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Vintage tow car powerplant choice

Discussion in 'The Antiquated' started by Roothawg, May 15, 2018.

  1. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    I am really needing to do something about the Y block in my 55 Customline. I am getting ready to set it up to pull my Avalair trailer. I want the power to pull the trailer, but I want reliability. I am at an age where the wife has endured 30+ years of projects etc. She's ready to travel in the 55. Who am I to argue? She says source a new powerplant for the tow car, so I am looking into my options.

    1. Rebuild the Y-Expensive overhaul- Would require an adapter for the OD transmission-Very little modification to retain, Parts availability on the road limited

    2. Replace with FE 390 -Expensive overhaul- Would require an adapter for the OD transmission-Parts availability on the road limited, gas mileage is minimal.

    3. 302 Roller motor-Better gas mileage, reliable- Less grunt for pulling trailer-AOD will go behind it with no adapter, Parts are more available

    4. 351W Roller motor- Average gas mileage, reliable- More grunt for pulling trailer-AOD will go behind it with no adapter, Parts are more available, Takes up a little more space, exhaust is an issue.

    This is just some of the ideas bouncing around in my ADHD head.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  2. porkshop
    Joined: Jan 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,686

    porkshop
    Member
    from Clovis Ca

    Root, I would go with #3. I have one going in my 69 F100 And have used them in older F100s and towed alot of weight with them all over the western states....
     
  3. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    I'm torn. I dunno what to do.
     
  4. Take a clue from the ECO boost.
    Smaller cube 302 with some boost and you'll have everything you want or need.
     
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  5. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    Man, I don't know squat about boost. I have a chance to buy a fresh rebuild on a 68 302 with a lumpy cam. Jut not sure how that would pull the trailer. Don't know if the roller block is worth waiting for.
     
  6. The lumpy cam can do fine if the gears are right but it's not the best. Low end torque, high manifold vacuum, and good exhaust physics.
     
  7. porkshop
    Joined: Jan 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,686

    porkshop
    Member
    from Clovis Ca

    I'm running a roller ho 302 fuel injection and all. Bone stock. I've pulled a 61 Buick lesabre up the grapevine into La at 60 mph with no problem. I don't know what the trailer weight is but I think k you would be fine. And there is aftermarket harness available so its plug and play....
     
  8. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    Mine is light. It's all aluminum. Its 1890#.
     
  9. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 2,218

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    I'd go with a roller cam 302 or 351W. FI is nice, but a carb is easy. With the right years for the AOD you can pull and have mileage too.
     
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  10. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    I'm researching the overdrive option. Wondering if I can fit a 4R70W in the tunnel of a 55 Customline? I was looking for a 351W Roller block, but apparently the Ford guys love them...
     
  11. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,109

    wicarnut
    Member

    Speaking from 20+ years of towing race car trailers of different types, using different type of tow vehicles, including enclosed box style like you are talking about, Torque is your friend and what you need as the wind resistance is the problem more so than the weight of trailer. IMO you want cubic inches which will provide torque needed , the last thing for trailer towing is a hi-performance small block. A stock BB Ford is your best choice IMO. This advice comes from 20+ years and around 150/200K miles of chasing down the road living the dream. LOL Obviously a diesel is the best choice for towing, thinking not a good choice for your 55 customline, Note ! good gas mileage/towing never happens, yesterday/today/tomorrow. Good Luck, Be Safe, Have Fun !
     
  12. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    I had pondered a 460, but figured that would be a super pain. The car will be driven more without a trailer than with, but I want the option to pull it and not pull it's guts out in the process. I am pulling it now with a 5.4 and it isn't much of a challenge until I get to about 11K feet or grades that last a mile or two. I like 390's, but they literally get 8-10 mpg no matter how you drive them. I have been leaning towards the 351W roller block the most. Grab something out of a van etc. Throw a small towing cam in it and leave it mostly stock.
     
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  13. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,109

    wicarnut
    Member

    At one time I had a Ford 1 Ton king cab PU with a 460, 4:10 gear, great tow vehicle, Only truck I ever had that you could pass someone as wanted/needed w/ trailer on, 8/10 mpg, towing 4/5/6/ mpg. it came w/2 gas tanks. I had a 5.4 ford in a 2001 Ford Expedition 4 speed OD tranny, nice vehicle, terrible gas mileage, 7/8 mpg towing 18' box trailer w/Roadster in it, 12 city, 14/15 mpg on it's best day with a tailwind downhill @ 70 mph. Good performance with enough torque to do the job, here in the Midwest, no big hills, or altitude changes. Had 2 friends that bought the Ford Excursions for tow vehicles, 10 cyl engines, work great, but again 8/10 mpg w/or w/o trailer. Towing and Gas mileage are tough to accomplish. I never succeeded, probably should have bought a diesel truck for towing. All of my Trucks, SUVs were my Company vehicle used for PU and delivery of work I performed. I personally do not like diesel trucks, but they have their place especially in trailer towing. The nostalgia camping deal is big here and growing around the country I believe.
     
