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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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PI swap

Hello. I'm a newbie and I'm sure you guys have answered this 1000 times. What is the best donor car or truck for doing a PI swap on my 96 Bird? I would like to stay with Romeo so that it still looks somewhat stock but if the Windsor has a better flow or power range I could live with changing valve covers.

My car is totally stock. No mods. Low mileage survivor (96k miles) I just picked up. I got it as a donor car to make a GT clone out of my 98 6cyl Mustang I've had since 02 but this car runs and looks too good to butcher up.

Thanks in advance for any info.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 10:54 PM
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02-05 explorer is the most desirable since it has an aluminum block. All other choices are iron. F series/E seriestrucks/vans and 99-mid 01 Mustang GTs used the windsor engines while the rest were Romeo. Most common cars you'll find with them are Crown Vics/Grand Marquis, they had Romeo PI 4.6s from 2002 to the end in 2011(?)


Since you have a 96 and if your current engine is running good though, just swap in PI cams and intake. The performance will be the same as it would a complete engine. Better to keep a known entity and it saves a ton of money and work.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 11:14 PM
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I'll add: doing as said above, and getting a tune for the car will Really wake it up.

Dual exhausts and an x or H pipe will help, Mandrel bent exhaust parts can be had cheap. Sound is the biggest diff in the X vs H pipe, IMHO. I have X pipes.

Get a tune, I'd recommend Don Lasota, of Lasota racing.

If you can pick up an UNLOCKED Xcal2 from ebay cheap, it will save you cash; I bought a few for $100 or thereabouts.

Note the caps, I'm not shouting, lol.

That will make for a nice DD.

Search for additional mods, there's a ton.

As was said, An aluminum Explorer block drops a Bunch of weight, IF you're doing an engine swap, that's the way to go.

Welcome!

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 08:27 AM
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Post up some pics!

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97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k miles
Previous Fords:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles
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88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I will try to post some pics when I figure out how. Lol. I found some 18" bullet wheels off of a 08 Mustang I put on. Also I has factory dual exhaust but plan on maybe x pipe. My first plan is to do just the pi heads and intake. I understand it will bump compression up quite a bit but im not gonna run any forced induction. I was thinking about 03 or 04 mustang heads and intake. Not sure on throttle body and maf set up. My goal is to keep it a daily but wanting to try to get it to 300hp. I read on someone else's post about not to do too much tuning as the valve to piston clearance is really tight. Anyways thanks for some info to think about next time I'm salvage yard hunting.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 07:36 PM
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Thanks guys. I will try to post some pics when I figure out how. Lol. I found some 18" bullet wheels off of a 08 Mustang I put on. Also I has factory dual exhaust but plan on maybe x pipe. My first plan is to do just the pi heads and intake. I understand it will bump compression up quite a bit but im not gonna run any forced induction. I was thinking about 03 or 04 mustang heads and intake. Not sure on throttle body and maf set up. My goal is to keep it a daily but wanting to try to get it to 300hp. I read on someone else's post about not to do too much tuning as the valve to piston clearance is really tight. Anyways thanks for some info to think about next time I'm salvage yard hunting.
PI heads with PI cams and a PI intake are great, they get you to 10.3:1, so you NEED 91 octane minimum and a good tune. No tune, no good.

My old PI top end engine made 223 RWHP, so approximately 270 at the crank, with a crappy Blue Oval Chips tuner chip, stock manifolds, and a cobbled together 2" exhaust going to a 2.5" midmount magnaflow and 2.5 from the magnaflow back. (Not sure why it was cheaped out that way).

97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Woodman. Are all pi cams the same? I figured the Mustang would have the more performance oriented cams. They have the highest hp rating out of the romeo engines that I could find. Or is that more because of the tune? That's why I'm looking towards raking the entire top end of of a Mustang and putting it on my tbird short block. And the higher compression would yield more hp than a stock mustang correct?
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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I figured out how to change my profile pic but I can't figure out a way to post pics to a thread. Lol. I'm too old for this 💩. 😂
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 08:04 PM
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I'm too old for this 💩. 😂
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I figured out how to change my profile pic but I can't figure out a way to post pics to a thread.
You can either post pictures as an attachment or using a picture hosting site.

