great. 350hp.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you are staying EFI, go with 89-92 as the "best" years. Here's why:

87 and 88 cars (unless an 88 California car) were Speed Density metered. Speed Density doesn't respond well to bolt-on performance, like heads, intake, etc.

89 was the first year ALL Mustang 5.0's were Mass Air metered. That's what you want.

93 was the last year of the Fox Body 5.0, but that year had hypereutectic pistons, not forged. If you think you'll ever add a blower, you might want to avoid hypereutectic pistons, and stay with forged.

Nothing wrong with 94 and up, just different. The most common bolt-on parts, ease of front dress, etc, is the traditional Fox Body 5.0 from 87-93. All those years are hydraulic roller setups, so no ongoing valve adjustment, etc. They are all pretty much bulletproof in their stock-to-mild upgrade setup. 350FWHP his pretty easily achieveable; see my sigline for what I did to obtain 290RWHP, or about 335-340FWHP out of my 89 donor engine.

Greg

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Old 05-20-2009, 01:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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jvikla:

what's wrong with 94-95?

john
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My 87 had mass air. Maybe late production year so it had it.
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My 87 had mass air. Maybe late production year so it had it.
Yeah, that's unusual. Must've been a very, very late 87 California car. I have a good book at home that has the date they switched over. I'll have to take a look.

Greg
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jluet View Post
jvikla:

what's wrong with 94-95?

john
You need to change out the front accessories of the motor. The pre 94's direct fit.
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I am not sure that it is the best year to rebuild, but I have a 1968 302 that is ready to be rebuilt. Apparently, 1968 is the first year that the 302 was made. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not. All the machine work has already been done to it. I have the crank, rods, timing chain cover, backing plate, harmonic balancer, and a box of hardware if you are interested.

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Old 05-20-2009, 07:52 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If you're on a really tight budget try one of the pull-a-part yards around Atlanta. The Explorer 5.0 is a great choice and can be had pretty cheap. Ping JoeCamire about his 5.0
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I can't tell if the block pictured above has been converted to a roller block or not. It needs to have the holes drilled in the valley for the spider hold down bolts, and have the lifter bosses milled to accomodate the dogbones. Alternatively, if this block is used for a roller setup, you'll need to buy tie-bar roller lifters.

Just FYI,

Greg
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Greg,

I am 99% sure that the block is not set-up for roller lifters as-is. The hardware you mentioned would have to be added.

As info,

Josh
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jluet View Post
jvikla:

what's wrong with 94-95?

john
Can't find front dress such as CW water pumps, bracketry, etc. Also, it is not mass flow so you have to be an automotive computer programmer or switch it to carb to do modifications to the engine. If you get the complete donor, unless you modify the rear axle with a kit that Richard Oben sells, you are extremely limited to wheel choices that will fit. Other than that the years are great.

Jerry
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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in some states, a vintage block might be desireable for emissions laws. in other states, the reverse is true.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:13 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I asked because supposedly I've got a 95 Cobra engine w/GT40 heads that I got from a salvage yard. It's supposed to have 85K miles on it but it looks like it's had some work done and I think has a lot less. I got all the hardware, computer, ECU, fuel lines, vapor can, etc. My car is the complete kit.

I say supposedly because it's got the GT40 intake and heads but I'm not sure about the block because the vin isn't where it's supposed to be.

So far I've removed the ac & ps but I need the smog pump ( nys rules ). I'm not sure if the 88-93 AC eliminator bracket works with it.

Does anyone have a pic with the bracket installed? (Ford Racing part #M-8511-A50).

John
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks guys... I think gbranham's answer got me covered... I keep my ear to the ground for any further input as well.

Last edited by T's Cobra Dream; 05-21-2009 at 12:50 AM.. Reason: Read gbranham's answer
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