RossD PowerDork
May 4, 2015 9:04 a.m.

May I present my 1984 Mercury Marquis Brougham. Propelled by a 3.8 liter V6 engine coupled to a 3 speed automatic transmission. With less than 40,000 original miles, the smell of almost new, 31 year old velour will calm you, as you recline in the power red seats and waft away with no effort. Literally no effort, this thing is a pooch.

So this is my build thread, but also my ask questions thread. So don't feel bad when you clutter this up with info to fuel the fire.

The car will be the occasional family hauler but mostly be used during the summertime to bomb around the countryside to and from work. We have a proper family vehicle so this just needs to get the kid home from daycare and maybe a weekend cruse. No autocross or HPDE; so that should keep this build nice and focused.

Topics (in no particular order):

  1. Big Ugly. A nose swap: I'm not sure if it'll be a newer GT or a four eyed version. Either way, I would need the bumper that's behind a Mustang's rubber nose correct? What else? Fenders, hood, and light are fairly obvious. A donor car might be the way to handle it.

  2. The brightwork on the car. I don't like brightwork on a car. I've got a contact that can powder coat it. Is that the best way to deal with it. How do I remove it without putting a bunch of kinks in it? I can't go without it around the windows, can I? I'll remove it over the wheel arches and replace the door ding guards with black ones that match the nose.

  3. What are the rear suspension modifications that I should do? I've heard the quadrabind comments, and I'm thinking I need to swap in a 8.8" with a panhard/watts link. Springs/Shocks/Anti-roll Bars?

  4. Subframe connectors. My dad is a pretty good fabricator. I'm going to guess it would be easier/cheaper to just make them, than to modify Mustang ones. What else stiffens the car without doing anything to the interior?

  5. Front suspension modifactions: SN-95 K member. Is that the easy button? I'm good with parts hunting for that special mix of LCA and what not if there is something else to consider. Camber plates/Springs/Shocks/Anti-roll bar?

  6. Five lug swap. Goes along with the K member and 8.8 swap. Can you use the 8.8 out of a SN-95 as a direct bolt in? Not sure about the wheels yet but I like the Bullitt/Torque Trust style. Summer only tire suggestions?

  7. Black Paint or Black Vinyl wrap? I haven't looked into local prices but I'm guessing the wrap is a lot cheaper. Who has painted a car in a plastic tent in their garage? I have access to a decent size air compressor...

  8. Engine and Transmission. Well as much as I'd love to throw the Zetec and the Type E four speed in this car, the 3000 pound weight says otherwise. The Zetec is from a 2000 Focus and is rated at 127 hp while the 3.8 has 120 hp but 205 lb-ft. I'm not sure if my transmission will hold up behind a beefed up Zetec in this car. The Type E is the Type 9 from the XR4Ti without a fifth gear. One website stated 180 hp rating for the Type E. The other (better) options would be the old 5.0 or a 4.6/5.4 and an appropriate manual transmission. I'm looking for hopefully 300hp. I've got to get more than the V6 in our Grand Cherokee, right?!?

  9. Megasquirt will be used on whatever engine that replaces the V6. It currently has the Central Fuel Injection (Throttle body injection) system. So it that EEC-IV?

TL;DR: I bought a clean four door fox body and I'm pretty excited. What should I do next?

Inspirational photos:

The spoiler doesn't look too bad, either.

Thanks, RossD

Dusterbd13 SuperDork
May 4, 2015 9:27 a.m.

Black and red are always a good color combo.

Powdercoating the trim all comes down to prep. Gotta get a good surface to bite to. That being said, map out your bblackout. Too much blacked trim and it looses some of the definition of the nifty details. So be selective in the application of it. Photochop is your friend here.

Id also go polished or machine faced cobra r wheels. Look better on a fox body in my opinion.

Drivetrain: cheap and simple. 5.0 aod. Go explorer.

pres589 UberDork
May 4, 2015 9:42 a.m.

I've got some 03-04 Mustang Cobra front control arms, brand new, that I would cut you a deal on. Purchased two years ago and never went onto the Mustang I sold a year ago.

I honestly think I'd skip the front end sheet metal swap and work with what you've got. Clear lexan or similar light covers should be easy to home brew since they can be flat. Get the gingerbread off of the front bumper. Paint the grill black or whatever you're going to do with the rest of the brightwork on the car. And maybe not go black but a really dark gray?

I wonder if there are other mirrors that would fit on this car. SN95 mirrors might be pretty close and with a little trimming could look decent.

Save the Zetec and Type E for something that makes more sense. 5.0 and an AOD seems like the right combination to me.

