1995 5.0 (originally v6) WIP... runs good but need input

Dec 7, 2018
13
4
13
47
Gibson City, Illinois
#1
So a few months ago I acquired a 1995 sn95, auto trans mustang that was swapped from a 3.8 v6. Through a series of trades I have very little money into the car, maybe $500 at most. The conversion was done by someone else and the car runs and sounds pretty good (at least before I removed intake and manifold). Was told it needed a head gasket so I started tearing apart the top end. Overall the car seems in good condition and there is no rust and interior is good other than a few minor things. It also has GT40p heads and came with a matching GT40 intake from a explorer thy needs to be installed. Exhaust is fairly new and has H pipe. A/C was deleted.

I gave up on Facebook groups because most people gave smart ass answers that were of no use like “sell and buy a real car” or “get rid of it and start with the right vehicle”. Well, being I own this for virtually no money and my son wants to get involved in a project, it’s what I’ve got to work with unless it is 1000% the wrong move. I know it’s not that uncommon to do. I can always replace the head gasket and flip it but I’d like to work with it if at all possible.

So now for questions I need input on from anyone who might have experience with this or knowledge of answers. Keep in mind, car runs and conversion is complete but there are some things I might try to “polish” or do better.

1.) before getting into smaller stuff, is there any major issues I should look into to verify something?

2.) any way to verify what trans is in it? I have no idea if it’s the original one from the v6 or if it was upgraded. Was told it is possible it could be from v6 because it would work and bolt up but not be appropriate.

3.) 99% sure it still has rear end from v6, not too worried about swapping unless there is something I’m not aware of. Recommendations?

4.) Brakes... has 4 wheel disc. Do I need to change them assuming they are from v6? Which components?

5a.) intake... the one that came on it is the normal 5.0 version, is it worth the extra effort and money to clean up the GT40 (at least that’s what I assume it is called) from the explorer if it has the gt40p heads? Or do I just leave the standard one on being it runs.

5b.) if I end up pulling the motor (because I already have the whole upper end taken apart for head gasket) I might put a cam in it and possibly even rebuild motor, how does that affect answer for previous question?

6.) How can I tell if it has gauge cluster for v8? Speedo goes to 120.

7.) Do I need to change any suspension immediately or can it wait a bit?

8.) Radiator and fan are definitely not correct and need to be replaced... recommendations or anything I should know?

9.). Car originally was no power windows and locks. It was converted to power windows (not sure how it was done yet, haven’t investigated) but still has manual locks. Both door locks and ignition need to be replaced because keys work for crap. Is it possible to convert to power locks without too much hassle? If I were to find used doors from salvage that are power? Not sure what cars are wired for out of factory as standard. I know sometimes certain wiring is already there, but the options are just not installed.

10.). Last one, and I pretty much know the answer but I’ll ask anyway. Obviously because car runs and drives, main wire harness was changed. It is a bit sketchy in places but works. Is it worth just cleaning up and repairing what’s there or should I just replace the whole damn thing if the motor is out?

I know in the long run I’ll end up spending more money this way but it’s a project with my kid. Easier to spend a few bucks here and there that dumping a ton of cash at once. Thanks for reading what may end up being stupid question and thanks in advance for input! If I end up going all in I’ll start a process thread for anyone else who is interested.

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96pushrod

Active Member
May 15, 2018
265
136
53
26
Savannah
#2
Got any pics of the engine bay and wiring? I’m curious how clean of a job whoever did the swap did. Sounds like you got a good deal on the car.

Look up ford automatic trans oil pan pictures on google, it will show you what you have based on bolt pattern. Most likely an aod, but you never know.

Gt’s has 150 mph speedos. You can find them in junkyards.

If your rear end has a round cover with no flat sides it’s a 7.5. If it has flat sides it’s an 8.8. It’s pretty stongly recommended to swap in a 8.8 out of a 94-98. The 7.5 will live if you’re not too hard on it (what’s the fun in that?)

Brakes will be fine, if you can though, find a set of aluminum 99-04 new edge dual piston calipers. I’ve had them on a couple sn’s and they brake great for the price. I’ve actually got a spare set along with the brackets. Best part is they’re a direct swap.

I find it interesting they put the Gt40p heads on it without putting the explorer intake on. You’re positive it has gr40p heads? If it does then I would definitely put the intake on. You running an egr?

What radiator and fan does it have now? The stock sn95 electric fan actually moves some serious air. I would put one of those in if you don’t have one already. I like my 3 core aluminum radiator from American muscle. Hard to complain for $230 and it cools my 347 nicely.

Suspension isn’t terrible on these cars. I would look at some control arms for the rear and some good struts and shocks along with your spring of choice. I love my strange adjustable strut and shock setup and they’re pretty cheap.

As far as swapping the power locks in, I couldn’t tell you.

If you go with a cam, you may want to look into a tuning program such as quarterhorse. You may get lucky and the car will run fine, some people do. I didn’t lol.
 
