78 Coupe 2.3 - 302 Story/how To

Discussion in '1974 - 1978 Mustang II Talk & Tech' started by The Big Blue, May 21, 2014.


  1. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    OK so I figured it might be nice to record this craziness, I hope it can help others as they try the same thing.
    I will start by saying that what I am doing is only the way I'm doing it, I don't pretend to have all the answers and I dont say this is the right way, its only my way LOL, but hopefully it can be a guideline for someone else to edit to the correct way when they try the same thing, again LOL.
    So it starts with me working as a lot boy at the Ford dealer just after getting my license, Dad loved Mustangs and so did I, 1976 or 77, Ford had finally realized that a Mustang without an available V8 wasn't smart, so the II got its strangled 2 barrel 302, I wanted one bad, but kids couldn't buy new cars then, and in 79 the carrier showed up with a new Mustang, I went out to check it in and check it out and there was this thing {at this point I'm just going to go ahead and apologize to all you fox fans, I have grown to appreciate them at this point but have no interest in ever owning one, Sorry} it looked nothing like a mustang, I was so disappointed that I lost all interest in Mustang, although still had this soft spot in my heart for the II. later the SN95 showed up and I said "Well thats better" then the new edge, and I said "Damn thats close, in 05 the S197 hit the street and I said "Now THATS a Mustang" and I drive an 05 with 150'000 miles on it every day, My baby Big Blue, now I'm in a Mustang club, Started another Mustang club and am on a whole bunch of forums, needles to say getting so deep into the Mustang culture I was shocked to find out how bad Mustang folks talked about the II, they need to realize it was the right car for the times and saved the line so that we can now celebrate 50 years of Mustang, Hell Yes!
    So I would hit craigslist and eBay on a regular basis now and one day I saw this 78 coupe, and thats what I wanted, a coupe, not a Gila, not a Hatch, but a plain old coupe, went to see it and bought it, I call her Pip Squeek.
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    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  2. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    And it starts, the front tires where dry rotted bad, so went to eBay and found a set of 15 inch wheels, got a pair of BFG white letters and the plan was put them on the back, move the good 13s to the front and drive it and play with for now, the car is at a buddys house cause I didn't want to drive the highway with those dry rotted tires, I needed to fix a knock that I thought was in the valves, unbenounced to me, there was a radiator leak, I replaced the radiator and started the car, ran it for a while and it started missing and carrying on and smoking like crazy, shut it down and realized it had run dry again, the temp gauge never moved, found the wire and it had been un hooked, plugged it and pegged the temp gauge, blown head gasket, OK already too much money in the 4 cylinder, time to accelerate the plan, time for the V8, oh by the way one of the front tires blew out setting in my buddies drive way, and I don't mean just went flat, it literally blew out, the hole is like 1/4 around of the tire LOL.
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    And yes I decided on in your face green for the car, you will see test spots on the car soon
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  3. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    OK so more than just a story, has anyone found a set of shorty headers that will work with the 302 in an MII, I can get a set of Cobra II headers, but the pipes look small and I plan on making this motor breath really well, so I don't want to choke it at the exhaust.
     
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  4. LILCBRA

    LILCBRA Member

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    Short answer is no, not that I know of. IIRC, Fox shorties interfere with the steering linkage. Last I knew, Hooker is the only header being manufactured for the II's. It has been a while tho, so my info might be dated. I haven't shopped for headers for a long time....
     
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  5. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    OK thanks, back to the drawing board LOL
     
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  6. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    So not having a lot of luck with the trans I'm having a hard time tracking down the right c4, I found a Fairmont with a c5 in it, question, will this work and what might be the drawbacks, thanks all for the help.
     
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  7. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    Found the trans, and broke it before I even rebuilt it LOL, I broke off the bolt that holds on the kickdown lever, I posted a question in the classics section as its a 66 C4.
    But I have another question that needs to go here, as far as Power Steering goes, is there a different rack for the PS and manual steering cars, I'm considering losing the PS because in these 70's fords you don't have any feel of the road with PS, so would I need a different rack or just don't put the pump back on?
     
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  8. LILCBRA

    LILCBRA Member

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    Well....

