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Thread: Recommendations for 88 Turbo Coupe Steering/Suspension

  1. #1
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    Default Recommendations for 88 Turbo Coupe Steering/Suspension

    Hello All,
    As noted I bought a 88 Turbo Coupe for an excellent price. It needs work and have been fooling around with the 2.3 (auto). Good chance its worn out and possibly a cracked blocked. I bought the car anyways to do a 351C conversion. I went ahead and ordered a AJE Fox cross-member since Chuck said he no longer makes the conversion mounts. I am going to stay with factory suspension parts. When I drove the car I know steering had lots of play and a cocked wheel when going straight. Possibly the rack is bad (I know the rag joint is toast as well which I have no clue where to find one). Can I get some recommendations as a good direction to go and what lower arms to go with? I have read about the SN95 rack swap which looks very interesting. When I looked up the parts though the 1994 Mustang model has a different rack number from say a 1996 (even though both are considered SN95). Should I just keep the same kind of rack that comes in my car and switch to Fox uppers and lowers? This will be a weekend warrior car and not a daily. I also looked at maybe a manual rack swap, but to me that looks like going backwards on a street car.
    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
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    Upon more reading it looks like the way to go would be to get the MMST-11 joint from Maximum Motorsports and keep my stock rack. But if the rack is already bad, is it recommended to do the SN95 and the MMST-13 instead? Trying to keep the project as cheap as possible, but at the same time want it to drive the best it can. Since I am going to have to change parts out I want to go ahead and do it all once. Thanks

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    Lol...2.3t automatic......well that explains your 5psi boost in your other post. Your ECU basically locks boost down until you put the switch in premium mode....then you get more.

    Sorry....back on track.....351C? Or did you mean 351W? You planning a carb or EFI? Either way you have alot of work ahead of you! Your going to need a new custom drive shaft, a double hump tranny cross member to accommodate dual exhaust and you may want to start looking at doing a Master cylinder/Vac Booster swap while your in there since you will likely loose alot of the function from the existing system.

    I don't know anything about the sn95 rack but you can use the fox mustang rack with T-bird rod ends. Simple bolt on swap. You can't go wrong with MM stuff but when did the rag joint.....I got it in the HELP section of my local parts store. It was so long ago but I remember needing to mod it a bit.

    John

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    LOL I swear John.....you are about the most helpful person on here. Thanks! Ahhhh okay yeah good point as I know that switch was on the regular setting. I didn't even think about that. The reason why I made sure it was on the regular setting was because of the old gas in the tank. I didn't want to risk anything, but dumped in 5 gallons of fresh 93 mixed in with whatever 1/4 was left in it. I have a major coolant leak going on and I am afraid it could be the block. I could not find where it was coming from, but did not see any wet hoses. I did see a leak in the front and that looks like water pump, but it has 2 spots where coolant is leaking and I mean big leaks.

    Yeah I have a 351C and most of the parts to it, but honestly I am looking into the 460 swap now as well. I know where 3 Lincolns that have 460s with C6s. Not sure the C6 would fit though without modification. I see they make an adapter for an AOD to Big Block and that may be the best option as I can get an AOD for free....then I can keep the 3.73 gear. Then again if you go big block then may as well keep the C6 and get some highway gears to match. Just not sure the C6 would fit good without cutting and welding (which I can cut, but suck at welding). Funny as yes I do have a 5.0 Mustang booster and a SVO Master Cylinder from the write up I saw on NATO ready to go in one day. The bad is I talked to Jack from MM and he basically said I did not want to use the SVO Master. So here I am LOL

    That is what I find odd about the rag joints. Some say the Mustang and Bird had the same ones, yet you can get them for a Mustang though not for a Bird. I snagged a Cobra rack on Ebay for very cheap out of a 2003, so I am gonna do the swap thing. That coupler is expensive from MM, but it seems to be the cats meow from the comments I read. Now to figure out what arms I will need to use to make this all play together nicely. haha Eventually I would like to convert to 5 lug, but not at that point yet.

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    No problem.....there's many helpful members on here, probably not checking in much during winter. I tend to pop in during work killing some time......and it sucks that it's too damn cold up here to spend much time in the garage.....so I will help others if I'm able. Take a good look on the passenger side for leaks. There is a tiny line from turbo to block.....it gets trashed from the heat! Also follow the hard lines behind the head all the way to the oil cooler/filter assembly. The hard lines tend to rot.

    I wouldn't use the booster you have unless it's a cobra booster. I used a GT booster for a while until it crapped out. Brakes needed alot effort and was difficult to lock up. I am using the sn95 master with cobra booster and it works a whole lot better now.

    If your using a fox mustang K.....use fox mustang arms otherwise the wheels stick out too far. I tried both T-bird and Mustang and much happier with the mustang arms. If I ever go 5 lug I am certain the wheels won't stick way out. I would think if you went with a modified Sn95 K you might be able to use the longer arms.

    Going Big Block.....I hope you've considered hood clearance! Ive read about guys going 460 and shimming the K-member down to keep the stock hood so you have to think about where things will sit including the steering shaft. I opted for an EFI 5.0 Turbo set up to keep things simple and get all the grunt the block handle with little modification and stock like street manners. It's a sleeper.....it's got that awesome clear coat peel, until recently keep the snowflakes on it and I even managed to tuck my 3" tail pipes way up like the automatic 2.3t single with only the tip of a blacked out turn down visible. This arrangement also seems to give a deeper throatier sound making people wonder WTF.

    Whatever you decide.....if the body is in good shape....you will enjoy the car when it's done.....you definitely need patience to complete the conversion!

    John

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    So I thought all the TC's already have the double hump cross member?