Dec 7, 2018
13
4
13
47
Gibson City, Illinois
#3
Thanks for reply 96pushrod. Unfortunately I didn’t take detailed pics of the wiring before I started disconnecting things (but I labeled them) while it was all intact. I will include the only pics I have of before but not sure what can be seen. Like I said, it’s not pretty but it obviously works. There are some areas that looked like they were either spliced or reconnected with butt connectors. I’m guessing in the long run it’s probably worth just replacing it,especially if the engine comes out.

I did verify they are GT40p heads with the bars on the end and they are stamped “GT40p” under valves. Looks like I’ll need a hood to fit it because it looks taller. Also if I go that route I’m figuring a new TB?

As for radiator and fan, I assume they are both original v6 because they don’t look like they’ve been separated and “3.8L” is on a factory looking sticker on top of fan shroud.
 

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96pushrod

Active Member
May 15, 2018
265
136
53
26
Savannah
#4
Doesn’t look too bad. I believe I have a spare sn95 5.0 engine harness lying around.

You know how you make that v6 fan a 5.0 fan? Rip the sticker off lol. As long as the ccrm is from a 5.0, then it will act the same as the 5.0 version, as the 5.0 ccrm has a relay that trips the high speed mode when temperature gets above a certain point.

I forgot to mention earlier, if you put the explorer intake on then you’ll either need an adaptor elbow for the Tb (about $100 new) or need to convert to a fox body style. An aftermarket Tb won’t hurt you, but it’s not necessary. I’d probably spend my money elsewhere. If you do upgrade though, may as well go with the 75mm. You probably won’t outgrow it.

I’ve has good luck with my house brand American muscle one https://www.americanmuscle.com/sr-tb-75mm-9495gt.html . Put down 422whp naturally aspirated in a sn95 using this one.

As far as hood clearance, I ran an explorer upper and cobra lower with my stock hood. I didn’t have any clearance issues.
 
Dec 7, 2018
13
4
13
47
Gibson City, Illinois
#5
I’ll have to take a pic of the explorer intake to post. It does have an elbow on it but not sure if it’s the right one. Also need to figure out if it’s worth trying to clean up and salvage. At some point it looks like someone tried their hand at starting a polishing job and it’s not exactly pretty. It’s a little uneven. I’m hoping. Can even out the texture by blasting it with some kind of media so I don’t have to polish it or get a different one. I’m sure it’s perfectly functional but just looks half assed.

Also got the passenger side head off today and want to post pics to get second opinion of cylinder condition. Doesn’t look like it’s got many miles because you can still see the honing marks. There are a couple spots there is slight discoloration but not sure what it means if anything. Hoping the previous guy didn’t let it sit too long without fixing head gasket and cause too much damage. Want to get other side for tomorrow and see what it looks like. Going to tear down heads and send to get tanked, fluxed and decked.

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jozsefsz

5 Year Member
Aug 11, 2013
997
182
74
48
Cleveland OH Area
#6
Looks like a pretty decent wear-ridge on top of the cylinders, you'll probably want to measure the bore. May be time to freshen it all up.
 
Dec 7, 2018
13
4
13
47
Gibson City, Illinois
#7
There is a small lip but I don’t think it’s too bad. This may be a dumb question but every engine I’ve ever pulled has gone right to machine shop so I’ve never really worried about cylinder condition... but wouldn’t honing marks not be visible if it had a lot of wear/miles on it?
 

Labora

Founding Member
Jun 11, 2000
1,817
12
49
Dallas, Texas
tahuck.tripod.com
#8
I'd clean up and run it, the ridge looks to be above piston travel so not a huge deal. He is building a car for his son to drive around in not a drag racer so if it doesn't make peak performance from a little ring wear or whatever what does it really matter?

As for most of your other questions I'd worry about cleaning up the wiring the best you can if you think it is really bad a complete engine harness is very easy to swap if you can locate one. These cars basically have 2 main harness, the passenger side from the ECU to the engine bay is one harness for the engine, the driver side from fuse box to interior is the body harness. The body harness is much more work to replace, so unless it is really bad I would not consider swapping it.

Brakes easiest/cheapest upgrade is 02ish to 04 GT front brakes. (I forget the start year but they have bigger pistons than earlier sn95 GT brakes.)

Rear end I'd keep a eye out for a 8.8 long term. The 7.5 will be fine for now if you stay away from tire shredding, it is most likely a open differential anyway if I had to guess so probably be hard to kill tire(s) with it anyway.

Other than spring rates/shocks the suspension is pretty much the same, pickup some lowering springs and new shocks if the car is driving poorly would not bother swapping to V8 stock stuff.

For the radiator/fan you can pickup a stock replacement and probably be perfectly fine, the only word of advice I'd have for the fan is this era of Fords has had issues with fans locking up and causing harness fires some of the junkyard cars I've seen even had a extra relay built in for protection so make sure you fan spins freely and does not hangup anywhere.
 