May 4, 2015 9:43 a.m.
Dusterbd13 wrote: Black and red are always a good color combo. Powdercoating the trim all comes down to prep. Gotta get a good surface to bite to. That being said, map out your bblackout. Too much blacked trim and it looses some of the definition of the nifty details. So be selective in the application of it. Photochop is your friend here. Id also go polished or machine faced cobra r wheels. Look better on a fox body in my opinion. Drivetrain: cheap and simple. 5.0 aod. Go explorer.

The explorer powertrain is an excellent idea. I also am in love with sticking the Mustang front on it. I actually like the side profile and back end of the Merc plus Mustang front. I am partial to the 4 eye front personally.

RossD PowerDork
May 4, 2015 9:58 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13:

The mirrors and door handles might be ok to leave shiny. I like the Explorer 5.0 idea but I think I need to get a 5 speed. Cobra R wheels do look good but I'd get them not flashy.

In reply to pres589:

What would the 03/04 Corbra front control arms do for the suspension? What do you mean by gingerbread? The overriders? I think you're right about saving the Zetec for something else.

In reply to clutchsmoke:

I might have to do some photoshoppin' tonight to see the Merc with a 4 eye GT front and maybe a Capri GT.

rcutclif HalfDork
May 4, 2015 10:11 a.m.

Yeah, I think the explorer 5.0 + mild cam/valvesprings should get you darn close to 300 hp.

One of the hotrod mags built a 400hp 5.0 for $1000 bucks. Good read.

pres589 UberDork
May 4, 2015 10:26 a.m.

In reply to RossD:

The swap is more complex to judge on a Fox. These are a bit longer than your stock arms, with stiffer bushings, and are supposed to give a better turning radius. This swap has probably been discussed in depth on other forums. I found this; http://vb.foureyedpride.com/showthread.php?104477-03-04-cobra-control-arms

And yeah, the overriders and such, if they could be removed or cut down I think the car would look better. Maybe a slight bumper tuck? But if you really want to do the Mustang swap then this is all academic.

e46potenza Reader
May 4, 2015 10:26 a.m.

I can't say that I've ever seen one of those in person. Awesome project! Onward!

Tom_Spangler SuperDork
May 4, 2015 10:47 a.m.
e46potenza wrote: I can't say that I've ever seen one of those in person. Awesome project! Onward!

You must be a younger fella. Back in the 80s, these were quite common.

I think a 4-eyed Mustang front on it would look great. But not the later flush-headlight front. Doesn't go with the rest of the car, IMO.

T.J. UltimaDork
May 4, 2015 10:52 a.m.

The two inspiration shots look pretty bad to my eyes. The proportions are off. I like the stock front end way better. My vote would be to skip the Mustang front end treatment and spend the money on making the car perform better.

JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
May 4, 2015 11:04 a.m.

PlastiDip will help you achieve the de-chromed look.

I would keep it burgundy for now and hit everything that is chrome with either black or gunmetal color.
Even if you kept the current grill, getting it all dipped should be cool.

Back in the '80's blacking out the chrome trim from the factory was popularly known as "the euro treatment."

Inspiration:

pres589 UberDork
May 4, 2015 11:07 a.m.

In reply to T.J.:

+1 to all of that. Especially the later Mustang front.

e46potenza Reader
May 4, 2015 12:30 p.m.
Tom_Spangler wrote:
e46potenza wrote: I can't say that I've ever seen one of those in person. Awesome project! Onward!

You must be a younger fella. Back in the 80s, these were quite common.

I think a 4-eyed Mustang front on it would look great. But not the later flush-headlight front. Doesn't go with the rest of the car, IMO.

Youngerish. Is 30 young? Plus my pops was more into celicas and rx7s in my youth

yupididit Reader
May 4, 2015 12:34 p.m.

There was one on CL with a 5.0 or 5.8 with an auto transmission and tons of suspension work. He didn't want much but it seemed like a cool sleeper.

Tom_Spangler SuperDork
May 4, 2015 1:16 p.m.
e46potenza wrote:
Tom_Spangler wrote:
e46potenza wrote: I can't say that I've ever seen one of those in person. Awesome project! Onward!

You must be a younger fella. Back in the 80s, these were quite common.

I think a 4-eyed Mustang front on it would look great. But not the later flush-headlight front. Doesn't go with the rest of the car, IMO.

Youngerish. Is 30 young? Plus my pops was more into celicas and rx7s in my youth

Yeah, I'd say that counts, since they had stopped making these by the time you were born. I have to say, they were... not highly thought of at the time. If it hadn't been for the Mustang connection, these Fox body LTDs and Fairmonts and such would be just another crappy old American car. I do dig them now, though. And I still want to do up a Fairmont wagon some day.

Vent windows FTW!!

chiodos Reader
May 4, 2015 1:20 p.m.