    Rack and pinion...I would suggest that you dump the over boosted Fox stuff and move over to the SN95 rack. The T bar in the rack is what causes the Fox racks to be so easy to turn. This is not a good thing at high speeds as it can result in an over correction. Me personally I like a little stiffer steering to generate feedback. To properly install a SN95 rack in your Bird use one from a 94-98 V8 car, the stock Fox pump, stock Fox high pressure and low pressure lines, new Teflon seals on the lines (help section), and the Maximum Motorsports hybrid steering shaft (MMST-13) for this conversion. Here is the one issue with this swap, the SN95 rack will have metric threaded inner tie rods while the outer tie rods on a Fox car are SAE. You can buy the SN95 outers and cut the inners down so they fit right or buy the bump steer kit from MM (MMTR-4) but you will still need to cut the inners down to make it all work. Another option is to use the Fox inners off of your existing rack if they are in good shape and then use Fox outers. This is all assuming you will use the Fox LCA's up front.

    Brakes...If you are going to run the Fox 11" brakes up front and the TC discs in the rear then you can use a Fox booster and an 85 Lincoln Town Car MC as it has a 1" bore. You should be able to find the Town Car MC in aluminum so it looks nicer than the old school iron one. Do not run the SVO calipers or the SVO MC...been there done that and what a waste of time and money. Another option that has been pointed out is to run the 93 Mustang Cobra booster which is the same as the 94-95 GT booster however it has the same bolt pattern to the firewall as the Fox unit so you do not have to slot the holes. I have installed a few and the Cobra unit is much easier but some cars will require some relief of the back side of the driver shock tower so it will slide home. If you run this booster then you can use either the 93 Cobra MC (1" bore) , the 94-95 V8 MC (15/16" bore), or 94-98 V6 MC (15/16" bore) as they will all work well with the stock Fox brake setup or with the SN95 brakes should you ever decide to convert. I am pretty sure I have the bore sizes correct but the key here is to get as close to 1"as you can so even a 1 1/16" will work.

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    So I thought all the TC's already have the double hump cross member?
    I don't know about "all" but the 87-88 automatics didn't. Ok rephrase that to my 87 auto didn't.

    John

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    Yeah I am still on the fence on the 351C or 460. I finally picked up my block after 3 years of sitting at a machine shop (he is still searching for my new pistons and stock rods he misplaced). It was going to go in to my 70 Sportsroof Mustang restoration, but I sold it. Hence why I bought the Tbird going in to it thinking I would throw the 351C in. I have almost all the parts, just need the swap headers. The bad thing is the engine guy said someone poorly honed the block already to .030 over and would need to go .040. From what I read some builders recommend max of .030 for the thin walled 351. So yes I am a little concerned about that, but I could find another block. The other issue is the heads I have are the DOAE heads which are supposed to be at least closed chamber and not open 4V heads. Sure they have huge ports, but from what I am reading it will be a dog on the street unless I get a stroker kit (definitely not good for the .040 overbore). The positive of course is the AOD will bolt right on to the 351. Now the 460 is a good starting point, but I know it will be nose heavy. I like the idea of a stoplight monster. The bad is I found out the local person with the 70's Tbird 460 wants $1000 (they pull it) for the engine with all the brackets (the positive is it does already run). To me that price is a bit insane, but if it's old enough it may have some good heads on it already. Hoping to hear soon what year it is. The bad of course for the 460 is transmission options and height issues just like you mentioned John. Also it will take probably extra work to get it to fit, but I am not too afraid of that. My other "almost finished" project car is a Miata with a 302 in it. So again no need for a special handling car when I got that little beast. LOL

    So yeah I have the Cobra rack on the way as I definitely will be using that. I will try to do the Fox inner swap out and then using Fox Arms like you both said. Now can I use my current uppers with the Fox lowers or do I need both? I wanted to try and use the 5.0 Fox Booster because I read it was the smallest. So that may do best for space. I guess that means I will definitely be getting another master then. I will check out those Lincoln options. I read the info in the NATO Tech about that SVO swap, but they really should take that down. I was worried it was old info and people have found better ideas.

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    The 93 cobra or sn95 booster are bigger but really don't impose a problem. Mine slipped in easily by clearencing one of holes in the firewall......without smashing the strut tower. As noted the sn95 booster is a different bolt pattern but is otherwise the same as the 93 cobra.

    You have no uppers in the front..... you might want to read up on spring swaps for these cars.....its the same as mustangs .... them you will fully understand the hazards in removing the control arms. It's really not as bad as you might read as long as the control arm is supported well and spring compression is relaxed slowly. I've never had much luck with spring compressors on these cars so I don't even try to use one anymore.

    John

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    I thought I was crazy when I questioned the lack of upper arm. I thought to myself no way this car comes without an upper. Thanks for clearing that up John as I have not the pleasure of taking the suspension down yet So it sounds like everything is just sandwiched between the coil spring mount and the lower a-arm (which I did remember to get the spring perches for the AJE haha). I did just now go online and see it looks like the upper spindle bolts to the strut. Well my local Ford mechanic guru buddy keeps pushing me to go Cleveland. He said don't worry about the block as he has a spare ready to go. He keeps telling me you don't want to go with a big block (such a Debbie Downer that has a 428CJ he built sitting in his garage LOL). I guess for the vision of cheaperness (not a real word), I should stay with the Cleveland. I can sell the 2.3 to help cover the machining costs. Evidently the local racers would like to get their hands on that 2.3. I was told I wont have any issue selling it for the class they run. Though I need to find that leak as I wouldn't want to sell someone a cracked block. Unless they only want it for what I am assuming is the forged internals (if they are forged? Not sure). Maybe we can slap a turbo or 2 on that 351C?
    Last edited by Biff Bastion; 02-08-2018 at 10:01 AM.

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