1987 Ford 302 Specsby John Wasinski
The 302 cubic-inch, 5-liter eight-cylinder Windsor engine has been used in over 15 Ford car and truck lines since it was introduced in 1968. With gas costs being less of a factor in the late 1980s, this large displacement V-8 engine was a mainstay in Ford's lineup. The 302 was available in the Mustang, Thunderbird, Crown Victoria, and Ford Trucks in 1987. This engine's best known application was the high-output version in the Mustang GT.
This engine's 302 cubic inches translated to 4,942 cc--technically making it a 4.9-liter engine, but Ford had a V-6 engine in its stable that already used this designation. When Ford began advertising its engines in liters in the 1980s, the 302 was christened the "5.0." Its bore was 4 inches and stroke was 3 inches. This large-bore, small-stroke engine is known as an "oversquare" engine.
The 302 in the Ford Mustang
Many of Ford's vehicles were refreshed or redesigned for 1987, including the Mustang. The Mustang received aerodynamic headlamps, and a new quad-shock rear-axle suspension. According to "Mustang 40 Years" by Randy Leffingwell, Ford placed an equal emphasis on improving the Mustang's performance in 1987. A V-6 engine, the non-HO 302 engine, and the high-output 302 were available in 1987 Mustangs. The high-output 302 received dished-top pistons, E7TE heads, improved breathing valves, a bigger intake plenum, and a 580 cfm throttle bore. The Mustang was also equipped with electronic fuel injection, a tuned length aluminum manifold, roller lifter cam, and EEC-IV electronics system.
The ratings on the base 302 engine were 210 horsepower, with 15 additional horsepower in the high-output engine. The high-output engine was available in the Mustang GT, with added sport styling, spoilers and cladding, and in the Mustang LX, a more plainly styled car. Choosing the LX resulted in a 200-lb. reduction in weight. In "Mustang 5.0 and 4.6, 1979-1998," Matthew Stone explains this made the $12,000 Mustang LX a faster car, and an even better match for Ford's nemesis, the Chevrolet Camaro.
The 302 in Other Ford Models
The Ford 302 was available in the 1987 Ford Crown Victoria, Thunderbird, and in truck models including the F150 pickup. The high-output version was not available in these models. In the Thunderbird, which was also restyled with aerodynamic sheet metal in 1987, the 302 engine rated 150 horsepower. In the Ford Crown Victoria, the horsepower rating was also 150 and the torque rating for the 302 engine was 270 foot-pounds. The Ford pickup used the 302 engine with the same E7TE heads as the Mustang.
- "Mustang Forty Years;" Randy Leffingwell; 2005
- "Mustang 5.0 and 4.6, 1979-1998;" Matthew L. Stone; 1998
- Ford Truck Enthusiasts: 1987-1991 Ford F150: Eighth Generation
- CrownVic: Stock Specs for the EFI 302
- Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe Club of Iowa: Ford Thunderbird History
- MustangGT: 1987 Mustang GT
John Wasinski has worked in media-related fields since 2005. He enjoys writing about quality-of-life issues and culture. Wasinski attended Ball State University and completed a Master of Education degree in human movement, sport and leisure studies from Bowling Green State University.