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SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy UberDork
1/8/13 3:59 p.m.

During my usual Craigslist hopping, I've noticed that early SN95 Mustangs are getting laughably cheap, particularly the 94-95 models. I don't know if it's the "don't fancy yours much" styling or that the Modular cars are easier to build, but I have seen a few decent 5-speed GTs around the $2k mark. That is a lot of car for the money! Is the Modular that much better of a motor? Where is the money best spent on making one handle? I've never had a V8 pony car and could be convinced to hop on the right deal as a track rat.

KATYB
KATYB Dork
1/8/13 3:59 p.m.

they are a modular v8 just pre pi heads.

Enyar
Enyar Reader
1/8/13 4:09 p.m.

Pre PI motors were garbage, stick with the 5.0.

BoneYard_Racing
BoneYard_Racing Reader
1/8/13 4:09 p.m.

^ 94-95 is a 5.0 H.O. same as 87-93 5.0

They are kind of a pain to work on and leave quite a bit to be desired in stock from. Around here they are one of the go to cars for thrillbillies which usually means NASCAR plate screwed to the bumper, the stench of menthols on the interior, and, very very questionable modifications

ransom
ransom SuperDork
1/8/13 4:11 p.m.

Aw, man, just when I thought I knew what the kids were talking about...

What's "pre PI" in the context of Ford modular engines?

pres589
pres589 SuperDork
1/8/13 4:12 p.m.

She's wrong, 94-95 are 302's like a Fox with a slightly updated ECU. Still OBD-1. I own one, a 95 GT conv. 96 came in with the 4.6 and pre-PI heads and they're dogs but they do sound nice. There's some other minute changes, I think the axle spline count went up to 31 in 96 or some nonsense. Anyway, they seem like a decent car, I really prefer the styling vs. the "New Edge" 99 to 04 cars.

There's so much info on the 'net about making these cars turn that it's almost an overload. I think the idea is to stiffen, then locate the rear axle and lower at once, then work on getting some caster & camber into the front with Cobra bits or aftermarket stuff. The nice thing is the Mach 1, Bullit and Cobra all donate parts easily down to cars like mine. The bad thing is that they're getting older and there can be gremlins to chase and previous owner junk to fix.

pres589
pres589 SuperDork
1/8/13 4:13 p.m.
ransom wrote: What's "pre PI" in the context of Ford modular engines?

It means "slow". PI = Performance Improved. Lots of top-end tweaks.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/8/13 4:33 p.m.

The answer is honestly brutally simple:

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Mustangs (owned an 86 GT) and fox bodies (more TBird TC's than I care to remember) and I fantasize at least once a month about picking up a 94-95 5.0 GT for an AX car, but every time I see one or drive one I'm reminded of how much better the F-Body was/is (also had one of those, a 95 V6 RS). The SLA/Torque-Arm suspension is world's better than the SN95's MacStrut/4-link, the LT1 (and LS1) is a better motor, etc, etc.

Damn if I still don't want one as a project though. In fact, I think another CL search is in order...

pres589
pres589 SuperDork
1/8/13 4:38 p.m.

In reply to Javelin:

If it was a track car only situation, a Camaro would own up on an SN95 of the same years. You hit all points pretty well, but I like that the doors on an SN95 aren't nearly so long and heavy as the Camaro, and I like the seating position in the Mustang a lot more. Back seat is a bit more livable too, I think, trunk space is kind of poor with either so that's a wash.

I also think the Mustang is easier to work on, without as much heart ache changing rear plugs and all that jazz. Windshield actually in a realistic position vs the motor, etc.

alex
alex UltraDork
1/8/13 5:02 p.m.

The nomenclature surrounding Mustang style and generation changes befuddles me. Are the "new edge" Mustangs also SN95? Is the difference primarily stylistic, or are they substantially dissimilar cars?

Caleb
Caleb Reader
1/8/13 5:03 p.m.

We own a 95gt and my wife DD, its a great car we've had it for almost 10 years now.

They make great track cars, espeically the 94-98 cobras but i've thrown ours GT around VIR more then once. There are a few things to watch out for though. Avoid the 94-95 Automatics they are horrible plan and simple,96-98 GT's are dogs from the factory and have many issues like cracking intake manifolds. I've raced against several stock 4.6 cars and the 5.0 gets them everytime. The stock gt brakes are another weak point because of the weight.

There are lots of factory upgrades that can be had for cheap that vastly upgrade the car, for example explorer gt40 heads and intake manifold and a set of 1.7 rockers or a cam will net you around 300 at the motor for a few hundred bucks. Bilsteins fronts off a 03-04 cobra can be had for cheap, bullit or mach1 springs are cheap and effective. You get the idea you just have to research

Caleb
Caleb Reader
1/8/13 5:06 p.m.

