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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - WHY FORD AND NOT SBC?

I've been quietly following this board with interest for some time now as I one day plan on doing a V8 conversion to my 1970 roadster.
It seems that the Ford 302 is becoming the conversion of choice, and it is at the top of my choice list right now. I'm curious though why the small block chevy doesn't seem to be used much in these conversions. Is it that much heavier or larger than the 302, or does using Ford power in the MG more closely follow the tradition of Shelby's early cobras? (British car, Ford power)

Scott
Scott Wooley

I think it's the size and weight that keeps people back. Now if you used the driveline from a corvette (LT1?) That would give you an aluminum sbc, and that could open up a world of possibilities.
Justin

An iron block Chev is about 100 pounds heavier than the Ford and the very expensive aluminum block Chev may be about the same weight as the Ford. The SBC is also about an inch wider than the SBF. Unless you use a distributorless setup, the distributor location can be a problem, but at least the cross member shouldn't have to be modified. If you are using it for drag racing and don't care how it handles otherwise, the SBC is capable of producing a lot more power and should be quicker.
George B.

George B. Wildomar Wrote:

"If you are using it for drag racing and don't care how it handles otherwise, the SBC is capable of producing a lot more power and should be quicker"

I don't believe I agree with you on that, George. Now if you were to say the SBC is capable of producing more power "cheaper" than the SBF, I would agree with you. For HP/dollar, the SBC is hard to beat.

The 302 SBF can be upped to 347ci very reasonably, and the 351 SBF can be upped to 400ci without a lot of expense. At one time, there was no contest between the SBF and the SBC, but the growing popularity of the Mustangs has created a large demand for hop-up parts for the SBF that didn't exsist before.

In a recent test performed by one of the "hot rod" type magazines - I've fogetten which one it was - two well known engine builders were given the task of building up one SBF and one SBC, in a contest to see which would produce the most power. The two engines produced with a couple of HP of each other.

There have been MGs and Triumphs built with SBCs, and they do very well indeed, even though the extra weight of the SBC is a detrimental factor (one drive in Ted Lathrop's Chevy powered TR6 will make a believer out of you!). However, unless you are a die-hard Chevy fan, or perhaps you already have a good SBC, there's just no real reason to use a Chevy when the Ford works so well. There is no decided advantage to the Chevy to offset the extra weight and size. As noted, the distributor location on the Chevy creates installation problems, just as the front oil pump location does on the Ford. Both of these problems are readily solvable, without a great deal of trouble in most cases.

If I were building a car where engine weight and size were not a factor, the Chevy would be the hands down winner. Where size and weight are factors, my choice is the Ford.

Check the latest issue of the newsletter for some more details on the Ford engine: http://www.BritishV8.org/back.htm
Dan Masters

Well put Dan. My Friend has just completed his vinatage race car a 1966 GT Mustang with a 406 small block, on the first outing at Laguna Seca he was able to stay behind the vipers, it was a great site to see.

So... anything is possible it all depends on the size of your wallet.
Bill Guzman

The ford motor can be builtup real strong just like the sbc. we have a bunch of guys local putting 500rwhp out with stock blocks. Parts might be a bit cheaper to find for sbc but the difference is reall MINIMAL, the big benefit of the SBC is that everyone has the parts, E ERY autoparts store will have probably 99% of the parts you would need. They would probably have 85-90% of the SBF stuff. But then think about how many of the parts you need normally and they have it all or can have it next day. I have yet to see anything that needs replacing that is not already there or there the next day.

Then there are the little cross-over things like all the lincols and many Mercuries that also use that same motor, make junkyard outings very productive.. Then if you get in tight with the loc local mustang groups, you can aften snag thier stock take-offs for pennies when they upgrade.. I just got a complete new EFI system for my car, ECU, full harness, few sensors and the distributor for $150 and all with less than 35K miles on it and in perfect condition. the guy is even letting me install to make sure will work before paying..
Larry Embrey

I put a sbc in my car, not because of any chevy bias, but because it was available from a good friend for real cheap. However, if i was to do it all over again, i would definately consider the sbf route, or an s2000 engine......

Also, i doubt that this is even worth mentioning, but regardless of the ford/lincoln/mercury motor sharing, there are rediculously more sbc's out there than fords.
Alan Raddatz

yes that is true, there are still more SBC's, but it does help for parts and many people do not factor it in when deciding on a motor and that makes the #'s difference look even larger..

My motor is from an explorer, with mustang heads and intakes... Aside from the notching of the K member no other modds where needed beyond a normal 215 mods, least not for mine.
Larry Embrey

I'm another one of the lurker's around here..have been for at least the past 2 years and have been watching the 302 discussions with great interest, especially Larry's project.

