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Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

Project cars, modifications or other general showoff

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LeftofLucky

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostSun Feb 26, 2012 5:58 am

Whew. Sorry for being absent. Took an impromptu 8 hour trip to Savannah and back Friday night/Saturday morning.

Explorer boots, eh? It's well worth a shot. Right now I have zero options. My thinking was that there are other large-horsepower cars out there that make use of CVs: Corvettes, Camaros, 911s, etc. I didn't even think of looking toward the truck route. I'll be calling Ford on Monday...

Of course, tailoring my own boots would be pretty rad, too.

As for why I went with the IRS, well, that's a a little complicated. I bought the thing for $950, which netted me a number of advantages over the stock solid axle. It came with a 4.10 rear, which should be a help with the torqueless turbo 2.3. More importantly, the IRS boasts 10.65 inch ventilated rear discs as opposed to the smaller solid discs on most five-lug 8.8s. By the time I was done swapping gears, brakes and opting for the panhard bar, etc, I would have been well into the same price range.

Then there's the weight. You're right, the rear with its cradle isn't light, but that's part of the point. Even with the lighter four-cylinder up front and all that glass in the rear hatch, the car is still feather-light in the rear end. I'm hoping the IRS will stiffen things up and even out the distribution a bit.

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On the road again, etc by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

I finished up the five-lug front conversion on Friday. SN95 struts, ball joints and spindles with the Mach 1 discs, etc. I had a local company make up the stainless lines to make the calipers cooperate. Just for reference:

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89 LX vs '03 Mach 1 by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

Stock hardware on the left, new stoppers on the right. I'm not sure, but I may have to swap out the master cylinder and booster when I go for the discs on the IRS.
"Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you." ~Chuck Palahniuk
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LeftofLucky

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostWed Feb 29, 2012 3:25 pm

mike1dog wrote:I've heard that an inner C.V. boot for the rear end of a 2002-2010 Explorer will work for that car. Don't know how true it is, the Ford part number is 1L2Z-4L537-AA


It looks as if you heard correctly, sir. Or at least heard close enough. I picked up a neoprene boot from a local parts store and it looks like it will be stretchy enough to comply with the meaty half shafts. I hope to find out for certain this weekend.
"Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you." ~Chuck Palahniuk
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JayP

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostWed Feb 29, 2012 6:11 pm

The IRS was heavier than the live axle at least on the New Edge cars. But the unsprung weight is significantly reduced and improves the handling. A few Bullittheads were looking for Cobra owners who felt the IRS wasn't as good for drags- the Bullitt guys wanted handling. A Saturday swap made everyone happy.

And the PBR dual pistons are pretty good brakes considering the cost to run- Disks $35, pads $19.

So far, the car looks awesome.
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LeftofLucky

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostMon Mar 05, 2012 6:49 pm

I'm currently in the midst of doing rebooting the CVs with mixed success. Apparently I need a special tool to work with the crappy band clamps supplied with the neoprene boots. Despite my best efforts, no one in town had one, so we're now waiting on Amazon to show up with the pieces. I did manage to get this far, though:

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Partially rebuilt half shaft by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

Ford blue, new outer boot and an inner from an '02 Explorer. The inner was tighter than a fat lady's sock, but it looks like it will work. Don't mind the hose clamp. It's just there to keep grease from exploding everywhere. Before I start catching grief for painting axles, let me just say that it's always made me irate that manufacturers don't put a coat of paint on their CVs. No one may ever see it, but I'll know it's there. That's all I have to say on that.

In the mean time, I can catch you up on what's been done so far. The T5 swap went off without a hitch until I realized the crossmember for the slusher wouldn't work with the manual. After a little digging, I found a billet aluminum piece from Summit for the stupid low price of $160. Throw in a new poly mount and we were on like Donkey Kong.

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Brand new aluminum transmission crossmember by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

The kit came in about a million beautifully machined little pieces. Everything fit together perfectly without any of the usual filing/beating/cursing associated with aftermarket crap.

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Full adjustability front to rear by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

Tiny machine screws hold on the end caps, and these little allen guys allow for additional adjustment front to rear. Pretty slick.

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Fully assembled by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

Everything put together.

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Clearly the old crossmember needed some tweaking by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

We about had the trans completely in place when we realized the old member wouldn't work. Rather than yank everything out, we resorted to a piece of oak hardwood I had laying around. Throw in a few screw drivers for supports and BAM. Rednecktified.

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We drilled it out so that it would fit... by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

First test fit went well, with the exception of the fact that the grade 8 hardware I picked up (overkill, I know) wouldn't fit through the holes on the body. So, out came the drill.

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Finished product by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

After that, it was just a matter of bolting everything in place.
Last edited by LeftofLucky on Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you." ~Chuck Palahniuk
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Maymar

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostMon Mar 05, 2012 7:17 pm

I think you might be my new hero - I've contemplated something similar (by which I mean, thought to myself, 'yeah, that'd be cool'). I'd only lean towards the I4 out of a late-model Ranger since I'm cheap, and it'd make for an interesting fuel-efficient(ish) runabout.
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LeftofLucky

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostWed Mar 07, 2012 6:22 am

Maymar wrote:I think you might be my new hero - I've contemplated something similar (by which I mean, thought to myself, 'yeah, that'd be cool'). I'd only lean towards the I4 out of a late-model Ranger since I'm cheap, and it'd make for an interesting fuel-efficient(ish) runabout.


You should make it happen. While prices for Fox Bodies have climbed in recent years, you can still get them dirt cheap. I just saw a $600 1980 Notch pass through CL that made my eyes water. Plus, that I4 is as stout an engine as you're likely to find. Not boat loads of power, but decent torque and acceptable fuel economy.

