New help on a big decision!!!

DH71986

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Feb 17, 2017
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I am contemplating on selling my low mileage (81K) 2003 Crown Victoria and buying a fox body or a sn95 5.0. The fox body is a 1986 SVO with a few modifications. They car , from what the owner says, has very little rust. It looks to be in great shape from the pictures and there would be very little I would have to change. The worst part is no A/C. The other car in the dilemma is a 1995 GTS. Car looks the be in great shape also. Everything works according to the owner, but the A/C looses freon over time. He said he was going to put some dye in and find the leak. I have owned a 95 but is was a convertible and I loved it. I like the idea of being more unique in having a SVO, but have never driving or known anyone who has owned one. These cars would be mostly everyday drivers with going to the track every once in a while for the test and tune night. My goal for either one would be 12 second passes while being a good street mannered car. I love the sound of the 5.0s but I also love the sound of a turbo spool. I do not have a huge budget after the purchase of either one of these. And no I cannot go look at them because they are both at least 200 miles away. I would love anyone's input. Thank you.
 
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Mustang5L5

i'm familiar with penetration
Mod Dude
Feb 18, 2001
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The 5.0 will probably be more reliable and better suited for daily use than the SVO.

Not a knock against it, but if you plan on making power, it will be easier and cheaper to do so with the 5.0 and still daily drive it. SVO's have become exotic garage queens by this point. Parts are becoming harder to find and more expensive. It's a unique car for sure, but your wallet will thank you for getting a 5.0
 
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2000xp8

SN Certified Technician
Aug 8, 2003
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I'm not sure what it would take to make an svo a reliable 12 second daily driver.
Of the two i'd rather the svo, with that said, the 95 will for sure be a better/more reliable daily driver.
 
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Mstng93SSP

You have a nice rear end there Dave.
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If you haven't sold the crown vic yet, why limit yourself to these two choices? A 94/95 Cobra would make a great daily driver. Even a well maintained fox could be driven daily.

Chris
 
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EX-SSP

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Apr 16, 2019
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I also like the idea of the SVO due to it's rarity. But, yeah, it's not a big power car. It would be a good road course car with the better suspension/brakes and smaller motor(less weight) but def. not a drag car.
 

DH71986

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Feb 17, 2017
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If you haven't sold the crown vic yet, why limit yourself to these two choices? A 94/95 Cobra would make a great daily driver. Even a well maintained fox could be driven daily.

Chris


These are about the 2 best choices I have found so far. I have been looking into 96-98 as well but prefer the 302 to the mod motor. I have not found a 94/95 Cobra around my price range within about 400 miles of me here is Kansas.
 

DH71986

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$5000 for SVO and $5500 for the SN95. I will throw another in the mix, 1999 GT for $4500 in good shape. A/C stuff is gone though.
 

DH71986

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Broaden your search and be patient.
When a seller says ' very little rust' that means you can't see the worst stuff. Just my experience.


This is what I am afraid of. That car is up in Nebraska about 3.5 hours from me so I just can't run up there and take a look.
 

revhead347

Apparently my ex-husband made that mistake.
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$5000 for SVO and $5500 for the SN95. I will throw another in the mix, 1999 GT for $4500 in good shape. A/C stuff is gone though.

Take the SN95 for $5500. That sounds a little high on the price, but if it's in good condition, it's worth it. I realize prices in Kansas aren't going to be the same as in Georgia. Do not put the dye in the AC system, it just gums it up. If you really want to find the leak, just feel around the hose couplers. There will be AC oil coming out where ever it's leaking. Or honestly, just keep topping it off with gas when it needs it. If it's only losing one of those little cans a year or so, it will be 50 years before the cost of repairing it is equal to the cost of the gas.

Kurt
 

kendawg73

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Something to think about - The only problem DD a older mustang (or any old car for that matter)... if it gets wrecked in an accident, your going to get basically nothing from insurance, since they will go by book value (even if you have full converge). So if you put a lot a time and money fixing it up... it will all be gone with one accident.. that's why you need to use classic car insurance, but then of course you can't DD it.... but you will get your agreed upon value if something were to happen.
There is no way I would spend all this time and money fixing my car up and have it gone just like that... I just couldn't live with myself after that... since all the asshatz out there driving now, texting, and what not don't give two chit's about other people property ect...
 

Foxslider

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Its all you really. SVO's are cool as hell. But if you go with the sn95. Wait it out for a 94/95 cobra. 5k 5500 is the price for a nice one. Will hold value better too. There is a 94 cobra here in houston for 3800. Just saw it online, cause flirting with idea myself as one for a daily. But i really need my truck.

A while back last year, i saw a 95 cobra clean as hell, many bolt ons, 5500 i think.
 

junkyardwarrior

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Jan 10, 2011
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I have had several SVO's, all 4 years (84, 85, 85.5 and 86). The 86's are the fastest.