Larry, didn't you have to lower the steering rack to fit your 302 in as well? I seem to recall that you had problems fitting the stock anti-roll bar too.

I really like the way the efi set-up looks in your car by-the-way...nice job! Regards -- Scott
Scott Costanzo

The rack issue was in regards to me trying to get a certain intake to fit under the hood as well as clearing the crank ring for the DIS ignition system. Now that I am scrapping both those items the 5.0 EFI would have fit under the hood as I had the car 6months ago!! GRRR I was SOOO pissed when I found that out last week, which is why I have not updated the website... $1000+ and many months of busting tail all for nothing.

The explorer front end set-up eliminates all sway bar issues. it is a FULL 1.5" SHORTER than a stock 302 or 5.0 front end!!

If you want to put 5.0 EFI under the hood use Ford explorer front end (timing cover, h2o pump, Alt, both brackets, all pullies from the right side and have a single pully made for the left bracket to replace the smooth idler.) Then for EFI and intakes get a 94/95 Mustang GT complete system. (both intakes, engine bay harnesses, sensors, distributor, TFI module, TB, MAF, and ECU) Then you are all set, the biggest issues after that are figuring out air intake and fuel line routing..
Larry Embrey

In the avg the smc will cost about $10 per hp the Ford about $15 per hp A crate engine can be cheaper per hp
this #'s are base on a 250 hp engine. to get 300 the cost increases per hp.

The Ford is nore aplicable to the swap than the Chevy.
Bill Guzman

I have a Ford 302 crate motor, rated at over 350HP, for a total investment of about $4,000. That $4,000 includes EVERYTHING required to be able to actually use the motor: everything from the clutch to the water pump, from the oil pan to the air cleaner, from the starter to the alternator. That works out to less than $12/HP. That's for all brand new parts, and those prices are about 4 years old.

Anyone have a comparable cost for a comparable Chevy? BOP/R?

Not too many years ago, the cost difference for a Chevy vs the Ford would have been considerably more than today.

I don't have any real data, but I'd guess that Chevy 350s used in hot-rods/street rods outnumber Chevies by at least 100:1. Twenty years ago, it would have most likely been about 1000:1. No hard facts, just a SWAG.

An interesting question: How much money difference would it take to change someone's mind about their engine of choice?

Ease of instalation? BOP/R
Most power? Chevy 350
Best compromise? Ford 302?


That's assuming a V8 - including V6s and hot 4-bangers changes the equation.
Dan Masters

I am in the early stages of my V8 conversion. I have decided on a sbf for most of the above reasons. I want an engine with good street manors and good torque without any internal mods. I will be running a carb settup to simplify instalation and improve dependability. I had picked out a healthy 302 from a 1990 mark 7 for it's increased power out of the box. It sounds like I would have made a mistake due to the sway bar problem. Must I use an Explorer v8? If so, is there a better or best year to buy? Will the Explorer v8 match with a wc t5 tranny?
Help!
c l sorenson

CL,

ALL Ford 302s are basically the same, so you can use yours with no problem. The major differences from one application to another are in the intake system, timing chain cover, water pump, crank pulley, and oil pan. Whatever engine you have, you can swap the parts from whatever engine you need, for not a whole lot of money. As Larry has pointed out, these parts can be found cheaply at your local boneyard.

Larry has been exceptionally helpful, passing on what he's learned from his experience, but there are a lot of others who've installed the 302 that we need to hear from. As with the BOP/R, every engine installation is different than all the others, and each of us have solved our problems in slightly different ways.

Move the engine forward an inch more than someone else, and you have a different set of problems to solve. Lower it an inch, raise it an inch, move it back an inch, etc, and it's a whole new can of worms.

I can tell you a lot about putting a Ford 302 into a TR6, but my GT conversion hasn't gotten that far yet, so I can't be of any help on an MGB.

Steve Carrick, Pete Mantell, Dale Spooner - where are you guys? Chime in here, please!!!!

All post '64 Ford 302s will mate with the T5 Tranny.
Dan Masters

As long as you get a post 82ish SBF you should be alright. That 90 motor should be perfect! Some background for those thinking about it also.. You need a true 5.0 Roller motor with 50oz balance. That is what everything after I think 82/83 is based off of. Once you have that, just buy the parts off the front of a 96-01 Explorer. Water pump, timing cover, crank balancer/pulley, both idler pullies, tensioner, alternator and both brackets. Cut off the AC mount and steering pump mount so all the driver's side braket has is the mounting holes and the one high idler pulley. You will need to use a die grinder and flapper wheel to reshape the backside of the right bracket to clear the frame rail, but it is minor and took me about 10min to do. That will set-up the front of your motor so everything should clear the sway bar. If you want to go that route do NOT get a earlier 28oz balance motor or you are in for a major headache. TRUST ME!

