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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I have decided to keep my bird, but it needs some engine work. I dont really want to swap to a 3.8 from the same year because of lack of power and headgasket problems. I am trying to do this swap for as little money as possible because I am flat broke and I need the thing running. The car's current headgaskets are so far gone the car has no compression and wont start. What would be involved? Has anyone done it? Can it be done for a few hundred dollars? If it involves a lot of work, then what would a better alternative be? Thanks.
 

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The Parts Guy
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7,360 Posts
The 97-98 3.8L would have the same amount of power as your stock 3.8L. I swapped a 3.8L from a 98 Mustang into my 89 Cougar LS about 5 years ago. That was basically a bolt in/ plug in swap.

The splitport swap can be done a few different ways, some ways being much harder than others. I chose the route of installing DIS in my 94 LX when I installed the 2000 splitport engine. That wasn't exactly fun, but it can be done. The 99+ splitport engine offers 45-50 more hp at the crank than your stock 3.8L.

-Rod

 

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Moderator, Iowa Chapter Director, Uber Luber, TCCo
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well the 97-98's did have a BIT more power but not much really. And it was mostly due to the 70mm MAF and shorty headers. I'd suggest swapping to a 4.2 block with single port heads. That IMO has to be the easiest swap out there. No IMRC's to deal with and if you can keep your distributor. The only major thing that would need changing would be the air/fuel mixture.
-Thomas
 

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The Parts Guy
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The 99-00 3.8's didn't have the IMRC's, and it is possible to run a distributor on a splitport 3.8L (after deleting the EGR and modifying the fuel rail to clear the cap).

However if you're looking for an easy swap, I'd stick with singleport heads and intakes, as Thomas suggested.

-Rod
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, I thought about the 4.2 swap, but I cant really afford to put much money into the car right now. I mostly wanted the newer engine for the lack of headgasket problems. How much do you think I could put in a 97-98 3.8 for? Like the lowest possible price. I only have a few hundred dollars.
 

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The Parts Guy
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If you're looking to cure your headgasket problem, I'd definitely recommend the 98 over a 97. The 98's head design is superior to the earlier heads in terms of headgaskets. Look at the two pics that I've posted below. The first pic is of a pre-98 singleport head, notice how many coolant passages surround the combustion chamber. The second pic is a splitport head, however it shares the same coolant passage design as the 98 singleport heads. Notice that there are fewer coolant passages surrounding the combustion chamber. This allows for a much better headgasket seal.





As far as doing the swap, it all depends on what you can buy the engine for and how mechanically inclined you are.

By the way, if you're interested, I still have my 89 LS with the 98 Mustang 3.8L in it. I'm beginning to part out the car due to rust, so the engine is for sale. It will bolt directly into your car, with very little trouble. The engine has 30,000 miles on it and runs great. If you're interested, email me at [email protected].

-Rod
 
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