Engine Buying A Foxbody, Need Help On Whether Or Not Engine Build Is Good, Help Please

Rxzm

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Apr 9, 2016
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The guy is selling me the car for $5,500. The car engine is about 1.5 years old, and it seems really clean, I'm going Wednesday to check it out and hopefully buy it. I've been wanting a manual gt for the longest and chose to get the fox after learning great its' potential is. I'm trying to learn how to work on cars and get a wider knowledge with this one but I'm not sure if that engine build is worth 5500, or w.e, just need some professional advice from yall please!
 

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2000xp8

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No idea what KRH heads are, at $900 i'd be a bit skeptical. (even a google search didn't provide any insight)
I don't see an intake listed either.

If your question is, is that engine worth $5500?
I'd say not even close. I certainly wouldn't have dropped over 5 grand to build it (unless it was a 347 with quality heads and intake).

If you like the car, it runs right and is well kept, i wouldn't let the engine keep you from buying it, but IMO that engine is not a selling point either.
Depending on the heads and intake, it may be no better than a $500 junkyard gt40 explorer engine.

I'm wondering since the intake is left off the list if this car is carbed or has a stock intake?
 
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Rxzm

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No idea what KRH heads are, at $900 i'd be a bit skeptical. (even a google search didn't provide any insight)
I don't see an intake listed either.

If your question is, is that engine worth $5500?
I'd say not even close. I certainly wouldn't have dropped over 5 grand to build it (unless it was stroked with quality heads and intake).

If you like the car, it runs right and is well kept, i wouldn't let the engine keep you from buying it, but IMO that engine is not a selling point either.
Depending on the heads and intake, it may be no better than a $500 junkyard gt40 explorer engine.

I'm wondering since the intake is left off the list if this car is carbed or has a stock intake?

It has trick flow intake, here's the link to the ad:

https://houston.craigslist.org/cto/5525574792.html
 

2000xp8

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Looks like a pretty decent car.
Paint looks good in pics, original black interior? Corbeau seats.

I'm still not sure what "boss steal heads" are.
If this guy doesn't actually know about the car, he's one of the laziest craigs ad designers I've ever seen.

I'm more of a pay for the car, not the mods type of guy.
 

Rxzm

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Looks like a pretty decent car.
Paint looks good in pics, original black interior? Corbeau seats.

I'm still not sure what "boss steal heads" are.
If this guy doesn't actually know about the car, he's one of the laziest craigs ad designers I've ever seen.

His ad has been confusing me and I can't tell if I'm getting ripped off or getting a steal, I'm planning on going Wednesday to check it out, hopefully it's as good as he says it is. He even claimed the car is pushing 450hp, if that's even possible for n/a. He got the engine built at Kotzur Racing Heads in San Antonio and they seem decent, so I'm guessing that's what "KRH" means on the build sheet.
 

Rxzm

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Looks like a pretty decent car.
Paint looks good in pics, original black interior? Corbeau seats.

I'm still not sure what "boss steal heads" are.
If this guy doesn't actually know about the car, he's one of the laziest craigs ad designers I've ever seen.

I'm more of a pay for the car, not the mods type of guy.

Is the car worth 5500 from just the picture?
 

2000xp8

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For sure at that price you aren't stealing it.
For hp, not sure if he's quoting flywheel (probably is to hype up the numbers) or rear wheel.
Regardless it doesn't meet that number at the flywheel and certainly not at the rear wheel.
Slice off 15% of flywheel to get close to the rear wheel.

A realistic rwhp number with a 331 and quality parts 375rwhp (some guys do better, some worse)
Skimp on the heads, cam, intake and that number could be 300rwhp or less.

I think you are really going to have to see this car and feel out the guy. If he comes off as a BS'er, be prepared to walk.
Right now judging his ad and what you just said about his hp claims, I don't have much faith in him
 
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Rxzm

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For sure at that price you aren't stealing it.
For hp, not sure if he's quoting flywheel (probably is to hype up the numbers) or rear wheel.
Regardless it doesn't meet that number at the flywheel and certainly not at the rear wheel.
Slice off 15% of flywheel to get close to the rear wheel.

