Inherited '89 Lx 5.0 Getting Started

Chris Petti

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Hello I'm new and don't know a lot about Fords,
I have a 68 Dodge Charger R/T as well as a 1956 Cadillac Coupe Deville. I do all my own work and really enjoy wrenching on cars. My newest acquisition a 1989 Mustang LX 5.0 hatch that is nicely equipped but needs that extra umph. I'll post pics soon but I don't have any at the moment. My brother bought it with aftermarket equipment already installed. It has Under drive pulleys from Summit Racing, a Dynomax Exhaust with Cats that sounds really great might I add. The Transmission has a shift kit and extra fluid cooler. My brother said this was for racing. I have the 16" Pony Rims which look really good (4 lug.) I also have the original Rims and tires with 10 holes.The car has sat for close to 8 years. So two years ago when I started helping him bring it out of retirement We started with the fuel system. Since I started working on it in 2015 I replaced the Fuel Tank, High pressure Sending Unit, Fuel Pump and Foam pads for the tank. Summer of 2016 I noticed that the nylon parts are starting to get brittle and break so I ordered a few new parts from LMR to get the Throttle working correctly. Now the driver door sags and doesn't want to shut. I just ordered a new set of hinge pins, return spring, and nylon lower roller. I have a friend at work that is a hardcore fox body guy. I feel at times I'm bugging him too much and annoy him, So here I am to bug you. :)
My plan is to make the car a street racer. My friend Sam has told me first thing is have Team Z Motorsports in Taylor put in a Subframe kit to stiffen the frame, through the floor of course. Second he instructed me to Get rid of the cats and install a Off Road X pipe. Which I am confused about, can I just order a BBK mid pipe and it will fit right up to my Dynomax exhaust? I think I have factory headers but I don't know. When I was under the car last it looked like it had collectors, so are those long tube headers? The third step is to make the car a 5 lug disc brake setup. He instructed me to get spindles off of a GT or Cobra (SN95.) I may not get to brakes till next year but I will purchase used parts as they become available. I'm trying to make this a budget build. I said trying, I will spend the money where I have to. I don't plan on doing any engine work till next year. or the following. I want to put 17" Type R rims on the car to replace the 15" Pony Rims. I was planning on 17x9 but I have not made any permanent decision yet. I think that is the largest tire that will fit with no modification. For tires I was told anything between 245-275 for width. I would love to see some tires and rims that other people are running to get a good idea of packages. I also do not have lowering springs. So please send me some pics with Rims/Tires and details. I would love to see what the options are.

Thank you,

Chris


I will post pics of my pony soon. I'm really excited about this car.
 
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Davedacarpainter

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Welcome to stangnet.

Look around the '79-'95 subforums. You'll get lots of help there.

Will this be a dedicated track car?

If not, ditch the undrive pullies, they don't really help out that much and cause charging problems at idle.

Your cats aren't a big hp sucker either. If a daily driver, keep them. If for no other reason than a far less strong exhaust odor.

Team Z has really nice stuff for suspensions. Through the floor SFC's are great if you worry about ground clearance, otherwise it's a lot of extra work for little frame stiffening. But do make the SFC's an early project.

You might look through Maximum Motorsports website. To me they have the best stuff out there. Though Team Z is no slouch and offer a few suspension items that no on else does.

'94-'95 spindles are going to be your best bet for the 5 lug conversion. They aren't going to push your wheel out quite as far as '96-up will.

275's will fit the rear tub, though you may need to persuade it to accept it with a BFH.

Anyhow, yep, pictures, pictures, pictures. No pictures, then it didn't happen:jester:.

Glad you joined us. Start a new thread in the fox general talk section about your mustang. We all love seeing someone work on their cars. You'll get lots of help from dedicated technicians there as well.
 
