MG Sports Cars

engine swaps and other performance upgrades, plus "factory" and Costello V8s

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TeamEvil
Thomas Canty

(34 posts)

Registered:
03/07/2012 02:01PM

Main British Car:


Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: TeamEvil
Date: April 27, 2012 12:45PM

Hi,

Haven't posted much, not much to post about until now. I have an MGA chassis coming in in a couple of days, clean and stripped with the "goal post" removed and accompanying the chassis. I just picked up a Ford 302 engine and automatic over-drive trans and am planning on placing the Ford drive line in the MGA chassis.

Of COURSE, I'd much prefer a five speed, but my left knee is shot and I doubt that a clutch pedal is in my near or far future right now.

The re-construction and strengthening of the frame isn't a problem, welding and fabrication is almost second nature, but I was wondering if there were any tips or pit falls, help or things to avoid in doing this swap?

I've done a Chevy V6 in an MGB, pretty easy if you plan WAY ahead, just never tried something so big in something so small and could use any help that you folks can give.

Thanks ! !

TC


Bill Young
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: Bill Young
Date: April 27, 2012 03:58PM

Should be pretty straight forward as far as getting the engine and trans set into the chassis. Try to get the engine as far forward as possible to minimize the intrusion into the footwells, as the steering runs very close when the center of the goal post is opened up. Definitely try to get the goal post and lower tubular crossmember back in the frame in some fashion, as they add a lot of torsional stiffness to the frame that is really needed and the goal post acts as a mouting point for the steering gear and brake master cylinders as well. Despite what you might think, leg room is pretty tight on an MGA to start with, narrow the foot wells much and it really can become uncomfortalby tight even without a clutch pedal. Lots of creative ways around that though such as using a 1500 MIdget throttle assembly which moves the cable to the driver's side and even different pedals if necessary. I have an MGA that I've been playing with for a number of years now with an inline 6 and 5 speed installed. Photos in the project section, I was one of the first to post there. You mignt get some ideas from what I had to do and my new floor board supports etc.


TeamEvil
Thomas Canty

(34 posts)

Registered:
03/07/2012 02:01PM

Main British Car:


Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: TeamEvil
Date: April 27, 2012 05:45PM

Yes, I can tell that there's going to be an issue with foot room no matter what trans is used. Since it's a body-off deal, with the chassis and engine being tied together before the front clip is even close to being fitted, I was thinking of removing the rear diagonal from the goal post on both sides and running a piece of 2x4 steel along the top of the chassis rail with a quarter inch thick triangular plate from that additional piece to the uprights of the goal post.

Without the diagonals intruding into the cabin, there ought to be an extra two inches or more room, with a little room sacrificed at the very bottom, and the triangular plates tying things together.

Some more 2x4 lengths on the inside of the frame rails beneath the doors will strengthen things further.

I'm sort of hoping, and planning, on removing some intrusive metal/bulkheads/reinforcements and marrying other lengths to the insides and to areas so as to replace the metal taken out.

With the chassis exposed and the drive train in full view, I think that I may be able to work in this way and not loose any strength or rigidity. It'll take cleverness and correct materials, but . . . hoping. any way.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5812 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: April 28, 2012 09:44AM

Torsional stiffness is probably going to be an issue, but you may be able to get creative in adding that in. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to add torsional stiffness is with a tubular cross member, regardless of where it is placed in the chassis. Often an OEM will use a tubular member to tie the front spring hangers together, bending it in a hoop to go over the drive shaft. For a given amount of metal, a large diameter thin wall tube is stiffer than a small thick wall one, so if you can find a way around the driveshaft or transmission tailshaft, even if the tailshaft had to go through the middle of the tube... well, just a thought. Or a tube behind the axle and in front of the engine would help.

Jim


Bill Young
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: Bill Young
Date: April 28, 2012 11:21AM

I left the diagonal brace on the rear, but cut about half of it away and plated over that area. Gave me about an inch and a half more foot room without loosing too much strength. Besides, there is a panel that fits over that triangular shaped area that seals the foot well from the fender, you really need to keep that in place as the body doesn' t fill that void. It also makes a great mount for a dead pedal for your left foot.


