mustang buildup

some of the stuff is pretty old so bear with the horrible quality of the pictures.
this is the car in october of 1997. its an 86gt so this is equal to one of you younger guys owning a 94 TSI
i don’t have any dead stock pictures of it because i’m dumb and i had no idea i was keeping it this long.
i had already changed out the rear 1/4 windows and some interior panels. but here is an outside shot in october 97

i drove it just like this for about 2 years, commuting from college and going to the local dragstrip almost every weekend.
it ran 14.4 on what you would consider now as drag radials. i had a pair of DOT legal dirt track tires that just took heat well, and could be run at 14psi. used they were $50
by this time i had installed some $50 shorty headers, gutted the H-pipe (removed all 4 cats), and threw on some dynomax mufflers with no tailpipes.

then oneday while at college my girlfriend at the time had an 86.5 supra and it broke down. i went to go get her and while tryint to turn, the guy behind me didn’t see me and swirved into the oncoming lane to avoid rear ending me in the rain. an oncoming jeep caused him to swirve back into me and wipe out the whole driver side of my car.

i took the insurance money, bought a pair of doors, fender, 2.5 cowl hood, new rack (broke in accident), and got the whole car painted. it took some of my own money too. i was a broke ass college student so it was a real stretch for me so i drove it redneck style till i saved enough money for the paint job.

i also aquired a set of pony 16inch rims from a friend at some point.

it was worse than this at one point. i had baby blue doors, a red hatch and a sun faded pink saleen wing.

i don’t have pictures of this.
then i got the car painted and it was beautiful (to me)

the wing was very dated, excuse that i removed it soon after.

around this point i swapped to 1990 dashboard. it fit yes, but required every single wire going to the instrument cluster, center console controls, everything to be wired one wire at a time. it was a mess, i was young.

there is a lot of mess in there. its the factory harness butchered tow work with the new dash, plus a ton of extra crap to work the aftermarket radio and amps and speakers, all the aftermarket gauges, line lock, two step, msd… you get the point.

i later went back in and cut it down to this with a jc-whittney box of wire and generic POS fuse box

now i had about 3 years experience as a mechanic under my belt and i wanted the car to go faster. i had a set of 3.73 gears, a full 2.5 exhaust (dual), air filter, electric fan, and some other stupid bolt ons and i got it to run 13.9 the 1986 has a pretty crappy engine. the heads have super small ports. something to do with this being the first year of fuel injection so they just kinda screwed this one up a bit. the 85 and 87 had better heads. strange.

due to the high dome pistons, my head selection was limited and i couldnt’ run a bigger cam.

so i continued to pony on with what i had and save up and buy what i wanted. a nice fuelie 351w (5.8) i assembled the parts, racked up my first credit card bills and put together a SVO racing block (very strong block, set up for hydraulic
roller cam) it has stock internals from like a ford van. it actually still does as i type this. a set of twisted wedge cyl heads with a going over from a friend of mine who is a cam designer. he also did my cam. (ed curtis) i went through a couple intake manifolds at this time as they came out. when i
first did this, my choice of 351w intakes was pretty limited. now i can get anything.
i converte the car to MAF, as it was speed density before and wouldnt’ be able to keep up with the mods. at first i kept the shorty headers, and later moved on to long tubes with a 3 to 2.5 X-pipe. i always kept the 2.5 cat-back.

build motor shove in car:
old motor

new stuff

just about done

as the car sat it ran a few 12.8’s at 106 or so
i was having trouble with mis-matched parts, too small of an intake and learning how to drive this motor.

after an intake swap and long tubes it really opened up the motor. and it was running 12.2’s at 111ish

at this point it was still my only car. this was late 99 or 2000 i’d say. i had drive the car from 120k when i bought it, to about 170k now. it had also never been towed yet. (well i towed it to my driveway from my shop (3 blocks) so my boss wouldnt’ bust my balls about the car there while i tore down the stock motor to use the parts on the new motor. it sat home for like 3 days.

it dyno’d 336rwhp
but an awesome torque curve thanks to my awesome cam guy. who set up my combo for a daily driver car, that i could flog at will and not blow up and still go fast.

i even drove it over 1000 miles to bowling green kentucky to attend a mustang meet i’ve been back to 3 more times.
i packed the CRAP out of the hatch with spare parts, trans, rear parts, everything. alternator, water pump. i was scared, i would be racing, and camping.
i clicked off a 12.0 on a set of borrowed slicks that day in 103deg heat, then drove it over 1000 miles home.

that day, o my spare tire skinnies and borrowed slicks

i drove it like this for a few more years, eventually picking up my galant and using my mustang less. so i started ditching parts off the car, adding a roll bar and some more drag style suspension.

learning how to weld and fit a rollbar

i did paint all the bare rusty looking metal later that day

the dash and console are out of a 1990

picking up two broken tremec 3550 transmissions for $150 total

i rebuilt one out of the two. its still in my car today, rated at 300 hp

i started going to some NMRA races and racing in open comp and helping out my buddies in factory stock and entering the burnout contest. i won a few times. the one good time was when i broke all the lugs off my axles. what a piece of shit moser piece of junk.

