TCCoA Forums banner

1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 97' T-bird i want to know what all i need to change/upgrade to add a 4.6 to it, i have come up with a personal list of things that i figured would have to go, but im just making sure i dont miss anything, im tired of the 3.8L and the constant trouble ive had with it and im ready for a V8.

So if anyone can give me advice and tips and pointers and info on what i need to change to make the jump from 3.8 to 4.6 i would greatly appreciate it.

Ed,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,485 Posts
It's not an easy task from what I understand. You need a new engine, trans, driveshaft, rear end (7.5 vs 8.8), axles, the list goes on a lot more than that and on top of that you need to rewire the car for the most part. I believe only one member has done it. General consensus is, swap in a 5.0, or buy a bird with the 4.6 already

Oh. And search. You're gonna get that a lot!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,633 Posts
It's not an easy task from what I understand. You need a new engine, trans, driveshaft, rear end (7.5 vs 8.8), axles, the list goes on a lot more than that and on top of that you need to rewire the car for the most part. I believe only one member has done it. General consensus is, swap in a 5.0, or buy a bird with the 4.6 already

Oh. And search. You're gonna get that a lot!
Yes, sell the 3.8 buy a 4.6 is the most straightforward

With a 5.0L swap, besides the obviously needed 5.0L engine, wiring harness, and ECU, you still need to acquire the tbird specific oil pan, exhaust manifolds, and engine mounts (mustangs have different pants, manifolds, and engine mounts). The easiest source for those tbird specific items would be a 5.0L tbird. At that point, the path of least resistance would be to switch over to the 5.0L car and carryover any parts from your old 3.8L (stereo, suspension, etc.)

I'm still working through my 5.0L swap myself and personally, I would have gone with a new car myself if I didn't already have a $1500 cage built into my current chassis. It's just a car.

-g
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the reply! :D

I figured it wouldnt be easy from the get-go but i have the ability, ive been doing engines and trans and wiring and etc. etc. for years, im good on that.

I knew id need a rear end a trans a driveshaft a computer and such, i wasnt sure just how bad it would be.

Is the 5.0L swap easier?

Ed,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,633 Posts
Thank you for the reply! :D

I figured it wouldnt be easy from the get-go but i have the ability, ive been doing engines and trans and wiring and etc. etc. for years, im good on that.

I knew id need a rear end a trans a driveshaft a computer and such, i wasnt sure just how bad it would be.

Is the 5.0L swap easier?

Ed,
Actually, I thought about it and I think not -- swapping over a 4.6L may be just as painful as swapping in a 5.0L. Here's why:

I originally thought that the main advantage of doing a 5.0L swap is that you can re-use your transmission b/c it has the same bellhousing bolt pattern as on the 3.8L. However, since your current 4r70w transmission is electronically controlled and the 5.0L transmission (AOD) was not, you are going to need a standalone transmission controller like the one from Baumann if you are planning to use a 5.0L ECU.
http://www.usshift.com/

At $550 or so for the transmission controller, you are better off just buying an
entire tbird.

Why not just sell off/junk your existing tbird and buy a new one? I'm OK with you using your alleged skills but the amount of effort you would spend doing the swap could also be spent tricking out your new 4.6L car after you've carried over the few bits you want to bring over to the new chassis.. The net result will be far less aggravation on your part.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
The swap is easy as pie, depending on your skill level, I swapped a 4.6 in my Super Coupe chassis couple of years back, it took me about two weeks of off and on messing around with. I recommend buying a donor car first off. You need the engine (a PI Explorer engine is highly recommended), driveshaft (get the aluminum 1 piece out of a MarkVIII) The tranmission is something you should read into, like J-modding it and putting a torque converter in it 96-97 transmissions are way better than the earlier ones. You should already have an 8.8 rear end in it if not you're going to need one of those ( Get a taller gear, i.e 3:73 or 4:10s) Engine harness out of a 4.6, the harness that runs on the passenger side to the inside kick panel. The CCRM, and PCM will also be needed. If its going into a 96-97 car you will not need the EEC. IIRC you will also need a radiator and fan. I don't know if you need to mess with the air conditioning lines, I cut my a/c system out. Get an exhaust system made for a 4.6. You will have to get creative with the power steering lines, search for XR7-4.6's power steering line mod. You will also need to make new power and ground cables from the battery to the starter. You may have to make new transmission cooler lines as well. Some say you need fuel lines but I used my stock 3.8 lines and had no problems except they were a little long. You should not have to mess with any of the body electrical. I think I just summed up that swap for you, I may have forgotten a few things, but I'm sure you will find that out if you ever actually do this swap.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,735 Posts
96/7s are the easiest to do this with. Wiring is cake since the EEC harness is the same vetween 3.8 and 4.6, so the only electrical involvment is swapping the PCM and main engine harness. Just find another 96/7 car for a parts doner and everything will plug and play.

