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'57 Thunderbird FE/AOD Transplant

 
Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 08/28/07 03:36 PM

Recently purchased a decent '57 Bird. I have a built 428 FE to put in it. My questions are: 1) What motor mounts work?, 2) What oil pan works?, 3) Which headers work?  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

'71 Ranchero, 351C, T5, daily driver
'57 Thunderbird, 462ci FE, AOD!

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Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 10/16/08 10:41 AM

It's been over a year, no reply. Anybody out there seen one?  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

'71 Ranchero, 351C, T5, daily driver
'57 Thunderbird, 462ci FE, AOD!

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fair67driver
User
Posts: 161
Joined: 03/08
Posted: 10/16/08 11:53 AM

I have never seen one myself, but it should be a killer combo. It is a real possibility that you may have to do some fabrication yourself for some of these items. Sorry, I'm not much help on T-birds.  
1967 Fairlane 289-4v auto...for now
1967 Galaxie 500 302-soon to be 534
2007 Mustang
1979 F-250 EXT CAB
4X4
2006 Taurus

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Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 10/16/08 06:01 PM

I've got the 428 stroker engine, & the rearend - det. locker diff with 3:50 gears - 31 spline moser axles done. The front disk brake conversion is done and works great. I've installed heavy duty front & rear sway bars.
I'm currently saving up for the PA or Lentech AOD, and headers from FPA. (I could use a little cooperation from the stock market.) I've talked to 2 individuals who've done the swap that took 2 different routes. Both used a top loader 4 speed with T-Birds that were stick shift cars. I'm an old fart with bad knees and I don't want to deal with a clutch. I'm hoping there's enough room for the AOD without cutting the X frame. I'm trying to keep the car/frame as original as possible.  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

'71 Ranchero, 351C, T5, daily driver
'57 Thunderbird, 462ci FE, AOD!

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waynep712
New User
Posts: 42
Joined: 05/08
Posted: 10/16/08 10:34 PM

my thoughts go to which adaptor you are going to use to mate the AOD to the FE motor....

i seem to recall seeing super bell type bellhousings  to do the job...

they might have been on the quicktimeinc.com web site...

advance adaptors?????  

as for wedging the FE in where the Y block came out of...


i was researching a 272 boat motor for a friend..  seems there are a lot of Y block options right now..  and everything bolts up.....  

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Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 10/21/08 07:28 PM

There's a lot to be said for leaving the Y-block in place. They can be modified to a streetable 340-360hp for a price (I could sell the FE to pay for the mods to the Y-block). There is an adaptor available to hook an AOD to the Y-block ($600). The Y-block with the dress up items is a good looking engine. The car could look completely stock even at 340-360hp.

I'm from the "There's no replacement for displacement" school of thinking. I believe the torque of a 462ci stroker FE just can't be beat.

I could sell the Y-block/Ford-O-Matic to pay for the AOD although I think I'll hang onto it. I have the 462ci stroker done, with Blue Thunder aluminum heads, Techline ceramic metalic coatings on the pistons, combustion chambers, valve faces, exhaust runners, FPA shorty headers and 8V medium riser dual plane intake. The coatings theoreticaly will make the 11.5CR easier to cool and more pump gas tolerant. It remains to be seen if that works out. It's about 50lbs lighter than the Y-block. It's set up to generate 550+hp below 5800RPM with over 500 lbs ft torque available 2000-5000RPM. The biggest obstacles left are the oil pan, fitting an AOD (the overdrive is required for long distance touring which ever engine is used), and cooling the FE (cooling the even the stock Y-block is currently an issue).

Lentec and Performance Automatic both have bellhousings to hook an AOD to an FE ($500). A 4X4 rear sump modified with wings & baffles for additional capacity may work. I'm leaning towards a triple pass Griffin aluminum radiator/pusher fan in front with engine fan/stock shroud and an external B&M oil/trans cooler with its own fan hidden down low. It can look like Ford would have done it. Don't you think the '58 T-bird should have been a 2 seater with the 352 FE as an option?  

