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Post Info TOPIC: 1983 Ford Mustang GT Carb to Fuel injection conversion + Automatic to Manual Trans conversion.


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1983 Ford Mustang GT Carb to Fuel injection conversion + Automatic to Manual Trans conversion.


Well every year I take on a big project in the performance arts as I like to call it...

This year? A 1983 Ford Mustang GT with T-Tops... Vehicle came in and not much to brag about in terms of power. I told the customer he needed to turn his Mustang into a man-rod and get rid of that per-historic Carb and Automatic Transmission and convert over to a manual 5 speed with Port Fuel injection.

Well wouldn't you know a good deal was found on a 1991 Mustang LX PFI 5.0 Notchback with manual transmission. What's even better is this thing had the Cobra intake and some nice performance goodies to boot! Oh, did I mention that I am also doing an early to late model interior conversion too!? LOL! Why the hell not, I'm already in knee deep!

The project is well on it's way as I didn't have much time to post photos or make a thread... You know, something about stripping two cars to make one takes up a little time. All things considered this project really takes me back to the days when I had my 5.0 Mustang. Nothing like a little nistalga!

Anyway, check it out! I'm about half way thru the project now so I guess we can all watch it unfold.

^^ So here is a little video of the engine we pulled from the vehicle. Not bad, had a good sound due to the off road exhaust that were dumped before the axle but it really was somewhat of snail in terms of power. Good cruiser, just not what one would expect from a Mustang. Mate that to an AOD trans and your not going to be having much fun. You can tell it's a carb as I am stabbing the hell out of it in order to get it to idle down. That won't be an issue soon enough.

I know the video was a bit dark because my camera does not have a light for videos but this is the last known photo of this vehicle with the old engine. Not bad looking, but trust me... It looks meaner than it was.

Notice the butcher work that was done by the past mechanic! Look at that throttle cable? Can anyone say "Run Away Mustang" waiting to happen? This was one un-happy pony!

Here she is, in all her glory; much happier the cancer has been removed.

This is the last known photo of the early generation interior installed in this vehicle. While some people dig the old school interiors they really did leave something to be desired and lets face it, an 85 MPH speedo in a Mustang should be considered a crime! Soon she will have a 140 MPH speedo and some high back seats.

Doh! C-ya later old school gator!

Thanks to my excellent photo skills and mad craigslist listings the customer was able to re-coupe most all of his money spent on the donor car!

This engine will make a good home to something... Perhaps a Pinto?



-- Edited by SELLC on Monday 18th of March 2013 03:28:55 AM

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^^ Here is the donor car, leaking headers choked off into some home brew 2 1/4 compression bent to hell exhaust system. This was the first time this engine had run in quite some time as the 91 notch that it lived in was pretty much a rust bucket that had been smashed in the front end. Damn shame too as it was the exact same year and color combo as my Mustang back in the day. It hurt bad to cut this one down, but there was no saving it.... Well except for the firewall that I cut out and saved to ensure I had a pipe dream to quench my thrust. LOL Maybe one day, and it sure as hell takes up a lot less room now.

Moving right along....

Here is the donor engine in all it's glory as it was towed to me smashed in the front begging for a new body.

Here is the donor car, much like mine back in the day less all the rust and damage.

Look how tweeked that sucker is! Someone did not know how to handle this pony!

Almost done cutting and chopping! But one last cut left!

I don't know what got into me... The old saying "If I can't have her NO ONE WILL" LOL but look at that rust!

And that's the end of that car, save for the firewall with a clean vin tag attached.. It may or may not live to see another day but for now at least I can feel like I got something brewing. LOL

WHAT A MESS! Time to clean up!

Time to inspect the engine!

Things are looking up! Think I had 100 pounds of rust on the floor!

Now it's time for the magic! Stay Tuned!



-- Edited by SELLC on Monday 18th of March 2013 03:29:53 AM

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FAR BEYOND DRIVEN

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That's a hell of a project there! What kind of cash is the customer going to have to shell out for this if you don't mind me asking?

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PowerStroker wrote:

That's a hell of a project there! What kind of cash is the customer going to have to shell out for this if you don't mind me asking?