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Chris Petti

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I posted my pics to the wrong thread somehow. This is not going to be a dedicated track car. At least not yet. I still want to have some fun with the 302 and make this a budget build rather than make a full blown race car. I have so many mods that I'm looking at. The things I listed in the initial post is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm looking to make a car that is fast and fun to drive. Mustangs power to weight ratio makes it a blast to drive. Reminds me of my go kart growing up. It just needs more power. I haven;'t driven it long enough to know everything that it needs but That will soon change this summer. I'm posting some pics of the car when it was up for sale in 2016. I am also posting pics of the car when it was sitting in my brothers garage right before we started the resurrection process by putting in a new fuel system. There is some pics of the job we did. The car has no rust and drives great. The guy that was going to buy it turned it down with a low ball offer and now I have it. So here we go!
 

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Chris Petti

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More pics for the potential buyer showing how clean the car is.
 

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Chris Petti

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These are the pics from 2015. My brother and I got into replacing the fuel system and put in some fresh gas. She (the mustang) fired right up and pulled out of the garage. I'll post in the other Fox forum for the rest of this build. I just thought I would introduce myself.
 

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Chris Petti

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In response to your comment Dave, Why did everyone tell me to get a off road pipe? Everyone said to take the Cats off I will gain 15-20 hp. It has a Dynomax "Super Turbo muffler " which is a true dual exhaust. The Under drive pulleys are waste? The car really :poo:s and gits off the line. I read that the under drive pulleys reduce drag on the engine from the accessories on launch and gives the car more power to the transmission. The car really hauls. However I'm here for advice and help getting my fox into peak performance. So, I'm listening.
 

Davedacarpainter

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Just to address the underdrive pullies, you'll gain maybe 5-7 hp from that mod. You'll gain more from an electric cooling fan upgrade. In addition to the removing the power leeching effects of the stock fan, you'll gain the more efficient cooling as you upgrade your engine for more power.

Then again, you'll loose charging efficiency near idle with the underdrive pullies.

If you plan to upgrade any electronics, is: electric fan, stereo, computer mods, etc....You'll need to upgrade your alternator to the 3G or 4G setup. 130 amp would be sufficient for most add ons. Same problem with the underdrive pullies here again, it'll slow the alternator down, less power from it.

Do you notice your headlights dimming near idle?

Also, the exhaust. You gain power from the larger, smoother tubes of an aftermarket exhaust system that are designed to flow your exhaust gasses efficiently. Upgrade the cats with the rest of it. Do an in depth search on the effects of cats and performance.

Not just what stock cats do, include the aftermarket ones available. There isn't a 15-20hp gain from eliminating them, the gain is from a better exhaust system.

Honestly though. It doesn't make much difference in hp with or without, the difference for me is in the exhaust smell. I know it sounds like a little thing to spend the extra on to have.

Lastly, your mustang looks fantastic. What a great starting point. Like I mentioned before, look around the fox subforums. Post a new thread of your progress as you get going in the general talk section, the guys there will love seeing one that started out that nice.

Good job on the fuel system too, btw.:nice:
 
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Chris Petti

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Dave,
I have done some research and I understand the exhaust I am running has a 2.25" pipe. I did however think the Cats were restricting. OK. I'm with you know. I called Dynomax yesterday and they informed me that the exhaust system that is installed on the car is rated up to 360 hp. So if I'm going to get down with engine modifications the Exhaust it going to have to change. For this summer I think I will be OK. I have plenty on my plate at the moment. I think Frame, Brakes, wheels and tires are first on the agenda. Which does dictate a lot of the setup of the car. I liked your comment about the 96 and and later 5 lugs brakes for a wider tire. That would probably drastically improve turning on a road course or winding road. The 302 only has 49K miles on it so I am hesitant to just pull it at this point and put in something more advanced. baby steps, I'm on a budget.
Thanks for the info on the under drive pulleys. I knew that they caused a drag on the battery at idle. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a traffic jam in that car running the AC listening to the radio at night. That's another thing everyone keeps telling me is to ditch is the AC to save weight. I want to keep the AC. The AC doesn't work at the moment. The car takes R12 and I was told to fix and fill would cost me about 2k. So that isn't happening. I was also told by a local mechanic in my area that I could repair the leak then change the filler nipple and put in R134. Any fixes to this problem I am all ears. I want to keep the AC. I appreciate your responses. Thanks.
 