A realistic rwhp number with a 331 and quality parts 375rwhp (some guys do better, some worse)
Skimp on the heads, cam, intake and that number could be 300rwhp or less.

I think you are really going to have to see this car and feel out the guy. If he comes off as a BS'er, be prepared to walk.
Right now judging his ad and what you just said about his hp claims, I don't have much faith in him

Thanks for the advice man, gives me more clarity haha
Is there anything I should ask him to see if he's a bull******* or not?
 

2000xp8

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I think you are going to have to feel out his character.
For example, last time I sold a vehicle it was my old e350 work van. I sold it for $1600 (bought it for $2500 and used it for 7 years).
I gave that guy every detail I fixed or worked on, a list of concerns about it. For me, peace of mind was more valuable than making a few more dollars, I gotta feel good about selling something or I just give it away instead. He probably thought I was nuts going on and on about a van worth $1600. But the guy I sold it to knew for sure I wasn't ripping him off.

The things I find on a fox that are a major concern are:
Torque boxes (where rear lower control arms meet the chassis), if they are torn up, just walk. Cost an arm and a leg to fix properly.
Paint, too expensive in NJ for paint work
Bottom end condition of the engine (doesn't burn any oil and holds oil pressure when hot)

Foxes are easier to work on, so mechanicals don't worry me much. If the heads are cheap crap, you could always sell them off and put a better set on.
There will always be something to fix, work on or modify on a foxbody, so if this will be your daily driver i'd say look elsewhere.

Oh, and don't let him feed you any crap on why it idles poorly or needs to be "tuned".
That's just code for "i fe'd up and can't fix it, so i'll sell it and make it someone else's headache".
Either it's 100% or it's not. If it's not, that has a monetary value.
 

A5literMan

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Looks like a solid enough car. I'd go look at it and drive it. If it runs well and there are no hidden issues I don't think 5500$ is a bad buy.
 

mikestang63

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Ask him for a dyno sheet to back his 450hp claim. Never heard of those heads. Anyone can give you a list of parts that are allegedly in the motor.

Do the normal inspection, rust, damage, accident, fluids, etc. I would also bring a code scanner and run the codes.
 

Rxzm

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Apr 9, 2016
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I think you are going to have to feel out his character.
For example, last time I sold a vehicle it was my old e350 work van. I sold it for $1600 (bought it for $2500 and used it for 7 years).
I gave that guy every detail I fixed or worked on, a list of concerns about it. For me, peace of mind was more valuable than making a few more dollars, I gotta feel good about selling something or I just give it away instead. He probably thought I was nuts going on and on about a van worth $1600. But the guy I sold it to knew for sure I wasn't ripping him off.

The things I find on a fox that are a major concern are:
Torque boxes (where rear lower control arms meet the chassis), if they are torn up, just walk. Cost an arm and a leg to fix properly.
Paint, too expensive in NJ for paint work
Bottom end condition of the engine (doesn't burn any oil and holds oil pressure when hot)

Foxes are easier to work on, so mechanicals don't worry me much. If the heads are cheap crap, you could always sell them off and put a better set on.
There will always be something to fix, work on or modify on a foxbody, so if this will be your daily driver i'd say look elsewhere.

Oh, and don't let him feed you any crap on why it idles poorly or needs to be "tuned".
That's just code for "i fe'd up and can't fix it, so i'll sell it and make it someone else's headache".
Either it's 100% or it's not. If it's not, that has a monetary value.

Looks like a solid enough car. I'd go look at it and drive it. If it runs well and there are no hidden issues I don't think 5500$ is a bad buy.