Yes, it is a rather large project... Still it's a much smaller job than last years Z28 project. Given my savings in overhead I usually pass that on to my customers so it's not as bad as one might think. I been doing these 5.0 conversions since I was 19 so it's really just a matter of chipping away at it. I did have some help cutting the green car and pulling the engine on the gray one..... But.....

Recently I had to fire my helper, well actually he was a friend more than a helper as we would trade labor for labor. The only problem is whenever he would come in to help me he would joke around and waste time. He also never put away his tools or cleaned up which to me is a sign of a slob. You see my friend/helper has a Mustang too and recently I helped him install a strut on his vehicle (and countless other favors) when he smashed into a curb. When he needed me I didn't fuck around and got him back on the road yet when it come time to buckle down and get working for me it was always a bunch of joking around as if he was doing me a favor. I hate when I have to ride someone because they cant focus. I don't think he realizes I was training him but I guess he is more than happy changing oil for a living.. Guess that's what he will be doing for the rest of his life. I don't think he realizes I was giving him a free education in auto repair but that's not my problem anymore... Why don't you tell him what it cost to goto school to learn the trade PowerStroker.

Anyway, now that I got that rant off my chest let's get back to the project at hand... This conversion is basiclly a straight up swap. As of now (dispite my suggestions otherwise) this is just a big swapping of parts; meaning there is nothing being done to the internals of the engine outside of a new oil pan and timing chain. I am just swapping out components and making the new and existing stuff look good. As always I can't comment on the dollar amount because that's no ones business but the customers. I can say it's a hell of a lot less than a new Mustang but if you factor in all the parts he has purchased and labor it's not cheap by any means.

Not many people realize the magnitude of doing a carb to PFI swap, as the complete harness front to back, fuel system and many other things needs to be swapped. This is why I insisted on a donor car. Also important to mention is the fact that early Mustangs had different mounting tabs for the dash, which is another reason I cut the core out of the donor. The automatic to manual conversion pretty much calls for removal of the dash to install the clutch pedal and quadrant so it all kind of works together anyway, but it is a lot of work. Still there is nothing more satisfying then seeing it all complete and watching it come together. As always it takes just as much dedication from the customer as it does the mechanic so I try an be carefull when I take these kinds of jobs in. I can't tell you how many calls a month I get from customers asking to have this kind of work done but you can almost tell instantly when a customer isn't ready for this sort of thing. Not only do they have to be ready $$$ wise but there is a certain coolness that must be present, aalthough I haven't met a customer yet (myself included) that doesn't get ant's in their pants once the paint fly's and the project nears completion.

I took this job in early December 2012, but I really didn't even get it into the garage until mid January 2013. So far given the fact I do a fair amount of "regular" service and repair (the bread and butter) I think we are coming along nice. I wanted to have this project completed by now, but cutting down the donor and a few other surprises may cause it to draw out into mid to late April, but we will see.



-- Edited by SELLC on Monday 18th of March 2013 01:27:18 PM

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Well getting back into the groove I have started to work with the donor engine. As stated before the donor engine will be getting a freshing up (paint), a new oil pan, oil pump, roller timing chain, intake manifold gasket, freeze plugs and a rear main seal.

Here you can see the amount of barnicle I am having to work with, guess I got my work cut out for me.

Here you can see I am working at getting this barnicle under control. Lots of grinding and scraping. Next step after this is a good powerwashing to strip off most of the oil and loose rust chuncks while the engine is still sealed up.

Here the engine is fresh out of the power wash phase.

This is as good as it's going to get. Outside of a complete overhaul where the block is tanked and baked this is about as good as it gets.

Now it's time to pop off the intake

And the timing cover. Keep in mind this engine is getting a fresh roller chain, as the one that's on there now is not native to the 5.0 HO engine.

Here I have appiled a rust inhibitor which will also act as a primer.

At first it turns purple as it reacts with the rust, then black when it is dry.

Here is the first coat, which by the way got baked on with a 55,000 BTU heater.

Here it is.. All painted and ready to install the new parts.

Here is my new helper in training, which might I add works much harder than the last guy. Of course this is my son who has helped on a great many projects... Well to be honest he has helped in just about every single one, but now he's getting much more proficiant.



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Moving right along.

First step was to lay some nice fresh gloss black enamel on that dull engine bay.

Next step, install new pickup and pump.

New dual roller timing chain and front cover gasket.

