How do I improve engine performance on a 1983 Mustang Convertible 3.8L V6? - Mustang Evolution

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Old 12-15-2011, 11:15 PM   #1
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How do I improve engine performance on a 1983 Mustang Convertible 3.8L V6?

My engine struggles to get to 85mph, and most of the parts have never been replaced. Are there any specific parts I could replace to improve power so i can accelerate above 110? also how hard would it be to supercharge the engine on this car, and how much would you estimate that to cost?
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:54 PM   #2
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How do I improve engine performance on a 1983 Mustang Convertible 3.8L V6?

I would suggest a full tuneup first, possibly an MSD ignition system, as the Duraspark system of that era isn't that great. I believe your engine is carbureted, my 83 T-bird was, if so, I suggest you head over to http://www.moranav6racing.com for a 4bbl Intake manifold and a set of shorty headers.

Hopping up any motor will definitely cost you money, I had a mostly stock 3.8 for a couple years until I swapped it out for a '03 model 3.8 and converted it to carb with a 500CFM Edelbrock, and I love it! The newer motors have significant design differences.

A supercharger on that particular block and head combo is a bad idea because it flows so poorly. If you really want to supercharge it, your look at swapping in a 89-94 Tbird SC motor(Fuel injection, very difficult) or a later model N/A block with adapters. I estimate at least $3000 or more all said and done depending on the route you take.

Feel free to message me any more questions, as I have been dealing with the 3.8l for over 4 years now in a performance aspect.

Check out http://www.V6power.net for more info on the supercharging and other performance upgrades.
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:21 AM   #3
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How do I improve engine performance on a 1983 Mustang Convertible 3.8L V6?

I would suggest putting a V8 motor into the car. Bolt-on modifications for that car will be minimal and produce negligible power improvements. Supercharging it will cost A LOT of money and produce little more/if not less power than just changing out the motor to a newer model V8 motor.
It would be in your best interest to try and replace the drivetrain with a newer, more powerful one, rather than modify the one you have only to have it break and need replacing anyway.


Hope this helps, Good Luck!
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:32 AM   #4
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How do I improve engine performance on a 1983 Mustang Convertible 3.8L V6?

well the obvious is already stated in the question title. convertible. weights more than a coupe. is your tranny a automatic? ford + auto + vert = slow pos. and that motor is old and worn out, and im not sure if my facts are right, but does your speedometer max out at 85 mph? your gov't. and ford has stated that driveshaft failure in older model mustangs at high speeds.

if your looking for a good project car without busting a nut, keep your stang and drop a bigger v6 in it. split port 3.8 or even the single port 3.8 will make a difference in power than your motor. 4.0 will be the best swap.

converting to a v8 isnt worth the time nor money. upgrade to a bigger motor and do bolt ons and 3.73 rear end gears.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:21 AM   #5
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How do I improve engine performance on a 1983 Mustang Convertible 3.8L V6?

its way to old to add power to it with out blowing it up or a complete rebuild but replacing the intake and exhaust helps a lot in older cars b/c they're so clogged up and if its the original exhaust its been needing a change and when they replace it get rid of the catalytic converters
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:40 AM   #6
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How do I improve engine performance on a 1983 Mustang Convertible 3.8L V6?

I have to tell you please don't waste money on a 3.8L. Bad foundation, bad bad engine. Either transplant a V8 or get a car that has one. You will never be happy with that motor. Sorry.
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Old 12-16-2011, 02:01 AM   #7
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How do I improve engine performance on a 1983 Mustang Convertible 3.8L V6?

change plugs try an intake and exhaust but i agree that the v6 is underpowered but have a tuneup and new plugs and new filter it will help a lot
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Old 12-16-2011, 02:48 AM   #8
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How do I improve engine performance on a 1983 Mustang Convertible 3.8L V6?

Will the engine bay accept a 5.0L engine? The V6 is very underpowered.
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