5.4 2v Swap Basics (as of 2022)

garrittpwl

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Now I'm not the expert on this by any means @96blak54 is what I would consider an expert and he can chime in on this as well and I'll edit accordingly. But I wrote this writeup awhile back on things I encountered during my build/swap and dropped it on some of the facebook groups. I figure I could insert it here to for record keeping as this forum is as nearly as old as I am ;).

For most people the 5.4 2v swap is going to be a disappointment because these engines tend to barely make any more HP than a 4.6 but they do produce enough torque to move a house. If you're going to go the 5.4 2v route, I'd look into building it as well. Don't be sad when you're still sub 300rwhp after all this build though. Just be ready for the results.

I'll start with saying that the 5.4 will accept ALL of your factory 2v 4.6 accessories. You can use your 4.6 harness, ECM, transmission, AC, Power Steering, Motor mounts etc. Literally all of it will bolt on. This was my reasoning why I built a 5.4 and did not coyote swap my car.

Choose your engine;
97-98 5.4 = NPI engines (not recommended unless you have a set of PI heads to slap on).
99+ = PI engine (optimal choice)

Shortblock;
Some 5.4's came with cast cranks, some came with forged.
ALL 5.4's are Windsors and ALL have 8 bolt cranks, the only way to tell the difference of forged vs cast is by looking at the weights on the crank themselves. There will be a casting number that has WF on it (the F is part of the W). The F stands for forged. That being said its debated whether or not the cast is just as good. For most applications a cast will be fine as there are stories of 1k+hp on them.

Rods;
It is HIGHLY recommended that you put good rods into your 5.4.
The 5.4 takes a specific rod due to its stroke length. Stock the 5.4 rod is powder cast JUNK just like the 4.6 yet longer so even weaker hypothetically. 5.4 piston speed at TDC is MUCH greater than a 4.6 due to its stroke length creating an even larger need for good rods. The 5.4 GT500 rods will work for most peoples NA builds but they are still known as a weak point even in those motors. ModMax Racing along with other mod motor outlets still sell 5.4 Rods. Callies makes them in their Compstar brand.

Pistons;
Little known in the mustang world, a 5.4 piston bore is the same as a 4.6 (3.55x). The beneficial difference to the 5.4 is that the piston sits 0.120 in the hole thus allowing for big lift/high duration cams. Flat top pistons (Mahle specifically but there are others as well) with PI heads will net you roughly 10.8:1 static compression with the pistons 0.120 in the hole. This will let you run big "nasty" cams if you choose to without running into the typical 2v PTV issues.

Oil Pan/Pickup/Pump;
Your Stock 4.6 oil pan and pickup will work on any 5.4, Its recommended that you use it. Due to variations in pickup trucks/vans its hard to say if a 5.4 pan will work. Mine came out of a 99 4wd and was the same depth as my 4.6 so I was able to clean/use it. ANY upgraded 4.6 pump/pickup will work as well. The ford racing high volume pickup/pump combo will need the scraper removed from the side of the pickup tube if you plan on running a windage tray. I used the GT500 windage tray gasket combo and had to finesse the pickup tube to make it fit without contact, not a big deal but may stress other people out.

Heads/Timing Components;
Since we've ditched the option for NPI heads (unless they've been heavily ported, go with PI), 4.6/5.4 PI heads only have minor variances and show single digit (or less) difference in flow. Aside from casting numbers, a 4.6 and 5.4 windsor head are visually identical. All 4.6/5.4 cams will work. All 4.6/5.4 springs, retainers, followers, and lash adjusters will work.
Most 5.4's you find will have plastic timing chain tensioners with o-rings on the back, throw them in the trash and use the steel ones, put a slight silicone coating on the steel ones when you install them and forget about it.
All 5.4s will have 100% plastic timing guides. The only company that makes metal backed ones is MMR and they're $500, so unless you're building a 1000hp engine. I don't recommend them. Use OEM replacements and move on.
Bolt on Cam gears/4.6 crank gears will work
Camshafts WILL HAVE TO BE DEGREED TO RUN OPTIMALLY. Due to the added deck height/chain length of the 5.4 you will want to spend the time to degree your cams. I bought the tools on amazon, watched Andrew Lavender's and MHS' youtube videos and was able to do this with no issues.
Please note that ALL timing component bolts are TORQUE TO YIELD from factory. Throw them in the trash and buy new ARP.