i ended up finally finding another set of SCREW in axle studs that i needed and i drove the car home.
i got really lucky with that find.

some more upgrades

pulled the rear out, added some spherical bushings, welded the axle tubes to the housing.

eventually i ended up going to 4.10 gears, manual brakes, manual steering, no heat, no sound deadning, better rims/tires and slicks, some more cheap ass suspension ugrades. it ran VERY consistant 11.7’s @ 114 for about 2 years. it was great, very fun and very reliable.

final shots of the engine before stage 2

i never touched this engine other than the intake swap. never, it survived years of racing. i put about 30k miles on it and hundreds and hundreds of 1/4 miles passes.

i ended up running 11.5 @ 117 on a GREAT day with a video here:

25mb high res movie
10mb low res movie for slow connections

so at this point i decide i’m not going to get anything more out of this 336rwhp car.
11.5 @ 117 is all its got.

so after a long year of thinking i decided to turbocharge it.
i traded my cr250 to nathan for a pte-67gtq and a tial 46mm wastegate.

i start mocking up the pipes on the bench before my turbo came in. i used some t28 or some bullshit

then i got mine in

those are just regular POS aftermarket mustang headers. i cut the flange off and welded on a v-band clamp flange. some 3 U bends and some 2.5 pipe and a t-4 flange.

fitting it in the car didn’t work as well. the angle of the off center exhust housing put it in the frame. so i notched it and used that spot anyway

and moved the alternator to the driver side

and made a crossover pipe

tapped the oil pan

i got this breadbox intake and mounted it 180 out
and i rigged up the throttle body to operate backwards so the throttle cable wouldnt’ be hanging in front looking dumb

then i needed to add a 3.5 downpipe

but i needed another inch or two but i couldn’t get a hammer in there so i went the other way 🙂

i threw on some exhaust wrap on the downpipe becuase its close to shit, hooked up the intake and threw on some straight pipe with a 4 dynomax bullet muffler

still, at this point the car has never had a tune. heh

with the mustangs, all you have to do is pick your injectors, and get a MAF meter with the right injector calibration. i had 50lb/hr injectors (kinda like 500cc), and a blow through MAF calibrated for 46lb/hr injectors. worked well enough.

took it up to the track,
and on the FIRST launch on the new 28 slicks i won at a burnout contest the fall before it broke the upper control arms.

you can see the other one breaking and bent it also broke my driveshaft from the axle twisting up, and ruined my BRAND new slicks as they slammed into the body. about $1k in damage total.

fixed that, and went back to the track
i never even got a full pass in when the ringlands broke on my stock pistons

got another set of stock pistons, this time from an older model with forged pistons and put those in.

but while at the track i got a half assed pass in not launching hard, hardly shifting, and running out of gear at the top end all while these two pistons broke it ran 10.8 @ 123


then my crappy heads wore out so bad (i should have known better) that the valve guide was so bad that the valve actually broke, damaged my brand new OEM pistons, and my aftermarket heads

during the time when my heads were being fixed, i was struck by a car on my motorcyle. i got pretty hurt, quit my job at the local shop, forced to close my business with nate at diamondstarmotorsport, and my car was totally apart and i sold off a bunch of stuff and planned to upgrade.
i had to spend that money from the parts i sold, and i couldn’t put my car together because of my conditon.

eventually later that fall i could and did put it back together. i installed a whole new wiring harness from headlights to taillights

okay so…

wiring harness. okay i decided to bite the bullet and do the WHOLE thing, from headlights to tail lights to injectors. everything in top quality stuff.
it took me i can’t even count how many hours. not a single butt connector, splice, or single inch of electrical tape. its all solder and heat shrink.
everything works too. the whole factory dash. at this time i also installed an AEM EMS because the price of my other components was dropping in resale value because of the AEM, FAST, and bigstuff, and even megasquirt so i figured i should bail out of it and buy a use AEM EMS. so i sold the stock ecu, MAF, engine wiring harness, 2 step, rev limit controllers, and a bunch of other shit that went along with what i had and the AEM could do the rest.


its really hard to see how nice i actually did it. mainly because everything is tied up because it gets attached to the dashboard, and then with the dash installed and everything plugged in you can’t see it.

i still have some fine details to do, like a few piece of wire loom where it passes through the body and fix it better at the headlights. towards the end i started getting rushed. i was still hurt, and had no job and could only work for a little bit at a time because my knees and back were so fucked up. my parents gave me a few months to move out. they were moving and i wasn’t invited. i didn’t have a job and i was borrowing money to get by. i was putting the car together with stuff i had bought the previous year and i was still short on funds to get the car going again.

it sat pretty much like this

my girlfriend bailed me out and i got it fired up and running and i drove it up to her house in december.

what was holding me up was my rear end.
i took the rear out before i crashed my bike and sold off the street style stuff and was in the middle of narrowing the rear end 5in with disk brakes.
i had NO wheels or axles i was fucked. so eventually i finished the rear end.