Set up with the stroker FE/AOD, it should be a blast to drive. If it overheats during a 4th of July parade, it's no worse than it is now. It should stand out at car shows, particularly T-bird shows. It'll drive the purists nuts.  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

'71 Ranchero, 351C, T5, daily driver
'57 Thunderbird, 462ci FE, AOD!

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kemb
New User
Posts: 2
Joined: 10/08
Posted: 10/22/08 04:54 PM

MY 57T-BIRD( WHICH NO LONGER HAVE )WAS GIVEN A TRANSPLANT  BACK IN THE 70S .THE MOTOR 390 AND 4SPD TRANS CAME OUT OF 66 MERCURY COMET. THE SWAP WAS EASY USED SAME MOTOR AND TRANS MOUNT FROM THE 66.OIL PAN STOCK .HEADERS  FOR A 67-68 MUSTANG 390.ON USING THE A O D YOUR TRANS MOUNT AND DRIVE SHAFT NEEDS FABRICATION TO FIT. HOPE THIS HELPS YOU  IT WOULD BE COOL  

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gford
New User
Posts: 5
Joined: 12/07
Posted: 02/23/09 04:36 AM

I have an AOD behind a Windsor. The AOD fits without modification of the floor I did have to do a little grinding on the back edge of the reinforcing plate on top of the x in the frame. I also had to fabricate a trans x member.  

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expertcarguy
New User
Posts: 1
Joined: 09/09
Posted: 09/04/09 05:31 PM

What oil pan did you use?  It looks like a rear sump pan is required to clear the front x member and steering linkage.  Most later Ford engines excluding the 4.6 have front sump pans with the exception of some having a small sump in front and a big one in the rear like the 5.0 Mustangs.  I'd like to use a 351W in my 57 Thunderbird with an AOD but I'm not sure it will fit.

I have heard that this is a common swap but have never seen it done.  One guy told me that the front sump will go ahead of the X member but Ford has a really long water pump and so I doubt this will work.  Is there enough hood clearance to put the front pan over the steering linkage?

I know that I can put a Chevy engine in, but I'd rather stay with a Ford and preferably a more modern engine than the 312.

Any advice on this swap will be helpful. What engine and auto trans will fit best in my 57 bird?  

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fordmeister
New User
Posts: 2
Joined: 03/08
Posted: 09/23/09 04:35 AM

for ease of a overdrive unit i installed a gearvender over/under drive unit in my 71 mustang 429 cj because i wanted to decrease rpm & increase fuel economy. i had thought about aod,5-speeds,6-speeds but i really liked the c-6 trans & looks of the stock shifter.so after considering the cost of transmission swap either aod or manual i decided on the gearvender and halve not looked back.it gives me a overdrive when i want it,witch lowers rpm by about 800 rpm plus the ability to spilt any gear witch is a helluva lot of fun and sounds cool under full throttle,when splitting gears the engine does not lose that many rpm's so it always pulls in the power band.it has to be the most fun bolt on i have put on the car in the 27 years i have owned it.the best part is they make an adapter for just about any transmissin auto or standard it to about a day or less to install with only having to either shorten my drive shaft or building a new one.i had a new one built encase i want to go back to just a stock trans.  

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JimNolan
New User
Posts: 1
Joined: 11/09
Posted: 11/03/09 02:50 PM

Birdman,
 I usually don't join forums just to give advice but here goes. I have a 57 Ford Fairlane 500 with a 390 fe engine, tremec tko 600 transmission and a 9 inch 3.70 posi. At a car show this year I saw a 57 TBird with a 428 ci motor and automatic transmission a man built for his wife. It was the weirdest engine transplant I've ever seen. The front of the engine was sticking in the air like it was getting ready to rotate. He had enough fans on this contraption to cool the High School Gymnasium.
 My engine is elevated slightly but I didn't want to cut the transmission hump. If you didn't know what it was supposed to look like you wouldn't notice it. But keep in mind to do what you want to do to your TBird you've got some serious hump cutting to make it presentable. Jim  

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Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 01/14/10 03:58 PM

The swap is progressing slowly. The economy got in the way; but finally starting to recover.

