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FE Experts:Interchangeability>390>406>427?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jeff Norwell, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,961

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    I have recently purchased 2 390's(a 63 t-Bird and a 66-67 car((don't know the model))...Both 4 barrel engines...
    What is the interchangeability of these engines>390>406>427
    I know there was a 427 lo riser,medium riser and high riser....
    What internals can be swapped around?
    What would it take to make a 390 a 406?
    Bore?,stroke?
    Different head designs?
    different cranks?

    I know its a VERY broad question..... but Looking for a few answers.
    I am planning for my new project .. 57 Ford that will be FE Equipped!(with a stick of course.)

    Thanks fellas!
     
  2. GTSDave
    Joined: Jan 10, 2008
    Posts: 133

    GTSDave
    Member

    The thing to remember about FE's is that you really don't know what you have until you measure the bore and stroke. Heads and intakes and nearly all other accessories swap around except with some of the very early stuff, and some of the very high performance parts specifically heads and intakes.

    There was a great book out years ago that really went into detail about the history of the FE. It is called Ford Performance and has had at least 2 printings. Would be worth having for the price.

    http://www.amazon.com/Ford-Performance-Pat-Ganahl/dp/1884089275

    -Dave
     
  3. thunderplex
    Joined: Nov 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,180

    thunderplex
    Member

    X2, it's best interchange, cast number book now available.
     
  4. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 19,710

    Roothawg
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  5. Heo
    Joined: Jan 8, 2010
    Posts: 525

    Heo
    Member

    to make a 390 to a 406 you bore it to 4.13 sometime its possible
    sometimes not, sonictest. The heads is a nother story many
    different castings but not that big difference in runners
    mainly valve sice and camber volume dont remember corect
    castings for a 406 right now.
     
  6. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,489

    Pir8Darryl
    Member

    You can bore a 390 to a 406, but you cant make a 406 out of a 390.

    The 406 was technically the 427's little brother a lot more than it was the 390's big brother.

    The 406 was a cross-bolted block and it used 427 lifters and hi-po heads. It's been a lifetime since I was in to FE's, so I cant recall all the exact details, but I believe the 406 used different rods, pushrods, and the oiling system was 427-ish as well.

    Cant guarantee how good my info is, because like I said, been a loooong time since my FE days, but I'm confident the core of my info is in the ballpark.

    Externally, all FE's are the same. The various hi-po heads used unique intake and/or exhaust, but those pieces are getting VERY rare. No chance you would have scored a garden variety 390 with tunnel port heads bolted on it....... But we can all day-dream it will happen to us :)

    Good motors overall. Rediculously heavy [780 lbs if I recall], but rock solid, reliable, and powerfull from idle to mid-range. Upper rpm performance is a little limited by the heads [hence the revised hi-po heads on the 427's]
    They do tend to be a little fuel thirsty, but then again, Ford never installed on in a pinto either :D

    In low-horsepower trim [352 or 2V 390] the FE is a slow revving engine because of it's heavy internals. Once you juice up the power, that heavy crank works to multiply the flywheel effect. Lots of fun with a manual tranny and a good chassis.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
  7. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,436

    MeanGene427
    Member
    from Napa

    Do your engines still have the ID tags on them? Look for a rectangular aluminum tag about 5/8" x 3", usually mounted to the intake near the coil, front driver's side near the dizzy- it'll tell you year, CID, etc. The '63 from a Bird should be a 390 unless it's been changed, the other could be a 390, 410 (Mercury only, '66-'67) or a 428

    The exterior of the block changed in '65, so your '66-'67 should have 4 bolts for the side engine mounts, and the '63 will have 2- your '66 will bolt in an early car, an early into late might take a little work on the mounts to make it work- usually not a big deal. I will probably have a "352" cast into the front driver's side face of the block, next to the water pump- means nothing, even the 427's had it.
    Making a 406 out of a 390 usually isn't a good idea, take an .080 overbopre- better deal is to add stroke, a 3.98 crank makes it a 410 or + .030 a 416, the 410 was a regular Mercury engine in '66-'67, and 410 pistons were used in later pickup 390's to lower the compression, so they are available and cheap. Later 360-390-410 blocks are the same, so up to a 410 with factory stuff, and a 445 is pretty cheap, best bang for the buck, using one of Barry R's kits, SCAT 4.25 crank and I-beam or H-beam rods and custom pistons, makes a very strong, inexpensive engine with some Cobra Jet or Edelbrock heads. And a 416 is a poor man's CJ with the good heads, you'd have to have a pretty sensitive posterior to feel the difference between a 416 and a 428 with everything else being equal

    416 with Ebock small-chamber heads and Perf RPM intake, Comp 294S cam, and a 780, pretty common & proven combo for a very streetable 450-500 hp, with a very strong torque curve
    Oh- and DON'T take it to the local Chebbie expert- it's can be the kiss of death to take a FE to someone who doesn't know them well

    Or if you're close by, bring it over for some extra touches- this one's an original 406 3-deuce car, presently a 427-8V, C6 w/ 4000 converter, and 5.14 gears- jumps pretty good

    [​IMG]
     
  8. mow too much
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 907

    mow too much
    Member

    I thought all 406s had cross bolted mains, but not true, I was told by Rick Kirk that not all 406s had them............the one I had did.
     