Spring break does not mean he's on vacation! LOL!

New oil pan and gasket.

New water pump gaskets.

Brand new spacer plate from Fords, Clutch, Pressure plate and new hardware for the T-5. No more automatic!

Time to set the engine in!

Looking more and more like a PFI 5.0!



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Things have been progressing well, and I must admit working with a 5.0 Mustang is definatly my most favorite car to work on. To me Ford's really nailed it with the 5.0 Mustangs of 1988-1993. With a brand new Mustang fetching a little over $12,000 back in the early 90's and amount of style and performance you got for that 12G I don't think there is a single vehicle on earth that can match it. Even today a good condition Mustang will fetch close to if not twice what it sold for (in excellent condition or modified) new. Not many vehicle can say this, and it did not take 30 years for this to happen either. These kinds of numbers were pretty much in effect 10-15 years ago too. So in that regard I have to tip my hat to Ford's and I have to wonder if they even realize it. The quality in terms of $$$ was out of this world and the performance was Stellar too! Now if only I could control myself behind the wheel of these cars I'd buy one tomorrow, but as it stands I can't keep my foot out of them and to be honest I think I had around 20 points on my licence back when I daily drove my 5.0 Mustang.

Okay...Okay... So I am a little Mustang bias, but with facts like the ones above who wouldn't be? Anyway, here is the latest;

She is now officially a 5 speed!

Hello soon to be short throw shifter! RIP POS Automatic! It's a man rod now! Hell I shouldnt even say that, even women prefer the stick! eh... You know what I mean! LOL

Notice the difference between the automatic and manual driveshafts?

If you didn't before I bet you can now! That little bit can really mess up a transmission with a loaded down suspension, or in some cases a really good launch!

There she is! Driveline DONE! Notice the welded adjustable crossmember.

Even the engine is comming along nice!

Now for the most dreaded part... The Dashboard. I made most of my measurments today and I must admit the past two days really kicked my ass. 14 hour days! I just couldn't help it though, I love these Mustangs!



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Perhaps the most time consuming portion of this job; the dashboard conversion. This old pony just wasn't wanting to learn some new tricks. After days of bucking and cussing a plan was brewed up on how to get this new style dash to mount to an old-school firewall. So for everyone wondering... How can an early Mustang dash be replaced with the later model?

Well here it is,

First off, for whatever reason the hole in the early model firewall is much larger than that of the late. As such a portion of this must be filled in with sheet metal in order to seal up the unit.

Here you can see the gasket (foam) and the vacuum line are not the same between the two. Shown in the photo is the late model air box that we used in the early model chassis.

The next step is to wrestle the dashboard and all of it's tenticles onto the firewall. Given there is no structure holding it at this point you have to prop it up in order to obtain your marks. Plan on pulling this dash in and out 3 or 4 more times before all is said and done.

With all the marks in place it's time to cut your tabs from the donor vehicle and weld them onto firewall.

They must be pretty dead on, as you only have 3/4 of an inch slide room side to side.

Welding these tabs on ensured they were very strong. Trust me it looks a lot easier than it's done.

After all that, with the dash once more removed you can start installing the clutch pedal assy. and routing the throttle cable and all the sensors.

So now all 4 of your tabs are in place. Clean out the mess and get ready to finally re-install.

Now you get to wrestle with the HVAC box a few times to make sure it fit's just right.

A few turns of the wrench and you can get the late model air box to fit in an early model chassis like it was born there.

Final install of the dash. Every single one of my tabs was dead on! Even used the factory 7mm/Star screws. Wipe sweat from your brow and tell yourself "never again". Yeah sure.

Install steering wheel and instruments.

Time for the new carpet, and from there installation of the center console from the donor vehicle + short throw shifter. After that? We get to wrestle with the fuel tank and snake some new lines as this vehicle had fuel lines run to the drivers side. Late model fox's have the fuel lines comming in on the passengers side.



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FAR BEYOND DRIVEN

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Wow, just wow!

For myself, I may consider endeavoring into a cluster-fuck of that magnitude, but never for a customer. I wouldn't know how to begin bidding out a job like that. I'd surely under-bid it and end up screwing myself.

Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy a later model mustang than try to Frankenstein something like this?

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Thanks.. It's ALL about the "WOW" factor when I take on my yearly challenge.