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  14. Gray Ford
    Joined: Oct 18, 2008
    Posts: 285

    Gray Ford
    Member
    from Illinois

    Just a thought .....Or two......
    The 351 roller block will fit without major hassle & bolt up to your current O/D trans ...
    Exhaust & minor changes are normal with any changeover ...
    OE heads should be adequate for your application ..
    An RV/Tow cam is correct.....
    NOW...Here's my thought ...
    Anything that you get should be re-built before the long distance operation that you are expecting ...
    You will need to overhaul the lower end ....
    Have you thought of this ???
    Using this assembly for the overhaul will give you 396"...WITH decent mileage & torque out the wazoo.....( Just keep the cam mild )
    Again .....Just my .02......


    www.speedwaymotors.com/Speedway-Small-Block-Ford-396-Stroker-Kits-H-Beam-Rods,29458.html
     
  15. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    I plan on building it from the ground up, so I am counting on that expense. Anything I do is a major undertaking since the car is a 272/3 speed car now. I'll be swapping motor, tranny and rear end. This will be a dual duty car. Mild 60's styled custom and tow rig. 80% of the time it will be a cruiser.

    I have read a lot of bad things about the 351W blocks cracking in the cam bearing area, so I am avoiding that. I like the idea of a 390/AOD. I talked with Royboy today and he is getting 18 mpg with his 63 with this setup. He does have the FITech EFI conversion though.

    I have a lead on a 68 model 302 that's built and ready to go. I just don't know if it has the oomph to pull a trailer with AOD.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  16. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,152

    williebill
    Member

    Ever considered a big inch Caddy or even a nailhead ?
    Big torque monsters.
     
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  17. Roger O'Dell
    Joined: Jan 21, 2008
    Posts: 931

    Roger O'Dell
    Member

  18. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 2,218

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    You're not going to be using OD while pulling a trailer unless it's super light or you're on level ground. I tried using OD in my 4.6 F150 with a car on the trailer, it was constantly shifting in and out of OD. Haven't tried it with my current 5.4 F150, but figure it would be about the same. OD is for cruising around.
     
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  19. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    I use the OD in my 2002 F150 constantly while pulling trailers. I have the 5.4 and it's not a big deal. When I get in the higher elevations, I shift out of the OD, just to keep the temps down, but I have 125K total on the truck and probably 75K with a trailer attached. So far , so good.

    Anytime I have a tranny built, I tell the builder to build it to pull trailers. No excuses from them if it burns up. The Avalair isn't a heavy trailer, so it shouldn't be an issue and it's not like I am gonna hook up the 55 to a CAT D9 and drag it around. :)
     
  20. Just for shits and giggles-
    That monster caddy 500 had 235hp and 365 TQ at 2400 rpm


    Yes there's a bunch of OT electronics BS in this rascal but they get 213 cubic inches to deliver 450 Hp & 510 lb-ft torque at 3500 rpm. 2 coconut sized turbos
    image.png
     
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  21. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    Dang. That's impressive. If only I could find one in a salvage yard....
    No doubt boost is the way to go. The old lady's 2017 Lincoln has a 2.0 with Boost and it has a top speed of 155 or so they say.
     
  22. I'd have to find out.
     
  23. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    It will do 110 and it feels like 70.
    That I can verify.
     
  24. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 2,218

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    Yeah, I figure the 5.4 does a better job than the 4.6 my first truck had. It wasn't bad, but ran out of wind on long pulls. I forgot I did pull one car on my trailer with the 5.4 truck, a 2000 something Buick full size car, the 5.4 didn't know it was back there. I was more worried about the 40 + year old bias ply tires on the trailer popping than anything else. I think mine has around 135,000 on it, doesn't get driven much, I think I have put just about 10,000 miles on it in three years.....
     
  25. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 2,956

    anthony myrick
    Member
    from al

    a stock 500 cad rebuild had this dyno result
    493.5 Lb-Ft at 2600 RPM and 302.1 HP at 3600.
    stock intake, carb, and cam
    8:1 comp engine
    the only mods were an overbore and better springs
     
  26. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 2,956

    anthony myrick
    Member
    from al

    I replaced the FE in my OT truck with 302
    I miss the 352
    it got better mpg and towed a lot better
     
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  27. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 17,835

    Roothawg
    Member

    I have sourced a 5.0 out of a 1999 Exploder with the GT40P heads and roller cam. I'll re cam it and change the old cast aluminum EFI intake. The Explorer was rated at 5600# tow weight. I figure my trailer fully loaded is around 2200#, so this should be sufficient.
     
  28. X2 and the earlier 10:1 motor was a bunch more than that.
     
    lothianwilly71 likes this.
  29. That is what I have in my 61wagon. Pulls great.
     

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