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speedfreak76 New Reader
3/8/15 2:42 p.m.


My name is Peter, and I'm from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada! A friend and I have gotten together and purchased this fine specimen of a 1986 Ford Thunderbird 5.0 for $700 CAD, as our project for next year's $2016 Challenge! (AKA the Thunder-derp)

It currently has a 5.0L V8, making a whopping 140hp, linked to a failmatic AOD transmisson.

Stock weight is 3520lbs, with a 1/4 tank of fuel, and an extra full size spare in the trunk.

Plans include: -Bring the engine up to the 225hp that the stock Fox Body Mustangs got, using junkyard stock 5.0 HO parts. -Swap the Auto for a T5 Manual trans -Gut the interior and try to remove as much weight as possible -Swap in a tighter steering rack from a mustang -Improve the suspension (haven't pinned down specifics yet) -Fit wider tires, and sticky rubber. (which will be fun with a 4x108/4x4.25 bolt pattern...) -Maybe weld the diff if we can't find a cheap "traction-lock" LSD diff

I am usually an import guy (my other car is a 1998 Subaru STI which I imported from Japan), and this is my first V8, so it's something new to me... My friend/teammate has an 05 Mustang, and a 79 Pontiac Firebird, so he is a little more familiar with the ways of the domestic, but recently I have converted him as well, and he also has a 1997 Subaru STI Type-RA V-limited.

I do have a challenge question, if anyone can answer it for me... The $2016 budget is in USD, correct? as our dollar has tanked, in is worth about 26% less than the american one right now... So if in my proof of prices paid, I include current conversion rates from CAD to USD at the time of parts purchase, would this be acceptable?

Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/15 3:30 p.m.

Sweet start to a build! First of all, save those doors! In the US, we only got the faux vent windows in 83, and people restoring 83's will pay through the nose for those. Any 83-86 TBird or Cougar door will bolt right on.

On the suspension and brakes, the best thing to do is find a complete setup from a 94-98 Mustang GT. That will get you a 5x114.3, disc brake, 8.8" rear end with Trac-Loc and 3.27 or 3.55 gears of the correct width. The front spindles can be used along with the brakes for 11" 5x114.3 rotors, and swap the master cylinder as well. Since you're there, it's also the best place for the T5 transmission. Pedals might be hard, as only the 83-88 Turbo Coupe TBird (and 83-86 Cougar XR-7) got 3 pedals, and the Mustang ones don't work.

patgizz PowerDork
3/8/15 3:45 p.m.

leave duct tape on taillight please.

Stealthtercel Dork
3/8/15 4:36 p.m.

Bonus points if you replace the "élan" graphic with the photoshopped (or whatever) equivalent from a Lotus Elan. I mean, you'll be adding lightness, so it's legit, right?

jimbob_racing Dork
3/8/15 4:48 p.m.

Needs to have a Stroker Ace Nascar theme.

pres589 UltraDork
3/8/15 5:04 p.m.

Late Explorer 5.0 has the best factory heads and one of the best FI intake manifolds. One of those engines plus about any of the Ford performance "letter" cams and some way to tune the efi would be an easy way to generate ~300 hp.

paddylopez New Reader
3/8/15 5:59 p.m.

+1 for what pres589 said. The GT40 heads/manifold from the late 90's Explorer/mountaineer flow really well. Get rid of the EGR crap and the smog stuff while you're at it. I'm sure you can find some junk headers for cheap, plus a half decent cam (someone has to be selling a B303 out there somewhere) and you will be very pleased with the results.

Only problem with the GT40P heads is the crappy valve springs. Clicky for the bible on GT40 heads.

speedfreak76 New Reader
3/8/15 6:11 p.m.

Thanks for the tips! We will be sure to save the doors then!

We did find a 99 V6, that's wrecked at a local dealer, might be able to pick it up from scrap value for the transmission... Ideally we will try to find a 94-98 GT, which will have the good stuff like you say... What is the rules budget wise for buying a parts car, using parts off said parts car, and then selling the parts car (what's left, or other pieces of the parts car)?

I'm really liking the Stroker Ace idea... might have to steal that!

From what I've read, however, due to a crappy flat top piston design on the 86 motors, we can't run anything more than an E7 head, and stock mustang cam, without running into piston and valve clearance issues... unless we change or cut valve reliefs into the pistons... We had looked at using GT40 heads before, as they are plentiful.

dropstep Reader
3/8/15 7:22 p.m.

well for the price that was certainly a good buy as everything around here on the fox platform has went way up in price! e7 heads were good enough to get my capri to run a 12.96 n/a so being stuck with them wouldn't be the end of the world.

Wally MegaDork
3/8/15 7:54 p.m.

Does the chicken suit count towards the budget?

Gearheadotaku GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/8/15 7:59 p.m.
Wally wrote: Does the chicken suit count towards the budget?

Not if you drive in it.

speedfreak76 New Reader
3/11/15 7:18 p.m.

Managed to score these last night!

Front Eibach Springs for a Mustang, for $20! Now we need to find something to match it on the rear...

Also ordered an A/C delete, and have found a 5.0 HO mustang engine, that I made an offer of $400 on, still waiting to hear back... only downside, it's in Edmonton, which is 6 hours away... but for that price it would be worth it... that would also enable us to run the GT40P heads, and explorer intake manifold, of which there is one in our local junkyard. Also found a wrecked 99 V6 Mustang with a T5 manual behind a Ford dealer in town, that apparantly has been sitting there for over a year, and we are trying to see if we can pick it up for cheap.

