Engine 1989 GT Engine rebuild advice needed

Killing Hours

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May 23, 2018
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Hello again Stangnet!

Well, I've pulled my first engine HOORAY and now I'm at a crossroads trying to plan out the build etc and would like opinions from well seasoned vets before I start throwing money down a hole. (HAAHA... I bought a foxbody... already in the hole you say! ;) )

We're refreshing the wife's motor and trans and while it's out we've decided to go ahead and give it a bit more umpff than stock while keeping it relatively mild. (She's a granny type driver and doesn't care for the "Go Fast" shift knob :()

So the tentative plan thus far is as follows...

Budget:
Relatively cheap build

Car:
1989 Vert 5.0 HO
AOD Trans (Not switching to T5. Out of the question)

Goals:
(A) Mildly lopy idle (I understand the trade off)
(B) Streetable daily

Roadmap:

(A) Tear the engine completely down to bare block and re-ring / new bearings / block cleaning, machining etc (Nothing fancy on the machine work)
(B) E303 cam (open to suggestions)
(C) GT-40(or P) heads with matching intake (junkyard exploder)
(D) Better valve springs, pushrods, head bolts
(E) 1.6 Rollers
(F) Aftermarket shorties with offroad H down to flowmaster 40s and out the tails.
(G) Alum driveshaft to what I believe to be stock 3.27 in the rear. (Haven't split the pumpkin yet to find out for sure)


So with the abundance of information floating all over the net and what seems like an endless supply of opinions... I figured I'd ask people who have more knowledge and experience than I do in this area first.

My 'murky' areas are:

(1) The stall converter and what I would want to get.
(2) Is the heads / cam / rocker combo a good fit for the goals or is there a better approach
(3) Any other information I might be missing or not aware of that I should be thinking about
(4) Suggestions / Comments / PItfalls / Advice etc that could help guide us along.

Thanks in advance!
 
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RangerJoe

I leave the horn on while driving
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The combo you have suggested has been done numerous times with good results. Opinions will abound on what cam to run.
The question posed about your budget is an important one, the small things will kill you. Depending on the current condition of your parts will determine the machine work costs. It could be as little as a few hundred or get into the thousands. Gaskets, fasteners, oil pump and timing chain will require a portion of your budget as well.

Joe
 
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Killing Hours

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May 23, 2018
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What's your budget? If funds allow just go with the Trick Flow top end kit and be done.

The budget is spread thin between the trans, top, suspension, and body work. Hence the 'relatively cheap' engine build. Not to mention trickflow would be a waste on her driving style.

The combo you have suggested has been done numerous times with good results. Opinions will abound on what cam to run.
The question posed about your budget is an important one, the small things will kill you. Depending on the current condition of your parts will determine the machine work costs. It could be as little as a few hundred or get into the thousands. Gaskets, fasteners, oil pump and timing chain will require a portion of your budget as well.

Joe

It's precisely that reason (the small things) which drove me to go for a full teardown. I don't trust previous owners to have not neglected those things and will cause me major headaches later. So with the proposed build, the idle will be a bit choppy but still able to pull enough vacuum for things to work normally?
 

RangerJoe

I leave the horn on while driving
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The budget is spread thin between the trans, top, suspension, and body work. Hence the 'relatively cheap' engine build. Not to mention trickflow would be a waste on her driving style.



It's precisely that reason (the small things) which drove me to go for a full teardown. I don't trust previous owners to have not neglected those things and will cause me major headaches later. So with the proposed build, the idle will be a bit choppy but still able to pull enough vacuum for things to work normally?
Yes. Some people have idle issues with that cam, but that can be any cam. It's a pretty mild design. Just know that your budget can snowball and be prepared to deal with it.

Joe
 

deathb4dismount

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If it were me, stock cam with 1.7s on the gt40s. Throw some 410s outback with a decent converter and have fun. Any money you have left over I would stiffen up the frame and replace all the worn out suspension.
 

96pushrod

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May 15, 2018
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This may be a dumb question but, why build a semi-performance motor if the wife doesn’t ever mash the skinny pedal down? Not that I’m not on board with the program, just wondering lol.

