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jj HalfDork
7/8/18 11:54 p.m.

Good evening all.  I guess I might as well start a thread for my SN95 5.0 project even though I am half way through with it.  I am starting this thread for a few reasons.  One is because I see more and more projects using these cars, so more information available to others can't hurt. Two is so I can ask questions from those who know more than I do.  My goal is to have a car that I can have fun with as a CAM class autocross car.  I hope to be mid pack or better.  It doesn't have to be comfortable, but it does need to remain street legal.

The car's history:

I bought it in 2016 for $1900.  It was a bone stock car except shorty headers (with a bad header leak at the collector). It has around 172k miles and lower but even compression (no smoke).

It needed some regular maintenance and I ended up: replacing the radiator, replacing the entire ignition system, and fixing the exhaust leak.

During the following 8 months after buying it I did these things:

  • BBK fenderwell cold air intake
  • Underdrive pulleys
  • Advanced timing 3 degrees
  • MAC exhaust dumping before the axle
  • Removed the A/C and various other things to bring weight down to 3160.

I didn't dyno this, but I have an app that I have used on several cars that measures HP.  I have it dialed in where it seems fairly accurate and reasonably reliable.  My baseline averaged around 184whp.  After the above changes I measured 207whp.

Next I tackled suspension:

  • Full length, weld in subframe connectors. (I honestly wish I had skipped these and done a cage instead)
  • Poly suspension bushings
  • MM caster/camber plates
  • Added MM Panhard Bar
  • Solid steering rack bushings
  • MM rear lower control arms (stock uppers)
  • HR Super Race springs
  • Koni Yellows


  • One piece race seat (made a huge difference)
  • New stock rotors with Hawk street pads.
  • Shift light
  • Steeda triax shifter
  • Apex racing 18x9 wheels with 245 falcon azenis
  • Aluminum radiator

A picture after all this work


First season autocrossing:

The first season went fairly well.  I raced in a 200tw tire open class at the local Porsche club.  The alignment ended up at 2.25 degrees camber, 4.9 caster and 0 toe.  Tire pressures were 34 front and 32 rear.  It's a little oversteery in fast turns, but I prefer that.  It placed second in points that year.  For reference, the first place car was a Focus RS that seemed well driven.  I was usually 1-2 seconds off that car.

Here is a video onboard at a typical course.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFTw4cbqrmI&t=1s


Javelin MegaDork
7/8/18 11:59 p.m.

Oh, I am so in for this thread! Car looks great and that's a smart set of mods to tackle it with.

jj HalfDork
7/9/18 12:08 a.m.

Future goals:

Right now I am taking half a season off from racing to change the clutch (and RMS, throwout bearing, etc) and rebuild the rear diff.  I work very slow most of the time.  Like 2 hours a week. Here are pictures of the current state of things.



(half a plastic bottle and some self drilling screws makes a good cup holder, even passes tech!)

(old clutch, not removed yet)

(four cat H pipe.  I will be adding an O2 bung for future use.)

Thanks to previous military jobs, I literally can't do anything with out a checklist.  I also usually write down everything I do step by step and then later follow it in reverse.

That's all for now.  I will ad pics tomorrow of what the clutch and flywheel look like.

Oh and future goals for this thread will be to ad AFR heads, and also some aero like splitter and spoiler.


jfryjfry HalfDork
7/9/18 12:53 a.m.

Love it!  Where in ca are you?

careful with poly suspension bushings.  If you put them in places that move in multiple planes they can bind or even break things.  I’ve heard of a lot of these problems when put in the rear control arms. 

jj HalfDork
7/9/18 5:53 p.m.

I'm near Santa Maria.  I agree on the poly bushings.  The MM ones have poly on one side and spherical on the other. The uppers are stock.

jj HalfDork
7/9/18 6:02 p.m.

So I got the clutch off.  I don't have much experience with clutches, but these don't look that worn to me.  What do you think?  I will still probably replace it because I bought one that will hold more power than stock.

Also, the flywheel appears to be weighted on one side, but there are no markings on the flywheel or engine showing how to orient this when installing it.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc HalfDork
7/9/18 6:11 p.m.

I really like the last of the pushrod Mustangs, and that's my favorite color for it.

The mods so far are very well chosen.

stylngle2003 Reader
7/10/18 11:01 a.m.

i believe that flywheel will only go on one way (the right way), even though it looks like it could go on 6 different ways.  Since you've already got the old clutch off, i'd replace it, and keep the old one as a good spare (clean the friction surfaces up with brake cleaner and a red scotchbrite).  red scotchbrite or sandpaper on the flywheel to give it a clean surface to bite to.


nice build.

jj HalfDork
7/10/18 4:30 p.m.

In reply to stylngle2003 :

Thanks, that's good to know about the flywheel only fitting one way.  I think I am going to resurface it too, just to be on the safe side.  I have to call around to see what it costs.

jj HalfDork
8/17/18 12:11 p.m.

Just a quick update. I have been busy with work and haven’t progressed much. I’ve booger welded an O2 bung into the H pipe just in case it ever gets boost in the future. 