The F-body is better out of the box but as soon as you start upgrading things the mustang has my vote because it has MASSIVE aftermarket support for road race style suspension upgrades unlike the f-body where your limited to mostly drag setups

Ranger50
Ranger50 UberDork
1/8/13 5:26 p.m.
alex wrote: The nomenclature surrounding Mustang style and generation changes befuddles me. Are the "new edge" Mustangs also SN95? Is the difference primarily stylistic, or are they substantially dissimilar cars?

Yes and no. New Edge cars are really named Fox-4's, but since they share almost the exact same chassis, they are lumped into the previous generation.

Most of the changes are styling related, but you then get into the technical things like the rear axle length grew even longer then the SN cars, transmission crossmember changed yet again, I think the front control arms changed length, etc....

turboswede
turboswede PowerDork
1/8/13 5:28 p.m.
Caleb wrote: The F-body is better out of the box but as soon as you start upgrading things the mustang has my vote because it has MASSIVE aftermarket support for road race style suspension upgrades unlike the f-body where your limited to mostly drag setups

Hint: because it needs all the help it can get. It is a throw-back from the 60's. It is riding a scooter, its a ton of fun until your friends see you doing it....

To me, they are only useful as FFV donors. Period.

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy UberDork
1/8/13 5:31 p.m.
Javelin wrote: The answer is honestly brutally simple: Now, don't get me wrong. I love Mustangs (owned an 86 GT) and fox bodies (more TBird TC's than I care to remember) and I fantasize at least once a month about picking up a 94-95 5.0 GT for an AX car, but every time I see one or drive one I'm reminded of how much better the F-Body was/is (also had one of those, a 95 V6 RS). The SLA/Torque-Arm suspension is world's better than the SN95's MacStrut/4-link, the LT1 (and LS1) is a better motor, etc, etc. Damn if I still don't want one as a project though. In fact, I think another CL search is in order...

My main problem with the F-body is the absolutely ghastly interior design (seats are TERRIBLE) as well as the aforementioned "Camaro door syndrome" and maintenance difficulties. They also sell for 2-3x the 5.0 94-95 Mustangs in my area, which is why they aren't really on my radar.

There are currently five 94-95 Mustang GT 5-speeds for $3k or less on the metro Craigslists, two being under $2k. I can only find auto F-bodies in that range.

Will
Will Dork
1/8/13 5:40 p.m.
Caleb wrote: The F-body is better out of the box but as soon as you start upgrading things the mustang has my vote because it has MASSIVE aftermarket support for road race style suspension upgrades unlike the f-body where your limited to mostly drag setups

The SN95 undoubtedly has more options than the F-body, but I don't think it has better options. There are very good options for autocrossing and road racing fourth-gen F-bodies (better torque arms, Watts links, etc.). And the LS1 destroys any naturally-aspirated version of the mod motor you can name.

I'm biased as can be--I autocross a 99 Camaro in ESP--but to me the Camaro beats the Mustang on handling and drivetrain. The Mustang beats the Camaro on comfort, ergonomics, and generally being something to live with and drive every day.

For a DD, I'd pick a 94-95 5.0. For a racecar, I'll stick with my Camaro.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/8/13 5:44 p.m.

In reply to Caleb:

An entire industry disagrees with you. Sam Strano of SCCA autocross fame built his business on F-Body road race/AX suspensions. Not to mention the factory 1LE cars, SLP, and many, many others.

SEADave
SEADave New Reader
1/8/13 6:41 p.m.

The only car I ever bought new was a 95 Mustang GTS. It was pretty fun at the time and it is hard to not notice that decent 5.0's are going for challenge money. Give me one in that nice blue (not the turquoise) with black interior and a 5-speed, please.

A few years after the Mustang, I had a used 4th gen Z28 pretty much identical to the one pictured above. While it was a much better muscle car, I wouldn't say it was a better car overall, if you know what I mean.

You can't touch a decent 6-speed LT1 F-body for less than $4k around here. The fact that the transmission alone is worth $1000+ keeps the bottom from falling out on those.

Vigo
Vigo UltraDork
1/8/13 6:43 p.m.
Why isn't SN95 the answer more often?

Ride, handling, interior, acceleration, mod motors, etc etc.

