Engine Need Help - Looking to buy

Nick71692

Member
Jul 28, 2019
7
3
13
33
Ohio
Looking at picking up an 88 GT. Here is a video the owner sent me of it running. It does have a cam but it sounds like its having trouble staying running...maybe Im wrong?? Curious to get thoughts from others and what questions you might ask the owner.

IMG_4150.mov

Here is a list of mods
Ford SBF 5.0L bored 0.020 over to a 306 cu. in.
-Ford Racing aluminum cylinder heads
-Trickflow upper and lower intake manifolds
-BBK 75mm throttle body and intake
-Full exhaust with Flowmaster American Thunder mufflers
-BBK equal length SS headers and H-pipe
-Ford Racing Performance Clutch
-Ford Racing 3.73 differential gears
-Converted to 5-lug with Alloy USA rear axles
-Ford Racing 17 in. Bullet wheels
-Wilwood front brake kit
-Upgraded ignition (MSD coil, distributor, 6 series ignition box)
-Walbro in-tank fuel pump
-Professional Products fuel rails
-Ford Racing 24lb. fuel injectors
-Summit Racing subframe connectors
-Intrax lowering springs with Tokico shocks
-All poly suspension bushings and motor mounts
 
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Blown88GT

Founding Member
Nov 13, 1999
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Palm Beach Gardens, FL
1. Asking price.
2. '88's were SD not MAF, don't see MAF in video.
3. ECU # (A9L, A9P or DA1). DA1 is SD.

From the way it sounds, I'm betting stock ECU which is matched to 19 lb injectors.
 

Nick71692

Member
Jul 28, 2019
7
3
13
33
Ohio
1. Asking price.
2. '88's were SD not MAF, don't see MAF in video.
3. ECU # (A9L, A9P or DA1). DA1 is SD.

From the way it sounds, I'm betting stock ECU which is matched to 19 lb injectors.
1. $6500
3. Not sure. The current owner bought the car with the Short block from the previous owner who said a speed shop built the motor. I asked what cam is in it and got the response: I don’t know what the cam is. It’s got to be about 0.500 in lift. I bought the short block off the previous owner which had an engine shop build it. He wasn’t sure the cam but I just went with it. The dyno shop tried to even out the surge but that would take about a 1200 rpm idle.

Doesnt seem like this is a big deal I just dont want to get into a project just want a car I cruise in on the weekends around town.
 

Nick71692

Member
Jul 28, 2019
7
3
13
33
Ohio
1. $6500
3. Not sure. The current owner bought the car with the Short block from the previous owner who said a speed shop built the motor. I asked what cam is in it and got the response: I don’t know what the cam is. It’s got to be about 0.500 in lift. I bought the short block off the previous owner which had an engine shop build it. He wasn’t sure the cam but I just went with it. The dyno shop tried to even out the surge but that would take about a 1200 rpm idle.

Doesnt seem like this is a big deal I just dont want to get into a project just want a car I cruise in on the weekends around town.

Listing also said it has 24lb injectors. The owner said its the original ecu with a chip thats been dyno tuned
 

Blown88GT

Founding Member
Nov 13, 1999
1,557
278
124
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Listing also said it has 24lb injectors. The owner said its the original ecu with a chip thats been dyno tuned
Sometimes that works, usually doesn't. Probably tuned for WOT. For cruising, you want a nice, stable idle. Will idle better with a MAF conversion or an aftermarket ECU.
Probably worth the asking price if no rust or body damage. Most 31 year old Mustangs will be a project, probably why the owner is selling it. The short video doesn't appear to be a big project.

I suspect other forum members will tell you to jump on it. It has a lot of good upgrades.
 

Nick71692

Member
Jul 28, 2019
7
3
13
33
Ohio
Sometimes that works, usually doesn't. Probably tuned for WOT. For cruising, you want a nice, stable idle. Will idle better with a MAF conversion or an aftermarket ECU.
Probably worth the asking price if no rust or body damage. Most 31 year old Mustangs will be a project, probably why the owner is selling it. The short video doesn't appear to be a big project.

I suspect other forum members will tell you to jump on it. It has a lot of good upgrades.
I thought same thing. Lots of good money in upgrades
 

Rdub6

Advanced Member
Dec 29, 2017
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491
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Long Island, NY
Man.... $6500 I’d jump on it. I’m probably into mine more than that, and it’s basically stock still.
That’s a sharp looking, clean car (from the pics). Obviously a real good visual of the usual suspect spots would be needed before I handed over the cash.
 
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Nick71692

Member
Jul 28, 2019
7
3
13
33
Ohio
Man.... $6500 I’d jump on it. I’m probably into mine more than that, and it’s basically stock still.
That’s a sharp looking, clean car (from the pics). Obviously a real good visual of the usual suspect spots would be needed before I handed over the cash.
What are the usual spots you recommend checking?
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
13,149
4,145
193
polk county florida
Shock towers down by frame rail
torque boxes
underneath where the seats bolt through and rear footwells
door hinge area and where the two panels come together at the bottom of the door opening at the quarter panel.
too early to remember more.
 

2000xp8

SN Certified Technician
Aug 8, 2003
6,558
850
194
NJ
Looks like a pretty nice car.
Some things to note, the headlights and tail lights are crap, you will want to replace them with factory versions if you drive at night. (which are not going to come cheap)
Hard to tell, but looks like a bullet mass air meter may be in there clocked so we can't see the sensor.
That car should NOT have needed tuning to make it idle, so something is wrong. Whether the chip fixed it or not, it's masking a real issue (which is probably something simple).
No AC, i'd wack someone for at least $1000 off for having no AC. Even if you don't need AC, it severely hurts the value of the car, it's a stupid modification that nobody should do.
Make sure the brakes feel right, it's weird upgrading the fronts but not going to discs in the back and i don't see an adjustable valve on the firewall.
You may want to replace the intrax springs.
Hope you are tall, that hood is massive.

If you buy it, make sure that intake takes a 75mm tb. I'm not sure on the trick flow, but most only take up to a 70mm, so that could leave a 5mm lip.
Probably recoup some money by selling off the unecessary massive Tach in the drivers compartment (which i hope is not screwed to the dash).

Overall, i like the car and there is a some room to make some minor changes to make it yours and i think the $6500 asking price at a glance is pretty fair. With that said, i still think you are going to put some money into it.
 
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jrichker

StangNet's favorite TOOL
SN Certified Technician
Mar 10, 2000
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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 area with strict emissions laws and buy a car, 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 areas 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; sometimes you can find deals 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.

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 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.

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.

Everything considered, 5.0 Mustangs are not hard to work on. They just require some patience and thought before you get started.