The great interior gut begins tonight

dropstep Reader
3/11/15 7:35 p.m.

i just turned down a complete 5.0 ho dropout with harness and ecm for 300 bucks, but im guessing in canadian dollars 400 is close to the same thing

spin_out Reader
3/12/15 10:58 a.m.

If you are going to lighten the car a lot keep in mind that most of that weight will come off the rear end. That means firm springs up front and soft in the back. Our Mustang (with 215 hp) has roughly 450 lbs springs up front and 220 lbs in the back and dual front sway bars. We still need more front spring. I've seen guys running numbers like 900 and 175.

And just a friendly note, if this is your first GRM Challenge, keep it simple and show up with a running car that makes it through the weekend. :)

speedfreak76 New Reader
3/12/15 8:16 p.m.

In reply to dropstep:

With exchage it works out to be about that... I thought it was a good deal?

speedfreak76 New Reader
3/12/15 8:18 p.m.

In reply to spin_out:

Thanks for the tips, good to know on the spring rates. Plan is to keep it pretty simple, plus we won't be running until the 2016 event, so we have some time to shake down the car a bit before hand

speedfreak76 New Reader
3/12/15 8:28 p.m.

Did get the interior gutted last night though, much to my disgust at the level of human slime inside... I still can't get over how much it all weighed too... seats and carpet alone probably shaved at least 200 lbs off... Haven't weighed it again yet, but will once we get some seats back in it.

Did find some other interesting things during the archaeological dig though...

Tucked behind the headliner, appears to be a paint finish quality control sheet:

Names of the people who built the carpet back in late '85:

Apparantly this color of carpet was also used in 240Zs?

And, $8.17 found in the car! That's money back on the budget! Plus I already managed to sell the seats for $250.

Ambitious_But_Rubbish New Reader
3/12/15 11:35 p.m.

Cool project guys! Interested to see what you come up with! For me, what really set the Fox cars apart was the Mustang exhaust note. True duals with an H-pipe and some form of chambered muffler really set those off if you have room in the budget for it. TBH I'm not sure exhaust note is considered in any of the judging though.

5-lug conversion as previously suggested opens up a vast array of cool and reasonably priced wheels.

You should find no shortage of fat to trim from the personal luxury coupe along the lines of 'simplify and add lightness'.

Relocating the battery to the rear, though I'm sure I'm telling you something you already know, is a great way to transfer 50# from the front of the car to the rear. You might also be surprised at how much excess wiring is in that car, and what weight savings is accomplished by carefully alleviating the car of any and all wiring that isn't needed.

Scraping away all that sound deadening material is another good way to shave weight and neaten the appearance of a stripped interior, though admittedly it is a severe PITA. Pardon my ignorance of our Neighbor to the North, but if you guys have a Harbor Freight Tools store up there, you should get your hands on the heated scraping knife they sell. It's not expensive (<$10 US) and is essentially the lovechild of a woodburning pencil and putty knife. It is a HUGE help in removing that sound deadening tar paper mess.

speedfreak76 New Reader
3/30/15 6:22 p.m.

Bit of an update!

Haven't done a whole lot in terms of work on the car yet, but have been collecting parts...

First up, a Mustang 5.0 HO engine! Needs much cleaning though...

I'm told it had less than 200,000kms on it, it has an MSD Streetfire ignition on it, but other than that, AFAIK its 100% stock. We shelled out $600 CAD for it, but it came with a bunch of extras, including: Manual pedals from a Mustang, clutch cable, a MUCH better steering wheel than our elan one, tail light, clutch and flywheel, AND we are promised a Turbocoupe rear diff (8.8 with LSD and disc brakes), and perhaps upsized front brakes, quad shock setup, and a 15:1 mustang steering rack. We are planning on heading back up this weekend to hopefully score them. (They are a 6 hour drive North of us)

We also managed to pick up a T-5 5.0 bellhousing for $40:

And finally, a T-Bird Turbocoupe T-5 manual trans!! For $250 CAD. With a freshly rebuilt shifter.

I'm going to add up what we have spent so far, converted into USD, and we will see what our current total is at.

BlueInGreen44 HalfDork
3/30/15 7:06 p.m.

I like this thread a lot. I'll be watching

speedfreak76 New Reader
3/30/15 7:26 p.m.

Current total USD Budget spent is........ $1151.66!!!

SilverFleet UltraDork
3/30/15 8:41 p.m.

This build is getting me right in the feels. I had two 1987 Mercury Cougar XR7's in high school. They had the 150hp low output 5.0, and I always wanted to toss in a 5.0 H.O. in there. Looks like you are off to a great start!

NGTD UltraDork
3/30/15 9:03 p.m.

Make sure you keep records of the US conversion on the date you bought the parts (which it looks like you did). If oil starts going back up the CAD/USD exchange rate might turn around. This would be important documentation.

speedfreak76 New Reader
3/30/15 10:07 p.m.

In reply to NGTD:

Yup, I have a spreadsheet started with conversion rates as of the day of purchases.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/30/15 10:48 p.m.

That trans won't bolt up. 10 spline versus 28 spline, and IIRC the input shaft diameter at the pilot bushing is different. Good work so far though!

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