I'm getting it as a secondary car, I've always wanted to learn how to work on cars and I've read extensively on how Foxes are easy to work on, and you just said it too. Just hope the car is good for 6 months before I start learning haha, he sent me a video of the car in idle and the picture of the engine. He works construction so he claims the engine is dusty for that reason, but I'm gonna go Wednesday and check it out, hopefully it's as! Not sure on how to upload the video but here's a picture of the engine
 

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Rxzm

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Apr 9, 2016
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Ask him for a dyno sheet to back his 450hp claim. Never heard of those heads. Anyone can give you a list of parts that are allegedly in the motor.

Do the normal inspection, rust, damage, accident, fluids, etc. I would also bring a code scanner and run the codes.

I'm taking two mechanics with me to check out the car, and I asked him for a dyno, just waiting for the reply. Honestly think he's bsing the dyno, but let's see
 

2000xp8

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Wow, after seeing those pics, i'm much more concerned.
Clearly the carpet doesn't match the curtains in this case.

That dirt and an open filter should be criminal.
It's pretty much a disaster under the hood.

Also looks to be a stock mass air meter (I could be wrong, but I doubt it) which means the injectors are probably stock, which in turn means the fuel setup probably supports less than 300rwhp.
 
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jrichker

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Welcome to Stangnet... :spot:

Not all of us know how to fix everything, but some of us know how to fix some things
with excellence!

Places to check out here on Stangnet:
http://www.stangnet.com/mustang-forums/threads/technical-thread-how-to-index.808661/ How to do it tips for some of the most common problems and upgrades for 5.0 Fox body Mustangs.
http://www.stangnet.com/mustang-forums/threads/the-official-progress-threads-thread.761371/ the collection of build/progress threads from Stangnet members. You get to find ideas and clues to what works well and what doesn’t.
http://www.stangnet.com/mustang-forums/resources/ Has tech tips for common problems on Mustangs.

If you are in California or some other state with strict emissions laws, part of the deal should be that the owner takes the car and has it emissions tested. If it passes, you buy the car and pay for the emissions test cost, if any. If it does not pass, walk away from the deal. For a mechanically inexperienced owner, emissions related problems can be difficult and expensive to fix. Avoid any car that was originally EFI and has been converted to carb like the plague. That's often a clue to the fact the previous owner had problems and the resulting hack job has MORE problems.

Keep in mind that states with strict emissions laws may make the go faster goals more difficult to reach. Some parts are OK to replace with aftermarket parts and others aren't. Check carefully before you get out your wallet and buy something you can't use in the area where you live.


If you want to do the fix up & power up thing, make sure that you have some other form of reliable daily driver. That way the stang can sit while your wallet and hands take a rest from the last project that didn't quite get finished on that 3 day weekend. Things always cost more and take longer the first time you do them. Having some other working vehicle makes life easier since it isn't the big crush to get it running for the Monday morning drive to work or class.

Plan on spending some money on tools it you don't already have them. The stang has both metric and American fasteners, so you really need two sets of wrenches. A timing light, digital voltmeter, vacuum gauge, compression tester, fuel pressure test gauge and fuel line coupler tools are some of the test & tuning tools you'll need. Visit the pawn shops and sometimes you can find a deal on tools & test equipment if you stick to well known name brands.

A sheltered work area is almost a must, someplace that you can leave the car in pieces without upsetting anyone. Some guys here have changed a transmission in the parking lot of their apartment in a rainstorm, but they will tell you it wasn't fun. Depending on where you live, a warm dry garage is a nice place to do the winter projects that stangs tend to become.

EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) Computer - every stang after 85 has or had one: don't let it intimidate you. The computer based EFI systems are not hard to fix and most of the time they tell you what's wrong with the engine. Here's a book that will get you started with how the Ford electronic engine control or "computer" works.

Ford Fuel Injection & Electronic Engine Control 1988-1993 by James Probst: ISBN 0-8376-0301-3.

It's about $35-$45 from Borders.com see http://www.amazon.com/ . Select books and then select search. Use the ISBN number (without dashes or spaces) to do a search

Use the ISBN number and your local library can get you a loaner copy for free. Only thing is you are limited to keeping the book for two weeks. It is very good, and I found it to be very helpful.

