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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - 302 ford guys, please help!!!

I have made up my mind and the '67 GT is getting a 302. I test drove a rover last week and, while it was impressive, I think I will eventually want more so why not "start with the end in mind" (If anyone gets that they have been to one too many management seminars like I have!). So on to my questions: I have located a post '87 roller mustang 302 with a five speed. This motor has cast heads and the wrong pan but comes as a complete pull out from a local yard for $1500.00. Is that too much to pay? Will I be able to use the EFI setup under the hood? Has anyone else used cast heads and can verify that the aditional wieght was a BIG problem. What else will have to be changed to make this engine work? Finally I have seen a car on Larry's site that managed to run cast manifolds and exit the exaust between the frame rails. Does anyone know how this was done? I would like to run the pipes down below even if it means less as far as performance. (deep breath)Sorry to get so long winded but I don't want to buy stuff until I'm sure It will work.
Thanks in advance
Jim Royal

Way too much. I found a 302 HO motor out of a Bronco at a local salvage yard for 750. It has 80k on it and is complete from pulleys to flexplate and EFI to pan. They also have a newly rebuilt T5 for about 900. Just to give you an idea
Jarrod Hills

I bought my302 and T5 from scrap yard as well --125 for both.The engine was complete but I wanted for block only but had roller cam and was base for a good rebuild.The T5WC turned out to be perfect ( very lucky ) I put in rebuild kit of bearings and syncros and wound up with about 250 for whole cost! I guess it really winds up with being a bit of luck and knowing the scrap yard.As far as engine goes I really like to know what I have.
Gil Price


As we all know, Larry is the Man when it comes to a 302 conversion. I believe his site has all the info on what it took to get FI under the hood. 94/95 mustang seems to be the answer. Couple this to the front end parts from a late model Ford Exploder to minimize total lenght. I see aftermarket oil pump housings and water pumps sold as "short " in a lot of mags. Do not know if this is the same as the explorer bits. I hear a rumour that headers may be available for this swap eventually. That would be the final straw in a 302 versus 215 debate.

Do not worry too much about what you paid for the drivetrain. It will be minor in the grand scope of this project. Getting the right parts without having to mix and match wil be the big advantage. Owning this thing for the long term will also be a lot more pleasant if you avoid the "bitsa" aproach to the swap.

I am guessing that you too have fallen for the green GT on Larry's site. I too have a 67 and that car would be my ideal. I would love to get a better look at the car. Quick measurements tell me that you are looking at removal of the entire front half of the tunnel (with all the heating/defroster bits) I do not know exactly how far back that engine is, but I think 2 cyls are inside the firewall. Notice where the starter motor is in relation to the firewall. This will keep the entire engine behind the crossmember: very good for handling and will negate any adverse effects of weight gain. At this point you can run a variety of aftermarket headers. I think the seatback would give a lot more room for whatever induction you want to use.

You are left with the problem of gettting some form of defroster working (I do not think heat will be a problem!) I would really like some photos of the inside of that car. I am not sure about what would be left of the leg room, my gut feeling is that you will loose about a foot of room from the old firewall back. Not sure on width.

With the engine set that far back, the shifter on a T5 will not be in a good position. This could maybe be solved by using a S10 rear housing on a V8 tranny; not sure what it would take to graft that on to the tranny, but I think it can be done. The GT in the pics had external shifter linkage; the shifter can be moved around quite easy.

Note that the GT was a 12 YEAR project. And then the owner sold it. I doubt he sold it at a profit, so whats up with that?

Please keep me posted as I am very interested in this swap. Good luck.


I am on my way out the door for work. Pete has the 5.0 info right as a bassis and $1500 is WAY to much, unless maybe they are giving you ALL the computers and wiring harnesses. Even then it is a touch high. Especially for a older motor.

I will fill in more info later tonight.
Larry Embrey

Hi Jim,

FYI - I sent you an email + pictures last night answering some of your questions.