I’d give http://www.andersonfordmotorsport.com/ a ring and see about a power pack from them. He can’t get you a far better cam than an alphabet ford and the trick flow stage 1, I’m sure you’d be much happier with the end result.

Also, I would nix the aluminum driveshaft ideal. Kind of pointless at a close to stock power level imo, unless your stock one is bad. Stock really isn’t that heavy.

Don’t waste your money on short tube headers either. Long tube is where you want to be.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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#1 the aluminum drive shaft, all the new vehicles have them, why? Read this for a professional opinion:
https://www.americanmuscle.com/do-i-want-an-aftermarket-driveshaft-fox-body-tech.html
#2 shorty verses long tube, now this gets sorta complicated and also a matter of personal preference, basically the lone tube headers offer better low end torque but the differences are small for most street, mild bolt on builds, I prefer long tube headers for the torque down low on the street but it's a matter of chassis and ground clearance. The shorty headers allow more room for catalytic converters which may be necessary for emission. Oh, and spring for ceramic coated headers. You'll be glad you did.
 

Boostedpimp

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So the car is basically a cruiser for the wife then?

Shift kit at the very least would be needed for me as well as some subframe connectors.

Depending on how much highway driving this car will do, maybe swap the ring and pinion to a more aggressive set

The aluminium driveshaft isn't really needed unless your experiencing some vibrations or if you can pick one up cheap enough

Regarding the whole header discussion, I'd stick with your plan and run the shortie unequal lengths. Easy to get to the plugs, no burning of the plug wires, no clearance issues with the ground or steering shaft and no heating up the start problems like longtubes would possibly give you. Besides with your build the gains you would see from longtubes would be very minor vs cost/frustration
 
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Killing Hours

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This may be a dumb question but, why build a semi-performance motor if the wife doesn’t ever mash the skinny pedal down? Not that I’m not on board with the program, just wondering lol.

I’d give http://www.andersonfordmotorsport.com/ a ring and see about a power pack from them. He can’t get you a far better cam than an alphabet ford and the trick flow stage 1, I’m sure you’d be much happier with the end result.

Also, I would nix the aluminum driveshaft ideal. Kind of pointless at a close to stock power level imo, unless your stock one is bad. Stock really isn’t that heavy.

Don’t waste your money on short tube headers either. Long tube is where you want to be.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people. ;) J.K. Calm yoself.

Well, TBH... it's a balancing act. That's the real answer. She wanted a 67 - 68 but settled on a matching fox. As we all know, the stock fox is just bleh. She wants the lopy idle but I know that is a tradeoff with a smooth ride. So I'm trying to balance the two out in some sort of happy medium. The snowball effect if you will.

Wife: I want it to sound like this
Me: But if we do that it means changing D, E, F, & H to work with the new cam properly and somewhat efficiently
Etc etc etc all the way down to the main bearings (yep... including subframe connectors and torque box reinforcements... it's a vert... comon.)

The driveshaft is being replaced regardless because the old one is rusted up nicely, the ujoints are in bad shape and it's less hassle to just get a new alum. As for the long tubes, I have them in mine and I know the headaches of changing a starter. She's getting shorties.

#1 the aluminum drive shaft, all the new vehicles have them, why? Read this for a professional opinion:
https://www.americanmuscle.com/do-i-want-an-aftermarket-driveshaft-fox-body-tech.html
#2 shorty verses long tube, now this gets sorta complicated and also a matter of personal preference, basically the lone tube headers offer better low end torque but the differences are small for most street, mild bolt on builds, I prefer long tube headers for the torque down low on the street but it's a matter of chassis and ground clearance. The shorty headers allow more room for catalytic converters which may be necessary for emission. Oh, and spring for ceramic coated headers. You'll be glad you did.

I've actually looked into the ceramics and have read a couple times while researching them that the coating doesn't last all that long. (We live in the Houston area, humidity) Although, I haven't really spent a huge amount of time looking into what headers to get yet (still need to junkyard either a set of GT-40s or Ps to steer that decision)

So the car is basically a cruiser for the wife then?

