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400 Ford engine questions

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Dr. Fishstein, May 13, 2011.

  1. I picked up a 71 Ford 400 engine for a good price, it is a true low mile survivor. It will be going into a future project. My question is what can anyone tell me about these engines positive or negative, I more of a Mopar guy and not as familiar with Ford engines. I am looking at Edelbrock performer intake, 750 edelbrock carb, cam and a set of headers, want a simple combo as this will go into truck that will be used to pull a vintage camper. The engine will be bolted to a heavy C-6 with a 9 inch rear end..... thanks in advance....
  2. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,849


    Check over at Fordmuscle as they did a couple builds on those motors,they will put out some power if done right.
  3. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    My personal feeling? Ford's version of a boat anchor. Just me. I had one of these engines in a '78 Country Squire. It was thirsty, and underpowered for the size of the engine. I'd rather have a 302 or 351W or 351C.
  4. legend
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 198

    from Irwin PA

  5. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    A 400M. Basically a high-deck, low performance version
    of the 351C. It shares the bellhousing pattern with the
    429-460. Definitely not a performance engine, although
    I think Edelbrock makes - or more likely, used to make
    - a 4-bbl intake to fit the 400M's higher deck height and
    small-port 2-bbl heads.

  6. The factory setup for these "Smoggers" seriously retarded the timing.
    Rebuilt with a mild cam degreed "straight up" and 4 barrel on an aluminum intake-very easy to make 300 hp and 400ft/lbs at low rpm with these engines-just the ticket for your camper.
  7. 65COMET
    Joined: Apr 10, 2007
    Posts: 3,086


    The 400M can be a great engine,they are a half-breed though,Cleavland style heads on a tall deck block.Performance parts are out there but I think you are on the right track for your application.I had one in a Ranchero GT,RV cam and dual exhaust,would knock down 18mpg at 70 mph towing my 19 foot ski boat.They were known to use some oil[no more than a BB Chevy] but I didn't have any issues. ROY.
    Kona Cruisers likes this.
  8. tjm73
    Joined: Feb 17, 2006
    Posts: 3,386


    Forget that BS about them being junk. With good heads and an intake, they make mad power. They just need to have a good top end.
    Kona Cruisers likes this.
  9. handyandy289
    Joined: Sep 19, 2010
    Posts: 354

    from Georgia

    Had one in a Bronco with 4.11 gears and still got 14 mpg on the highway. Plenty of power and would climb straight up a tree. Good Luck
  10. unkamort
    Joined: Sep 8, 2006
    Posts: 1,014


    I have one in progress...

    Attached Files:

  11. Don't give it too much hell, they're pushrod bendin' motherfuckers. Good motor though, people who say different probably don't know anyway.
  12. I have one in my 81 f350 dump with a4:56 rear. Pulls like a bear.. Gets 7 miles per gallon.
  13. If its completely stock the comments above about it being a pig are correct .

    HOWEVER , they take very little to "wake up" decent cam , edelbrock performer 400 manifold with a decent sized Vac secondary carb ( for a street engine I'm assuming) and set the Timing right . Breathe a little on the heads ( not lots of work) and you won't be dissappointed .

  14. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    Had one in a 72 F100 ,pulled a six-horse trailer all over with it.Plenty of power but the only downfall is the gas mileage. Kept the truck for 6 years,sold it local and is still going strong.As far as bending pushrods thats bullshit.The engine is more of a workhorse than a hotrod engine.
  15. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,916

    from Michigan

    Some Cleveland 4V heads should wake it up...
  16. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    I replaced many pistons in those gas guzzlers when I worked at a Ford dealership in the late 70s. Did many fuel mileage checks on them too where we put a glass bottle in the driver's window, got the car up to 55, used the valve to switch from the gas tank to the bottle and recorded the miles that it would go on the measured gallon in the bottle. Best mileage I ever saw with a 400 was 13 mpg.

