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Old 02-21-2009, 08:07 PM   #1
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Best Upgrades for The Money

Newbie here. I just bought a 87 LX 5.0 5spd. It runs ok but I need more power . The car is completely stock. I want to know what upgrades would be the best for the money. I was told cold air intake, H pipe, and under drive pulleys is the first things you should do. but IDK what to do after that. MSD, 3.73, TB and spacer??? and 1 more thing is it possible to catch traction is this car. 1st gear spins all the way through 2nd. ????
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:13 PM   #2
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

The TB will be a waste of time until you get a better intake and heads. The spacer is pretty much useless in general. The CAI (cold air intake) will also be a bit of a waste. The H pipe and underdrive pulleys aren't a bad place to start. Next, I would say gears. Of course, that'll make your traction problems even worse... But that's a good thing, right?
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Old 02-22-2009, 08:59 AM   #3
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

yeah i guess that is good but i would hate to lose to a slower car though. how much work is it to put on gt-40 heads and intake??
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:17 AM   #4
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

If you are not experienced with swapping heads on a car, I wouldn't recommend doing it alone. But maybe you can find someone on here in your area that would be willing to help for a case of beer. It's not really a lot of work, and can be done fairly quickly if you know what you're doing.
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:04 AM   #5
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

i am very mechanically inclined but I have never swapped on a Ford mostly Hondas. I work at my dads auto repair shop AutoTech One and he has 30 years exp in the field. I am sure he will help me with the project even though hes a Chevy Guy . I found heads and both intakes on craigslist for 300 minus the headers. I figured I would buy them get the P&P and throw them on. I was just wondering if I had to do any major fabricating to make them work. Do I need bigger injectors, vacuum, TB , EGR?????? Is there a thread for this swap??
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:32 AM   #6
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

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i am very mechanically inclined but I have never swapped on a Ford mostly Hondas. I work at my dads auto repair shop AutoTech One and he has 30 years exp in the field. I am sure he will help me with the project even though hes a Chevy Guy . I found heads and both intakes on craigslist for 300 minus the headers. I figured I would buy them get the P&P and throw them on. I was just wondering if I had to do any major fabricating to make them work. Do I need bigger injectors, vacuum, TB , EGR?????? Is there a thread for this swap??
I don't think you'll need anything special. It might not hurt to get an adjustable fuel pressure regulator so you can get a little more fuel flowing. The stock 19 lb/hr injectors should be okay though with the GT40s, you'll just have to turn up the fuel pressure a bit. If it worries you too much though, go ahead and upgrade to 24 lb/hr injectors. But you will then also have to get a MAF calibrated for the injectors.

With the GT40 heads and intake, a 65mm TB would also be helpful.

I don't know of a thread for the swap on here, but it's not going to be any different from any other head swap. The only thing left I would point out is that you need to find out for sure if these are just the old GT40 heads or the newer GT40P heads that came on the Explorers. If they are the GT40P heads, you will need special headers to work with them. Ford Motorsport sells a nice set for them.
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:36 AM   #7
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

ok thx for the info bbunt
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:55 PM   #8
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

For what its worth, I used the stock FPR on my 92, with 24 lb injectors and never went static.. - though I had a 255 lph pump..

Traction.. I had good luck running drag radials on the street.. though they gripped better there than at the track for me (I used BFG 255/55 r16s)

When your tire(s) spin, does the car feel like it's starting to kick sideways from the rear? does it leave 2 tracks? could be the clutch packs in the rear are worn.. the stock 5.0s have enough torque to light up one tire easy enough just hitting the gas in first.. it usually grips better when the LSD is operational though..

I would say definitely upgrade to 24 lb injectors, and please don't go with stock gt40s.. yes, they are cheaper, but within 6 months you'll be wishing you'd gone with better heads/intake - I know I was (though when I put them on I was planning on a SC, so it would have been great with that, but without it.. go with AFR 185s or edelbrock performer heads..)

Also when building, don't skimp.. reliability is what makes it pay off in the end.. I replaced all gaskets/sensors/etc and installed everything to the t, and went 3.5 years without having to do another thing to the engine (10k miles.. then sold the car) and it was driven how it was meant to be driven..

Just my $.02
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Old 02-22-2009, 02:53 PM   #9
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

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and please don't go with stock gt40s.. yes, they are cheaper, but within 6 months you'll be wishing you'd gone with better heads/intake - I know I was (though when I put them on I was planning on a SC, so it would have been great with that, but without it.. go with AFR 185s or edelbrock performer heads..)
I agree with this for the most part too. It depends on his budget though. Good heads are not cheap. The $1000 difference between the $300 GT40s and the $1300 AFRs is pretty steep.

I wouldn't put AFR 185s though on a 302 or 306 though unless it was going to be blown or see 6500+ RPM. The 165s flow plenty and the smaller valves help with air velocity. There are plenty of people making 315+ rwhp with N/A 302s with the 165s, which is about as much as you're going to get with any heads without spinning well over 6000 RPM.

