Ford Mid-Size Cars 1971-1985 Repair Guide



A number of different engines have been offered since 1971. All of the engines use conventional cast iron, water cooled blocks. The cylinder heads on most are of the overhead valve design, while the valves are actuated by pushrods and hydraulic valve lifters. The engines fall into several basic families.

A 2.3L inline 4-cylinder engine with an optional turbocharger. Unlike other engines used in the mid-sized Ford vehicle, this engine is an overhead camshaft design, where no pushrods or rocker arms are used. The camshaft rests on top of the valve/spring/lifter assembly. The hydraulic lifter assembly is still utilized. With the optional turbo unit installed, horsepower is increased by as much as 30% while fuel economy is maintained at a respectable level.

Two different varieties of 6-cylinder engine were available on these vehicles. The 3.8L V-patterned design, and two versions of a straight L6 engine in the 3.3L and the 4.1L.

The final and largest category includes a series of V8 engines. They include; the 4.2L, 5.0L, 5.8L, 6.6L, 7.0L and 7.5L engines. The 5.0L was the standard engine from 1971 through 1972 and then again from 1978 through 1980. In 1981, the 4.2L cubic inch V8 became the standard engine, replacing the 5.0L. The 4.2L featured weight reductions by about sixty pounds (from the 5.0L) and had been designed to be adaptable to a variety of fuel metering systems. In 1981, the 5.0L and 5.8L (and a high output version of the 5.8L, for police and towing) were offered as options. The 5.8L Cleveland (C) was used on 1972-74 models. The 5.8L Modified (M), which is a modified Cleveland design, was used starting in 1975. The 6.6L V8 was available from 1971-78 models. This engine is based on the smaller 5.0L-5.8L(W) series, but enjoys a higher volumetric efficiency quotient due to its larger valves and better breathing semi-hemispherical combustion chambers.

The largest engines used in the mid-sized Ford include the 7.0L and 7.5L. The 7.0L V8 was installed in 1971-73 models. The 7.5L V8 may be found in mid-sized Fords starting in 1974. It was last used in 1978. This group of engines are based on the smaller 5.0L and 5.8L Windsor (W) design. Identifying features of these powerplants are their great bulk and the tunnelport shaped configuration of the intake manifold.