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Author Topic: What is it about the land boats:  (Read 3397 times)

Grant

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What is it about the land boats:
« on: August 09, 2015, 11:01:14 pm »
  Everyone here has read the thread on me getting my '67 galaxie going (work in progress, but progressing nicely, getting all the little tweaks just a bit less tweaked  :cool).

   I talked my mom into needing a car like mine......so she picked up a '73 Ford Galaxie 500 with 46,000 miles on it.,.....only 6,000 miles on a brand new 400 motor.......for $900....yeah...I know (picture attached below).    Interior is mint, slight speckling from road salt but in straight, sweet clean shape.   I been cruising it for highway use. (Attachment #1)

When I sell calves I am DEFINATELY......getting a 2-door LTD or Galaxie with a 429 or 460 (have die-hard supporters of both saying their motor is the only way to go).....(see attachments 2 and 3)

I don't know what it is....

"Muscle cars" yeah, I'll look at them, they're nice and all....

But what really "gets" to me...

Is the big "Land yachts".  They feel good, I feel good driving them (got to drive a friend's Fairlane 500 2 door).    Hell, I like nice 4-door sedans as much as the 2-doors.  No, they're not a "muscle car", even a souped up 460 takes longer to get up to speed....BUT.....damnit man....there's just something about the big ol' cars that gives me that funny feeling.

   Not opposed to a nice Impala or Imperial, but those are harder to find, Imperials especially because they were used HARD in our local demo-derbies. 
Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

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    Nightcrawler

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #1 on: August 09, 2015, 11:15:26 pm »
    Cars had more character back in the day.  40 years from now, I don't think too many people are going to be going out of their way to restore, say, a 2012 Ford Fusion, or an '04 Honda Civic.
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    coelacanth

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #2 on: August 09, 2015, 11:36:20 pm »
    Yup.  Nothing quite like the old iron.   We had '77 Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon back when Mrs. c and I were first married.  It was huge.  I think you could have landed aircraft on it.  It was actually big enough for us to sleep in the back with the seats folded down on road trips and the dog slept in the front seat.  We even went camping in it a couple of times.   Had a 460 V-8 and it was just loafing most of the time.  Nice old car.   
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    MTK20

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #3 on: August 10, 2015, 01:42:15 am »
     :thumbup1
    Texas
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    only1asterisk

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #4 on: August 10, 2015, 12:20:50 pm »
    That 400m is a monster waiting to be unleashed.  In the hands of a good, old school automotive machine shop it could be making 400hp with minimal investment.

    luke213(adamsholsters)

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #5 on: August 10, 2015, 01:15:18 pm »
    I like old cars and trucks, always have just in my blood. I grew up wrenching on old stuff and to this day my normal truck is still my 1978 Chevy half ton pickup;) That said the trouble I have here is the normal problem in this area salt, and rust. Can't find anything even new that isn't starting to rot in this area. My truck has some serious cancer but it's only body panels not frame etc, and I've got replacement panels to fix the problem areas but I know once I get it fixed it's only a matter of time till it goes again.

    But on point old vehicles drive differently not performance driving;) But nice smooth power steering along with soft suspensions make for comfortable riding vehicles. Also most of them were designed for less maintained roads which I think helps allot with the roads around here;)

    Luke
    MichiganI am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, [email protected]

    Plebian

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #6 on: August 10, 2015, 01:49:16 pm »
    That 400m is a monster waiting to be unleashed.  In the hands of a good, old school automotive machine shop it could be making 400hp with minimal investment.

    The 400m will also put out enough torque to completely wreck most drivetrains IF you can get  the wheels to stick. The 400m is better thought about on diesel levels of torque than a gasoline engine. IF you got any weak links in the drivetrain. The 400m will point them out for you. It will be the part growling, spitting teeth and leaking various fluids.   

    It is also really easy to get too large of a carb on the venerable old 400m. It works down low in the RPM range so you do not need big CFM flow to get your power.

    The 400m is a great fit for an old land yacht OR a big ole 4x4 crawler. I personally think it is a better motor than the 460. It can do most everything a 460 can do, and it doesn't burn quite as much gas doing it. The biggest downfall of the 400m/351 is weight. It is a big heavy chunk of iron for the displacement class it is in.   
    Oklahoma"If all our problems are solved, we'll find new ones to replace them. If we can't find new ones, we'll make new ones."

