by Paul Silva in the September 1995 RootesReview

I have just purchased a Motorsport GT 40 engine assembly. As with all things Tiger, this is not a simple bolt-in operation. The bell housing, damper, distributor, oil pan, water pump, timing cover and dozen other things are threatening my sanity. We will let the story and the results unfold without any preconceptions.

The engine has been in the chassis for one week now and is finally running well (understatement). This past Sunday we made a successful trip to the Museum of Transportation in Brookline Mass. Over 200 mostly beautiful and inherently defective British automobiles and their owners were gathered. The gathering was skillfully administered by our regional rep Stu Brennan.

The Tiger people assembled showed a great deal of interest in the results of this project. So I might as well get on with the nuts and bolts.

Parts Sourcing

First, this was not a simple exchange. The engine was picked up at Fortes Parts in Waltam, Mass (now in Framingham). Retail cost from Ford Motorsport is $2695. Fortes sells them $2350 complete. This brand new “long block” comes with virtually everything. Since the Ford small block is “externally balanced”, this engine comes with both the damper and a flywheel. It also comes with an oil pan (2 sumps; 5 quarts, but it is even easier to install than stock), a timing cover, water pump, sparkplugs (“peanuts; 5/8 “vs. 13/16”).

What doesn’t come with it is not insignificant. You cannot use the stock or a equivalent clutch assembly. This engine uses a “diaphragm” style with metric fasteners. And since this engine needs a 6-bolt bell housing, the 5-bolt bellhousing will not work. There are people out there who have “adapted” this seeming incongruous coupling but it was beyond my patience. I opted for a Lakewood “scattershield” for $225 (Fortes, LAK15200), and the Ford Motorsport clutch assembly (FRMS 7560-A-302) for $158.

Modifications Required

Some modification to the bell housing along with the fabrication of a new mounting/reinforcing bracket were required for the clutch slave cylinder. Bottom line; keep the cylinder as close to the clutch fork as possible.


This bell housing is larger than stock and you will have to modify the transmission tunnel slightly in 2 places to have it fit without touching. The top of the transmissions mounting surface on the bell housing are the closest points to the tunnel. Where these two points meet, the tunnel may need a smack or 2. If you have the patience to make a trial fit of the transmission and bell housing’ you will see a the spots.

Smog Fittings

Be aware that there are 2 threaded holes at the back of the cylinder heads that are open to exhaust. These are available for smog fittings which you will have to block off with Ford part #”Insert UU 136″ (351418-S) (S-7585221).

Dip Stick

The next area is the location of the dip stick. It is located on the drivers side and comes up from the bottom of the block between cylinders 7 and 8. It is very important to trial fit this with your headers / exhaust manifold in place. Make sure the tube is installed before the exhaust gets attached to the cylinder head. The tube is very long and can thankfully be persuaded into different locations without impeding the passage of the dip stick. Again, you will have to modify the tube by deleting the bracket and fabricating your own. Unless you cut off the bracket, you will leave two small holes in the tube where the bracket was “spot welded” to the tube. Either way you will be doing some brazing and painting.

Oil Pan

The next area that needs your attention is the oil pan. Do not be tempted to install your old one. Why take a chance on contamination? It fits. It looks funky and it makes the engine installations easier. It does however, make the starter installation a little more difficult. There are 2 sumps on this pan with 2 drain holes. The front sump is substantially smaller than stock but the capacity is greater (5 quarts) due to the large rear sump. Clearance to the ground is as good as before.

Oil Temperature

As usual there is one glitch. There is a fitting on the rear drivers side of the pan for a low oil level sensor. We simply converted it to an oil temp fitting.

If you have headers, the starter should go in before you put that side in. With a rear sump, starter removal / installation now has one new step.

Dropping down to a small problem for a moment; one of the mounting bolts for the alternator / generator bracket is one size larger than on the stock cylinder head.

Enough of the easy stuff.

Water Pump

Next is the front of the motor which gets most of the attention in this project. You must use the stock water pump and timing cover. The assembly that comes with the 302 is set up for a serpentine belt It’s too deep anyway. Sell the water pump.

Damper / Pulley

The thing that had me most concerned was the damper. I was prepared to replace it but that was thankfully unnecessary. I called Fortes and they gave me the number for March Performance Pulleys in Westland, Michigan. We settled on a zero offset pulley for a 460 Ford. This guy is amazing in that his whole life is pulleys. He remembers every weird application request that was ever made to him. And he keeps records of all applications. The pulley was a billet piece. Cost $65. You will need to back up the pulley with washers because the offset required is about 1/32″. I glued the washers on the back of the pulley.

Valve Covers

The valve covers will of course need to be replaced. The ones that come with the 302 are nothing more than dust covers. However, the valve cover gaskets are premium pieces, worth over $30 a set so, by all means, use them.

Some Observations

While you have the 600 plus pounds of cast iron out of the way, there are many more things to chink about. How is your Transmission? Driveshaft? Slave cylinder? Shifter? You know the drill. Who wants to go through this again?

GT40 EngineSome points of interest:

  1. This motor carries 285 horsepower into battle.
  2. The rocker arms are quite large. So large in fact, that the baffles you so carefully installed on your aluminum Tiger valve covers will be in the way. You will either have to remove them or do as I did; install a second set of gaskets. Ford has come out with an excellent set of valve cover gaskets. They are the ones that come with this motor in fact.
  3. There is a trick roller billet camshaft in the breast of this beast. Another caution. You must use a steel gear on the distributor. I foolishly ended up buying the Motorsport distributor gear for (gulp!) $42. Changing the gear is a bear. I ended up breaking the retainer and machining a new one. My stock distributor came with a steel gear so I probably did not have to change it.
  4. When removing / installing the motor, don’t be lazy. Remove the water pump, and the damper. Clean and paint the engine compartment. Thoroughly flush out and pressure test the radiator.
  5. The firing order is different than stock. 1 3 7 2 6 5 4 8 vs 1 3 5 2 6 4 7 8. You will have to re-index TDC.
  6. You will have to order a dipstick from Ford. Less than $20.
  7. The Pirellis protest mightily when called upon to perform for their new master. Torque is as obvious as fleas on a bald junkyard dog. The difference between this and a 260 is like comparing a sopwith camel and an F16.
  8. 180 degree water and 85 degree oil temp on the highway. That may improve as the engine gets broken in. Gas mileage? Who cares??

If you intend to rebuild your engine don’t. It will be expensive and it won’t work as well. For a few dollars more, pack a 302.

Leave a Reply