RossD SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 1:25 p.m.

I have a problem. I have fun, stock '91 Miata. I use it for nice weather commuting and back road trips...

Then I notice this: http://madison.craigslist.org/cto/2605906391.html

Now, I could buy this car with cash, all well and good, but I'd have no extra garage space for it; thats where the Miata currently lives.

The thought of a sleeper 4 door 'Mustang' is really intriguing to me. But if I were to buy it, the miata would be out the door. That alone would fund a lot of neat mustang parts to start bolting on the LTD.

I've had my eye on Fox body Mustangs for a while now and even test drove a '88 GT before buying the Miata.

Things that make this interesting for me:

  • Swapping in a 5.0 and a T-5 (or maybe a Zetec)
  • Cheap parts are plentiful on CL
  • Miata parts a little bit more expensive and rarely show up on CL in Wisconsin (at least compared to Mustangs )
  • Four doors, rwd, possible V8, manual trans
  • All the swapability of Fox body suspensions, engines, .... and what not

What does GRM say? think? Who's messed with 4 door Fox bodies? any thoughts?

About the ad: Does any one know what engine he's talking about? Inline 6? I haven't heard about certain ford engines popping (a) head gasket(s)...

MadScientistMatt SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 1:31 p.m.

Some thoughts on this one:

  1. Heater cores on Fox bodies are a royal pain to replace.

  2. If the singular head gasket is not a typo, it's either a 200 cubic inch inline six or a 2.3 four. The 200 is somewhat bad news as a V8 swap needs a different K-member; the inline six was the only Fox body not to use the same K-member.

jrw1621 SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 1:40 p.m.
original ad said: what needs to be done: heater core cruise control a plastic piece brook when fixing head gaskets valve cover bolts (only one) header bolts not needed only need them if you want a quieter car (its not that loud)

My guess is that one valve cover bolt means that they snapped on off fixing the HG. Same with the header bolt.

I was going to write similar to what Matt put above.
Seems far from a daily driver and the $800 is about right for a car that looks much better than it runs.

dyintorace SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 1:40 p.m.

Then there is this option:

V8 swapped Fairmont

jimbbski Reader
Oct. 19, 2011 1:46 p.m.

Even if it is an I6 ,swaping the "K" member is not hard and has some advantages as well. You can do some mods to it before installing it. http://www.miracerros.com/mustang/t_suspension.htm There is a book that covers a number of mods that can be done to a stock K member, such as moving the LCA mounts inboard and upward, moving the engine rearward and the K member forward in relation to each other and the car itself. I changed the F/R weight ratio on my V8 Mustang by 3% with just this mod! Link to book. http://www.amazon.com/Mustang-Performance-Handbook-William-Mathis/dp/1557882029

jrw1621 SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 1:46 p.m.

Of course, if you want me to fan the flames of "what could be" there is this:
Taken from this previous discussion:
http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/200x-classifieds/1985-ford-ltd-lx-50l-ho-750/4326/page1/

ClemSparks SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 1:48 p.m.

The heater core fix is a remove-the-dashboard affair. That's a job, but not too bad (says the guy who last did it like 16 years ago...).

IMO, that's far from an $800 car.

IMO, the seller is ignorant for claiming "no rust." There is no such thing as a rust free foxbody outside of the most arid of climates.

$300, and I'd grab it. But it will NOT be a worthy replacement for a miata. Find a better example.

mad_machine SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 1:49 p.m.

My parents had an 84 Mercury Marquis (the sister to that car) it did NOT have an I6. Those cars came with a V6

Conquest351 HalfDork
Oct. 19, 2011 1:49 p.m.

My buddy Nick has a 78 Fairmont Wagon. Had a 302 and C4 trans. Pulled it and swapped the drivetrain and full suspension from his SVO track car with 2004 Cobra IRS and full Maximum Motorsports suspension. It's a beast. I told him it needs 2 main roll bar hoops and 4 race seats. We could all drive around with race helmets on and pull up to stop lights and all jump out and do tire rotations with electric impacts at the light. I think it'd be great. He... Not so much.

mad_machine SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 1:59 p.m.

you would need airjacks for that... and it would be a riot to see

ransom HalfDork
Oct. 19, 2011 2:14 p.m.

My '84 Marquis also had a V6.

I was younger and dumber then, and had a smaller toolbox, but I never did manage to remove the #1 spark plug. Some combination of A/C bracketry and such meant that for the months I owned that car, I was never able to get a socket on there and turn it at the same time...

I really liked the way that thing drove pretty well, though. I think it'd be really fun to do another Marquis/LTD or Fairmont, very much along your outline.

HunterJP Reader
Oct. 19, 2011 2:22 p.m.
dyintorace wrote: Then there is this option: V8 swapped Fairmont

Ahhh, Jim's car. He also had the 10 second Silverado 4X4. He is currently working on a 60's Nova wagon. LSX... boost... he usual. LOL.

