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· Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have, undoubtedly reached that point in my life where I've been relegated to family hauling, which is actually a great thing in itself, but the vehicle I use for that purpose has left me missing the power I've become accustomed to. I picked up a 2000 Mercury Mountaineer with the 5.0L AWD drivetrain in 2015 and have put almost 55,000 miles on it - it has performed flawlessly with the mild updates I made to it and currently has nothing wrong with it at all aside from a minor rear main seep. It's time - for a mild doubling of power output and related reinforcement of the supporting parts (transmission, mainly). The main use is light offroad, mainly to campsites and carrying all the gear, including mountain bikes and/or ski gear.

Tire Wheel Car Plant Vehicle


The Merc is fairly well outfitted in stock form: latest iteration of 5.0L SEFI with GT40P heads, updated Cobra intake, very stout 4R70W transmission and 8.8 axle with 31-spline shafts, 3.73:1 gears and limited slip. While this is the only automatic shifted vehicle we own, I plan to keep it this way because the 4R really is that good a transmission! The one glaring issue with the setup is simply the exhaust. Few vendors supply quality headers for the vehicle (for obvious reasons).

Given the economic and supply chain circumstances of the day, I'm trying to use as many leftover parts from previous builds to perform the engine upgrade. Currently, short block is at the machine shop for inspection. This is what I've got planned:
  • OE 5.0L block from my old '93 Mustang GT
    • Stock crank with shotpeened and polished stock rods with ARP bolts, SpeedPro forged pistons w/metric ring pack
  • Stock headers being replaced with TorqueMonster pieces
  • Edelbrock Performer RPM II intake
  • Looking at a set of my old World Products Windsor Sr. heads with 2.02/1.60 valving
    • Beefed up spring pack for an aggressive Comp Cams Magnum grind
    • Harland Sharp 4102 1.6 ratio roller rockers on 7/16" studs and guideplates
    • Ported, polished, blended, port-matched to 1262 gaskets, no flow numbers yet, but will check
  • Summit E303+ cam
My only concern here is that the heads seem like they'd be a bit too big for the CID of the engine. Still, a simulated power curve from some old Dyno2000 software shows that torque remains pretty high at low RPM, still.
Rectangle Slope Plot Font Parallel


I'm not sure what stall speed to size a torque converter for the truck, though... I bet the stock unit flashes somewhere in 1900-2000 RPM range and it seems like I'd want to flash a bit higher RPM for this new setup, but not sure how high to go.
 

· Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm sure it will be a blast to drive.How would a more stockish motor and a supercharger compare and would it be more/less feasible?
I've certainly considered that. I have a Kenne Bell Blowzilla setup on my '89 Mustang on top of a Dart 306 and that would be pretty interesting in the Mountaineer, but my guess is that it would not be very fuel efficient. Fuel efficiency is one of my objectives and I'm hoping that bumping up the compression half a point (to 9.5:1) will aid that. I've always wanted to put a 351C into my Fox, though... and pulling the current supercharged engine out of the '89 would be a step in that direction.
 

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I had one of these for a few years. They're pretty awesome. The AWD system is vary parasitic though in terms of power loss. Just be careful on cam and intake selection, if you turn it into a slouch at 1500-2500 it's gonna suck fuel like no other. If you want to up the mpg, do an F150 transfercase swap. So you can have true 4x4/4x2 ability.

I never modded mine other than just putting a magnaflow muffler and K&N intake on it. Everything else was offroad stuff. I thought about doing a powerdyne or vortech but at the time I was soaking everything into my mustang and didn't want to screw with my daily driver.
 
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· Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hehe trying to keep things conservative here, but almost doubling the power output doesn't qualify for a mild upgrade, does it. LMFAO

You're absolutely right about the AWD transfer case. It's quite the power suck. I recently had CV joint failure on my front driveshaft and after removing it I was surprised at how much more efficiently the vehicle drives. I think I will simply reinstate the front driveshaft for trips that need it, like ski destinations where I'm likely to drive through extended snowy roads or other situations I need the front axle to be active. I have looked into the 4406 swap, but don't know enough about that yet.
 

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Hehe trying to keep things conservative here, but almost doubling the power output doesn't qualify for a mild upgrade, does it. LMFAO

You're absolutely right about the AWD transfer case. It's quite the power suck. I recently had CV joint failure on my front driveshaft and after removing it I was surprised at how much more efficiently the vehicle drives. I think I will simply reinstate the front driveshaft for trips that need it, like ski destinations where I'm likely to drive through extended snowy roads or other situations I need the front axle to be active. I have looked into the 4406 swap, but don't know enough about that yet.
Swapping an F-150 Transfer Case into a 5.0 Ford Explorer Good writeup.
 

· Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
According to the folks on ExplorerForum.com, the E303 is a nice cam for the truck. I'm kind of trying to put this together with spare parts laying around my shop. So far, I've found the set of World Products heads and a used intake manifold, not to mention the pre-existing short block. A custom cam would be nice, though.
 

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Please pick something other than the E cam. I rode in one with an e cam and honestly it was a dog around town. Take a look at the comp offerings.
 

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1995 Mustang GT, Explorer GT40 Long block, Anderson n41 cam.
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I'd keep the short block stock and just upgrade the cam. The cam is going to make or break this set up, especially in a heavy awd suv.... The ecam seems like a really, really bad choice for that set up. When you start factoring in gaskets, headers, tune, stall, etc... the extra hundred or two you spend on is mute...
 

· Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I hear ya and I really appreciate the feedback, but I'm afraid the ship has already sailed. The heads are at the machine shop, the shortblock is being inspected at the same place. The E303 cam is actually one of the newer Summit Racing E303+ cams, so it's even bigger than the legacy E303. However, with a slight bump up in compression, heads that flow close to 300 cfm at 0.500" lift, TM headers, a nice intake, a torque converter with 2500-2600 stall and a good tune, I'm hopeful that it will be fun around town. The main focus is on highway and hill climbing power, which the torque curves from the simulation seem to show are right where you'd want them. I don't tow anything with my Mountaineer, but if I did that would demand a completely different combo. In this case, this is really just a big fat 5L Mustang as far as I'm concerned. It handles great and has excellent brakes LOL
 
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... heads that flow close to 300 cfm at 0.500" lift, TM headers, a nice intake, a torque converter with 2500-2600 stall and a good tune, I'm hopeful that it will be fun around town. ...
I see you have the project posting here too. If the heads do flow that much, a step up in the intake and cam would be very good. I also wouldn't choose the E cam, the HO cam does very well in many milder 302 builds. For that kind of head flow, I would want to move the shift point way above the stock 5000rpm shifting. You are looking at PCM tuning, so work with that and aim for around a 6000rpm shift point. The RPM II might be a little too much for that, that is giving up more power below 4k than an intake closer to the GT40.

I think for a 302-306, a head more in the 250cfm range would be better for efficiency and truck duty, even reaching 6k. I think I might aim for a well ported GT40 upper and lower, or one of the lower rpm TFS intakes. Those should all have a better torque curve than the RPM II at lower rpm's. I have pondered building a 306 for my soon to be retired work truck. So I bought ported Flotek 185 heads from Thumper, the Thumper, with TFI custom cam spring kit as well. That I figured with 9.7:1 compression might hit near 275rwhp, at near 6000rpm. I had Tom Moss port my lower ages ago, and time passed, so of course spare parts now.
 

· Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I do have an HO cam sitting on the shelf here as well - definitely looking forward to the PCM tuning. I spent some time at the machine shop with my fellow machinists yesterday, folks that I have probably run through at least a dozen engine projects with and who are candid in their opinions with me. They also know that I'm an engineer and probably ask more annoying questions than your average customer, but we do go back a long way and have socialized a bit outside of the work environment as well. I have been using this machine shop since I was a teenager in high school. If you ever need quality machine work done in the Tucson area, look no further than Larry's Engine & Marine.

Anyway, we got to talking about the heads and alternative options. Apparently, the only reasonable alternative for new heads in the short term would be Brodix's IK series Ford heads, but still at a pretty substantial cost, even with pricing "at cost." Apparently, Edelbrock, Trickflow and Dart heads are like unicorns right now. I even looked at some used options on Craiglist, eBay and Facebook Marketplace, but nothing really popped out at me as a good deal.

The other option was to work the GT40P heads, but aside from some bowl work, there's not a lot to optimize in the ports on those heads because they're fairly well optimized from the factory. I would require machine work to increase the valve diameters as well as install stud mounted rocker studs for roller rockers and the cost is pretty precious. Then there's a set of 351C-4V heads sitting in the corner of the garage as well, but that was an immediate and unanimous "hell no!" from the entire staff. LOL

The current thinking is that with the E303+ cam, which is slightly larger than the standard E303 (220/231 duration with .550/.540 lift), coupled with the port and bowl work, larger valves and increased runner size (200cc), good exhaust and intake, that the engine should produce strong midrange and top end power without sacrificing any of the low end. It remains to be seen, but the nice thing is that all the components are currently on hand as I haven't had to pay a dime for anything except the cam, a used intake and the TM headers so far. I do intend to rebuild the 4R70W as well and plan to do the J-mod in conjunction with the already present B&M shift kit, TCI deep finned pan and a 2500-2600 RPM stall converter with furnace brazed fins, anti-balloon plate and Luk internal clutch on billet steel.