For lots of great ideas and tech notes on upgrades and repairs, be sure to check
out http://forums.stangnet.com/showthread.php?t=643651 “Useful Technical Thread Index” sticky at the top of the 5.0 Tech forum.


Buyer's watch list

Dumping the computer diagnostic codes is an easy thing to do. It will tell you if there are any problems in the electrical parts of the fuel injection, ignition and emissions areas. Look at the top of the 5.0 Tech forum where the sticky threads are posted. One of them is how to dump the computer codes. Codes may be present even if the CEL(Check Engine Light) isn’t on. I highly suggest that you read it and follow the instructions to dump the codes. http://www.stangnet.com/mustang-forums/threads/how-to-pull-codes-from-eec4.889006/

If the owner doesn’t have receipts for parts or modifications, they didn’t happen or are not as described. The same thing goes for HP or drag strip figures; no dyno sheet or time strips, don’t take what you hear as absolute truth.
Some items can be visually determined, like intake manifolds, and aluminum cylinder heads. Stick a common magnet to any exposed part of the actual cylinder head. A magnet does not stick to aluminum, if the magnet sticks, the heads are iron, and may even be stock heads. Just remember that the valve covers are usually aluminum.

Things to run away from as quickly as possible –DON’T BUY THE CAR!!!
Fuel injection to carb conversions; all 5.0 Mustangs built after 1985 had EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection). A carb conversion is generally an indication that the previous owner was not able or willing to fix problems with the computer and associated sensors. Many of these cars are hack jobs that are electrical and mechanical road kill quality work.

Things that are very durable: Engine - as long as it hasn't been abused, it will run good for 150,000-200,000 miles without an overhaul
Rear axle - other than an occasional case of worn clutches in the traction lock, they almost never have problems.
Computer - believe it or not, the computers seldom have problems of their own. Most of the problems are with the sensors and the wiring.
Suspension – the front and rear suspension has very few problems if the car hasn’t been wrecked or seen a lot of drag strip runs. The drag strip runs tend to distort and tear the mount points for the rear axle control arms. Revving the engine up to 4000 RPM and dumping the clutch with slicks or drag radials tends to break things. Crawl under the car or better still have it put up on a lift so that the underside of the car can be carefully inspected.

Things that break often:
T5 5 speed manual transmission (syncros go bad, mostly 3rd gear)
TFI Module (Thin Film Ignition module - mounts on the distributor)
Electric door locks (see the link in my sig for a cheap & easy fix)
O2 sensors(oxygen sensors) They are good for about 60,000 miles and start to go
downhill after that.
TPS Sensor (Throttle Position Sensor) causes flaky problems with idle & acceleration.
Fog lights They overheat the wiring and cause the headlights to flicker. The fix is cheap and simple if you can do electrical stuff.
Harmonic Balancer – they separate between the hub and outer ring. A harmonic balancer puller is a must have to change it. You can rent or borrow a puller from most of the larger auto parts stores.

Things that don’t break often but are hard to fix:
Water pump mount bolts – they corrode and shear off when you try to change the water pump.
Rear oil seal on the engine – lots of parts to remove to get to a $20 seal.
Power steering pump – the pumps are noisy and the pulley requires some special tools to remove and install. If you have the tools, they are easy to do. Again, the larger auto parts stores will rent or loan the tools for the pulley.
Power Steering rack - it is hard to get the toe in set so that you can drive the car to the shop to get it properly aligned.
Starter – the top bolt is hard to get a socket on if you don’t have the right combination of socket, universal joint and extensions.
 
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2000xp8

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After a closer look at the picture of the engine, it looks like a red injector.
But still looks like a stock meter.
 

mikestang63

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I realize i'm the new guy, but, I'm calling b.s. on the 450 hp.

Jake, I doubt it makes 350 much less 450. Unknown cam, cheap unknown heads, the intake not listed in the receipt,no dyno or or buld sheet with specs and tolerances, no mention of a tune, stock radiator and clutch fan, plus the engine is filthy showing the owner takes little care of it.