Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: St. Louis Mo. area - USA
Re: Lightning engine swap?
Wow !! That's a major project. It is a very cool concept, but it would be very difficult to pull that off without having the car at a pro shop for at least some of the work.
Assuming that you want to really drive it on the street and not just have a garage queen, then getting the engine to physically bolt up is just the beginning of a long list of issues to work out. Actually, having the cash and time would be the first problem, I guess. You'll certainly need lots of both.
The tranny that Ford uses behind the Lightning's 5.4 will be required most likely, anything less isn't going to live long, and it probably isn't going to fit without some fabrication work to the tunnel and mounts. Then of course a custom driveshaft is next, and that T-Bird rear axle isn't going survive very long either. The stock T-Bird radiator definitely isn't going to cool that 5.4 properly and you'll need to find room for the Intercooler that needs to be used with that engine. Is the stock fuel pump, fuel pick-up and fuel lines adequate to supply the extra fuel that it needs ? Probably not. The Lightning engine/tranny/intercooler combo will add quite a bit of weight so you'll need to upgrade the springs, and the stock brakes may need an upgrade, too. What about the engine compartment's sides and firewall, and the cowl and hood, or the wiper motor and the brake master and booster ? Most, if not all of those items will interfere with the engine fitment. How will you get the stock T-Bird power steering pump and A/C compressor to bolt up, or get the Lightning pump and compressor to fit ? You will also need to get the whole wiring harness and computer, and all the sensors from the truck that the engine will come from. The Lightning catalytic converters, or something like them may need to go with the engine aa well as the O2 sensors. Will the Lightning exhaust manifolds fit ? You'll want larger diameter exhaust all the way back, too.
Ka-Ching, Ka-Ching, Ka-Ching.
I have a good friend that has a Lightning and this last summer we drove it to two circle track races. From St.Louis to central Indiana and then a a month later to Louisville. That engine makes some serious torque and would be a serious headache for even a proffesional conversion/fabrication shop to get worked out. Maybe a 32valve 4.6 from a Lincoln Mark VIII or a hot 4.6 from a Mustang would be a better match.