Shift kit at the very least would be needed for me as well as some subframe connectors.

Depending on how much highway driving this car will do, maybe swap the ring and pinion to a more aggressive set

The aluminium driveshaft isn't really needed unless your experiencing some vibrations or if you can pick one up cheap enough

Regarding the whole header discussion, I'd stick with your plan and run the shortie unequal lengths. Easy to get to the plugs, no burning of the plug wires, no clearance issues with the ground or steering shaft and no heating up the start problems like longtubes would possibly give you. Besides with your build the gains you would see from longtubes would be very minor vs cost/frustration

Yes, basically a cruiser with a nice growl at idle and a little more pep in the step than stock. Subframes are a def thing that is happening + Torque box reinforcements. We had talked about putting 3.73s in hers but that is where I can't justify it to her as something else she'll have to wait for. Basically, engine wise, we're just replacing old parts (balancer, bearings, seals etc) because the car has sat up for awhile and is leaking from the usual spots. Had to pull the TRANS :O_o: for a rebuild and why halfass a job since we pulled the engine and trans together.

Why the shift kit? What do I need to know or what reason is there for it? (Mine is a T5 and I wouldn't dare disgrace a mustang with an automatic... but this is her baby)
 
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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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Shift kit will firm up the shifts and make it feel more performance oriented, I think it makes the trans (Rue Paul is a tranny) last longer, the ceramic coatings are better when buying already applied by manufacturers than applied after by the local coating companies, that is where the flaking and discoloration comes from, the coatings that come on new headers are done on virgin pipes with no contamination and I've seen them last for many years/miles, they also drop under hood temps too. Long tube verses shorty? Go for the shorty headers, space and money are the main reasons, the small gain from long tubes don't justify the cost difference on a mild built street car,
And BTW, I can change my starter with the LTs in about 20 minutes and I have only done it one time in 50k miles so that argument about heat soak and difficulty is moot. And yes we are talking about the newer style mini starter (stock ford part) and city driving in stop and go traffic, many stop, start situations like store, bank, micky ds and whatever other deeds that 'girl on the other end of the couch' needs me to do in a day.
 

Killing Hours

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And BTW, I can change my starter with the LTs in about 20 minutes and I have only done it one time in 50k miles so that argument about heat soak and difficulty is moot. And yes we are talking about the newer style mini starter (stock ford part) and city driving in stop and go traffic, many stop, start situations like store, bank, micky ds and whatever other deeds that 'girl on the other end of the couch' needs me to do in a day.

Ohhhh... the deeds. So many of them needing doing from that there woman. Thanks for the laugh & insight!! Fixed the post (tranny) just for you. :doh:

Seems like I'm on a good build path due to the lack of tongue lashing I'm receiving. :nice: I too am getting decent at changing my mini starter with LTs, but bleh on doing it for the both of us. She don't need no stinking low end torque anyhow. :-B Will definitely look into a shift kit if it will help protect the trans from failing sooner. That's justifiable (yes, TV cable bushing/adjustments etc, i know) Any particular shift kit you would recommened for my situation?
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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I'm kinda shiftless when it comes to autos, I row a stick in the exxon valdez, the dump truck has an auto thats been beefed up and has a shift kit, I have no idea where from, I had it built years ago and it's been at least 150k on it with this rebuild although the 'kit' has been in it for longer than that, it firms up the band engagement so there is little to no slipping, less material wear,
 

Boostedpimp

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And BTW, I can change my starter with the LTs in about 20 minutes and I have only done it one time in 50k miles so that argument about heat soak and difficulty is moot. And yes we are talking about the newer style mini starter (stock ford part) and city driving in stop and go traffic, many stop, start situations like store, bank, micky ds and whatever other deeds that 'girl on the other end of the couch' needs me to do in a day.

I've used two sets of mac longtubes and between the low ground clearance, interference with the steering shaft and heat soak of the starter they were not worth it for a mild street car. Are you guaranteed to be left for dead because of longtubes? maybe :)
 

Noobz347

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If you want to spec a Mustang for a woman who likes Mustangs but isn't really into cars in general; You really only need look as far as a GTCS.

