Register now to get rid of these ads!

How to make a 61 Starliner less of a gas guzzler....

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by stingbean, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. 3.00 gears Q-jet cheapest change then overdrive trans then injection. Fords always got bad gas mileage, keep the 390 if its in good shape small motor in a big car never work out well.
  2. nexxussian
    Joined: Mar 14, 2007
    Posts: 3,240


    Because with more displacement per cylinder (4.0/6= 2/3 L = 40 2/3 CI / cyl VS 4.6/8 = .575 L = 35.075 CI/ cyl) so the torque comes in a bit lower.

    Oh yeah, I don't like modular motors.

    The 4.0 is a 60 degree V so it's going to be comparatively easy to work on (when you have to). I don't know the Starliner that well (I just remember them being large) so I don't know how much room it has in the engine bay (large as well I'm sure) but I just can't wrap my head around an engine that is 280 ish CID and 3" wider than a 460 (according to the Ford Racing website anyway). I have this afliction of liking push rods too (yeah the 4.0 is OHC too:(), unless the heads are flat, then there's this tendency of mine to like inlines (couldn't find any fuel mileage specs on the 300).

    Just remember, this was suggested as a last resort as I too agree it isn't likely to pay for itself, I would much rather change to a 351W for this car if it was mine and I was going to change.
  3. borntoolate
    Joined: Feb 18, 2006
    Posts: 320


    My 66 Fairlane has a 390, toploader 4 speed , old rebuilt 735 Holley, Pertronix module, 268 Comp Cam, duel turbo mufflers, and a 2.79 gear. It will do 20 mpg on the interstate(freeway) if you keep your foot out of it. I also have a 61 Club Victoria and I'd like to think I could get at least 20 when I get it going.
  4. kenagain
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 820

    from so cal

    hey gotta 67 F250 Camper special with lumber rack weighs in @ 4700 lbs has a 390 4bbl edelbrock Msd ignition n box swapped out the 4.56 rear for a 3.55 disel rear end have an old holley FI unit in a box not installed headers not installed yet but in present form gets 14 mpg on hiway I think a good tuneup n carb rebuild would help you out n raise air pressure in tires I bought mine because of strict smog laws her in so cal and would not trade it for something newer my ol lady has a newer 2wd jeep grand cherokee with the 289 alum moter n we are lucky to get 14 city n 17 freway with it best mileage I ever got was a 89 corvette averaged 23 on a long trip with occaisional speed bursts
    my .03 cents worth
  5. G V Gordon
    Joined: Oct 29, 2002
    Posts: 5,705

    G V Gordon
    from Enid OK

    Something no one has mentioned is Fords 300 straight six. They are plentiful, good tourque characteristics, and could be made to look factory in that big old engine bay.

    Just another option, but, as has been stated. The cost of swapping for better fuel economy has to be weighed against how many REAL dollars you'll spend over the lifetime of the car on fuel.

    Had a similar conversation a number of years ago when my son wanted to trade a paid for V8 Camero for a Taurus (with a payment) to get better milage while commuting to school.
  6. Section 8
    Joined: Mar 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,050

    Section 8
    from AZ

    I had a 1974 Torino (ex-FBI undercover car- very cool!) with a 460 and 3.00 gears and dual exhaust. With the timing advanced as much as possible and 35 lbs of air in the tires, I could get 20 mpg if I kept out of the secondaries.

    I think your best bang for the buck is synthetic oil, dual exhaust, lots of timing, and a 3.00 or less gear.
  7. fef100
    Joined: Mar 24, 2007
    Posts: 168


    Go with the Edelbrock Performer/Performer Plus package. The weight of the intake alone will save you a bit (the stocker is about 100lbs). My F100 with a 360/C6 went from 9mpg to 16mpg with this package & I have a hard time keeping my foot out of it. This is in a 3990lb pickup with the aerodynamics of a warehouse, with 3.25 gears & 95lb/corner wheel/tire package. If you use a 3.00 gear & a lightweight wheel/tire combo you should be able to get 18 or better on the highway. For the best results look at an OD trans.
    Pay attention to the details, just like going faster, they all add up. 1/2mpg here & there 4 or 5 times & you have yourself 2 1/2 extra. With a few more tweaks I am hoping to get up to 19 or so, but then again, I have a hard time holding back, so I don't know if I can ever get a good reading on ultimate mileage. Good luck.
  8. If you already have the engine, I'd run a C4/C6 with a tight converter and a 3.00 gear.

