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1996 4.6 Alpine Green Tbird
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Discussion Starter #1
What is going on my people?! Needing to ask some stupid but important questions about replacing the intake manifold on the 96 4.6 Tbird

I have replaced the intake this summer with a stock plastic npi intake but it leaked like a sieve and i was discouraged after working on it all that day i havent touched it since.

couple questions:
1. what is the best way to clean up that gasket mating surface on the cylinder heads?
i used razor blades and brakleen last time and it just didnt seem like it was 100% clean like ive seen in many pics/vids of the swap.

2. What am i using to lube the fuel injector o-rings for new intake?
I was gonna use Vaseline

3. should i replace the water pump while im in there this time
no issues with current one but it is right there when i remove the intake and alt.

4. Should i be using Teflon tape on both the sensors on that aluminum crossover?

5. My haynes manual suggest torqueing the intake bolts again when the engine is warm. is that dangerous considering they're plastic?



so far ive been collecting some parts for the swap because it is winter here in the north east (35 mins north of Boston)
I was able to locate a NOS non-PI intake from a local junkyard part # KIT F8AZ-9424-AAA the kit came with the intake with aluminum crossover, intake gaskets, alternator bracket, thermostat o-ring, and a couple bolts all have ford part numbers on them. The kit was ordered Back in 05 for a 97 Lincoln Town Car and the junkyard had been sitting on it for over 10 years. the gaskets of course were junk from sitting but ive ordered more at Salem Ford in Salem, NH
new intake
new thermostat
new thermostat gasket
new intake gaskets
new thermostat sender/sensor

i apologize for such a long post

Thank you all for reading and as always your input is much appreciated
please help

god bless and fly low baby
41826
 

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Super Moderator
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I wouldn’t even waste my time with that NPI intake. Just do the PI intake swap. You can still get those new, and the plastic on that 10 year old one is going to be very brittle and likely to fail in short order. Having said that,
1) I hit the surfaces with a die grinder real quick to clean them up. First shove a paper towel down each intake port to prevent debris from falling down into the engine.
2) Vasoline is fine. I use dielectric grease just because I always have it laying around the shop. Even a tiny bit of motor oil is fine.
3) That’s your call. The water pump is easy enough to do at any time on a 4.6 that I wouldn’t consider it a “while you are in there” thing, but other than the cost, there is no downside so go ahead if you want to.
4) Yes
5) I don’t bother, but it couldn’t hurt. I usually just tighten them down as tight as I can with a 1/4” ratchet, and keep making passes until they don’t tighten any more. Usually 2 or 3 times around is fine, and I’ve never had one leak once it is sealed.
 
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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Yeah, you'll need to find an intake with the aluminum crossover. A PI intake may be easier to find - with a little RTV and the PI gaskets and valley heater tube you can use it instead and pick up a few top end HP. The Dorman intakes are a functional alternative but no good for performance. If you get a used intake, inspect the area where the crossover connects to the composite part of the intake - despite the redesign that area has been known to warp/crack as well.

Before you clean any of the head surfaces, put something into the intake ports to keep junk from falling down into the engine. Old socks, cloth, etc. Use a vacuum to suck all the crap off whatever you used first before you remove them as well. My heads were relatively clean so I just used some steel wool and a plastic scraper, YMMV.

If your current water pump is OK, it's totally your call. It may have corroded to the block so if you want to replace it, doing it with the intake out and coolant already drained will help keep you sane if it does ever start to leak or squeal. You can get the closed vane version for a little better circulation and (debatably) free up 1 or 2 HP at higher RPM due to less cavitation. It's part PW470.

I didn't need to lubricate the injector O-rings on mine. Some dielectric grease may work; I'll yield to forum popular opinion on this one.

PTFE thread seal tape will make it easier to get a tight seal when you thread the sensors. No reason not to IMO.

I torqued my intake bolts with a 40 degree engine, 8 years ago, and haven't touched them since. No issues so far. :)
 

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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
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3,032 Posts
I use 360 grit red scotchbright pads to clean up metal parts. Any parts store will sell them for $5. The scotchbright and brake cleaner and/or carb cleaner will clean up the head surfaces.
 

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4. Teflon / PolyTetraFlouroEthylene is a lubricant .. The tapered threads actually create the "mechanical seal" . That being said, wrap the threads a couple times with tape or apply a bead of thread sealant, otherwise di-electric corrosion is not a concern.

5. The plastic manifold uses metal inserts, so no worry about cracking the plastic unless you are way over torqued.
 

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96 Thunderbird LX
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9 Posts
Teflon tape on the sensors is fine. I just did mine a few weeks ago. I used the Dorman manifold from RockAuto that does not need separate gaskets. $198 for part delivered with shipping with 5% off coupon. Had to search the Dorman part number on Rock Auto to find it as it did not show up under vehicle search, just 3 other unknown branded ones. FYI they all look alike lol. No separate gasket was needed with the Dorman. I cleaned the heads off with Brake Klean, a flat razor & a a light rub with #00 steel wool to ensure smoothness. I stuffed paper towels in openings to plug all holes to keep debris out. I took my time & it took about 6 hours being very careful as it was the first time I did it. Only issue I had was I had to split open the wire harness loom about 2 inches after the loom crosses over the manifold to the passenger side of the manifold to allow the passenger side rear two injector wires to reach as the loom had to be moved forward about 1.5 inch forward of the front throttle bolt rather than behind it as it used to be, as it would no longer fit between the throttle body & top of manifold with the Dorman manifold. It is possible just to pop the entire fuel injector rail assembly out and lay it over upside down to the passenger side without disconnecting if you wish. I just wiped the o-rings down in place on the rack to remove debris that stuck to them as I pulled them out. They pushed back in very easily in the rack with no issues at reassembly. No need to replace a perfectly working water pump. It is very easy to access the spark plugs while the manifold is off if it's time to change them.
 