XeNoMoRpH
Michael Brose
Virginia, USA
(5 posts)

Registered:
07/21/2010 08:52AM

Main British Car:
1960 MG MGA 1966 Ford 289

Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: XeNoMoRpH
Date: May 10, 2012 07:45AM

Any updates on this? I only ask because I currently have a MGA with a Ford 289.


jblanchard@hcpg.net
Jeb Blanchard
Collierville, TN
(52 posts)

Registered:
12/07/2007 01:01PM

Main British Car:
1961 MGA Chevy 4.3 Vortec V-6

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: jblanchard@hcpg.net
Date: May 10, 2012 11:09AM

Just my two cents.

My MGA has a Chevy 4.3L V6. Had I to do it over again I'd installed a 302. The Chevy motor is wider (engine bay of MGA is narrower than the bay on a MGB) than a 302. It takes "more" to create greater HP in the 4.3.

I can't comment on the size requirements of an automatic transmission. My transmission tunnel took away two inches on both the driver and passenger side for a T-5.



roverman
Art Gertz
Winchester, CA.
(2990 posts)

Registered:
04/24/2009 11:02AM

Main British Car:
74' Jensen Healy, 79 Huff. GT 1, 74 MGB Lotus 907,2L

Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: roverman
Date: May 10, 2012 11:16AM

Thomas, If you really like a stick, why not switch,(your foot) ? Thinking outside the box,"foot box", If your able to use your left foot for accellerator...why not ? If your capable to do a swap like this, making reversed pedal arrangement, should be easy ? + 2 cents, t-axle ? Good Luck. roverman.


mgaman
marshall de leon
Portland Oregon
(78 posts)

Registered:
09/17/2008 06:11PM

Main British Car:
Mark 2 Jaguar 350 Chev. V8

Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: mgaman
Date: June 15, 2012 10:31AM

Wasn't there a post on here once about a 351 Ford in a MGA? But, there again, if memory serves me right the guy was running a custom frame-- maybe that is the way to do it?


88v8
Ivor Duarte
Gloucestershire UK
(682 posts)

Registered:
02/11/2010 04:29AM

Main British Car:
1974 Land Rover Lightweight V8

Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: 88v8
Date: July 03, 2012 07:42AM

So, what do we think about this?
[www.ebay.co.uk]
Pretty tight fit in the engine bay.

Always bothers me when the seller proclaims ignorance about the car.

Ivor


pspeaks
Paul Speaks
Dallas, Texas
(698 posts)

Registered:
07/20/2009 06:40PM

Main British Car:
1972 MGB-GT 1979 Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: pspeaks
Date: July 03, 2012 08:00AM

Of course I'm old and my eyesight is failing, but it also bothers me that the seller thinks it's an MGB.

Paul


88v8
Ivor Duarte
Gloucestershire UK
(682 posts)

Registered:
02/11/2010 04:29AM

Main British Car:
1974 Land Rover Lightweight V8

Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: 88v8
Date: July 03, 2012 03:48PM

I did tell him three days ago, he isn't bothered I guess.

Ivor


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5812 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: July 03, 2012 04:16PM

The flat bottom on the radiator opening gives it a sad appearance don't you think?

Jim


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4411 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: Moderator
Date: July 03, 2012 05:03PM

Yes! That poor old car certainly deserves a more caring owner.

I thought the writing on the windshield was a little odd, considering.


TeamEvil
Thomas Canty

(34 posts)

Registered:
03/07/2012 02:01PM

Main British Car:


Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: TeamEvil
Date: July 10, 2012 12:28PM

Sorry for not being around, I have been side tracked a bit having my knee fixed, feels great and has changed my project requirements a bit.

I recebtly found a rough but complete '58 MGA Coupe to use as the new basis for my project, ALWAYS loved the coupe, but didn't think that I would ever find one locally and affordable. I've also decided that I'll run a standard transmission as well, now that I'm able to work the clutch once again.

