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1973 Grande Build

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Ok, so this is my first of what I hope will be the string of post on my 73 Grande. As soon as I can figure out why my pics post upside down, I’ll post my very few, so far, series of pics of my old ride. I purchased this car in January 21 with the original 351c but no trans, and most of the front of the engine was in the trunk. So, my plans were to exchange/swap a newer model driveline to take advantage of newer technology, EFI, 4 sp auto, etc. I was lucky to purchase a complete 1987 Thunderbird with a 5l SFI with 4sp auto as the donor for this rebirth. On Friday, I was able to move the Bird to AZ where the stang is, so now the hard works begin.

Looking forward to advice on those who have already done the same swap. I’m hoping having a running, drivable donor car to start helps me avoid issues. I’ll be looking for someone to buy the original engine, in case anyone knows someone who needs one.

And advise on the picture posting would be appreciated. 😃




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Good luck and enjoy! Looking forward to read about your adventures as I am restoring  73 Grande myself :-)



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Posted (edited)

Congratulations!  It sounds like you have a good project on your hands.  My advice: Take your time and don't get discouraged!  Walk away from it for a while when you get frustrated.  Ask lots of questions of the experienced folks on this forum. Finally, enjoy the accomplishments as you go along.  There is a lot of satisfaction in restoring individual parts or finding parts needed for your project.

The 5.0L / AOD swap should be pretty straight forward.  You can buy conversion parts - crossmember, shifter, throttle cable, fuel lines, etc. - or you can fabricate your own.  Connecting the EFI will require some fabricating and wiring, but has been done before. 

Post your progress here so we can all follow along.   

Edited by Sheriff41
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Thanks Sheriff. Do you know anyone who has a book or website to integrate the two vehicles wire harnesses? Any info would be a better starting point. I need to acquire both wiring diagrams to start. Or, is there someone/vendor who does it for you?

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Not sure about books, though the instruction pamphlet for the Ford Performance Parts M-12071-A50 is one option https://www.jegs.com/InstallationInstructions/300/397/397-M-12071-A50.pdf .  I think Painless Performance may make a harness also.  I used the old Ford Motorsport version 15-20 years ago on a friend's 65 and it worked out well.  We used a 5L and AOD out of a Lincoln Mark VII.

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  • 1 month later...



So, I’ve started the wire harness extraction from the donor 87 TBird. The first photo is day 2 of the process; trying to remove system components I know I’ll need to transplant, while allowing me to remove the harness without any cutting.


This photo is day three, got the harness all the way to the firewall.  Have all of the connectors to components labeled and my wire board is coming along too.


I know it’s difficult to see, but those red labels are the principle components (coil, distributor, water temp sensor, etc) and in relation to the under hood arrangement, where those components go (the masking tape are the temporary labels unit I can add the fancy red ones). My plan is to lay the harness on this board and build the minimum system from it. Next step is extracting the computer, and gonna use the fuel pump relay and component elements from the TBird too. That will be a separate simple harness board.



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