I’m part way through this migration, and there are many advantages to doing this:
- serious reduction in unsprung weight (40kg)
- really tunable up to a specific point – 210BHP; after that the pistons may melt. Ford designed a great lightweight piston, but it’s designed to a specification. Aftermarket pistons and great matched solutions are available from people like SBD Developments, who have a brilliant reputation in this business.
- great though pintos are, bits are going to start getting expensive
- you get to have all the bits of the engine on the same sides as before
- you can keep your carbs if you want to
- your analogue gauges will still work. If like me, you’ve moved over to mechanical in order to not have them die due to vibrations, then they will still work of course.
However, there are other factors
- cost – everyone will agree it’s not a cheap solution. Don’t forget you’ll want to change the clutch, replace all cooling hoses, etc.
- you need spark management even if you keep the ford induction setup – you will still need an ECU- if you’re adding more power, you need different injectors
- In nearly all installations, the oil filter positioning is right where a chassis member is, so a remote solution is needed
- Engine mounts are very different, but not hard to weld up at all.
- assuming you’re going to fuel injection, you will need all the associated fueling (filter, pump, lines, swirl pot, new tank, fuel level sender, etc.)
- new exhaust
- cooling is a different kind of circuit
- you need a new sump
- for some cars, the footwells may need modifying
But, taking that lot into account, it’s still worth it for the end result – it’s not hard to get 270bhp from these if you add the right bits with little to no machining. I think everyone who’s gone to that route is happy they have.