    If you have no drivetrain, I'd get an EFI 302ci/AOD and run a 3.00 - 3.08 gear. The AOD's first gear is not great for acceleration so the car might feel like a bit of a turd until it gets moving.
  9. 1931S/X
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 667

    from nj

    im going from a 175 6 banger to a v8 in my essex to save on gas... sounds crazy to some but that sucker gets 12-13 mpg. its one thing to be bad on gas if its got power to back it up, but ther eis nothing i hate more than a car that has no balls and is bad on gas. i know my engine is in far from optimum shape, but i also know they didnt have fuel mileage in mind when they designed the engine. im going to shoot for 20 mpg with a rover v8, 3.55s and either a t5 or a tremec. traditional or not, i must have OD. would be nice to do better but the goal is 200 hp and 20 mpg, anything i can get over that is just an added benefit.
  10. blkcat77
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 130


    sbc with 1 belt (alternator and water pump) w/ electric fan and Q-jet.
  11. ems customer service
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,582

    ems customer service

    dump the idea of a 300cid six with f/i, great truck motors have one in a f150 with 5speed man. mpg is not great 20mpg on a long drive about 15/16 in town lots of torque for a truck. but not a revver for a rod, but they can be gotten real cheap used. and it is a tall motor and long
  12. I got a 5.0L and AOD in a 64 Galaxie 3:73 gear and a wopping 22 MPG, thats driven hard!!!!! ETHER

    Attached Files:

  13. I've got a 223/6 in my 62 f-100 and get between 15-20 mpg. Not the fastest ho in college but not the ugliest either.
  14. KustomLincolnLady
    Joined: Oct 17, 2003
    Posts: 1,020


    Well, :rolleyes: I think you could give it to me!!! I'll put my own gas in it :p:D
    I so want one, and I would really take excellent care of it!!!
  15. wyoming
    Joined: Feb 15, 2007
    Posts: 394

    from My house

    292 y block with a lumpy cam a junk teapot holley and the crapy ford o matic and 3.00 rear i got 19-21 on the highway in my 55 fairlane doing 75 or so
  16. stingbean
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 207


    Thanks for the great responses to my post. A lot of good information and educated opinions....From what you guys have posted so far, I think I'm going to see what I can do with a 390.

    Here's what I'm currently working with:
    My Starliner's VIN number calls out a 390 but somewhere along the way it ended up with a 59-60 352 sporting a 4 bbl manifold from a 64 Thunderbird(?). The engine and Cruise-a-matic currently in the car are both in need of a rebuild.

    I picked up a 390 67' Galaxie 500 to drive around for now and as a possible future engine donor for the 61' once I get my garage done and can actually work on it! (which is hopefully very soon, hence my decison to no longer just be a lurker on this board and to actually post a question)

    I like the idea of the AOD Trans (it looks like an FE/AOD adapter would run me about $750)

    As far as a 4bbl Quadrajet goes, what CFM should I be looking for? My initial internet search led me to a bunch of GM related sites, should I be looking for a Quadrajet from a similarly sized motor (396 maybe?)

    An aluminum intake manifold for weight savings sounds good. In the same line of thought maybe I could throw on a fiberglass hood and inner fenderwalls to shave a few pounds ?

    As far as wheels and tires go, I plan to run some pretty narrow radials on 15 inch steel wheels with dog dishes (going for a super stock look) so maybe I'm already in good shape there if I keep the tire pressure up.

    It looks like there are some fuel injection setups out there for FE applications, but for what they go for, gas would have to get a lot more expensive and I would need to be driving this car 100 miles a day to make it worth it:
    ....although it does look like it would hide under a stock air cleaner pretty well.

    Thanks again for all the good tips, I'll try to scan some pics of the car to post when I get a chance.
  17. nexxussian
    Joined: Mar 14, 2007
    Posts: 3,240


    For your application if you want the Q jet I would look for the Carb off a 400 SBC, Probably the closest you will get for calibration 'out of the box'.
  18. Rudebaker
    Joined: Sep 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,598

    from Illinois

    There are only 2 sizes of Q-Jet a 750 and an 800, the 800 was only found on big blocks as far as I know. Don't let the cfm rating fool you, a 750 Q-Jet can work on everything from a V-6 to a big-block, it's all in the metering rod and jet setup and how you set the secondaries. Unless you are experienced with carbs do yourself a favor and buy a good reconditioned carb and start from there. I don't mean an auto parts store rebuild either. Something like a JET Performance carb. I bought a Summit Q-Jet last year and had excellent results. Buy the elctric choke version if you need a choke otherwise adapting the choke to something not setup for divorced choke can be a nightmare. There are several different styles of Q-Jet too depending on years of manufacture. Some are better than others for certain apps. Get yourself a copy of Doug Roe's "Rochester Carburetors" and study up before even buying one, when it comes time to dial in the carb it will become your "bible".

    If you want to buy a used carb and recondition it yourself Ford actually used QuadraJets around '69-'73 on some of their larger engines. The 429's in particular and I believe a few 428's. They might be a bit hard to find today but could be helpful when hooking up linkage.
  19. The six in a tank won't get you much if any better milage then the FE.

    I was driveing a '65 Galaxie (390) when I first got on the HAMB that was getting about 18 nothin major done to make it get that just your basic tune up.

    Tell you a story just food for thought.

    I have a friend that bought a 2x4 427 Galaxie new in '65. He drove the wheels off it. Big gas crunch comes along in the '70s. So he does the right thing, drops a 2bbl 302 in it ( keeps the 4 gear), he picked up a whole mile to the gallon. Ho, hooooo.

