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'57 Thunderbird FE/AOD Transplant

 
Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 11/19/11 10:57 AM

Not all blue skies & sun shine. Numerous small issues including fuel percolation (I added a return line to the tank), bad coil (Auto Zone replaced the Accel coil under warranty), the electric fuel pump developed erratic pressure & was really noisy (replaced it with a Holley billet geo-rotor, MUCH quieter)and metal shavings in the Speed Demon internal circuits (tear down, clean out and shoot with compressed air). The 3 tube stock radiator was completely inadequate as the ambient temps got into the 80-90 deg range. I replaced the radiator the 1st part of August with an aluminum Griffin 2 row 1 1/4" tube. It seemed to run about 12-15deg cooler but a persistent miss continued. A compression test indicated weak #3 & 4 cylinders. Dis-assembly revealed a failed head gasket. Guess I let it get too warm.

The heads are milled and assembled. Haven't got them put back on yet. While I have it apart, I'm upgrading the exhaust to 3" tubing with Spin trap mufflers to let it exhale. I'm coating the manifolds to take a little heat out from under the hood.

A less than satisfying '11 cruising season.  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

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

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MustangMan
Moderator
Posts: 588
Joined: 07/06
Posted: 11/21/11 06:17 AM

Sorry to hear of your issues, but it sounds like you got a good handle on everything and some projects to keep you busy this fall. You'll have it all sorted out and ready to let 'er rip come spring! Thanks for the update!

Mark  
Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager
Mustang Monthly Magazine

1965 FFR Roadster 427W/TKO-600 5-speed
1966 Mustang 289-4V/C4 Auto
1968 Mustang 4.6L Three-Valve/5R55S Auto
1990 Mustang 306/AOD
2002 Explorer Sport Trac 4.0L V-6/5R55 Auto
2005 F-150 4x2 4.2L V-6/4R70W Auto

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Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 03/18/12 09:13 PM

Fired up and runnin' on all 8! Still on jack stands. Wife says, "THAT'S TOO LOUD!" She's right, of course. It's like being inside a bass drum and it would drive us nuts in 30 miles. 3" Spin Tech mufflers and turn downs in front of the axle won't cut it. More quiet must be installed. Maybe some glass packs for resonators, tail pipes to just inside the bumper, then turn downs would sufficiently mitigate the din. An X pipe would be ideal, but there's no room due to the X in the frame.

Any suggestions?  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

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

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MustangMan
Moderator
Posts: 588
Joined: 07/06
Posted: 03/19/12 09:44 AM

Spin Techs are good mufflers, but they are indeed on the loud side. Perhaps change out the Spin Techs with DynoMax Super Turbos or other "turbo" muffler. Adding tailpipes will help for sure and if there's room at the rear some resonators.

I know you don't have to add them and they can be a bit spendy, but adding catalytic converters up front will help din the roar as well too.

Good to hear an update!
Mark
.  
Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager
Mustang Monthly Magazine

1965 FFR Roadster 427W/TKO-600 5-speed
1966 Mustang 289-4V/C4 Auto
1968 Mustang 4.6L Three-Valve/5R55S Auto
1990 Mustang 306/AOD
2002 Explorer Sport Trac 4.0L V-6/5R55 Auto
2005 F-150 4x2 4.2L V-6/4R70W Auto

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Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 03/19/12 05:49 PM

Hadn't thought of cats, but the space up front of the X member is really tight also. I'll have to look into that. I had a co-worker that ran cats with 2 1/2" pipes no mufflers at all on a hemi Dodge pickup that sounded good. I had 2 1/2" Super Turbos on a '61 Galaxie with an X pipe. It was very quiet, but I think only small Flow Master & Spin Tech fit the space. There is room for an 18" glass pack behind the axle in front of the bumper. I'll round up some 2 1/2" pipe & mock it up for comparison. Thanks for the suggestions.  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

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

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Birdzilla
New User
Posts: 2
Joined: 01/11
Posted: 03/30/12 08:44 PM

Sorry, Wrong log in. Blush  
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Birdzilla - Thunderbird Heretic
'71, Ranchero, 351C, T5, daily driver
'57 Thunderbird, 462ci FE, AOD...finally.

