289 vs 302

289 - 351 cid Small Block Performance
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Ripper0863
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2023 1:50 pm

289 vs 302

Post by Ripper0863 »

how much difference is there between the 289 and the 302. I am leaning on replacing the 289 with a 302 but unsure if it really worth the cost and effort. I would love to put a 302 crate engine in but hard to not just spend the money to rebuild the 289 to new. I am not a mechanic and dont know a lot about engines so any input would be much appreciated.
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Joe Travers
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Re: 289 vs 302

Post by Joe Travers »

A wee bit more power out of the 302 but not much. I have a thing for 289s.
They always seemed to be more durable to me, having owned quite a few of both.
Is the 289 engine original? A 302 swap will require some transmission work as well if it is a 5-bolt bellhousing,
Here's a picture between the two @ the rear of the engine block-Image
You can count the bolts holding the transmission to the block to determine this or read the casting number on the oil pan rail behind the starter w/ a mirror and penlight.

Joe
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1963 1/2 Custom Hardtop
342 stroker, solid roller, T-10, 3.55 posi

Ripper0863
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Re: 289 vs 302

Post by Ripper0863 »

that is kind of what I figured. not a lot of difference. I am not looking for a powerhouse ride. Just reliable but having some ponies to get up and go when needed. Perhaps a rebuild of the 289 is the way to go. beef it up a little...
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Joe Travers
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Re: 289 vs 302

Post by Joe Travers »

Ripper0863 wrote:
Fri Mar 10, 2023 2:21 pm
that is kind of what I figured. not a lot of difference. I am not looking for a powerhouse ride. Just reliable but having some ponies to get up and go when needed. Perhaps a rebuild of the 289 is the way to go. beef it up a little...
Check the tune on your engine before dropping serious money. If it doesn't consume excessive oil or have blowby through the breather cap, you may see a gain w/ just a little tweaking of carburetor& ignition timing. Doesn't cost a red cent, if you do it yourself. Post a picture of the engine, see what you have now.

Best to learn how to do it yourself. Most mechanics nowdays are computer technicians and don't know where to start w/o a scan tool :roll:

Joe
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1963 1/2 Custom Hardtop
342 stroker, solid roller, T-10, 3.55 posi

Ripper0863
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Re: 289 vs 302

Post by Ripper0863 »

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Pic of the motor. Not a detailed pic by any means.
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Joe Travers
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Re: 289 vs 302

Post by Joe Travers »

Looks like it's warmed-up a bit already for Merc-O-Matic.
Do you have kickdown linkage set up on the Holley 1850?

Joe
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1963 1/2 Custom Hardtop
342 stroker, solid roller, T-10, 3.55 posi

barrys65cyclone
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Location: maryland

Re: 289 vs 302

Post by barrys65cyclone »

power wise all things equal about 5hp &15 ft lb of torque

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Groover
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Re: 289 vs 302

Post by Groover »

I vote stick with the 289, but I'm driving a 260. Difference in HP seems negligible. Any tweaks you can do to a 302 you can do to the 289 and still be close in HP. But tweaking the 289 means you keep driving her now, while you tweak, vs spending time and and money swapping. Like was said though, if the 289 is leaking or burning oil or has low compression, etc. then all bets are off and do what you'd like.
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1964 Comet Caliente Convertible
30,000 miles on our rebuild

All Comets start out as dreams...

Maine Pilot
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Re: 289 vs 302

Post by Maine Pilot »

A couple of years after purchasing my '66 Caliente, it started burning oil Big Time!, like 1 qt. every 80-100 miles! Friends and strangers suggested just dropping some additive into the crankcase. To me, that seemed like adding sawdust as some unscrupulous dealers used to mask major problems in order to sell a car. Like you, I'm not a mechanic, but having the peace of mind, knowing the car will be dependable, I decided to go to the re-building route. I assumed I had the 289 engine because the car had the ubiquitous "V-8 emblems on the front fenders; i.e., no cubic displacement like 289, 390, 451 etc. Neither the engine valve covers nor the air filter housing had decals stating the displacement.

In my town, I'm lucky to have a shop that specializes in re-building engines, so there I sent it. Several days later I received a call from the shop, telling me they started tearing the engine down and lo and behold, some previous owner had put in a 302. The shop wanted me to make a decision whether to stay with the rebuild or try to find a suitable 289 to install.

The shop said it would be cheaper to stay with the 302 rebuild and as Tim, The Tool Man Taylor would say "more power is always better," no matter how small it would be. Also, the shop would stand behind their rebuild and they were local, so you know which way I went. The cost for the rebuild was ~$4,000.

So now I have a retro-mod instead of an authentic antique--but who cares. I've had it for 5+years after the rebuild and it's dependable, and unless some future buyer of my car really cares that all the car's serial numbers are correct and the cigarette lighter has the "right stampings," they can look elsewhere.

Just my $.05.

Bob
My wife says I only have 2 faults. I don't listen...and something else

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SASSY
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Re: 289 vs 302

Post by SASSY »

Ripper0863 wrote:
Fri Mar 10, 2023 12:48 pm
how much difference is there between the 289 and the 302. I am leaning on replacing the 289 with a 302 but unsure if it really worth the cost and effort. I would love to put a 302 crate engine in but hard to not just spend the money to rebuild the 289 to new. I am not a mechanic and dont know a lot about engines so any input would be much appreciated.
Have you decided which way your going?
I'd rather do it myself if it's done right or not,,,isn't that what hotrodding is all about

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kurtscomet
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Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:49 pm

Re: 289 vs 302

Post by kurtscomet »

If anything, I would do a valve job rebuild with cam and lifters and leave the bottom end alone......that way u don't even have to pull the motor

Rootsy
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Re: 289 vs 302

Post by Rootsy »

Externally they look for same. Internally the crank and rods are different between the two to achieve the extra CID. If the engine is going to be or has been rebuilt then likely 0.030 increase in bore diameter yielding 293 or 306 CID.

My opinion is do what is easiest. If the crank is able to be turned and the block hasn’t been bored previously then just stick with the 289 and rebuild it. If going “new” engine then 302 as parts for the bottom end are a dime a dozen and all levels of performance available.

Obviously this is assuming a 6 bolt bellhousing.

Price can spiral out of control quickly so set a goal, assemble a parts list to achieve that goal and make sure it meets your budget and then proceed.
1964 Cyclone - 2 Dr / HT - A work in progress...

saSSoman8810
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Re: 289 vs 302

Post by saSSoman8810 »

Having been in the business for over 50 years. I can tell you that there is a lot of difference between buying a crate motor off ebay and finding a local machine shop and doing your own engine.
Some of these online rebuilds are made cheaper by using off shore parts and who knows who is doing the machine work.
Visit your local machine shop and look around and talk to him if he has time . Don't be afraid to ask for references remember it's your money and your parts. Check with the local parts stores and ask who they recommend.
Realize a 289 is a long rod motor and a 302 is a short rod motor. That's part of the reason that the old 289's could be revved higher.
My 311 that I am putting in my 65 Comet that I am building is a .060 over Mountainier block that has 5.7 rods and real short pistons. It's capable of making power all the way to 7800 rpm's ,but still makes a lot of torque.
With the price of kits that you can buy a 331 is just about as cheap as a 302 rebuild. The last one I built didn't even need the block notched.

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