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Poll

Best (in your opinion) Final Drive for sporty cruising?

3.08 (or longer)
[ 0 ] (0%)
3.27
[ 1 ] (33.3%)
3.45/3.55 (What I have now)
[ 1 ] (33.3%)
3.73
[ 1 ] (33.3%)
4.10 (or shorter)
[ 0 ] (0%)

Total Members Voted: 3

Topic: Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser? (Read 385 times) previous topic - next topic

Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser?

So, I'm starting to get the itch for a 5 lug swap and while its some time off, I'm curious to pick everyone's brains on the topic of which final drive you all feel is best for these birds when mated to the 2.3t and the stock manual trans? Currently I'm stock with the 3.55(?) and the gears feel really short on the highway. I'm currently sitting above 3k at 70mph (I know it has a bit to do with a shorter tire) and would like to be closer to the 2k range but these are all keyboard warrior numbers and internal speculation. I don't want to lose too much of the sporty feel of the car, but I feel with the extra power a longer gear will be fine (and help load up the turbo anyways...)

What do you guys think? How do you feel about your ring gear swaps? Which do you prefer and why?
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.

Re: Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser?

Reply #1
I run 3.55's and I prefer that over the 3.73's that were in previously. I'm not stock, though.

3.27's MIGHT be OK, but your little IHI is going to be working to get things moving.
Long live the 4-eyes!  - '83 Tbird Turbo

Re: Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser?

Reply #2
There are plans in the works for a more effective turbo and fuel system for the 300whp goal, specifically a twin scroll 50 trim .63A/R something or other. Would like to have a nice big brand like Garrett or Turbonetics, but with those names and reputations comes a hefty price tag. That said, if I'm going to upgrade, I'd rather only ever to do it once so I suspect it'll be worth it to spend the cash.
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.

 

Re: Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser?

Reply #3
What tire size are you running?
1988 Thunderbird TC, 5spd
Stinger 3" single exhaust, Cone Filter, Adjustable Cam Pulley, Schneider roller cam, Walbro 255 lph,
'93 Mustang Cobra replica wheels on 235/50R17

'16 F150 XLT 5.0
'17 Husqvarna TX300

Re: Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser?

Reply #4
What tire size are you running?

Currently sitting on 215/35r18's (18x9" +30) due to clearance issues with the front coilovers. With the 5 lug swap, properly backspaced wheels will be on the agenda (18x9" +0ish 275/40r18 perhaps?). Regardless, I'm asking what YOU guys like, not what I should get. Do y'all prefer the shorter gearing for the canyon twisties or the longer gearing for the highway cruising? This was the real reason for the poll...
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.

Re: Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser?

Reply #5
Regardless, I'm asking what YOU guys like, not what I should get. Do y'all prefer the shorter gearing for the canyon twisties or the longer gearing for the highway cruising? This was the real reason for the poll...

What matters is how YOU use the car. Where do YOU drive it most?

My preference is for an all-around gear, thus the 3.55's.
Long live the 4-eyes!  - '83 Tbird Turbo

Re: Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser?

Reply #6
What tire size are you running?
Currently sitting on 215/35r18's (18x9" +30) due to clearance issues with the front coilovers. With the 5 lug swap, properly backspaced wheels will be on the agenda (18x9" +0ish 275/40r18 perhaps?). Regardless, I'm asking what YOU guys like, not what I should get. Do y'all prefer the shorter gearing for the canyon twisties or the longer gearing for the highway cruising? This was the real reason for the poll...
I am happy enough with the 3.55's in my car but at 70 mph I am at 2546 RPM with 235/50R17 tires from my calculator I made.  

Online it says your tires are 23.9" in diameter so at 70 mph you should be around 2800 RPM or maybe my spreadsheet needs adjustments.  Or you already have 3.75 gears that puts you at 2954 RPM.  IMO, I think it would be worth double checking if my spreadsheet concurs with others.   If my calculation does maybe you should inspect the rear end in your car to see what is in there?