Getting pretty excited about it, really. This should make for a fairly potent sleeper... we'll see how it goes. I don't anticipate having this completed before February of next year at this rate.
 
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I miss a great machine shop, I had one of the best here in 1980, Bill Payne did my first two Cleveland's. They did real balancing, balanced meant zero, not any accepted error like what is normal now. I will need to find a good shop to help me build two more 351C-4V's, one a stock closed chamber engine built too mild(virtually like my first(same heavy TRW pistons)), and a 2nd with TFS heads.

I have a ready to go set of Flotek 185's built by Thumper with custom cam springs chosen by FTI. He cleaned up all of the ports, to find and correct any issues, I don't think they would flow much more than OTB castings. I was going to build a 306 with them for my work truck, a fun V8 swap to see what could be done. I'm retiring soon so that project is over, I should find a good home for those heads. I would lean to all of the TFS heads for performance SBF's, used TW aren't common any more unfortunately.

Spend some time on the Sonnax site and buy the full group of VB items they have for the 4R70W. Those are all great, and the J'Mod is all else needed. Let me know how that 2500-2600 RPM stall converter works out, I bought an Edge 2800 rpm unit ages ago, and still haven't made use of it.
 
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· Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I know that adapting the Explorer accessory drive to other applications has some challenges associated with it and I recently had to deal with this myself as I was determined to run this setup on my early Mustang with a 289. The overall process works for the late model 4-bolt dampers too, but the point is that you can generally adapt the 36-1 trigger wheel to any harmonic balancer of your choice as long as you address the following:
  • Obtain the appropriate pulley for your adaptation. In this case, a 3-bolt (early style) SFI rated damper from Powerbond was used in conjunction with a Wild Horses 4x4 serpentine pulley specifically designed for adapting the Explorer front drive.
  • Cut out a 36-1 trigger wheel roughly 0.002-0.003" smaller ID than the measured OD of the balancer. Press fit the trigger wheel and tack weld it in a few spots for good measure if you like.
  • Design some flexibility for adjustment of the crank sensor.

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That's cool, I've been aiming to locate the trigger wheel(a stock Explorer ring) on the backside of a balancer. It's easy with a stock Ford balancer, but most aftermarket don't have the same meat around the back circumference to attach the trigger wheel to. I like the stock Explorer crank sensor the best, the stock timing cover makes it a perfect fit and nothing to adjust. But I haven't pushed hard to find an SFI balancer to do the same with yet.

I hope to get into it with my stock 351C-4V next Spring or so, I want the serpentine Explorer set up, but I need a lower amperage alternator(less than 80 amps) than the Explorer 130-140+ amp models.
 

· Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You should be able to manage adapting the Explorer setup to your 351C. You would obviously want to use a more durable damper for that engine given even it's stock performance level, but whatever you go with, adapting the trigger wheel should not be terribly difficult. I've previously sandwiched the wheel between the crank pulley and damper, but I am not a fan of this method at all since it requires spacing the other accessories out the corresponding width. The preferred method would be to press fit the wheel onto the damper (or the pulley) and deal with the crank sensor alignment separately. That is a much simpler problem to solve, although it does require some design.

My '79 Bronco has the original Ford 400 in it (injected, of course), which as you know is merely a tall deck Cleveland - I press fit and welded the wheel to the damper in that case. It's been in there almost 15 years and no issues. I wonder if it would accept Explorer serpentine readily...
 
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I had two 28oz balancers made for me for my 347 and a friend's 347 Explorer. I used the OEM old 28oz units, about $65 back then, and it took my machine shop a few days to make each. I would prefer to do the same thing with an SFI 28oz balancer if there is one readily to be found.

For my Cleveland, and any 400 too, it would take the right water pump pulley on the Speedmaster WP that is reverse rotation, a Fox 302 crank pulley, and spacers for the heads to brackets. I haven't found the right WP pulley yet, but it has to line up with the crank pulley. The Fox 302 pulley will bolt to the older Ford balancers, but the oddball WP pulley I'm not sure exists as a bolt on item needing no drilling etc. I've been told a couple of mid 80's 4cyl or V6 WP pulleys have the right WP bolt pattern, but finding those rare pulleys is hard.

Here's the backside of one of my 28oz Explorer balancers, and the 94/95 Cobra crank pulley that bolts to it to line up with the Explorer water pump on any 302 or 351W.
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