None of them were really reliable. Seems like it was always something. Kick a rod out. Distributor gear. Aux shaft gear. Timing belt once or twiced. 7.5 rear end had cone-type "posi", which was weaker than the clutch style, and you can't get parts for the style nearly as easily as you can the clutch style. Front ball joints are non replacable on all SVO's, so if they're worn, you're gonna be doing a lot of thinking on how. The transmissions are different. 84-85 had a 4.03 low gear which sucked. The 85.5 and 86 had a much nicer 3.50 low gear which brought the ratio split closer together and made the car faster and more fun. Wiring around the engine tends to crumble particularly with the early units. K member is a little different. Seats are unique. There just is a lot of things with the SVO's that made them "special"; yet hard(er) to find parts for. There weren't that many made to begin with. They are STILL a 4 cylinder Mustang and thus don't carry much value unless VERY low mileage and bone stock, and beautiful showroom new, and then you might expect $10k. A 5.0 in same condition brings more every time. I don't know why; most of the SVO's were neat cars in their day and somewhat rare. I ain't seen one on the road in gosh, 5, 6 years?? Long time.

12 second driver? Possible...HOWEVER, you'll need to go into the engine. Do the bore/hone deal, and put good pistons and rods in it (CP/Carillo). The stock rods are ok but they get weak at 300hp+. Once you get past about 275hp, you're gonna be looking for a different turbo to support more power. Then the ECU and VAM are done by about 300hp. Figure 300hp as the absolute uppermost limit for the stock stuff and it's not likely to put a stock SVO into the 12's with 300hp; and even at 300 you're probably gonna need a mildly ported head and a little more fuel pressure. 2.3's are fun to play with but they are expensive for just having half the cylinders as a normal Mustang. The bad part: set of rods is $500 and set of 4 pistons is also about $500. It's almost cheaper to build a 5.0 and then you have to address the turbo, header, intake manifolds, engine management, etc...it adds up, quick. That's why I left my current 2.3T project a mostly stock engine with bolt-ons (exh, intake, and roller cam to replace the worn out slider cam).

--BUT--

Even with all it's downfalls, the little 2.3T engine in the SVO is still kind of cool, it is absolutely FUN, easy to work on (for the most part), and built properly they are mostly reliable given the fact that the block is so lightweight (the head & manifolds with cam weigh as much as a bare block does!), and they handle pretty good for what they are. I do not currently own an SVO. They are too "special" for me to want another one, but I do have a '93 coupe, with an SVO 2.3L turbo, did the suspension, dampers, steering rack, then put decent seats in it from a 2009, and made it my own rendition of an SVO, but uglier. Clearcoat gone, centercaps long gone, ain't washed it since I bought it (the rain washes it for me), surprises a LOT of unsuspecting folks with how it hits hard at 2500 rpm, it's honestly like a light switch. Off (about 1800 rpm) is about 80 hp. On (about 2500 rpm) is about double, maybe more.. It will (if I let it) eat tires when it hits in 2nd gear and occasionally third. That's at 18 psi, which is all I need. 30 mpg too. Lots of fun but it's on borrowed time as far as reliability goes, 20,000 miles and the only problem I've had out of it in that time is a leaky valve cover gasket, a leaky water line, and currently has an oil leak up top that I haven't found yet....probably the oil separator on the valve cover. Minor I know. Last SVO I owned ate a distributor gear, then an aux gear, then timing belt. It went from the belt to busted rod and windowed block, took about a year. Built another engine while the TRW pistons were still available (they are no longer) then broke the rear end while negotiating a turn, 5 mph, barely creeping, just bound up and went bang. Fixed it with Ebay parts and sold it. It was fun but too much work to keep running. They all were like that, if something wasn't broken it wasn't being driven, and it was always something.

SN95 stuff is much more comfortable, reliable, faster (though suprisingly not by much if you compare a GT to a SVO), handles almost as well, etc. The newer they are the better they get in a lot of ways, but the more expensive they are too.
 
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DH71986

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First I would like to thank all of you for your responses. I have decided to go with the SVO. Mostly because it is closer to my house, 2.5 compared to 5, but also because I have always wanted one. This particular car already has an aftermarket turbo, FMIC, runs on PIMPX management, bigger injectors, billet flywheel, spec clutch, and a bunch of other miscellaneous parts and pieces. The owner sent me videos and it sounds awesome and seems to run pretty good. This car doesn't have to be able to get to the 12 second goal, as long as it is fun to drive. We all know turbo noises are all kinds of fun. Thanks for all your help. I will post pictures if I purchase the car.
 
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mikeAZ

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Nov 4, 2019
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Any rust=no buy. I had a 85 SVO and sold it. It was near impossible to find the correct parts for it, even tail lights,etc. Very few engine blocks (which are special to the SVO). On the other hand nice 5.0 / Fox bodys can still be found and 302's are still plentiful. Be patient, Craigslist can be your friend.