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snailmont5oh HalfDork
11/20/17 1:07 a.m.

I might need to get a '71 Galaxie Country Sedan. It's got a 400. I'd appreciate it if someone with 400 experience could fill me in on these engines, any problems to look for, etc.? Also, what do you think of the full-size Ford chassis for towing?  I am towing a sub-3000 pound car on a 1300 pound trailer with 4-wheel brakes. 

GTXVette Dork
11/20/17 5:50 a.m.


I remember Bill Eliott and his Brothers had one,  Damn thing was a 429 I Think with Twin Turbos. But the 400 is a good engine and built for what you want to Do.  You should stiffen the Rear Suspension Some /Helper springs and some better Shocks/Air shocks, But that would be a kool Tow Rig.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
11/20/17 5:52 a.m.

In reply to snailmont5oh :

I'm not sure about 71, but the 77 I had in college was setup for towing, including a brake controller. I think setup properly it would work fine. 

rslifkin SuperDork
11/20/17 8:02 a.m.

With that amount of trailer weight, run a good brake controller for the trailer brakes and you'll be fine.  You might needed to stiffen up the rear suspension in the wagon and/or use a weight distributing hitch, but the chassis should have no problem towing that load.  

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
11/20/17 8:49 a.m.

The car CAN do towing.  I would just recommend to spend some time on the brakes.  They could be drums all around.  Wont stop a heavy load like a modern car.  

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/20/17 8:52 a.m.

The brakes matter. A lot. I would do it with front disks but not with the drums I have on my 68. They'll stop, but not close enough to the same rate as current traffic. In fact, the unloaded car won't do it, so be careful if you have four wheel drums. 

gearheadE30 HalfDork
11/20/17 10:28 a.m.

Having done similar things with my Caprice (2000 lb trailer + 3000 lb car) anything you can do to better control the rear suspension is helpful. That long rear overhang gives a trailer a lot of leverage to wag the tail of the car, so on the caprice (4 link coil sprung) that means replacing all the control arms in the rear with something stronger and better bushings. If you keep the tall tires, try to pick a tire with a stiffer sidewall (usually coincides somewhat with a higher weight rating).

jimbbski Dork
11/20/17 1:03 p.m.

My father had  a Galaxie 500 with the 400, It was a 72.  What I remember from driving it and working on it, it was a very trouble free engine.  On an engine that old you may expect oil leaks from seals and/or valve cover gaskets.  Power wise, it has torque being a "square engine" that is the bore and stroke are the same, 4 inches.  There's some additional information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_335_engine



snailmont5oh HalfDork
11/20/17 1:14 p.m.

Thanks for the input so far. I've already confirmed that the car had front disk brakes, so that's a plus. I believe the suspension design of that era was 3-link/Panhard, so I have high hopes for sway resistance. I can probably put some poly bushings here and there to replace anything worn. 

I gotta think this thing would pull/stop/handle at least  as well as my '96 F-150 4wd 302/auto/3.55 truck does.

Stanger2000 New Reader
11/20/17 2:10 p.m.

Just came in here because I have fond childhood memories of our '72 Country Squire my father had circa over 30 years ago.  Had the 400 and loaded with all the power options.  We  then downgraded to an '86 Ciera 'Cutlass Cruiser' wagon  that was much more spartan than the Ford somehow even though it was newer by a decade and an half.  GM's 'finest hour' I suppose.

snailmont5oh HalfDork
11/20/17 2:21 p.m.

Also, does the '71 400 have that stupid nylon cam sprocket? If so, an immediate timing chain swap would be in order. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/20/17 2:25 p.m.

I'm pretty sure the 71 has the same basic suspension at my 68, and the ride is......comfortable. Ford sure knew how to tune out things like road imperfections and steering input. 

Floating Doc
Floating Doc Reader
11/20/17 2:59 p.m.

The 400M is a Cleveland based design, with small port open chamber heads. 

Makes good torque, this'll make a good tow vehicle if set up properly. Don't expect good mileage. The usual concerns apply, such as transmission temperature and brakes. 

The valve covers look different than the Windsor engines, but the easiest way to tell them apart is to look at the bolts on the fuel pump. Cleveland/modifieds have two bolts in a vertical orientation, the Windsors two bolts are horizontally oriented on each side. 

snailmont5oh HalfDork
11/20/17 5:59 p.m.

If it comes down to it, is there anyone within an easy drive of the Albany/Saratoga Springs area that would be interested in looking this over for me?

snailmont5oh HalfDork
11/21/17 2:32 a.m.

I was hoping that the lug pattern would be the same as my '96 F-150, but it's not.  

914Driver MegaDork
11/21/17 6:30 a.m.

Snail, I'm out of town for Thanksgiving, but send me a list of points to see and if it's still there when I get home, I can do it.




snailmont5oh HalfDork
11/22/17 6:00 p.m.

Thanks, Dan! Expect an e-mail as things progress. 

snailmont5oh HalfDork
11/27/17 7:59 p.m.

914Driver, you should have a message from me.

914Driver MegaDork
11/27/17 8:47 p.m.

Got it.

Vigo UltimaDork
11/27/17 11:01 p.m.

Assuming the suspension really does already have a panhard bar, i think bushing upgrades, a thorough verification that the brakes work perfectly, and getting the right wheels/tires on it will be most of what you need here. I would strongly consider going to a taller wheel and shorter sidewall if you plan to tow at highway speeds. There are some great vintage looking 'big steelies' on the market. A little more rear spring rate might be needed. If it's not sagging drastically i'd go full retro on it and throw on some air shocks. cheeky

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
11/28/17 5:57 a.m.

I had a truck with a 351M, so I have some experience. I agree on the mileage comment. Don't expect much above the low teens and probably single digits while towing.  My truck would get 10 MPG at a steady 60 MPH on the hwy, basically empty. If I ventured much above that speed I could almost watch the gas gauge needle move.  Bearing in mind, I had the truck 25 years ago when the speed limit was still 55 just about everywhere so driving at 60 wasn't a big deal.  These days it'd be a rolling hazard.

snailmont5oh HalfDork
11/29/17 1:22 p.m.

In reply to Vigo :

Rear suspension on these cars is an offset three link with a Panhard rod. There are actually adjustable tubular replacements available in the aftermarket. 


My my initial plan is to put airbags inside the coil springs, but I might go with air shocks..

Vigo UltimaDork
11/29/17 9:05 p.m.

Airbags inside the coils is preferable, just a little more work up front. I dont know of any air shocks that are that good at being shocks, so it'd be better to get good shocks and add spring rate somewheres else. cheeky

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ HalfDork
11/30/17 3:14 a.m.

It should be good to go on the engine side.  Excepting one of the mod motors the 400 has the longest stroke of any V8 Ford light duty engine (4").  You might want to check your gear ratio.  It can be pretty tall in some early '70's pre overdrive stuff.  Not even a 4" stroke can overcome a 2.5X:1 axle ratio.

snailmont5oh HalfDork
11/30/17 4:31 p.m.

@Vigo: I agree completely. I'm thinking about some KYB Gas-a-just as an inexpensive option. 


@401: I'm hoping for something between 2.73:1 and 3:1. If not, at least gear swaps on the 9" are pretty easy. :)

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