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Mustang - Left Side.JPG (1621787 bytes)

Sorry to say to all you BMW enthusiasts, but my current projects is a '79 Ford Mustang.   I bought it for... well, cheap.  VERY cheap.  Here's what I've done so far::


351W Mustang EngineSwapped out the original straight 4 for this '95-'98 351W engine.   Bought the engine as a short block, added an Edelbrock Performer Pro fuel injected intake. 

The FI kit came with the intake manifold, carb, MSD distributor, MSD ignition, electric fuel pump, and 28 lb/hr injectors.  I've since upgraded the injectors to 35 lb/hr, mainly due to a troubling fuel air problem that I'll get into later. 

Since the block was a short block, also added the water pump, alternator (single wire), and power steering pump.  The short block came with a roller cam and standard rocker arms.  I'm considering upgrading to roller rockers, but that'll be, at the earliest, when I stroke out the engine to a 408 or 410 with 0.060 overbore.  

The spark wires are 8.8mm, the spark plugs are Bosch +4, and the ignition coil is an Accel.  Lastly, I added the air cleaner.  Originally, I tried putting a 14" wide, 3" tall K&N air cleaner in there, but it was too tall, so I ended up with a 14" wide, 2" tall.

The engine mates to the rear end via a Tremec T56 6-speed manual transmission, and a Ultra Lite-Weight Dynotech driveshaft.



Mustang UndercarriageAs you can see in the picture, I've also modified a few things under the body.  I took the original single exhaust and upgraded to a true dual exhaust, and upgraded to 2.5" pipes.  The exhaust is an X-pipe, street legal (meaning catalytic converters), for improved exhaust mixing and flow.   I opted for the chrome tail pipes because chrome just looks sooo good. 

I've also upgraded the original rear axle for a custom 9", 31 spline, Detroit locker, Ford rear end.  As an option with the rear end, I exchanged the rear drum brakes for disc brakes.  That big black thing in the center is the new 15 gal fuel cell.   Obviously, I've dropped and tossed the stock fuel tank.  What you can't see is that I've also cut the bottom of the trunk so that I can fill the fuel cell from inside the trunk. 

The rust you see on the right side of the axle is due to a small brake fluid leak.  This is due to Ford's STUPID engineering.  You see, a single brake line comes back from the master cylinder in the engine compartment.  In order to get to both rear brakes, a tee is used.  On this Mustang, the tee is bolted into the top of the rear axle.  No problems there.  For some IDIOTIC reason, the fitting on the left side of the tee is a 1/4", and the right side is a 3/8" fitting.   That wouldn't be as much of a problem if the right side brake was also a 3/8".   Alas, both brakes take a 1/4" fitting.  I tried going to Ford to get stock brake lines (which were exactly the same way, in case you were thinking it was the brake upgrade), but they don't carry any brake lines because they are "too easily damaged in shipping."  Whatever.  So, I modified a brake line by taking the fitting off a 3/8" brake line and threading it onto the fitting of a 1/4" brake line.  Obviously, it's not perfect, as it's leaking ever so slightly. 

Mustang Rear TireLastly, I've upgraded the stock upper and lower control arms for greasable polyurethane bushings.  



In terms of rubber, I measured the dimensions as best I could and got the biggest tires I could fit in there without tubbing out the wheel wells.  I'm thinking that I probably will end up tubbing the wheels, since I'm considering putting upwards of 700HP, which will need a lot more rubber than 255's. 






Mustang Rear ViewThe switch on the back of the car is a battery disconnect switch, which is required in racing when the battery is moved to the rear of the vehicle.  Why did I move the battery to the rear of the vehicle?   For starters, it frees up a bit of space in the engine compartment.  But mainly, I did it to more evenly distribute the weight.  Particularly in rear wheel drive vehicles, the more weight you move to the back of the vehicle, the better grip the wheels will get on the road.  Considering the battery weighs 10-20 lbs, it's a considerable improvement on ET's.  This, along with the 15 gal fuel cell back there should give me a more balanced weight and more weight on the driving wheels.








Mustang - Instrument Cluster Left.JPG (1443365 bytes)Mustang - Instrument Cluster Right.JPG (1132141 bytes)

I tried to keep the instrument cluster as stock as possible.  The tach and the speedometer are original.  The pictured fuel gauge is stock, but I'm replacing it since it reads opposite actual fuel cell level, i.e. when the cell is full, gauge reads empty, and vice versa.  In terms of gauges, all replaced gauges have replaced what the stock gauges indicated.  The battery ammeter gauge I like because it looks almost exactly like stock.  As you can see, I've also replaced the coolant temperature gauge and the oil pressure gauge (upper right gauge).  I'm looking for black-faced, white-lettered gauges like the battery ammeter.  I manually rolled over the odometer using a power drill for a few hours, since the odometer should represent motor milage, not body milage.  Obviously, it hasn't been driven much.  This is completely due to a problem I'm having with my fuel air mixture, which I'll explain later.


