Where to start with upgrading my Mustangs engine?

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by Scudly, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. Hello, I own a 1964 1/2 Mustang with a v8 289 (3 Speed automatic) which i have owned for a year and a 1/2 now. I bought it during my junior year of high school for $5000. Since the time i bought it, i have had body work done and a new paint job, and various other replacements of parts and maintanence. I am now quite happy with how the exterior looks, but one thing is lacking, power.

    Recently I noticed my car is not in league with some of the newer cars out on the streets. I have a 4 barrel Carter carberator on it (not sure of the exact specs of it), along with dual exhaust. I am not sure if to much else has been changed since i do not know the full history of my car, that and i am not as knowledgeable about cars as i wish. I want to upgrade the enging performance, but in many ways i do not want to cut down on full mileage to much because it is still my daily driver.

    I am in college now and I am on a bit of a budget, I want to know some things I can do to help add better performance and Horsepower to my car. I have been considering building up the 289, but i am not sure what would work best, and not cost me to much money. At the same time I have also been reading about people getting newer 5.0 L and dropping them into older stangs. So any recomendations or builds you guys could recomend would be awesome. If i am being vauge or you need clarification ask me.
  2. If the car still has exhaust manifolds, you can swap to headers. What intake is on it now? Aluminum or iron? What mufflers? Is the ignition points or electronic? Somtimes just advancing the timing on the ignition will make a world of difference. If it's set at the factory specs (6-8 degrees BTDC) just bumpimg it up to 12 degrees BTDC will make it feel like a new motor.
  3. There's a variety of things that may help - but I gotta ask - whats the ballpark dollar mark in your budget ? Under 1000 ? Under 500 ? Give us some idea and we will help you spend you money wisely
  4. Heads and headers.
    Might be able to find a pair of 69 windsor heads for a couple hundred bucks, clean them up....
  5. Thats actually some of the things I am not to sure about. The mufflers were on there when i got the car, and i have not bothered with the engine to much, so I am not to sure about the exhaust manifolds. I am assuming the majority of the parts are still stock on the engine. Like i said i am not as knowledgable about cars as i wish. Do you guys have any good general mustang tech sites or maybe some book recomendations. (My father is the main mechanic on my car, he has been working on cars for 25 years or so now, but its time i learn to fix my own car and build it up)

    [QUOTE='68StangGT]There's a variety of things that may help - but I gotta ask - whats the ballpark dollar mark in your budget ? Under 1000 ? Under 500 ? Give us some idea and we will help you spend you money wisely[/QUOTE]

    Im thinking along the lines of $500 at the moment. But it could just as easily jump to $1000
  6. everyone is probably getting tired of hearing me say it, but put bigger gears in the rear, if you have enough money left over, put in a shift kit. you will notice alot of difference for a little money.

    then, as time goes onand you save up money, work on the exhaust (headers and big pipes) and then the fuel intake system (intake, carb, cam, headwork).

    Just personally, i would put on air shocks and big rubber before starting on the engine and exhaust.

    Of course, none of this addresses the fact that rust and old suspension and brakes should be worked on first, but hey, what fun is that, eh?
  7. i think prolly msd ignition or other ignition upgrades. better spark produces more power and helps fuel economy. Next would prolly be exhaust. after that you start dipping into your fuel mileage with tires and gears and all.
  8. I believe I already replace the gears in the rear a few months back, but i think they are still close to stock size. I am curious to what shift kit you recomend, and how much that will set me back.

    I put on Air shocks on the rear end during Thanksgiving since the new tires i put in the rear were to close to the fenders. The suspension probably needs to be reworked, and i put new drums on 4 months ago (i wish i had the money to switch over to Disc). I also had to recently swap out the generator for an alternator because the generator finally died.

    I understand your trying to say there is more to up keeping your car than speed and HP. But i think i have covered most of my bases pretty well.

    Here is the progress my car has made in 1 year or so

    http://home.comcast.net/~kurttaber/kevcar3.jpg - when i first go it

    http://home.comcast.net/~kurttaber/Random_082.jpg (couple of days afer paint)

    http://home.comcast.net/~kurttaber/scan.jpg - How it is today (except for the back end i higher now because of the air shocks)
  9. oh man, i was like w000t vinyl top!!! but then it was gone!!! i always wanted a med blue 66 coupe with a white top :)
  10. Just put in the pertronix $59 ignitor for the distributor very happy with it. cars purrrrrs awesome. smoother acceleration too. I couldnt peel out before but now I can was that final hump I needed I guess. try to find out what carter carb you got. 500cfm 600cfm etc. they must only have a couple versions that will fit your engine. You might want to look into the performance underdrive pulleys they're smaller so you free up some hp 8-10 + but you'll need new belts etc. that's probably around $150.
  11. Well you definately made it look nice.
    What color blue is that ?

    -I'd get headers if you don't have them, they're inexpensive - also consider doing the entire exhaust done first with an X pipe, and striaght through mufflers like Magnaflow, or an H pipe with a chamberd mufflers like flowmasters. More power, better gas mileage, and the sound of nice exhaust = :drool:
    -an aluminum intake like Edelbrock performer
    I have a Carter 4 barrel also. I bet yours is a 625cfm too.
    -Upgrade your ignition. Plugs / wires / and maybe a flame thrower coil with a Pertronix module to convert to electronic ignition cheaply.