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The Dorman intake is measurably the worst one available. I'd have searched it first.
 

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96 Thunderbird LX
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9 Posts
The Dorman intake is measurably the worst one available. I'd have searched it first.
So if you are the expert what is the best and why? Your comment bashing it is useless. It was redesigned after its first version. It seems the best of the 4 offered on Rockauto. Please enlighten everyone if you know something you can point out to help . My second “Ford” motorcraft aluminum crossover one failed so after reading a LOT of positive Dorman reviews over a bunch of unheard of less expensive ones I chose the Dorman. Working well.

I only had a few days to get it back on the road so I had to order quick. They all looked identical, if it fails I’ll try something else. Would like to know what is considered “preferred” now.
 

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The FRPP PI manifolds are available on ebay for under $300. Those ones tend to last 10-15 years. The Dorman ones (and all the aftermarket ones) last 2-4 years. Also the design of the aftermarket ones, combined with the cheap production and casting flash inside the manifold means that performance will also be negatively impacted. If you have some old junker you are only trying to get another year or so out of, then fine, run the aftermarket manifold, but if you plan to keep the car for a while, that manifold is a complete waste of money, and considering the amount of work involved in changing it, and less than $100 price difference, even on a junker I wouldn’t bother with that manifold.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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So if you are the expert what is the best and why? Your comment bashing it is useless. It was redesigned after its first version. It seems the best of the 4 offered on Rockauto. Please enlighten everyone if you know something you can point out to help . My second “Ford” motorcraft aluminum crossover one failed so after reading a LOT of positive Dorman reviews over a bunch of unheard of less expensive ones I chose the Dorman. Working well.

I only had a few days to get it back on the road so I had to order quick. They all looked identical, if it fails I’ll try something else. Would like to know what is considered “preferred” now.
The plastic will fail in the inner lips of the integrated gaskets where coolant passes. Both the first version and current versions suffer the same problem, the biggest change in the newer ones are the runner shapes, which might have helped the power loss but it’s clearly no longer derived off either of the OEM designs so there’s no telling what Dorman’s R&D department was going for.
 

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96 Thunderbird LX
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9 Posts
Ok so which of those should I use next time it needs to be replaced. I have a 1996 Tbird 4.6. I see them on eBay for Mustangs 99-2000 or 2001-2004. Are there others? Can you post a link to the one I should buy next time and are there any other modifications that need to be done with it? Thanks for any info
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Crown Vics used the same intake. You need the coolant valley tube and the water pump nipple, it would be a good time to replace the water pump itself when that time comes. Other than that use the PI gasket set and use RTV on the coolant ports where they don’t quite match up.
 

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96 Thunderbird LX
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The FRPP PI manifolds are available on ebay for under $300. Those ones tend to last 10-15 years. The Dorman ones (and all the aftermarket ones) last 2-4 years. Also the design of the aftermarket ones, combined with the cheap production and casting flash inside the manifold means that performance will also be negatively impacted. If you have some old junker you are only trying to get another year or so out of, then fine, run the aftermarket manifold, but if you plan to keep the car for a while, that manifold is a complete waste of money, and considering the amount of work involved in changing it, and less than $100 price difference, even on a junker I wouldn’t bother with that manifold.
[/QUOTE
Crown Vics used the same intake. You need the coolant valley tube and the water pump nipple, it would be a good time to replace the water pump itself when that time comes. Other than that use the PI gasket set and use RTV on the coolant ports where they don’t quite match up.
Any web links to the right one to get next time? Thanks for any info.
 

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96 Thunderbird LX
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Thank you!

So will this work with stock heads that came on the 96 Tbird or would I have to buy the Ford PI heads too to use this
 

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EDIT: the Dorman is garbage!

The Dorman has been perfectly fine for me. I installed one on our old 96 Cougar, and it lasted at least 60k miles before we sold the car.

Also my 97 T-Bird has one (installed by the PO), and for a bad performing manifold, it ran pretty good. [email protected] on a bone stock car. I made two total passes, first one I spun, and second one walked it out of the hole to a 2.26 60' time. A 60' time that many higher powered 13 second cars cannot touch. And there's more in it with a harder launch and more seat time. Stock converter!

Al
 

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1996 4.6 Alpine Green Tbird
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Discussion Starter #19
I was at the junkyard I was there for a oem aluminum intake out of a running 99 big Vic. When they ran the part in their database he had a brand new Ford NPI aluminum crossover intake for a 97 town car so I bought that one came with gaskets and alternator bracket and everything.

Was funny too I was for sure he was gonna pull a gun on me or something we walked thru somebody’s back yard for a while I mean like 10 minutes of walking into like a long make shift trailer type thing with stairs so we walked up stairs and it was a heated storage area he had everything exhaust seats wheels head and taillights for any car you could ask for and after we walked around for like 10 mins he pulls out the box with the intake manifold kit and he blew the dust off it like Jumanji I swear to god. Everything looked good so I got it at home now waiting for the snow to melt so I can get back out there

Turns out I did some research on this forum and I actually have username: STREET SLEEPER old car a 96 alpine green thunderbird V8. If anybody in the MA/NH area knows anything about this car please contact me for it has a lot of mods done to it and they were done about 18 years ago and since then I’ve done more. If anybody knows Larry personally please get me in contact with him I would love to talk to that guy even for a minute
Thanks
 

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1997 Thunderbird LX
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8,568 Posts
Jordan,

It's been a long time but at some point I met Larry, I think! I searched and saw posts that had me exchanging conversations with him. Can't remember the car, sorry. Looks like there was an email address in one of his posts, might be a start. Did you buy the car from him?

Joe
 
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