1995 Ford Thunderbird LX

1995 Ford Thunderbird LX V8 Sports Car Modified

6-21-08

Back in March of 2008, I purchased a 1995 Ford Thunderbird from a dealership in Taylor Michigan. I was looking for a V8 car with good miles and a solid body. This 1995 was the best avaiable car that was close to home. It spent its whole life in Ohio, sold at auction and was transported to Michigan.

When we bought it, we noticed some things right away that needed to be fixed. It needed a battery, pulleys, windshield whipers and tires. We got the pulleys and the battery on the way home from the dealership (they put a GM battery that had side terminals on a Ford, the posts were within inches of the body, not to mention it was the wrong size). Gotta love used cars!

We also noticed that it had the valve body buzz. We did not notice it when we bought the car so that had to be fixed right away. My buddy was able to do it in my garage over two weekends. I wasn't too upset, I knew that a car this old would need work. I also got the updated valve body design and the transmission got a flush of Mercon IV.

I replaced the Walmart Goodyear Viva II tires with Firestone Firewalks in the 215/70R15 size. This is the original size that the car came with.

Going from a Vulcan Taurus to a Thunderbird V8 is awesome. While I was happy with the Comet's pick up, it doesn't hold a candle to modular V8 power. While this car still need some work, I am very happy with it. I am sure that I will have many years of enjoyment from it.

To view complete specs of this engine and its difference between the 5.0L, Click here for a specification guide between 5.0L V8 and the two 4.6L V8s


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7/22/08

The Thunderbird is coming together nicely. The car has had some upgrades for looks and performance. The Kenwood CD player is a vintage unit from 1995, which replaced the stock unit that was incorrect. The speakers were replaced with two sets of 6x8 Pioneer 3 way speakers. The sound is much improved over the old system.

Another upgrade is a SCT XCAL2 hand held tuner. The tuner allows for three programs, which include 87 octaine performance, 91 octaine performance and a 93 octaine track program. This unit also helpful for troubleshooting issues with the car. It provides information on sensors, air/fuel and other information. The tuner hardware is provided by Fordchip.com.

Rounding out the upgrades include new headlights to replace the nasty yellowed ones.


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5/4/2009

1995 Ford Thunderbird PBR Brakes Caliper Mustang Upgraded

Over the last few months, the Thunderbird has been getting a lot of repair work done. We started out by replacing all brake components other then the lines. We used 1999 Mustang dual piston aluminum calipers made by PBR, Monroe Mustang ceramic pads, new drums for the rear and Morse Ceramic brake shoes. Before the upgrade, I had air in my brake system, so I can not asses the improvement. I can say that I am satisfied with the result of this upgrade.

My front suspension was totally replaced with all new hardware. I used Moog strut bushings, Moog Ball Joints, Moog control arms and Monroe Sensitrac Quick Struts due to the excessive cutting to get the old parts out. The whole setup was never changed before (from 1995?!?!), so you can imagine that getting bolts out was a real treat. I am very happy with the Moog componets, I just wish I bought their endlinks. The middle of the road endlinks I bought worked but they were kind of odd.

For the rear, we used Monroe Sensitrac shocks but left the rear stock springs for now. The rear springs will be done in the future. We also replaced the rear stablizer bracket.

Rounding out the upgrades, new Ford OEM floor mats was added to the interior.


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10/2/2009

Thunderbird Lincoln Mark VIII 8 driveshaft drive 1993 one piece Rock Auto Timken

Its been awhile since my last update, I have been out having fun with the Bird! We went to the Downriver Cruise, Milan Dragway and other madness. She is running good, she has came a long way since I bought her a year ago. She got some new Autolite Platinum plugs before I put her away for the year. She is sitting under a Dupont tyvek cover now, waiting for spring.

We picked up the above at the end of the season. She is getting 3.73 gears (upgraded from stock 3.08) and a 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII aluminum driveshaft installed when Spring rolls in. The gears are Ford Racing (made in the USA) and a Timken re-build kit. The Mark VIII driveshaft was from a cash for clunker car. Before I found this one, I bought a two peice version that is on the 1994-1998 Mark VIIIs. For one reason or another Ford decided to change the design of the driveshaft after a few months to a two peice design. While I still think that the one piece would have worked, I couldn't resist buying the more desirable one piece. A lot of people think that a driveshaft change is not needed, but as I learned, our driveshafts are very long. After the gears are installed, the shaft will be spinning faster, which could cause some vibration and eventual failure. After this is installed, I am hoping for low 15s or high 14s. We will see if I can get any traction out there.

I have looked into body work and will be saving up for that after this is done.