Picked up a nice condition '89 Mustang 5.0/T-5 package complete, and have begin stripping out the coupe to get a better look at the engine bay with the body still attached. Looks like the inner fender wells will need to be cut and moved, the exhaust will be run through the fender wells and down, but the oil pan and front of the engine ought to fit OK. Bought a short water pump and oil filter relocation kit, found a fairly low profile four barrel intake manifold (stock 67 Mustang) and looking for a stock low profile early Mustang points-style distributor to install a Pertronix module into. These parts and pieces and plans ought to work together to help the engine/trans fit within the engine bay confines fairly well.

Could use a bit of help with the radiator, can't seem to find one in the aftermarket that's small enough and with a two or three pass core, any siggestions for an alternative (Maybe one buiult for another car that will fit and do the job? ) would help a lot.

I also found a good MGC rear end for the project, wondering if anyone has gone this route and, other than the e-brake, has had any luck or problem with it? I also have a stock '86 Mustang traction loc rear end which could be narrowed to fit the MGA, just seems like a bit more work than the MGC option. Anybody left the stock MGA rear in place with an engine transplant? How long did it stand up to the new power?

Thanks SO much for the info, I'm new to the MGA and learning things every day.

TC



jblanchard@hcpg.net
Jeb Blanchard
Collierville, TN
(52 posts)

Registered:
12/07/2007 01:01PM

Main British Car:
1961 MGA Chevy 4.3 Vortec V-6

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: jblanchard@hcpg.net
Date: July 23, 2012 08:04PM

TC,

Radiator for a 1967 Mustang V8 fits well. I ultimatelyi installed an aluminum radiator (dropped operating temp approx 12 degrees) and changed the sides of the inlet and outlet tubes because my motor is a 4.3L chevy.

The coupe is a nice touch...

Jeb


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2625 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: rficalora
Date: July 23, 2012 09:15PM

Quote:
and looking for a stock low profile early Mustang points-style distributor to install a Pertronix module into.

Check out a '85 5.0L manual transmission mustang distributor. Already has the magnetic pickup guts and more importantly it already has a steel drive gear which you need if you have a roller cam. Remanufactured they're only about $50 so not worth going used IMO. Just check the gear. The 1st two I got from my local Autozone had cast iron gears. Same PN from NAPA (but the Cardone box had a NAPA label covering the Cardone logo) had the right gear. It comes with an adapter for the big cap but a small cap fits w/o that piece.


pspeaks
Paul Speaks
Dallas, Texas
(698 posts)

Registered:
07/20/2009 06:40PM

Main British Car:
1972 MGB-GT 1979 Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: pspeaks
Date: July 24, 2012 09:46AM

The Cardone distributor is also available at Pep Boys. Cardone has one for $44 and what appears to be the same distributor for about $54. Iím not sure what the difference is. I have a PC7002 electronic distributor and a PC-90 epoxy filled ignition coil from ProComp which has a casting on the side that houses some of the electronics and almost directly opposite is the vacuum diaphragm housing. They both hit the intake manifold and Iím not sure there is enough rotation to time the motor properly; plus itís too tall. If you guys want to see my distributor I'd really rather open the hood (sorry, bonnet) because I'm not all that interested in cutting a hole in my hood if I can help it. I know I have to change something and the Cardone unit has been the front runner so far. What else would I need to make it work?

Paul


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2625 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: rficalora
Date: July 24, 2012 01:01PM

If you have an electronic distributor presumably have an ignition that'll work with a magnetic pickup. If so, you shouldn't need anything else to make the 85 mustang one work. It fits under my hood with no bulge or scoop but may depend how high your motor is.


pspeaks
Paul Speaks
Dallas, Texas
(698 posts)

Registered:
07/20/2009 06:40PM

Main British Car:
1972 MGB-GT 1979 Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Ford 302 in an MGA . . . ?
Posted by: pspeaks
Date: July 24, 2012 06:34PM

I have the coil. My motor does seem to set higher than most others, in fact some of you have commented on it. I notched the crossmember as much as I considered safe and barely clear the steering rack but I did start out with the stock 72 crossmember; I'm assuming that is the cause. I've about decided to change to the Carbone distributor after I make sure it is in fact shorter than the one I have.


Paul
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