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Discussion Starter #1
Hello... I'm new, but I'm here to learn.

I found a 1997 Mustang for sale close to where I live (in Europe) and I went ahead and bought it... It's gonna take a lot of work, but I finally get a V8.

The owner was not very forthcoming with the details on the car... it was a short deal, bought it for less than $3000, and I got the feeling he didn't know more about the car either. In any case, it was born a '97 Mustang, but it was a V6.

At some point after 2004, it got a 4.6 GT V8 from a convertible. The swap didn't go as smooth as needed... Engine service light is always on, the right exhaust doesn't line up, so lets a little noise and pressure gases out after the cat. Also, when braking for something or just slowing down (it's a manual) when not in gear, the revs go down but it doesn't hold idle... It shuts the engine off... So I'm guessing a vacuum? Or? I've been told the V8 has about 26.000 miles.

Other than that... I can't see any rust on the thing, which is good. There's a small leak in the trunk since I see it's a bit damp, but it's not a problem. There are a couple of alignment problems and some suspension issues on the right front wheel... but again, nothing that would be a huge problem.

Now, for my plans for the car: racing.

I wanna make the Mustang an all-around fun car. I want to be able to go drift a little at the local track, and go to a Formula 1 circuit as well. I have a couple of more cars, but I chose the Mustang for this because... well... I got it cheap, it (hopefully) won't eat up a lot of money, and I won't cry over it if I hit something.

The plan is to take the interior apart and weld in a roll-cage. Custom made, since actual pre-made ones are not that cheap. I'm thinking some coilovers to lower the car and make it less... boat like. Some good lightweight and wide 17" wheels to get some nice wide tires on it. I'm not so sure on the brakes, if I need a bigger brake kit or just new disks and pads on the stock setup.

But that's about it. Truth be told, I know very VERY little about Mustangs. I've owned E30 and E36 BMWs that I've converted to race use and also run a Nissan 350Z... but the Mustang is a whole different animal. So I'm asking you guys...

What other mods for racing would be appropriate? What engine mods would get me the best bang for my buck. Please be advised that I'm not planning to make this a huge project... I'm keeping it light, fun and cheap. I'm probably going to make my own exhaust (but I'm buying some long-tube headers since I don't trust my fabrication skills enough to make headers) and do most of my labor.

Thanks for the help.
 

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The first question is going to be what 4.6L V8 was the donor car? You said it happened some time after 2004, but didn't say what year the motor was. The 4.6L V8 was used from 1996 to 2010 in many different versions.
 

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The Mean Green
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Post some pics up, that could help with the mystery
 

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I dont know buddy.. Around here where I live you can find the 94-98 mustang 4.6 or 5.0 in good running condition for around 3,000... My friend just bought a 96 that's clean as a whistle with 120k for 3,200... Not sure I woulda paid close to 3,000 for one with all that going on.. But good luck with getting it fixed and ready for the race track!
 

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sounds like you shoulda shopped a bit more. but never the less welcome to the stang world. hope you get all the issues worked out.

also... you live in europe, why did you buy a mustang??? so much more access to cooler cars and you bought an npi mustang
 

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I dont know buddy.. Around here where I live you can find the 94-98 mustang 4.6 or 5.0 in good running condition for around 3,000... My friend just bought a 96 that's clean as a whistle with 120k for 3,200... Not sure I woulda paid close to 3,000 for one with all that going on.. But good luck with getting it fixed and ready for the race track!
I'm guessing it's a little tougher to find a Mustang in Europe

@ the OP, first I'd get the engine figured out. No sense dropping a couple thousand into suspensioni if the thing doesn't run.

As far as the drivetrain, I'm guessing it's a manual since you want to drift it. You'll want to get a short throw shifter and probably replace the clutch. I would imagine you'd want steeper gears too, maybe some 3.73s if you're going to be open tracking it. And I'd put in an 8.8 rear end if you still have the 7.5 I don't think you need the 31 spline upgrades but I might be wrong

Up front, I'd do a tubular K member from Maximum motorsports or griggs, along with the tubular A-arms, coilovers, and caster/camber plates.

For the rear, get some nice lower control arms, a panhard bar, and a torque arm. I'd do coilovers in the back too.


