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Discussion Starter #1
im a loser that works as a full time tattoo artist, all i have in life is a 97 4.6 thunderbird.

i want to max this thing out, as i have friends with cobra mustangs and **** and they keep joking my "thunder chicken" , i was told these cars have potential.

the only mods done so far is a new aluminum crossover intake manifold(replaced this after my plastic one cracked and blew coolent all over the earth), and the air silencer has been removed(done by previous owner)

i need to know from all the big dogs what would be the smartest and hopefully cheapest mods to do with a stock engine.

ive used the search function but found many mods that some people say is a waste of money and time for a stock motor.

ive also drawn up custom "thunderchicken" decals as i will name my car that, and hopefully dust some of these fags dissing my ride.

thunder power!
 

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"fast" and "cheap" are mutually exclusive from each other in the performance world (unless you go the easy way and do nitrous). Pick one--either fast OR cheap

the reason some say certain mods are a waste of time on a stock motor is because the people giving the advice may have different goals as compared to the person asking the question....so you need to ask yourself what it is EXACTLY that you want to accomplish, and convey your thoughts to people here.........most of the time, when your car is stock, and you want it to be fast, ENGINE mods are the last things you should do, because they reap the least benefits unless everything else is upgraded.....so again, it just depends on exactly what you have in mind
 

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Discussion Starter #3
mainly i am asking what good mods i can do to gain more power/speed with a stock engine.

is nitrious really a good idea for a stock car? i dont want to mess up my engine or anything.

did i gain any extra hp by getting the new dorman aluminum crossover intake? someone said it adds up to 8hp but they may be full of it.

i am willing to spend some cheddah on this but it will be a slower process if too expensive, i just paid 249.99 for the new intake about a week ago.

i am doing all the mechanic work myself(well not really i got dad and dads tools,he used to street race cars in the 60's with his friends),so some mods i may not have the tools for or the know-how.
 

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mainly i am asking what good mods i can do to gain more power/speed with a stock engine.

is nitrious really a good idea for a stock car? i dont want to mess up my engine or anything.

did i gain any extra hp by getting the new dorman aluminum crossover intake? someone said it adds up to 8hp but they may be full of it.

i am willing to spend some cheddah on this but it will be a slower process if too expensive, i just paid 249.99 for the new intake about a week ago.

i am doing all the mechanic work myself(well not really i got dad and dads tools,he used to street race cars in the 60's with his friends),so some mods i may not have the tools for or the know-how.
The crossover did nothing cept it won't crack again.
 

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im in the same boat, maestro, you said upgrade the other stuff, besides engine mods first, other upgrades such as...??
 

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I feel like a broken record sometimes, but IMO.....

Biggest bang for buck on these cars is gear, converter, jmod, tune. Throw a 4.10 ring and pinion, a 3600 stall converter from Alan (dirtydog), and a tune from Blue Oval Chips at it, and you'll be grinning ear to ear for under a grand.

Mike
 

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mainly i am asking what good mods i can do to gain more power/speed with a stock engine.

is nitrious really a good idea for a stock car? i dont want to mess up my engine or anything.

did i gain any extra hp by getting the new dorman aluminum crossover intake? someone said it adds up to 8hp but they may be full of it.

i am willing to spend some cheddah on this but it will be a slower process if too expensive, i just paid 249.99 for the new intake about a week ago.

i am doing all the mechanic work myself(well not really i got dad and dads tools,he used to street race cars in the 60's with his friends),so some mods i may not have the tools for or the know-how.
nitrous can be done, but the computer has to be tuned to optimize everything and to make sure its all within reason

the dorman intake did not add any HP, in fact a mustang guy reported HP losses with a dorman manifold, but his was already a sup'ed up mustang, so the losses are greater than a stock car would experience


