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What I have is a 100% stock, 1990 5.0 LX convertable. It's very similar to the first Mustang I ever drove when I was 16, an 89 5.0 convert owned by an older friend, and I was hooked. It was a speed demon in it's day, but by today's standards the stock 5.0 is pretty weak for a "muscle car". That said, I'd like some advice on getting this old fox up to par with today's power standards (think 2011 Mustang - 412 horses?). I mean, it was kind of sad to find out that my mom could keep up with me in her new Ford Focus. :nono:

I'm someone who knows more about driving cars than tinkering with them, but I've been reading 5.0 threads until my head started to spin, trying to educate myself before starting this project. One thing is plainly obvious, I don't want to just start adding random parts, as confucious say - running without knowing where you are going will get you lost.

Could use some help in putting together a plan for modifying the car with the end goal being to get it at least in the ballpark of all around performance as the new mustangs, and I'm talking all around performance - RWHP, torque, handling etc...at the very least, I need to be able to leave my mom and her stupid Focus in a cloud of dust! (And without spending so much money that I might as well have just bought a new one)

So what kind of ad-on combinations would I be looking at to match those horses? And what would I want to do to increase the torque? Suggestions for improving the suspension and handling of the car (Subframeconnectors are already being shipped, that was a no-brainer, but what else?) I want to make sure that whatever I'm going to do is all going work properly and harmoniously together. Listing an order in which sugested upgrades should be done would be helpful as well, and if you have suggestions or links to where I can purchase suggested parts that would also be highly useful.

This car will not likely ever see a drag strip, and doesn't need to be the fastest thing on the road, but I can't be letting those chevy guys embarrass me either, or those dang coffee-can exhaust having rice-mobiles (or my mom for that matter).
 

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gears, and if the motor is sound, a top end kit from trickflow pretty much has everything you need to get 350 horses from it, and thats pretty much all your gonna need to keep up with most cars out there, since the fox is alot lighter, good tires, and a good set of uca and lca's will help out in the rear, some new struts and a set of lowering springs from h&r or eibach to help the wallowing around of the stock stuff, im not a ro on handling stuff, hopefully someone will chime in for you
 

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3.73 gears are common and will give you the most bang for your buck. As stated by jraftb above after that, to simplify things, just go to your fav parts website(I prefer americanmuscle.com because I get a military discount but jegs or cjponyparts will also do fine) and sift through the topend kits. After that youll need upper control arms, lower control arms, shocks/struts(check out Strange Engineering), and a set of good tires. You've already got the subframe connections. Once all above is done you'll have a whole new animal.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The trick flow kit will produce 350hp on the ground? Or at the flywheel? And it can acheive this without any modifications to the exhaust?
I did forget to mention it's an AOD, are 3.73 gears still better than the 4.10 for that transmission?

I think the motor is sound even if high mileage (140k), it does have some leaky valve cover gaskets that need to get taken care of but I hear no engine tick or other worrysome sounds and the car runs and idles very smoothly.
 

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4.10 are better for a o d BUT be prepared to be driving at a higher rpm on the highway (its loud). this is not to say the 3.73s arent great either. all these members suggestions are bang on, especially about the suspension upgrades. they are key additions to allow the car to handle the extra power you plan on adding. taking care of the susp will ensure your car will be fit when you start improving power. also if i may suggest a polyurethane bushing kit. your stock bushings are 20 yrs old and they are a huge improvement.
 

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Since you got an auto look at gears and a shift kit which will feel the best on the butt dyno.

Next start looking at things that might be getting old with age. Look to give the stang a nice tune up and bump up that timing. Good time to check bushing and give her a good once over.
 

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gears, and if the motor is sound, a top end kit from trickflow pretty much has everything you need to get 350 horses from it, and thats pretty much all your gonna need to keep up with most cars out there, since the fox is alot lighter, good tires, and a good set of uca and lca's will help out in the rear, some new struts and a set of lowering springs from h&r or eibach to help the wallowing around of the stock stuff, im not a ro on handling stuff, hopefully someone will chime in for you

jraftb pretty much nailed it.

A trick flow top end kit will give you more than enough power to hang with most people. Of course I'll recommend UPR Products suspension because I work there, but also because it's quality suspension with a lifetime guarantee. UPR Products | Mustang Parts & Performance | Mustang Suspension | Mustang Billet | Mustang Cold Air Intakes | Mustang Exhaust On a 21 year old car, you need to replace as much of the suspension as you can afford, because the factory rubber bushings don't hold up this long. (regardless of the mileage)

I agree with the 3.73 or 4.10 gear (depending on if you want more of an emphasis on light-to-light or highway cruising). Also, if you plan to keep it automatic, you need a good quality AOD with a shift kit, (they start around $795 with a warranty) and a good torque converter.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
WHat are these bushings that everyone keeps saying to replace?

Yes the car just had a tune up, new plugs, wires, fuel filter, cleaned the throttle body and MAF sensor etc. Haven't done anything with the timing as of yet. Any idea's on the avg. life expectancy of the motor?

I did plan to do the suspension eventually but it kind of sounds like something I should do BEFORE adding the horse power. ? I'm planing on doing the 5 lug conversion - is that a good time to tackle the suspension/control arms etc? I'm speaking in terms of - I'm going to be having it done by a mechanic, not myself, so is it one of those things where I'll probably get the work done cheaper if I have it done while he's swapping out the rear end? (I'm also going to add a trac-lock or posi in the process).
 

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Suspension is always a good upgrade as all the power in the world is no good unless you can put it to the pavement.

Also you car has a trac loc, it might need to be rebuilt but there is one in there from factory.
 

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WHat are these bushings that everyone keeps saying to replace?

I did plan to do the suspension eventually but it kind of sounds like something I should do BEFORE adding the horse power. ? I'm planing on doing the 5 lug conversion - is that a good time to tackle the suspension/control arms etc? I'm speaking in terms of - I'm going to be having it done by a mechanic, not myself, so is it one of those things where I'll probably get the work done cheaper if I have it done while he's swapping out the rear end? (I'm also going to add a trac-lock or posi in the process).
Bushings-basically all of them. Front and rear control arms. Shocks/struts. Engine mounts. Etc. All of the factory bushings are very soft rubber, and even when new, they're not as good as polyurethane. When they're well worn (20 yrs old) they literally just disintegrate. It's a good idea to replace them as finances allow.

If you're paying a mechanic to replace your rear end, that would be a good time to replace the upper and lower control arms. Our Elite series control arms much stronger and more precise than the factory arms, but they have reasonable NVH levels (and a lifetime guarantee). 79-98 Mustang Elite Chrome Moly Urethane Control Arm Suspension Kit



Suspension is always a good upgrade as all the power in the world is no good unless you can put it to the pavement.

Also you car has a trac loc, it might need to be rebuilt but there is one in there from factory.
+1
 
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