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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys....i know this might irritate some but my 460 has basically made me mad for the last time...

This is pure curiosity and just an idea ive been shooting around in my head...

The truck is a 97 F250 HD 460/E4OD/2wd.

Ive had nothing but (major) problems with it and im heavily leaning toward just selling it and buying a new truck but heres the thing...

I got a 77 F250 with a 400 that has really, been the best damn truck (reliabilty wise) that ive ever owned. Ive had a couple 351M/400s and they have all been rock solid. The two 460s ive owned...well...havent. But the 77 is really rough (leaks everywhere, the body is rough, cab floors are holy, etc etc) but it runs like a top.

Now if i were to yank the 400, rebuild it with a cam, headers, and put on an aftermarket EFI im guessing i could probably get close to, if not beat the power level of my stock 460 and (IMO) have a more reliable engine to boot. Probably pick up a MPG or two as well.

I know the 400 would physically bolt in, and id need a stand alone ECU for the E4OD. But what other issues might i encounter? Would my speedo work? The other gauges? Could i run the sniper EFI off the factory fuel pumps on the 97?

Is this to much of a massive dream and should i just bite the bullet and drop 30k on a used aluminum 150?

Just some general guidence here would be apperciated.
 

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Do you need a 3/4 ton truck? If not I’d send the 97 down the road and let someone else deal with it. Can the 400 be put into the 97, of course it can but are you gonna struggle doing it, pretty likely. Why not find another 70’s 250 to put you’re powertrain in then you can have a cool truck and then buy a Prius to drive everyday? Wait a second, i didn’t really say that 😂
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
What sort of reliability issues have you had with the 460's?
Well the first one i had was in a 89 F250 Lariat. It wasnt the original engine as it was carburated and i believe was from a 78ish lincoln. Either way, it would burn coolant, constantly lose oil with no clue where it went (im assuming it burnt it but i never seen smoke), i chalked that one up to previous abuse/neglect by the previous owner. It also ate starters like candy and went thru 2 flywheels in 2 years. It also wouldnt crank good warm (like timing was off, but it wasnt) Athough even riding on 35's with 3.55's the thing had balls.

This 97 i bought in 2013 with 62xxx miles on it. Truck was damn near mint. In winter of 14 it blew a headgasket. Fall of 15 the timing cover went to leaking. Late 2016 it began knocking from the bottom end. Each of these. things were repaired quickly but cost me alot of money. I can do the work myself but i dont have a lot of time.

Ive also had to replace both manifolds (which, whatever) and the truck behaved itself pretty well untill 2 weeks ago when the timing cover went to leaking AGAIN and when they dug into it found a intake leak as well. So another 1000 bucks or so. (Havent got the final price yet).

I do not use this truck hard. It does sit alot as i got an 87 Ranger i daily i basically pulled off a scrapheap for 375 bucks thats never let me down. The F250 has 116xxx miles on it now. I use it for hauling my 7200lb travel trailer, hauling wood, or long trips just for the comfort factor over my ranger. It also pulls my 18ft equipment trailer with a farmall cub, a couple quads, or maybe a vehicle now and again.

Thats why i was curious about the swap. I love everything about the truck but the engine. It has massive power and pulls or hauls whatever i want without really careing to much. But so would a warmed up 400 and atleast in my experence are much more reliable.

By contrast, ive had 2 or 3 351M/400s over the years (1 351M and 2 400s) and i beat the literal piss out of them. Very little maintence (they were work truck/beaters, the 460 ive always taken care of) and beside the usual alternator or carb rebuild never gave me so much as a whimper.

Hell i can remember the 77 towing my camper up grades foot on the floor locked in 2nd (it has a 3.07 rear with a C6, good job ford) with the temp needle almost to the top of normal numerous times and never had an issue.

Hence why id rather have a 400 lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Do you need a 3/4 ton truck? If not I’d send the 97 down the road and let someone else deal with it. Can the 400 be put into the 97, of course it can but are you gonna struggle doing it, pretty likely. Why not find another 70’s 250 to put you’re powertrain in then you can have a cool truck and then buy a Prius to drive everyday? Wait a second, i didn’t really say that 😂
I could probably get away with a 1/2 ton. Thats why i was looking at the newer F150s as my camper is getting sold this year.

