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Old 11-28-2009, 03:37 PM   #1
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Default Price 5.0 vs LS1 / Ease of Install

Hello everyone, I've had my 1990 miata since 2001, and in those 8 years, have gone through 2 stock motors, and am currently running a 97 1.8, and custom T25 turbo setup at 12psi. I have all kinds of crap in the car: AEM EMS, front mount, custom downpipe charge pipes, 94 rear end with torsen, etc etc. I'm happy with the car, but for some reason I want to do a big motor swap on it. It could be that I see the motor just vaporizing itself, where as a stock V8 will be putting out more power and torque then I currently make.

So I'm looking at the possibility of just selling all my junk, and going head first into a v8 swap. I primarily use the car for drag racing at local tracks, and just in general for having fun in. It's off the road from September to April (when I'm in university), so there's a bunch of downtime to do this. I worked in a high end performance shop on the island here for 2 years, and did my own motor swaps, plus many others, so skill and tools aren't an issue. The main issue for me will be finding the parts I need, and the cost of them.

My initial inclination is a 5.0 swap will be the cheapest route, and probably the easiest to find the pieces, as 5.0 Mustangs are a dime a dozen here. It seems though that everyone is LSX crazy, but looking around at motor prices and the kits, the price seems much much higher. Is it really that much better? Can anyone give some figures on how much it cost them to do either swap?

Thanks folks
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:37 PM   #2
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I've built 3 Ford conversions to date and will be starting my 4th shortly. That said, my comments tend to be a little Ford heavy. However, I think I may have some advice to offer you.

From what I have seen, the advantage of using a typical LSx engine is that it will get you, in stock form, almost 200 more crank HP than a stock 1991 or so Mustang 5.0. 5.0's made 225 crank hp, LSx's make around 400. A used LSx is also newer, so you may be able to find one that can be simply "dropped in". Most donor 5.0 engines at this point are going to need at least a mild rebuild.

The advantage of using a Ford engine is cost. While a LSx driveline and computer may cost you $6K or so, donor Mustang engines can be literally picked up for $50. A9L computers go for about $120 on eBay and if you need a new one AutoZone will sell you one for $100. T-5 transmissions go for $100 to $500, the 7.5 rear goes for about $100 and driveshafts can be made for under $400. Additionally, the Ford kit, while it does cost $4,000, includes much more (including instructions) than the available LSx kits (from what I have heard).

So, in short, the advantage of the LSx route is immediate horsepower if you're not into "building" an engine. If you are ok with building the engine and the car, take your $50 mustang block, pick up a set of GT-40 parts from an Explorer for $100, a stroker kit for $1000 or so, a cheap E303 cam on eBay for under $100, put it all together CAREFULLY and you've got nearly the same 400 crank horse power of the LSx. Sorry, like I said, I'm a little biased...

Here's a link to my three completed Ford Builds should you want to see what's involved:
http://www.mccullyracingmotors.com/i...les/builds.htm

Good Luck with your decision,
-Jason McCully
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:49 PM   #3
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Thanks Jason, that's exactly what I was looking for.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:04 PM   #4
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Glad to help

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Old 12-18-2009, 06:46 PM   #5
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What's the weight & balance difference between a typical LSx build and a 5.0 build?

EDIT for the OP: Also, you could possibly run the 5.0 ford with the AEM EMS using their CAS/distributor gizmo and some coil packs. This is what I'm considering. Yeah, you could sell the AEM unit and pick up a stock mustang ECU with lots of change leftover, but it's obviously not as powerful and you could get rid of the MAF.
Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by turbotim; 12-18-2009 at 06:54 PM..
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Old 12-19-2009, 08:52 AM   #6
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Tim, a OEM version of that entire coil-on-plug system can also be sourced from a early 2000's Ford Explorer. 1996 and up had a distributorless system with two coil packs and the last 6 months or so of the 5.0 Explorer actually had coil-on-plug. I hear the two systems are not completely integrated into the Explorer computer but rather run off their own seperate computer which pluged into the Explorer distributor and coil plugs. Keep in mind this information cam via the Mustang Corral, not eaxactly the best source for reliable information.

Coil Packs:
Click the image to open in full size.

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Old 12-19-2009, 09:00 AM   #7
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Ha! Look at that, that's exactly what I was thinking, 4 wasted spark coils. I figured on using 2 sets of 1.8 coil packs which I have lying around anyway but it's cool there's a ford setup packaged ready to go.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:10 PM   #8
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Tim, if that's the set-up you want then you may want to try to find an Explorer engine as your starting point. The yard near me will sell the entire engine including everything but exhaust headers and starter for $130. As an added bonus you'd get a set of GT-40 heads and a GT-40 intake with your coils basically for free. If you like I'd be willing to help you pull it if you can wait until the school year is over (you would, of course owe me any hoagie of my choice from the local WaWa as payment...)

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Old 01-11-2010, 04:11 PM   #9
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Wow, that's a killer deal and a great offer. I would take you up on that offer if I didn't already have access to this find (see attached). 8.200 deck height aluminum SVO block. It's an old PRI display engine that isn't being used anymore. I'd have to source 4 bolt splayed main caps for it but it's a deal of a lifetime and as such I feel obligated to use it. I need to take advantage of having access to insanely expensive valvetrain parts. I figure the miata chassis can't handle crazy torque, so I might as well make the thing "lazy" down low but be able to rev. 8500rpm seems like a good number.

But if I went V8 I wouldn't be able to use my car as a build jig for turbo kits anymore
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Old 01-29-2010, 01:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRM331 View Post
Tim, if that's the set-up you want then you may want to try to find an Explorer engine as your starting point. The yard near me will sell the entire engine including everything but exhaust headers and starter for $130. As an added bonus you'd get a set of GT-40 heads and a GT-40 intake with your coils basically for free. If you like I'd be willing to help you pull it if you can wait until the school year is over (you would, of course owe me any hoagie of my choice from the local WaWa as payment...)

-Jason
GT-40 iron heads were primarily used on 93 Cobras. Very few, if any, GT-40 iron heads went on Explorers. Every 5.0 Explorer I've ever seen has had GT-40P heads on it. GT-40Ps are arguably better than GT-40s, they have a more efficient combustion chamber (with a different spark plug placement) and the P exhaust port outflows the standard 40 head even though if has smaller exhaust valve. Some header mfgs make a specific P header because of the plug placement. Not all shorties and long tubes will work with P heads; at a minimum you may need to use 90 degree plug boots on some cylinders.

The P is the best unported overall iron production SBF head, it even outflows the 69-70 351 Windsor castings. A fully ported early 351W will ouflow a fully ported P though. Professionally ported with big valves (1.9, 1.6), the P tops out at about 225-230 CFM on the intake around .500 lift. Home porters seem to get 190-210 CFM depending on their skills and whether or not they upsize the valves.

The Explorer lower intake is better than the old 5.0 Mustang lower too but the Explorer cam is not as good as stock 5.0L HO cam. Lots of Fox body guys have hit low 13s/high 12's in 5 speed cars just putting a HO cam, 1.7 roller rockers and shorties on a stock Explorer longblock.

If you want 350+ rwhp, don't waste time with the Explorer heads and intake.
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Old 01-29-2010, 01:49 AM
 
 
 
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