Intake; THIS IS THE BIGGEST ISSUE WITH A 5.4 2v SWAP

You have 5 options with the intake due to the added deck height/wider block;
Option 1; 4.6 to 5.4 intake adapters;
THE $100 SPEEDMASTER/JEGS/EBAY ONES DO NOT WORK THEY ARE MERELY PI/NPI ADAPTERS. There was only a handful of companies that mass produced the intake adapters, Pro Products PN#54110 and MMR. They are no longer made. Black Market Racing in AZ owns the patent for the Pro Products #54110 and have told me they plan on making more but unsure when/if ever. You will need to find a used set of these. Make sure it comes with hardware or it may be a PITA. Also when installing, make sure you port match them to your intake and that your injectors are not blocked at all.
Option 2; A/M intake specific to 2v 5.4
There are 2 aftermarket intakes for the 5.4 2v that I know of, neither of which are made any longer. The HPS Hardball'r (merely a wider, cast, PI style intake) and the Sullivan 5.4 intake (I have a picture of this intake though I've never seen on IRL). They both go for about a grand on ebay. Good luck. If you find one, don't tell me, I'll outbid you for it 1f61b.png.
Option 3; Anemic Stock Truck Intake.
Say you can't find a Hardball'r or adapters; so you're gonna run the truck intake? Well throw your hood in the trash because you won't need it. Truck intakes we're made in two forms, all plastic or half cast alum/with a lower plastic plenum. If you're interested in the aluminum one, I have a perfect example that is freshly vapor honed and ready to install. Using a truck intake will make it difficult to use your 4.6 engine harness as you'll have to lengthen some wires/fab a throttle bracket.
Option 4; Edelbrock Vic Jr Fabrication.
It is a known and completed feat, I've only seen it done once but it simply is Vic Jr intake cut in half and widened for the 5.4, then fitted with either a custom adapter or custom sheet metal plenum. This route will be expensive and you better know a good fabricator
Option 5; SVT Lightning F150 Supercharger/Intake
This option is only viable if you're okay with the Empire State Building sticking out of your hood; Google lightning swapped stangs to see the monstrosities.

Clutch/Flywheel/Flexplate;
Being that all 5.4s have 8 bolt cranks, you will need an 8 bolt flexplate if you choose to go auto (out of an auto f150 or comparable). Otherwise, any 8 bolt Flywheel and corresponding clutch combo will work.

Exhaust;
Most 4.6 2v short tube headers will work (some say that the BBK equal length shorties do not, I was able to make them work but it took some whack*ucks with my ball peen). I'd get other headers if you have the options.
BBK long tubes will work but you will need to bolt them on to the motor then grab the collector with a ratchet strap and "shorten" them. Thus lessing the angle of the downtubes where they near the firewall and pulling them downwards to keep them out of the floor.
Regardless of the header type, LT or ST, you will want to run an HPIPE as the added width of the motor will make it necessary to either tweak the HPIPE in to get it to connector or add a piece in between to meet them together. Otherwise ANY 4.6 mustang catback will work fine.

Misc Notes;
K-Member Spacers; Depending on your Kmember/Hood Clearance/Ground clearance you may or MAY NOT want to run kmember spacers. I'm currently running 1inch spacers and had to install a bump steer kit to correct my steering geometry. If my car was my daily I would not do this due to I now only have about 2.5 inches of ground clearance to my kmember/oilpan. They are beneficial if you're looking for hood clearance.
I've also read but cannot confirm that a stock 4.6 PI intake on adapters with 1/2inch kmember spacers will clear a stock hood. I cannot confirm this.

I'm sure there are a few other items I've missed in this and I'd be happy to chime in with any questions. Happy swapping and hope this cures any questions.

Shameless plug at the end of this btw. My full build is on IG @RioRed96 along with some photos located in the link in my signature below
 

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96blak54

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Expert you are!! This is an excellent write up! I pass the baton to you!!

Thank you for stating early in the post that no more horsepower will be made over what a 4.6l can do. Ive beat a dead horse around here about an engine intake valve size dictating hp potential. Given 2 different size engines with the same head will make nearly the same hp but at different rpm due to intake valves being the same size. Torque will be greater with the bigger engine tho.
 