On mine the motor and trans seemed to tell me where they needed to be. Mine is as far back as it can go in a 77+ without the left side head hitting the firewall which is untouched. My steering rack, nestles up tight with the top of it between the crank balancer and the oil pan. (Before I got silly and started cutting things!!) I plan to eventually do a new K member so that the steering rack is back where it belongs. I held the motor in place with a hoist while I fabbed up the mounts underneath which all come off the cross memmber as well.

View my site, there is allot of little info in it that I have forgotten either by mistake or on purpose!!
Larry Embrey

I'll join this thread see if I can help --I put my 302 coversion on the road on July 16th.My engine is an 86 roller cam 5L-with Edelbrock alum heads and intake I am using a stock alum water pump and have clearance issues so had to move th 65 Mustang 4 row rad way forward--but all fits iunder the hood. My carb is a 600cfm Edelbrock 1406--I am now trying to calibrate it properly.
The engine is placed against the firewall as close as possible with no mods to it and the trans is a T5 --1986 WC.I am using a D & D GM rear end set upwith 308 posi--works very nicely.
My biggest probs have been over heating in traffic so now heve 3 elec fans on the rad -2 -8 in pullers and a 14 in pusher in front on a thermostat--the pullers run full time,. I have a spoiler up front and on the road engine runs at 180/185--but stop n go traffic is a bear--but with 3rd fan seems to stay under 210.
I love the car !! just lots of fun.
Any one wants to ask questions --go ahead Ill try to help.I also have some pics I can send but no url as yet.
Gil Price

180 is on the cool side for a 302, but that certainly is no huge issue!! the 210 is on the hot side, but as lond and not going over that and she does not boil over she shoud be ok. What is the outside temp when you see her running that hot?? Normal running temp for the 302 is in the 195 area.

Congrats on getting her running. That 600cfm Edelbrock should be about perfect for the motor. Timing will also affect heat and performance, so keep an eye on that. My motor liked 12-14btdc, I hear my friend running anywhere from 10-15btdc depending on cam, heads etc..

Get me some pictures and info of your car!!
Larry Embrey

CL,

Your 302 from the Lincoln will match up to a 87-93 5.0 Mustang bellhousing, 50 oz flywheel, T5 etc.
If the oil pan is a front sump, you will have to convert over to a Mustang/Fox body rear sump set up or use a 302 Ford Van rear sump set up. All can be found in local junk yards. Using the van pan also eliminates the need to drain both plugs found on the Mustang.
What year is your B ?

Gil,

I used an Aluminum 2 x 1 inch core radiator.
With 2 x 10 inch pusher fans from Summit Racing. Sitting in traffic or parked idling only raises temps to just above 195/200.
Are your headers Ceramic (Jet Hot)coated ?
This will help is reducing under hood temps.

Larry,

I'll send you some latest pictures of my 302 conversion to add to your great website.

Cheers

Pete
PJ Mantell

That Edelbrock 1406 seems to be a pretty good carb. I just put one on my Dodge 440 motorhome and right out of the box without any adjustments whatsoever it ran great. All I had to do was get a $7 linkage kit for the Dodge, and the square bore carb bolted right to the spreadbore intake with no problems. I put a GM (Holley) fuel pressure regulator in the line along with a gage all for about $45 and it sits at 5-5.5 psi again with no adjustment needed. Idle is good, fast idle is good, response is very good, power is good. The electric choke works well and the carb is designed with flappers on the secondary so as to not supply excess cfm. I'd say that would make an excellent choice for a reasonably warm 302.

Jim
Jim Blackwood

Actually the overheating problems seems ok with addition of 3rd fan.Its the fuel vaporizing while sitting that is now a nuisance. I try to stay out of traffic !
Larry --I have sent you the pics I have .
Pete --I hope to get the headers ceramic coated this winter--actually cockpit temps arent bad --under hood is another story--but I guess normal for this setup.I am running a single exhaust thru a Dynomax muffler--nice sound--didnt want to move gas tank.
Jim--I like the 1406 but have to check what jets and metering rods I have as it is a used one --and I have to change my linkage setup.All part of the shake-down effort.
Driver just grins too much ---
Gil Price

yeah a 600 is a itty bity bit on the big side for a mild or stock 302, but can be tuned in just fine.. Edelbrock's defintely get the nod for easier jet adjustments!! PSI to the carb is critical with the edelbrocks, make sure it does not go over 6psi at any point. it will exhibit stalling in corners etc if you do.. Mine did that till I figured it out. I had forgotten to lower the pressure from the 7-8psi I ran the holley at...

PJ, Hook me up man!! the more the merrier!!! Let me know what model rad you bought. Summit makes quite a few to fit different cars...
Larry Embrey

Because Chevy sucks!
FORD FAN

I don't know about the rest of the folks on this BBS, but I have total contempt for anyone with an attitude like that, whether they be a Ford fan, Chevy fan, Mopar fan, or whatever.

