What Replacement Engine Would You Put in Your 9th Gen Ford F-150?

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1997 Ford F-150

If you’re looking for big power gains in your older F-150, which engine swap would you start with?

Ford’s modular motors used in the 9th, 10th, and 11th gen F-150 pickups have a couple of known issues, but generally provide many miles of reliable service. But like every other engine out there, they’ll eventually wear out. Or, in the case of F-150 Online member mercurdeez and his ’97 F-150, perhaps you just want to swap your tired old motor out for something with more potential. Thus, the big question here is, do you stick with another 5.4, or seek out something different?

“I need some ideas as to what’s the best upgrade/replacement you recommend for my ’97 F-150 with the original 5.4-liter engine. It has 194,000 miles currently. Nothing wrong with it, but I want to get some horsepower out of it without changing the trans and rear end. There used to be a company called Paschal Performance that had 6.2-liter drop-ins, but they are no longer around. I would be happy with a 150-300 hp increase. I’m looking to start tracking it in the next couple of years.”

1997 Ford F-150

Of course, our members have no shortage of ideas for the OP. It’s really just a question of how much money he wants to spend.

“A PI 5.4 would be a start, but you’re going to need boost for a 300 horse gain on a two valve,” said tarajerame.

But as glc notes, the bigger issue might lie in the truck’s transmission.

“If it’s a 4R70W, that can’t handle a boosted 5.4 very well. If it’s an E4OD, what about a Lightning swap?”

1997 Ford F-150

MitchF150 has achieved a pretty impressive power output with fewer cylinders.
“My little V6 puts out some 365 hp and 420 lb-ft so that’s what I did. But I had to trade my ’97 F-150 5.4 in on it. Doing a 5.0 Coyote swap would be pretty cool too. Patman is doing that with his truck and it’s been a great project. But I’m sure it’s a long process and it’s gonna take some $$.”
The OP seems to have a pretty open mind and open budget, so the possibilities here are endless. So we (and he) want to know what you think. Head over here and tell us which engine you’d go with to turn this older F-150 into a proper track monster!


Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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