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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Guys,

I've done some reading of a bunch of explorer 4.6 threads that explain a range of changes required to one fitted into the MN12 but let me explain!

I'm in Australia and own a 1990 Thunderbird 3.8 V6, Thunderbirds of this vintage are extremely rare here, i've only ever seen 2 including mine making parts near non existant.

further to this, pretty much the only common vehicle with a 4.6 V8 is the 3rd Gen Explorer, no Crown Vics, very few mustangs, no Mark's etc etc.

Now i'm looking at engine options to swap into my 1990, ofcourse a 5L windsor is an option but i'd rather not so i started looking at the 4.6.

now assuming the PCM and gearbox arn't an issue (i'll wire something in, and run a manual gearbox)
What stops the Explorer 4.6 from dropping in physically without any changes.

Manifold Height?
Front Dress locations?
Oil Pan?

 

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Wow! Right hand drive conversion and everything!

Manifold is the same . You need the 94-97 oil pan, 96-97 fuel rails and lines, and 94-95 timing cover. You can probably improvise with the fuel lines using aftermarket parts (assuming you won't be able to find them in your country). The timing cover you can actually use from the explorer but you need to use the head location for the power steering pump, requiring custom lines - the benefit though is that the oil filter is easy access vs. the factory spec block location.


IMO, the ultimate swap would be the turbo DOHC inline 6 you have available down there. That would be really unique :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
IMO, the ultimate swap would be the turbo DOHC inline 6 you have available down there. That would be really unique :)
the DOHC Turbo Barra is certainly an option, however the height is a major concern, which is why i'm looking at potential alternatives.
 

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Going from a V6 to V8, might have to add the larger 8.8 rear diff from the V8 cars to the parts list. Unless you never plan to drive aggressively.

Al
 

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Actually my main concern with the v8 swap on the RHD conversion would be the right side exhaust manifold. The front subframe is designed to move the engine to the right, and without much room there to begin with, and now the steering shaft going through there as well, I don't think the stock tbird 4.6 exhaust manifold will fit.
 

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Another bonus of going with the 300i6 you have down there is that the transmission bellhousing will bolt right up and you should have plenty of donor options in AU.

The V6 is a SBF pattern and so is the 300i6.
The problem with doing a 300i6 conversion here in the US is a lack of engines and donors vehicles (with the ECU/harness/etc).

As far as hood clearance is concerned, this was never an issue for Max Rockatansky so why should it be a concern for you? :)
-g
 

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Not to discourage you building up your 90, but if Australian import laws aren't too bad it'd make a lot more sense to buy a V8 TBird from the US and use that as a platform for your swap. They're pretty cheap here and good examples can be had for 4k-5k easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Going from a V6 to V8, might have to add the larger 8.8 rear diff from the V8 cars to the parts list. Unless you never plan to drive aggressively.

Al
Yeah, i'm not sure how to deal with that yet, probably have to import an 8.8 housing, there won't be anything here.


Actually my main concern with the v8 swap on the RHD conversion would be the right side exhaust manifold. The front subframe is designed to move the engine to the right, and without much room there to begin with, and now the steering shaft going through there as well, I don't think the stock tbird 4.6 exhaust manifold will fit.
I had to deal with that on my 83 Thunderbird, I dropped a Explorer spec 5.0 into it and had to customise some headers to clear the steering/starter motor all on the one side, i'll need to check if the engine was moved as part of the conversion.

Another bonus of going with the 300i6 you have down there is that the transmission bellhousing will bolt right up and you should have plenty of donor options in AU.

The V6 is a SBF pattern and so is the 300i6.
The problem with doing a 300i6 conversion here in the US is a lack of engines and donors vehicles (with the ECU/harness/etc).

As far as hood clearance is concerned, this was never an issue for Max Rockatansky so why should it be a concern for you? :)
-g
The I6 we have here isn't based on the 300ci motor, its a 243ci engine with a completely different bellhousing pattern, but thats ok, the donor cars for the I6 had a T56 manual available which would be the ideal option.