Lately I’ve been watching and reading a lot about Global Time Attack. I live only 2 hours from some of the tracks they run at, and I am thinking about the possibility of building toward the Enthusiast class. This would keep it legal for the CAM class also (minus some aero). 

Below is my to do list for now. I will post more info and pictures when I get things moving. 

  1. Clutch
  2. Pass CA Smog
  3. Rear diff
  4. Harness
  5. Gauges 
  6. C5 front brakes
  7. AFR Heads
  8. FIA seat
  9. Accusump 
  10. Cage
  11. Carpet (I have to add carpet to be class legal)
  12. Aero


KonaBoss New Reader
8/17/18 12:48 p.m.

Boy, this sure looks alot like my car :)

tester New Reader
8/17/18 5:27 p.m.

In reply to KonaBoss :

There are Cobra R Brembos that bolt on to the stock spindles. For significantly less $$, the stock Cobra/Bullitt/Mach 1 PBRs are a step up from the GT stockers. You may have to dig a bit, but you can piece together a decent set of front brakes without breaking the bank or a bunch of fab work on the SN95 cars. 

jj HalfDork
8/17/18 7:05 p.m.

I found one setup on the Camaro mustang challenge forum that uses C5 calipers, Z51 brackets and Crown Vic rotors. I think it was around $500 or so. 

jj HalfDork
8/31/18 6:53 p.m.

Well I was able to get everything back together from the clutch swap.  Everything runs good so far.  Here are a few pics to update the progress.  First one is of my really bad welding.  Also, I tried to get it smogged today but it failed.  The shop who smogged it for the dealer I bought it from appears to have let some non-legal shorty headers pass last time.  Today the shorty headers failed the visual.  I called the dealer and their smog shop, and they are trying to figure something out for me, so we'll see what happens.



jj HalfDork
9/3/18 3:00 p.m.

I’m not sure I will get much help from the dealer, so I may put it on non-op status for now since it won’t pass smog. It would be a good time to do heads, cam and intake manifold. There is carb legal versions of all those. Hopefully they would pass smog on the factory ECU. 

jj HalfDork
10/3/18 3:00 p.m.

Well not much to update.  I am still waiting to order legal headers so I can be smogged and legal again.  In the meantime I have been debating throwing the above to-do list aside and going for more power.  The question is to do a top end kit, or a entry level supercharger on stock heads.  I have been having a hard time finding good data on the gains between the two options.  I finally found an old Mustang360 article where they made baselines using a mostly stock Fox, the same car with top end kit only, then the same car with stock heads plus a 9 PSI supercharger.  I always thought the top end kit would be better, but the chart below makes the supercharger with stock heads look much better.  I just put their data into a spreadsheet.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc HalfDork
10/3/18 4:26 p.m.

I don't doubt that 9 psi would work better on the choked E7TE heads on the fox more than a top end swap.  One concern would be how long would the thin deck E7 heads last with the boost?  I think you'd be replacing the head gaskets for a set of Cometics pretty quickly, so at that point does it make sense to reinstall the stockers? 

Also, tune would have to be spot-on. 

jj HalfDork
10/3/18 6:14 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc :

That's a good question.  I have heard of people getting 30,000 miles on their head gaskets using just the kit, no tune.  The kit comes with an FMU, and according to the article, as installed it put the AFR at 10:1.  That is with 19lb injectors.  I think it would be safe to adjust that to high 11's for AFR, and it also has a MSD boost retard.  But yes, that is a good point.  I might just take the risk though.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc HalfDork
10/3/18 6:58 p.m.

Well, at 10:1 to 11:1 afr, it should be pretty safe. I wouldn't have thought that you could get one that rich with stock injectors.

Buy the best wide-band that you can afford.

AnthonyGS Reader
10/4/18 5:17 a.m.

Nice car!  My first new car was a rio red 95 GTS, and 2nd a rio red 97 Cobra.  Guess which one I wish I still had?

jj HalfDork
10/4/18 6:46 a.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS :

I would bet your first one smiley

AnthonyGS Reader
10/4/18 3:21 p.m.
jj said:

In reply to AnthonyGS :

I would bet your first one smiley

Correct it was the better deal and the Cobra was better but nor enough to justify the cost.

jj HalfDork
11/1/18 8:44 a.m.

Still trying to get it smog legal.  I installed BBK ceramic shorties, but I just can't get the driver's side to seal.  With felpro gaskets, and getting things good and tight, it leaks very badly from the head between the back two cylinders.  It leaks BAD, even at idle.  I took it off once to check for old gasket stuck on there, but it was clean.  Any advice?  I think I will take it completely off and check if the flange is perfectly flat. What else should I be looking for? thanks

jj HalfDork
11/1/18 12:07 p.m.
AnthonyGS Reader
11/1/18 11:46 p.m.

Ultra copper is supposed to work well.  The passenger side header on these cars just has too much crap in the way.  I’m very happy that it TX after 25 years that stuff is not an issue.  I’d pull all the smog stuff and check that head with a machinist rule and chase all the threads.  I’d check the flange on the header too.  And just to be safe I’d get the thick OEM style exhaust gasket with the perforated crush points. I wouldn’t try one if the thin steel ones with the crush lines.  

What gasket did you use?  

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