Ford 390 Engine: A Look Into The History & Legacy Of Ford’s Powerful V8

The Ford 390 engine is a V8 engine manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. A range of Ford vehicles initially used it in 1961. The engine had a displacement of 390 cubic inches and was available with both 2-barrel and 4-barrel carburetors.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Ford’s engine lineup included the 390 engine. It was designed to provide more power and performance for Ford’s full-size vehicles. As Ford’s most successful engine, it produced great torque and operated seamlessly.

Vehicles in NASCAR and NHRA drag racing also used the Ford 390 engine. The Ford 390 engine was a watershed moment in Ford’s history, leaving a lasting impression on the automotive industry.

The Ford 390 engine continues to be popular among vintage automobile restorers, despite being out of production for many years. Its legacy lives on in the many Ford 390-powered cars still on the road today.

In-depth Guide On Ford 390 Complete Engine’s History

The Ford 390 engine is a V8 engine built by the Ford Motor Company between 1961 and 1976. The engine was a member of the FE engine family. The engine is most widely known as the “390” engine.

In 1961, the 390 engine was developed as a successor to the 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE engine. The engine was designed with a better cylinder head, larger intake and exhaust valves, and a greater compression ratio.

The engine was initially offered in two configurations: a two-barrel carburetor version with 265 horsepower (198 kW) and a four-barrel carburetor variant with 315 hp (235 kW).

A four-barrel satellite version of the engine was introduced in 1962. This model was rated at 330 horsepower (246 kW).

Suggestion: Affordable 300 Horsepower Cars Under $20K

A Guide For Ford 390 Engine’s Features And Other Specifications


  • Engine: 6.4 Liter V8
  • Torque: 427 lb-ft
  • Horsepower: 265/315 HP
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline Compressed

The engine layout and design of the Ford 390 engine were important aspects. It had a 90-degree V8 engine with bore and stroke measurements of 4.05 and 3.78 inches. A deep-skirt block design of the engine increased rigidity and reduced engine flex.

The Ford 390 engine featured a 10.5:1 compression ratio and came in various horsepower and torque ratings. A two-barrel engine produced 265 HP and 427 lb-ft of torque, while a four-barrel engine produced 315 HP and 427 lb-ft of torque.

Related: Drying Towels For Cars (And Why You Should Consider Trying Them)

The Ford 390 engine was well-known for its smooth running and great torque production. Ford’s 390 engine was also renowned for its adaptability since you could find it in various vehicles, including full-size automobiles and trucks.

Vintage Cars With The Ford 390 Engine

Ford Motor Company produced the Ford 390 engine between 1961 and 1976. During that period, it was a popular engine option for various Ford cars, including the Ford Galaxie, Ford Thunderbird, and Ford F-Series trucks.

1. Ford Galaxie

The Ford Galaxie was one of the most well-known vehicles powered by the Ford 390 engine. Ford built the Galaxie, a full-size automobile, from 1959 through 1974.

It came in several trim levels and body types, including a two-door hardtop, a four-door sedan, and a convertible. Starting in 1961, the Ford 390 engine was available as an option on the Galaxie.

2. Ford Thunderbird

The Thunderbird was another successful vehicle powered by the Ford 390 engine. From 1955 to 2005, Ford produced the Thunderbird, a luxury automobile.

The Thunderbird was popular among vehicle enthusiasts due to its abundant amenities and high-performance capabilities.

Similar Post: Nissan Titan Years To Avoid – Best And Worst Years For Nissan Titan

3. Ford Mustang

The Mustang debuted in 1964 and rapidly became a popular sports car among teenagers. The 390 engine was an option for the Mustang, giving a powerful and smooth ride.

The 390 engine also powered the Mustang GT, a high-performance variant of the Mustang. The GT was well-known for its quick acceleration and high speed.

4. Other Vehicles

In addition to the Mustang, Thunderbird, and Galaxie, F-Series, Fairlane, Ranchero, and Torino utilized the Ford 390 engine. These vehicles were famous among automobile enthusiasts because of their tremendous performance and longevity.

Ford 390 Engine’s Pros & Cons: All You Need To Know

The Ford 390 engine is a strong and dependable V8 engine. While it was a popular engine option for a range of Ford vehicles at the time, it had advantages and disadvantages.

– Pros

  1. High Power Output

It was one of the most powerful engines available in its class at the time, with roughly 300 horsepower and 427 lb-ft of torque. As a result, it became a popular choice for muscle cars and high-performance automobiles.

  1. Durability & Reliability

The engine’s dependability and longevity were strong points; it was well-constructed and could survive a lot of wear and tear. It was also simple to keep up.

  1. Hauling & Towing

Trucks mostly used Ford 390 engines because of their high power output. Also, the power allowed it to haul or tow things easily.

– Cons

  1. Fuel-Efficiency

The V8 engine burns more fuel than lesser engines, resulting in greater fuel expenses.

  1. Emission Output

It is not compliant with the same emission requirements as later engines. Furthermore, driving in certain states or countries with stronger pollution restrictions may be illegal.

Find Out Common Problems Of w/390 Ford Engine

The Ford FE 390, like all engine families, has a few design flaws. Owners of Ford 390s frequently complain about bent pushrods and vacuum leaks around the intake manifold. However, these engines have a good reputation for longevity.

Popular For You: 9 Top Reasons Why My Car Air Conditioner Not Blowing Cold Air

Valve cover leaks are prevalent since the covers rest on the intake manifold and cylinder heads. This is especially common with aftermarket heads and intakes because the heights of the two surfaces do not always match up.

