Monday, February 6, 2012

Explorer Engine Swap - Installing The Lower Intake

In the previous step we finished installing the valve train and we are now ready to install the lower intake manifold.

This step will involve the removal of the thermostat housing and putting a new thermostat in as well.

Everything to this point should have gone pretty smoothly.  There hasn't been anything that is a major gotcha or anything like that, it has been simple and straight forward.

That really isn't going to change in this step either.  There are a couple things that you need to know though prior to installing the lower intake.

First, you will want to make sure that you have 4 long bolts that you can use as guides to put the intake down on the engine.  What I did was go to the local hardware store and I brought one of my lower intake bolts with me.  I found the type that I needed and bought 4 of them.  These don't need to be the most expensive bolts, the reason being is that we are going to cut the top off of them.  This can be done with either a Dremmel style tool or a hacksaw style tool.  You will want to prepare these before you begin.

Second, Not everyone uses the gaskets that come with the lower intake.  Let me clarify...  There are 2 rubber gaskets that sit at the front and back of the engine.  Some believe that these will dry out and cause leaks.  Because of this, the use a really thick bead of black gasket sealer instead.  I am not one that buys into this theory, but wanted to put it out there just in case you are, or have been told this before.

Now knowing that you need to put your long bolts that you bought at the hardware store in your heads and get it ready for the intake installation.  You will want to pick 4 holes that are directly across from each other and go straight up.  Don't tighten these bolts any more than you have to, they are just guides to get the intake in place and also keep your gasket in place.

Next you will want to make sure that your thermostat housing and thermostat have been removed from the intake if you haven't done so already.  You will want to note the direction that your thermostat was facing when you removed it so that you can install it the same direction.

Next take some black gasket sealer and liberally spread it around the areas where the coolant flows through the heads and intake.  Take your lower intake gaskets and place them in the correct location ensuring that you have the guide bolts thru the proper holes.  Gently press on the gasket to keep it in place.  At this point you will also want to install the rubber gaskets (or thick bead of sealant) on the front and back of the engine.  You will want to put a thick dab of sealant at each of the corners where the gasket and rubber seals meet.

Take your intake and using the guide bolts place it on the engine.  You will want to have all your bolts ready at this point to place them back in the intake ensuring those bolts that had a stud are going in the correctly location.  Snug each of the bolts down, but don't tighten them.

Next you will look up the torque specifications and tightening order of the bolts.  It is a little different than normal so you want to make sure you know this prior to tightening them.  I believe this is a double step torque process where you torque down the bolts to a light setting and then come back and tighten them at a heavier setting.

Once the intake is in place you will want to get your new thermostat and gasket and install those.  Again, you will want to use the black gasket sealer for this step.  Be liberal with it.  Remember when putting the thermostat housing back on, you will want to get both bolts finger tight and then snug them. Do not torque down one side prior to having the other snug or you will end up snapping off one of the ears that hold this in place.  You will need to look up the appropriate torque settings for these items.

Good Luck with this.  I might also say congratulations as you are at the point where you need to have your old engine out of your Mustang.  The remaining pieces won't get installed until after the engine is inside of the car.


  1. did you use the mustang fuel rails on the explorer intake or did you keep the explorer fuel rails on the intake?


    1. You have to use the mustang fuel rails. The lines come out in different spots from the explorer.