Honestly if the car is all stock I'd just look at getting a Maximum Motorsports Grip Box which would get you all of this:

MM K-member (with 2-point brace)
MM Front Control Arms
MM Torque-arm
MM Panhard Bar
MM XL Series Full-length Subframe Connectors
MM Coil-over Conversion Kits, Front and Rear
Coil-over springs
MM Caster/Camber Plates
MM Aluminum Rear Lower Control Arms
Bilstein HD series struts
Bilstein HD series shocks
MM Adjustable Rear Swaybar
MM Aluminum Steering rack Bushings
MM Solid Steering Shaft
MM Bumpsteer Kit (adjustable outer tie-rod ends)
MM Strut Tower Brace
MM Front Swaybar Relocation Kit
Front Swaybar Bushings
Front Swaybar End Links


Those are over $4.5k though. For around $2.5k you can get a road and track box which includes this

MM Street Performance Springs
MM Caster/Camber Plates (select Black or Chrome finish option)
Bilstein struts
Bilstein shocks
Front and rear Urethane Spring Isolators
Urethane Pinion Snubber (solid axle Mustangs)
MM XL Series Full-length Subframe Connectors
MM Strut Tower Brace
MM 4-Point K-Member Brace
MM Panhard Bar with Aluminum Rod
MM Heavy-duty Rear Lower Control Arms
MM Solid Steering Shaft
MM Solid Steering rack Bushings
Front Swaybar bushings
Front Swaybar end links
Front control arm bushings, urethane

But you're really going to want a panhard bar and torque arm, and I'm guessing you'll need coilovers too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The first question is going to be what 4.6L V8 was the donor car? You said it happened some time after 2004, but didn't say what year the motor was. The 4.6L V8 was used from 1996 to 2010 in many different versions.
Honestly, the previous owner had no idea. It might be the 270 hp one... but then again, it might not be... :(

Post some pics up, that could help with the mystery
coming in a couple of days. my camera broke :(

I dont know buddy.. Around here where I live you can find the 94-98 mustang 4.6 or 5.0 in good running condition for around 3,000... My friend just bought a 96 that's clean as a whistle with 120k for 3,200... Not sure I woulda paid close to 3,000 for one with all that going on.. But good luck with getting it fixed and ready for the race track!
A 1998-2004 Mustang in Europe is usually about $5000 - $9000. Plus the REGISTRATION tax. Which can be, for V8s, about $5000 more. They have an environmental tax to keep big engines and high-emission cars out. That's why most of Europe has cars up to 2.0 liters (with added turbos :) )

I bought mine pre-registered... Trust me, $3000 is a great deal.

sounds like you shoulda shopped a bit more. but never the less welcome to the stang world. hope you get all the issues worked out.

also... you live in europe, why did you buy a mustang??? so much more access to cooler cars and you bought an npi mustang
Thanks for the welcome. Honestly, I bought the Mustang because of the V8 sound, the fact that I got a good deal on it (in Europe I mean) and because I am tired of BMWs. Everyone around here is racing in a BMW. A Mustang stands out.

I'm guessing it's a little tougher to find a Mustang in Europe

@ the OP, first I'd get the engine figured out. No sense dropping a couple thousand into suspensioni if the thing doesn't run.

As far as the drivetrain, I'm guessing it's a manual since you want to drift it. You'll want to get a short throw shifter and probably replace the clutch. I would imagine you'd want steeper gears too, maybe some 3.73s if you're going to be open tracking it. And I'd put in an 8.8 rear end if you still have the 7.5 I don't think you need the 31 spline upgrades but I might be wrong

Up front, I'd do a tubular K member from Maximum motorsports or griggs, along with the tubular A-arms, coilovers, and caster/camber plates.

For the rear, get some nice lower control arms, a panhard bar, and a torque arm. I'd do coilovers in the back too.


Honestly if the car is all stock I'd just look at getting a Maximum Motorsports Grip Box which would get you all of this:

MM K-member (with 2-point brace)
MM Front Control Arms
MM Torque-arm
MM Panhard Bar
MM XL Series Full-length Subframe Connectors
MM Coil-over Conversion Kits, Front and Rear
Coil-over springs
MM Caster/Camber Plates
MM Aluminum Rear Lower Control Arms
Bilstein HD series struts
Bilstein HD series shocks
MM Adjustable Rear Swaybar
MM Aluminum Steering rack Bushings
MM Solid Steering Shaft
MM Bumpsteer Kit (adjustable outer tie-rod ends)
MM Strut Tower Brace
MM Front Swaybar Relocation Kit
Front Swaybar Bushings
Front Swaybar End Links


Those are over $4.5k though. For around $2.5k you can get a road and track box which includes this

MM Street Performance Springs
MM Caster/Camber Plates (select Black or Chrome finish option)
Bilstein struts
Bilstein shocks
Front and rear Urethane Spring Isolators
Urethane Pinion Snubber (solid axle Mustangs)
MM XL Series Full-length Subframe Connectors
MM Strut Tower Brace
MM 4-Point K-Member Brace
MM Panhard Bar with Aluminum Rod
MM Heavy-duty Rear Lower Control Arms
MM Solid Steering Shaft
MM Solid Steering rack Bushings
Front Swaybar bushings
Front Swaybar end links
Front control arm bushings, urethane

But you're really going to want a panhard bar and torque arm, and I'm guessing you'll need coilovers too.
Woah! Now that's the advice I was looking for. A foothold on how to get started.