When endevoring into this vehicle I was pretty much comfortable with just about everything on a Mustang in and out, but as you mention there is always something and in this case my inexperence with early model Mustangs gave me a few good hard-knock lessons as it pertains to conversions between early and late body's. 1st is the difference in how the dashes mount, 2nd is the location of the ebrake. Everything else has pretty much been excactly as I have expected.

The Ford Mustang is a pretty straight forward vehicle to start with. I imagine if I ever put one together for myself I would build the entire car from brand new sheet metal. Thanks to this customer I now have my most favorite year/model/make VIN # and title, which is a 1991 Notchback 5.0 manual with factory emerald green paint. So if I ever get the itch and the extra cash, I have the 1st step (My 1991 Firewall) stored nicely and neatly in my rafters. But that of course would be AFTER I get this mess straight with the 03 PSD of mine. But yes, speaking of PSD's I did screw myself a little on this job as it pertained to the extra time spent with fitting the dash and modifying for the ebrake. Unlike the PSD fiasco this customer has been more than timley with payments and extremely willing to get anything needed at a moments notice. For example he just purchased OEM new fuel lines front to back, which might I add are somewhat of a PITA to install. But to me if the money is flowing and the customer is still rolling with the blows, then so can I.

It is the customer who ultimatly facilitates these big projects. I have said it in every project. The project has acutally helped to fill in some slow periods, which is why I take these kind of jobs in once in awhile.

With regards to if it would be less expensive to buy another 83-93 Mustang... Well to buy a 1993 Cobra 5.0 it would cost you about $15-20K (low mile ones $40-$50K) and you still would not have factory T-Tops. Price out what it would cost to have factory T-Tops installed and find a clean 5.0 fox body, which is about 6-8K for a crusty clean one. So really with the Ford 5.0 Mustang, especially this factory T-Top variant it's very rare and you wont see many factory T-Top's with Fuel Injection and late model interior. Not to mention it's now a T-5 manual.

It is somewhat of a monster, what with it's Cobra intake and other goodies. But it's a very clean and proper install. All the harnesses run in factory locations, and everything fits well. People are going to assume this is a late model vehicle until they realize it's got factory t-tops. I think Ford stoped making t-tops on the Mustang in 85 or 86.

Have you driven a 1989-1993 PFI 5.0 Mustang with the t-5 PowerStroker? If not I would highly recommend you do.



-- Edited by SELLC on Sunday 21st of April 2013 05:08:25 PM

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FAR BEYOND DRIVEN

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It's been a long time since I've driven one, but I remember that it impressed me.

Recently I drove one of the brand new 5.0 mustangs which really impressed me. The acceleration G-forces in the brand new Mustang GT remind me of the SVT cobra from only a few years ago.

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Well anything "brand new" should "really" impress you. The new 5.0 DOHC Mustang will set you back $40K + depending on how you buy it. I'd be willing to bet this 83 Mustang would give a new $40K+ DOHC 5.0 a serious spanking with only a $15K investment. That's including either a supercharger and or nitrous on the 83 @ that 15K price.

But if you got to have that nice new smelling car, then dealership showroom floor might be where you need to go. Speaking of new smelling, the new carpet we installed is adding a nice "new" smell to the ole' Mustang.

This is the early style ebrake mounting area. It's different than the late model. For now we are going to run with this until the customer upgrades to the Cobra disc brake setup that will include all the newer style ebrake cables, ect.

Here you can see the early style ebrake lever. This is not the same as the late models, as the early one like the one shown above connect by way of a threaded rod, while the newer style has a sprung cable setup. We have both but will be saving the later style for the brake upgrade.

Running the new harness thru the back requires removal of the interior quarter trim panel, but by doing so the late model harness will fit right into the existing channels and loom retainers.

Important to mount the fuel shut-off inertia switch, which is an important safety feature that shuts off the fuel upon a rear end impact.

Here I am getting all the tail lights in order and routing the new power cable for the electronic fuel pump.

Here I have treated some areas that were getting a light superficial rust. This rust inhibitor will prevent further flare ups and it leaves a hard water-proof coating when dry.

Here you can see all the pedals are in order, throttle; clutch and brake pedal. You can also see most all of the harness has been connected under the dash save for the cruise control, which by the way is also something that is getting changed over from early to late. With any luck this will still have cruise control.