11/18/09

Posi Traction Trac Thunderbird 8.8 Gears Track Cougar Ford Mercury

As I was thinking about my 3.73 gear swap, it started to make sense that I add a Trac-Loc or a Posi Traction unit to my rear end. Most of the 1995 Thunderbirds came with an open rear, which is far from ideal for drag racing (at least the kind I do). I bought a unit from a 1996 Thunderbird and had it rebuilt by a seller I found on ebay. I had the clutch rebuilt with eight clutches, instead of the factory six. This gives it 40% more clutch surface area and a much better torque bias than the stock setup.

One thing I did find out is the Thunderbird Trac Lock units are a little different then in the standard 8.8 rear ends. It would be best to get a IRS unit from a Thunderbird or order then new from Ford Racing (Part Number M-4204-T28).

If you are interested in a rebuilt IRS Posi Trac unit, contact Mike at 717-314-4204 or email him at streetrodtk*replace@*yahoo.com


12/30/09

Steeda 4.6L Under drive pulley non piggyback engine Thunderbird V8

This is another addition to my stack of parts to be installed in the spring, a Steeda Under drive Drive Pulley (or UDP). This particular part is the better non-piggyback design that is so good that Steeda got SFI appoval of their under drive pulleys for all 4.6L engines. I have heard good things about this part, so when came up used on TCCoA, I just had to buy it.

In case you don't know what the benefit of a redesigned UDP, their website explains it. "Reducing the size of the motor's crank pulley allows accessories such as the alternator, air conditioner compressor, power steering pump and water pump to operate 25% slower than their original speeds. This saving in parasitic accessory drag increases your vehicle's horsepower and torque to the wheels, resulting in a gain of up to 10 horsepower."

I had a set of UDP pulleys on my Sable and noticed a little bit of improvement in low end power. I can't wait to see what it does with the Modular V8.


1/16/10

Aluminum Spare Tire Taurus Sable Mark VIII Taurus Thunderbird weight savings

Here is a little bit of weight savings, an aluminum spare tire from a 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII. The tire and the rim itself weighs about 9LBS together. This is a must have if you want to take off a little weight on your Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable, Ford Thunderbird or Mercury Cougar. For those of us who run 15" rims, these 16" Lincoln rims will still work. The original spare size is T135/70R15, the light weight Mark VIII spare size is T125/80R16. The circumference between the two rims is minor.


7/31/10

Ford Thunderbird V8 SC Cluster 145 MPH Tachometer

The Thunderbird has seen a lot of work over the summer and I am already gathering parts for next spring. We have completed the Valve Seal replacement, so now there is no oil burning or white smoke coming out of the tail pipe. We have also replaced the front swaybar endlinsks with a new Moogs. These endlinks are expensive, but they should the last set I buy.

Other modifications include a 1995 Thunderbird Supercoupe speedometer and a Gentex 177 auto dimmer and compass mirror from a Buick La Sabre. The speedometer is a rare item, if you see them in the junk yards, I highly suggest picking one up. This was changed because my original odometer quit working. The Gentex is nice to have and is easy to install, especially for the moonroof cars, a hot power source is easy to get to in the moonroof control box.

The last thing I added was a new SCT X3 Tuner for the Thunderbird. The tune was a mail order tune and fits my stock Thunderbird perfectly. I purchased this from Alberto at American MotorSport. If you are interested in tuning products for your Thunderbird (or any Ford), I suggest contacting Alberto. His customer service is top notch.

Spring time will be another busy time fixing things. I have a remanufactured power steering rack and will be buying a Trick-Flow Timing Chain kit. Both items have given me problems this year.

SCT X3 XCAL3 Tuning Tuner Thunderbird Cougar Mustang Modified

Gentex 177 Mirror Thunderbird Ford Compass Auto Dim dimming mirror


10/12/10

The Thunderbird was a lot of fun this summer and I can't wait until next year. The 3.73 and Trak-Lok was a fantastic addition to the Thunderbird. It really turned the car into sports car. I can highly make the recommendation to add the 3.73s and Trak-Lock if you plan to do any 1/4 track racing. The SCT X3 tunes by American MotorSport worked great!

I have a few timeslips to post from the Test and Tune at Milan Dragway.

Time Slip #1

The left slip is my best time of the evening: 16.13 @ 85.53MPH. Not bad from starting out in 16.5-16.7 range a couple of years ago.

The second slip on there was me vs. a 2007 (or so) Fusion 3.0L V6. It was driven by some chick and had the calipers painted pink. I barely got her.. My time: 16.29 @ 85.40MPH Her time: 16.31 @ 87.69MPH

Time Slip #2

I went a second time becuase I forgot my X3 at the last Test and Tune. I set a record for this Thunderbird on the first run of the evening.

My time was 15.6 @ 88.2MPH. I think that is very good for a big boat! There is more work to be done to get her into the low 15s or high 14s.

This Winter is going to be busy. I have to replace the power steering rack and the timing chains. There is a possible 3200 Stall DirtyDog torque converter in the mix as well.


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