Progress Thread Monkeybutt2000's 89 vert build thread- ONE STEP UP..well ya know


Active Member
Aug 11, 2019
Well,with all the downtime I figured why not start a build thread. Names Neil born and raised in Indiana,been residing in Lafayette the last 26yrs. Employed at Subaru of Indiana for 24yrs,where we build the Outback,Legacy etc. I started off on the Metal Finish line,where I learned heavy body repair and basic dent repair. After 2yrs I moved on to paintless dent repair,which I've been doing the last 22yrs. Growing up I was a GM guy,driving a 76' Trans Am through school. However,my best buddies were Mustang nuts,and between our Jr-Sr year we swapped both of their 4cyl Mustangs to 302's. We had ALOT of good help,but did most of it ourselves. That kicked off my love for the Foxbody,although I wouldn't own one til several years later. After my Air Force enlistment,I moved back to the area and worked for a trailer manufacturer as a welder before moving on to SIA.

One of the aforementioned high school buddies was looking to sale his 87 LX hatch,which need a clutch,so I purchased for the princely sum of $1200. This was 96' but the car was pretty rough,but ran great. Ended up trading that for an 82 GT with an full HO drivetrain swapped in. Traded that for an 87 LX coupe. I was never a fan of the "Notch" body style. One of my Air Force buddies bought one brand new around 92, a Calypso green. Ugh,I thought it was ugly, lol. Anyway,that car was special. It was the first car I ever took down the dragstrip,and ran a 14.20 stock. I eventually whittled that down to a 13.20 on an 8" slick and 3:73s. I built the car for the now defunct FFW Factory stock class,unfortunately due to work constraints was only able to attend the first World Ford Challenge. I qualified 9th,with a 12.83, they only let us run one pass because weather issues. A few dumb decisions were made,and I ended up parting the car and getting out of the game for awhile. Well as we all know,you get the itch. Purchased an 89 LX vert,with an AOD. It was just a cruiser,sold it to pay for my wedding. Few years later purchased a super nice 85 GT out of Wisconsin. Sold it back to the guy I bought it from few years later. Then an 86 notch out of Tennessee,swapped to look like an aero an 302 AOD. That car gave me alot of issues,ended up being that stupid ignition switch. Sold it to a kid who's Dad had a badass Falcon that he drag raced,and he wanted an AOD car so he could learn on. Fast forward to 2013, had moved to a house with a sizeable garage,had some extra play money and decided to get a toy. I almost bought a 2001 Firehawk vert, glad that didn't happen. So the search was on for another Fox. I can't tell you how much crap I looked at. I finally found my 89 in St.Louis. Older gentelman owned it,said he bought if for his wife for their lakehouse but she couldn't get used to the clutch. Car was super clean in the pics,and didn't disappoint when we got there and drove it home. Had a PILE of receipts,and the car was absolutely rust free,it was clearly taken care of and never winter driven. It had MM subframes,upper and lower braces, Koni oranges and C springs. Car was originally an AOD, but was swapped to a 5spd with a new T-5Z. Other than 3.73s and long tubes,the engine was stock. This was how I drove it til 18' when I decided to do a HCI swap, then.....

I had purchased an 85 GT from a guy,who, spent 10k on the drivetrain. I bought the car for $1200.After I sold off everything I didn't need, I came out with several hundred dollars in my pocket,a set of Edelbrock RPMS with SVO roller rockers,and a Lunati cam. I had also purchased a true GT40 intake a year or so after I had initially purchased,so that was covered. The stock short block had a little over 90k,had great compression so I was just gonna reuse it. Well,remember that I'm a PDR tech. Well, I have opportunities to make side cash,especially when hail hits. Well,mother nature let us have it and I made a sizeable booty of cash. Well,after seeing how well my buddies 331 ran in his Fairlane,that's the direction I decided to go. And after crunching the numbers,I really couldn't build it myself any cheaper. So,after some research and talking to them,I went with Creb engineering for my 331. Not in a huge hurry for it. I did have a setback with the camshaft. All I had to do was send them the cam,they'd degree it in,great. Cam never showed up. Fortunately a buddy hooked me up with another Lunati,and it made it there safely. The shortblock arrived all good in one piece,so I could finally start assembly. Had already purchased alot of new parts,timing cover,new arp bolts for everything,etc. Got it installed in the car,of course ran into a few snafus and waiting on more parts. Then,another windfall of cash,and I purchase an On3 turbo :oops: Yeah,talk about snowballing. Anyway,got the 331 up and running,man it was a beast. Would just fry the tires in second,and third wasnt much better. This was all last fall,only put about 125 miles on it,mostly beating on it pretty good. I knew a drivetrain upgrade was needed,so I sold my T-5Z setup, and ordered a TKO 600 through Astro performance. Was fortunate enough to find a Lakewood bellhousing on Marketplace for half price as well. Well,I went ahead and pulled the engine back out,in order to install everything in one shot. So that's where I'm at currently. Bellhousing was centerlined today,so got clutch installed and bell back on. Oh,I did mock up the On3 and everything fit pretty good. So we'll do a final test fit after I drop the engine/trans back in soon. Oh #2,went Megasquirt pnp 2 also,this should be interesting as I've NO idea what I'm doing. Been reading up a91what,and he'll definitely be on the hook for his tuning skills. Pics to come soon
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I didn't really have an issue with the stink...
SN Certified Technician
Mar 2, 2015
You'll be happy with the on3 and the 331. Nice car...and nice write up.
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Active Member
Aug 11, 2019
I had a few issues after I got it all together. Had the valves too tight....twice. Been awhile since I did any of that. Then,when I would take the car out,it would become increasingly hard to shift,and pedal feel was vague. Burned up a new clutch cable,so ordered a new one,just couldn't get it off the long tubes. I removed the long tubes and installed some bbk shorties and x pipe. Come to find out,the Mac long tubes were for an AOD car,that's why the clutch cable wouldn't route correctly.


Active Member
Aug 11, 2019
I broke the engine in the way I always do, hard. Start out in second gear at low rpm,to put a load on the engine,then full throttle through third gear to 6k rpm. Then let the engine come back down in it's own. Repeat that process several times,then just drove it around with several third and fourth gear pulls.

CarMichael Angelo

clearly, I’ve got something going on in that hole
SN Certified Technician
Nov 29, 1999
Birmingham, al
then the on3 mockup. Everything fit pretty well actually
There is an empty Budlight box in the pic, indicating that you’ll drink pee if somebody told you it had 4% alcohol in it. I can save you a buttload of money by peeing in a mason jar, and sending it to you if you’d like...I pee almost a consistently 4% B.A.L.

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
polk county florida
There is an empty Budlight box in the pic, indicating that you’ll drink pee if somebody told you it had 4% alcohol in it. I can save you a buttload of money by peeing in a mason jar, and sending it to you if you’d like...I pee almost a consistently 4% B.A.L.
He got that out of the neighbors garbage can.
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