Mustang - Front.JPG (1460070 bytes)




Obviously, the body need some serious painting.  I've gotten rid of the stock hood hinges, and replaced them with hydraulic hinges.  That means I could also get rid of that stupid hood rod in the front.  Good riddance!  I also tossed the hood latch, and replaced it with hood pins.  In the background, you can see the old hood.  I had to replace it because the previous owner had run into a tree while, and I shit you not when I tell you this, he ran into a tree while off-roading in a field when he was drunk.  Oy!






Where should I start with this one?  I've had so many problems.   For one thing, make sure you understand how your drive shaft couples with the differential.  The stock driveshaft in the Mustang used an adapter plate, which bolted into the driveshaft, and bolted into the differential.  My new driveshaft (forgive me as I cannot remember the yoke designation, it's a 3XXX) uses a U-bolt to attach the yoke to the differential.  So, when you create an adapter, this makes the driveshaft too long, which makes you cut the driveshaft and weld it back together.   On the plus side, I now know how to weld aluminum.  On the minus side, baaad joojoo.  Not only is the driveshaft unbalanced, you feel like a total tard when you finally figure it out. 

Which leads to, when you're ordering a custom drive shaft, make sure you double and triple count the number of splines to couple with the transmission.  If you're off by even 1, it won't fit.

I've had quite a few problems getting trim pieces that fit.  Now, I realize that this is probably specific to an early Fox bodystyle Mustang, but I've ordered a couple of trim pieces for the window dew wipes, and they just don't fit.  They're a smidge too long, and they're bent wrong.  The ads say they fit Mustangs '79-'86, but they sure don't fit my '79.  So, make sure you know what you're ordering before you pay.  Not that I'm against getting replacement parts, but, at least in terms of dew wipes, I'm probably gonna have to go junkyard hopping.

Make sure, if you replace your fuel lines, that ALL fittings are tight.   Loose fittings can cause fires, as I found out the hard way when a fitting near my driver-side exhaust header sprayed and caught fire.  It didn't damage any internals, but it sure gets the heart racing when you see 2-ft flames shooting out your open hood in your garage.  Going along with this, whenever you modify and engine, always have a class B fire extinguisher handy.  These can save your life, or at least your car.

Finally, if you're burning out your catalytic converters, it's a fuel air ratio (FAR) problem.  That's what oxygen sensors are for.  They measure the ratio of fuel to air in your exhaust.  OK, that's not exactly true.  There shouldn't be any fuel in your exhaust.  They actually measure oxygen percentage.   If you have too much oxygen in your exhaust, you're not putting enough fuel in the cylinder.  This is known as a lean mixture (FAR >16).  A lean mixture can burn out your catalytic converter because this causes an oxygen-rich environment for your catalytic converter to work in, which makes it work hotter.  And by hotter, I mean glowing red-hot hotter.  Also bad joojoo, since the catalytic converters are inches away from the floorboards.  If you have too little oxygen in your exhaust, you're putting too much fuel in the cylinder.  In this case you actually DO have fuel in your exhaust.  This is known as a rich mixture (FAR <13).  A rich mixture burns out your catalytic converter because the fuel reaches the catalytic converter, which internally runs at >700F temperatures normally, and literally ignites.  This obviously heats up the catalytic converter more, and it also starts to glow red hot.   A good FAR is in the range of 13-16, with an ideal (spoken "stochiometric") value of 14.7.  Now, if your FAR is screwed up, there are two things to check.  Any guesses as to what these 2 things are?  Yeah, fuel intake and air intake.  My problem is that I can't get my driver side and passenger side banks to equalize the FAR.  The FI kit came with 1 oxygen sensor, which I attached to the driver side bank.  Not a problem as long as both banks have the same FAR.  Once I started burning my catalytic converter, I installed a FAR gauge to my passenger bank.  The FI kit indicates FAR by a single LED.  If the LED is solid green, it's rich.  If the LED is solid RED, it's lean.  If it alternates red/green, it's ideal.  Not a great indicator.  The gauge I installed in my passenger bank is an analog gauge.  I like it much better.  Anywho, with these installed, the best I can do is get my driver bank lean (a little below stochiometric, as best I know), and my passenger bank is rich at about 16.5.  I checked my fuel injectors to make sure one bank wasn't plugged, but that wasn't the problem.  I'm gonna have to crack open the engine and take a look at the air intake path, and probably the air intake valves.  I'll let you know what I find out.  If you have any suggestions prior to me doing this, let me know at matt_sutphen@yahoo.com.


OK.  Here's what I've got upcoming.  After I fix the problem with the FAR, or perhaps concurrent with this, I'll be stroking the engine 0.060 over to a 408 or 410.   That will definitely give me some more power. 

After that, I'll be supercharging it.  For starters, I'll probably do a 8lb boost, just so I won't have to modify the engine any more.  That should boost power by 50-70%.  If I'm happy with that... oh, who am I kidding?  When I figure out what I need to do to the engine, I'll increase the boost.

Depending on how bad the tires slip after this, I might tub out the rear wheel wells for some wider wheels.

Concurrent with everything, I'll be working on getting body panels painted the same color and restored from rust damage.

Finally, if I'm able to keep the rubber on the road after all this, I'll throw on some nitrous.  Everyone loves the gas, man!