What would you do next? - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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What would you do next?

Need some input to keep my ADD at bay... Over the last year of owning my coupe, I've done the following:

JBA shorty headers w/ true dual exhaust
C4 to T5 conversion
Export brace
Monte Carlo bar
A lot of small, misc stuff...

Plans for the future:
Rebuild rear suspension (new shocks/leaf springs, leave rear drums)
New gears with traklok (not sure on 3.55 or 3.80 - T5 is older, non world class out of '84 Mustang)
Front suspension upgrades (already have disc front brakes)
New wheels/tires (current 14" wheels are fugly but they hold air and tires are OK)

My plan for this coming winter is to pull the motor and refresh the top end with quality parts (aluminum heads/cam/intake/carb). Car already has intake, cam and carb but I have no idea if they all match and want to squeek out some more power. Thought about 347 crate but really am leaning towards just freshening up this motor.

So with that said, where would you focus on next? I'm leaning towards gears (new chunk from TJ on Ebay), but keep flipping back and forth...

Purpose of the car is a spirited weekend cruiser, may do some light bracket racing if the mood strikes...
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 11:52 AM
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The single greatest drivability updates you can make are front suspension and tires. That's where I would start for sure.

With regard to gears, I've heard some people talk about going with steep in gears makes first gear useless (especially in a T5Z). That has not been my experience. My T5 is out of an 85 GT, and with 3.73 gears, it is PERFECT. Just under 2,200 RPM at 70MPH and first gear is entirely usable. I don't honestly think there would be a ton of seat-of-the-pants difference between 3.55s and 3.80s, but I don't regret my 3.73s one bit.
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Last edited by BlakeTX; 05-10-2019 at 11:59 AM.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 12:00 PM
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I would also start with suspension and tires. The time and money I spent there was well worth it. Everyone talks about roller arms and such, but I just did Opentracker stock arms with the Arning drop, roller spring perches, GT350 springs, and a bigger sway bar and it made a huge difference.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 12:10 PM
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With your car's already very low first gear, going with 3.80s would make it about as handy as 1-Low in a 1960s 4 wheel drive truck. Great for pulling stumps, but not so useful for a more performance oriented vehicle. Also, given its general lack of intestinal fortitude, I'd think about replacing that first! Get a T5 Z maybe. Or drive it till it comes apart on a hard 1-2 shift, and put something better in when it's less convenient.

Once you have a new transmission in, then you could do the rear gears and actually get some use out of 5th.

If you haven't already, do the Shelby drop up front, put on a 1" swaybar, and get some KYB (cheap) or Bilstein (not cheap) shocks. That will absolutely transform your car's handling.

When it comes to engine, saving up for a set of AFR heads or perhaps some TW's will sure bring it to life. Good heads and a mild cam is an awesome recipe for an all-around fun car. Broad-shouldered torque, good economy, fun to drive in town or on the highway, and perfect for anything except high end track use.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 01:20 PM
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I feel like maybe I should add - with a manual transmission in a car with some power, I am suddenly transformed into Ken Block. The tire smoke is real, and I am hard pressed to drive 'gently'. I'd much prefer going down some deserted country road, cackling, whooping, and banging through the gears without ever lifting the throttle.

My second car was a '67 Cougar with a C4 and 3.25 9" limited-slip gears. There was nothing limited about the slip of my tires. I learned to do full throttle neutral drops, bootlegger turns, and all manner of things that a 17 year old boy only gets to do once in a lifetime, with the car of his dreams. In my case, a ratty old clapped out '67 Cougar. I never had any trouble with that car whatsoever.

For me, a standard T5 would be a horrible match. I would soon hear the grinding sound of gears shucking all their teeth, and endure the Tow of Shame to put a new transmission in.

If you can drive gently, or you don't have any nice deserted country roads nearby, maybe it's a better choice for you. =)
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 02:45 PM
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On one hand I hate stockpiling parts I won't get to soon or if I have other priorities, on the other hand I keep an eye out for stuff I know I'll need someday that are a bargain. Maybe you should do this and see which sub-set system you build up first
or
The front suspension can be built literally from the top down without redoing stuff or needing to do it all at once. Such as the arning drop, springs, spring perches and UCA can be done as a chunk without touching the lower stuff. Makes the bites easier to swallow to me.
or
A logical progression such as stick to handling until you can drive better than 95% of the power you have now. Like a better T5 before rear gears OR engine upgrades, otherwise the more power/gears will force a new tranny, at the worst time, to the top of the list.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 03:39 PM
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I'd take it back to a day one car but that's just how I am...