Here the new carpet has been installed. While its still being tucked and fitted the carpet is molded which makes for a pretty good fit. This and many of the new parts on this vehicle were purchased from NPD in Canton Michigan. NPD stands for National Parts Depot and they have been in business for quite awhile. I used to buy parts for my 73 Camaro from them over 15 years ago! They cover a wide selection of American classics; this early 83 included. If you need factory parts and you want vintage or as close to it as you can get NPD is a good place to start. This carpt I think is an ACI brand? Ill update if I find out otherwise.



-- Edited by SELLC on Monday 22nd of April 2013 03:06:35 AM

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FAR BEYOND DRIVEN

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You forgot to paint the front cover and water pump.

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I personally only like to paint cast iron, most of the time anyway. The very early model timing covers and pumps that were cast iron should be painted and I feel that "all one color" look is native to very early 50's 60's and 70's.

The natural finish on the aluminum is native to this particular year. Perhaps it's that crusty looking cast iron thermostat housing that has got you second guessing the natural finish?

You got to love factory motorcraft goodness. That t-stat housing has been cleaned and painted since the photo above.

I'm down to the nitty gritty stuff at this point. So close to the first start but so many "little" things that need attention every time I turn around. Worst part is it's all petty insignificant stuff that gobbles up time and isn't even worthy of bragging about. It's the time spent now that makes or breaks a conversion and there is no getting away from the hours and hours.

You might think different about the natural finish aluminum cover + pump when the engine gets its final coat of shine. You might also notice that the under drive pulleys are also matching natural finish aluminum. Let's face it, polishing aluminum is for garage queens, natural finish is much more forgiving for street driven cruisers.

Once complete I'll detail the engine further, and it will shine up quite nice.

This is the original tank out of the Mustang.

This is the donor tank out of the 1991 Mustang w/ FI

Here the new fuel lines have been installed

Short throw shifter installed

Here the dashboard is just about all in order.

This is the very first key-up as the Mustang become aware/alive Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 2:51:09 AM. Being that it's now mass air; it's a learning computer.

A test of the fuel pressure shows we are ready for first start!



-- Edited by SELLC on Friday 17th of May 2013 01:49:05 AM

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While I want to modify and update this thread to cover more detail I simply do not have the time right now. So, in the interest of getting to the punch I am pleased to announce that once again Ford's 5.0 w/ T-5 Manual did NOT disappoint!

Check this video out during a test run, got to love cool customers-

Pretty much 1st and 2nd went down in a fanfare of burning rubber, then as third gained traction she was off to the races. I swear the 5.0 manual transmission combo has got to be one of the all time best performers. This entire ordeal has given me serious Mustang fever.

As time fees up Ill modify this thread to include photos of missed portions of the conversion but I just could not keep up. As much as I try to document the performance builds it's hard to process, host and post them.  

While there is still a fair amount of work to be done, as my customer said; Today was a good day. Heck of a lot of fun too if I might add. Thats the great thing about the Mustang. Fun all around!



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IN THE RUNNING

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Yo SELLC,

Good to see a man who makes his livelyhood this way still enjoying himself. Very good work. Can't wait for delivery day,- must be close !

Cheers,

Rastus

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Today was delivery day!

The ole' Mustang is sleeping in her own garage tonight. Must say this was a very large project, one that took a few twist and turns (as they all do) but in the end the final product was all worth it.

When this Mustang first come to me with a carbureted 302 engine and an AOD it would not even do a burn out, now it will burn rubber all the way thru 3rd gear. That makes me happy, and it's a whole lot of fun to drive the car now. There are countless other improvements, but when it's a Mustang, it just HAS to be fast otherwise not much else seems to matter. Mustang guys have a reputation to uphold!

The whole thing has got me seriously itching for a Mustang. Just to be sure I went on Ford.com and checked prices for a new Mustang GT with Premium and sure as shit, $40k all day. You want a Shelby? $60k but since they are limited you will be lucky if a dealership turns one loose for anything less than $75k. You might pick up a V6 for $26-30k but really what's the point in that! Nope... For me it would have to be a 89-93 5.0 or forget about it. While I really like the exterior style of the new Mustang the interior really sucks! The same is true of the new Camaros. I just don't like the retro 60's and early 70's influences. I didn't like them back in the day either. But... I guess the point I am trying to make is these little Fox bodies sure pack one hell of a value.

