We’ve said it before, the Fox Body Mustang has proven to become todays 32 Ford. You’ll find today’s hot-rodders installing virtually any engine combination you can imagine into these cars. I’ve seen everything from a Duramax to a Cadillac 500 in a Fox Body Mustang. The options are endless, thanks to the 1979-1993 Mustangs large engine bay, light weight, low price, and availability of parts.
Now, not everyone is hip to Mustang LS1 Engine Swap or Rat motor into their Ford. The Brand-loyal types want to look to their beloved blue oval offerings for solutions on getting the most bang-for-the-buck, while separating themselves from the pushrod 5.0 crowd.
Im here to offer you Mustang blue bloods with a viable option to your venerable 5.0 thats inexpensive (relatively speaking), plentiful, and easy to retrofit. What is it? Its Ford Racing Mustang crate engine – 4.6L 3v and controls package. Ok, now you guys are probably thinking “I thought he said cheap?”….
Well, relatively speaking, FRPPs three-valve 4.6 engines are cheap, when you consider that you’re getting a brand-new assembly, with Ford Racings proven reliability, in a complete package from intake to oil pan. I just recently rebuilt a 306 with aluminum heads and a lot of new and used parts, and I can tell you that it wasn’t “cheap”. It also wasn’t as reliable, didn’t have the road manners and arguably, was not as powerful (well find out later on that).UPDATE: Since this article was written the Mustang 4.6L 3V egnines can be found in salvage yards for dirt cheap prices!
Fords 3-valve is certain to become more and more of a viable swap option as time goes on. They are lightweight (about 420 pounds complete), they make great power (300 in stock form, the hot rod 3-valve is 350), they respond well to modifications, and they’re plentiful. Ford recently released specs on the 2010 Mustang, including its virtually un-changed 4.6. That puts at least a successful 6 model years of the un-changed 3 valve so far. That kind of production will land scores of engines in salvage cars, as well as fuel the aftermarket to create more and better replacement parts. All of this favors the 3V over the prior 2-valve and 4-valve options, both of which were heavier, and endured numerous changes over their 9 years in Mustang.
Until recently the proven S197 powerplant wasn’t easily swapped into a fox-body. The complicated drive-by-wire throttle body and stringent engine controls didnt allow the retrofit of the 05-09 Mustangs harnesses into an older car. Also, the return less fuel system didn’t revert back to older cars very easily. There are options out there if you’re using the 99-04 electronics, but it’s still complicated and almost requires an entire donor vehicle.
Well, Ford Racings changed all of that. They now offer a street rod stand-alone engine controls package to retrofit the newer 4.6 Mustang GT engine into older cars. The controls package is super simple and includes everything you need to get the new motor running, with the exception of your fuel system. Included in the kit is the ECM, relay module, and simplified harness with diagnostic port to make easy connections to virtually anything with 12 volts. The kit even includes a Bullitt style cold air kit and the drive by wire accelerator pedal. Best of all, the kit is designed to run in conjunction with a return style fuel system.
We’re performing this swap on a 79 fox to show you just how easy it can be. We are using Ford Racing Hot Rod Crate Engine M6007A463NA, along with the Ford Racing 4.6L 3V engine control pack p/n M6017463V, which is designed for this swap, but could just as easily be used on a salvage yard 4.6. The car will be a street-strip brawler with precious few amenities. The goal will be to show you guys how this can be done, and what type of performance to expect from the swap of the new 4.6 into a light weight platform.
Follow along on this build. I think you’ll be surprised at how easily this can be accomplished. You may just decide to convert that old 4-banger or engine-less roller into a 3V fox of your own. We’ll be the guinea pigs.
Part 2 of the 3v 4.6 Fox project is concentrating on getting the motor in the car. As a group here at 50resto, this is our 4th effort at a 4.6 swap into a fox body, so we knew what we were getting into, for the most part. The difference here is the 3-valve. The exhaust bolt pattern is unique... more
If you've been following along, you know that the Ford Racing Hot Rod 3-valve 4.6 has found its place in our '79. The k-member has been swapped, the Mustang long tube headers have been affixed to the engine via Logan Motorsports adaptors, the Quick time bellhousing has been installed with the Ram clutch, and the ... more
In this part of our 4.6 Ford Racing Hot Rod 3-valve swap will complete loose ends that will button up the car and make it driveable. As with any project, this seems to be the part that took me the longest. Building a car is like building a house. The framing of a new home seems to fly, leaving yo... more
If you've been following along, you know that the 4.6 3v fox project is in running condition and ready for the testing, tuning and driving stages. This brings us to our current blog with pics of the car and some video. No reports from the drag strip yet, but they're soon to come, along with dyno number... more
I recently had an opportunity to dyno the ole 3v Fox Body Fairmont Project. I felt like it was time to go ahead and make some pulls with it, since the car had racked up some street miles and all the bugs had been worked out. I wanted to report what the numbers were, and I was curious to see if any power was ... more
Check out our YouTube channel for even more tech tips, installation videos, how-tos, and more. The best place to go for anything Mustang related!