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I’ve decided to tune my ‘95 LX. She’s bone stock with a muffler delete. I have 4.10s and traklok in the mail. I’ve been doing some reading and looking at Lasota Racing website. I can’t decide between getting the Quarter Horse/Binary Editor or the SCT handheld. I know absolutely zero about tuning so I’ll be ordering a custom tune to go with it. I am interested in experimenting/learning to tune though. Thoughts please. The QH set up is significantly cheaper but the SCT seems more user friendly? The SCT also seems to lack some of the things the QH can do though?
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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SCT will definitely not be cheap, but aside from the need to "send cash today" I've been satisifed with my PRP. There are more advanced features behind the scenes that only "calibrators" have access to but in my experiences there's really no loss as 99% of what you'll need is readily available - and the stuff that is behind the scenes that needs to be adjusted can be done with value files (presets) provided. It is very easy to get started with though.

TBH gains from a custom tune on a stock vehicle will be minimal and mainly center around fixing the extra-rich AFR at WOT. If you have greater plans down the road it'd be a good opportunity to learn the software and adjust shift points etc. before you make more drastic changes.
 

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Thanks for the input. Since you’re here I have an (unrelated) noob question...I bought a ring and pinion set with install kit for a Mustang. The only part of the rear that is IRS specific is the trac lok unit right? I didn’t just buy a paper weight did I lol

The plans for the car are 4.10, trak loc, jmod, tranny cooler, and that’s about it. Sometime in the future I may go ahead with a PI head, cam, intake swap but idk yet. I’m basically just trying to wake the car up for not too much money and have a little fun while daily driving it. The tune is mainly to change the speed limiter for the 4.10s and hopefully get some better shifts out of the tranny. This thing is a slush box.
 

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Thanks for the input. Since you’re here I have an (unrelated) noob question...I bought a ring and pinion set with install kit for a Mustang. The only part of the rear that is IRS specific is the trac lok unit right? I didn’t just buy a paper weight did I lol

The plans for the car are 4.10, trak loc, jmod, tranny cooler, and that’s about it. Sometime in the future I may go ahead with a PI head, cam, intake swap but idk yet. I’m basically just trying to wake the car up for not too much money and have a little fun while daily driving it. The tune is mainly to change the speed limiter for the 4.10s and hopefully get some better shifts out of the tranny. This thing is a slush box.
Yes you can use the rear gear set from a mustang with the tbird pumpkin.

It would be beneficial to get a higher stall torque converter with that short a gearing. See this discussion
 

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Thanks for the info. If I end up replacing/rebuilding the trans in the future then I’ll do a nice torque converter then. Paying labor for having a tq converter put in doesn’t seem worth the money atm.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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The 95 trans is going to be the weakest link in the powertrain regardless of what you do to it. The J-mod will help quite a bit but it's still plagued by the early valve body and one-way clutch. PI heads/intake/cams will produce more under the curve but to really take advantage of the added airflow you need to be able to wind out the engine past 6000, 6200 RPM - the stock torque converter is no good over 5400 (it will balloon).

Don't get me wrong, a PI swap will help with power and going to a 4.10 will definitely make the car feel lighter, but with such a tall gear you won't be able to take advantage of the torque multiplication due to the 5400 RPM limit. With a clunky 95 trans and a fast revving 4.10 gear, you'll be spending more time shifting than letting the engine put the power through to the wheels. :)

Given your relatively mild (attainable :)) wish list, my honest recommendation is to start with the trans and TC. If you want to go "cheap" find a 99-02 (03 in some cases) 4R70W from behind a 4.6 (not from a Town Car, taxi or CVPI, and preferably not a Mustang since the trans probably got beat on - look for wrecked cars at the JY since the chances the trans worked when it was wrecked are high), repin the trans harness and keep your MLPS and TCC solenoid, get a torque converter and flex plate from a 96-04 GT, Mark VIII or Marauder. The trans will respond much better to aggressive programming, the TC will be good to 6500 RPM (about as high as you will want to go with stock rods anyway) and the higher stall will help get you into the powerband faster from a standstill. THEN put in some gears.

A trans/TC swap can be done with a stock MN12 with a friend's help in a day. Get the car way up on stands, rent a trans jack, drop the exhaust and have at it. I recommend getting a furniture mover dolly so you can move the trans off the (usually very tall) trans jack so you can get it out from under the car without it being ridiculously high in the air. Not a concern if you are lucky enough to have access to a lift. :)

Many 95s came with a 3.08 so going all the way up to 4.10 is a pretty big jump and I encourage you to consider 3.73s unless you have either experienced what 4.10s are like on the freeway, or if you don't plan on taking the car on highways often. Also be aware that unless you transplant the MN12 4R70W tail shaft into whatever 4R70W you get, you will be limited to 3.73 and a 21 tooth speedo gear unless you want to set up a speedcal due to the number of teeth on the tailshaft for the speed sensor. The 23 tooth gears needed for a 4.10 and the 8 tooth output shaft in the non FN10/MN12 4R70Ws (in many cases, your tire size MUST be taken into account for accurate speedo gear selection for your rear end ratio) gets eaten up and will require frequent replacement. With a 7 tooth output shaft you can go to 4.10s and not have that issue.

With a higher stalling (and more RPM tolerant) converter, more responsive transmission and 2-3 step steeper gears, you'll feel like the car got 400 lbs lighter. Then as you add power (PI cams will not bolt on to the 95 heads - the valve springs will bind), you'll be able to wind out the engine a little further to take full advantage of the higher, wider powerband. Being able to tune it yourself - just chart acceleration values and set your shift points to complete such that the acceleration after the shift point is as close to the acceleration before the shift as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow thanks so much I read that twice and I copied /saved it. There’s a lot to digest there but you make perfect sense, and have provoked many deep thinks lol
 

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It's a long ways from the crank flange to the companion flange so you must use caution when using 3.73:1 and shorter gear sets. These short gears allow the shaft speed to approach critical rotational speeds and their associated harmonic generation.
With 4:10:1 gears and stock drivetrain, a little I over 90mph is well within the margin of possible sinusoidal critical speed event.
Typically the tailshaft snaps off at the bearing point in the extension housing. A possible very eventful moment in which you learn falliability and the definition of hubris.

Yours has 3.08, low speed traction assist, abs, open diff. A very simple comparison is to drive your bird and never use OD. That is how your 4.10:1 gear will feel. 30% or a 0.70 multiplier is 4th gear, and 3rd is 1:1. At 60 you're tach will read 3000+rpms
Critical rotational speed harmonic avoidance is achieved through changes to the materials used, rotational mass, and diligence.

Change your driveshaft to a different material, get it balanced. Change your converter, yours sucks bad and any other one is better.

All 1995 4R70Ws need a full on J-Mod as written by Jerry Weublowski. Do not skip anything, especially the cooler and the deep pan with drain. Force-lube your tail shaft bushing, Change fluid and filters often, pumping out the ATF with the transmission.

Without a high speed converter, harmonic underdrive, an aluminum drive shaft, etc, keep the speed limiter enabled and Fear The Gear in ignorant hands. Any drivetrain work should be well planned after consultation with and approval from at least a mechanic, preferably a Ford Engineer, and undertaken fully resourced. That keeps big mistakes to a minimum, and you learn to play another day by taking advantage of abundant resources and learning from others mistakes.
 
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