Dec 7, 2018
13
4
13
47
Gibson City, Illinois
#9
Thanks for the input! I’ll prob end up having to replace the engine harness for peace of mind. Other than getting the top end back together it seems most of the other stuff can be done as able/needed.
 

jozsefsz

5 Year Member
Aug 11, 2013
997
182
74
48
Cleveland OH Area
#10
I'd clean up and run it, the ridge looks to be above piston travel so not a huge deal. He is building a car for his son to drive around in not a drag racer so if it doesn't make peak performance from a little ring wear or whatever what does it really matter?
A 'little ring wear' is best defined by measuring the bore. What it matters on a street car, if it's worn enough, you'll burn oil, foul plugs, get poor fuel economy, poor acceleration, wear out your catalytic converters, have hard starts, and eventually have it break down. When you have a significant wear ridge, that probably also means the bearings are worn and your fuel pressure is starting to dip.

Does this mean that's the case here? No. Is it easiest to measure your bore while you already have the heads off? Yes probably. :) That's why I suggest it.

The wear ridge is always above the piston travel. We can't eye-ball it from a photo and say it's either a lot or a little - it looks pronounced to me, definitely something that'd catch a finger-nail. Car may still run fine for another 100k, or may be blowing off the oil filler cap with blowby. Measuring's a pretty cheap way to determine how worn it might be. It's not new, for sure, based on the ridges. Cross-hatch still visible or not.
 

Labora

Founding Member
Jun 11, 2000
1,817
12
49
Dallas, Texas
tahuck.tripod.com
#11
Sure measure it if you like but is also important to keep in mind the context of it being a $500 car, so jumping to engine rebuilds instead of throwing some new gaskets at it and using it for the time being is a big jump to me.
 

jozsefsz

5 Year Member
Aug 11, 2013
997
182
74
48
Cleveland OH Area
#12
Id do the same, encouring him to do as I say not as I do. lol My feedback fit into question #1 basically what Id verify if I had it this far apart. Those $500 cars have a habit of soaking up more money over time so not a bad idea to get the most information you can while you have it in front of you.
 

96pushrod

Active Member
May 15, 2018
265
136
53
26
Savannah
#13
Sure measure it if you like but is also important to keep in mind the context of it being a $500 car, so jumping to engine rebuilds instead of throwing some new gaskets at it and using it for the time being is a big jump to me.
I’d have to agree with this. If it’s my car, I’d probably throw a new gasket set and run it for another 75k
 
Dec 7, 2018
13
4
13
47
Gibson City, Illinois
#14
Heads are off and will be a week or so at the machine shop anyhow so car isn’t driving soon. I’ll get a measuring device somehow and see where it’s at. If motor needs to be pulled not is definitely the time to do it. Also trying to keep in mind I’m not shooting for 500hp or 11 second 1/4 mile times. Just want a fun street car that my son and I can play and tinker with for a few years until we decide if we let him drive it at 16 or so or ditch it for something else at some point.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
10,471
3,229
193
polk county florida
#15
Doing a top end on an engine that is still in the car is a great starting point for teaching young people, will give you an idea on how interested he is in a short time frame, remember some kids have a short attention span and/or require some gratification in a short period of time, I would slap the top end on it and go on to other stuff like brakes, suspension, wiring and other stuff, information overload will kill the kids interest, start small and see how it goes.
show him the importance of fixing stuff as you find problems and having pride in his work. Good luck and keep us posted.
 
#16
Well, hit a roadblock. Dropped the heads off at the machine shop and the guy noticed what he is pretty sure is a crack. It’s in the area where if it came from the same side, is near where the head gasket blew. I just went and looked and engine block seems ok in that area from only a visual inspection.

So, now for what to do. There are no GT40 or GT40p heads for sale anywhere near me. Found a set of D5AE 351 Windsor heads that are freshly rebuilt but don’t know if they will work. I have a set of E7 heads that I think are in decent shape but that’s a step in the wrong direction. Not sure if they can be machined to work as well as the gt40p’s or if it’s worth it. Don’t know if I can justify the money for a decent used engine that is in good shape. Most have been north of $1500 and some by a lot. Recommendations?
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May 15, 2018
265
136
53
26
Savannah
#17
There aren’t any junkyards that have explorers or mountaineers near you? They’re pretty abundant where I’m at. Gt40p heads tend to be pretty easy to find and are usually cheaper than regular gt40s.

D5ae heads came with pressed in rocker studs so I wouldn’t waste time or money unless they’ve already been changed over to screw in. Also you may need different pushrods, I don’t think you can get away with the same length.
 
Dec 7, 2018
13
4
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47
Gibson City, Illinois
#18
Yeah, not going to bother with the D5ae’s. After some research I’d probably just try my hand at porting and polishing my E7’s first. Never done it but I’m decent with a grinder. As for junkyards... there are junkyards but no heads. Most of the yards within even a couple hours (that I’ve found and talked to) have some “sharing” program where other yards can see what they’ve got and order parts. Haven’t found a single pair within a two hour drive.

I actually found a good deal on a decent while motor (5.0/302) out of a ‘89 but don’t know if it would work or not. Not familiar enough with any differences.

BTW... thanks to everyone for all of the input. These forums are by far and away the best help I’ve gotten. I grew up owning and wrenching mid to late 70’s GM F bodies to this has been a learning experience!