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IIGood

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I'm not big on Fox-bodies, but, my god does that one look beautiful. You've really got a great ride there. I understand the desire for more power and such but I'd leave a 28-year-old car in that great of shape unaltered. That's just me though.

Good luck! :nice:
 
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Davedacarpainter

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First, the spindles. They don't allow for a wider tire. You're kind of limited to about a 245 for the front. The '94-'95 spindles move the backspacing of your wheels out slightly. I forget the exact measurement, but it's less than an inch. The '96-'04 spindles move it out even further. A little over an inch.

It begins to be a problem for wheel selection with the '96-up spindles. You can still find a lot of good ones though. Yet there is no improvement in the design over the '94-'95 ones.

Your exhaust? A nice 2.5" system will take care of you until you go insane on power (550ish~rwhp).

Keep the AC unless you live so far north that you don't have hot summers. The little draw it has on your engine is worth the comfort if you intend to drive it a lot.

To switch over to 134 you'll need to drain all of the old oil out of the system and replace your rubber lines and accumulator. It's not overly hard to do, we have a sticky post concerning that in the Fox Tech Section. If your compressor is fine, you can go that route.

Finding R12 to recharge your system isn't terribly hard, it's just more expensive than the R134. You'll still want to be in a new accumulator and hoses anyway just to get it running nicely.

2K would replace your system with a new one, btw. If you don't need to replace it, why blow the cash?

Your plans are perfect, as far as the first upgrades go. Brakes and chassis. Keep the stock engine for a while, then if you want more power you can look into a head, cam, intake swap. Or forced induction (supercharger or turbocharger)of some route. Just remember the stock block will only take about 450-500hp before it decides it has had enough. That said, 450hp is really, really fun....
 
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Davedacarpainter

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Tell you what, why don't you start a new thread over in the fox general talk section. Post a few pictures over there as well with plans you have. There are some really knowledgeable techs there that will be more than glad to help out.

Plus it'll be easier for me as well since I spend most of my time in that section anyhow.
 

Noobz347

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Tell you what, why don't you start a new thread over in the fox general talk section. Post a few pictures over there as well with plans you have. There are some really knowledgeable techs there that will be more than glad to help out.

Plus it'll be easier for me as well since I spend most of my time in that section anyhow.


Or Dave can move this one over and rename it. Either way. :)
 

Davedacarpainter

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Since Noobz is nagging me, I'll just move your thread over to the General Talk section of the fox body forums. I may rename it a little just to make it to the point.

The guys in here make me feel like a stump. They'll help out more than I can. If you have any paint and body questions though, that's my area of expertise.
 

Chris Petti

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Thanks, I appreciate that.
I'm not big on Fox-bodies, but, my god does that one look beautiful. You've really got a great ride there. I understand the desire for more power and such but I'd leave a 28-year-old car in that great of shape unaltered. That's just me though.

Good luck! :nice:
I hear ya, I'm fighting with myself a little about that one. It is a really nice original car with some mild upgrades. It's a nice driver. It could just have a few things done to restore it. I took a ride in my buddy's 91 Fox at work which has 450 hp. It made me mess my pants. And it looks amazing! Unless he started the car you would think it was stock. Other than the 17" rims. I think this car has so much potential it deserves to perform as good as it looks.
 
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jrichker

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Welcome to Stangnet, I'll give you my usual advice to new Fox Body Mustang owners...

noobie-help.png

Far too many people put a dab of this and a dollop of that, and then wonder why the car doesn't run worth beans. Then they think off the shelf computer chips will fix their mismatched parts problem. It won't

You have to have a plan for what kind of performance you want: Hot street. Street/Strip, Pure strip, Autocross or Road course. Each one requires a different strategy and a different set of components.. Mismatch the components and you’ll have a car that falls flat on its face when you demand performance.

Everyone thinks HP! HP! HP! and thinks that peak HP is what they need. Peak HP is great for a drag strip car when it has the proper gears and tires to get the car up into the high RPM range where it develops that high peak HP near the finish line. On a street car, that strategy will have Honda Accords outrunning you, because you will never get the engine RPMs high enough without running over everything in your path.

