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Hey all, I just got a '96 LX from my childhood friend for free. Being a poor grad student, he couldn't stand to see me driving my POS Grand Am around any longer and gave me his baby when he just got his new Charger.

Anyway, I'm taking a year off from school to work and earn a little cash and I thought I'd put some back into the bird to make it last through grad school and to thank him for the gift.

What I want to do in essence is add a little power to the car and beef up the drive train. He took great care of her and the interior looks like new and she just needs a little paint where he got rear ended. The car runs fine right now, but she has 135,000 on her, so I know its just a matter of time. I'd like to start building an engine for her now, so it is ready when I need it, or it's just a step or two away in a worst case scenario. Anyway, long story short, here is my question:

I've been doing a little searching and it seems the best route is to buy a '99 or newer short block and just add performance enhanced parts. What I want to know is where is the best place to buy a '99 or newer Romeo plant? Is the one being sold by Ford Racing a post '99 short block, and being a Mustang motor, will this drop right into my '96?

The reason I don't want to rebuild the current engine is that I read adding PI heads ups the compression to 10:1. I want this to be a daily driver with zip, not a race car, so I want to be able to run normal pump gas in her and 10:1 sounds a little too much for what I want to do. Also, I might add a supercharger some day, so I don't need the compression hassles there either. I was thinking a post '99 engine gets the enhanced performance without the compression jump and since money isn't too much of a concern, I though a short block is the best route. Any suggestions?
 

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Great for you!!

Though I don't think your motor is going anywhere anytime soon. (Unless it was abused) These motors have been known to eclipse the 200K mile limit easily. Just ask around. As for the Mustang motor yes it will drop in. But the trend seems to be to get the newer explorer motors. They have a little less power but are aluminnum and are 85 pounds lighter. They tend to be cheaper too. Though the first thing to do is a J-mod, Trans cooler and remove the air silencer. Good Luck!!
 

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Unless there is something that you know about the cars history, 135k miles is nothing. Everyone told me I wouldn't get 100k out of the 3.8 V6, I have 160k on it now, and it shows no real signs of dying (besides eating one set of head gaskets 60k ago).

PI intake on the NPI heads and block, maybe the PI cams.
J-Mod the transmission, get a chip or X-Cal 2.
 
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