78 Fairmont upgrades - Ford Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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78 Fairmont upgrades

Hi, I just recently bought a 78 Fairmont with the 3.3 and automatic trans and am looking to get some more HP out of it. I see all the mustangs from that time and although they’ve been worked on they seem to get quite a bit of power out of the old engine. To start with should I do an engine swap or is there anyway I could sorta build it? I’d prefer not to do a full build. Atm I plan on going with dual exhaust and a glass pack and hope to do a manual swap to a T5(once I find one) this summer. As this is a daily(though I have access to another vehicle) I just want something that will be a little more fun to drive. I’m going to college so atm money is sorta tight.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 3 Weeks Ago
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The Fairmont was/is a pretty nice sporty type car with much potential! IIRR, the suspension was a little soft but controlled because of the "Market" it focused on at the time... nothing that good quality shocks (KYB's) and a rear sway bar wouldn't go a well creating a "more fun" car to drive (oh my, my English here- grin)!


IMHO, there are 2 things that will give the engine more "spirit" that will be cost effective..... 1) swap out the carburetor to something more performance orientated (as compared to the more MPG oem carb it has now)Ö. something like the holley 2300 series (350 CFM) and 2) the exhaust system..... headers will make a really big difference (shorties will work excellent as compared to long tubes and will help keep all your smog components in place) and yeah, some allied resonators (fancy glasspacks) will work very nice and be cost effective... and available at any muffler shop!


IIRR, that one has a distributor! Find an ol timer who grew up with these years of cars....they will known exactly what I am talking about...Ö advancing the initial timing (this is a no cost) and changing out the internal springs so you get full advancement at around 2500 rpm (minimal cost....$25 for new springs)Ö this will really wake up the little engine as the ignition system was "shut down" so to speak for emissions related reasons...Ö this by itself will make this fun to drive again!


IMHO, that engine is really a good one- easy to maintain, inexpensive and easy to repair, lasted a long time/reliable with just a little maintenance/TLC...can't ask for much more!!


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Originally Posted by Beechkid View Post
. . . creating a "more fun" car to drive (oh my, my English here- grin) . . .
how about "funner" ? LOL
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how about "funner" ? LOL


"Gooder Comment"

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Thanks for replying so fast, I’ve done the research before and it was tuned down. The shocks are probably going to be a future thing as the ones on it are barely used(bought it with 42k miles) and ride okay. I’m not sure if I understood the carb part, are you saying I’ll get better or worse mpg with the Holley 2300? Atm it’s about 16mpg which I mean isn’t bad, but isn’t good either for being a daily.

With the resonators, I’ll look into them and did you mean shorties as in come out the side behind the engine or would it be alright to run them all the way to the back, if not maybe to the front of the back wheel?

As for the springs and timing, can I do those without upgrading the carb or will I possibly have to tune the carb if I don’t upgrade?
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Also, if i went true dual exhaust and wanted to turbo(i do at somepoint) would i have to come off both exhaust pipes or just one?
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Originally Posted by BeaterofAincrad View Post
Thanks for replying so fast, Iíve done the research before and it was tuned down. The shocks are probably going to be a future thing as the ones on it are barely used(bought it with 42k miles) and ride okay. Iím not sure if I understood the carb part, are you saying Iíll get better or worse mpg with the Holley 2300? Atm itís about 16mpg which I mean isnít bad, but isnít good either for being a daily.

With the resonators, Iíll look into them and did you mean shorties as in come out the side behind the engine or would it be alright to run them all the way to the back, if not maybe to the front of the back wheel?

As for the springs and timing, can I do those without upgrading the carb or will I possibly have to tune the carb if I donít upgrade?
The MPG will stay about the same providing your foot doesn't press the gas pedal down farther! What you will find with the Holley is the power of the engine will continue through the midrange and upper RPM where the factory carb will start to mellow out beginning at about the midrange....


With regards to resonators, those are bullet shaped mufflers and they come in a variety of lengths from 10" to 38" IIRR....and yes, run the tailpipes out as far back as you want them.


With regards to the distributor springs & timing, that can be done at any time...and the carb...the fuel mixture screws on the oem carb are sealed..but an ol timer will know how to knock out the "blocks' that block the access to them and now you can adjust the fuel mixture.... but after adjusting the timing, probably will have to adjust the idle speed.

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Also, if i went true dual exhaust and wanted to turbo(i do at somepoint) would i have to come off both exhaust pipes or just one?
The engine will definitely like the true dual exhaust... it will run a little bit better and get 1 or 2 mpg's as well. Well, to do a turbo on that engine, is gonna cost some $ because the bottom end is just not built for that..... so plan on a complete rebuild on that engine if you go that route.

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