Here’ the strategy: Always remember that there are some tradeoffs in any engine combination. Most of us don’t have enough money to “have it all” as if it was possible by some masterful combination of parts and tuning.

The following recommendations are for 5 Speed Manual transmission cars without NO2 or pressurized induction, stock short block.
1.) Hot street: Broad flat torque curve, high velocity airflow in the intake and heads for best throttle response. Gears suitable for reasonable gas mileage and long road trips without excessive engine RPMs. Stand on the gas pedal from a rolling start to squeeze into that gap in traffic in front of you, and it jumps quick and hard to get you there. Max RPM’s are 5200-5500 RPM for best power. Lopey cams may sound cool, but run poorly in a low RPM street environment.
Use stock cam, stock, GT40 or mildly ported stock heads, Cobra or Explorer/GT40 intake, advanced timing, stock 19 lb injectors, stock fuel pump. Use some good 1.6 or 1.7 ratio roller rockers for extra punch. Use a King Cobra clutch, with stock iron or steel billet flywheel. MAF cars can use a 65 MM TB from the Explorer intake manifold and a 70MM MAF from a 94-95 Mustang. Drive train: 3:55 gears with soft tread compound tires. Use some Ford Racing unequal length headers, stock 2 1/4” cat pipe and some mufflers that don’t drone or get too much attention from the law enforcement or neighbors. The stock computer will handle all this with no problems and doesn’t need any help in 90% of the cases. No skinny or grossly undersize tires for the front: remember you still have to stop quickly in traffic. Make sure all the rubber bushings in the front and rear suspensions are in first class shape. Leave the emissions equipment intact and working. Removing or disabling it won’t get you any more HP or performance. Do not convert to carb or remove A/C: either one will reduce the resale value. Carb conversions cannot be titled for street use or get tags in some places. They definitely won’t pass smog inspections.

Street/strip: A little more slope to the torque curve with a gently sloping peak. Use slightly larger port volumes on intake and heads for more peak HP. Uses 3.55 or 3.73 gears to get the RPM’s up into a higher range quicker. Be prepared to sacrifice some low RPM throttle response in exchange for high RPM power. This by necessity will be a Mass Air or Mass Air conversion on 86-88 5.0 Mustangs, since stock speed density will not run well with the changes in engine airflow. Don’t get too crazy on any one engine part since you still have to drive the car on the street, and a mismatch can make street driving miserable.
Use stock or mild aftermarket cam, Ported GT 40, or 165-180 CC port volume aftermarket aluminum heads. Use a Trick Flow, Edelbrock Performer or equal intake manifold. Take a 73 MM aftermarket MAF calibrated for 24 lb injectors, and 24 lb injectors, 155 LPH fuel pump, Kirban adjustable fuel pressure regulator. Be prepared to shell out some $$$ for a custom burned chip using data gathered from a dyno run. Mass market chips will not get the job done. Use some Ford Racing unequal length headers, aftermarket 2 1/2” cat pipe and some mufflers that don’t drone or get too much attention from the law enforcement or neighbors. Drivetrain: expect the stock T5 to fail, so save your money for a super duty 5 speed trans. Tremec 3550, TKO 500 & TKO 600 are the best choices. Different gears in a stock T5 case work for some, but there is only so much power you can pass through a T5 in race mode before it breaks, even with stronger gears. Next are the Chassis mods: full length subframe connectors, different springs, different shocks, aftermarket lower and upper control arms with rubber or urethane bushings. Buy all the parts from someplace like Maximum Motorsports, Griggs or Steeda as a kit so that you know that all the parts fit and don’t argue with each other. Carry spare tires and wheels for the drag strip: skinnys for the front and drag radials for the rear. No skinnys for street driving! Over 85% of the breaking power is generated by the front tires, so skinnys won’t do the job in a panic stop situation. Disconnect the front anti-roll bar at the strip; reconnect it before you drive home. Leave the emissions equipment intact and working. Removing or disabling it won’t get you any more HP or performance. Do not convert to carb or remove A/C: either one will reduce the resale value. Carb conversions cannot be titled for street use or get tags in some places. They definitely won’t pass smog inspections.