    The difference? The High performance big block was a more efficient fuel burner than the low performance small block.

    Just something to think about.
  20. stingbean
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 207


    Thanks for the additional Quadrajet info, I'll see about getting a copy of that book.

    Here are a couple of pics of the car taken before we got started on the bodywork......

    Attached Files:

  21. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,760

    from Nebraska

    Ohhh wow, love the car! Damn. Dog dish caps, black wheels, black wall tires, black paint... killer.
  22. I was just looking in my Ford book, and it shows that Starliner as about 400 lbs heavier than an '88 T-bird (about 3600 vs about 3200), although the '88 we had was more like 3450 on the registration. I mention it only because I happened to remember that a couple times I drove that car - with the EFI 3.8 and AOD - I got close to 30 MPG out of it on the highway. I did the math three times after it came out that way the first time, because by then the car had well over 100,000 miles on it.

    So a factory EFI setup might be worth looking into, too. I don't know how much worse it would go when you add on 400-500 lbs and run at least a 302 V8, plus the less aerodynamic body style, but if you're not afraid to setup the computer for one you might be able to tweak it to get what you want.
  23. Moonglow2
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 658


    Along with the usual things like gearing etc. you can save a lot by jetting the carb to an ideal A/F ratio in cruising range using a wide range oxygen sensor and playing with timing. Several articles have appeared on this subject in Chevy High Performance.
  24. I'm with LincolnLady, if not her, I'll give it a great home!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    All good advice here, especially re: spending lots on a high tech engine with a payback taking years and years to recoup the cost of the swap with gas savings.
    One thing no one has mentioned so far: gas mileage and winning races share something in common.....don't have any more weight than necessary. Losing the back seat is one, the lighter manifolds, etc. Study your car and see what you don't need to haul around. On the positive side, back in the early '60's, Ford considered the Starliner its aerodynamic car for use on the NASCAR speedways.
    (My cousin quit drinking beer, lost 50 lbs, and picked up a couple miles per gallon in his big truck:eek:)
  25. Topless Ford
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 560

    Topless Ford

    I am having the same problem deciding what to do with my 63 Galaxie. I have at my disposal a STRONG 351M and a 302 w/aod. I really wanted to put a 351 W in it with fuel injection and AOD. I was talking with a guy at the races saturday and he said he was running one of the straight shooter in line 4 barrels on a 351C with 2v heads. He had taken off his retrofit holley pro-jection and said he was making more power with better throttle response and better economy with the new carb. Pricey I'm sure, but it is an option.
  26. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    We were talking with a guy in Richmond last year with a 390 in a white 61 Starliner. He swapped in a 5 speed OD trans and was very happy with it. I believe he went with a 3.50ish rear.

    The problem with a high 3.00 rear is the weight of the car makes it a real gas hog around town getting that heavy barge moving from the stop lights. You'll get better mileage in town with a low gear and then when you do get out on the open road the OD brings the RPMs down when the barge is cruising. It's an expensive option but it makes the car fun to drive where ever you are.

    I can't remember any specific numbers but what stuck in my head was that the mileage was very reasonable for the car and engine. It will never be an econo-box.

    What a pretty piece!
  27. parksquijada
    Joined: Aug 6, 2008
    Posts: 316

    from norcal

    my choice would be 351 windsor with rv cam, 1 1/2 " primary headers, 500-600 cfm afb (for constant velocity) 2500 stall converter/shift-kit and 3.31 gear or t-5 and 3.73. dont lug it dont nail it (alot) and get a vacuum gauge and use it allways keep it at high vacuum and downshift if vacuum starts dropping. this combo good for 20 mpg. also give synthetic fluids a try and skinny ft tires with 40 lb ft and rear....good luck dont fall for the puny motor getting good mileage in a heavy could also try these things with your 390 but i think internal friction might be more than 351.
  28. T tyme
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 47

    T tyme

    From what I have read, sounds like most of you guys are lucky with gas milage, I got a 49 ford coupe with a rebuilt 302 rv cam , 600 holley,aod trans, 355 rear gears, 25 inch tall tires, it runs at 2200 at 65 mph, and I am lucky to get 8 mpgs.
  29. LarzBahrs
    Joined: Apr 11, 2009
    Posts: 759

    from Sacramento

    Putting Fuel Injection on it might help fuel economy?
  30. Guitar Guy
    Joined: Nov 24, 2008
    Posts: 340

    Guitar Guy

    Dude if you want gas mileage you have to have some sort of fuel injection set up. Carburatoes just guzzle your gas. That and the right gear ratios. I know fuel injection isint really hamb friendly but evreyone has carbs and to be honest im an old school kinda guy but carbs are just getting old. There are so many new things out there that people are just too stubborn to try or they just dont know how to use them. The early 90's chevrolets have a nice throttle body injection that keep it looking traditional but you get all the benefits of fuel injection.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.