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To Build or buy?


June 17, 2009
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City, State
Queen Creek, AZ
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 XLT Explorer 5.0l
I have a 1998 XLT with 208K. Leaking oil from timing chain cover and rear main seal. Has been a great truck for us and still running strong. Since you guys have been great in the past I thought I would try again. I have built many SBC's in the past, but never a SBF. Not afraid of doing it, just want to do it right the first time. I'm wanting a little more HP (missing my strip days), and some low end. Let's just say a little BMW sleeper eater. I have had some thoughts of doing a Cobra/ Boss Explorer project. Would like to lower it and have a wider stance. I know this won't be cheap, but I want it done right. Just kicking around some ideas, and looking for some as well.

So with that being said, Do I buy a long block or do I just rebuild the one I have.

Be gentle!


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The cost to buy a high perf long block can get scary. (At least on my budget)

If you're looking to keep it at 302ci and not have a ton of down time, think about starting with a forged internals 5.0 from a 'Stang or Mk VII, a nice cam and good heads on top and you'll have a great start.

If you're looking to stroke it out for more cubes but with sane power levels, any decent block would make a good place to start.

If you're looking to max out a SBF, you'll probably want to start with a Boss or Dart block and go crazy from there.

Sounds like your motor is just tired not damaged. Rebuild yours would likely cost less, and doing so employs local workers.

I'd go with a supercharger if I could afford it and was smog legal.

Great info. I always liked the supercharged trucks. Might just have to spend a little more time looking at that. Thanks for the replies.

I'm in the middle of building a 302 for my Ranger swap. Here are my suggestions:
Build build build!!

A 5.0 is a very easy motor to build and get power out of and the builds, between Explorer and Mustang and F-150's, have been well documented over the years. Personally, I'm using an E303 cam, if I were doing it over I would call Comp Cams and talk to them, be honest about what you wanna do, and see what they recommend. Grab a set of aftermarket heads and intake while you're at it and she'll hum very nicely for you.

As far as forged internals go, I used scat rods and sealed power pistons, if I were doing it over I probably wouldn't as it's overkill but to me, I like knowing it's bulletproofed.

Summit Racing also offers a stroker kit for about 1500$ if you really feel ornery.

I'd do a 331 or 347. I was going to in mine but I just didn't have the time so I kept it stock.

OK, So you talked me into rebuilding mine. I live in Queen Creek, AZ. Need to know if anyone on here has had any machine work done around here. Would like to get references before I trust a shop with my engine.