Strip only: High RPM, High flow heads (185-215 CC port volume), wild cam, high flow intake manifold, 70 MM or larger TB, 80 MM or lager MAF, strip everything out of the car that doesn’t make it go faster. Carbs are OK if that’s what you want, but remember that as the temp/humidity/ barometric pressure/altitude changes, you have to re-jet and readjust the carb. EFI eliminates most of that with its built in compensation or you can tune of the fly with a high end Motes or Tweecer system combined with a wide band air/fuel ratio meter. Use custom headers, dumps and minimal mufflers. How fast you can go on 5 liters is a function of the skill level of the driver/mechanic and the size of your wallet.

TRAILER the car to the race track since it won’t be legal to drive it on the street. Drag slicks in the rear, skinnys up front, use 3.73 or bigger gears (4.xx) in the rear axle. Since you won’t be driving on long trips, the big gears with work with the high RPM power curve to get the best results. Drivetrain: TKO 500 & TKO 600 are the best choices. Different gears in a stock T5 case work for some, but there is only so much power you can pass through a T5 in race mode before it breaks, even with stronger gears. Next are the Chassis mods: full length subframe connectors, different springs, different shocks, aftermarket lower and upper control arms with rubber or urethane bushings. Buy all the parts from someplace like Maximum Motorsports, Griggs or Steeda as a kit so that you know that all the parts fit and don’t argue with each other. Remove the front sway bar, put an airbag in the rear spring of the side that spins the tire the most. Plan on a roll cage if you are truly serious about going fast: most strips will require it once you get to a certain ET range.

Autocross is a combination of Hot street engine and street strip chassis prep. The engine must accelerate quickly from low RPM and needs a broad, flat torque curve. Next are the Chassis mods: full length subframe connectors, different springs, different shocks, aftermarket lower and upper control arms with rubber or urethane bushings. Buy all the parts from someplace like Maximum Motorsports, Griggs or Steeda as a kit so that you know that all the parts fit and don’t argue with each other. Most of the time you’ll never hit third gear, so some 3.73 or bigger gears (4.xx) may help a lot. You’ll have to spend some more money on brakes since it kills brakes quickly. Rear disks, larger rotors up front, stainless steel brake lines, different brake pads. A 87-88 T Bird Turbo Coupe or SN 95 rear axle will be your best bet. Autocross will severely strain 1st & 2nd gears, so your T5 may take a premature dump. Save your money for a super duty 5 speed trans. Tremec 3550, TKO 500 & TKO 600 are the best choices.

All out road race is the most difficult of all: an engine that will run at high rpm hour after hour and never fail, yet pull hard out of the hairpin turns that will require a lot of torque at lower RPMs. In my opinion, guys that can successfully build a winning road race engine are the cream of the crop. Top this off with a chassis built for strip only duty, but with changes to the settings of springs, tires, roll bars brakes and shocks. It’s a whole other world of racing.
You’ll have to spend lots more money on brakes since it kills brakes quickly. Rear disks, larger rotors up front, stainless steel brake lines, different brake pads. Air ducting to cool the brake rotors will be a must. The brake rotors of cars on a high speed road course glow red after several hard laps of racing. Drivetrain: TKO 500 & TKO 600, and T56 close ratio are the best transmission choices.
 
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Chris Petti

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The car already has 3:73 gears. I forgot to mention that. The original owner of this car brand new Auto Crossed the car.
 

FoxMustangLvr

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1) Maximum motorsports full length subframe connectors welded in
2) whatever suspension lowering kit you like, you may do this twice if you really plan on AutoX in the future
3) piece together a 5 lug big brake swap with 94/95 GT/V6 spindles, cobra 13" front rotors & calipers, cobra 11.625 rear rotors and calipers, 93 cobra MC and booster. This will drastically improve braking. Will require new wheels which you want to buy anyway.
4) either a torque arm/panhard setup or convert to IRS. Huge difference in handling.

3 and 4 come with a decent price tag but transforms this car big time and are "tasteful" modifications that will either hold or increase value or the car.
 
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