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  1. #1

    Default Contemplating a 3.8 SC swap into 79 Cobra!

    Greetings FEP members,

    I came across some mishap as I was saving to build a 351W with turbo application for the foureye. National Tire and Battery Corporation and Cooper Tire Corporation laid the wood to me this month. Had to use the money that I was saving for the foureye build to purchase new tires for my truck $800. Now I am contemplating, should I put a 3.8 SC (LOOKS COMPLETE MINUS INTERCOOLER) into my foureye that I can get for nearly nothing to the dollar. The only problem is...should I get this setup, I will need some mental assistance in completing the swap. I have been humbled to understand a car sitting becomes a car of no interests therefore; I'm going to do something to it to get it on the road. Should anyone have any knowledge of this swap, please drop me a message.

    Also, If anyone should know or come across members (bull-vette or plstktnkr2) please have them shoot me a message as, I have read in another search thread that these two fellas have done the swap or, have a good working knowledge of the swap into a foxbody.

    Thanks FEP Members.

  2. #2


    Sorry, I am not help on the actual swap. I am not sure about hood interference but as far as physically fitting the engine, it should be a breeze as they put that same 3.8 engine in Fox Mustangs. Not the S/C version of course but at least that means engine mounts, cross members should be available and a transmission should fit and also use the OEM transmission cross member. Then get a stand alone ECU of some sort and the rest is just wiring. What is going to soak up all the time is getting any of the stock components to work like any of the gauges, lights, wipers etc. You are either going to have a hacked stocked wiring harness or completely build a new one using a Ron Francis kit or similar. Good Luck. Somewhere around here there is a 1957 Thunderbird with that 3.8 S/C engine in it and it looks factory so I am sure it can be done given the time, money and resources.

  3. #3

    '79 Mercury Zephyr ES 5.0L GT40 EFI T-5 (Mustang LWB)
    '17 Ford Transit Connect Titanium LWB
    '14 Ford Fusion SE Manual

  4. #4
    FEP Member brianj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Raymond, New Hampshire
    Blog Entries


    Physically bolting it in isn't bad. However, as you can see from the 5 year long, 12 page thread above, making everything work can be a challenge without a lot of spendy custom work. I think it's pretty cool, and I'd actually like to do one, but I'd plan on a long term project.
    1983 Mustang G.T. No-option stripper- I like strippers.
    5.0, GT40P heads, Comp Cams XE270HR-12 on 1.6 rockers, TFI spring kit, Weiand 174 blower, Holley 750 mechanical secondarys, Mishimoto radiator, Edelbrock street performer mechanical pump, BBK shortys, T-5 conversion, 8.8 rear, 3.73 gears, carbon fiber clutches, SS Machine lowers, Maximum Motorsport XL subframes, "B" springs.

  5. #5


    Super coupes were a whole different animal then a fox. I have pictures saved somewhere of a detroit police stickered 88 tbird with the sc engine under the hood, supposedly pre production testing.

    The super coupe has abs and a completely dllifferent engine bay. Yes the engine will physically fit, but that isnt the hard part. Can't imagine too many people can tune a 3.8sc in a fox.
    2 1986 cougars (both 4 eyed and 5.0)
    1 1987 cougar

  6. #6


    The only issue I see is the fuel injection and other wiring. You could use the factory stuff, but I would go with an aftermarket computer. Megasquirt or if you have the cash get the Holley set up. The rest should be a bolt in deal. I had dreams of doing a turbo build with a Supercoupe motor, if I could ever find one. Not to many around here.

    Previously owned;
    1979 Mustang, v6 swapped to EFI 393, custom installed m122 blower, 4r70w trans, Megasquirt II, T-top swaped in.
    1990 Mustang, 545 BBF, C-4 with brake, ladder bars.
    1983 Mustang, 1984 SVO Mustang
    1984 Mustang convertible, v6 swapped to 351
    1986 Mustang GT, 1989 Mustang GT convertible
    1992 Mustang coupe, 4 swapped to 302

  7. #7
    FEP Super Member xctasy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Dunedin 9011, New Zealand, South Pacific


    plstktnkr2 has had rotator cuff and foot surgery, still has to provide for his family.

    My wife has a torn rotator cuff...and based on the testimonies of others, the surgery and recovery its just cruel. She just works at a rest home toting the elderly and infirm with hoists and two people assists......if you've been used to swinging M16's, pry bars, monkey wrenches and sledge hammers, the post operative phase is very sobbering when you've got a family to support.

    The plstktnkr2 SC 3.8 is very different....fitting eveything into a 3.8 block the very different and stronger F150 truck 4.2 Essex 90 internals. The work he did is 500% the work required for just a MN12 SC 3.8 swap. In addition, the stock 210 hp intercooler and the supercharger piping is just so nasty, there is no wonder these engines didn't grow in popularity.