If you’re using cork gaskets, you can fix this by carefully applying a bead of RTV to the affected area. Also, ensure your valve covers aren’t excessively deformed or smashed around the rims.

Explore The Top Upgrades For Ford 390 Engine Reliability

The newest original 390 went off the assembly line in the 1970s, so there are bound to be a few pieces that could want some updating. A simple and inexpensive reliability enhancement can transform your 390 into a reliable daily driver.

A. Electronic Ignition

Many people suggest the installation of electronic ignition. While electronic ignition has advantages, correctly calibrated ignition points can be just as reliable. Replace all temperamental components if you have ignition points.

Don’t Miss To Checkout: Here’s What You Need To Know About Engine Knock And How It Affects Your Vehicle

A new set of points and a condenser are inexpensive at any auto parts store, and the cap and rotor aren’t much more. You’ve effectively fitted a brand-new ignition system with only a few components.

B. Ignition Coil

Remember to change the ignition coil as well. This is especially crucial if you’re still using the factory coil and the coil’s bottom looks to expand outward. Plugs and wires are the logical next step, and they’re also inexpensive.

C. Deformed Wires

Look for rusted or distorted wires and contacts, as these might be a headache later on. Examine the solenoid and ballast resistor as well, as these components can fail.

Check the alternator’s condition and replace the belts. Most of these products are so cheap that you should update them as soon as feasible.

D. Fuel System

Replace the gasoline pump with a high-quality replacement, then check the lines and filter for clogging. In addition, you can rebuild or replace the carburetor. Be certain that the carburetor you choose is compatible with the factory linkage.

E. Performance Camshaft

A performance camshaft can help to boost engine power output by increasing the quantity of air and fuel that it can pull into the engine. An increase in duration and lift of the camshaft can accomplish this.

Popular Post: The Best Motorcycle Lift Table For Harley Davidson And Your Home Garage

It is beneficial to open the valves for a longer period. This can increase horsepower and torque.

Pro Caring Tips For Your 390 Ford Engine

Proper care and upkeep are essential to keep the 390 Ford engine in good shape. Here are some recommendations for maintaining your Ford 390 engine:

  • Oil changes are essential for the longevity of your engine. The oil lubricates the engine’s interior elements and keeps it functioning smoothly. Oil and filters should be changed every 3,000 miles or at least once a year.
  • Maintain a close check on the coolant level to ensure it is at the proper level. The coolant keeps the engine running at the proper temperature and prevents it from overheating.
  • Check the air filter regularly and replace it when it becomes clogged. A clogged air filter can restrict air passage to the engine, reducing performance.
  • Check the belts and hoses for wear and tear regularly and replace them as needed. These components maintain the engine operating smoothly, and if they fail, it can result in significant engine damage.
  • Every 30,000 miles, a competent mechanic should inspect the engine for any problems. This can help detect any problems early on and save money on future repairs.
  • Keep an eye on the check engine light and examine the engine for any codes to monitor the engine’s performance. This can aid in detecting difficulties before they become serious issues.
  • Finally, always use the recommended grade of engine oil and coolant. Using the incorrect oil or coolant might damage the engine and void the warranty.

FAQs About 390 Ford Engine

What Is The Displacement Of A Ford 390 Engine?

The displacement of a Ford 390 engine is 390 cubic inches or 6.4 liters. This engine was first used in the 1967 Ford Mustang and last used in the 1976 Ford Thunderbird. The displacement of an engine is the total volume of all the cylinders in the engine.

What Kind Of Fuel Does A Ford 390 Engine Require?

The Ford 390 engine is a V8 engine that Ford launched in 1967. Premium unleaded gasoline with an octane value of 87 or above is essential for the Ford 390 engine. You should also install a high-flow air filter on the engine to help ensure adequate airflow and combustion.

What Is The Recommended Oil Capacity For A Ford 390 Engine?

The recommended oil capacity for a Ford 390 engine is 8 quarts. This oil capacity is based on the size of the engine and the type of oil used. The oil used in a Ford 390 engine should be high quality and change regularly to ensure optimal performance.

Can You Stroke A 390 Ford Engine?

The answer is yes, you can stroke a 390 Ford engine. But before you do, there are a few things you should know. First, stroking an engine will increase its displacement, which can make the engine more powerful.

But it also means the engine will require more fuel and produce more emissions. So, if you’re planning on stroking your 390 engine, consider those factors.

How To Identify A Ford 390 Engine?

There are a few characteristics to look for when identifying a Ford 390 engine. The engine should start with a cast-iron block and cylinder heads. The engine will also have four-bolt main bearings and a 390 cubic inch displacement.

The engine code, which should be stamped on the block, is another way to identify a Ford 390 engine. “FE” is the engine code for a Ford 390.

How Can I Buy A Ford 390 Engine?

There are both new and used 390 engines for sale, so you must pick which is best for you. Engines for sale can be found online or through car dealerships. Remember to do your homework to guarantee you’re obtaining a good engine for a reasonable price.

Final Thoughts

The Ford 390 engine was a powerful and reliable engine used in various vehicles. It was known for its durability and performance. The engine was also relatively affordable, making it a great choice for many consumers.

However, the engine was discontinued by 1971 because of not meet emissions regulations. If you’re looking for a 390 Ford engine for sale, you can get a rebuilt version, or you can get yourself a vintage car equipped with the engine.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.