Not to discourage you building up your 90, but if Australian import laws aren't too bad it'd make a lot more sense to buy a V8 TBird from the US and use that as a platform for your swap. They're pretty cheap here and good examples can be had for 4k-5k easily.
Our import laws will make it difficult to bring one over if its post 1989, its $3-4k to import a car + purchase price, all converted to $AUD so add another 25% + Taxes.

so basically $10k+

$10k can build a pretty potent motor :p
 

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How much does something with the turbo I6 go for over there? Also how much does a boss 290 engine go for there? That would be more work, since I think it is based on the 5.4 instead of the 4.6, but that would be awesome to see.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
How much does something with the turbo I6 go for over there? Also how much does a boss 290 engine go for there? That would be more work, since I think it is based on the 5.4 instead of the 4.6, but that would be awesome to see.
a complete 2004 BA XR6 Turbo can be had for about $5k
Engine + Auto around $2k

the Boss 260 is the lowest spec 5.4 DOHC, can be had for similar price, but thats obviously a fairly heavy big engine

The Turbo I6 is definitely the preferred option haha
 

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Plus the 5.4 DOHC doesn't fit :zwall:
But at least the Aussie version is worth making it fit.

EFFalcon, given what it is going to cost you for the explorer swap, I think the xr6 swap would get you more bang for the buck, and be way cooler.
 

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Wow! Right hand drive conversion and everything!

Manifold is the same . You need the 94-97 oil pan, 96-97 fuel rails and lines, and 94-95 timing cover. You can probably improvise with the fuel lines using aftermarket parts (assuming you won't be able to find them in your country). The timing cover you can actually use from the explorer but you need to use the head location for the power steering pump, requiring custom lines - the benefit though is that the oil filter is easy access vs. the factory spec block location.


IMO, the ultimate swap would be the turbo DOHC inline 6 you have available down there. That would be really unique :)
Don't forget the 94-97 ECU, all the wiring from the engine compartment down to the ECU itself.

Sounds like a very interesting build! I'm almost done with my Explorer swap, for exhaust concerns, usually we have to modify the left side header if we use a long tube style, and I'm willing to bet our MN-12 Specific Kooks headers won't work for you due to the engine being pushed over to the side a little and ours being LHD specific. But you should be able to modify the header tubes easily enough to compensate for steering shafts on some long tubes.

With the right intake, head work, and camshafts, a good ECU tune, the Explorer engine can be very potent!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If it fits yep, length and width certainly don't appear to be an issue, just height.

even the NA version of the I6 is almost 250hp, for a $150 engine which is a huge improvement on the 3.8.
 

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I imagine length would be a bigger potential issue than height. Years ago someone did do a successful inline six swap in a supercoupe though, intake heights tend to be the problems on V8s in these cars.

Don't forget the 94-97 ECU, all the wiring from the engine compartment down to the ECU itself.

Sounds like a very interesting build! I'm almost done with my Explorer swap, for exhaust concerns, usually we have to modify the left side header if we use a long tube style, and I'm willing to bet our MN-12 Specific Kooks headers won't work for you due to the engine being pushed over to the side a little and ours being LHD specific. But you should be able to modify the header tubes easily enough to compensate for steering shafts on some long tubes.

With the right intake, head work, and camshafts, a good ECU tune, the Explorer engine can be very potent!
If I was in his shoes I'd source the PCM from elsewhere and do the wiring custom.
 

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The I6 we have here isn't based on the 300ci motor, its a 243ci engine with a completely different bellhousing pattern, but thats ok, the donor cars for the I6 had a T56 manual available which would be the ideal option.
Thanks man, I learned something new today.
Apparently the Barra I6 engine that you are considering came from the Crossflow I6 which decended can trace it's origins back to the 60s Ford US "Thriftpower Six" or "small block six" design and the Ford 300 was actually from Ford US's 4th gen I6 family "Big block six".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_straight-six_engine
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think the Turbo I6 is a swap I want to see! The V8 swap...is well, just a V8 TBird, just like it was supposed to be...
I do agree with you on this, however i'm a sucker for a V8. the idea of a V8 manual Coupe appeals greatly, but the Barra is such a potent engine that its hard to ignore.

regardless of engine choice, the car is incredibly rare here so it'll get some interest regardless.
 

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What I particularly like about the barra 6 idea is the fact that the MN12 Thunderbirds were designed after the E24 BMWs and that an inline 6 you'll totally complete the vibe.
 
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