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garrittpwl

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5.4 dohc maby would it even fit
plenty of good info out there on the 5.4 DOHC swap. it would fit without issue other than hood clearance. MMR makes adapters to run a coyote boss 302 intake on the dohc 5.4 as well. This is on my list of "maybe in the future" if I ever pop my current build
 

Notthenow

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Nice write up! I didn't see where you mention the intake you used. It looks like an Edlebrock in the photos, but it doesn't look widened.
 
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garrittpwl

garrittpwl

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Nice write up! I didn't see where you mention the intake you used. It looks like an Edlebrock in the photos, but it doesn't look widened.
I used the vic Jr but I didn't want to widen it due to its resale value lol. I used the pro products adapters to make it work.
 

Notthenow

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I see the adapters now when I look again closely. I have heard that the newer generation injectors have a better atomization pattern that overcomes the adapter issue.

I get not wanting to cut up an Edlebrock, especially if another, better, set up may come along. I was more concerned with what effect the larger, more rectangular plenum had.
 

96blak54

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I can tell you now there are no ill affects by widening the edelbrock. 6500+rpm can be had
 
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garrittpwl

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I can tell you now there are no ill affects by widening the edelbrock. 6500+rpm can be had
On my recent build with the edy and 278 cams it seems it really doesnt start running till about 4k. I'm not regretting keeping the 4.10 at this point
I see the adapters now when I look again closely. I have heard that the newer generation injectors have a better atomization pattern that overcomes the adapter issue.

I get not wanting to cut up an Edlebrock, especially if another, better, set up may come along. I was more concerned with what effect the larger, more rectangular plenum had.
There was a few minor areas of overlap where the adapters were in the way of the injector spray, I was able to solve that very easily with a marker and hand dremel after a mockup. The concern people have with the injectors being moved is negligible IMO even if you aren't using modern injectors.
 

Notthenow

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Blak, I'm guessing the bigger plenum adds more breathing up top and with the torque of the 5.4, nobody misses the loss of lower rpm power?

garritpwl, I was wondering if it was something simple like a little reshaping of the adapter. How high are you revving if the cams don't kick in until 4k?
 

96blak54

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Widening the intake, creating a bigger plenum wont flow anymore to a 5.4l than it would to a 4.6l. The intake widening is a simple option for an intake. Id like to think something special was going on inside the bigger plenum that make the engine outstanding, but im affraid its just a thought. If anything were to benefit from a larger plenum, its how the flow of air is distributed. Allowing room for correctional path.

A 5.4l has no shortage of torque. Its a 4cylinder vs diesel comparison. 4.6l being the 4cyl. A 4:10 gear sort of makes sence with a 4.6l, but to a 5.4l a 3:27 or 3:55 puts your driving rpm power in perspective. It really doesnt matter what gear ....that 5.4l is going to cause traction issues. Its forced induce off the idle torque!
 

Notthenow

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It does seem like it's the best/only real choice for a 2v manifold.

On a slightly different track, wouldn't a simple hood scoop take care of the clearance issue for the added height that people use the k member spacers for?
 

RAU03MACH

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Got to be care with that to
I once had a 5 inch cowl induction on mt 92 gt and got pulled over
And got a ticket for viewer obstruct or some shit like that

Under hood was a 460 interceptor with tunnel ram and 2 4 barrel holly carbs with a single air cleaner
 

Notthenow

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Wow jeez, a tunnel ram, those are massive! I'm thinking more like 2" - 3" scoop.
 
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garrittpwl

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Something like this.
I doubt this work work due to the room you need towards the passenger side for the air intake tube
Blak, I'm guessing the bigger plenum adds more breathing up top and with the torque of the 5.4, nobody misses the loss of lower rpm power?

garritpwl, I was wondering if it was something simple like a little reshaping of the adapter. How high are you revving if the cams don't kick in until 4k?
Hardest I've spun it so far is 6750. No dyno to prove where it falls off yet but it feels to fall off after about 6500.
 

96blak54

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Ill be honest. I set the limiter to 6300 cause i wasnt ready to wring it out. I still had bugs to work out one being the heater core feed. At the time i didnt know it, but the heater core feed has an orfice to restrict flow so that the hose doesnt burst. After 2 burst hoses i figured it out. However it was to late cause i had to drive the car 10miles down the road hot and doing so got the headgaskets.

But this combo really began to pull around 6k rpm. The tires have no traction in 1st or 2nd gear and one time i hammered on it hard in the upper rpm in 2nd and the tires let loose causing an over rev. Luckily the rev limit was set at 6700 cause in an eye blink it touched it.
 

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