FORD 390, good or bad?

Discussion in 'Other Automotive Tech & Talk' started by newtoford, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. newtoford

    newtoford Member

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    my buddy was gonna get an original complete 4bbl 390 for llike $100 bucks and was asking me if it was a good engine or not. i didnt know but i told him i'd do some research

    any opinions?
     
  2. scooper77515

    scooper77515 No current projects.

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    I have access to one too, but everyone said it is like a diesel...heavy, strong, and full of torque, but too big and not high enough revving for our cars.

    But, I guess you could build anything to do whatever you want.

    It is a huge engine. Really wide.
     
  3. ratio411

    ratio411 Member

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    They are a good engine.
    Just that they were designed in the 50s and it shows.
    Low tech, heavy, and overly complex by later standards (SBF, 335, 385).
     
  4. newtoford

    newtoford Member

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    its not for me anyway, this guy has more engines and cars laying around then he'll ever finish. he just seen a big block and figured it was something
     
  5. ratio411

    ratio411 Member

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    Have him look at costs to rebuild that 390, then look at what it costs to rebuild a 351w with a 393 crank.
    Then have him compare the size and weight of the two.

    That will tell the story.
    A big block is not always a good thing.
     
  6. PAINTANK

    PAINTANK Cometosis Obsessivus

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    Hemi.
     
  7. newtoford

    newtoford Member

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    talk about a rip off, he just found out the guy is only selling the intake and carb for 100!
     
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  8. krelboyne

    krelboyne Remember

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    That could be a great deal. If, if it were a S code 390GT intake, and the factory Ford numbered Holley 4150 carburetor. Worth much more if it is a factory aluminum intake manifold.

    That 390-4V could be a passenger car Z code engine, 390GT S code engine, or 360/390 pickup variety. I am assuming that it is not from an early '60's 390PI or better.
    There were some solid lifter HiPo type 390's over 40 years ago. Kind of rare, but they exist.
     
  9. ford84stepside

    ford84stepside Lone Wolf

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    390's are great street engines, lots of torque. That's why you usually find them in big cars like Galaxies and pickups. The same FE block went from a 352 all the way up to a 428. One of my uncles had a 63 1/2 fastback Galaxie with a 390 4 bbl. It was a really nice car, my aunt wrecked it in the front clip. My uncle bought another one just like it that was rear ended to fix his. It was a very low mileage car, he bought it from a co worker sight unseen, and when he got it home, found out that it had a 427 with TWO 4 bbls! Needless to say, the 427 went into his car, along with the front clip, but he kept the 390 fender badges. I tried to talk him into swapping the bucket seat interior and putting in the four speed out of the donor car, but he didn't want to go to all the trouble of cutting the floor for the shifter. He kept the bench seat and 3 on the tree. I have tried to track down that car for several years, but keep coming to a dead end....
     
  10. Andysutt

    Andysutt '72 Comet GT

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    I built a 390 and C6 for my ole 66 F-100

    It ran quite well, lots of torque.

    Factory 4 barrel intakes are hard to find, and you used to not be able to get aftermarket ones. I have 2 of the 4 barrel intakes, got them both at a scrap yard for $20 I think and I can sell the other one for about $75 bucks (people still want them)

    If you ever do find a 390 or any FE based motor, take a look at the rocker arms, very few of them had adjustable ones, and they are very desirable.

    My 390 just had a small cam, factory heads (not for THAT motor but the "best" factory heads) a 4 barrel intake, edelbrock 750 carb and headers and with a 3.70 gears it was running 11's in the 1000. Great motors I think.

    I wouldn't put one in a maverick ever.

    I have thought about finding a extended cab F-150 or F-250 and putting in a 4 speed or 5 speed and a 390 to make a hell of a pulling truck.
     
  11. TheBushwacker

    TheBushwacker New Member

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    The 390 may have started in '57, but it is not really a "'50s motor". It went on until '76. It was really more well known in the 70's.
    I am 73 years old. Take this from a guy that lived, and drag raced through those years.
    I think the 390 may almost be the best engine Ford ever built. But owners cussed the gas mileage.
    But, for gas mileage, and everything... I think the 351W is the way to go. Tough. Powerful. Reliable. Some tickled 20 mpg, even in a pickup.
    All the engines that followed, especially the modulars, are just problem children.
    I hang at a buddy's professional mechanic shop, and the most common sight in his shop is a Ford truck with a modular engine. Well, that and Dodges, and Nissans. LOL
     
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  12. Krazy Comet

    Krazy Comet Tom

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    LOL another one from the dead...

    Obvious most of those early posters were clueless about 390, nothing complex about them. Water pump is far easier to replace and unlike small blocks, I'm yet to see one with a frozen/broken bolt. Weight is less than 429/460, approx 125 Lbs over a 351W. Replace the mammoth intake with aluminum & weight is negligible.

    Since April '69, I've continually owned at least one FE, 390 or larger. Approx six months earlier I'd owned two 352(the orig FE), one a 300 Hp Intercepter. In Oct '68 I sold the Interceptor & bought a '64 Fastback with 289 & three on tree. Six months later, I pulled the 289 & installed complete drivetrain from a identical Galaxie that had a 390. The 390 Gal had been T-Boned but had less than half the miles of my car. Swapped drive trains with junk yard, total cost $295. In 2020 money that's approx $2100 but I got everything from radiator to rear end, seemed almost like a new car. With some minor front suspension repair it did seem like a new car.
     
  13. BBMS18

    BBMS18 Member

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    The internet IS the best place for miss-information.
     
  14. BruceS

    BruceS Member

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    A friend of mine had a 390 4 in a Rambler. He had it so when he drove around it in town it run on only 2 barrels.

    I drove a 65 Mustang which had a 302 2 barrel. Racing my car was quicker than his until he hooked up the other 2 barrels. This was racing red light to red light.

    A 390 is a great truck engine because it will pull a mountain down. Not so much for racing because it's a heavy wide engine.
     
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  15. BruceS

    BruceS Member

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    Another tidbit. I had a 67 Mustang fastback that had a 390 in it. It was a nice car but was nose heavy.
     
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