    You will probably want to up grade your cam. Which can be done cheaply if your dad will pull your intake manifold, and pull all the accesories off the front of you engine to pull your timing chain off, pull your valve covers, and radiator. In parts it will be inexpensive for the cam, and new gaskets. Planned out well can be done in a long weekend if you get after it. If you go with a pretty agressive cam you'll have to upgrade your valve springs.
    Upgrade your cooling system if it runs hot at all. Electric fan / bigger radiator. My cars runs much more powerfull at low temps.
    That's about it for the engine unless you really want to start replacing more expensive things like your heads.

    I'm getting a 2,500 rpm stall convertor you may consider too that will slip your rpms like a manual car up to 2,500 rpm. Get you a better launch that way. Just plan to add a transmission cooler with it.

    Simple thing be sure you have it tuned right. :nice:
    I wouldn't go with low gears since your a 3 speed. Highway driving sucks at 70mph at +4,500 RPM. I'm getting an overdrive trans. for that exact reason as we speak.

    Just my 2 cents - seems like a good place to start.
  12. b&m has always worked for me, and they are cheap. i could be wrong, the last one i bought was about 13 years ago, but i think the kit cost 20$.

  13. Do you mean the B&M SHIFT IMPROVER KIT?

  14. The Trans pac is probably a better choice,

    http://www.bmracing.com/ Click "Products" "kits" "TransPac" "Ford"

    Also I've had good luck with TCI stuff.


    The "TransScat" is what you want.

    Give us an engine picture so we can see if it has headers or not.

    My personal opinion is to get a 5.0 from a salvage yard and build it as time and money allows, with a Hyd Roller, good heads, and then swap them..........But 500-1000 isn't going to do it.
  15. yes scudly, that is what i was talking about. as i suggested, the prices have change over the years, no surprise!
  16. for 500 bucks...
    cheap headers 100
    cam kit 150
    intake 150
    ignition 100

    thats my recomendation... but htat is a ton of work though... but youll notice a HUUUUUUGE diference
    if you get a good cam... that is the most important piece, but you dont want to overdo it either

    if you get heads, your going to lose a alot of compression so i dont recomend that until you do a complete rebuild... my 289 makes good power on the stock heads... even though they have been cleaned up..
    ya, you can port and polish your heads at home for free :) (20 hp maybe)

    again, all of this is a ton of work, about as much as a complete rebuild, but if you still have good compression youll probably be fine

    *my transmission wore out much faster after i got my engine rebuilt and had much more power... so a shift kit and changing your tranny fluid is a good idea too... and anything else that would help

    goodlooking car btw
  17. Thats a pretty good break down on prices. I am back home from college right now (Finals are over). I have been looking at summitracing.com and cal-mustang.com on alot of the parts you recommended. I am still curious as to what type of headers you would recomend, tri-y or something else, and what brand. The same goes for exhaust, I know H-pipe is good, but what brand?

    I am also looking into rebuilding my 289, my dad had his 67 rebuilt by our family friend for about $600 which is not to bad.

    Just curious how much change in performance can i expect by changing up alot of these parts?
  18. He left out the price of a good 4 bbl carb. I wouldn't do a cam swap if you're planning on a rebuild in the near future. Headers and ignition are good investments. If you now have a 2 bbl carb and intake, just swapping on a Holley 500 cfm 2bbl can net you 20-30 hp, for same price ( new that is) as a Holley 600 cfm 4 bbl. You save the hassle of buying an intake and then swapping it. This is a very cost effective upgrade for those who aren't mechanically inclined.
  19. New thoughts on my car and engine. Well i was out driving around Pomona last night with a buddy driving next to me, so we decided to race at one light for the hell of it since no one was around. He drives a 1997 Ponitiac Sunfire GT (automatic) that is mostly stock with the exception full cat back exhaust, magnaflow duel mufflers, warm air intake. So We go and he basically kicks my ass 3 different lights, and I realize how much my engine and transmission need work. Granted the power to weight ratio in our cars is very different, it still got me peeved. I relized that there are alot of things i still do not know about my car, when the last rebuild was or how many owners my car has had. So I have decided to save up the money and do a proper rebuild when i get back from school in the summer.

    so i need some advice once again.
    I now am considering a budget along the lines of $2,000.
    I am planing on a complete rebuild, a new cam, electronic ignition (new distributor), headers, new exhaust, a shift kit for the transmission, and maybe a new carb. My overall goal is 300 HP on the rear wheels while trying to maintain a decent fuel economy so i can continue using the car as my daily driver.

    The rebuild will be done by a family friend, the cam i need help chosing or some opion on, i am not sure what headers will not hit my power stearing, and i think i want to do a dr. gas x pipe but i am not sure where to buy a good kit, so please give me links and opinions on how i should build the engine back up. My dad may also swap me my carter 500 cfm carb for his edlebrok 650 carb he has on his stang (which they barely drive =[

    This is how the engine sits now. 289 with a 4 barrel carter 500 cfm carberator. Stock manifolds with a duel exhaust system (no clue what mufflers one of the owners ahead of me put on). Swaped the generator to an alternator 3 months ago.

    oh and how much would it run to redo the suspension on my car?

    (pictures of the engine will be up today or tommorow)
  20. if your engine is in fair shape, you can easily and inexpensively return the favor to your friend-with-the-girl's-car by beefing up your drivetrain.