Help me guys, I need to make up my mind.

Home  \  Classic Cars  \  Help me guys, I need to make up my mind.

Ok, I am at a crossroads here. I am trying to make a decision, and it is not an easy one. As you know, I own a 1985 Ford Thunderbird 3.8L V6 with an auto tranny. It is in decent shape, and all the engine needs is a new radiator. The exterior is alright, but the maroon paint is a little faded and chipping in a few places. Also, there are a few minor dents and dings. I like this car, but I am afraid that it may be more trouble than it is worth. I want a fast car, and as it is, teh stock V6 is not cutting it at all. So I would need to do a whole hell of a lot of work to this car to make it what I want. Now what I am trying to decide is whether I should just keep this car and invest a bunch of money into it making it nice and fast, or if I should go with my other option, and save my money to buy a faster car, like a 5.0 mustang. I am very unsure about what to do, so it would be great if you guys could like tell me some pros and cons of the cars, and I can try to make up my mind.

posted by  85Thunderbird

If you can paint the ‘Bird cheaply (not a cheap crappy paint job) and spruce it up some you may make enough to get someone else’s project. I’ve seen cars go cheap because the owner is tired of it. Find one that needs work in your area of expertise. I’m not the world’s best mechanic by any means so I found a car that needed paint and interior work. If you have no experience doing auto body or engine work I’d drive your car while saving up the cash to get a 5.0. or whatever works for you. Remember that the money you put into it is going to be money you will not get back for the most part. I don’t know how much you have into the car now, but unless you can do most of the work yourself and are planning to keep it a long time I’d just wait to buy something else. One thing I have learned is that good deals come around more often than you think. Just have to keep an eye out and be ready with the cash. :2cents:

posted by  my67falcon

Thanks for the advice. I am not a mechanic whatsoever, so anything I am going to do to the engine I will have to pay someone to do. So now that I think about it, it may be a lot cheaper to just save my money and go with a different car. I was on and found some excellent deals, so I think I will just save my cash. :thumbs:

posted by  85Thunderbird

I have an 1986 T-Bird.. last year the radiator needed to be replaced.
I did it my self, not a big deal

4 months later the Heater Core needed replacing ....
Needed to remove the entire dasd...
Took it to the dealer, way beyond my ability
Was a few hundred $$

So, if your radiator went the heater core may not be far behind !?!

More info to help U with your decision

posted by  DrDisk

Hello there. My only advise to you Thunder is that if you want a fast car, dont settle for a 5.0 mustang. There are alot of cars out there that are faster are alot more reliable. You can get whatever you want though, just try not to fall into the mindset that because its a mustang 5.0 its gonna be really fast and unbeatable. Do some research on cars that you think you would want. I would suggest looking into a 86-90ish Toyota Supra, they are nice fast cars that you can find in most places and i think look better than mustangs... i dunno, you can at least be different from everyone else in the world and buy something that's not a mustang 5.0 if you're looking for a cheap fast car. good luck with it all :thumbs:

posted by  Vaspier

stock 5.0L HO 'stang engines aren't the most powerful in the world (215hp/285lb-ft depending on year) but they are tough as nails. I can't recall how many times I've heard the phrase "I've blown up way more chevy motors than i have fords" from racers. It's ashame I don't have any spare space otherwise I'd offer to take it off your hands.

The great thing about '83-88 t-birds and cougars is that they share the mustang chassis. Aftermarket mustang exhaust systems will fit, double hump trans cross members for the dual exhaust, rear control arms/shocks, rear differentials, lightweight k-members, coil over conversion kits, cold air intake kits, and the list goes on. If you get a 5.0L engine out of a Linc Mark VII you will have a high 14 sec car with stock trans and 2.73 rear gears assuming your trans and rear are in good shape. It MUST be a Mark VII LSC though, not a standard Mark VII. Mustangs and standard Mark VII's come with "E7TE" cylinder heads which are decent heads but the Mark VII LSC comes with GT-40 heads from the factory...noticable power difference.

If you decide to stick with the T-bird let me know, I'm a die hard '83-88 fan and could give you some good advice on building a potent street machine. Good luck!


posted by  Sick88Tbird

I have an 85 t-bird and need some advice on (affordable) enhancements that I can make to it. I have a 5.0L out of a 90 Lincoln Towncar, can it be put in my t-bird?

posted by  linwood

yeah dont get a 5.0 mustang.. look for more options man, there are lots of cheap and good reliable cars other then a 5.0 mustang.

posted by  351ci-mustang

there really isn't any sense in getting a 5.0 'stang if you have a 5.0 t-bird/cougar. The H.O. motors bolt right into these cars.

As far as a 5.0 town car motor fitting in your 'bird, no problem. You'll probably have to change the oil pan, timing cover, and water pump but it won't be as ballsy as an H.O. motor.

Std. 5.0L(255-302 firing order)-165hp/250lb-ft during the '80's and early '90's
H.O. 5.0L(302W-351W firing order)-225hp/275lb-ft from '86-'93

These are SAE gross(measured@crank) power ratings from Ford

A standard 5.0 is good for about 16.50's in the t-bird/cougar and a 5.0 H.O. is good for about 15.30's. Those are my personal, average test numbers...vehicle was equipped with 2.73 open-rear and an AOD trans in mediocre condition. All runs were made with the stock size 215/70R14 tires@30psi. I should be installing a posi rear with 3.08's this weekend so more test numbers will be available soon. Any questions? Feel free to shoot me a private message.

posted by  Sick88Tbird

302 ford 400hp, 400ft/lbs,. rat engine

posted by  fgm 51

a "rat engine" huh? sounds like someone has been working with chevy's too much. Good luck on getting a 302 to produce 400hp AND 400lb-ft of torque. At the 400hp level, you should be seeing more like 350-370lb-ft of torque, and that's with a well matched cam, intake, heads, and headers. To actually produce 400lb-ft from a 302, you'd be more in the 450-475hp range, which is no longer a friendly street'd be making peak torque in the 5000-5500rpm range, with peak hp coming in around 6200-6700rpm.

posted by  Sick88Tbird

Hmmm. it does take a bunch to get an N/A 400 hp 302. My 306 was ata bout 350 hp, but the torque figure was higher (close to 400 lb ft). Still, there had been a lot done to the engine, and I don't think it would have been streetable in a car heavier than my 2720lb RX7 with 4.10:1 rear gears.

Depending on the smog laws i nyour area, you could swap to a larger engine in that T-bird and make more power for less money. Personally, I'd get the Fox chassis 460 mounts, and drop in a mildly built 460 (466 cid from an .030 overbore, 10-10.5:1 pistons, etc). Easily over 500 lb ft of torque with almost no mods, and 600-70 lb ft with fairly mild mods (main thing is to remove the hump in the middle of the exhaust port for each cyl. You can see a 25% increase in power from just that mod alone, it blocks that much airflow).

posted by  ChrisV

I have seen people add either a turbo (low boost), intercooler, or supercharger. These are usually bolt-on applications and will really improve your HP. Besides, everyone has a Stang! IMO


posted by  Trader4Less

Your Message