this is the stuff i had, but i decided i didn’t want these rear brakes. they were too racey and didnt’ have a parking brake.
with my new shorter HUGE axles

i cut the axle tubes off where i wanted (measured 947873467 times)

and lined up the new axle ends

now normally you would use a jig to center the new ends in the carrier in the pumpkin so its completely straight. but i don’t have a jig, and i have NO money to pay someone with a jig. at this point i was doing some small jobs for cash. timing belts, evo clutches. stuff that paid well and the people had to know i might take a while because i’m hurt.

so what i did to center the axle was take a dial indicator with a magnetic base, and plant it on the rear. then measure the play in the axle up and down while in the carrier. cut that play in half, and carefully shim it up to the center height. then i did the same thing with the lateral play. tacked it on and i was golden. my measurements showed that wihout a doubt my axle tubes were both bent down and back from years of racing. so even with my half ass meathod, it was still considerably straighter than it had been previously.

i tacked it on with my 120 welder and gave it to brent (who works at JMFab) and he took it home and welded it correctly with a much bigger 220 welder.

i painted it up real nice, threw on my suspension components and finally decided on these brakes. they are wilwood 11 inch discs brakes with a ford explorer style parking brake. with a stick shift i’m happy i went with a parking brake.

heh, aparently i don’t have pics of the discs installed. whoops.

the wheels:
these are forged center weld alumastars

and i got set of pep boy futura tires
back in the day these were the drag radial tires. they take heat well and you can actually launch on them.


the rusty spots show

by this time i was using my girlfriends garage.
i got a job at as an engineer, an integrator. (control systems engineer)

and i picked up a used intercooler and installed it.

about the same time i also upgraded my front suspension.

this is bad, make fun of me please.
this is how bad the suspension was off, it was lowered WAY too far without relocating the tie rod ends.
also, because of that huge intake i now had, and the 351w i was not able to close the hood.
to close the hood, i shimmed the front k-frame off the body, giving it a body lift of 1.5″
you can see the spacer right above the spring

i had the intake milled, and got a REAL front suspension for my car so i don’t crash it.

i also used this time to upgrade my front brakes to those off of a 2001 mustang. dual piston aluminum calipers and 5 lug.
much lighter, much better.

caster / camber plates

billet aluminum struts with the threads machined right into them.

i also don’t have pics of these front brakes. the old caliper is still dangling in the background there.

i also upgraded the fuel system. up to this point all i had was an OLD OLD 255 intank pump (very first 255 that ever came out) and larger injectors.

now i have at least upgraded fuel lines, and easy provision for the dual porsche pumps that i have sitting here that i don’t really need yet. i’m going to run both of these pumps (they are about the same as supra pumps but with threaded outlets) in parallel. it will support 1,000 hp

fuel lines

adapter back into the stock fuel lines

last week i finally found a set of 2nd hand alumastar wheels to fit in the front. i mounted up these VW bug tires in my office to my co-workers amazement.

though, i don’t really like them. i might have to pony up for the $150 a piece mickey thomson front runners that match the drag radials. these are kinda bulky looking.

i also have to move back, and IN my wheel. its not sitting correctly in the wheel arch.

i think thats it for now.
I’ll be moving my wheels back and i’ll update with brake pics and revised wheel pics.

i got the car re registered with collector car registration (no inspection)

i washed the car with my girlfriend so it was all dry and ready for polishing. took the two of us working for about 9 hours. she went to town on my rims and engine and helped with the waxing. i used the buffer and cutting compound to buff the shit out of it and get all the scratches out.
then i used hard wax on the car.
i also swapped my gray door panels for black ones (no pics) and installed 4 new headlights. they aren’t the ones i really wanted but they will due. they are still sealed beams but they are some super duper good ones. expensive but worth it. i couldn’t see for shit with these antique headlights at night.

some highlights:

thats it for now. i’ll work on some updates and burnouts.

6 Replies to “mustang buildup”

  1. Hey Luke,
    Nice set up and cool build up. Any new time on the car yet? That turbo looks awesome! I did a search for bread box intake that’s how I came across your site. I’m building 351w EFI with TFS heads and the edelbrock victor EFI lower ports doesn’t line up good it sits way higher than the head ports, looks like the ports are raise on the lower. Just wondering did that TFS R lower line up okay? Is the lower ports raised?
    I got some Pro-comp 220 CNC race heads tried that and the ports line up better but not perfect.
    I just want to go with TFS heads and a intake that matches. Let me know!
    Thanks Rodney

  2. The intake seemed to line up pretty good, but I didn’t check it too thoroughly. It’s a turbo car so details like that don’t really matter. I’m going to take the turbo off soon and go back NA and that’s when I’ll have to really check stuff like that out.
    I haven’t had it to the track yet, I just tool around town with it. Once I move out of where I am into a permanent residence I’ll be much more willing to break it at the track, as I’ll have somewhere to put it when it’s not running. For now, it HAS to run or I’m screwed.

  3. my phone no. is 828-803-1999 like your ride and the trip through building it can probably help with combo .most of the time simple stuff will yield large gains.mike

  4. haha that explains it then. i snapped a quadrant that had their name on it before.

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