  9. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,436

    MeanGene427
    Member
    from Napa

    And never forget the sound- nothing thunders & howls like a good FE with lotsa squeeze 'n lotsa stick
     
  10. illterminal
    Joined: May 30, 2010
    Posts: 31

    illterminal
    Member

  11. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,961

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Thanks fellas for all the responses!...GREAT info here and Thats what this board is surely all about.
    I agree..when the time comes.. the builder will be an FE guy or at the very least a Ford man with the knowledge.
    I am a virgin in the FE territory and admit i have zero knowledge on them.
    As per usual, I would rather collect the correct parts before setting off into a build.
    I picked up a 57 tudor 300 last year at the Round up and in the last year started collecting stuff i needed. Plans are to build a dressed down sleeper... completely stock looking but a smoking screamer under the hood.
    I decided to run with an FE because they they are my less troublesome than the Y-BLOCK(don't get me wrong..I love Y-BLOCKS... but the Fe family seem to have a better dependability factor) They also have a greater range for making some real buildable Horsepower. Saying that....the plan is for a 400-450 good stable street engine to make long distance hauls.I have heard that the FE's are horrible on fuel... so I am up in the air about using a stick...4 speed or TKO 5 speed(with OD) or less $$$ and go with a good C6.
    The stock rear has a factory 3:00 or 3:25 gear(not sure..The body ID tag has the info)
    I have a number of options on inductions.... an Offy 360 intake,a NOS Edelbrock 3x2 intake or recently i have found a guy with a complete 2x4 intake,carbs and cleaners from a 427......(I guess this is a partial question to the interchangeability question)
    I will check the links out guys and get more info.....

    Here is what i wanna build.....but with a killer FE plant under the hood....

    AGAIN!,.... MANY THANKS

    Jeff


    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
  12. slickhale
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 756

    slickhale
    Member
    from Phoenix

    be careful, once you build a nice fe you'll never go back. once you get down some of the interchange specifics it gets easier to plan. they love gas but they also love big carbs, that car is sweet btw.
    bore size-360/390/410=4.05
    406/428=4.13
    stroke-390/406=3.75
    410/428=3.98 *externally balanced
    the bearing sizes are all the same and there are only 2 different lengths of rods-352/360 are longer, everything else uses the same. just watch your piston compression height on the longer stroke cranks. this board is full of us wierdo fe guys so there wont be a shortage of help on this one
     
  13. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,961

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Ha ha ... thanks Slickhale.... the same thing happened when I got into Early hemis, now I got about 12,000 lbs. of leftovers in the shop. ha ha
     
  14. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,961

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    MeanGene,Pir8Darryl and everyone else......Many thanks.
     
  15. Barry R (here on HAMB) has just published a book on building performance into the FE Engine. In my opinion it will become the FE resource of choice. As others have previously stated take a look at the 332-428 FEForum (search on that)

    I frequent that as often as HAMB --- but then I've got 11 FE's and 15 different intakes including a Latham setup.

    Movin/on
     
  16. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,489

    Pir8Darryl
    Member

    Gene,
    Thanks for clarifying my info. My FE expirence was short lived, and was a long time ago. Great torque thumper motors. I has a '62 T-bird with a 406, and it needed lifters. Did a cam swap, then found out the lifters were not the same as a 390. Had the old timer at the parts place inform me that the 406 was like a baby 427, and not a big 390, so that 1/4 century old info is what I was goin by.

    Jeff,
    If I was building that car, I'd go with a TKO and about a 3.50 gear along with either the single 4V or 3 X 2V. Keep the cruising RPM's low and you might be able to squeeze some respectable mileage out of it.
     