Another vote for at least tires if not tires and wheels and suspension. Sounds like you're handling the rest of the engine though gears are a good upgrade for the powertrain. You'll be able to appreciate the power more if it doesn't handle like a bouncy truck.

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 06:34 PM
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Start with the suspension...
1. Shelby/Arning A-arm relocation
2. 1" front sway bar
3. Good shocks all the way around
4. Proper alignment
5. Quality brake pads and shoes - Porterfield R4S, EBC, Hawk, etc.
6. And decent tires of course!

Doing the things listed above will transform the handling of your car! You won't believe it's the same car the next time you go for a spirited drive through the twisties.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 07:40 PM
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Don't cheap out on shock absorbers!

65 C Code hardtop from California still wearing it's original paint.
Roller 331, TW 170 heads, T-5z, FiTech EFI, HiPo Manifolds, Arvinode exhaust, SoT Bilstien coilover front suspension, TJ on eBay 8" 3.40 Trac-Loc 3rd member. Mustang Steve 2008 GT bracketed 12.4" front disks
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like suspension gets the overwhelming nod. I thought it might but the rebel side of me wants to eliminate the one wheel peel LOL.

As far as the T5, I didn’t mention but it’s been totally rebuilt and I’d be surprised if I wreck it based on my style driving. I drove foxbodies all through high school and college and never blew a T5. IF something does happen to it, I’ll pull it and have it rebuilt with Astro parts and never worry about it again. For now, the car is 100x more fun to drive than when I had the junk C4 in it.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 10:18 AM
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Actually you should answer your own question.
What is it about the car that YOU dislike the most? The brakes, the steering, the handling, the ride, the radio … ? And fix that item first.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJM68GT390 View Post
Actually you should answer your own question.
What is it about the car that YOU dislike the most? The brakes, the steering, the handling, the ride, the radio … ? And fix that item first.
Where would be the fun in that? lol

Honestly, my list above are the things that I’d like to change. It’s not that I “dislike” them but I can’t leave well enough alone... At the end of the day, I could walk away and just drive it, but I like tinkering and upgrading where I can.

Suspension has never been at the top of my list, mainly because I live in South GA and there’s not a lot of curves. I do want to replace it though because I eventually want it all new and enhanced to match the engine work I’m planning.

If I had to pick what was at the top of my list, it’s that the car lacks low end “umph”. That was generating my thinking of upgrading rear gears and adding posi.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Steven Ramage View Post
If I had to pick what was at the top of my list, it’s that the car lacks low end “umph”. That was generating my thinking of upgrading rear gears and adding posi.
TJ on eBay it is then! Now what gear ratio?

65 C Code hardtop from California still wearing it's original paint.
Roller 331, TW 170 heads, T-5z, FiTech EFI, HiPo Manifolds, Arvinode exhaust, SoT Bilstien coilover front suspension, TJ on eBay 8" 3.40 Trac-Loc 3rd member. Mustang Steve 2008 GT bracketed 12.4" front disks
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Nailbender View Post
TJ on eBay it is then! Now what gear ratio?

Just an FYI, unfortunately TJ Rebert passed away this past December. His business is now owned by one of his employees, Alan Von Ahnen. From what I've heard and read, Alan is continuing to do an excellent job.

Ford Rears 8 inch 9 inch Posi Traction Rear Differentials

Hope this helps.

John

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subpar63 View Post
Just an FYI, unfortunately TJ Rebert passed away this past December. His business is now owned by one of his employees, Alan Von Ahnen. From what I've heard and read, Alan is continuing to do an excellent job.

Ford Rears 8 inch 9 inch Posi Traction Rear Differentials

Hope this helps.

John
Sorry to hear of his passing. He did joke 2 years ago when I bought mine that my 1 year warranty would be void if he croaked. Glad to hear he had someone to continue the business.

65 C Code hardtop from California still wearing it's original paint.
Roller 331, TW 170 heads, T-5z, FiTech EFI, HiPo Manifolds, Arvinode exhaust, SoT Bilstien coilover front suspension, TJ on eBay 8" 3.40 Trac-Loc 3rd member. Mustang Steve 2008 GT bracketed 12.4" front disks
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