Attachments, look for the paper clip icon thingy next to the smiley thingy. Or to use a URL, look for the icon that has the little mountain range on it! Hover over it and you'll see it "Insert Image" and you can use that. Use these instructions when you are posting a message and you see the icons I mentioned.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 08:47 PM
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Thanks for the info Woodman. Are all pi cams the same? I figured the Mustang would have the more performance oriented cams. They have the highest hp rating out of the romeo engines that I could find. Or is that more because of the tune? That's why I'm looking towards raking the entire top end of of a Mustang and putting it on my tbird short block. And the higher compression would yield more hp than a stock mustang correct?
All PI engines, regardless of block material, are essentially the same with minor variations. The Windsor blocks have different head castings/cam covers and crankshaft bolt patterns for the flywheel.

However, they all use the same camshalfts, and are essentially the same internally. Tune/exhaust layout/intake layout are the only real differences, but a CV PI engine has the same potential as a WAP block PI out of an Explorer. Not like the old pushrod engines where they'd throw different cams and heads on.

Yes, the higher compression can give more power. You have to be very careful of piston to valve clearance, but it's not too big a deal as long as you line everything up to TDC. Degreeing them helps too.
The power difference really is all in the tune on the Mustang GT vs other engines. Mustangs had less restrictive intake and exhaust setups as well.

97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Joe. Love your profile pic. Lol. I don't have a paper clip like I normally see. Or the mountain thingy. Lol. Maybe because I'm a newbie and still on probation. Or double secret probation. If there are any old farts like me in here that get that reference. Also all I have is my phone. No computer access as my towns internet is way too expensive and super slow.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Ok. Thanks again Woodman. I have found some complete 4.6 out of grand marquis with really low mileage I can pick up dirt cheap. I may just go that route with an exhaust upgrade and tune. Might not get to 300 but might get pretty close.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Joe, you can teach an old dog new tricks. LOL
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 09:00 AM
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Also I has factory dual exhaust but plan on maybe x pipe.
No such thing as factory dual exhaust. It goes from two headpipes into one pipe, then splits back to two tailpipes.

H pipe is for better low end torque and deeper sound. X pipe is for maximum peak HP with a higher pitched sound.

Al
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97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k miles
Previous Fords:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles
96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years, 187k miles
88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 09:26 AM
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Ok. Thanks again Woodman. I have found some complete 4.6 out of grand marquis with really low mileage I can pick up dirt cheap. I may just go that route with an exhaust upgrade and tune. Might not get to 300 but might get pretty close.
While it's out, do all the hard stuff to it. Change every single sensor so you don't have to worry about it. New exhaust manifold gaskets, port the exhaust manifolds if you are able (ported stock manifolds flow better than shorty headers), not a horrible idea to replace timing chains, get a good trigger wheel, etc. New front and rear main seals, new oil filter adapter gasket, etc. All the stuff that's a pain to replace in the car, get it done. Super easy while the engine is out.

97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 10:15 AM
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I never replace timing chains, they last forever, but I would replace the plastic tensioners with the older iron ones and it couldn’t hurt to replace the guides. The grand Marquis should already come with the good (stamped) trigger wheel and one piece crank sprocket so no need to upgrade there.


I think Ford’s 4.6 power ratings boil down to the tune or are simply fudged by marketing for whatever reason. I highly doubt Intakes and exhausts on stock Mustangs vs. stock P71 Vic’s(true dual exhaust in those, like Mustang) are any more or less restrictive than each other to account for a 36 horsepower deficit in their ratings.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 09:56 AM
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I never replace timing chains, they last forever, but I would replace the plastic tensioners with the older iron ones and it couldnt hurt to replace the guides. The grand Marquis should already come with the good (stamped) trigger wheel and one piece crank sprocket so no need to upgrade there.


I think Fords 4.6 power ratings boil down to the tune or are simply fudged by marketing for whatever reason. I highly doubt Intakes and exhausts on stock Mustangs vs. stock P71 Vics(true dual exhaust in those, like Mustang) are any more or less restrictive than each other to account for a 36 horsepower deficit in their ratings.
Not so much the intake itself, but intake hose routing, throttle body, etc as part of the "intake system".

I'm sure tune and exhaust mean much, much more.

97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 10:05 AM
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They use the same 65mm throttle body, some are even convinced the Crown Vic plenum flows better than the Mustang one and use them as cheap upgrades(I dont even buy that aftermarket ones produce legitimate gains, personally). The rest of the intake tract is just the tube, MAF and filter housing, and by no means are any of those more restrictive on CVs than the Mustang system.
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