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Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 03/31/12 07:27 AM

The 3" Spin Techs were too loud even with 2 1/2" pipes & the 8" Cherry Bombs. I scrapped all the 3" stuff I did, took it to Mountain Muffler & had them bend up a 2 1/2" system from the manifolds back. They had a selection of Flowmaster, Super Turbo and Magnaflow. The stainless Magnaflows were the most expensive but sounded the best to my ear.  They mounted the Magnaflows behind the big X cross member, where the stock resonators had been, and 22" glass packs for resonators inside the quarter panel with a turn down under the bumper. It's still fairly loud behind the car. Inside, it's at least as quiet as stock, the resonance is gone and there's less heat transfer to the interior because the mufflers are positioned behind the seat (hope it's not melting the convertible top). I didn't spring for mandrel bent because it cost so much more for the extra labor cost of fitting the mandrel bent sections and welding. They did nice work. It doesn't leak or rattle, and can't be seen hanging under the car. A big improvement over my work!

My wife and I took it for a cruise tonight. It was quiet enough she heard her mobile phone ring, answered it, and carried on a conversation without shouting. The radio was clear enough she recognized songs and I could hear her singing along so it passed the wife test. Only cost most of $1000 and 20+ hp, but if the wife is happy, isn't it worth it?    Wink

"I'm a man...but I can change...if I have to...I guess." The Possum Lodge Man's Prayer from The Red Green Show  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

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

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MustangMan
Moderator
Posts: 588
Joined: 07/06
Posted: 04/02/12 06:19 AM

Glad to hear it passed the wife test. If she won't get in the car and go to events with you, the car becomes the "mistress" or "other woman". Enjoy your peace and solitude now! LOL

Mark  
Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager
Mustang Monthly Magazine

1965 FFR Roadster 427W/TKO-600 5-speed
1966 Mustang 289-4V/C4 Auto
1968 Mustang 4.6L Three-Valve/5R55S Auto
1990 Mustang 306/AOD
2002 Explorer Sport Trac 4.0L V-6/5R55 Auto
2005 F-150 4x2 4.2L V-6/4R70W Auto

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MyGalB66
New User
Posts: 1
Joined: 04/12
Posted: 04/04/12 10:30 AM

Hi from Canada, just new to this site and first time at this forum.
Tbird-dg thanks for the great chronical of your FE implant in that T-bird.. man I wish I'da come across this back when you started the project, I'm coming to the close of an PA AOD conversion to my 66 Galaxie convertible. I've been a motor mechanic since I was a kid so it was fun installing and setting up the tranny, behind the original 390. I have another 390 .060 over on a stand in the garage awaiting the last few pieces for assembly, and there is my project for next winter to install that engine.
Question for you: did you find a solution to cover the flywheel yet? The bellhousing on my AOD doesn't lend itself to the old inspection cover does yours?
Great work I'd say, many thanks for the documentation! And thanks to those who chimed in along the way fer sure! Ok, off to the garage  =]  
Anything that turns gas into noise is gonna be fun!
Ralph Medd

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Tbird-dg
User
Posts: 55
Joined: 08/07
Posted: 04/05/12 11:51 AM

@ Ralph, Welcome to the Forum! It's been a source of good ideas for me. I installed a smaller inspection plate from, maybe a y-block on the bellhousing to provide front support for a metal screen. I just drilled & tapped some 1/4" holes to screw it on. Then decided I would fabricate a fiber glass cover. I haven't got it done yet.

1300 miles on the PA AOD so far and its worked well. The .67 overdrive makes highway driving much more pleasant!

Did you use the motor plate on your installation?  
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Tbird-dg - Thunderbird Heretic

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

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Tbirdg
New User
Posts: 6
Joined: 10/15
Posted: 10/23/15 09:00 AM

If anyone is still following this saga, a trip to Lake Havasu via Route 66 last spring ended with the engine blowing oil out the PCV Valve Fitting, the Valve Cover Breather, and the dipstick tube. Broken ring land on 1 piston and hammered bearings. The autopsy blamed "detonation" for the ring land and a poor balance job for the bearings (8oz off). We had only put about 4000 miles on the engine. After consulting with my lovely wife Pat, a rebuild was comissioned, with a more pump gas friendly 9.5:1 compression and a less radical Comp Cams Magnum 282S (236* @ .050) cam.
Doug of Doug's Balancing, a shop specializing in FEs for decades, argued convincingly that using race parts in a street engine rarely produces a reliable touring combination. I'm don't remember why I thought it would.  

While the engine is out, I'm installing a Unisteer Rack & Pinion kit so there's room for a proper set of long tube headers to let this thing exhale with the additional benefits of tighter steering and less weight. Probably setting myself up for failure because Unisteer's kit is for a stock application. I'll document it at "Rack & Pinion for a '57 Bird" on this Forum  Smirk  

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