    A 100% stock swap lookes like this,

    and is mainly wiring, but there are some major considerations you are gonna have to have on how you are going to pakacage A/C, intercooler, the battery, and the radiator and things.


    And ancillaries location

    in a Fox are very difficult with the labyrinth of EECIV, EDIS and intercooler "mainlines" back to the compact and light Essex 90 V6.

    Just how you package this

    Ford wanted advancement in design....the MN12 was very much an EA26 Austalian Ford Falcon with IRS type of car, with the same crowded engine bay. The Ford EA Falcon, introduced in 1988, might have bore a passing resemblance to the European Ford Scorpio, but under the skin, it was a watershed of Short Arm Long Sindle IFS, like the MN12 was. Ford used the Porsche 928 style IFS, and the best Jaguar style IRS they could build, both causing major intrusions into the unibody structure, and amking fitting even a 5.0 HO EFI or 4.6 liter Romeo/Modular V8 a real headache. The orginal EA 26 was supposed to be powered by an Intercooled OHC I6 like this.

    The SALS EA26 and MN12 suspension system practically caressed the block on every car with that platform.

    In 1989, everything had moved to Honda and Chrysler LH style cab forward, and Ford and Toyo Kogo felt that the future was packing T drive in lines into cars to make construction cheaper.

    The MN 12 was the first fruit of that optimistic Japanization of the product line. Rather like the 58 Tbird, 61 Lincoln and 61 T bird, the MN 12 was a very tight envope with a very sophisticated body with truly lovely SALS IFS and that kick a$$ IRS. The engineer who did the diesing gopt laid into by the finance boys, but the car was basically as significant as the Square Bird was in 1958.

    Aint no one givin it any respect!

    Degree of difficulty is so great because all the Essex 90 engines are festooned with manitenance reducing parts, and although they were designed to be serviced, you've got a tight 4.193" bore center light weight alloy head engine laid so far back in the chassis, its a proper pest to upgrade anthing on the cold supply side to the blower. I've never seen a serp drive like it, nor have I seen an Eaton M90 blower install like it.

    Ford sure as heck did the homeowk on this engine, but it innoculated the world from ever deciding to do another Supercharged V6, except for the GM 3800 L67 Eaton Supercharged engine.

    Same kinda engine, same issues.

    The Ford 3.8 SC stuff is unlike the Modular 4.6 and 5.4 Super Charged stuff, it can't hide the intercooler in an iron block with a camshaft and balance shaft in the intake....people use the 3.8 SC because its so smartly done.

    Look at this! VW VR6 mit 7 psi 3.8 Thunderbird Super Charger

  8. #8
    FEP Super Member xctasy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Dunedin 9011, New Zealand, South Pacific


    Some of his links have dropped off the Photo Bucket---> Picture Pail....since I paid mine since I'd had 8 years of 2500 picture free access, I get acess anywhere in the PB, including plstktnkr2's...

    Que the total engine rebuild. Normal. naturally aspirated 1982- 1997 blocks are not the most reliable, although some guys get an awesome run.

    The 3.8 SC MN12 engine was really well fortified. Some times, adding a 5 speed to a previously AOD SC 3.8 can damage the tcrank hrust bearing, so its a good idea to keep the engines gearboxes with this swap.

    The parts exist for this engine, you can upgrade the internals and fix the production weak points.

  9. #9
    FEP Member
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    Dec 2016
    Grand Rapids, MI


    Hood clearance is definitely not a problem. The T-Bird has a lower roofline than the fox Mustang. When they put the 5.0 in the MN-12 chassis they had to use a lower profile upper intake because the stock Mustang HO piece would not fit under the hood.

    I am in the process of tearing down an old '93 SuperCoupe that has been sitting in my garage in various states of decay for too long in anticipation of a similar swap. I would say grab and label every piece of wiring you can from the SC. As noted, all of the mounts should be easy. Are you planning on an AOD or a manual transmission? Nobody likes the M5R2 that they used in the SC, but it is able to handle more torque than the T-5. There is a reason they didn't use the T-5 in the SC/XR-7. I'm sure part of that was the heavier weight of the MN-12, but the 3.8SC is a brute down low. I am going to try to install an M5R2 if/when I attempt this swap mostly because I have several laying around available to me. One thing to note is the M5R2 uses a hydraulic slave cylinder.

  10. #10


    It sounds like a fun project, but my practical side say that is a very hard way to get 220 hp into a fox. It would definitely be unique though.

  11. #11


    It would be much easier to install the m90 on a 302 with a remote mount and have more performance potential and less headache. My $.02
    2 1986 cougars (both 4 eyed and 5.0)
    1 1987 cougar

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