  17. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,436

    MeanGene427
    Member
    from Napa

    Sometimes I wish I only had 11 FE's- lessee, 10 427's including two 454's and a 505, 2 428CJ's and a SCJ, 5 390's, a 352, and a 391HD :eek: But then again :D:):p
    Yes, a 406 would have taken different lifters than a "regular" 390, solids in the 406 and juice in the 390's except the HiPos and PI engines would have been solids, same as the 406 & 427
    If you want simple & rip for street & strip, a Performer RPM or a modified Streetmaster or Street Dominator is hard to beat- but a 3-deuce or 2x4 has the looks down pat. A 3-deuce will cost you a little power over a modern 1x4, but not that much, and the MR 2x4 runs pretty darn good, especially if you have room for some 2" spacers ;)
     
  18. GTSDave
    Joined: Jan 10, 2008
    Posts: 133

    GTSDave
    Member

    What it the title of that book? I am in for a copy.

    I have two more cars on my dream list... A Thunderbolt clone, and my 5 window "A" powered by an FE and toploader. Would love to have a little more modern resource for info myself.

    -Dave
     
  19. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,436

    MeanGene427
    Member
    from Napa

    I was going to do a tube-frame Thunderbolt, had a real nice Sports Coupe and a frame, then went this way instead, sold the Sports Coupe about 6 months ago- future home of the 505

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  20. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,961

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

  21. Muzz
    Joined: May 9, 2007
    Posts: 88

    Muzz
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The early 406's did not have cross bolted mains. This came later prior to the 427's. 406's had a solid cam and adjustible valvetrain and the blocks weren't drilled to suit hydraulic cams, though some may have been over the years. Also I believe the casting webs were different in the block, hence the HP casting on the block to designate the variation.
    You cannot run high riser manifolds on low and medium riser heads. Late FE's had 3 bolt engine mounts whereas the earlier have 2, but FE's being FE's they all look pretty much the same externally.
     
  22. felee
    Joined: Nov 25, 2008
    Posts: 31

    felee
    Member

    x3 and make sure your engine guy has some FE experience. Welcome to the FE world!
     
  23. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    [​IMG]

    Be still my heart! I wanted a 57 but found a rust free 56 instead.

    [​IMG]

    My Edelbrock came drilled for Rochester carbs. Some were drilled for the 94 carbs. To me the 94s look puny on a thumper FE. I built this system a hell of a lot cheaper than a Ford system.


    [​IMG]

    Headers are readily available but I wanted the early look so I built my own in the early 60s style. Probably more restrictive than a commercial set but I ain't racin' nobody.:D
     
  24. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,961

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Tommy
    I have been looking at the FPA headers(Ford Powertrain) and look look nice..but I think Pricey.
    I have a link on the same set up of your induction..and I just might go with the Edelbrock and roch. set up
    I found my 57 in the heart of Texas.The floor pans are toast.. but the rest of the sheetmetal is perfect.
     
  25. The 427 has its own intakes and exhaust manifolds. The internals pretty much swap around real well.

    To build a 406 from a 390 you need a 428 crank as I recall. I would have to drag a book out to give you bore and stroke. PM me if no one else hooks you up and I'll look that stuff up for you.
     
  26. havi
    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,875

    havi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Can anyone say when the pre-crossbolt 406's were done? I've been wanting to do the same for a long time. A subtle Medalist, black, and a 430 MEL to go. But a built FE would work, too. :)
     

    Attached Files:

  27. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    I was looking at the Crites headers but they won't work with a clutch. They are a little pricey for my old ass too. Headers are supposed to still be 95 bucks a set. Right?? I bought my car because it was a factory 3 spd OD.

    My 56 came from Penna. and has no rust through at all!!!:eek: I may be able to pick a hole in one suspect spot near one rear wheel well. I haven't tried yet. I'm letting sleeping dogs lie. If it does go through I'll be able to cover the spot with a quarter. :D Floor pans are easy.

    Keep us up to date on the build.
     
  28. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,866

    Truckedup
    Member

    In 1965 just out of high school, I bought by first "decent" car,62 Ford Galaxie 2 door,390 4 speed.I got spanked by the 327-300 hp Chevys and 383-330 hp Mopars.This car had a Holley 4 bbl and adjustable rockers,was this a 330 HP "Interceptor" 390??? I complained to a older mechanic that the car was dog,he said it looks like who ever owned it before you ran it hard :D
     
  29. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,961

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Tommy.... I was following this gentleman's build for over a year now...
    Not in depth but what a great build.I spoke to Phil personally and he is very helpful and a very nice guy.
    He used FPA(?) headers and had to make minor adjustments to the "z"bar to clear the engine... seemed kinda straight forward.
    I do not think it should be a big issue.
    thanks for your input Tommy and all you guys.
    P.S.I gotta finish my damn 5 window first..... or win the Powerball.

    Here is the link to Phil's build.... deadly set up.

    http://www.lakefrontflorida.com/57ford/index.html
     
  30. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,961

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Havi.... killer Medalist.....
     

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