Conquest351 HalfDork
Oct. 19, 2011 2:22 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: you would need airjacks for that... and it would be a riot to see

Nah, just those quick jacks would work. Yeah, with the full subframes and cage it should come right up. I'm sure we COULD make airjacks for it though...

Ranger50 Dork
Oct. 19, 2011 2:34 p.m.

In the LTD2's, it was normally a 3.8 v6 after 83. Just like the Fairmonts, almost everthing Fox body applies.

What, no wagon????

stuart in mn SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 2:37 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: My parents had an 84 Mercury Marquis (the sister to that car) it did NOT have an I6. Those cars came with a V6

It depended on the year the car was built, a friend of mine bought a Fairmont brand new with a I-6 in it.

RossD SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 2:53 p.m.

Wiki says there was an I6 but I found another site that only shows V6s with either 3 or 4 speed autos and the 2.3 Lima w/ auto.

I haven't even contacted the seller yet. I'm just trying to bounce ideas around off of you guys, since most of my friends don't have the GRM mindset.

Maybe I can see if I can store the Miata at my parents place or maybe get a car cover and leave it in my driveway (no HOA here!) Do Miatas rust if leave them covered outside?

Part of the fun with this car would be that a 'friend' of mine is big into fox body Mustangs and probably would be a good source for cast off parts and general enthusiasim; which is lacking with my Miata.

With regards to the price, I was thinking $500 if it was 'rust free' and was able to make the 100 miles back home.

ReverendDexter SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 3:10 p.m.

The heater core on the '86 and earlier is SIGNIFICANTLY easier than the heater core on '87s and later.

I'm pretty sure that the only Mustang drivetrain/suspensoin part that won't swap into that car would be the driveshaft, and you wouldn't be able to use an off-the-shelf torque arm or subframe connectors.. That being said, I'm sure that MaxMo or Griggs would be willing to talk about it if you're not able to fab 'em up yourself per a modified version of what's in the Mathis book.

And, personally, I wouldn't go Zetec. I can't think of any RWD applications of that motor, whereas swap info and parts are everywhere to put either a Windsor, modular, or LSx into a fox.

RossD SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 4:07 p.m.

My dad is a pretty good fabricator and I do have a welder (I don't really have any fab skills, yet...) The zetec is a popular engine for rwd cars in Europe and in Lotus Sevens. I even have a zetec and a couple of transmissions that would work for it. If I were to put a Zetec in there, it would probably be boosted.

Hmmm...a zetec to be different or ...a V8 for power and glory....

Conquest351 HalfDork
Oct. 19, 2011 4:44 p.m.

Wait a few months and put in a 2.0L EcoBoost in there when it comes out. Or pull a 3.5L Ecoboost from a wrecked F150. Or new 5.0. Whatever...

btp76 Reader
Oct. 19, 2011 5:11 p.m.

I've figured out a few things along the way...

Woody SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 5:34 p.m.

My father had an '84 Marquis Brougham. It sucked more than any car that had ever sucked before.

nicksta43 Reader
Oct. 19, 2011 5:39 p.m.

Why for the love of all thats holy would you make a badass dyno vid and not put up any numbers ???

mad_machine SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 6:02 p.m.
stuart in mn wrote:
mad_machine wrote: My parents had an 84 Mercury Marquis (the sister to that car) it did NOT have an I6. Those cars came with a V6

It depended on the year the car was built, a friend of mine bought a Fairmont brand new with a I-6 in it.

that's a fairmont. The Marquis and LTDs had V6s.

As for the comment about the Brougm sucking? The one my parents had never gave anybody any trouble, It was quite appliance like in it's reliability and definatly a step up from the aspen wagon they traded in on it.

Never a road burner.. but that was not it's design. It was just a mid-sized midlevel semi luxury car

griffin729 HalfDork
Oct. 19, 2011 6:11 p.m.

When I was younger my parents had the use of a DoD surplus Air Force SP car '84 LTD with all the Mustang goodies. I only ever got to ride in the backseat, but it was a fun ride.

integraguy SuperDork
Oct. 19, 2011 6:45 p.m.

My parents also owned an '84 Marquis, also a V6. If these had an inline 6 it was gone by 1982.

The car my parents had could best be described as pleasant. This Marquis replaced a '79 Zephyr with a V8 and while they are somewhat the same car, the Zephyr was the better driving car. Unfortunately, the Marquis, even from day 1 was the better assembled car. The Zephyr's interior looked like it had been put together by folks anxious to get out of the plant in the next 10-15 minutes...no matter what it took. Fairmonts and Zephyrs all seem to suffer from "casually" installed interiors...IMHO.

BTW, these cars don't rust all that much when taken care of. Mustangs and Capris? Yeah, they rust, but the only bad rusters among the Fox sedans I've ever seen are the wagons on the "tailgate" / rear door.

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