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Old 01-28-2015, 08:02 PM   #1
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New motor or/and transmission for a '94 E350? (351W / E40D)

Just bought a '94 E350 van with a full Sportsmobile conversion and 86k miles, 351W engine and 4 speed auto. I made it all of 100 miles toward home before breaking down, and may have killed the motor. (Details: viewtopic.php?f=34&t=15305)

If it turns out to need a new motor, wondering if another 351W is the only way to go? I haven't had this thing long enough to research if a Modular series engine can be adapted. Like everyone I would love to squeeze out another mpg or two with more modern technology or less displacement or some other juju. I don't plan on towing.
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Old 01-29-2015, 06:00 AM   #2
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Re: New motor for a '94 E350?

There's a whole list of reasons trying to adapt a Modular Motor into that year chassis is "ill advised" the first of which is cost. In addition to the motor itself modifications to the electrical wiring harnesses are absolutely mandatory.

The time and parts required for this would be equal to a reman'd engine, perhaps exceeding that cost. This would be in addition to acquiring the motor itself.

Transmissions will be different, paired with the MM's ECM strategies so your era trans would not be a bolt up and ride swap.

So that's the tip of the iceberg----wanna know more?

Generally this wouldn't be a good idea. Best bet here is finding a quality rebuilt similar motor, have it installed by someone familiar with the process and avoid spending too much on this project.
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:13 AM   #3
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Re: New motor for a '94 E350?

I have heard the same as what JWA says. I don't know from personal experience but have heard it would be pretty difficult. If your biggest goal is to get back on the road quickly and cheaply I would look for a used 351 (warrantied) from a salvage yard. They are most likely plentiful and pretty hard engines to kill. However, if you really want more power and mileage and are thinking of more of a project I would swap in a Cummins. There are a few BT4 swaps running around.

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Old 01-29-2015, 08:27 AM   #4
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Re: New motor for a '94 E350?

Here's your engine forum (and mine for my 5.8L Bronco):

http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/forum55/

The 5.8L is IMHO a good engine. I wouldn't swap it I would buy a long block preferably from Ford but all the autoparts stores sell them. I like OEM Ford parts.

Before spending a dime, however, you really need to diagnose the problem. "Somewhere between a new starter motor and a new engine ..." is a little vague.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:06 AM   #5
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Re: New motor for a '94 E350?

Thanks for the advice! Calling around to pick a shop now and getting it towed home this weekend. My initial tow was to a tiny town mechanic and I was pressed for time, hence the incomplete diagnosis.
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Old 01-29-2015, 06:15 PM   #6
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Re: New motor for a '94 E350?

And the 4.9L straight six engine? Not worth it?

Never mind, did some reading on ford-trucks.com and too much hassle.
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Old 01-30-2015, 05:50 AM   #7
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Re: New motor for a '94 E350?

Quote:
Originally Posted by k2orbust
And the 4.9L straight six engine? Not worth it?

Never mind, did some reading on ford-trucks.com and too much hassle.
Indeed there was a time The Big Three auto manufacturers did build vehicles that were infinitely easier to swap entire drive trains without too much hassle at all. In fact for those who remember the Maverick from Ford it was entirely possible for a 429 CID motor to fit. While that was extremely unadvised it was still possible.

These days of ECM's specific to a particular drivetrain make this almost impossible, the biggest hurdle is the cost. I dare offer in cases where another size or type of power is required or necessary it's far easier to just buy something that fits the need.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:53 PM   #8
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Re: New motor for a '94 E350?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA

...These days of ECM's specific to a particular drivetrain make this almost impossible...
It isn't "almost impossible". The hot rod scene has been putting newer engines in older cars for years. There are a lot of aftermarket wiring options and fuel injection controllers that are pretty close to plug'n'play these days. I wish the common rail diesels had as many options as gas engines have for controls...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA
...the biggest hurdle is the cost...
Bingo! The technical side of the things is relatively simple. There are far more challenging swaps that have been done many times over than an old van with a modular Ford V8. The thing that makes this "almost impossible" is justifying the cost of all the parts. For what you'd have in it, you could go find a 2009+ V10 van and not have to lift a finger.
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Old 01-31-2015, 05:13 AM   #9
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Re: New motor for a '94 E350?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgmetalworks

It isn't "almost impossible". The hot rod scene has been putting newer engines in older cars for years. There are a lot of aftermarket wiring options and fuel injection controllers that are pretty close to plug'n'play these days. I wish the common rail diesels had as many options as gas engines have for controls...
Not one iota of disagreement from me---I've lived through the various vehicle era's dating back to the early 60's, more as a casual (underage) observer than a practitioner though. Hot rodding was a real thing when I began driving and while it has morphed into modding/adapting computer controllers at the heart its still very much the same---making something fit or work that's quite different from something's original design or build.

In this context though as you point out the money involved makes this "almost impossible" or more accurately very ill advised. Because the supply of VGC used E-Series is sufficient to find something suitable not needing heavy/expensive repairs grafting a different era motor just doesn't make economic sense.

Were we generally half as talented or motivate to defy the Vehicle Gods as MGMetalworks demonstartes we'd all be up to something as impressive as his current project----awesome barely scratches the surface of that undertaking.
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Old 01-31-2015, 07:10 AM   #10
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Re: New motor for a '94 E350?

The part of the equation that is missing is that it might make financial sense to mod the motor in a specialty vehicle like an SMB, where the replacement cost and availability is different that a regular E-van.
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