Unless of course, you're only 8 years old, and have time to outgrow it. What a childish attitude.
Dan Masters

pete,
My B roadster is a '77.
I sold my '70 to start this project.
Thanks for the tip on the van sump. Does it matter which year the van is? Do I have to have the engine out of the van to get the pan and pump out? Should I just get the pan from the bone yard and buy a new oil pump?
I was going to use a stock intake with a stock Ford 2 barrel carb. I want simple and innexpensive. Is this a bad idea?

Gil,
I have a friend with a v8in his b. He thaought he had vaporization and it turned out to be a weak coil which acted up when hot.
He put a blower from an inboard boat under the hood to help control heat but didn't need it once he got a new coil.

Larry,
Is the 90 lincoln engine better than the explorer engine?

Thanks, Guys,
Chris
c l sorenson

Chris,

I believe any late 80's early 90's with a 302/5.0 should work.
The Sump pan and oil pick up I used was from 5.0 1990 E150.
Double check oil pick up tube clearances and the pan depth etc. As it may be different on your set up.

Cheers

Pete
PJ Mantell

Hi Gang,
I will be using standard cast exhaust manifolds from a Mustang for my conversion. I absolutely do not want to cut into the fender walls. Steve Taylor has them in his 289 B. Do I look for a certain model or year which hugs the block tightly. I think that my junk yard Ford guy called them "shorties headers".
Does that make sense to anyone?
My last complete unknown is my rearend. What is a D & D G
M with 308 posi?Who makes them? I understand that the S 10 rearend is popular now.
Thanks
Chris
c l sorenson

Chris,

D & D is Dan Lagrou's company.
D & D Conversions - website
www.aluminumV8.com

Cheers

Pete
PJ Mantell

CL, I do not think so, but the 90 might be forged pistons. Either way it will not matter in all honesty. Much trial and error has been doen by the mustang guys and the weakest spot believe it or not is the block itself!! GEt them much over the 500hp mark and run them hard and they tend to split in half!! That is STOCK blocks though, not the aftermarket or svo castings..

As for the pan.. hrmmm, yes junkyard or ebay for the pan and get the matching pick-up tube. Buy a new pump, you do not want a used oil pump. PJ has it right once you get a pump, pan and pick-up assemble everything and check that the pickup is near the bottom of the pan. I think I remember it being 1/2"-5/8" clearance is what you want..

On the headers I am affraid to say I beleieve you will need to go thru the fenders. NO stock manifold or header that I have ever seen will work. If you go some special motor mount concept you may be able to get some 1/2" tube headers custom made to route between the rails, but that is about it, and will be $$$$ Shorties are the standard mustang header, do not pay over about $50 for them, unless they are ceramic'd already. They are readily available if you start hanging and talking with the local mustang crowd. On my car those would have ended 2"+ past the firewall as they do hang off the back of the block. Check my diary section for a picture showing that, probably pre Fed 2002.
Larry Embrey

Thanks to everyone for answering my oringinal question. My cousin is a big time Chevy fan and is eager to assist me in installing a V8, but only if it's a Chevy of course! He's recently stuffed a 427 into a Morris Minor, so I know he's crazy enough to make it happen.
I'm convinced though that the Ford 302 is the best choice for me, and I'll be following any and all information pertaining to it. Thanks for all your inputs.

Scott
Scott Wooley

you guys out there are very helpfull keep the info flowing. reading your words have help me to decide alot with my convertion ford was allways my choice when i decided to do a v-8 both for weight and i have a lot of old ford stuff around. one thing i would like to here about is electrical. i want to keep it simple no computers any answers. larry you are a great help thanks.
bob dudley

electrical is very easy, depending on what distrib you need. a Carb'd Ford eletrically is no different than a Carb'd B, just the wires go to a different place. In fact I used the Chrome plated "stock can" type Coil that I got with my 4cyl car!!

I want to say I had a main ground, and 1-2 hot on run wires, then one for the coil?? One of you carb'd guys please correct me there as I pulled that stuff 8 months ago and forgot what I had..
Larry Embrey

Bob,

I rewired my whole car with a Painless wiring harness. I then used MSD Ignition, control box, coil and distributor.
All wired in as a late 60's/ early 70's Ford set up.
Its simple and straight forward.

Cheers

Pete
PJ Mantell

Bob,

In some very early issues of the newsletter, there were a couple of articles on electrical systems for the MGBV8. Check http://www.britishv8.org/back.htm to find which issues had the articles. You can also find info on ordering back issues there as well.

Dan Masters

This thread was discussed between 08/08/2003 and 21/08/2003

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