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ADVISE on what items I can change to improve my van...
#412678 September 22nd 2010 1:24 am
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My van have a 351w-v8-5.8 engine. I want to know what things I can do to improve performance and gas efficency. Everything on that engine is factory.
Im considering on buying a Ford 351W V8
RPM AIR-GAP DUAL-QUAD (1500-6500 rpm)carb. It was recommended by a couple of gear heads here in my area. They told me they will improve the gas efficiency. But after that what else could I do?? I was thinking on changing also the intake manifold. I have to change the gaskets anyways, oil is leaking.

I want your guys advise. I love my van big time. I want to give her the best smile

Last edited by James_Black; September 22nd 2010 2:07 am.

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Re: ADVISE on what items I can change to improve my van...
James_Black #412680 September 22nd 2010 1:45 am
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What year? What ignition system? What emissions equipment? What carburetion do you have now?

A dual-quad, or dual four barrel carburetor, manifold is in no way, shape, or form a fuel economy modification.

Simple things first, more difficult and expensive later:

(1) Inflate your tires to the proper pressure
(2) Do a full tune up including new cap, rotor, plugs, air filter
(3) Install a high energy ignition system. HEI is a good and cheap electronic ignition system that gives you a much hotter spark, especially if you use an E-core coil off of a late model fuel injected Ford motor. See HERE or just follow this diagram: [Linked Image]

(4) If you really want a different intake, I recommend an Edelbrock SP2P or an Offenhauser Dual-Port. These are 70s era technology designed to improve low-RPM torque and, therefore, fuel economy. Racers don't like these because the design of the runners restricts high RPM flow. However, how often does your van really get above 4000 RPM? I have a Ford van that has a 351W/C6 combo with 3.55 rear gears. I rarely get above 3000 RPM, even on the highway.

(5) If you are going to a four barrel carb, don't overdo it. I would recommend a spread bore carb such as the Holley 4360 Economaster carb. It is a carb designed to improve fuel economy, not performance. If that isn't to your liking, I recommend a 500 CFM Edelbrock performer carb.

(6) Headers- long tube headers work to improve efficiency and power. Just check if you can install then and still pass your smog inspection.

(7) Learn how to properly recurve your distributor for performance and economy. This is a somewhat complex but cheap way to get better economy and power.

(8) Synthetic oils in the engine and rear axle and synthetic transmission fluids have all been proven to improve gas mileage. At least run 5W-30 weight or lighter, unless you live in a climate that needs different viscosity.

(9) Stay at the sped limit. Driving over the speed limit decreases your fuel economy.

(10) Don't bother with premium gas. If your motor doesn't need it it is a waste of money.

(11) Make sure your timing chain isn't stretch

(12) Make sure the timing mark on your vibration dampener hasn't slipped

(13) install a vacuum gauge and drive to maximize engine vacuum under all conditions

(14) lighten the van- fiberglass parts, empty out unneeded seats and tools

(15) body mods to improve aerodynamics

(16) air tabs (only helps on the highway)

(17) Make sure the cold air intake is functional, if your van was built with one originally, or install one if it doesn't have one

(18) Make sure the heated air inlet system is present and functional

(19) Make sure the carburetor is adjusted properly and that the choke doesn't stay on too long

(20) Finally, you could bite the bullet like I did and switch to fuel injection. I swapped on a multi-port MAF-sensor factory fuel injection system off of a 93 Mustang GT. The power is amazing and the fuel economy is better too. This is by no means as simple as an intake swap, but it is out there if you have the resources.

If you are interested, I actually have an Offenhauser Dual-Port intake for sale that fits a 351 Windsor motor. Remember, 302 intakes won't fit a 351, and in the mid 70s Ford changed the number of intake manifold bolts from 16 to 12. My intake is for a 16 bolt motor, but I tapped and plugged the four extra bolt holes. Send me a private message if you are interested.

Last edited by Reed; September 22nd 2010 1:48 am.

Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
Re: ADVISE on what items I can change to improve my van...
James_Black #412681 September 22nd 2010 2:53 am
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What year? What ignition system? What emissions equipment? What carburetion do you have now?

year?....1975
igniton system?.. no clue.
emission equipment?... no clue either.
Carburation? Double barrel motorcraft.

Sorry. I should be more specific. How can I find out what kind of igntion system and emission equipment I have?

Thanks for the advise and tips, brother Reed. That is exactly what I wanted. A basic starter list of things I can do to improve my engine.


Keep the advices coming guys.

Last edited by James_Black; September 22nd 2010 2:53 am.

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Re: ADVISE on what items I can change to improve my van...
James_Black #412798 September 22nd 2010 12:49 pm
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OK. You have a Duraspark ignition system, Fords factory electronic ignition system.. OK and gets the job done, but HEI is better. You probably have minimal emissions equipment, if any. Xwitching to a four barrel carb might actually improve your fuel economy since the primaries will be smaller than the two barrel carb you have on there now.


Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
Re: ADVISE on what items I can change to improve my van...
Reed #412893 September 22nd 2010 7:53 pm
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Thanks. Forgive my mechanical ignorance brother Reed. To change my carb from a 2 barrel to a 4 barrel do i need to change the intake manifold also? Or all I have to do it is buy a 4 barrel? thanks


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Re: ADVISE on what items I can change to improve my van...
James_Black #412938 September 23rd 2010 1:21 am
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You'll need a 4 barrel carb and intake, look for an 80's truck in the junkyard for it all, unless you have money to burn, a Motorcraft carb is best on a Ford, Carter/Edelbrock are good aftermarket ones too but I prefer stock.

Re: ADVISE on what items I can change to improve my van...
maples01 #412941 September 23rd 2010 1:43 am
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Like Maples said, you will need the four barrel carb and intake, possibly a four barrel air cleaner, and possibly a different four barrel kickdown linkage and throttle linkage.

1984 was the last year for the non computerized four barrel carbs. 85 saw the introduction of fuel injection on v-8s. My 1984 Ford van was equipped with a 351W high output motor and came from the factory with a cast iron four barrel intake and a Holley four barrel carb with vacuum operated secondaries. I never could get that D&%^$ Holley to run right. I swapped it for an Edelbrock and never looked back. Ultimately, I pulled that motor and stuffed it in my 89 van. The motor is now fuel injected. I would recommend an aftermarket intake simply for the lighter weight. It is WAY easier to install an aluminum intake manifold than the cast iron factory intake manifold.

Frankly, if it were me, I would look around for a used intake and carb, get a Lokar style kickdown linkage, and try and keep the factory air cleaner for the cold air intake and heated air provisions. If you scour eBay and Craigslist you can probably find everything you need for under $300. You might get lucky at a boneyard and find an aftermarket intake and carb too.

Last edited by Reed; September 23rd 2010 1:43 am.

Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
Re: ADVISE on what items I can change to improve my van...
Reed #412942 September 23rd 2010 1:49 am
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In fact:

INTAKE

EDELBROCK CARB (with Ford kickdown!)

C-6 Lokar kickdown cable

See? Quick and easy.

Last edited by Reed; September 23rd 2010 1:49 am.

Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
Re: ADVISE on what items I can change to improve my van...
Reed #412957 September 23rd 2010 6:42 am
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You could trade it in on a chevy chevy lol JK


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