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Thread: Project Black Panther: 1988 3.8L Cougar LS

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Project Black Panther: 1988 3.8L Cougar LS

    EDIT: For a complete backstory on this car -since I've had it- (with pics) go here

    And then to make sense of the first two lines of this post, go here



    Well, the time is finally here.

    Now that the AOd finally let go, and license and insurance have been dropped, the ol' cat can finally take a rest and get worked on properly.

    I've done a lot of work to this car since I got it, probably somewhere in the $2500 range,(no, I'm serious). but now that it is to become my fun car, no longer a DD, there are a lot of other things I have in mind.

    Here is what we are working with:

    1988 Cougar LS, 3.8L V6, base model, mileage unknown due to multiple speedo changes (apparently somewhere over 200,000 though based on carfax report)

    And here is some work that has already been done:

    • Rebuilt v6
    • New motor mounts
    • High torque starter
    • Electric fan
    • MSD coil and dis cap, Bosch platinum +2's
    • Custom CAI
    • Glasspack muffler
    • New radiator, hoses, water pump, ps pump, alternator, fuel pump, and battery
    • Sway bar addition in rear, new bushings/links up front
    • New tires and brakes-both already toast, new u-joints
    • Headlights restored, and marker light/turn signal mod
    • Fog lights added
    • LED taillights, dome light
    • trunk pop switch and glove box light addition
    • JVC HD radio, jensen speakers, audiopipe 12" sub
    • Faux aluminum dash trim swap


    Thats the majority of whats been done. Course there's always a couple of here and there's, and maybe some other things I forgot about too.

    However, there are still many many many other things that need to be done. Most are simple wear and tear repairs that need to be done. Such as:
    1. Working transmission. Working AOD with floor shift conversion installed 02-19-11
    2. Tires.
    3. Brakes. Fixed (for now...)
    4. Front-end Alignment.
    5. Front struts.
    6. Broken taillights. Replaced 09-28-2010
    7. Interior headliner has a couple holes.
    8. Rear package tray carpet is worn out.
    9. Interior carpet is not so great.
    10. Window crank handle is broken on DS, and window arm tabs are broken on PS. Fixed 07-24-11
    11. Window trim is rotted out fixed 12-27-11
    12. DS door lock is broken. Fixed 07-24-11
    13. Rear window chrome trim is gone.
    14. Exterior paint has seen better days.
    15. HUGE dent under PS quarter glass.
    16. AC does not work. System completely removed, 08-24-10
    17. Nor does the heater. Fixed, 10-29-10
    18. Dash top is awful.
    19. All front-end lights need to be de-yellowed/de-fogged/de-cracked. Again.
    20. New dew wipes Installed 12-29-11
    21. New seat belt sleeves


    As my car was as base as they come, there are many things that need to be added. Seriously, the only option I have are power mirrors. That don't work.
    1. (Working) Power mirrors.Fixed 01-08-11
    2. Power door locks.
    3. Power windows.
    4. Full center console. Installed, 01-08-11
    5. Underhood light. custom LED set complete 09-06-11
    6. Underdash/floorboard lights. custom LED setup installed 11-15-11
    7. Sunroof. Installed 03-10-12
    8. Cupholders. Project started 07-24-11
    9. Lighted sunvisors. Installed 01-08-11
    10. Needs sport bucket seats
    11. Aftermarket keyless entry (keyfob)


    And others are things that just need to be upgraded:
    1. Bigger sway bars.Installed 03-07-12
    2. Bigger front discs.
    3. Rear discs.
    4. 3.73 rear.
    5. New exhaust/headers. Headers installed 03-31-11; Single 2.5" system installed; Thrush Welded muffler 12-27-11
    6. Turbine rim swap. [B]Installed[/B/] finally
    7. Full analog gauges. Installed 02-27-12(fully custom set designed for later, just have to get guages)
    8. Racing seats?
    9. Full LED conversion on ALL lights.
    10. Sequential tails. Installed 03-09-11
    11. Performance 15:1 steering rack.
    12. TC Hood Installed 02/13/14


    But the biggest, most time (and money) consuming, things that are going to be happening to this car are these:
    1. T-5 going in soon
    2. Split port heads + 4.2 internals.
    3. MAF ECU conversion.
    4. ~350hp turbo setup
    5. Forged internals and SC block... for more boost of course!