I just picked up my oil pan today. Had my Canton roadrace front sump sliced just under the mounting flange, turned around to put the sump in the rear and welded back together. I'm going to use a Peterson or moroso external wet sump pump driven by the crank snout with a remote filter and cooler. The pickup will come out the driverside of the pan. This will allow the front of the FE to sit down right where the 312 does. I'm fabricating a front mount to bolt to the timing cover simulating the Y-block Tbird/truck front mount. The FE is about 1.5" taller above the crank so will be close on carb clearance with the MR 2X4. I'm trying to finish by April for the cruising season. I'm waiting on the PA AOD before starting the 312 Ford-O-Matic R&R. Did I mention I'm an old fart. Got to get this thing done so my wife & I can enjoy it before we get so stiff we can't bend over to get in it.

There's a site (Second Chance Garage) where an AOD was put behind a Y-block in a '55 Bird using a 2" Bendtzen adapter. They cut a notch in the X frame to maintain the proper angle between the trans and pinion. Didn't mention any surgery to the tunnel. I think I can do the same thing if required.

The Sunbeam Tiger Club guys have an interesting site on cooling issues. They have tight engine compartments with tiny radiators to deal with. I'm hoping the solutions they recommend will be effective on my Bird so I can run AC when it's 100. I'm using metalic ceramic coatings on piston crowns, combustion chamber surfaces, valve faces and exhaust runners to try to keep the heat where it can be effective in making power instead of heating the water. I plan to use aux fans on the oil cooler & trans fluid cooler.

Thanks for all the input. Keep it coming I need all the help I can get!  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

'71 Ranchero, 351C, T5, daily driver
'57 Thunderbird, 462ci FE, AOD!

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gford
New User
Posts: 5
Joined: 12/07
Posted: 01/19/10 12:22 PM

I had some cooling issues but they had to do with my h2o pump. Now with that solved Iam sitting on the thermostat.Iam running a 393 c.i.windsor with the stock 3 row 55 t bird radiator and a 17 in elec fan. I think the tightest diminsion is trying to get the stock hood to close.  

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auto.guru
New User
Posts: 19
Joined: 01/10
Posted: 01/21/10 04:46 PM

just cut a hole in the hood.. then youll have enough space =D  
--------------------------------------
1981 Mustang Cobra \ 1971 5.0L 302 V8 bored 30"

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Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 01/25/10 04:55 PM

Icon Quotegford:
I had some cooling issues but they had to do with my h2o pump. Now with that solved Iam sitting on the thermostat.Iam running a 393 c.i.windsor with the stock 3 row 55 t bird radiator and a 17 in elec fan. I think the tightest diminsion is trying to get the stock hood to close.

gford, Curious what compression you're running? Is your electric fan one of the aftermarket or a Ford Tarus/Mark VIII? Are you running an aux. trans cooler in addition to the radiator loop? Did you use a 4X4 oil pan? Did you get the hood to close?

My friend with the center oiler,low rise 2X4 FE '57 modified a front sump FE pan by moving the sump to the back and building a box in the front to just clear a Melling high volume pump. He's using the 2X4 oval aluminum air cleaner with the smallest available filter element, 1" I believe. He clears the hood by about 1/8" and the steering mechanism by about 1/4" It's got marks on the hood and the pan where it touches now and then. I believe the FE is taller than the 351W depending which intake you're using.

My better half has requested no engine parts or tires sticking out of the body work. I'm planning on 2 individual cobra style round air cleaners to get the Medium Riser carbs under the stock scoop.  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

'71 Ranchero, 351C, T5, daily driver
'57 Thunderbird, 462ci FE, AOD!

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