My cousin had an ltd with the same powertrain you got, such a turd motor but not a bad car at all I enjoyed driving it. Our plans were to do the Explorer engine, trans, and rear end. But tragically his wife ran it through a fence and was left in alabama when they moved

egnorant SuperDork
May 4, 2015 4:27 p.m.

Was built on a Fox platform and related to LTD and 80-82 Cougars so a lot of factory stuff could be swapped. Canada had a LTS package that was similar to the LTD LX that is sort of a police package.

http://vb.foureyedpride.com/forumdisplay.php?138-LTD-LX-LTD-Police-Pkg-and-Marquis-LTS

Here is a few posts from foureyedpride that might inspire you.

Bruce

e46potenza Reader
May 4, 2015 5:13 p.m.

Super coupe swap? Is that a thing in those?

Woody MegaDork
May 4, 2015 6:56 p.m.

Boy, am I familiar with these things...

My grandfather bought a 1984 Mercury Marquis Brougham brand new and my parents inherited it a year later when he died. Grandpa got the better end of that deal. It was just a dreadful, dreadful car. Easily the worst car in my family's history.

It was two tone blue, and loaded up with just about every option available. It had the 3.8 V6 automatic and I think it had electronic overdrive. Power everything and a digital dash. They had it about three years. It always looked brand but it never ran right. I remember transmission issues, overheating and the engine just dieing all the time. My uncle was a vice president at Ford at the time, and none of the pros that he brought in to look at it could make it work right. I'm not even sure whatever happened to the car.

That being said, I am enthused about your project and hope that you turn it into something awesome. I like the idea of an 83-86 Mustang front end swap (87+ wouldn't look right), but it would be a shame to have to repaint the car if the original paint is as good as it looks in that photo. If so, I'd be tempted to leave the front end alone and just hit all the chrome with gunmetal Elastiwrap. Definitely give the mechanicals the old heave-ho though.

Or, if you do want to get all swappy with it, how about a 2.3 turbo and an SVO front end?

RossD PowerDork
May 4, 2015 7:28 p.m.

I understand why people are saying nay to the 87-93 GT front end, but to me the whole rest of the car still looks all 80s-tastic anyways so it's kind of a wash. My wife might prefer one over the other so that's probably how that will end. Either way is fine by me, I might actually prefer the latter years.

If I did a 2.3 turbo, I'd have a hard time passing up the Zetec sitting in my garage. The weak point is the lack of turbo and the weak transmission I have for it. If I got a T-5, and some turbo parts it would be a way better option for the Zetec. The SVO front end might be hard to find.

Do Supercoupes still have a have a propensity to popping head gaskets? I'd think I rather go turbo 4 or V8 than supercharged V6... I'd have to have one fall into my lap and then into the car.

Will SuperDork
May 4, 2015 9:30 p.m.

I vote for replacing the engine and trans with a Supercoupe engine and 5-speed manual.

DeadSkunk UltraDork
May 5, 2015 7:00 a.m.

I'd like to see a Capri front clip and rear quarters grafted to one of these sedans, or better still, do it to a wagon.

pres589 UberDork
May 5, 2015 7:08 a.m.

In reply to DeadSkunk:

Oooh, that might be nice, with Capri box flares this could look really cool.

RossD PowerDork
May 5, 2015 7:11 a.m.

I do like the idea of keeping it a Mercury, not because I like Mercury but because it's more interesting keeping it all Mercury. Anyone have the front clip of a 80s Capri and is coming to Road America anytime soon?

May 5, 2015 8:05 a.m.

My family bought a couple of those brand new in 1984 and 1986. Mercury had this crazy affordable $9999 price for a fully loaded car, all you got to do was pick the color combination at the dealership. They only made that body style from '83 to '86 and they were a huge selling car. They weren't terrible cars, just Fox bodies without any performance parts. Remember, HP wasn't abundant back then. There were no 350HP minivans and a Honda with 100HP was considered sporty. Cars weighed a lot less, the SUV craze hadn't started and no vehicles had to survive all the crash tests that they require now. The original Taurus and Sable replaced them for 1986. We bought one of the first Taurus wagons made and it drove like a completely different animal-heavier steering, brakes with a lot less power assist and much better handling. While I appreciated the way the Taurus drove, I liked driving the Fox cars better. In fact, I bought a long list of Fox cars at that point (Capri, 2xMarquis, 2xCougars, Mustang GT).

The hot version of the LTD/ Marquis was the LTD LX sold by Ford. They were essentially the same as the cars that Bob Bondurant was using as instructional cars, except his had five speed manual transmissions. If I remember right, the factory LTD LX had a different EFI intake set up than the stock Mustangs because of the sloping hood.

Here's the link to them on Wiki

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