SnowMongoose Reader
Dec. 23, 2012 12:38 a.m.

Taking a look at a Mustang owned by a buddy of mine on Monday... 86, 5.0, 5-speed... T-tops.

About once a month I search local CL specifically for T-tops, so he's got my interest right there.

Anything in particular I should look for? I've helped this guy out ($$) in the past, so am confident both that he'll give me a good deal and that he won't screw me over (if nothing else, he'd be willing to help me fix anything that might go wrong)

Car has has been hooded since these pictures have been taken, ditto for dash, interior is allegedly all there, even if not in it's proper place.

Never had a fun domestic, and I've got the Miata for 'nimble handling,' so a mullet machine like this sounds pretty fun. Thinking about light mods... little bit of handling, some matching paint, nothing huge.

SnowMongoose Reader
Dec. 23, 2012 12:40 a.m.

Oh yeah, that RX7 in the background is right up the GRM alley...
caged, swapped turbo 5.0...
my buddy would fit in here

dj06482 Dork
Dec. 23, 2012 6:52 a.m.

86 was the first year of EFI, and the heads don't flow as well as the '87-93 models. Brakes are also smaller, and the suspension is slightly different than the later models, although it will be easy to install the later parts as upgrades. The later t5 transmission was an improvement, but that's an easy swap. 1986 was the last year of the four-eye headlights, which has a pretty large following. The T-tops were a rare option, so if you like them, that's a big plus for this car.

Check for rust everywhere, check for previous body damage, check the torque boxes for tears, and check where the seats mount to the pan. For me, I'd prefer a later 5.0, and ones with mass air fuel injection (more forgiving to modifications). However, parts are cheap if you have the time and want to upgrade.

Chassis mods will help the most, a set of full length subframe connectors will make a huge difference in chassis stiffness. Then you can start working on the suspension.

Here are some details on the year by year changes:

If you want a t-top four eye, this one looks pretty decent!

Woody MegaDork
Dec. 23, 2012 8:19 a.m.

When did they stop making them with T Tops?

aussiesmg UltimaDork
Dec. 23, 2012 8:36 a.m.

Here's my 86 build, there is a lot you can do inexpensively.

Good forums for info, but most is available here

The_Jed Dork
Dec. 23, 2012 8:58 a.m.

Unless he's upgraded to mass air, I wouldn't expect a decent idle or part throttle driveability.

Yeah, like dj06482 said, the E6 heads suck. The valves are tiny and shrouded and the ports on the intake are itty bitty too.

The spindles are thicker than the '87 and up 5.0 versions. Oddly enough the spindles and front brakes are the same as the '87 and up 2.3 LX; 10" rotors .

The pistons are true flat tops with slightly higher compression than the '87 and up 5.0 (9.2:1 vs 9.0:1 ), but due to the lack of valve reliefs you can't run a bigger cam or upgrade the heads without flycutting the pistons. I think E7's and GT40P's will fit with no mods...but don't quote me on that.

My first 5.0 was an '86 GT with manual windows, locks and no A/C. Cheap, stupid fun!

If you get it, would you want to get rid of one of those steering wheels? I could use one for the Stincoln.

SnowMongoose Reader
Dec. 23, 2012 9:08 a.m.

Jed, If I end up with a spare wheel, certainly.
Spoke with him again, he mentioned that there were some aftermarket parts involved, including a mass air setup.

Aussie, been over your thread a couple times, thanks for the info!

aussiesmg UltimaDork
Dec. 23, 2012 9:11 a.m.

NP take note of the cracked floors under the seats, its not a deal breaker but definitely a consideration, you will need frame rail connecters, welded are better

Oh and I have parts, although I have traded a lot

dj06482 Dork
Dec. 23, 2012 7:27 p.m.

The t-top option ended in early 1988. Very few 1988s had t-tops...

MichaelYount New Reader
Dec. 24, 2012 7:32 a.m.

To add to everything above, the '86 also had flat top pistons with NO VALVE RELIEFS. The valves were recessed deeper into the '86 heads to achieve the needed clearance. So when you go to replace the heads and cam --- you'll find piston to valve clearance is often a problem.

The easy fix for most is to pick up a used Explorer/Mountaineer motor. You get the GT40 or 40P heads and a much better intake as part of the bargain. Swap the '86 cam into the SUV block and you have something real close to the motor that came in the 93-95 Cobras.

Caleb Reader
Dec. 24, 2012 12:59 p.m.

i would do low buck rebuild of the 302, hone the block,swap in set of used factory forged pistons, change the bearings and find a set of gt40 or gt40p heads (on the P heads you will need a set of valve springs because the stockers will bearly handle a stock gt cam Trick flow sells upgrades for 300$) and a decent cam and you can make 280 wheel pretty easy.

Also i'm not a fan of the factory MAP cars so i would go megasquirt or convert to a carb setup

TeamEvil Reader
Dec. 26, 2012 5:06 p.m.

I don't see the reason for the apprehension.

It's a t-top V8 Mustang and it's coming from a friend whom you seem to trust. Doubt that there's anything in particular to look for that he hasn't already told you about.

Why even post, you know?

Just buy it and enjoy the crap out of it ! ! !

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