    Yes, the racks are different. The manual racks are smaller in diameter than the ps racks and also geared a little different. That being said, I ran my car years ago without the ps pump with a ps rack and had no issues, it was just a bit more difficult to steer at slower speeds than the manual rack I have now. The intermediate shafts are also different, so you would need to either find a manual intermediate shaft or modify an existing ps shaft. My recommendation : if you can find and/or afford a manual rack and don't mind a little extra effort at slow speeds, I would go that route. Also, another thing to keep in mind is when tire shopping a wider tire will affect how easy/hard it is to steer.
     
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  9. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    OK so I'll have to think about that one
     
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  10. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    so the 78 has a carbon canister but does not have a computer as you all know, I think I want to just leave it on the car as its in the fender anyway and you don't see it, in fact I had to look to find it, but not having a computer means there has to be some other way of venting the canister to the motor, no electric solenoid, what I need to know is how to now hook it into the 302.
     
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  11. LILCBRA

    LILCBRA Member

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    Can't help you there!! I left mine out when I rebuilt my car!! :cool:
     
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  12. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    Alright enough of the questions, here's an update.
    So the original plan was for a crate motor, but money went and got in the way, didn't get back what I thought I would from our good old Unk Sam LOL, so for now we throttle back a little, I found a good running 302 out of an 83 f150, according to the balancer it is a 50 balance, so I went online and got a 50 flex plate for it
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    cleaned it up and put a air gap aluminum manifold on it and a Holley 650 that I rebuilt for it and painted it up to match what the car WILL be when I'm done
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    that distributor is an old points and condenser setup {not sure why on an 83 motor} but it will be replaced with a new HEI distributor, and there are other engine parts setting in boxes just waiting for now

    I found a 68 C4
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    So I rebuilt the tranny
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    unknown to me a neighbor has a 68 stang and had extra parts but didn't know what as his car is a manual and he didn't think he had any automatic stuff, low and behold he had a 66 C4 that was all rusty and had a small bellhousing on it, I was having a fit finding one, nice guy, wouldn't take any money for it, Thanks Danny

    68 Trans rebuilt and ready to go in with the motor.
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    So all in all things are starting to come together, I hope to be on the road before the end of the month.
     
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  13. LILCBRA

    LILCBRA Member

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    Good to see things coming along! :nice:
     
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  14. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    4 Banger gone, oh if anyone is restoring a 2.3, I have some good parts, I'm not sure about the motor, infact I have suspicions that it may have been frozen at some time some winter, but the trans is in top shape with only 53,000 miles on it, its a C3 so its no good to me, and the fluid is still quite red, I would change it and the filter and put it in a car and go, if it was usable to me, so if any wants anything let me know.
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  15. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    Now that looks better, we had it in and out 8 times but now its in
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    I did need to shim the motor 1/4 inch on both sides, and it fits perfect, you need only a small amount of room on the right side of the pan to clear the power steering, we are actually going to modify the oil pan next year when we get the crate engine and take out the shims.
    Oh by the way, if you cant get the M II bell and all that goes with it, you will need a Ford tool to gently massage the firewall LOL
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    Sometimes called a BFH.

    So one more thing, you will need to notch out the right side of the cross member that goes under the bell housing, I ground it out with a angle grinder, my buddy suggested we use the ford tool on it, but I pointed out that it was part of the front suspension, and that I didn't think that would be a good idea LOL.
    I'll get a pic of it so you can see how it worked out later.
     
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  16. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    OK quick update, I thought I could use the truck manifolds for the engine for now, but after grinding the choke tube chamber off of the right one I found that NO, it wont fit, so I bit the bullet and bought a set of headman headers for it, but I may still have a problem, I don't know if the starter will clear the headers as I don't have a II bell, oh ya and, the front pipe wont clear the crossmember, for some reason its about a 1/4 inch off, oh ya, I shimmed the motor a little more than a 1/4 inch, so I didn't like that solution for the oil pan anyway, so we're going to pull the motor again, modify the oil pan like I had planned, and put the motor back in with the trans and starter and headers already attached, I think its the easiest way.
    On a brighter note, to keep me feeling like I'm making progress I took the nose section home and restored it and painted it to match what will eventually be the rest of car, it turned out nice
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    New hardware and all
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    Looks a little different ha.
     
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  17. The Big Blue

    The Big Blue Member

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    OK the oil pan is off being modified, the headers clear the starter {barely but they clear LOL} and I have just received my NOS Hurst Shotgun torque converter, so we should be back on it soon.
     
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