We are on the final steps before you crank up our Fox Body Fairmont 3V motor swap project. We had to address the final pieces of the exhaust, brakes and suspension. These are the final steps we had to take before firing up this beast!
In this part of our 4.6 Ford Racing Hot Rod 3-valve swap will complete loose ends that will button up the car and make it driveable. As with any project, this seems to be the part that took me the longest. Building a car is like building a house. The framing of a new home seems to fly, leaving you with the impression that it will be done in no time. The real time is spent in the details. Months can be spent in interior completion, paint, fixtures, and so on. A car is the same way. Putting the motor in and making it run went pretty quickly. Completing all of the details to make the car drive took the longest.
So far, we've covered the installation of the crate engine and k-member, headers, FRPP Controls Pack, fuel, TKO600 Transmission, and complete aluminum radiator upgrade kit. This article is covering the braking system, exhaust, rear end, wheels and tires, and suspension.
Braking consists of a manual conversion, stock 87-93 5.0 11" front brakes, and stock drum rear brakes. I elected to use a manual brake conversion kit to save weight, as well as save the extra engine compartment space that would be used up by a hydroboost setup. Your stock vacuum booster will not work with this swap due to valve cover interference.
The kit I used is a custom setup using an Mustang Manual Brake Conversion kit, along with a modified pedal and adjustable pushrod. The result is a kit similar to the Maximum Motorsports offering that relocates the pivot point for the pushrod higher for reduced pedal effort. It's my experience that the pivot must be relocated, or you'll end up with a very hard pedal. With this mod, or the Maximum Motorsport kit, pedal effort is very livable. My car came with dinky 9" front brakes, so the 11" front rotor swap was an inexpensive and easy way to vastly improve stopping distance.
No one makes an h-pipe for use with SN95 Mac headers in a fox body. I elected to modify a BBK longtube offroad x-pipe for use on the car by cutting and rebending/lengthening the driver's side tube. This can easily be accomplished by an exhaust shop. The resulting fit was great.
Pypes flow tubes, and Jones Full-Boar mufflers with welded-on dumps round out the exhaust system. In this picture, you can see the modification performed to allow the fit of the Tremec TKO 600 in the 79's narrower crossmember brackets, as well as the modified stock driveshaft with larger yoke, and the driveshaft loop. Rear O2 sensors are not needed with the FRPP controls package.
Front suspension, as stated in prior articles, is mix of a stock 96-04 4.6 Mustang k-member and stock fox-body front control arms. Ride height will be adjustable with the UPR coil over kit with 130 pound front springs. A pair of Lakewood 90/10 drag struts, and Maximum Motorsports camber caster plates complete the package. Steering is performed by a Unisteer manual conversion kit and shaft.
Moving to the rear, the car's factory 7.5" rear would never live behind the 4.6. The necessary upgrade to an 8.8 from a 90 5.0 Mustang was performed, along with the installation of a new traction lock clutch kit, and Ford Racing 4.30 ring and pinion. The rear was capped off with a rear end girdle. For now, the stock axles and carrier are retained. Later, an upgrade to a 31-spline carrier, 5-lug conversion, and Billet Specialties wheels will be performed. If the car were heavier, I wouldn't dare use the factory axles, but at an estimated 2800 pound race weight, I feel they'll live until I can perform the upgrade.
Rear suspension consists a set of our Tubular Rear Control arms, UPR spherical axle bushings, and Lakewood 50/50 shocks. Stock 87-93 Mustang 5.0 rear coil springs were used.
All of the seams for the upper and lower torque boxes were welded up in an effort to prevent damage from hard launches.
For now, the car is riding on 4-Lug Weld Draglites. The fronts are 15x3.5", and the rears are 15x8" with a 5.5" backspace. The tires are 165r-15 front and 28x9" Mickey Thompson ET drags on the rear. All of which are screwed-down with Moroso long wheel studs.
This brings the car to a running and driving condition. Our next article will be the finale, with sights and sounds from the drag strip. Stay tuned!