View Full Version : Thunderbird 3.8 to Mark VIII 32v Swap (Picture Heavy)

Tim Groth
04-28-2014, 07:03 PM
Starting this thread to document the swap of a '90 Thunderbird Chassis and moving primarily everything off a 32v 4.6l '93 Mark VIII into the 'bird. With the help of my brother n law, were working on making a fellow Thunderbird Enthusiasts idea come to fruition...

Little Back Ground History of this swap: This project has been an idea for a whiilllle without anyone really having the time to take it on. This isn't a weekend job obviously (we're shooting for 2 weekends instead ;)) And...As with most projects when it's labor intensive, it takes a special kind of stupid to offer to take it on, (my brother-n-law & myself) for those trying to keep up.

Now granted we are getting paid to do this (smarter than we look), I want everyone to understand the back story to this swap as well. You'll probably first look at these pictures and say, "Why Hack Up 2 cars?!"... Well the owners Dad always wanted this to happen, anyone who knows Chris Connors (the owner) knows his Dad was always with him at Car Shows. Recently his Dad passed and this was his vision, and his goal to have the Mark VIII drive train Swapped in the Bird...and frankly knowing that, what we're doing has a bigger meaning than just making one cool car, has a lot more impact also.

So without further ado, here are some pictures... of what weekend 1 looked like for us. I've tried to capture the beauty of working on a dairy farm with Horses, Cows and Chickens in the background. This is so everyone remembers you don't need a fancy spot to work, just the right tools. Most of these initial pictures show the tear down (the easy part) I'll try to take as many pictures as possible as we go puttin it back together...turning a wrench and taking photos is kind of a pain, but I'll do my best.

When the Cars Arrived



Tim Groth
04-28-2014, 07:08 PM
Mark VIII Tear Down Pictures

Everything in the engine bay is unhooked, Upper Ball Joints out, Brake Lines off...
One K member Bolt wasn't playing nice....Jason (brother n law) will remedy that right up


Tim Groth
04-28-2014, 07:12 PM
Thunderbird Getting Taken Down


End of Day 1


Tim Groth
04-28-2014, 07:15 PM
Day 2... So started day 2 off with finishing removing the engine harnesses...at this point only thing keeping em on the car was behind the bumper cover. So needless to say that had to be removed...not many pictures of this for phone was charging. Figured a quick snap of the cows would be good to kick off the day also.


Now after all this was done, I couldn't justify installing a one off swap like this into a dirty and poorly painted engine bay, so I talked the owner into letting us finish it right...and well the end results show we made the right call.


Also Used the Duplicolor High Gloss Clear - Seen this stuff used on Power Block on Spike...not bad paint for the cost.

While paints drying took the remaining under body parts off the Mark and worked on engine harness removal.



Tim Groth
04-28-2014, 07:30 PM
Engine Bay Harnesses Installed. Also The AC lines, and system are back in.



04-28-2014, 10:57 PM
You da man. Shoulda riped that belt sticker off, gonna confuse someone down the road. Haha.

04-28-2014, 11:27 PM
Thanks Tim for the write up of my car ! I can't wait to see what she will do at the track...16's just won't do anymore lol.

04-29-2014, 12:53 AM
Pretty cool project.

Ken Seegers
04-29-2014, 07:21 AM
Wow Tim. That looks incredible.
Chris, are you bringing that car to Carlisle this year?


Tim Groth
04-29-2014, 08:23 AM
You da man. Shoulda riped that belt sticker off, gonna confuse someone down the road. Haha.
Thought about it, but thought it would give it some character to keep some of the orginal layouts...can take it off and shoot it if Chris desires.

Wow Tim. That looks incredible.
Chris, are you bringing that car to Carlisle this year?



Guess it really all depends on how quickly we turn wrenches...my goal is to have it read for Carlisle for him...we still have to paint the entire car, and well the interior is getting some of the Mark VIII pieces...If his car looks more prepared than mine for Carlisle you'll know why.


