Engine - Block, Bling & Installation


Type/Size: V8 Ford 302 (5 ltr, 350 bhp)

Block ID: E7TE-CA (1987 Truck/Mustang)

Delivery: To Leeds/Bradford airport, then UPS (door-to-door)

Installation: Quite straightforward

Gearbox: Tremec TKO-500

Ready for Shipping


(Link to my engine running at the factory)

(Link to engine running - sump view) 

Installation of Engine & Gearbox

Background & Preparation: Having mentally worked my way around the engine and gearbox, and having plucked up enough courage to get my act together, I decided the safest way to install the engine and gearbox was to use the levelling-bar method. This option virtually eliminates the risk and there is no chance of anything slipping or causing undue pressure on anything. E.g. sump, water pump etc.

I did consider buying an engine hoist, but that would end up being serious garage jewellery after using it once; so I hired one. But I couldn't hire a levelling-bar; only webbing straps which I didn't want to use so I decided to buy one... (Less garage jewellery and something I can sell easily if I decide to...) I'm not a fan of spending money on something I will use only once, but in this case, safety was paramount, followed by a very healthy and fiscal preservation requirement to not drop or damage the engine or gearbox.

In addition, I looked on YouTube and found many videos of how to lift and install an engine and gearbox... Some were very good and some were very very scary.

A great confidence booster -and enabler for me- was the video made by the Engine Factory of how to properly lift an engine. This, by attaching a supporting device i.e. a levelling-bar or steel rope with loops on the end and a runner in between... And coincidentally, the demonstrator (Tim) was the person who built my engine.

Looking on the web for a levelling-bar, it became clear very quickly that there are 'levelling-bars,' and there are "levelling-bars." Some were 31.5 cm between chain pivots. My engine, a V8 Ford 302 and the heads being 50 cm long, required something more fitting, so I opted for the Machine Mart one; this one having a generous 73.0 cm between chain pivot points... (Am happy with this.) Also, the bar came with adjustable hooks that attached to the chains and of which enabled me to precisely adjust the length at each end to equalize the weight distribution... (A very useful feature and one I had not considered.)

Installation: The Edelbrock RPM Performer heads have three bolt holes at each end. These for bling, pulley kits and for lifting. However, the threads are Imperial (3/8 and 7/16th); and figure the odds on this... not a mile from where I live there is a Tool and Bolt shop called "Harrogate Tool & Bolt Ltd" which specialise in Imperial nuts and bolts (as well as Metric.) So a couple of hours later I had the necessary high-tensile imperial bolts I needed. And most of this time was spent in the new-found Aladdin's Cave of Imperial goodies having a look around and chatting to the owner about "stuff"... (Planets lining up or what..!)

Back in the garage, and with everything in place and attached, I took up the strain.

The engine was lifted up to just off the floor and I let it sit there for a while thinking the whole contraption would collapse [which it didn't.] Then I removed the steel engine transit frame that was attached to the engine mount bolt holes, and of which kept it secure and stable during transit. Then I attached the engine mounts (hand tight only) my rationale being to drop [metaphorically speaking] the engine directly onto the chassis mounting plates... (More on this later.)

So with the radiator and cross-member bars removed from the chassis, it was time to have the engine and gearbox gain some altitude.

I raised the engine and gearbox to about 45 cm off the floor and rolled the chassis underneath as far as it would go. Then I turned the handle on the leveller-bar to lower the back end to allow the gearbox to clear the top chassis bar at the back of the engine bay. I had this bar protected with a stout piece of webbing to protect the powder coat if I knocked it with the bell housing.


  1. The engine mounts, these being already fitted to the engine, were in the way and were snagging on the two chassis engine mounting plates. This had the effect of not allowing the bell housing to clear the top bar of the chassis frame, therefore it would not go down or in any further; so I removed them which allowed the box to drop down more and slip under the top bar, and in, very nicely.
  1. I had to be very careful not to dink the front brake pipe with the front of the sump. There is an "L" shaped part of the brake pipe run that protrudes a couple of inches inwards towards the sump. I assume it's there to absorb vibration, and it was a simple task of just manoeuvring the sump around it until it cleared the pipe.


Also, at this point in the proceedings, I reattached the mounts and gently lowered the engine down until it was just touching the chassis plates... (So far so good and no drama.)

Then, after ~30 minutes of admiring and jiggling to square everything up, the tension was fully released and the engine and gearbox were in and sitting pretty... (Definitely tea and chocolate digestive time.)

For completeness (and safety), I moved the front flexible brake line by re-positioning the "P" clip (the one just below the lower pulley.) It was originally running along the top of the bar directly under the moving pulley but with only about 1 cm clearance. Wasn't comfortable with this so I moved it to the front of the bar and well out of the way of any movement and bouncing.

Prior to all of the above, I test-fitted the mounts on the chassis plates to ensure they would move from side-to-side as they were designed to. They are designed to move about +-0.3 cm each way; and I assume this movement has something to do with getting the engine to sit properly... (But that's a too technical thought for me at this stage.) I used M12  bolts to secure the engine mounts to the chassis with a couple of washers to take up the slack.


Note... The fuel pump is only there temporarily... Is going in the boot soon.

Gearbox Mounting Plate: The gearbox was nicely positioned in the tunnel and I temporarily supported it with a plywood mounting template. I used the 1/4 inch steel plate from the engine transit frame to manufacture the proper one. I just needed to cut it to size and drill six holes in it. Not too concerned about drive-line angles at this stage but I will get this sorted before I tighten everything up.

Comment: Most gearbox mounting plates I'm seen on blogs are attached to the underside of the chassis support frame... I'm not comfortable with this configuration as all the weight and stresses are on the four fixing bolts. I intend to put mine on the top of the two fixing brackets, therefore having all the weight supported by the plate and therefore having no stress being placed on the retaining bolts.  

Measured up and cut the plate using my 9-inch angle grinder (man-cave tool or what..!!!) then dressed it and tweaked the fitting with a hand file.

Issue: Perfect fit, however, when trial fitting the plate, the weld fillets on the chassis (where the supporting brackets are welded onto the frame) were causing the plate to not sit flush, so I trimmed the underside edges to ensure a snug mating of the horizontal surfaces.

Marked up for the holes by lowering the gearbox (with the gearbox mount now attached) until the two bolts were touching the plate. Then I marked-up these and the positions for the four plate securing holes and drilled them for a perfect fit. I've used M12's for the four fixing bolts and the two mount bolts were 3/8th... (Job's a good'un)


Prop Shaft: Having the gearbox in position with the gearstick centralised, I measured the distance accurately between the back of the gearbox and the front of the diff' for the prop shaft. Took a picture and sent it to GD and placed an order.