Good luck


1969 302 V8
PJ Mantell

Thanks for getting me started. I'm no stranger to long projects, but if I spent 12yrs on a car I think they would have to pry the steering wheel out of my cold, dead hands.The $1500 is for a complete engine/T-5 and everything in between including harness and computer as well as a high performance chip. I have found many 200-$300 running 302's but most were from lincons, explorers etc. and had a flex plate not a flywheel. I know I can find these parts but I am taking Larry's advice on gettin as much of the drivetrain as possible and not piecing things together. But if I can find this setup much cheaper I will take all of your advice and keep looking. Has anyone out there tried to cut back the firewall to push the engine back into the car? It seams that this approach would be alot of work but would end up with a very slick conversion where everything is under the hood, good headers point out between the rails, and the balance may aclually end up better.
JCR Royal

Sorry, I did acually complete the third grade but you would never know that looking at the spelling in my last post. Too much coffee and 4 years on night shift will do that to ya!
JCR Royal

I took the easier route and did my 302 conversion on a 79B--no cutting and all fits under the bonnet with no outward signs its not stock. I have put about 4000 miles on it since July and only prob was overheating on hot days in traffic. On the open road it runs a bit too cool.
I will email you some pics of my car
Gil Price

I'm about to start on a 302 conversion as well on my 1970. I was planning on modifying the firewall to allow as much engine setback as possible to allow the use of shorty headers. A good point though has been brought up about shifter location when using the T5 in this setup. I'm now rethinking using this transmission. On the other hand, how did you guys make your "RV8" style exhausts for your conversions? I have good welding skills but don't have a clue as to how to make headers at home. Is it even possible, or do you guys just break out your checkbooks at the custom exhaust shop?

Scott Wooley

OK, finally home from work so here goes!!

$1500 is not a terrible price, but is not a steal either. It is fair. You have the right idea, but also don't pass up a dgood $300 running unit. Take your time and research it, lots of 5.0 stock goodies are on ebay. A flywheel should be easy to source from the local mustang crowd. I bought my 1st for $15 and the second for $25. a rebuilt T5 should be in the 500-600 area, cheaper if not rebuilt.

That said keep these things in mind.

1. The 94/95 uses a special Throttle body specific to those years. That is bolt pattern and Connector specific. Now I think I heard you can get a pigtail to convert from the pre94 connector to a 94/95 one, but that will need to be checked on, worst case you cut and splic on a new connector which is less than 10wires between the TPS and IAC. So you could buy the 94/95 upper to match the stock lower intake and then get a 94/95 stock TB, to mount to it. Then do the wiring and your on the way. the ECu and harness can sometimes be a PITA to obtain. ECU's are easy, but aside from aftermarket, harnesses can be a tough find.

2. One benefit of the 94/95 is also the longer trans. it is about 3/4-1" longer which will put the shifter almost exactly in stock location than earlier years.

Other than that if it is a true post 87 you should be ok. Just be aware that they get tired around 150Kmi and usually like a rebuild about that time. that is dependant on the driver and maintenance though.

The other big trick which I have not crossed is intake tube routing. the 94/95 kicks out to the right side right into the same area as the explorer brackets put the Alt. On my car this is further muddled by my Fuel line routing in the same area, DOH!

HEADERS - I made my own and did not know how to weld when I started. The welds are ugly, but that said I was really happy to know I did it myself. While a pro shop might have eacker out more power, I am not in the mood to drop 800+ for a custom set to get an extra 10hp, when I already have 100hp more than I can use. I just bought 2 sets of truck long tubes, cut them up and attacked it like a big jigsaw puzzle.

I think that hits most of it. If not, ask more ??'s and I will try to answer. And NO you can't have my car!!
Larry Embrey

Please excuse my ignorance, but what is a truck long tube? I was wondering how you got the bends in your exhaust.

Scott Wooley


The headers are easy enough to make. What you do is get a "Kit"; this involves a box with the header flanges and a bunch of "J" and "U" shaped pieces of tubing. These you cut up as needed and weld together. A mig welder will not make the prettiest headers, but by the time you are done with the firewall, you are going to be pretty good with that welder!

Another thing to note about the GT with the engine set-back; the steering seems to have an intermediate shaft. This may indicate a complete re-design of the steering gear. Not a light undertaking but one that is catered to in the hot-rod market.

Larry: You may have the answer to this one: How far back does the engine have to be moved in order that the cross- member does not need to be cut. The front end of a B is already rather flinsy, and cutting the cross-member does not inspire confidence.

If one is willing to attack the firewall, but does not want to cut the cross-member, then the GM V8 (rear sump) comes back into play: I have seen two of these conversions. They had firewall surgery, Headers or stock manifolds inside the frame-rails, and uncut cross-members. Extra weight would be the penalty. Extra HP would be the advantage (cheaper HP at least). I would go distributorless ignition to cure that problem.