A 5.0 swap would be WAY more involved
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,181 Posts
And after you do all that and spend the money and time you end up with a V8 Thunderbird...... Or you could buy one that needs some TLC and use your 6 as a nice dd. Thats my plan anyway .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Cobra motor

If your set on goin 4.6 just go big right off the bat. DOHC (Mark VIII or Cobra). I am currently doing a Cobra motor swap into my 94 SC and it has not been as bad as some made it out to be. Go big or go home.......LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
ok, thank you guys for the involvement!.

well heres the deal, i want to swap over mainly because my current 97 has alot of work already in it, i flex sealed the entire inside floor and tar mat sound proofed it too along with a 1.5K+ custom sound system i did myself, i would love to be able to do it on a budget which will remain undisclosed and have atleast 300-400rwhp as a daily driver/sleeper, i love this car and it will be my toy, if i could get an estimate on what it cost some of you who have done similar things please let me know your cost number so i can get an idea.

ive been searching for a v8 doner and i really would rather buy a whole car to cannibalize then piece mine together like a jigsaw puzzle lol i found a cougar xr7 perfect doner needs some tlc and its affordable, its just half way across the usa from me :p

I already have 2 freaking 3.8LV6's one taken down to every last piece one useless but whole,

And an LS swap would be nice if it was cost effective.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
Ls swaps are cost effective, engines on eBay run about 1500-2500 with the harness and PCM, find a t56 for around 1600 or a whole package motor and tranny. I spent about 1300 doing my 4.6 swap and that included buying two cars (The super coupe shell and the donor car) and misc parts, like the exhaust and lines
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Do you have anymore details on your swap you could share?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
I honestly think I told you everything I can remember, when you're doing the swap PM me if you get hung up on something. I would at least recommend doing the fuel pump while its torn apart.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
605 Posts
It can be done my car was a v6 before :) went from v6 to everything you see in my sig. Nice little upgrade. I didn't do the swap RobertP did (he did a great job and you can't tell it ever was a v6). I bought a whole wrecked 97 bird to use for the swap. Got a newer 03 mustang trans also, 8.8 out of a SC tbird and few other upgrades since it was all going to be swaped out. Also to make the Tac work right you will have to ground it for the v6. I had a bunch of stuff done to my car like custom body kit molded in and custom seats, carpet , speakers, head liner you name it. All done to the v6 so it was worth it to me to do the swap. Plus I have had the car since it was brand new so it's never going any where lol. Good luck with the swap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
i hope you do the swap. i love to see these things saved, and not put in the local PNP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Oh im all for saving it, i love this car its practically the only thing i have left to love, with my first born passing away in dec last year and my now ex wife cheating on me and leaving me in jan...

I just cant seem to give up on this thing. Im trying to either find a 97 4.6L full car or just another 3.8L used that i can throw in and go with then eventually find a good parts car to use for a transfer.

Anyone know a few good sites to find a car that i havent seen? tried ebay, autotrader, cars.com, etc any help with that would be appreciated, im looking to spend $300 max for the 3.8L by itself or $500 max on a full parts car.

Ed,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
The previous owner let me have it for $2,000 i rewired the trans changed fluids and ran brand new 4gauge wire to the starter, got it running since it sat for 7 straight years, and then 1,500mi later it went on the way to a doc appointment for my then unborn daughter, i pulled the engine, crank was spent and so was every bearing in it so it sat and i rebuilt our other car at the time, 98 gmc jimmy (p.o.s!!!) and got that running after rebuilding the engine.

once everything transpired that i told in the last message i was back at square one, i ordered an engine (3.8L to be eggzackt) and dropped it in, only to find out that every gasket was blown from heads up, i pulled it and complained got a partial refund, and rebuilt with all new gaskets, put it back in, ran like new drove it 6 miles after a complete oil change and found more water in my oil than oil, pulled it again complained got a refund and took it apart, crank was spent and so was every bearing, sound familiar?

so i would really like to be done with the 3.8L and i dont care the work involved i know i can do it as long as my budget allows it since im still waiting for a start date for work, and this is the only vehicle i got...
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top