The BFG drag radials also help with traction a ton. But... you'll be lucky to get 10,000 miles out of them before they have to be replaced. I ran both those and the Nitto drag radials for a while. The Nittos didn't hook nearly as well as the BFGs. I thought the Nittos were kind of a waste because the traction didn't improve enough to justify how quickly they wore.

Another thing that may help with traction is a good set of lower control arms.
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:19 PM   #10
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

Heads- I am having second thoughts on putting the GT40 heads in my car now. I have a problem with getting rid of my cars quickly. I already have a MX6 2.5 24V head to rebuild now (11hr job). I may just put as many bolt ons onmy FOX as possible. I would hate to sink the time and money into the car and just sell it. I think I will go with underdrive pulleys first and bypass the ac unit with a new serpentine belt. The T5 in my FOX is grinding in 3rd. I may rebuild that after.

Traction- I have owned an AOD 5.0 89 hatch. It did not break loose like this thing does. I thought it might be because of the 5spd. IDK if the LSD is working or not. I will have to check that. I do have Pro Traction Street Radials 15in on the back and it does not seem to help at all. I guess I can live with it, but I was out driving the other day. I went to race an Integra Gsr off the light I spun at the light and he caught me at 3rd gear. I left him after but this thing shifts so quickly its sucks.
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:54 PM   #11
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

I hear you on going through cars too quickly.. but my foxes were not the case.. I'd still have my 92 if I hadn't moved to CA - may just be personal preference though

and bbunt, you're right.. I keep thinking 185s as I had a 331 bottom end

and bbunt, I didn't mind replacing the tires every 10k miles, I preferred outlaunching STIs on the street than saving a few hundred every 2 years.. haha

87, AOD gearing is nowhere near t5 gearing, that could be a large part of it.. Easiest way to tell if your LSD is working, get on the gas a bit when making a 90* turn.. don't even have to go crazy on the gas.. if the LSD is working, you'll feel the rear of the car start to slide out, if its not working you'll hear/feel a tire spinning but it'll keep turning normally.. you'll know what I mean if you go try it out..
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:54 PM   #12
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

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Originally Posted by 87foxbody5spd View Post
yeah i guess that is good but i would hate to lose to a slower car though. how much work is it to put on gt-40 heads and intake??
i think u should decide on a h.p. # and build around that decision. if im not mistaken, a fresh bottom or decent stock stroke bottom end..e-cam..24lbs. injectors...explorer/cobra intake (equivalent or better).. gt40p heads..off-road (catless) h or x pipe...low restriction muffler...at least 70ml mass air meter housing (u can get away with stock electronics)..1.6rr .. 65-70ml throttle body...no more tnan 12 degrees advance on timing... should yield you approx. 300hp @ the crank. it's not a very expensive set up if you know where to source the parts. that means alot coming from me cause everyone here knows im cheap as *%#@. or even better....dont buy any of that crap, get a blower and just throw a whole lotta boost @ it...lol. it depends on your budget and where u wanna go with it.
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:52 PM   #13
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

If it is "completely stock" and in good shape keep it that way, and find another already modified a bit, as the stock ones are increasing in value.

If you have to I say gears.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:51 PM   #14
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

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If it is "completely stock" and in good shape keep it that way, and find another already modified a bit, as the stock ones are increasing in value.

If you have to I say gears.
there was an article in 5.0 mag a few months ago that talked about exactly wut u r sayn... and u r right. but im sure he wants to have fun now..lol. and then talk about it to his kids later. like my dad tells me bout his 65 stang that he bought new from the showroom floor. it would be nice to have now, but he had too much fun corner carving in mexican mountains and rolled it over (several times) and totaled it. good story though when he tells it..lmao!!!
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:29 PM   #15
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

My LSD works fine Monte. I spend about 50-60 hrs a week in my dads auto repair shop. I am the type of guy I do not worry about the looks as much as performance. I have to have some type of extras on my car. I cant keep it stock LOL. I am really looking for the cheap extra horses. I owned the 89 AOD with a bunch of bolt ons ( MSD, BBK TB, Pulleys, Intake, Alum D/S) but it was an AUTO . Now I got the T5 which is what I wanted.

To be honest I am cheap. Thanks to child support and the economy. Working on my cars is all I have to do for fun. Since the NFL season is over. Im asking these questions so I do not waste money on an upgrade that I wont need. My stock intake is leaking a little bit of oil that is why I thought about doing a swap. Might as well do it right if I am going to tear it down.
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:51 PM   #16
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Re: Best Upgrades for The Money

I can't say anything. Mine isn't stock.
You may be able to sell it, because it is stock to the right buyer, and by a car with all the nickle, and dime stuff already on it.
Save the stock one for, and save yourself some money if you can get one with exhaust, gears, pullies.... then spend your money on a cam, heads, intake.....
Your choice. Good luck.
I still say for best bang for buck would be gears.
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