The engine doesn't knock and it pulls really well... I don't know why it tends to stall instead of keeping idle when slowing down (sometimes, doesn't happen all the time), but I am looking into it.

That kit sounds really good. Although $4500 is a lot of money (at least for me), I'd be getting a great handling car out of it. I just don't know if I'm prepared to go that far with the build.

I really bought the car to drive it into the ground, so to speak. Get the most track time and fun out of it, with only a couple of good-investment mods. The roll-cage, suspension set-up, exhaust and, if needed, some engine mods. All of this, after inspecting what I actually bought.

Anyway, thanks for the info. I am looking forward into learning more about the Mustang.
 

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best suspension mod you need asap for the price is subframe connectors, you will thank me later but yea its the opposite here in cali. everyone races ricers or v8s its rare to see a bmw or mercedes racing
 

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best suspension mod you need asap for the price is subframe connectors, you will thank me later but yea its the opposite here in cali. everyone races ricers or v8s its rare to see a bmw or mercedes racing
I could be wrong but I don't think you need subframe connectors if you have a full cage.
 

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Honestly, the previous owner had no idea. It might be the 270 hp one... but then again, it might not be... :(
.
well there's the 96-98 4.6L that put around 215-225 rwhp, the 99-04 4.6L that put around 230-240 rwhp, and the 05-10 which put around (this i don't even remember lol)

however if it was a 3v engine we'll know once we see pics...if not it's a 2v...depending on which 2v (96-04) that will decide which mods engine wise....lets say it's the non PI 96-98 4.6L...a PI swap would net you more power then a 99-04 PI 4.6L...so as 03sonicboom said....there's many variations

Oh and welcome to MM
 

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Woah! Now that's the advice I was looking for. A foothold on how to get started.

The engine doesn't knock and it pulls really well... I don't know why it tends to stall instead of keeping idle when slowing down (sometimes, doesn't happen all the time), but I am looking into it.

That kit sounds really good. Although $4500 is a lot of money (at least for me), I'd be getting a great handling car out of it. I just don't know if I'm prepared to go that far with the build.

I really bought the car to drive it into the ground, so to speak. Get the most track time and fun out of it, with only a couple of good-investment mods. The roll-cage, suspension set-up, exhaust and, if needed, some engine mods. All of this, after inspecting what I actually bought.

Anyway, thanks for the info. I am looking forward into learning more about the Mustang.
If you're not looking to put a bunch of money into the suspension then I'd suggest new higher rate springs and good shocks/struts. You'll probably want MM caster/camber plates so you can get an aggressive alignment.

After that I'd probably get some lower control arms for the rear and see how you like that. There's not much you can do for the rear besides getting a panhard bar and torque arm, but that gets pretty expensive. I've heard they are pretty awesome though.
 

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As for engine mods, unless you have an NPI motor and do the PI swap, I'd just leave the engine alone and put that money into suspension mods.

Bolt on parts really don't net that much RWHP on these cars. You'll get a lot more for your money by doing suspension upgrades.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Again, thanks for the info! I'll be taking some pictures tomorrow (Europe time) and posting them here. Hopefully we'll identify the engine.

From what I got from the previous owner, the swap included the V8 diff, complete wiring change, and more.

In any case, you're right, I'd rather have a good handling car than a big, powerful engine that can't put the power to the wheels. I'm not going to drag the car, it's more of a Nurburgring/Hungaroring fun car.

Yes, I am doing a full roll-cage. Nothing against my new purchase, but I really want to be SAFE doing this. I'm getting a harness as well. I don't know how many EuroNCAP stars the Mustang got (if any), but I want to err on the safe side.

The car is a manual, if I forgot to mention. This is good for the small drift track that's about 30 miles from where I live. I'm not drift-racing it, just having some fun burning some tires. The same goes for the circuit stuff. I'm doing lap-times and perfecting my driving. Not racing others and endangering both them and myself. Too few people admit that they're not Schumacher or Senna... they're not God's gift to driving. I'm just looking for some nice Mustang entertainment. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
yea its the opposite here in cali. everyone races ricers or v8s its rare to see a bmw or mercedes racing
Here are some of my other cars, including the BMW E30 that I track every so often:

Opel Vectra C - the daily driver right now.








BMW E30 - cuddled 100k mile original









I got an Audi A4 B7 2.0TFSI quattro for the winter, totally stock...

Also, here are some action shots of me in the 350Z at the Hungaroring F1 circuit:










Hopefully, the Mustang will do me proud too. :)
 

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I put on the MM grip box but I did it one piece at a time. The CC plates, panhard bar and strut tower braces made the biggest differences. I'd start there after you get the motor straightened out.
 

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i extremely dislike old beamers but interesting Opal. never seen one before. 350 is sick. you should do a 2jz swap into it though. thats what everyone does around here
 
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