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Plan A: 3.7-to-Pushrod V8 in a base 2012 V6 Coupe

Build Page Started!



Before We Begin

Let's not kid ourselves. This swap is nowhere near being street legal in most of the United States. Since my own belief system probably doesn't align with all the nervous ninnies out there, let's just say I'm acknowledging your concerns, but I am in no way hampered or swayed by them, so STFU about it. Besides, this is NOT going to be a daily-driver - eventually.

The feasibility of this swap is also not a topic of discussion. Yes, I know I can just go out and buy get a GT and have a smooth-running almost worry free experience. However, I'd still be dogged by having a computer control the engine, meaning someone else is going to have to tune or fix it. Personally, I don't care for that aspect of modern cars, even if the primary benefits are better mileage and cleaner air. If you honestly just want a V8 car and you have no screaming internal and baseless need to "do-it-yourself", by all means, go out and buy a GT. You could be driving that V8 by the end of the day. However, if you're the kind of person that wants to do something just for the sake of doing it, stick around because we are kindred spirits.

Cost is not a concern either, and shouldn't really be brought up, even in casual conversation. I know it's going to be expensive (and I even knew that before I added up all the parts costs). Judicious shopping can net you reasonable deals on most of the parts listed below. I will be getting pretty much everything from Summit because I think I can save a good chunk of change on their "free-shipping on all orders over $99" deal.

Finally, you have two options regarding the computers in the car - retain them with an eye on somehow interfacing them with the engine/transmission so that the OEM gauge cluster will work, and you'll get the creature comforts that go along with them (air bags, seatbelt warning, HVAC, ignition switch/key working, and that kind if stuff), or go all the way, rip out all computer-related wiring and rewire everything under the dashboard and hood, and possibly go with a push-button startup sequence (very "racecar", by the way). Both approaches have their pros/cons, but replacing the gauge cluster will add several hundred dollars to the build to replace the speedo and tach. I see both approaches as being equally troublesome, but I have decided to try to retain the OEM instrument cluster, which means i have to keep the ECU.

The list of parts and concerns that follows will be as exhaustive as I can make it. If you're more interested in upgrading to a Coyote 5.0, I have a page for that as well.

Starting Point, and Overall Plan

First, my inspiration. The following video features a 2006 V6 that had a 460 swapped into it. There's also a guy running around with a Boss 429 in an early S197. My build won't be quite so radical as that, but still, you gotta hear this thing to see what I'm after...


then, I found out there was a guy in Houston thsat put a 427w into an early S197. He even sells a video of the process. He has a few videos of his car on Youtube, but this is the one that made me sit up and take notice.

My starting point is a base 2012 V6 coupe with a 3.7 liter Cyclone motor and an automatic transmission. My desire is to install a stroker pushrod engine with 6-speed manual transmission into the car. I started out being more "budget-conscious", and had decided to go with a stock 351w block bored/stroked to 408ci. However the security of a 4-bolt main and priority main oiling convinced me to get a Dart block, which meant I could go to 427ci for no more money than a 408 would cost using the same block. You know what they say - "There's no replacement for displacement." Besides, it's gonna be much cooler to say "it's a 427" than "it's a 408".

What's Involved?

There are several related systems that also have to be considered. To keep this swap as simple as possible, I have not included retaining the air conditioning, mostly because I think A/C wouldn't do anything but rob power from the motor and in a show car, it ain't exactly necessary (or pretty). Besides, it clutters up the engine bay. On a side note, I'm gonna keep the A/C lines/condesner in the car just in case the brutal Texas summer wears me down.)

  • Engine
  • Exhaust
  • Transmission
  • Cooling
  • Electrical
  • Fuel Delivery
  • Power Steering
  • Instrumentation

You may have noticed that I didn't mention suspension, brakes, or rear end. The reason is because all of those components are not necessary to perform the engine swap, and mostly because in my case, all that stuff is already done. This means that as long as you drive with these components' somewhat less than optimum suitability in mind, you should be fine until you get around to upgrading them.


Anticipated Issues

There are several potential trouble spots when you start talking about putting a carb'ed motor into a S197, but I'm lucky in that a number of those have already been resolved by trail blazers that walked the walk before I came along. Below you'll see answers to most/all of those potential problems.

