Question: I have a '94 Ford Explorer 4x4 with a 4.0L V-6 in it. I want to swap it for a 5.0L V-8. Is there any info that you can give me to help me complete my task, such as things I will have to change, and a list of any and all parts I will need? Do you have a link to anyone who has a conversion kit?
Answer: You're somewhat in luck. The Ranger pickup and the Explorers shared the same frame and drivetrain, and the Ranger V-8 is a fairly popular swap. The first question that you need to ask yourself before taking it on is: Will it be smog-legal when it's all done? The second question: Is it worth the effort? My opinion is that it would be a lot more practical to just jump up to a '97-and-later Explorer that came with the factory V-8.
I don't know of anyone who has a complete conversion kit for such a swap, but check out James Duff (865/938-6696, www.jamesduff.com) as well as Advance Adapters. Both of these companies have what you'll need to complete the swap, along with instructions.
Question: I was just wondering if a Dana 44 from an '86 CJ-7 is a good axle for swapping, or is it weaker than the AMC 20 and early Dana 44?
Answer: Well a lot depends on exactly what you're putting the axle in. The flanged axle design is a lot stronger than the tapered axles and hub assembly used on the AMC Model 20 or the earlier Dana 44s. All 44 rear axles take the same differential gears. If it's a replacement for either axle, then, yes, it is a good choice.
If you're going for the flanged axle, keep in mind that there are several companies that offer flanged-axle conversion kits for either of the before-mentioned axles. This may or may not be less expensive than swapping the complete housing out.
Question: I have an '86 Jeep Grand Wagoneer with the AMC 360. I'm about to do a rebuild and want to know if I can take the crank and rods from a 401 and turn my 360 into a stroker motor?
Answer: Yes, you can, but why not use the complete 390/401 engine for the added cubic inches and more power? The 360/401 combination, by my math (which, by the way, is usually pretty bad), makes for 385 cubic inches with a standard bore and 390 with a 0.030 overbore. I have heard of some motors going even larger and using Chevy 400 pistons with a bit of machine work for 393 cubic inches. However, most machine shops tell me the cylinder walls get mighty thin and distort. Oh, and by the way, the crank and rods of the 390/401 motors are forged, so strength is not an issue here.
You're far better off with the 390/401 block as it has some heavier main bearing support webbing. This makes for a more rigid block and much longer engine life. Besides, if you're going to do a complete rebuild, why not overbore a 401 for even more cubic inches? Reject the '68-'69 motors as they have poor cylinder heads and a bit shorter rod to match the shorter deck height.
I highly recommend an Edelbrock intake manifold. The stocker weighs in at around 56 pounds, and an aluminum unit will flow better, make at least 20 more horsepower, and it's only about half the weight. Now, if you really want to make some power and lose some more weight, go with a set of Edelbrock heads.
The biggest shortcoming of the AMC engine is the oiling system. It uses an external pump that is part of the front timing cover. Since it is made out of aluminum, the pump housing is quite subject to wear, and it doesn't take much to greatly reduce the oil pressure. New housings/covers are available, and I highly recommend that you buy one. Pay close attention to the clearance between the pump's cover plate and the gears. With the proper gasket and/or a bit of milling, you should try for about 0.002 inch of clearance. A couple of Web sites that may offer some suggestions for building your motor are www.froadin.com or www.performanceamstyle.com.