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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a cougar last year assured that the engine was rebiult and had less than 200 miles on it. It sat for some time after rebuild and needed attention and figured a little TLC and I would be alright. Fought my way through the scraps of paper from the "re-build" and find what I would call a "freshen-up". Re-Ringed, engine cleaned, new exhaust valves and not a whole lot more that I could find.
The engine is now after a leak-down test not good in 2 cylinders. one at 75lbs and other at 125. Both leaking from intake valves. The other cylinders are running between 140 and 145lbs. Local mechanics here are telling me that by the time I have the heads re-done I might as well just buy a crate engine because they are sceptical about the lower end. Looked into Edlebrock E-Street alum heads but have some mechancs wanting stupid $$ to install the heads, one guy had the nuts to tell me it was a $1000.00 job to swap heads, just for labor!!!
Current engine is a 302, not matching numbers, runs but lacks power to even squeak the rear wheels with the petal to the floor. I am not much of a mechanic, can follow instuctions if they are step by step but don't have tooling to pull engine and would have to replace heads with engine in car. One mechanic told me that there would be crap falling down into the engine if I did this, don't know if I believe this, maybe his way to get the work, maybe true, don't know.
I guess what the major dilema here is: do I have the engine pulled and put in a strocker which appears to be about the same cost of having this one rebuilt or keep searching for the elusive honest mechanic who can set me straight and get me where I want to be. Basically with a car that has enough power to light em up when I want to but is still well mannered enough for street use.
I am in Western Massachusetts, maybe someone out there has some experience with mechanics or shops out here that can help me out without me feeling like I need to bring a tube of vaseline with me when I pick it up??
Sorry if I am ranting, but this has been the most frustrating month of my life. Beginning to feel like I should just go to ITT Tech and learn to do this myself and then know it will be done right and for a reasonable price. If anyone can help, PLEASE let me know. It shouldn't be this hard to find smeone to a job like this, should it?
Any and all suggestions are much appreciated!!!
Thanks for listen to my ranting and hope you can make sence of it all.
Charlie
 

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If you intend to keep the car for a while, the crate motor is probably a good idea. Not sure how far you are from North Adams in MA. There is a Cougar guy running a transmission shop there who might be able to point you to a good mechanic. You can contact him at [email protected]
 

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Doesn't sound like it was really done right to start with Charlie? But there are quite a few factors with the heads/cams now that didn't exist 15+ years ago. The oils we use now don't contain the additives our engines were designed around. So a rebuild should include a few upgrades like hardened valve seats and whatnot. Plus using additives like zddp to protect the valve train. The best thing is to buy a set of modern heads really for the cost of machine work to redo old ones. But, like you said everything else is in doubt anyway, so you are honestly looking at a total redo or at least pull it appart to verify. Either way you may as well consider the crate - especially if you are going to pay a shop to do the work. Consider what ignition upgrades you may need/want if you go that route.
 

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I have a crate 302 in my Factory Five roadster. E303 cam, GT40 aluminum heads, fuel injection system from a 92 Saleen Mustang. Runs strong top and bottom, smokes the tires thru 4 gears if you want. Replaced the donor stock 302 in 2006 and haven't had a problem with the crate motor since. I did a track day earlier this month at Autobahn in Joliet, IL and it ran fantastic - I could almost keep up with the Porsches, Vipers and Lotus' - almost. Pushed it hard - ran between 3000-6000 rpm all day and it never argued with me once. Course, the roadster only weighs 2100 pounds, so it won't quite be as exciting in the Cougar, but I don't think you can go wrong with a crate motor. Plus you have a warranty. If the 351 in my 69 doesn't work out the way I want, I plan on a crate motor (maybe a stroker!) for it. Good luck.

Jeff
 

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If you go with a crate engine do your home work as there are more poor quality crate engines out there than quality ones. I have herd nothing but good things about ATK High Performance Engines over the years. http://high-performance-engines.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=Ford
I went to a car show just last weekend and had a long talk with a guy with a 67 Fairlane that was running one of their 347 stroker motors. He could not say enough about how great their products are and how good their support is.

Bill
 

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slap the new 5.0 Coyote engine in there. 6k and yer done.

btw if anyone has done this, i wanna see!!
 

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I've got a 65 Mustang in my paint shop right now with a Coyote, Tremec, and Mustang 2 coil over setup in it making me nothing but jealous. The guy is in 38 Special. I'm taking my camera in tomorrow to get pics to post. It looks super sick. From what I understand, getting it to work around the suspension was a complete nightmare; everything had to be cut and re-fabbed.


I would say to get a set of $700 aluminum heads and put them on yourself. It's really only nuts and bolts. I did it on my car with the motor in. There are plenty of guys on here to give you the step-by-step.
 

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It depends on what you want. I have a 67 cougar XR7 GT I'm restoring, it has a 390 S code motor. I'm having it rebuilt, boring the cylinders .03 over, new 11:1 pistons, bigger cam, new rods, bearings, lifters, heads machined, new valves, new springs to match the cam. It should be about $2000 and done by sumit racing. The machanic is charging me $35 an hour. It should put out about 410 hp. It's not #'s matching, but its the right motor for the car which will help hold the value of the car down the road.
Did your car originally come with a 302?