    Some friends asked me what a 79 Bronco 4wd with a 400 and 4.11 gears would get for mileage. I told them 10 or less. The guy selling it claimed he got 17. They bought it and it got 8 mpg. He put a camshaft, intake manifold, carburetor and headers on it to try to improve the mileage and he did get it up to 10 but he'd have been better off to spend the money on gas.
  17. ronk16
    Joined: Mar 27, 2010
    Posts: 351


    Here is mine...........40 over 71 400, lunati vodoo cam 564, 551, 70 4v close chamber heads, tunnelram and a pair of holley 1850`s..[​IMG][​IMG]
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 3,485


    I did a lot of dyno testing on these during my career at Ford Engineering. For a towing vehicle and a good street runner forget the Cleveland heads. The stock heads are plenty big enough. I would go with a 600 cfm instead of a 750 Holley. It will be much more tractable around town, particularly if you are in a colder climate. As mentioned above do advance the cam to either straight up or 4 degrees advanced if you like a "lugger". The reason Ford never made a 4V version of this engine is that the crankshafts would not stand up to the strain of brutal dynamometer testing with one, but that would not stop me from upgrading to a 4V in my own vehicle because unlike a dyno, you can't run for hours on end at WOT.

    My mother had a 400 in her Torino and it would kill 460s in similar vehicles.

    Go for it.
  19. greensheads
    Joined: Sep 21, 2005
    Posts: 85


    I am putting one in my ford. They were dogs mainly because they were low compression and the pistons are down in the bore so there is no quench.
    go to He is the man to talk to for 400s. He has pistons that will fix the compression issue, and knows how to fix the oiling issue. He even sells stroker kits that will give you 434 cubes.
    You can make over 400 hp 400lbs feet easy with a 400.
  20. greensheads
    Joined: Sep 21, 2005
    Posts: 85


    Im surprised that was an issue with the cranks, since the hot ticket before aftermarket cranks was to cut the 400 crank down and offset grind it to 3.85 and put it in a 351 windsor. Ive seen many circle trackers use those cranks turning 7000 rpm for multiple seasons with no problems.
    Ive also never heard of anyone breaking a 400 crank, almost all of the problems I have seen were due to oiling problems.
  21. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,651

    from Napa

    Yep, just needs a good set of non-smog heads/intake/cam like anything else. The 400 won the Engine Masters Challenge several times, smoking a lot of engines (especially the Chebbies) from highly regarded builders
  22. scott 351 wins
    Joined: Dec 22, 2009
    Posts: 434

    scott 351 wins

    i have one in my 46 ford bobber truck, subscribed.
  23. 73yellowQ
    Joined: Aug 30, 2010
    Posts: 3

    from RI

    They have their own motor mounts. I can pick up a low millage one cheap with a tranny too, but did some research and its not a bolt for me due to the mounts (I have a 351C in my car currently)
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 1,119


    I put one in a 79 f150 short bed 4 wheel drive. It had earlier heads then the block and an RV cam. Edelbrock intake and a holley 3310. And fender well headers. Pulled like a sonofabitch! That was 20 years ago but I know the kid that has it now and it still runs good. I liked it for that purpose.
  25. The main purpose of the build is a close to stock engine with just a cam, intake, and headers. I want to use the engine because I got a package deal on it. The engine came out of a 71 LTD that had been rolled over. the engine has only 46,000 miles on it, and had been dry stored in a barn. The engine is going in a Ford truck and will be used to pull a 13 ft 1962 Yellowstone camper. Looking for an engine that will pull, not a hot rod. I have a C-6 and a 9 inch also, not sure what gears, it came out of a 78 Ford truck....
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 3,485


    Dyno durability tests include running an engine for hundreds of hours at Wide Open Throttle. Think about it: A 400 engine running at ,say, 4800 RPM, WOT could easily push an Indy Car to 160 mph, meaning it would be completing an Indy 500 mile race every three or four hours. To do this for 300 hours would mean running 100 Indy 500 races in a row on the same crankshaft - BRUTAL. That's why I said I would have no problem building one up, even though it did not meet all of Ford Motor Company's criteria for durability.
  27. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,400


    Under your plan, go with a slightly bigger cam, aftermarket timing set & a Performer intake. If you were taking the heads off, installing 351C4V valves would help where you have 400 cubes.
  28. mixedupamx
    Joined: Dec 2, 2006
    Posts: 513


    they are low comp smoggers but with a cam 4bbl dual exhaust etc.etc, possibly some head milling to bump the horribly low compression it should be a stump puller! I put one in a 68 fairlane. after freshening it up and a weiand 4bbl intake and AFB and dual exhaust it was a sweet running highway cruiser that would pull about 17 mpg on the highway. it also had no problems pulling up hills or passing other cars like the 200 6cyl that it replaced. that engine in that car was dangerously slow!

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