As the weeks roll on I'll add up the last of the photos. The project rolled about two weeks longer than originally thought, however given all the little surprises and such it's not all bad. Customer is pondering a supercharger, but I sure hope he does some suspension and bracing or I worry he will twist that T-top in half.

So for now,

Here is the Mustang sunbathing prior to the video above with it's shirt/hood off looking like a hard ass.

^^^^^ This was a test of the limited slip diff ^^^^^^

This is the last known engine photo (taken by me anyway). Gone is that POS AutoZone Duralast battery (which by the way I have been thrown in jail by AutoZone in the past for trying to get them to stand behind their warranties!) Another story for another day, but look at that nice Interstate! Now that's a GOOD battery and a good company that will stand behind their warranties/products. In ALL the years of working on cars Interstate has always been top notch in quality and service. Way better than them jelly Optima batteries that die and never come back. When it comes to a battery, "It's just got to work".

Wish I had more photos of the interior, as I installed all the door trim, center console, aftermarket seats and new carpet. But as the job nears the delivery date it never fails that it's like I got blinders on and I run out of time and and am so focused on fixing stuff that I forget to take photos. That and the fact that when these kinds of jobs get finished the customer or in this case the backlog of customers are usually riding me like a Jokey in the Kentucky derby.  While I love selling the "While were in there" services and the customers love the savings, the people waiting behind them dont.

I don't think I got another one of these projects in me until next year! But alas a good friend of mine is calling in a long overdue favor for his Lunati 383 Stroker engine I promised him for his 1994 Firebird Formula. Damn... I got to get back to work!



-- Edited by SELLC on Friday 17th of May 2013 02:17:54 AM

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IN THE RUNNING

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Yo SELLC,

It's not my place to ask, but do you ever take a break or go for a little holiday with the family ? I can't get over the work-load that you're constantly involved in, and you still find time to talk on this site !!! - Yet alone having to put-up with RSJ for so long...I wanted to ask a acouple of questions with regards to the Mustang you just breathed life back into....

1 What is the actual red-line of the motor ? The tachometer started to go yellow at around 4,750 rpm, yet red at 6,000 rpm. Is 4,750 peak power with the remaining yellow zone like a safe over-rev ?
2 The intake manifold has round runners (or rams), but the cylinder heads have rectangular ports...Are Ford just being slack with their castings ? Is it in the manifold that the shape turns from round to rectangular ?
3 The rockers looked like your average "stamped-steel" type...How much lift from the cam can you go with these before they break, wipe your cam-lobes off / wear your valve guides out ?...( Maybe 100,000 miles ?). Are they reliable or do they play up ? ( We get the Windsor motor here in Oz, but not the car !!!)
4 Is there a "package" that you can buy to enhance the whole engine etc? If so, what's the power improvement over a standard fitment & what do you get ?
5 What do these Mustangs actually weigh in at ? We have a "large" Ford over here called a Falcon ( they look quite good for a family oriented sedan) that you can get with these engines, they weigh around 1,500 kg's maybe more...They do go well with the 5-speed manual ! Ha ha !

Thanks mate, and job very well done !

Cheers,

Rastus



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Sorry I missed your post. Guess with all them photos I didn't notice it until now.

To answer your questions,

1) Redline is 6250 RPM

2) Upper manifold is round, lower goes from round to square. If you think that's funky look at the LS engines, by far the most funky intake runners I have ever seen.

3) The rockers are stamped steel. Its one of the things I wanted to address but it wasn't in the budget. They hold up amazingly well for being stamped steel, but still a power robber. The 88 and up 302 and 351's all had roller lifters so that's a plus.

4) These short stroke 302's love nitrous. But yes, there are more top end kits than you can shake a stick at for the 302 that really boost HP.

5) They weigh about 3000 lbs with the notchbacks being the lightest and the convertibles being the most heavy.

Thanks for the complements Rastus. Looking back at this job more than a year later I too am somewhat impressed. LOL! I can only explain it as how women describe child birth, in that it's a serious pain that is only realized once you are crazy enough to do again. LOL 



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State of Michigan Certified Master Auto Mechanic +2

Specialty Certified Since 1994

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