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Discussion Starter #1
Hi gang - this is my first post to this forum. Wanted to say Hi and ask for a few suggestions. My short background: I have 2 '69 XR7's, one of which I've owned for longer than I would like to admit that was taken apart for a parts car. I just pulled the other out of outdoor :-( storage and am going to do a little resto on the body, but need to do some real motor work. My poor father thought he was helping me by starting the car every once in a while over at his house - well, he blew the motor and froze it.

I have 351W and FMX in storage that I dug out and am going to use. First the tranny:
Does a C6 fit into the 69 without mods? I'm debating on buying a new C6 vs. rebuilding the FMX. Not too many people even know what an FMX is anymore! I have 2 trannies; 1 looks toast,the other has 100K but does run.

The motor: seems in decent shape, good compression, etc. but might need some freshening up. About 40K on that motor.
I've been thinking of 3 options:

1) stock bottom end, add Edlebrock AL heads to get some more power
Not sure if TFS heads work with the stock pistons... This place called TEA (Total Engine Airflow) looks like they do some nice work porting TFS heads.

2) Ford crate motor

3) rebuild the stock 351W into a stroker.

Finally the body - I have not found door skins around. Anyone know if they are available (not NOS!) or if lower patch panels for doors can be found?

Suggestions to all of the above are welcome.
 

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I would keep the FMX it's a great transmission that works well with the 351W. I don't know about the door panels. And keep the motor you have but with twisted wedge heads, good edlebrock intake, holley carb, new cam, and MSD ignition, those will get you going. Those are my thoughts - Chad
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My inclination was to keep the FMX, but I haven't found a good local rebuilder and I refuse to go the big chain rebuilder route again. I had a horror story on that years ago. You can buy new C6's from places even like Summit Racing, so that's why I thought of the C6 as an option.
You can also get more types of torque converters for a C6 than an FMX.

Also meant to ask 2 questions:

1) does anyone sell Ford Motorsports stuff at discount? Ironically I found a number of Ford dealers I know that did not want to deal with them!

2) Has anyone bought an aftermarket motor from any rebuilder other than Ford that had a good rep and good prices.

Thanks again ...
 

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engine and tranny

Mark,
I have had both FMX and C6 trans in my 69 XR7. The FMX is a good trans when set up right. You may be able to find a good tranny shop through local car clubs. The C6 will fit in a 69 cougar with some slight mods to the trans hump in the floor. Also you will have to customize linkage and cooling lines when switching from an FMX. You will also have to replace the driveshaft. I also had to notch the collectors on my headers because they were rubbing the trans fluid sump and boiling the fluid. I currently have the C6 in, but will probably change it at some point to an AOD. The C6 is bullet proof, but it gobbles up power. I think it is overkill for my mildly modified 351 W.
As for the engine....If it is an original 351 4V as was in the XR7's I'd keep it. The 69 351 4V motor breathed fairly well. And at 10.9 to 1 compression ( I think? ) they revved pretty quick. A decent machine shop can clean up the heads and freshen up the bottom end for half the price of a set of aluminum heads alone. With some mild engine mods and the right rear end, you can make a pretty quick 351 that will not be in the garage evry weekend having the carb tuned and the valves adjusted. My 69 will smoke most average cars with stock heads ported and polished, and a few other engine changes. The problem with building 351 strokers, or 450 horse small blocks is that power and reliability/driveability are inversely related. Ultimately its up to you, find out all you can about your options and then have some fun with it!!
Paul G.
http://home.sprynet.com/~pamar/cougar.html
 

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Mark, keep the fmx, the C6 swap is probably more trouble than its worth. Transco makes a shift kit and converters around if you look hard enough. Or there are outfits that will make what you need. As a former sb Ford racer the first thing I would encourage you to do is ditch the stock heads. Yes I know that porting the stock heads really work well, but if you cannot do it yourself and have to pay to have someone do it for you along with replaceing guides, seats, valves etc it becomes very costly in a hurry. I myself am not a big fan of aluminum heads on street cars, other than weight there is really no good advantage to them to justify the aluminum heads over cast iron. I like the dart-world products cast iron heads. Right out of the box they flow very well and with a little port work they will outperform most other aftermarket heads, at least the ones with stock valve locations. They have a very thick deck that wont warp and the reliability is top notch. Best of all they are reasonable compared to most. Only a few hundred more than a complete makeover of your original heads. Also they look very stock. The rest of the motor depends on your pocket book. If you have the cash by all means a stroker is great. There are some very good 377. 393 408 kits out there. I had a 377 and if I do it again it will be a 393.If done right there are no realibilty issues at all. Keep the compression and valvetrain sane and you will have a very dependable powerhouse.mm
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks again for the feedback.

I could do the porting and some of the engine work myself, but lack of free time is really the problem. Hence I'd like to find a good place that sells a complete short/long block or I could trust doing some R&R on mine.

I've also been checking out this place called Power Heads.
Look at http://www.powerheads.com
They claim better-than-dart numbers for $695 complete.

Also, I should mention my other car is a slightly tweaked Buick Grand National thats running 450+ HP plus some wicked torque number. So the stock 250 hp 351W seems pretty lame these days, hence the reason I'd like to get another 100 hp out of it
 

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Cast iron SB heads

From what I hear, you really can't go wrong with a set of later-model GT40 heads, or the real hot item right now is the stock heads they're using on the Exploder (er..., I mean Explorer ;) ). I've seen GT40 heads at the local swap meets for $350-400.