I made my headers out of a regular set of Mustang headers.Just cut them off about an inch from the flange and started piecing them together one tube at a time (all gas welded).Had them ceramic coated by Swain and they've been on the car for 7 years with no leaks and no problems at all.They exit out the inner fender and look similar to a shortie,practically no collector which gives you no tire interference.However,I dyno'd my new motor with full length headers,then with my actual headers and realized a 25hp loss.Somewhat disappointing but expected.If I could figure out how to start a new paragraph I would but danged if I can.Before I trimmed my crossmember I took different measurements on the front end and I didn't see any movement at all after cutting.Only the left side needs to be cut if you get the right pan,or an aftermarket Canton like I have now.I have somewhere in the 30,000 mile range on mine since converting and have never had any issues with the front end.The first 2 years I ran cast heads,can't say I noticed any weight difference between them and Edelbrocks in driving the car but apples to oranges when it comes to power.The rack is very close to the pan as are my oil lines and they've never moved.I've never even had the car aligned since I've owned it and have no tire wear issues.So my experience shows the crossmember to be quite strong.Getting back to the original question,$1,500 for a complete 302 with bell,flywheel,clutch and T5 tranny etc sounds like a fair price if it is all ready to run without rebuilding.

Well after a second phone call it sounds like the mileage on this "low milage" engine is actually "unknown" and the Mustang it came from has 161K on the clock which will probably match the miles on the T-5. SO! back to the phone book. If any of you had start over what would be the best donor combo. to start with. I see that Larry ended up with a '99 Explorer but changed the cam etc to make it work for his MG. I have found several Lincon 302s for sale in the "cheap" range and I am not opposed to doing a rebuild but I would like to start with the most bang for the buck. I am starting to like the idea of moving the engine into the heater box area to get it back behind the cross member, This seams like it will solve many of the problems that have come up like custom headers, room for fans/radiators up front and balance issues. By the way Thanks to all for all of the great pictures and ideas. All of your cars look great and by the sounds of things have held up to some hard use. Thanks to all of you for helping me get this project started right.
JCR Royal

I've already done a full sill and floor replacement. Also right dogleg, rear quarter panel, rear valance, front trumpet braces, etc. I'm not afraid of attacking that firewall or making headers with the MIG!

Scott Wooley

Scott - Truck long tubes are long tube headers made for trucks, sorry for the shorthand on that. I found them to be inexpensive, I think I got my 2 sets for $100-150 shipped off the Evil bay. The factory shorties end a good 1 1/4"+ behind the heads and are pointed back and down right at your shins, so it would need a good bit of wall/tunnel hacking to fit. I really tried on that..

Pete - I did not move the engine, unless you want to take a good 6"+ out of the firewall, you have to notch the K member. The oil pan on mine is a hair ahead of the front of the k member, and my Left side head (for you UK guys) is maybe 1/8-3/16" from the firewall. That K member is plenty strong if it is patched back up properly. I had a second k member so I cut it up and used parts from it to seal ming back up.

As many of you know, I raced mine and ran her as hard at was possible. When I am on the track playtime is over, whether I am the fastest or slowest I am running hard. I was slam shifitng (with clutch), and dumping at 2k+ between shifts. Tearing the tires loose in all gears with my foot on the floor, the car would get all nose high and the chassis would flex, but never once did it crack or show signs of fatigue. If done properly and sealed up the K member will hold. Just look at Dale, his has 300K+ on it. I used his car as my guidline for making my car, I probably about drove him nuts with the questions heh.
Larry Embrey


Explorer/mountaineer 5.0 start with Aluminum Heads and 240 HP. Stock HO 5.0 Mustang 225 HP and Iron heads.
The only Lincoln with HO engine was the Mark VII. Town cars etc are VIN code F Non HO and around 200 HP.
All that said, I think starting with 87-93 or 94-95 Mustang with T5 is the probably the easiest.
You have the flywheel and bellhousing, trans set-up already with the motor with these combinations.
But it really depends how much mix 'n' match you want to do.

Have a look at for some prices.


Pete Mantell
Pete Mantell

Pete - I have to disagree, no 5.0L car from Ford ever came with alum heads from the factory, except for maybe some high end super limited production units, even the cobra's had Iron heads. The Explorer/Mountaineer do have the great flowing gt40P heads however. They outflow stock GT40's and often outflow ported E7's. BUT the require thier own headers which can at times be problematic, but proper plug wire selection can limit that I have been told.

That said I do agree it might be better to source a mustang drivetrain for the trnas and other things being all done. Stangparts will be on the high side pricewise, but it will give a great idea on what is out there.

EvilBAY is the way to go, I built my car 99% from there. Just find out what you have, need and what fair prices are. Check sites like and also.
Larry Embrey

This thread was discussed between 16/10/2003 and 18/10/2003

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