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #7 on: August 10, 2015, 05:21:37 pm »
    Character.
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    All American with a middle finger to Imports.

    1974 was the last year of the Cool Cars until 2012.
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    Grant

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #8 on: August 10, 2015, 10:05:01 pm »
      See that's the thing: I barely grasp how they work  :cool   I know the basics of upgrading motors, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty of upgrading them, I'm clueless as to the plus and minuses of each motor.

       From what I "heard" is the 400 can be made hot, a guy I know has 400 that he completely tore to the base and rebuild in his pickup.  However they're more "low end torque"?   Rather than top-speed, and that supposedly a 400 with $$ stuck into it is about equal to a mid-level 460?

        What I'm wanting to get is a good base level car with no bodywork needed and a decent mid-range miles motor, whereupon I'll run it, if it's "okay" use it, if not, put some $$ into getting it set up.  Including upgrading U-joints and drive-shafts,etc. to handle the power.

       Problem is there's no good "old school" shops anywhere around.  I know a few private guys who are FE-series gurus, but they barely have time to get their own motor work done.  I really don't know anyone well-versed in the GM and Mopar motors.   I can get help and tips from the FE-guys in person, so I figure I'll start on that base and try to work my knowledge base up from it.



     
    Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

    coelacanth

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #9 on: August 10, 2015, 10:34:23 pm »
    The 400m is a bulldog engine.  Big torque with the right carb/manifold set-up and not so highly tuned that it has a lot of trouble with pump gas.   Torque is your friend in a big heavy car at normal driving speeds.  It doesn't have to be "built" to do that - its how they were designed and built from the factory.  More than a few of them found their way into C class RV's where they performed admirably. 

    If its basically a new engine just make sure all the peripheral stuff is OK like sparkplug wires and boots, coil wire, proper heat range plugs, and stuff like that.  If it doesn't have one already, consider an in-line fuel filter for it.   Drop a K&N air filter on it so it can breath properly in stock trim.  Basically just make sure its operating correctly and then drive it to see how you and/or your Mom like it.  After that there's plenty of time to tweak it on cold winter nights up near the borderlands.   :cool
    Arizona" A republic, if you can keep it."

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    luke213(adamsholsters)

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #10 on: August 10, 2015, 10:59:52 pm »
    For quick stuff you can do, check the timing that can help allot if the motor is off time it's not going to run nearly as well as if it's set correctly. Emissions, there shouldn't be a ton but look into what is there and think about removing it. Though on that note I don't know if Montana does emission checks so that might play a part there on if it's possible to do that. You could do headers/exhaust but it would depend on how restricted the stock exhaust is etc. Carb can also bring some gains but make sure you don't overdo it with a monster carb it's really not needed. I've hard good luck over the years with Edlebrock/Carter Bro's carbs on small block chevy motors myself, typically around the 600cfm level. Cooling can sometimes be an issue especially if you end up doing say headers, things can heat up a bit more and depending on how good the cooling system was stock an aftermarket thicker(IE more cores, and more efficient) radiator can be a really good purchase. I've owned allot of cars over the years with cooling issues, very few things irritate me as much as poor cooling since it really can put a cramp on enjoying the car/truck.

    Generally though most of that stuff isn't needed, it can wake up some horsepower and none of it is that hard to do. You can get into more in depth things like changing the cam out to something that will wake up some more horsepower, or the heads etc. But it's up to you how far you want to take it. If you start doing allot of performance mods and have enough rubber to get it to actually hook up. Then you're going to have to start looking at the rest of the drive line and how it will handle the horsepower. Rear end swap shouldn't be hard in that case there is probably something semi common that exists in the old car market around the right width that will go in without much work. Then of course you'll have to deal with drive shaft and u-joints etc down the line. But it's all how far you want to take it and the expectations you've got for the project. I'd leave it mostly stock, change some minor stuff and see how it goes from there;)

    Luke
    MichiganI am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, [email protected]

    Plebian

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #11 on: August 11, 2015, 12:22:57 am »
      See that's the thing: I barely grasp how they work  :cool   I know the basics of upgrading motors, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty of upgrading them, I'm clueless as to the plus and minuses of each motor.

       From what I "heard" is the 400 can be made hot, a guy I know has 400 that he completely tore to the base and rebuild in his pickup.  However they're more "low end torque"?   Rather than top-speed, and that supposedly a 400 with $$ stuck into it is about equal to a mid-level 460?

