The Novak Guide to

The Ford Windsor V8 Engines


The Ford Small Block Windsor V8 Engine

Not to be outdone by the Chevy Small Block for long, Ford introduced its 221 V8 in 1962. That same year, Ford increased the piston bore to produce the 260. It rose quickly in popularity and soon afterwards (1963), became the 289 and then the ubiquitous 302.

Small Block Ford V8 engines popularly include the 260, 289, 302, and 351 cubic inch engines. These Ford V8 engines are lighter and narrower than the Chevy V8 engines, however they are about 1.5" longer than the Chevy V8. This extra length presents a problem when doing a conversion on the Pre-1972, 80" or 81" wheelbase Jeeps.

It should be noted that the 351 CID Small Block Ford V8 is longer than other Ford engines of the Small Block series.

The 302 evolved into the 5.0 and 5.0 HO. These motors, especially the latter, were outstanding powerplants. With the benefit of fuel injection and other refinements these engines more than ever, gave Jeep-owning Ford enthusiasts something to get excited about in regards to engine conversions.

The Small Block Ford V8 began life being built in Windsor, Ontario and thus its "Windsor V8" nickname. Production of this engine was later moved to Cleveland, but the Windsor motor is not to be confused with the different "Cleveland" family of engines.

The 351 Windsor also belongs to the Ford Small Block family - not to be confused with the mid-sized-block 351 Cleveland, a different engine of the 335 family. The "Modified" engines are also in a different vein, and not generally as popular or well suited for Jeep conversions.
  • 1962: 221 Introduced
  • 1962: Displacement increased to 260
  • 1963: 289 Introduced
  • 1963: 289 HiPo
  • 1963-1964: Change from 5-bolt to 6-bolt bellhousing pattern
  • 1968: 289 stroked to 302
  • 1968: 302 HiPo produced for Shelby
  • 1969-1970: Boss 302
  • 1969: 351 Windsor
  • 1972-1975: HP degradation from emissions
  • 1980: TBI injection introduced on the 302 in the Lincoln Continental
  • 1983: TBI injection made widespread on most 302's
  • 1986: Electronic Sequential Fuel Injection introduced
  • 1988: EFI for the 351
  • 1991: Modular V8 engine introduced; the eventual replacment series for the Windsor engines
  • 1993: GT40 heads
  • 1995: Last year for standard production 5.0L
  • 1996: OBDII compliant 5.8L (351) in Bronco and its last year for standard production
  • 1997: Upgraded GTP40 heads for better breathing
  • 2000: Last 5.0L motors built for the 2001 Explorer

These motors recieved steady improvements throughout their 33 year evolution, and in 1996 they were OBD-II compatible. Regrettably, this would be the last real production year for the 5.0L & 5.8L Ford Small Block V8's. Many enthusiasts see this as a disappointment and the passing of an era at Ford.

The Ford Small Block becomes a particularly attractive option when one considers that it is readily compatible with the Ford T18 and Ford NP435 heavy-duty four-speed transmissions - popular gearboxes for swapping into Jeeps of all eras.

Ford V8 Flywheels, Clutches & Bellhousings

The Windsor V8's will feature one of two different size flywheels. The 10-1/2" clutch version is denoted by its 157 tooth ring gear count and 13-1/4" diameter. The 11" clutch version is denoted by its 164 tooth ring gear count and 14-1/4" in diameter.

Since Ford Windsor starters mount to the bellhousing instead of the engine block, and because these different flywheels require the starter at different distances from the engine crank centerline, there are two bellhousing sizes to choose from. Individuals installing these engines should be aware of this difference when matching clutches and bellhousings to the engine assembly. The smaller bellhousings measure about 13-3/4" across the opening and the larger bellhousings measure about 14-3/4" across the opening.

To keep things especially exciting for interchangers, Ford changed the flywheel balance from 28.2 oz. to 50 oz. in 1981. Early vs. late Windsor V8's must be matched with their respectively balanced flywheels.

In keeping with this tradition of difficult Ford-to-Ford compatibility and outright incompatibility, the Ford Modular series engines have a different block / bellhousing bolt pattern than these mainline Windsor motors.

Transmission Compatibility

Some popular Ford V8 transmission choices in Jeeps include:

Manuals, non-native upgrades for Jeeps

The T-18 transmission The NP-435 transmission
Ford T18 (*) Ford NP435 (*)
* Preferred
** Possible with modifications

Manuals, Jeep native

The Jeep T150 Transmission The Jeep T176 Transmission The Jeep AX15 Transmission Jeep NV3550 Transmission
T150(**) T176(**) AX15 NV3550
* Preferred
** Possible with modifications


The Small Block Ford V8 can be installed in most Jeeps although sometimes not quite as simply or economically as the Chevy V8. Parts interchangeability is not nearly as good as on Chevy V8. However, Ford enthusiasts who know these motors and their parts interchange information well, swear by them and install them with good success.


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