Honestly, even with all of the stupid crap I've bought for this project, I'm still in for less than $3k including original purchase price, a new radiator, fuel tank, pump, trans rebuild and go-faster bits. Cheap speed is a win.
"Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you." ~Chuck Palahniuk
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failboat

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostThu Mar 08, 2012 6:02 am

are those 17" P71 steelies? whatever they are its a good balance of modified and sleeper, and I trust you will be adding them to the rear as well.
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LeftofLucky

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostThu Mar 08, 2012 2:33 pm

failboat wrote:are those 17" P71 steelies? whatever they are its a good balance of modified and sleeper, and I trust you will be adding them to the rear as well.


Believe it or not, the lug pattern for the P71s are different than the Mustangs. Plus they're 16s, so they wouldn't fit over the Mach 1 hardware. These are actually robbed from a Chrysler 300, of all things. I have another pair for the rear, but we need to get the IRS tucked in before they can go on. I'm still rocking the four-lug solid at the moment.

Yesterday was the first day that really felt like Spring, so I took the car out for a quick shoot with something other than my camera phone. Brace yourself, this is about to get pic heavy...

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Front 3/4 by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Front by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Front 3/4 Wide by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Front 3/4 Wide by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Side by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Rear 3/4 by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Rear 3/4 Wide by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Rear 3/4 Wide by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Rear by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Lowly 2.3 NA by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Chrysler steelies by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Nose by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Cockpit by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Corbeau at home by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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Hurst goodness by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

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From the hatch by LeftofLucky, on Flickr

So, as you may have noticed from the earlier photos, I'm running a straight pipe cut off probably six inches past the first catalytic converter. That cat was clogged well enough to keep the car kind of quiet, or at least it was until I was about half way to the shoot last night. Whatever was in there is gone now. The car is so loud my ears were still ringing when I went to bed last night. Miraculously, I was able to creep by the four officers I spotted on the drive out and back without so much as a flicker of blue lights.

I clearly need a cage and legitimate harnesses, and a passenger seat, but all that jam is kind of playing second fiddle to getting the mechanicals sorted out. All things in time, as they say.
"Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you." ~Chuck Palahniuk
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failboat

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostFri Mar 09, 2012 6:16 am

LeftofLucky wrote:
failboat wrote:are those 17" P71 steelies? whatever they are its a good balance of modified and sleeper, and I trust you will be adding them to the rear as well.


Believe it or not, the lug pattern for the P71s are different than the Mustangs. Plus they're 16s, so they wouldn't fit over the Mach 1 hardware. These are actually robbed from a Chrysler 300, of all things. I have another pair for the rear, but we need to get the IRS tucked in before they can go on. I'm still rocking the four-lug solid at the moment.


We are talking 5-lug SN95 parts right? Same bolt pattern and even same hub bore as the Panther platform (5x4.5/5x114.3). The offsets are different though. I had 99 cobra wheels on my 99 grand marquis for a few months, and used mustang hubcentric adapters to push the wheels out further. Ive seen people put the Chrysler wheels you picked out on Panthers too, but I think the chryslers are 5x115. Late model P71's actually do have 17" wheels, but the offset is pretty high, I think the same as SN197. Probably would not have worked in your application.

Car is shaping up to look pretty evil. I dont remember if you mentioned it but part of the plan is to never wash it ever, right?
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jarvitron

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostSat Mar 10, 2012 9:21 am

Those wheels are pretty great right? I bought a set for my Dart (from a 2005 Dodge Magnum) for $50 a corner cleaned and tagged from the LKQ, only because I couldn't source a whole set that wasn't beat to death on CL. With some drilling, old Mopar center caps (and Jeep center caps) fit quite nicely, and you can get a real cheap set of plastic trim rings which dress em' up some. Not that you're too concerned about the hardcore pretty but here's a pic.

Also, everybody please breathe and listen: The chrysler 300/Dodge Magnum/Intrepid 17x7 steels are 5x4.5 (with 4.5" backspace). If you have a dodge product, the center register is SPOT ON, like PERFECT, and the lugs are nicely centered. I have seen this 114.3/115 argument so many times I wanna smack a bitch, meanwhile, jeepers are running these guys with 32" tires offroad. If anybody was going to break a lug for a (not real) .7mm lug alignment issue (which does not exist) it would be them.

These wheels are basically the best deal going to move a Ford or Mopar up to 17's, they fit great and mount cheap, modern, performance rubber that you'd have to pay through the nose to get on a 14/15 these days.

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LeftofLucky

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostSun Mar 11, 2012 12:40 pm

Failboat: Apparently I've been led astray. A former Ford man told me they swapped lug patterns, but maybe he was talking offset and I just blanked. It's been known to happen.

Either way, the steelies are fuggin' awesome on the car. I'm not sure I should tell you how much I paid for mine, Jarvitron. These were effectively one-year-old take offs, still with the factory stickers on them. I picked them up for $60 for the full set. Also, that Dart is the damn jam. I've been thinking about figure out a way to make Mach I center caps work with these wheels if for no other reason than to have the horse emblem on the car somewhere.

Also, that's correct. I'm not going to wash the exterior. The interior will be clean, the mechanicals will be sharp enough to shave with, but the shell is staying ugly.
"Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you." ~Chuck Palahniuk
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tbrand

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Re: Ugly Horse: 1989 Ford Mustang 2.3T IRS project

PostSun Mar 11, 2012 3:49 pm

It's funny how much good photography improves a car. Even though yours is ratty and gutted, it's not... sloppy, I guess. I've seen so many CL pics where the seller didn't bother to remove their detritus before snapping a few cell phone pics. I wouldn't consider going to look at their cars.

Excellent work, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes.
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