1992 Ford Mustang LX 5.0

Started on May 4 by robench

Ride Rating

6

My 2002 Tii is still a few years from being roadworthy and I was getting the itch to get back on the track. I found a deal on a Mustang that was far less than the price of the performance parts already installed and bought it on a lark. I flew to Texas with some spare parts/tools and drove it home to Seattle via the Southwest. Boy, there is a lot of desert in this country.

Since then I've completely gone through the suspension, interior and engine. It's been a lot of fun working on it, and it's payed off with a nice track car that is pretty fast and well sorted. I don't have too much into it (not counting all the labor) but It's a bit faster on track than an E46 M3, so it's pretty good bang for the buck. See below for the long list of modifications. I'm an engineer by training and it's an interesting challenge to get a nose heavy sedan with bad suspension and small fenderwells to handle well.

I use it for open track days, autocrossing, and even a little drag racing. It's a rough, noisy, god-awful road car, but it's comfortable enough to drive it to the track.

Modifications

Drivetrain:

The engine has a freshened stock bottom end with a reasonably well matched set of top-end parts. It should be good for about 360HP. A lot of the engine mods were already in place when I got the car, saving me a lot of money.

  • Be Cool Aluminum radiator
  • A/C removed with power steering relocator
  • Flex-A-Lite black magic fan
  • Underdrive pulleys
  • BBK cold air intake
  • C&L 76 mm mass air sensor
  • BBK 70 mm throttle body
  • Professional products 75 mm EGR spacer
  • TFS Track Heat intake manifold
  • Adjustable fuel pressure regulator
  • FMS 30 lb injectors
  • AFR 165 street legal heads
  • FMS E303 cam
  • Scorpion 1.6 roller rockers
  • Timing advanced to 15 degrees
  • BBK 1 5/8 long tube headers
  • BBK 2 1/2 inch Catalytic H-pipe
  • Flowmaster American Thunder 2 1/2 inch cat-back exhaust
  • Double roller timing chain
  • 190 lph fuel pump
  • Compact starter
  • FMS clutch
  • Pro5.0 shifter with custom handle for better reach
  • FMS aluminum driveshaft
  • 3.73 gears

Body:

Weight savings, safety equipment, and bracing

  • Battery relocated to rear seat area
  • Maximum Motorsports bolt in roll bar with diagonal brace
  • Rear seat removed
  • Performance Seats
  • Corbeau 4-point harnesses
  • Pedal spacer for heel/toe
  • Rolled fender lips
  • Partial sound deadener removal
  • Maximum Motorsports strut tower brace
  • Maximum Motorsports G-load brace (modified to clear headers)
  • Maximum Motorsports weld-in subframe connectors

Suspension/Brakes:

The front suspension has extended lower ball joints to keep the front roll center height reasonable despite being lowered. It also has a bump-steer kit to keep it pointed in the right direction.

The rear suspension has a panhard bar for lateral location and roll center control, relocated lower control arms for additional anti-squat, and adjustable spring perches for setting corner weights.

  • AGR steering rack
  • Urethane steering rack bushings
  • Bump steer kit
  • Steeda extended ball joints
  • Prothane offset front control arm bushings
  • KYB AGX shocks/struts
  • FMS 5300-b lowering springs
  • Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates
  • Urethane front sway bar bushings
  • Urethane front sway bar end-links
  • Braces welded to front control arm bushing area
  • Pro 3 adjustable rear lower control arms
  • FMS heavy duty rear upper control arms
  • Maximum Motorsports panhard bar
  • Vibration damper removed from rear axle
  • Home-made lower control arm relocation brackets to improve anti-squat
  • Bear racing 12 inch 4-lug brake kit (includes adjustable prop valve)
  • Hawk HP Plus brake pads
  • Factory proportioning valve plug (to disable)
  • 2003 Cobra 4-lug 17x9" wheels
  • Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 255/40ZR17 tires

What's next? I'm not sure. I really need to stop playing with this car and just use it. I should by spending my time on my other projects, but if I do change anything, it would be this:

  • Maximum Motorsports adjustable rear sway bar.
  • Modify the front K-frame to relocate the inner end of the control arms.
  • Coil over kit for the front.
  • Brake cooling ducts.
  • Megasquirt or Tweecer for ECU tuning
  • 347 bottom end for the engine.

Latest updates

Sept. 01

Heads Repaired, Car Running Again

I found a shortblock on Craig's list and sent the heads to Baker Cylinder Heads in Nevada for repairs . They were welded up and reshaped with all new valves, springs, retainers. 13 of the 16 valves were bent/destroyed in ...

July 15

Just adding another Track Day Photo

July 2009 with the BMW club at Portland International Raceway.

July 09

Carnage 4: More Random Damage

Chunks of aluminum from the disintegrating cylinder blew back into the intake system and went through the other cylinders causing dents in the "good" pistons and combustion chambers. It will be interesting to see what the crankcase looks like when ...

July 09

Carnage 3: Cylinder and Piston

You can see where the valve heads pounded a hole through the piston. That's where the oil in the intake system came from. Note the big cracks in the cylinder wall. I'm guessing that was caused by the piston getting ...

July 09

Carnage 2: Exhaust Valve

The exhaust valve head made it out the port and was stuck in the header.

July 09

Carnage 1: Head

Beaten to a pulp on the right rear cylinder. Intake valve head stuck in the port. Sparkplug stuck too. The head is a total loss.

July 08

Floated a valve on the downshift

Looks like I overran the rev-limiter on the 4-3 downshift and floated a valve. Yuck, this is going to be expensive to fix. I don't have the heads off yet, but note the damage to the valvetrain in the picture. ...

July 07

Wrong way to end a track day

Broke some sort of internal engine component during the last session of a PIR track day. When down shifting from 4th to 3rd at the end of the back straight, a strange rattling noise started and there was a huge ...

May 06

Weights

Just measured the weights: - 3200 lbs with 1/2 tank of gas - 55.8% F, 44.2 R weight distribution (with driver) - Corner weights even in front, 80lb off in the rear (with driver) Better distribution that I thought, but ...

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