    Yes, all of those can be done.(Don't worry, I've done the research)
    No, none of those will be entirely practical or easy.(Again, done the research)
    And yet, I still do not care!

    3 things that WILL NOT be happening:

    • 5-lug conversion (just don't want them)
    • Leather and/or power seats.(can't stand them)
    • 5.0, 2.3, 5.8, or any other engine swapping.(maybe someday, in another car)

    There. Now we have the basic starting point of any project: What is wrong, and what are we going to do about it.

    There is no particular order in which things will be happening.

    Most of anything that happens during this project that dives into a deep technical subject will get its own thread in its respective forum category, and will be discussed there. When a particular project deserves this, a link to the corresponding thread will be provided, so that all discussion can happen there. This is to better facilitate any searches for particular information later on, and also to keep posts on this thread to its topic.

    As items are knocked off the list, they I will be updating the thread, both in the title as a dated update, and on the lists above, as completion dates. All the items above will have links directed to the post(s)/thread(s) that they were involved in.

    Hopefully when this project is completed, it will be a very original project. It won't be your nice clean stock interior rebuild, but it won't be ricey. It will be a v6 under the hood, but it won't be slow. I have decided to call this Project Black Panther. You'll see why soon. I hope that when this is all completed, it will be something that people will have to take a step back and say "woah... that's quite different". It will be something truly unique and something to be proud of. I realize there are far more practical solutions to some (if not all) of the work I'm going to be doing, but I don't mind that. This is going to be what it will be for a good reason.

    This is my first project car. It's going to be a lot of work, and will no doubt be a long drawn out pain in the ass, but I hope to have fun with it. And I hope you guys can have some fun in it with me, and be able to help out along the way if I need it.

    Updates will begin soon.
    Last edited by sarjxxx; 05-05-2014 at 02:04 PM. Reason: update
    --Steve
    1988 Cougar V6
    2012 F-150 3.7L
    2011 Mustang 3.7L

  2. #2
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    You want power windows, and I want manual...hmmm.

    I'd skip a sunroof....wish my Sport didn't have a piece of glass overhead.

    I'd do all the mechanical stuff first, esp. the T5 swaparoo.
    What's the use of having a pretty car that can't move?

    Good luck!
    '84 Mustang, work in (sloooooooow) progress...
    '87 Stang notch
    1994 Ford F150 Flareside
    1997 Explorer V8 conversion (in progress)
    1998 Explorer 5.0
    and a couple of tractors. Ford, of course.
    FORD power, for life!

  3. #3
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    It's a long redo, keep motivated and keep your goal in sight.
    Good luck.
    Old Grey Cat to this.88 Cat,5.0 HO, CW mounts,mass air,CI custom cam,afr165's,Tmoss worked cobra intake,BBK shorty's,off road h pipe, magnaflow ex. T-5,spec stage 2 clutch,8.8 373 TC trac loc,che ajustables with bullits on the rear.11" brakes up front. +

  4. #4
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    I wish my list was that short when I started.LOL. I agree with the above post,do the mechanical work first.Get it running how you want it then get busy on the rest (unless those "other" pieces show their face early).Headliner,lights,trim,etc....all super easy stuff,and if you really look around,cheap.Make a list on paper of what you have,what you need,and what you want (there IS a difference).Make a list of what you need to do.Check things off as you get them,and as progress is made.It lets you see progress.I did a lot to the Sport but because of the amount of work needed,I couldn't really see progress.The list helped me.Good luck,and as you know,pics will be required.
    '88 Sport--T-5,HURST shifter,Trick Flow R intake,Ed Curtis cam,Trick Flow heads,Scorpion rockers,75mm Accufab t-body,3G,mini starter,Taurus fan,BBK long tube headers,O/R H-Pipe, Flowamaster Super 44's, deep and deeper Cobra R wheels, Mass Air and 24's,8.8 with 3.73's,140 mph speedo,Mach 1 chin spoiler,SN-95 springs,CHE control arms,aluminum drive shaft and a lot more..