a lot of the reason people give conflicting advice is because of the non-obvious distinction between being quick in a drag race, and tooting a high HP #.....you do not need an outrageous peak-HP number to be fast.....so do you really want a number to brag about, or do you want your car to be FAST?.....i ask this in such a way, because optimizing ONE (the HP) does not necessarily optimize the other (the speed/quickness)......most people think "i want to be fast, so therefore, i need lots of horsepower".....this is not true, in general...of course there are specific cases where one's entire car may already be optimized fully for the given motor, and to get faster will ultimately require more power, but that is one specific case, its not a rule

and just look 2 posts up, the one by Toombs......notice how he said 'gears, converter, jmod, tune"....the "tune" part of it will increase the power output of the engine, but only just a tad (10-15HP)....it's all the rest that put everything together to make the engine go straight to the RPM range where the engine makes the most power (by way of a high-stall torque converter), and keeping it there as long as possible (by using shorter gears in the differential so as to use the transmission's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear in a race)....the Jmod of course quickens the shifts to allow more power to reach the ground.

given the proper setup of traction, gearing, stall, and tune, you could easily shave off 1.5 seconds or more from your 1/4 mile times...without adding hardly any power to the engine...but I do emphasize that this would be an extreme case of optimization, especially with the gearing portion of it
 

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did i gain any extra hp by getting the new dorman aluminum crossover intake? someone said it adds up to 8hp but they may be full of it.

Yup they are full of it, dyno graph I have shows a 15RWHP loss (PI version)

Best cheap mods are PI cams, PI intake, J mod, and tune.

After that then gears/converter.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
im not going for super high hp, i just want my car to be fast, like i said i have friends with cobra mustangs,69 cameros, and here i am with me "thunderchicken", i may not be able to hang with those guys,but id like a little respect from these dudes.

thanks to everyone taking the time to help, im sure these things have been asked a trillion times.
 

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Others have said basically the same thing but heres my take.

Build up a proper rear end(mark8 housing, t-lok, 3.73, etc) with a built trans with trans cooler and TC(im using a marauder 11.25" modded to 2800 stall) and get a tune. And get a 1 piece aluminum drive shaft to replace the stock pile of crap. You won't have gained a lot of hp but you'll get all you can out of the stock engine which is better than blowing somethign up. This sort of set up can be driven everyday.

Address the weak points of the car before you get power crazy(like the fire wall), add some better poly bushings in key spots and a few braces and sway bars and the car gets to be more fun to drive. As said before the engine is one of the last things to mod. Mine is nearly all stock and it doesn't drive anything like stock anymore.
 

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Best cheap mods are PI cams, PI intake, J mod, and tune.

After that then gears/converter.
I agree, in fact, i would say all of those go hand in hand....adds significant amount of power, and simultaneously optimizes everything for efficient power transfer to the ground
 

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I agree, in fact, i would say all of those go hand in hand....adds significant amount of power, and simultaneously optimizes everything for efficient power transfer to the ground

Yeah next step after that is aluminum Mark 8 shortblock from junkyard. 80lbs lighter weight and raises the compression to near 10:1 with the NPI heads. This combo will just about run on 87 octane if you keep the stock timing curve.

I am building another NPI head, PI cam, Mark 8 combo that I will throw on the dyno to see what it does actually.
 

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The best way to get good performance on a budget is to take your time and find good deals on parts. I call my car the Ebay special... most of the parts for mods came from searching and waiting on ebay, or finding them right here. I've saved thousands buying quality used, not brand new. While on the subject of parts...

Research Research Research... Basic Hot rodding hasn't changed a lot in the past 40 years. Its still about getting air into the engine, mixing it with just the right amount of fuel, and then getting the spent gasses out of the engine, and as has been said, using the right gears to get the engine to spin in its favorite zone. Any part you find that promises massive power boosts, with little money invested and easy installation is most likely a scam.

You mentioned the other money saving method. Do it yourself, if you can. I've learned a TON of things on this site, and have applied that to doing the work on my car. Also helps to have fellow members living within a 200 mile radius that are willing to come spend a weekend and share knowledge (and elbow grease)
 

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yep i agrwee research the search button can be your best buddy.
 
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