Granted, there are no Fox GTCS (that I can recall off-hand / maybe a rental car) but the equipment list would be the same or similar.

Don't wring your hands too much about this exhaust vs. that exhaust. blah...

Any set of as cast after-market aluminum heads in the 160-185 range will do. Skip the old Ford heads all-together. They're not worth what you'll spend getting them into shape. Get your cam and intake suggestion from Anderson FMS. There is absolutely nothing wrong with their 1-5/8 shorties either. Coupled with a quality cat-back, you will be hard pressed to find difference on a dyno given the same moderately built block and ease of install and maintenance.

This will put you in the 290+ range in a 3000 lb car with 300+ ft/lbs of torque. I hope you put equal parts of cash into suspension and brakes.

Auto/Manual doesn't really matter. Get her whatever she's comfortable with and get some of the dudes here that are good at matching converters with gears and torque production. @Mustang5L5 comes to mind.

You're also going to need a decent stereo (hard to do in a Fox) and sound deadening materials... Lots of it. hehe
 
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Noobz347

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p.s. What you're attempting to build has been done by a couple of folks here. Solid cruisers with respectable power. The dudes in this thread already, can help call some of those guys in. Setting up a Fox for the wife can be a tall order. LoL Much harder than if we were setting it up for ourselves.
 
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Killing Hours

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If you want to spec a Mustang for a woman who likes Mustangs but isn't really into cars in general; You really only need look as far as a GTCS.

Granted, there are no Fox GTCS (that I can recall off-hand / maybe a rental car) but the equipment list would be the same or similar.

Don't wring your hands too much about this exhaust vs. that exhaust. blah...

Any set of as cast after-market aluminum heads in the 160-185 range will do. Skip the old Ford heads all-together. They're not worth what you'll spend getting them into shape. Get your cam and intake suggestion from Anderson FMS. There is absolutely nothing wrong with their 1-5/8 shorties either. Coupled with a quality cat-back, you will be hard pressed to find difference on a dyno given the same moderately built block and ease of install and maintenance.

This will put you in the 290+ range in a 3000 lb car with 300+ ft/lbs of torque. I hope you put equal parts of cash into suspension and brakes.

Auto/Manual doesn't really matter. Get her whatever she's comfortable with and get some of the dudes here that are good at matching converters with gears and torque production. @Mustang5L5 comes to mind.

You're also going to need a decent stereo (hard to do in a Fox) and sound deadening materials... Lots of it. hehe

Great post Noobz!!

>>>Skip the old Ford heads all-together

If you don't mind me picking your brain a bit, I thought going the GT-40(p) route would the way to go given a cheap price point with a bit better flow vs. the E7s. Paired with the 303 and obviously new springs / rods that it would help to ensure the valuetrain would function as a solid unit cheaper than going aftermarket and matching stuff up.

***EDIT***
Hory Sheet, we didn't realize the iron heads we so damn heavy. Eye opener for sure when it comes to my build. ;)
***********

Setting up a Fox for the wife can be a tall order. LoL Much harder than if we were setting it up for ourselves.

No truer words spoken. I was preparing myself to pull my engine and I've put a LOT of time into researching and familiarizing myself with the internals and all the systems and how to put it all together for mine (completely different route) when she threw this into my lap. Like I said previously, she wants the lopy idle (Classic muscle sound) but she doesn't seem to understand there is a trade off and has tasked me with getting the lopy idle while keeping it DD friendly. I'm keeping the budget 'relatively' cheap so my build doesn't go to the back burner for ev errrr nor would putting expensive parts into hers be 'worth' it. She'll never push this car. ;)

What started as a simple trans rebuild has bloomed into a full drivetrain overhaul. But, the plan is to pass both cars to the kids later in life so doing right and once only now is the best route in my opinion currently.

She says ' thats fine with me'
we say 'I want more'

HEY!!! Quit listening in to our private conversations!!! :p
 
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Noobz347

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