  5. #5
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    Now that's a project. What parts do you need to complete it? And of course we will need pics of the progress!
    John

  6. #6
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    hell i could sell ya some solid motor mounts that should fit your v6. they came off my SC.
    2001 Buick Regal LS (DD)

    Got that fox rash again!

    -Resident smartass!

    - Don't listen to the naysayers. For every person who actually helps with your project there will be 10 who will discourage you all the while thinking that they are helping. 99% of all people have good intentions. That doesn't make them right.- XR7 Dave - SCCOA.Com

  7. #7
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    You need a 5.0
    '88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Edelbrock 70mm TB, 76mm C&L MAF, 30lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, AOD with 2800 PI converter, 8.8 with 3.73 gears, 31 spline Traction-Lok, 31 spline Moser axles, 04 Cobra front arms, Maximum Motorsports extreme duty rear arms, subframes.
    '11 Focus, '12 Mustang 3.7, '17 Accord EX-L V6

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThunderbirdSport302 View Post
    You want power windows, and I want manual...hmmm.
    Considering a trade off?....

    Quote Originally Posted by ThunderbirdSport302 View Post
    I'd do all the mechanical stuff first, esp. the T5 swaparoo.
    What's the use of having a pretty car that can't move?
    Quote Originally Posted by sarjxxx View Post
    There is no particular order in which things will be happening, but, the t-5 will be the first and most important thing to happen, since the car currently has no way to move itself.
    Quote Originally Posted by vinnietbird View Post
    Make a list of what you need to do.Check things off as you get them,and as progress is made.It lets you see progress.I did a lot to the Sport but because of the amount of work needed,I couldn't really see progress.The list helped me.
    Quote Originally Posted by sarjxxx View Post

    However, since we are looking at a considerable amount of time and money to accomplish such an undertaking, there are other things which require no money that can be accomplished now.
    ...
    As items are knocked off the list, they I will be updating the thread, both in the title as a dated update, and on the lists above, as completion dates. All the items above will have links directed to the post(s)/thread(s) that they were involved in.
    Come on guys, I'm on the ball!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar8775 View Post
    hell i could sell ya some solid motor mounts that should fit your v6. they came off my SC.
    Quote Originally Posted by sarjxxx View Post
    And here is some work that has already been done:

    -Rebuilt v6 and new motor mounts
    Got 'em bro!

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderjet302 View Post
    You need a 5.0
    Quote Originally Posted by sarjxxx View Post
    3 things that WILL NOT be happening:

    1. 5-lug conversion
    2. Power seats.
    3. 5.0, 2.3, 5.8, or any other engine swapping.
    I knew this would be coming anyway
    --Steve
    1988 Cougar V6
    2012 F-150 3.7L
    2011 Mustang 3.7L

  9. #9
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    I'm considering doing the tempo/topaz mirror trick. Has anyone here done it? If so can you provide me with a pic or two? Eric's site was more for fit and finish and didn't really show how it looks against the car.
    --Steve
    1988 Cougar V6
    2012 F-150 3.7L
    2011 Mustang 3.7L

  10. #10
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    Well, since Cougar Funds is still at rock bottom, I decided to do something that would cost absolutely no money, and try to work out the dent under the ps quarter glass.

    As you can see, some of it came out, but I'm not done yet, I need better tools cause I just cant get to it good enough with a hammer now.

    But it is much farther out than it was before...





    On another note, I went by the transmission shop today. Since I am unsure of whether or not I am mechanically qualified to completely take on the swap out by myself, I went to see if he would handle all the technical stuff after I put pedals in and pulled the AOd. Well, thats all fine and dandy, and for roughly $300 which is about what I was expecting anyway. Idk, I might do it myself anyway if you guys can help me out here and there...

    But thats beside the piont. When I was explaining to him what would be going on, I told him it was going into a fox body cougar. I explained it had a AOd, and he says,

    "wait, what year did you say that was?"

    88.

    "well thats not a fox body!"

    I was like WTF???

    "that after they switched to the single headlights right?"

    ...well yeah...

    "well thats not fox body. The true fox bodies had four headlights up front"

    GD'd four-eyes
    Attached Images Attached Images
    --Steve
    1988 Cougar V6
    2012 F-150 3.7L
    2011 Mustang 3.7L

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