Piston Slap: Powering a Panther with the Boss

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Mike writes:

Sajeev,

After reading your latest and past articles detailing the world of the Crown Vic and its siblings, I think I have been bitten by the “Panther Love” bug. And I’ve been toying around with the idea of an engine swap. Researching has led me to supercharging the 4.6-liter SOHC, Chinese turbos, DOHC Modular V-8 swaps, and even the ubiquitous LS swap. I have even seen someone in the midst of installing the new Ford 7.3L Godzilla V-8 in his CVPI.

But I have another idea, and my questions revolve around the following engine: Ford’s 6.2L Boss V-8. I currently have a 2013 Ford F150 FX4 with the 6.2L V-8 and basic mods (Air Raid intake, Magnaflow exhaust). I love the power and torque that manages to haul around this relatively heavy truck … even with the bed canopy installed, gear in the bed and pulling a trailer. And with what—about 1000 pounds less weight?—I think the 6.2L would make the Vic move rather smartly and be a great long-distance hauler—without the turbos, intercoolers, and such (resulting in a “what if” close-to-factory-installed drivetrain).

My questions are:

  1. What are the main differences between the F-150 FX4/Raptor 6.2L engine and the 6.2Ls available in the F-250 and F-350? I realize that the F-150 FX4/Raptor power and torque are 20–30 hp/lb-ft torque higher, but what did Ford do to achieve this??
  2. What 2WD six-speed automatic fits behind this engine? Or will I have to convert the donor truck 4WD transmission to 2WD, and what would that entail (parts-wise)?

I have a shot at acquiring a later Crown Vic LX Sport. And with all the Panther platforms that are available, a Mercury Grand Marquis or Police Interceptor (that hasn’t been ridden too hard and put away wet) would be good candidates. I like the interiors of the Lincoln Town Cars, but I am not a fan of the Lincoln’s big ol’ booty.

I realize this may be a daunting task, but my day job is as a heavy equipment mechanic in Northern Alberta, Canada, and I feel this would be a fun project within my wheelhouse. And with Northern Alberta and Western Canada ripe with pickups, it’s easy to find salvage F-150 Platinums and F250-F350 work trucks with the 6.2L V-8. I have been checking out the local CoPart and other salvage auctions for donors—these trucks are always appearing at auction.

Ideas, comments, and information are appreciated.

Sajeev answers:

Oh, yes, I wholeheartedly approve of this project!  And not just because I’m one of the biggest cheerleaders for Panther Love, but because you seem to have the right perspective on just how much effort this “daunting task” shall take on your soul. The Boss/Hurricane 6.2L motor is a beast that I quite love, but that truck-sized intake manifold (and it being an evolutionary dead end with no aftermarket alternatives) suggests you’ll have to cut the hood and add a cheesy scoop to make the throttle body fit on a low slung Panther sedan. If that’s worth the cost/labor associated with unanticipated body work, let’s get to answering your questions:

  1. Since both Boss motors make their peak power at the same RPMs, odds are only minor changes to the camshaft and the engine calibrations separate the two. (The Raptor also has an electric fan, just like the Panther.) A performance tune on a junker F-250 donor motor will narrow the gap considerably, and I reckon they are cheaper and easier to source.
  2. Since the Boss is based on the Modular V-8, it shared the same bell housing bolt pattern. So in theory, you could build a the Panther’s 4R75W stout enough to handle the new motor. But wide-ratio four-speeds are a bit yesterday’s bread these days, so I’d recommend a 6R80 … or even a 10R80, if you find one for the right price.

I know you can make it happen, as you are swapping one modular V-8 for another. The hardest thing will be getting the Panther to accept a six- or 10-speed automatic. There shall be plenty of hurdles to clear, but all it takes is sweating the details—getting all the wiring to work on the Panther’s hard points, or perhaps hacking the Panther’s wiring harness to work on the Boss engine?

Either way, start making friends with people who can dyno tune late-model Fords, because you’re gonna need them to get all the drivability bugs worked out. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you the best of luck!

Have a question you’d like answered on Piston Slap? Send your queries to pistonslap@hagerty.com, give us as much detail as possible so we can help! If you need an expedited resolution, make a post on the Hagerty Community!

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