I have a GT40-equipped 5.8 engine (thats an EFI 351W for the uninformed) from a early 90s Lightning that runs great in my 'tweaked' 89 Marquis. (Of course, then again, it also has been known to have a 8psi blower on it on occasion :D .) How does an [email protected] sound in a boxy Grand Marquis? Care to calculate my rear wheel hp? I was thinking of going with a set of Twisted Wedge heads, but why bother. I've already been 'blackballed' from my local track with this car (no driveshaft loop, need a cage to go faster, etc, etc, etc.... Hey, its my winter beater. I'm not gonna cage a winter beater!

Transmissions...

Here we go again....

There's nothing wrong with a FMX. Speed parts are a little harder to find for them, sure. Most of the mail order houses (ie Summit) don't advertize all the selections available in their catalogs, just the popular ones. You might want to contact B&M, ATI, Trans-Go, TCI directly to see what they offer for the FMX. You'll be surprised! My one friend runs a FMX behind his 514-inch 71 Mach 1 that runs 10.90s -- just because people said he shouldn't. That trans has been holding up real well! Better in fact than the C-6s he uses behind the similar 514 motors in his other two race cars. They seem to 'eat' torque converters.
 

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Mark I suggested the Darts as an alternitive to the way over $1000 heads you were talking about. The Eldebrock, TFS etc. Now your talking PowerHeads. Just remember anyone can get flow# to make themselves sound good, it all depends whos running the machine and when. $700 is not much less than the darts and I know the Darts work and have lots of room to play with if you want to port even more and have bigger valves to start with. I had 2.055 and 1.65 in mine and they run great and are industructable. Check out fordmuscle.com as they have a good article on aftermarket sb heads. They also done some gt 40 heads that you can get the results from. My kid was showing me the other day in the newest Mustangs and fast Fords mag that Ford motorsports was selling some 351 and 393 ci long block motors.mm
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I was quickly cruising an article in Fast Fords mag where they bolted on a set of AFR (Air Flow Reasearch) heads onto the new Ford Motorsports 392 (393) stroker which comes with the GT40 heads.

The AFR's made 75 HP more than the GT-40's .... Total HP well over 500+. That was unported and I believe cheaper than the TFS heads.

There are so many choices for heads out there it's crazy. If you ever read the magazine ads for part resellers (not even the manufaturers!) they all say something different. I saw an ad last night that stated the Edlebrock's outflowed the TFS out of the box and another that contradicted that.

Common sense, which I usually lack when it comes to cars, is to bolt on something like the Darts to my stock bottom end and be done with it!
But I've run AL heads on other cars and they do have benefits over irons.

From what I've checked out, the things I don't like about the Ford Motorsports crate motors:

1) everyone sells at list, so it's basically price fixing by Ford. Whether the cost is justified, cost-effective or over-priced is a different story.

2) I need to find it again, but I had an ad that said the Motorsports crate engines have no warranty - you start it, you own it. This didn't sound right. I have seen aftermarket engine builders claim Motorsports engines do not have strict quality control and you take your chances, but I think that's just mudslinging to enhance the preception of their product.

3) Many Ford dealers don't want to deal with the Motorsports stuff. Not sure why, but hopefully it's not related to item #2.

The greatest benefit of these lists and forums is that everyone gets real-world feedback from people that have done it vs. some manufacturers advertising claims or "expertise". Sometimes a clear solution arises that becomes the defacto standard.

Thanks again!
 

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Mark, I done some digging on the powerheads and come away thoughly unimpressed. All they are doing is reworking stock castings. While there is nothing wrong with that, I said before that properly ported stock heads work well, but from economics stand point they dont add up. At $695 they dont sound bad but did you notice that they are on an exchange basis. Now if you pay a core you have spent more than what you can buy the darts for and the stock castings will never be as strong. I think you just made up your mind as to the gt 40 heads, the same as I already came to long ago. I know all the manufactures claim there head is the best and it becomes confusing. I never said the Darts were the best but they are hands down the best combination of performance and reliablity versus dollars spent. If I wernt watching pennies I think I would go the 185 AFR's. Let me set the record straight on the Aluminum versus Cast iron debate. There are two advantages to aluminum heads, lighter weight and easier porting. The cast iron heads are less costly, hold cyl temps better, wont warp or crack as easy as aluminum, bolts wont strip out and the list goes on. By the way the darts are avalible in aluminum if you must, but the price gets back up with the rest of them then. I myself have had several vehicles with aluminum heads and I have also had to replaced a few cracked ones on my own and some of my friends. I'm not per say knocking all aluminum heads, I would buy them myself in the right situation, I just explaining the facts. If you dont have the time to do your engine yourself just get a local engine builder to do it for you. I always thought crate engine were a wast of money. Try to get some recomendations from some local racers who to trust for doing your engine and you should have no problems getting exactly what you want and probably cheaper than the so called new crate engines. Also a remachined used block is usally prefered by most racers as once remachined they are more stable than a new block.mm
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good points MM. I agree with everything you have said. I'm glad you pointed out the stuff on PowerHeads because from the info I got, it didn't look like that great a deal after you dug past the magazine ad.

I have a philosophy that some people agree with and others don't. If you are really building a car to race it, then certain criteria becomes more important than for a street car. The heads are a good example. The weight savings alone can justify use in a race car. But for the average street person, good iron heads are probably more cost effective and arguably more reliable. So if you want to build to race, do it and pay for it!

You guys have provided good feedback, because I was looking for the "never do this" or "you HAVE to do this" type of info. Sometimes a product is heads & tails above another and becomes a must-have, but I don't think AL heads are one of them ...
 
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