Here it is. For those who've been wondering what was up next for Grace, now you know. I've tossed around a lot of ideas for the last year and a half since I found out that not only did the head gasket go, but the cylinder wall as well. I've thought very seriously about inline 6 turbos like 1JZ-GTE, 2JZ-GTE, and RB25DET. I've also thought seriously about the 1GZ-GE, the Toyota V12. In fact I had made plans of how to execute almost all of these swaps. In the end though, I came to a realization that I don't have that much free time anymore. Kids will do that. Each of these swaps is fairly unconventional, and could take some serious time to build. I have a deep fear of a stalled project because I know that as stalled project is a sold project. I want to be able to use my car, and not have it eternally hiding in the garage, while I endlessly talk about what I'm gonna do. Someday. I need to keep it a lot more conventional than I have in the past, so I decided that a small block Ford is the way to go.
After researching this engine, I decided to go with a 5.0 from a 1996 Explorer. The Explorer came with roller lifters on the cam like all the 5.0s after 1987, but they also have GT40 heads. These are the heads that were run on the 1993 Cobra, so they flow a bit more than the standard 5.0 HO engine. Because I want to still run EFI and distributorless ignition, the 36-1 crank trigger wheel is a big plus as well.
I located an engine in a wrecking yard near Detroit and went to pick it up. Because of a mis-communication, they did not have it on the shelf so I had to go back after they had pulled it from the Explorer. I loaded it up and took it home. When I got it in the shop and unwrapped it, I nearly took it back to the yard. I knew that Michigan salt was rough on body panels, but I hadn't considered what it can do to an engine! This thing looked like trash. The corrosion was so severe on even the valve covers it looked like I could push a pencil through them. Even the aluminum corrosion was far beyond my expectations. I actually loaded it back up in my truck to return it. I talked to the owner of the wrecking yard and had him send me some pictures of the other explorer engines in the yard. In the end I decided to suck it up and accept that I live in Michigan, as depressing as that sometimes is. Pro-tip: Don't ever have a junkyard engine shipped to you from Michigan, no matter how cheap.
|Crud, glorious crud.|
|And the other side|
|Coolant tubes that have seen things you can only imagine.|
|Valve covers that have been through 23 michigan winters|
|Dipstick rusted through.|
|A harmonic balancer that inspires confidence.|
|Fuel rail corrosion like this is just not normal.|
|The corrosion got under the paint on this intake elbow and popped it off in a gigantic flake.|
|Sad headers. These things choke down to 1 sq in at some points.|
Thankfully the corrosion was external only. When I popped the intake off and looked at the lifter valley, it actually looked pretty decent. The oil was reasonably clean, and there was no buildup or sludge.
Once I tore it down to the the basics, it began to look a little more appealing. Still, I was disappointed by all the corrosion to the parts I had removed. I was not looking forward to replacing a bunch of boring parts like fuel rails and coolant tubes to get back to square one.
Then I remembered that I had seen a good deal on craigslist that would take things a little different direction. If I was going to have to replace that stuff, I might as well be replacing it in style... What I had seen was an Individual Throttle Body intake for small block Fords at a steep discount. Normally these things run in the thousands of dollars, but this was a cheaper version made by Speedmaster. These normally sell for well over $1000, and I picked this up for well under $1000. It was being sold by an older guy whose friend had bought three of these (I guess he had a barn full of parts) but had passed away. This guy knew what they went for new, but was just helping out his friend's widow by slowly selling off parts.
So that's it. I'm swapping to an all-motor SBF with an ITB intake. Much more conventional, but should still have some wow-factor. Max and Jen are coming back home tonight, and I'm more than ready to see them. What that means for you dear reader, is don't get used to updates this frequent. I'm going to try to get this thing running before August, so stay tuned as I slowly get to that point.
|Exhibit A: Turd with a dollop of polish on top.|