Ive honestly thought long and hard about selling the 97 and going down south to hunt body parts for my 77 (the frame and important stuff are all still very solid). But the 97 is just so comfy to take up north or whatever.
 

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I have no idea what your location is, so forgive me if what I say is irrelevant. In California Mommy won't allow an engine swap unless you are replacing the old with an identical new. IE: 460 to 460. I believe Oregon, Colorado, and Washington are the same (but don't quote me on that one). Beyond that, if it's a good truck and you like the 400, sounds like a good plan. The new trucks aren't great and are built of tinfoil and plastic.
 

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Can't help with the FI tech issues of this, sorry. I know that was the underlying question.

But I have had some experience with F150s with 400 and 429 engines. Might be some help with that part of this.

Right out of the gate, I don't think Ford ever put the E4OD behind a 400, so you might have issues adapting the old engine to the electronic Doo-dahs on the 1997.

First, regarding the old 400, GET RID OF THOSE HEADS!! YESTERDAY!!!

The 1977-78-79 400 heads were open chamber and only good for boat anchors. Thinking about it, they are not so good for that; too heavy. Get either closed chamber Australian iron heads or aluminum Edelbrock. The closed chamber Aussie heads have pretty small combustion chambers and need seriously dished pistons to make them work, but they are good for the price.

The key to this is the quench or squish area. Spend some time reading about this, the articles can explain it better than I can.

I doubt the Aussie heads would be worth it unless you need to stick with iron heads. By the time you buy them and get them worked over with good valves and springs, etc., you are well on the way to paying for aluminum heads. As a bonus, aluminum heads are more tolerant of high compression and poor gas. A few pounds weight savings is not a big deal on these trucks.

I have two 1977s, one a 400 4 speed 4WD. It has comp cam flat tappet hydraulic cam, aluminum intake with 625 AFB, headers, and closed chamber Aussie heads. The compression is much higher than stock; about 9.8 now, vs. 8.3-8.4 nominal, but runs fine on 87 gas. It likes 89 and 93 better. No overheating, and the gas mileage is pretty good for what it is; about 11-12.

Which brings me to the comparison. The other 1977 F150 is 429 C6 auto, 4WD, mild cam, exhaust manifolds, iron intake and 625 AFB. I believe the 400 is a little stronger although in fairness, if the 429 had headers and the equivalent cam, it might then might be a little stronger. The 400 is bored .030, the actual CI is about 408, so there is not a big difference in CID.

Your 460 adds another 31 CI, so factor that into what I am saying.

Don't know what top end is on the 400. I opened it up one day and the needle went past 0 as fast as it went past 85. Once the needle wrapped around to 10 MPH, I ran out of courage and let off the gas. This was with 33.5" tires and a speedometer that was 10 MPH slow at indicated 60 (actually going 70). So the 400s can be built to run OK and still be docile.

The key thing is, the gas mileage is identical with both. I doubt you will see any mileage difference even with a 460, unless your right foot is addicted to the added snort.

Funny thing is, with the built 400, the mileage does not change, even when towing. I rented the big U-Haul car hauler, the open one that the car drives on to, not the little one for front wheels only. The trailer alone probably weighs over 1000 pounds, maybe as much as 1500. I towed my son's 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 318 V8 (probably close to 4000 pounds, plus the trailer) about 300 miles down into central Florida at speeds from 60-70 MPH and the gas mileage remained at 11. Mileage would probably drop when towing a heavy box trailer due to all the air it is pushing aside.

So, no advice from here, just some points to ponder. Hope a little of this helps.
 

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1990 Ford Mustang LX 351M powered!! Project Cherry Bomb!!
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People used to give the 351M/400 a bad name, but y'all have to remember... When they came out was at the height of the smogification of every V-8 that was being produced.. I for real, this was when the Corvette's were only making what?? 185?190 hp?? But like it's been pointed out here before, those old 351M/400's would take a literal buttload of abuse and still keep running.... The 400's were put into the job of doing the work of the big block when it wasn't available in the trucks, and also in the land yachts of the time... If they had been produced with a closed chamber head, a lil more cam and a 4V intake... They would have been remembered as being true brutes of the day... Look at what Richard Holden did with a junkyard 400 on his YouTube channel.... Myself, I've always been a firm believer in what those engine's are capable of doing...
 
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