1988 Thunderbird TC, 5spd
Stinger 3" single exhaust, Cone Filter, Adjustable Cam Pulley, Schneider roller cam, Walbro 255 lph,
'93 Mustang Cobra replica wheels on 235/50R17

'16 F150 XLT 5.0
'17 Husqvarna TX300

Re: Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser?

Reply #7

What matters is how YOU use the car. Where do YOU drive it most?

My preference is for an all-around gear, thus the 3.55's.

Well, truth be told I've put less than 1000 miles on the car in the two years I've owned it...cuz I keep finding stuff that needs fixing and don't trust myself to fix it until I say f* it and do it anyways. *is sad*
I am happy enough with the 3.55's in my car but at 70 mph I am at 2546 RPM with 235/50R17 tires from my calculator I made.  

Online it says your tires are 23.9" in diameter so at 70 mph you should be around 2800 RPM or maybe my spreadsheet needs adjustments.  Or you already have 3.75 gears that puts you at 2954 RPM.  IMO, I think it would be worth double checking if my spreadsheet concurs with others.   If my calculation does maybe you should inspect the rear end in your car to see what is in there?


With the mild stretch, it's possible the tires aren't quite the full calculated diameter they ought to be. I just know that I'm considerably slower than indicated when comparing dash reading to GPS output. That said, it certainly keeps me from speeding, lmao (when the isn't broken, of course)
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.

Re: Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser?

Reply #8
You'll never have the V8 torque, even with a bigger/better turbo. Smaller tires won't give you any more torque, and with the 2.3, as you've found, you're rather turning some revs on the highway. You can run 3.27 as Chuck mentioned but then you're really going to feel like it has no balls, or, you can do some suspension work and run the proper size tire.

As an aside, you can change the speedo driven gear (in the trans) to at least give you a fairly accurate mph...

Myself, if it's a fun car, rather than a daily, I'd do what needs to be done to be able to run stock size tires and then go from there with regards to brand preference.


If it were MY car, and I was going to keep it a 2.3t with upgraded boost and such, I'd prefer something with some good torque and a suspension setup that would give good traction and handling coming out of turns. Highway speeds at 65, 70 wouldn't be an issue as to me, a car like an '87, '88 Thunderbird wouldn't be much of a "drive long distance at highway speed" car. I've got a Fusion for that...

So yeah...upgrade to 5 lug. Find some wheels that will let you fit stock or slightly bigger than stock tires, at least in back. Adjust the speedo drive gear for proper MPH, and lastly...put a bigger puppies hairdryer on that thing. Wanna really swing the weiner? Put a FMIC on too. Of course, it's easy to spend others' money.....but that's what I'd do.


In fact, back in December I was looking for a Tbird Sport or TC to do some mods to. But I bought an Expedition and then spent 7 grand on goodies for it. So....

Still looking for an '88 Bird though. There will be another....and it will be a bad mothaf..... ;)
(Have a 32v already...)
'84, '87 Mustangs
'98 Explorer 5.0
'06 Explorer EB 4.6
'11 Expedition EL

Re: Discussion time: Best FD gearing for 88TC cruiser?

Reply #9
You'll never have the V8 torque...

...a car like an '87, '88 Thunderbird wouldn't be much of a "drive long distance at highway speed" car. I've got a Fusion for that...

So yeah...upgrade to 5 lug. Find some wheels that will let you fit stock or slightly bigger than stock tires, at least in back. Adjust the speedo drive gear for proper MPH, and lastly...put a bigger puppies hairdryer on that thing.

All these things are on the board for upgrades (aside from speedo gear...I'll have to add that one) gonna take some time, but she'll get there. And while I'd like to one day take her cross country on rt66, we have two modern Lincolns that would be much better for that job. My father and I did a short stint of the Route a while back and its not the smooth road one expects. Back in 2010 it was mostly abandoned side road through bumf*ck egypt and the stiff coilovers on the bird now would not make that a pleasant ride...
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.