        What I'm wanting to get is a good base level car with no bodywork needed and a decent mid-range miles motor, whereupon I'll run it, if it's "okay" use it, if not, put some $$ into getting it set up.  Including upgrading U-joints and drive-shafts,etc. to handle the power.

       Problem is there's no good "old school" shops anywhere around.  I know a few private guys who are FE-series gurus, but they barely have time to get their own motor work done.  I really don't know anyone well-versed in the GM and Mopar motors.   I can get help and tips from the FE-guys in person, so I figure I'll start on that base and try to work my knowledge base up from it.



     

    My bronco has the 351m. Which is just the same block with a shorter stroke crank.

    The main key to easy upgrades on the 351m/400m is change the cam first thing if it is a stock cam. The next is upgrade the intake manifold and carb. The last thing to change is the exhaust manifolds.

    The stock cam was a horrible attempt to make it meet some emissions. It chokes the motor horribly. Choose a cam meant for lower RPM use, 'RV/truck' cams are usually solid choices. The cam and timing chain will not be cheap, but it makes a massive difference. As the stock parts are just useless crap. 

    The intake manifold needs to be a dual plane variety. It is again advisable to go with a 'RV/truck' intake.

    The carb should be around 600-650 CFM. Holley makes a load of them in that range with universal Ford setups. They are usually cheap at 200-300 bucks.

    I would not touch the exhaust manifolds. They flow just fine as is, and you do not gain a whole lot going to headers. It is just not worth the trouble IMO. I would make sure the rest of the exhaust is flowing well instead.

    I would also remove every bit of smog crap you can off the motor. All those vacuum lines are just problems waiting to happen. Of course I would not do this IF not allowed by local laws etc etc...  :whistle

    If you do these simple steps. Your little 400m will be pushing 300+ HP and 450 or so foot pounds of torque. It will all weigh less than a comparable 460 by about 150 pounds or so, and grunt better than comparable 460s.

    My Bronco has pulled many 'badass 460s' back to the trail head OR out of the mud pit. I think the 400m is a better motor for realistic use. It will never be a high winding HP monster, but it has massive amounts of useable torque at realistic RPM ranges. Which is what matters in the heavy vehicles.     

     
    Oklahoma"If all our problems are solved, we'll find new ones to replace them. If we can't find new ones, we'll make new ones."

    only1asterisk

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #12 on: August 11, 2015, 12:45:32 am »
    The 400and later the 351M was never made for high performance.  It was intended to replace the small displacement FE blocks in the standard range of vehicles.  It didn't do that right away, but it certainly supplemented and eventually replaced them.

    Smaller and lighter than the FE and 385 series, the 400 was designed with new and pending (at the time) environmental regulations in mind. 

    The 400 really just needs a quality rebuild with good parts.  Focus on maintaining a solid torque curve and forget about turning much more than 5000 rpm.  650 cfm carb,  The heads need cleaned up, but they have all the capacity you will ever need.  There aren't many choices for performance manifolds, but what is out there is all you need.  Check the heads and block carefully and do the basics.  Plan carefully when you pick your pistons. If your do it right, you can have a motor with all the torque you can control in a car of this era.

    I'm guessing the trans is a C6.  Properly rebuilt, it can take all the torque a 400 can throw at it, but Plebian is right about finding the weak link in your drivetrain.
     

    Grant

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    Re: What is it about the land boats:
    « Reply #13 on: August 11, 2015, 08:38:05 am »
      Yeah the '73 of mom's I have no plans to upgrade.  It has good enough power in and of itself (EVERYTHING was put in new, including brakes, lines, seals all the way around,etc. in '09 by the receipts) and it's in good enough shape I'm not messing with it.


       I get my two-door and I'm going to put some serious money into getting it to be a runner.    if I do some "simple" stuff I'm going to try and talk a local FE guy into giving me advice.  I do the install myself, etc. in his shop if he gives me pointers and help if I need it.



       I've done a lot of looking and most all the ones I'm looking at are 68-70 for the grill and body designs that I like best, so at least at that point I'm not dealing with smog and intentionally choked motors.



     P.S.  No....Montana doesn't have any Emissions laws.   Two years ago they had one they tried to pass, I think it failed by a 80% vote. 
    Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

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