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I need suggestions on what i should do for my first upgrades to my 97 4.6 Thunderbird. Its all stock and i have a about a $1000 to spend, an SCT x4 brand new so i can buy a tune or whatever but i do live in CA so i need to pass the emissions bs. If there is some cams that the stock heads can handle and are CA legal drop a link. Any suggestions im open to obviously. i read the forums a lot to try to learn what i can do but i honestly dont know whats CA legal n not so I appreciate the help.
 

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Without a doubt those are the top 3 mods to start with.

Just make sure everything else is in working order. Good tires - properly inflated, solid suspension, fresh spark plugs that are properly gapped, good plug wires, fresh fuel filter, clean air filter and clean MAF sensor, no vacuum leaks, and clean injectors (run a can of Seafoam through with your next tank of gas).
 
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Quoting Trunk Monkey:

Just make sure everything else is in working order. Good tires - properly inflated, solid suspension, fresh spark plugs that are properly gapped, good plug wires, fresh fuel filter, clean air filter and clean MAF sensor, no vacuum leaks, and clean injectors (run a can of Seafoam through with your next tank of gas).
That.

Spend your money FIRST on suspension and brakes.

Get the car in tip top running shape.

Add that due to age, I'd toss in brand new O2 sensors and consider having the cats replaced, and you're at that $1500 even if DIY.

First actual upgrade should be rear gears IMO; it does more to wake a 4.6 up than anything else you can do in a street car.

RwP
 
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You can do PI cams and PI intake without issue. Not 100% about PI heads, but I'm sure it'd be fine as well.
 

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Do you guys have any converters in mind that would be a good buy.
Ive done quite a bit of reading on torque converters and I still have this same question lol Marauder stock converters seem to be a good choice for cheap. The good aftermarket ones run $800-$1000. I’m a newbie around here though so listen to others, not me.
 

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Like Shlamden... I also have a 97 4.6 --- bought it for my son, he drove it for about 2years and gave it back to me.
Can you guys sort of layout what each of these mods is ? for example... whats a J-mod shift kit and where does one get it/ order it and is it a DIY upgrade or shop upgrade? or if he or I changed up the torque converter, and rear gears --- Which torque converter and what gears and -- where do you get the upgrades, what converter do you get and what gears do you buy ? ---Another example--- I'm in Northern California... a shop up here says that changing up the throttle body is a good $400 start. and a Cold air intake ( K&N or a Conicle ) are good starters. So if I did that... are you saying that adding the gears would be the next step ?
 

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Well nevermind... I did a Youtube search on what they both do to change the car... I'm liking the sound of it all ready.
 

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Like Shlamden... I also have a 97 4.6 --- bought it for my son, he drove it for about 2years and gave it back to me.
Can you guys sort of layout what each of these mods is ? for example... whats a J-mod shift kit and where does one get it/ order it and is it a DIY upgrade or shop upgrade? or if he or I changed up the torque converter, and rear gears --- Which torque converter and what gears and -- where do you get the upgrades, what converter do you get and what gears do you buy ? ---Another example--- I'm in Northern California... a shop up here says that changing up the throttle body is a good $400 start. and a Cold air intake ( K&N or a Conicle ) are good starters. So if I did that... are you saying that adding the gears would be the next step ?
There's a thread floating around here that explains how to do the J-Mod, but I can't find it. It doesn't help that the technical articles have disappeared since the forums were bought a couple years ago and our new overlords are a bunch of buffoons. Anyway, here is information about the J-Mod I could find.


Regarding a torque converter, I understand that one from a Mercury Marauder is a cheap upgrade. Rear gears, you want 3:73 gears.

A throttle body is an easy DIY. Actually, you want an intake plenum and throttle body. It's literally like 7 easy to get to bolts and a few hoses. Look at getting a PI intake as well. If you're green with mechanical ability, it may be a bit more difficult, but still doable with basic tools if you DIY. Be sure to get a Ford unit and not a Dorman unit for the PI intake.

The stock intake on our cars is already a CAI. Don't be fooled with aftermarket parts on that front. Most of them will place the filter up in the engine bay area and they turn into hot air intakes at that point. The only reason for an aftermarket CAI is to get a wider diameter unit in for more power. But you're probably pushing 350+ HP at that point to need the larger diameter CAI. Something that isn't easily done here in CA and maintain the car being able to pass smog.
 
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I'm in Northern California... a shop up here says that changing up the throttle body is a good $400 start. and a Cold air intake ( K&N or a Conicle ) are good starters.
Your name looks familiar .. Did you own a red 1990 SC years ago ??

That $400 throttle body is a waste of money, it won"t do anything for you.
 

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Your name looks familiar .. Did you own a red 1990 SC years ago ??

That $400 throttle body is a waste of money, it won"t do anything for you.
It helps lighten the wallet of the driver! :ROFLMAO:👍

RwP
 
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1997 SPORT Laser Red. Restored May of 2020.
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I had a '96 sport that I put nearly 10k in mods back in 2000. My mechanic owned Horseplay RACING (a Ford specialty shop), and he was not a J-mod fan. He helped me make the 96 Sport into the fastest 0-60 street machine in Memphis. We did have Jerry tune the computer for the AED supercharger his crew installed. Proved it many times at Memphis Motorsports Track and around town. It was fun but the cars are nearing antique status and mods need to be appropriate for their age.

In Jan 2020, I purchased a one-owner 97 Sport with just 83,000 miles. Would have loved to do a lot of mods again. No mods for this one. Most folks no longer appreciate the mods that we made to these birds back in the 20th century. Go for LOOKS and RIDE: paint, wheels, tires, spoiler, new upholstery. Consider a brake and wheel upgrade if you don't have the Sport package. Everyone seems to appreciate a good looking MN12 tbird.
 
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