3.8 swap to 5.0 - Mustang Evolution

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Old 10-12-2012, 04:08 PM   #1
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3.8 swap to 5.0

im afraid my 3.8 is on its last leg and i might have to swap it for a 5.0 sooner than expected. ive been researching for months and as far as i know the only parts i need as of now are fuel pump, wiring harness, computer and motor mounts. a few questions i couldnt find online are will my 3.8 fuel lines work? and are there any diff in the 87-88 5.0 and harness from the 86. i know the dash and exterior are diff but from what ive read if i get an 88 5.0 the 86 harness and computer will work with it. ive had trouble finding ppl who have done this swap. mostly just found 2.3 to 5.0 swaps.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:34 PM   #2
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Not for certain. But I believe if you plan on running MAF you will need a different computer.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watson 1025
im afraid my 3.8 is on its last leg and i might have to swap it for a 5.0 sooner than expected. ive been researching for months and as far as i know the only parts i need as of now are fuel pump, wiring harness, computer and motor mounts. a few questions i couldnt find online are will my 3.8 fuel lines work? and are there any diff in the 87-88 5.0 and harness from the 86. i know the dash and exterior are diff but from what ive read if i get an 88 5.0 the 86 harness and computer will work with it. ive had trouble finding ppl who have done this swap. mostly just found 2.3 to 5.0 swaps.
I'm gonna say you'll probably need to fuel lines as well since you are going EFI 5.0. The lines run up along the passenger side front of engine. If you need some pics let me know, my car is up in the air at the moment awaiting a new flywheel(90 5.0)

I'm not certain if the pre-87 dash harnesses are the same as the 87 and up. You may want to grab a complete harness dash, engine bay etc unless you go carb'd just to be on the safe side.
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 90mustangLX

I'm gonna say you'll probably need to fuel lines as well since you are going EFI 5.0. The lines run up along the passenger side front of engine. If you need some pics let me know, my car is up in the air at the moment awaiting a new flywheel(90 5.0)

I'm not certain if the pre-87 dash harnesses are the same as the 87 and up. You may want to grab a complete harness dash, engine bay etc unless you go carb'd just to be on the safe side.
My 3.8 is TBI and it has 2 fuel lines running to the passenger side to the TB. I just don't know if the connectors are the same. If u could post a pic of em that would help.

I know the 86 and 87-88 dash harness isnt the same but does that matter if the 86 and 87-88 motor harness is the same? Ideally I want to find an 86 engine so everything will plug right up, specially since this is my first engine swap. But say I found an 88 engine but had an 86 harnesses would everything plug right up since they r both speed density? Or were there small differences?
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:42 PM   #5
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Check your plug ins down by the computer, see if it has a green square plug where the 240 pin computer plug is. Then check over by the brake booster and look for a black round plug in and a grey plug in. If you have those plugs you should be able to plug the speed density 5.0 harness in.
Here's a few pics of what I'm talking about.

I have a 89 maf harness which is identical to the 87-88 harness but has the maf pig tail. The fuel lines have the round style quick connectors.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:10 PM   #6
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Really... I think I may hav been told wrong. I was told that if I got a MAF engine that I would have to swap out my dash. So I could get an 89 engine, harness and MAF computer and I will not have to mess with my dash?

Thansk for the pics. I think the fuel lines are the same. I'm at buca di beppo with my woman right now but ill check those n the morning.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watson 1025
Really... I think I may hav been told wrong. I was told that if I got a MAF engine that I would have to swap out my dash. So I could get an 89 engine, harness and MAF computer and I will not have to mess with my dash?

Thansk for the pics. I think the fuel lines are the same. I'm at buca di beppo with my woman right now but ill check those n the morning.
That I'm not sure about, the engines between a SD and MAF are the same engine, only difference is the mass air meter and harness. I would try to check that on google, my 87 gt I just swapped the engine bay harness as it had all the correct plug ins between the SD harness and MAF harness.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 90mustangLX

That I'm not sure about, the engines between a SD and MAF are the same engine, only difference is the mass air meter and harness. I would try to check that on google, my 87 gt I just swapped the engine bay harness as it had all the correct plug ins between the SD harness and MAF harness.
Ill do some looking into that. Thanks 4 the help! I was told that by a guy who has done it b4 and im thinking one of us didnt understand the other. If I could just drop any MAF engine in thay would make it a lot easier! I was planning a MAF conversion for my first mod.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:13 PM   #9
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Did a lil more research and it looks like I have to use an 86 harness because a lot of the years had some sensors on the body harness and some had the same sensors on the engine harness and 86 is diff from all of em. but from what ur saying I could use any engine even and 89-93 5.0 but not plug n the MAF and run it as SD till I get a MAF conversion kit. Americanmuscle sells em for $50.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watson 1025
Did a lil more research and it looks like I have to use an 86 harness because a lot of the years had some sensors on the body harness and some had the same sensors on the engine harness and 86 is diff from all of em. but from what ur saying I could use any engine even and 89-93 5.0 but not plug n the MAF and run it as SD till I get a MAF conversion kit. Americanmuscle sells em for $50.
Yup, the engines are just your normal 302 H.O roller motors. Doesn't matter if its a mass air car or speed density car, the engines are the same.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 90mustangLX

Yup, the engines are just your normal 302 H.O roller motors. Doesn't matter if its a mass air car or speed density car, the engines are the same.
Ok, the whole "different harnesses" was throwing me off. U converted urs from from SD right? Do u have to swap out the computer or just add the harness?
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watson 1025

Ok, the whole "different harnesses" was throwing me off. U converted urs from from SD right? Do u have to swap out the computer or just add the harness?
Swap to the maf harness and get a maf computer to natch your car. If its a 5 speed you want the A9L computer, if its an aod car you want the A9P. There are other maf computers but those are the 2 I normally see.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:21 PM   #13
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Here's a link to an article in the useful info sticky, should help you out some.

http://www.musclemustangfastfords.co...n/viewall.html
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:38 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the info! A buddy just sold me another 3.8 tbi for $40 so I'm just swapping that n till I get a more steady job. But I am still going to drop a 5.0 in asap! Not a fan of the 3.8s.

I checked my fuel pressure the other day and its about 10 psi low. My filter, injectors and regulator are good. If I buy a pump for a 5.0 will my regulator keep the pressure where its supposed to be? Or should I wait till get a 5.0 to swap pumps?
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