  • Mounting the engine - I was anticipating issues, but there are actually three choices here, FRPP adapter brackets ($200), BMR KM012 K-member (specifically engineered to put Windsor motor into S197), and motor plates. You really only need motor plates if you're going with something OTHER than a T56 or OEM 6-speed transmission (such as for a dedicated drag racing applcation where you'd probably be using a 2-speed auto).

  • Shifter position - This was resolved by selecting a T56 6-speed manual transmission because a 5-speed (T5) is too short to position the shifter in the correct spot (it's 6-7 inches shorter than the T56). Remember, I'm swapping out the entire power train (my car is currently an automatic). If you're not doing the same thing, this may still an issue for your application. IMHO, you should replace the OEM transmission anyway, but that's entirely up to you.

  • Throttle - I have to convert from drive-by-wire to cable-actuated throttle. This will be accomplished with Fox-body gas pedal, and either an OEM or Lokar cable.

  • Power steering - the 2011+ has electronic power steering, and it's function appears to be based on whether the engine is running. If you haven't seen it, the EPAS is a huge rack, and we will have to modify it both to mount on the K-member and to clear the oil pan. We're not sure if it's even possible to modify it enough to fit, but we're gonna give it a shot. Failing that, we have two options - a) a Flaming river manual steering rack, or b) a complete 2005-2010 hyrdaulic setup. Both options will cost about the same, so the money involved isn't really a deciding factor. The guys at the shop seem to think a manual steering rack will be adequate, but other folks say a S197 needs power steering due to its weight. Back in the 80's I had a '65 fastback with manual steering, and it weighed about the same as the S197, and I had no problems with steering at all, so I'm leaning toward the manual rack option.

  • Converting from auto to manual trans - The clutch and brakes in the S197 share the same master cylinder, and my reservoir doesn't have the appropriate fittings, so I have to replace the it. I also have to obtain a clutch/brake pedal assembly. After weeks of searching, I finally found the part number for the pedal, but I might be able to get one from a salvage yard.

  • A/C - at this time, I do not plan on retaining the A/C in the car. I know, south Texas plus no A/C means hell, but I'll see if I can't work with it. In case I puss-out, I'm leaving the OEM A/C lines in the car, and plan on getting a 94 A/C compressor and get Vintage Air to hook it to the OEM lines.

  • Alternator - I'll be using the highest amp-rated unit I can find, and will use March brackets for it, mostly because OEM brackets are pretty much as ugly as Ford could have made them.

  • Instrumentation - The plan is to retain the OEM cluster.

  • HVAC controls - They *should* still work, even without the ECU, but ya just never know till you get there.

The Engine

I had originally planned to simply buy a crate motor, and call it a day, but when it comes right down to it, it makes a lot more sense for me to have an engine built locally. For that reason, I list all of the individual parts that I'm planning on getting. My target is at least 450hp at the rear wheels, and around 10.5:1 compression ratio. With the piston/head combination I've chosen, the resulting compression ratio should be about 10.5:1.

I considered building the motor for E85, but gas stations with E85 are still too few and far between, meaning I would probably have to bring the fuel with me if I attended a track-day event. Besides, I can build the motor cheaper if I run gas, and when E85 becomes more available, all I need to do is swap out the carb (and possibly the fuel pressure regulator) and I'll be good to go.

I'm going to be having a local shop (South Texas Performance) do the engine install for me, and CMT (Central Texas Motrosports) will actually build the engine. He even said I could come down and assist, which is great because i figure I can learn a thing or two or three.

Compression Ratio Calculator
Carburetor Size Calculator

The Parts

The following list show the parts that are remaining to be ordered.

Bottom End
Description Manufacturer Source Price
Water pump bolts Other Other $20.00
Engine Assembly CTM Summit Racing $1200.00
TOTAL$1220.00

Top End
Description Manufacturer Source Price
Pushrods UNK Summit Racing $150.00
TOTAL$150.00

Ignition
Description Manufacturer Source Price
#BKR7E Spark plugs (8x) NGK Other $25.00
TOTAL$25.00

Miscellaneous
Description Manufacturer Source Price
Thermostat UNK Other $10.00
TOTAL$10.00

Transmission
Description Manufacturer Source Price
Shifter boot Ford Tousley Ford $35.00
Custom driveshaft N/A Other $500.00
TOTAL$535.00

Exhaust
Description Manufacturer Source Price
Custom pipes Local Shop Other $250.00
TOTAL$250.00