04-29-2014, 10:33 PM
Glad to see it happening!

Hope to see it at SB!!!!!!! :)

04-29-2014, 10:40 PM
Sweet project I was wondering if someone had tackled this swapped. Any engine mods for the 4.6 planned before the transplant?

04-29-2014, 11:10 PM
I plan on going to carlisle no matter what. No mods to the Mark motor but do plan on building it up in the future...so for now just a direct swap. Steve, Liz and I will be at SB this year...My sister Tammi from Pittsburgh may also be attending with her 2011 Mustang Gt.
Chris C.

Tim Groth
04-30-2014, 08:30 AM
So upon removal of the dashes last night, a few items were noticed.

1. Tbird had manual HVAC controls / Mark has Electronic - the heater boxes are different so this is now added to the swap list.
2. Mark harness thru firewall is rectangular - Birds is a circle...minor details, will be cutting firewall to adapt and repaint that area.
3. Interior harness that mates to the dash for interior lights etc...completely different also...going to end up using the full wiring from the Mark.
4. Door wiring is also different...going to check pin outs before we get all crazy there.

Hopefully post some more pictures tomorrow...plan to work a little more on it tonight and see where we end up.


04-30-2014, 10:29 AM
Is this where you guys are headed?

Tim Groth
05-04-2014, 06:13 PM
Well the deadline was met, needless to say the major heavy lifting is completed on this one. Certainly couldn't have done this without the mechanical abilities of my brother n law...he is a machine when it comes to these projects. Lots of long hours to get us to this moment.

I have tons of pictures - most of which involve swapping the of wiring harness. Just to save any headaches (and well most were/are different) every wiring harness was swapped over. There were a ton of reasons for this, short list off the top of my head. 1. The bulk head to the dash for a Mark is Rectangular - Bird is Round. 2. EEC for a Mark is under the drivers side dash - Bird is in passenger kick panel as most already know. 3 Door wiring was differnt where it plugged into the dash...so again since already committed to the Mark goodies we kept going with it. Needless the only thing on this car thats truely MN12 at this point is the Body.

Here's some quick pics of the dash installed and the engine first installed. Have a youtube video like here shortly of the first time she fired up.


Tim Groth
05-04-2014, 06:19 PM
32v Thunderbird engine swap from Lincoln Mark VIII: http://youtu.be/Qa86Y0zCPc4

Video shows the dash installed and working as it should also: http://youtu.be/yST5naUQ0_c


05-08-2014, 10:15 PM
Looking good lots of work! A buddy of mine is putting a Mark VIII 32 valve in a 2000 GT suppose to help him drop it in Sunday.

David Neibert
05-09-2014, 12:17 PM
Wow ! That didn't take long.


05-09-2014, 12:19 PM
Video shows the dash installed and working as it should also: http://youtu.be/yST5naUQ0_c

I may be more impressed with the dash swap over the drivetrain ;)

05-09-2014, 02:03 PM
I told him what to do.;):D

Tim Groth
05-09-2014, 02:15 PM
I told him what to do.;):D

This has some substance to it...from the get go this project was going to either be yours or mine so I suppose together we decided the best direction to complete it. Having a game plan did help.

Also having a complete Mark VIII to swap everything from, really made the swap easy to complete. Plug n play on everything for the most part...some modifications were needed but not many...essentially swapped everything over and went together like a puzzle.

At this point the cars been painted, I hope to have the body work completed this weekend, and then have to go to the Pick n Save for some interior parts to get that wrapped up. Guess we will see how the end results turn out.

Overall I think anyone could do this swap with 2 complete cars. How quickly it was completed on the otherhand is really to the testiment of my brother n law Jason. He set the 2 week deadline for us and had the mindset that it would be met.


Scott Long
05-09-2014, 06:51 PM
Nice. How did you go about getting the air ride service warning to go out?