Hi i have a 1979 with a 351m in it can you please tell me what that means? Is it a 351c with 400 heads?


Asked by Mar 19, 2014 at 08:06 PM about the 1979 Ford Ranchero

Question type: General

It runs like a clock.  It has 101000 mi. What issues are norm with this motor? What can i
do to it? To wake it up?

11 Answers


Are you sure it's a 351m? As I recall there was a C for Cleveland and a W for Windsor. Any way, in those days the pollution control systems were the power robbers. Look into a cam, a high rise manifold, an aftermarket carb and ignition distributor. Oh and maybe plain the heads to get better compression. Lots of options but none of them cheap.

Best Answer Mark helpful

No. A 351m is a 351m. Taller deck height, lower compression, milder cam. A 351c runs circles around it! The 351m and the 400m (m=modified) were Ford's early attempts at reducing smog. At this mileage, you should expect the nylon timing gear to wear out soon. Just replace it with a metal gear and chain set. Don't get mad at me but there isn't a lot you can do to liven up this motor - it wasn't designed for that. You can spend the money but you won't get the results. A good Hot Rod suggestion is to build an aggressive 302 (much easier to get parts and go crazy with). Dad had a "73 with the 351C and a "79 with the 400M. Bought both of them new. The "73 kicked serious butt - for modified station wagons.

Best Answer Mark helpful

BTW - the Cleveland Motor went away after 1973

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Thanks Tracy, I'm old as dirt and forgot that.


I BEG TO DIFFER. The 351-M is basically a "modified" 351-C but with a taller deck. The heads interchange as does the timing chain and camshaft and all the front pulleys and brackets and exhaust manifolds as well. .I've got a 79 Ford F-250 4x4 that I special-ordered new in March of 1979 and still have it today with only 39K original miles. It was built on May 26th and I took delivery on June 3rd. I plowed snow with the truck for the first 3 years and had more than enough power to push 2 feet of Chicago snow during that heavy winter. I hot-rodded it after that adding a .566 high lift cam, polished and ported cyl. heads, Edelbrock dual plane intake with Holley 3310 750cfm carb on a 2 inch spacer. I also added MSD ignition, Hedman fenderwell headers, dual polished stainless steel. Sonic Turbo mufflers and Chrome Zoomie exhaust collectors. Transmission is a grannie gear Borg-Warner T-18 4 speed. The final drive ratio is 4:10 on both front and rear Dana 60 H.D. axles. That '79 351-M can smoke all 4 tires in 4wd, and yes I've done it many a times. So yes, It has power to spare with a little help from a balance & blue-printing. The rear main seals were known to go but that was right around 25-30K miles so I'm sure yours has been replaced already. Other than that they were and still are good engines and there are many still on the road in T-Birds, Rancheros and Pickup trucks from the late '70's and early '80's. Most of those motors can go 150-200K miles if well maintained. I had a 77 Ranchero with a 351-M and had over 220K miles on it and never been apart. I change oil every 3K miles and run 4 quarts of oil with one quart of transmission fluid for a total of 5 quarts but all in the engine. That one qt. of trans fluid acts as a detergent and keeps the internals of the engine super clean like a brand new engine even with over 200K miles on it. Good Luck with your 79. Kenny/MrBlueOval


Sweet! Put me on the list of guys who want to "take it off your hands" should you ever want to part with it. :-)


I do have it for sale. It's a 1st place show winner every time with 4 best of show awards under it's belt. Check my listings on my profile to see pics and price. But here's a quick pic. Kenny/ MrBlueOval


I'll check with the shipping company I used to import my belonging here to the Philippines to see what I'm looking at for import duty and shipping costs.


I just updated the For Sale listing of my Show Truck. If you want to see it just click on my I.D. to the left. Thanks, Kenny/MrBlueOval

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Thank you Mr. Blue Oval, for straightening out the nonsense about the Cleveland being stronger. The M stands for modified. This is a small block that bolts up to big block trannys. Along with larger main crank journals and 8.8 - 1 compression. Very torquey at low revs.


You are welcome but, The 351-M is definitely modified but it's a modified 351-C built at the Cleveland, Ohio engine plant. Some people call it a small-block and some actually call it a big-block but it is actually neither one and right in between the small-block and the big-block. Some parts will interchange with the small-block like the cylinder heads and the oil pump and distributor with the 429-460 big-block. BTW, A Boss-351 is actually a 302-Windsor block with 351-C heads.

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