Bill
 

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DUDE! We gotta see that!
 

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I think if you keep the 302 you should have the bottom as well as the top looked over. Probably cost less to go with a crate moter and you can then get just what you want. Less money maintenance wise too! But then what are you going to do with the old engine? Also if you go with a crate engine and upgrade you will then need to wonder about the rest of the drive train. What type of tranny do you currently have? are you going to need a new torque converter? Is your tranny the right size for the crate you want? what about the gears in the rear? Lots of good advice here in the performance section could answer all these questions. Good luck.
 

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What ever happened to just working on it a little at a time? I am working on mine and i am buying what I can afford, when I can afford it. I'm not knocking anyone or trying to be disrespectful but it seems like thats all we see anymore. People spending ungodly amounts of money to get these awesome cars. In my opinion, it makes you appreciate it more if you work on it yourself. I figure that the more money I save by doing it myself, the more I can spend on other stuff. It doesn't have to be "final product" quality right off the bat. It can be a "work in progress". 6K for a motor? Now thats discouraging! It takes a long time living "paycheck to paycheck" to save 6 grand.

BTW......That Cat above looks AWESOME!!!!!

Just my 2 cents worth.

The people on here have great knowledge and are more than willing to help you. I say fix it yourself and forgo all of that Hi-Tech stuff. As SeanD said..."Its just nuts and bolts".
 

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$6k for an engine...that would be nice. That would get me my short block and maybe one head. I applaud you AndyM for doing things yourself, but to each his/her own. I tried the "do it yourself" model in college and I spent more time working on the car than working on my studies. Now that I completed college, got a good paying job and married a doctor(that's the key right there), I am of the ability to buy what I want and pay a good shop to build it for me. At least I am buying all of the parts piece by piece and building the peripherals myself...the shop is only assembling it all, dropping it in the hole and dyno-ing it. (sighing)

One of these days I would love to go to a school that taught me everything I should know about engines and transmissions and the like...
 

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crate is your best option
 

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if a crate is in your budget it's what you should do put the original on a stand and work on it on rainy days yourself when you finish the build you have a backup engine that you know was built right. or you can pull the crate and get part of your money back.
 

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I wish I had the $$$ to do it up as some have suggested. Unfortunatly, I am not a "rock star" or a rich man.... Bummer, huh!?! I may take the gamble that when the engine was apart thatbthey check the integrity of the low end bearings and crank associated parts. The engine was seen by a machine shop and would hope that if there were major issues theynwould have been addressed ( knock on wood). I'm thinking, at this point of buying a kit with matched heads, cam and intake, since I don't know what cam is in there now. Thinking a new radiator and high volume water pump along with new hoses while I am in there can't hurt and will keep my fingers crossed that the lower end holds together. I am not building a race car but wouldn't mind a little more h.p. that will come with alum modern heads.
I will shoot this by the "performance" boards and see if they think I am nuts. Wish I had the 6K to buy a fancy crate motor and then have it installed but unfortunatly, that is not in the budget. Hope I am doing the right thing. Car runs and drives as it is and have had some tell me to just leave it as it is but knowing that at least one cylinder is getting a free ride bothers me, so I can't let it go at that. Any thought or opinions are still appreciated, hoping to keep it under $5,000 if possible, hope it will work out...
 

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you can get a crate for less than 5k
 

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What ever happened to just working on it a little at a time? I am working on mine and i am buying what I can afford, when I can afford it. I'm not knocking anyone or trying to be disrespectful but it seems like thats all we see anymore. People spending ungodly amounts of money to get these awesome cars. In my opinion, it makes you appreciate it more if you work on it yourself. I figure that the more money I save by doing it myself, the more I can spend on other stuff. It doesn't have to be "final product" quality right off the bat. It can be a "work in progress". 6K for a motor? Now thats discouraging! It takes a long time living "paycheck to paycheck" to save 6 grand.

BTW......That Cat above looks AWESOME!!!!!

Just my 2 cents worth.

The people on here have great knowledge and are more than willing to help you. I say fix it yourself and forgo all of that Hi-Tech stuff. As SeanD said..."Its just nuts and bolts".
It would be near impossible to build an engine a little at a time and still have use of it at the same time. If you have the ability to do all or most of the work yourself and a usable engine core you would still be close to or exceeding the cost or a crate engine after machine work, parts cost etc.
 

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If I were you... wait, scratch that... What I actually did was to get another 'core' engine from the junkyard and build that as time and budget allows, while still driving the car with the original engine. First off, start with a 351W since it is the bigger brother of your 302 in the first place. Boring the block oversize is about $150. You can get the 87-octane pump gas friendly 9.5:1 393W stroker kit that I came up with like this one for ~$1027 or a premium fuel 10.5:1 kit like this one for $988. Heads? what ever you can find locally. Try to find a set of 96-97 Explorer 5.0 heads since those are GT40s, or the late 97-2001s that used GT40Ps. Performer RPM intake. Retrofit hydraulic roller cam (if you don't source a roller block). Guaranteed 400+ horsepower for under $3k.
 
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