I would prefer a 5.0 (actually worked on a nice repainted 94 5.0/5spd my boss owns today) but having said that, it's not like a it's a great car. The 94-99 mustangs, even with the stick, even the 94-95 5.0, are way slower than you would think they are from the little-car-big-motor thing. They can be modded up to any level of performance (just bring dollars, just as anything else) but honestly driving a stock 5.0/5spd sn95 is just not that great. They are good if you like cheap ponycars with v8 sounds. They are bad if you expect to get a high performance vehicle for $2000.

To be honest, a stock 5.0/5spd sn95 is closer in acceleration to a 3.8/5spd camaro than to a 5.7/6spd camaro. That's been my experience. Im sure others will disagree. Also, as an aside, i really like 3.8/5spd camaros compared to most other f-bodies.. Its probably the only one i would care to own unless i got an already-restored 70 1/2 for next to nothing.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UberDork
1/8/13 7:00 p.m.

94/95 Gt or Cobra = ford 5.0 (302ci)

This motor spawned an industry. You have more cylinder head options than many cars have oil filter options. It isnt hard to build one.

96-98 GT = 4.6 SOHC (pre-PI heads)

Anemic. Lowest potential of all of them 215hp stock

96-98 Cobra = 4.6 DOHC (pre PI heads)

305 stock HP, decent motor in stock form. Supercharge to 450hp, but it costs $3-4k in new parts.

99-04 GT = 4.6 SOHC with PI heads

IIRC 265hp? decent platform.

Ergo is a love it or hate it thing... I personally love it and bad ergo is what kills camaros for me. The chassis dates back to a 1978 Fairmont. There are more bandaids than you can shake a stick at. The market is so flooded that there are parts that are UNSAFE, so caveat emptor. The mustangs do tend to be a bit lighter than the f-bodies.

Do not take the chassis comments to mean that they are hopeless or unfun. These cars can be made MASSIVELY fast. They swallow a lot of rubber. 275/40/17 tires fit no problem. With some work, 315's on all 4 corners.

Yes, they are a bit more expensive to run than other things. Heavier cars, bigger tires, and so on.. Look at the prices, its not too bad, but worth thinking about.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UberDork
1/8/13 7:12 p.m.

time for a photodump

BoostedBrandon
BoostedBrandon Dork
1/8/13 7:45 p.m.

Rumor has it that you can swap the PI heads onto an early mod motor and get 12:1 compression. I read that in Car Craft I think it was eons ago.

Not that 12:1 compression will do you any damn good in a stock motor, but it's worth looking into.

My sister has a Tweety bird yellow 2001 I think V6 Mustang that has like 215K miles on it. It uses oil, is slow as molasses and the windows won't roll up or down on their own, but the damn thing just won't die.

I dig the SN95 cars, they make excellent platforms. Just like anything, they can be upgraded to tickle any fancy. They make great drag cars, they can go round corners, they make good daily drivers. Ford built a million of em, so they can be found cheap and with the right exhaust, both the 5.0 and the 4.6 sound great.

If some people love em, others will hate them. Just like any other car.

Ranger50
Ranger50 UberDork
1/8/13 7:58 p.m.
BoostedBrandon wrote: Rumor has it that you can swap the PI heads onto an early mod motor and get 12:1 compression. I read that in Car Craft I think it was eons ago. Not that 12:1 compression will do you any damn good in a stock motor, but it's worth looking into. My sister has a Tweety bird yellow 2001 I think V6 Mustang that has like 215K miles on it. It uses oil, is slow as molasses and the windows won't roll up or down on their own, but the damn thing just won't die. I dig the SN95 cars, they make excellent platforms. Just like anything, they can be upgraded to tickle any fancy. They make great drag cars, they can go round corners, they make good daily drivers. Ford built a million of em, so they can be found cheap and with the right exhaust, both the 5.0 and the 4.6 sound great. If some people love em, others will hate them. Just like any other car.

The PI head swap nets 10.5:1 compression on the non-PI block due to true flat top pistons vs the dished in PI short blocks, which only are 9:1.

The SN is a better car to a Fox except in weight. So, you have to choose the class you race VERY carefully. You can get down to within about 150# of a tincan Fox with a SN, but no lighter unless you can afford real CF bodywork.

Will
Will Dork
1/8/13 8:01 p.m.
BoostedBrandon wrote: Rumor has it that you can swap the PI heads onto an early mod motor and get 12:1 compression. I read that in Car Craft I think it was eons ago.

I think it's more like 10.4:1. I used to be into 2V mod motors, but then I gave up on them. If you really want to put in the work, they can be potent--I know a guy who built one to over 600 RWHP in a 97 T-Bird, but there are better choices that are cheaper.

moparman76_69
moparman76_69 HalfDork
1/8/13 8:41 p.m.

Why?

Because you're not this guy...

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