A 351 Cleveland V-8 in a ’93 Bird

May 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


I have a conversion question. I just bought my next project, a 1993 Ford Thunderbird with a 3.8-liter V-6 and automatic overdrive electronic transmission. I have a 351 Cleveland on the engine stand just begging me to put it in the Thunderbird!

I hear the AODE transmission in it is a good transmission. Are there any adapters to mate the two or would the bell housing from a T-bird with the 5.0liter engine work? Are there motor mounts, oil pans, etc. available to make the swap easier?

If I do go with the 351 Cleveland how do you go about the electrical needs for it? Do you leave the factory computer in place? I have never done a conversion like this and need some guidance on the electrical side.

Thank you for any help or guidance you can provide. I have been receiving Auto Restorer for a couple years now and think it’s a great magazine so keep up the good work.


It’s my understanding that the transmission bolt pattern is the same for your 3.8-liter V-6 and your 351C V-8.

Parts that will interchange between the original V-6 and replacement V-8 include the engine mounts and some odds and ends but not much else. You’ll need a new K member, accelerator cable arrangement, driveshaft, flywheel, and exhaust system. If your 351 V-8 still has all of its accessories and brackets that will be a big help.

The electrical requirements for the 351 engine depend in large measure on whether it’s carbureted or fuel injected. If you’re going to run it with a carburetor, then the electrical needs are minimal. All you have to be concerned with is powering the ignition system.

If you plan to run electronic fuel injection then you have to have a control computer, various sensors, and a wire harness that ties it all together.

The easiest solution, in my opinion, is to install a new computer, sensors, and wire harness tailored for the fuel-injection setup you use. There are numerous suppliers who specialize in EFI installations in cars that didn’t originally have that system.